Friday, June 29, 2012

Post - Op

Jude is out of surgery and appears to be in good shape....albeit not too happy! He has been crying a lot and not drinking quite enough.  Hopefully though, tomorrow will be a much better day.

Thank you for the prayers!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

faint heart

Jude and David flew away this morning.

Silas and I are staring four long, lonely days in the face.

Jude is having a small out patient surgery tomorrow.  Nothing serious, but there's anesthesia, hospitals, doctors, and no momma by his side. It made sense for him to go to another city. The care is better.  Practicality suggested that David should take him, and I should hold down our little fort.  But practicality and feeling aren't always friends, right?

Last night I was on my way out for one last jog before entering four days with no baby break. Tears were welling up.  I was seriously considering throwing the plan to the wind and catching the night train with Silas so we could be there for the surgery. Just when my heart was feeling more than a little faint, the song changed on my shuffle and these words came blaring through:
His grace is sufficient for me, though I am weak, He is strong.  
His grace is sufficient for me. 
It is indeed sufficient.  For times of plenty and times of want.  For times when things feel safe, and times when they feel a little out of control.  His grace is sufficient.

If you think of it, say a little prayer for us to our very big God.

We are feeling faint hearted.  Thankfully, He is strong.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Henna Hands

Last night we went to the local craft market for another cultural first: henna hands.  My neighbors have designs on their hands all the time for various festivals and celebrations.  I found a great pattern for the story of when Jesus calms the sea.  I love the way it turned out! (She added a peacock to the design for good measure:) 

Jude was very intrigued by the process and wanted a little paint of his own.  Sorry, bud, only for gals! 

I think it will last around 2-3 weeks before fading completely.  Hard to believe it's taken me this long to dive into the henna culture.  I have a feeling it will be a fairly frequent stop at the market from now on though. 

Happy henna hands! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Runner

About a month ago, I laced up my running shoes for the post-pregnancy inaugural.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I think that, in part, this is because my goals for running are so much lower than they used to be.  If I can make a 20 minute jog a few times a week, I'm happy.  Maybe another season will bring something more but right now, I'm just glad to be moving.  My 3 year goal is one more half marathon...I'm itching to do the St. Jude when we are in Memphis....but that's a long way off at this stage. 

As for Jude, he's starting early.  He does a lot of "racing" these days.  Here's our favorite little stretch on the track around the complex: 

He's really into "stretching" with us these days too and has some pretty good poses. 

Please note that the cereal bowl is in hand while exercising. This may account for the delayed departure of that beloved baby belly:) 

Monday, June 25, 2012

on days like this...

...i sure do miss living down the street from my momma! Mom, if we were in Memphis, we'd drive over and make your day a little wilder.   A birthday shout-out from the boys:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five on Friday

1. Mango season is almost over.  It was short but very sweet.  We're trying to squeeze all the final goodness out of them while they're still around. Word on the street is that plums and pears come next!

2. Hubs took a short trip out to look into some business happenings this week. The boys and I have been holding down the fort.  Times like these I am even more grateful that for our apartment.  We have the most helpful neighbors and I know that if I needed something...they'd be at my door in a minute! 

3. The rainy season is changing our outdoor status a bit...but not much. The temps have dropped by almost 30 degrees in just 2 weeks.  It is wonderful! 

4. Looks like Jude and David will be flying to another city in country for Jude to have a small surgery. I tried my best to go to the children's hospital in the city with an open mind. But there's a ball pit in the waiting room.  That pretty much cinched it for me.  All I could see after that was germ-infestation. 

5. What's on our list for the weekend? Among other things, Chili's all-veg version of Skillet Queso! 

Happy Friday to you! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Play School

We decided to give play school another whirl now that Jude's a little more interactive. Today was the first day.   Parents came along and class only lasted an hour.  

Besides a goldfish cracker thief, all went smoothly. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


On the way to the doctor yesterday, we stopped in for a little dinner at McDonald's.  Jude can put away some McNuggets.  

