Thursday, September 29, 2011

Etching Memories

This morning I said goodbye to my 80 year old grandmother. It is unlikely that we'll return for a visit for three years or so. That is an especially long time in child-year and aged-years. When we drove away, she was sitting on her porch, surrounded by her beloved plants, holding the latest stray dog that's found its way into her hospitality.

These are hard goodbyes. I'm grateful for a mind that etches moments into memories.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

459 lbs

We found out this week that our actual baggage allotment with the airline is 3 bags, 51lbs each, per person.

I asked hubs what they charge for overage. He just looked at me for a minute.

He said that if we can't fit what we need into 459 lbs, we'd have to have a little talk.

That settles that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fear Factor

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think about South Asia? Insane traffic. We're talking millions of cars piled into lanes without lines, lights that mean nothing, cows that block roadways, and motorcycles that dash in and out of every open space. And what exactly do I plan to be riding through that craziness in? Rickshaws and little three wheeled bikes...with a one year old and no car seat. Not even a seat belt.

It ties my stomach in knots.

I think about it more than I should. And I've been trying to stop. This week, Psalm 121 seems to be popping up all over my little world. It's bringing a calm that wouldn't naturally erupt. It's reminding me that there's a lot that's outside of my control, rickshaws included.

But out of my control does not mean out of control. I have a feeling there are going to be an awful lot of aspects of life in SA that bring that Psalm to mind.

He who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Barrel of Fun

It goes without saying that when we get together with our college friends, Cracker Barrel will be involved. Home style cooking just goes with old friendships. On our trip back from Georgia, we stopped to initiate Jude into the wonders of CB.

Those delightful rocking chairs...

And that infuriating peg game...

All that was missing was a familiar face or two from our old MC days.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cousin Love?

Jude loved his first visit with his new little cousin, John Mark...kind of. He patted his baby toes, stared in wonder at his noises in the car, played with his swing and carrier, and slept in his crib. But when David took John Mark in his arms for the first time, I'm ashamed to say, Jude came to dad's knee, took one look, and threw himself to the floor in a heap crying. Love is a complicated matter as a one year old.

As for Uncle David and Aunt Laura....undecidedly adore those chubby Dawkins cheeks and amazing blond hair! Good to meet you, John Mark!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Travel Log

We closed up house in Virginia, said our goodbyes, Jude graduated from culture school, and we boarded a plane in the wee hours of the morning. Now, we're hugging on that sweet little John Mark in Georgia. Needless to say, it's been a long day...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Never Say Never

Despite our previous inhibitions, we bought a baby leash.

The anticipation of 27 hours in an airport can make a parent do strange things.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Round Two

Just in case you're wondering about the pregnant world of Laura, here are a few details for all those sympathizing gals out there.

I'd say this level was reduced by at least 25-40% in the first few months compared to my pregnant days with Jude. Until 2 weeks ago, I had no need to carry a trash can around with me. Of late, it's been picking up pace. This morning sweet Jude came in to greet me. He gave me baby kisses and I suddenly got a whiff of his diaper. Let's just say, the results were very unpleasant.

At least once a week, I am tempted to call my doctor and ask if it is normal to sleep 9-10 hours at night, nap in the afternoon, and still feel exhausted all day long. I mentioned it at my last appointment and she said, "yep." They've already checked me for low iron, thyroid, etc. No excuses, just a one year old and a crazy schedule.

I've been considerably less sick, which might mean Jude should get ready for a baby sister. My gut prediction: boy. It's my unwavering feeling.

Due Date:
The official is March 17, 2012. I think the ultrasound is predicting a little to early. March 24, 2012 has been my calculation from the beginning. Somehow...after a 10lb, 15oz baby, I seriously doubt I'll get away without an induction on #2.

The Birth:
Yes, if all goes as planned, this will be our first international baby. Word on the street is, I may be able to deliver in our city...not far from our little apartment. I'm anticipating some hilarious cultural situations when I think of me in the office of a South Asian OB/GYN. The bad news so far? Apparently, it's illegal in SA to determine gender at that beloved 20 week ultrasound.

Oh. no.

How can I monogram? I have heard that they sometimes make an exception for foreigners. We shall see. I will be exactly 16 weeks when we fly out...and I'm planning to schedule an appointment the day or so before and BEG the ultrasound tech to take a little peek.

We cannot WAIT to meet this new little person!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jude goes to Washington

Yesterday we took a day trip to Washington, D.C. for a little cultural excursion. We visited Embassy Row, found the White House's backyard, ate some delightful Turkish tapas...

...and meandered around the mall, talking to people and listening to all the languages spoken!

We were a bit nervous about keeping Jude out for an entire day with no place for a nap. Thankfully, the little guy crashed in his stroller for an hour long nap after lunch. No amount of blaring sirens, street singers or honking horns could wake him up.

Let's be honest, though. In spite of all the glories we showed him, Jude's favorite sight....undoubtedly those crazy D.C. squirrels jumping in trash cans to dig out leftover hot dog buns and french fries. Hopefully, on our next trip to D.C. he'll be more interested in the Smithsonian than squirrels.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Parent/Teacher Conference

David went to pick Jude up from school today. The teacher pulled him aside to have a little chat.