Times like these, I know asia's slowly chipping away at my all-american-ness...I ordered the "Big Spicy Paneer Wrap."  

It just sounded so good, I couldn't resist. 

I have to admit: I was not disappointed.  The spice was indeed big, but the paneer was actually quite tasty. 

In the absence of beef, it just might be a new favorite. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

brooking disappointment

Yesterday we discovered that the embassy in Thailand won't issue the type of visa we need for Silas.  We weren't sure we were understanding their broken English.  But in the end, we did.  Call travel agent, and re-route those tickets. We'd just scored a cheap room a few yards from the beach as our post-visa vacation.  We'll have to cancel.

Within a few hours, we also received word that Jude will need a corrective surgery. We'll be wading through the monsoons tonight to trek across town to the hospital.  We were hoping to take care of this in Thailand, where things are a little more gleaming.  Not the case any longer.

I felt disappointed.

We were excited about the time away. No spicy foods, only Thai goodness. We were grateful that the dates were working out so that we could handle the medical aspects. We were ecstatic when we got that cheap reservation on the beach.  But plans change.

Yesterday morning on my run, just before all these little details began to unravel, I had Piper in my earbuds.  The message was from James.  And he was speaking about the admonition James gave to men who planned out their ways in arrogance. They ought to have said "If the Lord wills..."

God prepared my heart with truth.  It was very kind. He saw the disappointment before it was upon me.

Consequently, when those disappointing phone calls came, when the stream of emails that unravelled our well-made plans poured in, truth rang in my ears.  God is sovereign over visas and surgeons.  He already knew about the cancellations and hiccups.  All the plans were under the category of "if the Lord wills," and He very graciously reminded me of that before they fell apart.

I am finding that one of the deepest helps in brooking disappointment is trust in God's absolute sovereignty over these little details and large details. He planned my days before time began. And His care is wise and perfect.

I am thankful.

Because life feels just a little out of control these days and I love truths that stand above my feeling.

And now that day is over and we're here again, making our plans and re-scheduling our appointments, with a very fresh awareness that we ought rightly to include that one little line about our tomorrows...

...if the Lord wills.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Little Men

I am a boy mom.  And since so far 6 out of 6 grandkids on the Dawkins side are boys, it's highly likely that even if more little feet patter around our house, there won't be a doll baby or tea set in sight.  More and more I am resigned to that probability and even excited about it.  I love my boys.

One of the main reasons I delight in raising these little men is because of the grown man I am watching them emulate.  They love their Dad.  Jude already wants to be just like him.

Father's Day was a good day for me to think about the character of that man we all look up to in our house.  David leads us with such tender strength, unflinching integrity, unending patience, and faithful love.  I could have no greater joy than to watch a houseful of boys grow into the character of their father.  

Besides the utterly unfailing faithfulness of God, there is nothing that sets me at ease so much in this season of young motherhood as the character of my husband.  When I wonder, as I often do, if we are parenting well, if we are shepherding them rightly, if all the cheek-pinching is scarring them for life:), I am comforted by the integrity of my husband.  I know that my boys will learn more by his unspoken life than all the lessons we could teach them another way.

He is the same man on the street as he is in the quiet privacy of our home. He is kind to strangers and he is kind to us.  He is respectable in the public sector, and he is respectable at home. He loves the Word before men, he devours it in private.  His character is perhaps even  more strikingly Christ-centered when no one is watching.

I love that about him.  

It reminds me of Jesus, who is, after all, the source of anything good.

Happy Father's Day! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


There are only 3 seasons here.  Winter. Summer. And Monsoon.

Monsoon is upon us. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Culture shock Cheesecake

Everyone handles culture shock just a little differently.  We've heard some hilarious stories from ex-pats  reaching a peak in cultural adaptation.  People jumping from moving rickshaws over hiked fares, pushing aggressive salesmen to the ground, shouting at locals, sticking their tongues out at photographers (ah-hem, I won't name names on that one, huh:).  It definitely doesn't put you on your best behavior.  