It seems Jude has developed a strong desire to hug all of the other children. Jude is an affectionate little man. But, this is a recent development.

The problem is...about half the kids in his class are younger and smaller. The teacher suggested that his particular hugs can be rather violent. There have been instances of children being pushed backwards by the force, little introverts feeling overwhelmed and a variety of hugging mishaps as a result of sweet Jude's overtures.

You just never know what a day in our house will bring, do you?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Opinions Needed

South Asia has some smells that I'm not exactly looking forward to. I'm fairly certain that no matter how modern our little apartment may's going to smell like curry. That is reality.

So...though we've got limited space in those suitcases, candles are near the top of my list. Rumor has it, the ones available aren't quite up to par.

I need them to be worth their weight though.

Anyone have a favorite? Think room-filling, curry-overcoming, home-making, long-lasting goodness.

Links appreciated:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shear Disaster

Haircuts are a sensitive subject in our household. Jude has a lot of hair. Truth be known, I cut his hair for the first time when he was only three days old and had a baby rat tail. At this stage of life, he's a less than compliant customer in salons. So, we're opting for home hair care.

This isn't really working out for us either.

This weekend, our little family was in uproar several times. David, being a short-hair man himself, felt a great deal of sympathy for Jude. He felt sure Jude's longish hair was beginning to get in his eyes. I, on the other had, was not ready to face the reality of the situation. I insisted that his hair was not quite long enough to require a cut yet. With a gentle wifely submission, I let David know he could feel welcome to undertake the matter any time...on his own.

Consequently, there was a failed bathtub attempt of a hair cut. It left Jude looking like an unkempt Beatle. Short bangs, long side burns. What followed next was a Samson & Deliliah strategy (at bed time) that ended in a very splotchy abandonment.

Finally, we resorted to a baby video, snacks, and the buzzer. This was successful enough for us to leave it alone...until next time.

I'm starting to understand why so many little boys have buzzed heads.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Big News

Jude has some big news to share....

That's right, Dawkins # 2 is on the way.

Estimated Time of Arrival: March 17, 2012

Friday, September 9, 2011

Refrigerator Raider

Jude has a small obsession with our toddler-sized refrigerator. It's the first place he goes in the morning to get his little milk cup.

Sometimes it backfires a bit when the entire block of cheese becomes his afternoon snack:)

I'm glad all of our appliances aren't at 1 year old eye level.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wily Words, Part III

Somewhere around 13 or 14, life began to feel hopeless. Maybe it was nothing more than the woes of adolesence, but at the time, it felt all encompassing. It was in those days that I first thought that it might not be worth it to carry on. Quite bluntly, I thought a lot about taking my life. A year or two later, though, Christ radically changed my heart. Hopelessness was met with hope and I was a new person. The message I'd heard since I was a child, sunk deep into my soul and nourished what was withered. I was reborn.

I would like to write that that particular lie died with the new birth. But, for me, it did not.

On and off, through many seasons and a variety of situations, I heard a whisper that it would be better not to carry on. In sad times, but mostly in very happy ones, I battled with the word in my mind. Out of nowhere, I would hear words of death and feel the strong temptation to give up. The words followed me through high school and on to college. They met me on the corners of significant life events. And followed me into adulthood. I struggled against them, with a very secret fear that one day the word would be too powerful to overcome. I was not sure that a weak moment would not sooner or later make the lie a believable truth.

I could have given you a dozen reasons why I would not take my life. But the words still had a certain power over me....until one day truth interpreted the lie. I read these words of Jesus, and a new word was spoken, " Satan has come to steal, kill ,and destroy, but I (Christ) have come that you might have life and have it abundantly." Simple, straightforward, I'd read them dozens of times before but I had not heard them in this way.

Satan wants me dead. He doesn't just want to make me sin a little, say a nasty word to my parents or run off with a boyfriend. He wants to steal, kill and destroy, not just here but for all eternity. He planted the words. They belong to him. And he is a liar.

Christ wants life for me, full and abundant. He's not the one whispering death in my ear. He's the one dying to give me life. And he is truth.

The new word changed everything. It broke into the lie and told the truth. And what was once full of power, showed itself for what it was.

Give me truth. Burn it into my heart and break away all that is false. Teach me to speak and hear and perceive what was established in the heavens...the immovable and immutable truth of God's Word.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wily Words, Part II

Sometimes a message is spoken into our lives without any words communicating the message. The words are perceived by us based on our own insecurities which we feel are affirmed by a situation. I could give you about a thousand examples of perceived words I've 'heard' spoken to me. If I were to put lips on them, the people in the situations would most likely laugh at how far from true my perception of their thoughts actually was.

When I was in junior high, I was terribly insecure about singing in public. I mumbled the tunes on Sunday morning. I avoided the school choir at all costs. And though my mother made me go to youth choir, I rarely sang above a whisper. When Jamie Parker stood close to the alto section to help us learn a part, my face turned bright red and I wanted to run for the door. I was so afraid he would put his ear up to hear my voice. I felt sure I was off key.

Somewhere along the way, I started standing by Marjo in choir. Her mother sings opera. And she knew how to sing parts, read music and do all the appropriate choir drills. When I stood next to her, I began to notice that she put one finger in her ear when she was singing. It was on the side closest to me. I tried to convince myself that she was just trying to hear her part, but it was no use. I was positive that this was confirmation that I had the worst voice anyone had ever heard. She was covering her ear because she couldn't stand to hear me sing. The mumble turned into a less than mumble. And for years it was difficult for me to sing in group settings unless it was among my closest friends. Truth be told, I still find it difficult at times.

I think I told her that story once, and we laughed heartily together. She didn't think I was a terrible singer. In fact, I don't think she had much recollection of the event at all.

But the words I perceived were spoken and they left a mark on my mind that it was difficult to overcome. They weren't ever even uttered. They were completely untrue. And yet, the lie was built and like all lies, it destroyed. God gave me my voice, and He made it the way that he wants it. He is a God who delights in the praises of His their joyful noises. And I withheld my joyful noise based on a lie.

Why am I writing this? Because as I've begun to think through this topic, it has helped me to name lies. To call them what they are. To say that they are false. And to discover the truth again. I thought there just might be someone out there who needed to hear my ridiculous jr high story to start to debunk a lie or two of their own.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wily Words, Part I

A few weeks ago, I heard someone speak on the way small words that had been spoken to him had remained with him for years afterward. It gave me good fodder for thought. Brought a few things to mind that have had the same impact on my own life. So, since I haven't done a series in a little goes.

It only takes a tiny spark, the least bit of flaming ember that strays to that pile of dry leaves, and an entire forest is ablaze. Acres and acres are uncontrollably eaten away by a raging fire. And it only takes a tiny sentence, a moment's carelessness or contempt, and an entire life can be eaten away at the memory.

That's the extreme scenario.

The milder version is that the spark catches a limb on fire or perhaps a whole tree. A scar is burned that takes a lifetime to grow back into normalcy. That tiny sentence haunts the memory of one aspect of life and breathes into all the decisions made in that area a bit of lie-induced fear.

When I was in high school, someone told me once that they could not see me living life overseas. It was a simple statement and it wasn't made maliciously. I only recall it being said one time. It didn't even come from a close friend. But the person who made the comment had lived overseas, she had my great respect, and the words cut a deep mark into a dream that I had begun to cherish. And would you believe that after multiple trips overseas, several for extended periods of time, and nearly 15 years, those words still pop into my head. They cast doubt on where my family is headed. They whisper to me that I won't make it. They battle against what I know is right.

They were not spoken with that intention. But there is a Liar who intended to use them to speak that.

Isn't it amazing how wily he can be? An innocent comment transformed into a weapon against the purposes at work in my life.

I am finding that the best way to combat a lie is with the truth. The only way I know to overcome words that roll through my mind is with more powerful words.

Thankfully, there's a book I know...full of powerful words.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cousins on every Corner

Last week was a big week for Jude. He got 2 new cousins in a matter of 2 days!

Josie Jane arrived on schedule on Tuesday morning weighing in at 7lbs, 4oz. I flew down to meet her this weekend, and it was worth every minute in the airport! What a sweetheart:

John Mark made a surprise arrival on Thursday morning...much to our amazement! We really thought it was a joke when we got the first text! Lisa and John Mark are doing well and had some grandparent time this past weekend. We'll be heading down to meet him later this month! If ever a baby had Dawkins cheeks:)

Welcome to these precious little ones!

Friday, September 2, 2011

In Flight

There's a labor day special on air tran....15 minutes of free in-flight internet.

I'm sure this has been happening for years now...but I still find it amazing that I'm up in the sky, writing a blog. And so, just for the thrill of it, I'm writing a blog.

So far....I've been caught in the airport crossfire of a woman whose bowling ball was misdirected on her baggage claim ticket and a booted man in a large cowboy hat, who was apparently in a hurry to check in.

....I was spoken to quite forcefully by the lady who checks your ticket at the gate. Apparently they called for large carry on bags earlier and I missed it. I didn't think my carry on was that large anyways. In her fury, she checked my bag all the way to Atlanta. This means I've spent more time than I want to admit worrying that my camera will be crushed before I can take a picture of sweet Josie Jane. The overhead bins, that were reportedly so full, have plenty of space.

....The man behind me is so tall that his knee won't allow the arm rest on our seat to rest in either the up or down position.

....And I've read more pages than I have in quite a few days in a matter of one flight.

All of this in a one hour flight to Atlanta.

Doesn't it make you wonder what my blog will say this fall when I'm on a plane to South Asia for 22 hours with a one year old? It makes me wonder.

Man Weekend

I'm en route to Memphis for the weekend to meet Josie Jane. I can't wait to cuddle that little baby!

Jude and David will be having a man weekend here in Virginia. I'm sure the stories of their adventures will abound!

Next week I hope to share plenty of pics of new little ones!