One of the things "experts" suggest in coping with cultural adaptation is finding a hobby within your new context that you enjoy.  I would never have called cooking a hobby prior to our move to asia.  But foreign countries do strange things to you.  It is becoming a variant form of crafting for me here.  

This week has been a hard one culturally. Consequently, my cooking endeavor was a little more extreme than usual.  Cheesecake. 

I drained 4 containers of Dahi through Silas's (clean) muslin burp cloth to make enough cream cheese.   That's dedication, folks.  I absolutely destroyed my kitchen in the process.  

Never mind that I most definitely do not have a springform pan here. It worked without one.

Add a little mango puree on top, a homemade almond crust on the bottom, and it is sure to make even the worst culture shock look a little better.  For the recipe, click here. 

We're calling it a successful day around here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Silas Stats: 3 Months

This week Silas hits the big 3 month mark! I thought I'd post a few details before they dissolve into the beautiful blur of childhood. 

Weighing In: This kid is an eater. He's weighing in at a whopping 17lbs. As you might imagine, that takes some serious work.  At this rate, he may outgrow Jude!

Sleeping Habits: To my delight, he's been delving into longer stints at night. Usually he will go anywhere from 6-8 hours, waking up for a snack around 3:30am.  I don't know what my body will do when I finally get a full night of sleep each night!

Tricks:  So far he's only up and walking, speaking the local dialect, and fetching the groceries for me. Ok.  Not really.  No rolling or any such trick.  Just lots of smiles and cooing.  I'm predicting a sweet little temperament in this little fellow. We love it!

Oddities: Quite regularly, some local points at Silas and exclaims how frightened he is. This is generally in response to an auntie 'loving' on him, his stroller ramping a speed bump, or a brother sitting on him.  His facial expressions are out of this world. I'll be honest, asia scares me sometimes I don't blame him for the big eyes:)

Social Life: Jude and Silas are BFFs.  It is so fun to watch them together.  Of late, Jude's been getting a little feisty when the asian aunties reach for a pinch of Silas's cheeks. He throws himself on top of the stroller screaming "no, no!" We're working on appropriateness while encouraging that protective spirit:)

What a treasure little lives are!

Monday, June 11, 2012


I've been thinking lately about the images that most frequently appear here from our life abroad.  Generally, the backdrop is our colorful apartment with its western decor and uncommon rugs. Our house is a little piece of home for us. It was drawn with intention for the refreshment of our family and the nurturing of our little people.

But on most days, at least to some extent, we venture from these walls into another world.  It's a world that I find both captivating and harrowing.  It is both beautiful and down right filthy. It's a world that very often makes me want to seize a camera and capture.  But I rarely do, for a number of reasons.

1. My hands are usually quite full of little people. (Which I might add is much sweeter than the fullness of a camera:)

2.  We try to travel light. No car of our own means what we take, we stores and out of stores, in rickshaws and beyond. My camera of choice is a Canon SLR. It doesn't fit in with lightweight.

3. We are a parade.  Everywhere we go, people stare a bit.  Sometimes they just plain gawk. Other times they approach for pinches.  We don't exactly keep a low profile.  Add a large and in charge camera to that and we just might become a circus.

4. I feel invasive.  My love for photography has yet to overcome my introvert propensity for privacy and personal space.  I need it. And I instinctively desire it for others.  The near constant cell-phone photography of my own littles by locals is wearing away at that slowly though:)

Last week I downloaded a little app to that leftover device a friend gave us before we left.  It has become our essential language recorder, Jude's favorite Angry Birds companion...and now, I hope, a mini-camera to capture a few out-side-our-walls images on a more frequent basis. If they're blurry and off kilter, excuse them.  They were probably snapped from a moving rickshaw or on a bustling street while I dodged motorcycles.

Friday, June 8, 2012

roomie rickshaws

Every family vehicle has enough space for baby equipment, right?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Recipe Round-Up

A few of you have requested some of my food-love recipes lately.  Before I forget, I decided to round them up.  The crustless quiche is a dish we tried last night that went in the 'keeper' pile.  Sorry I don't have enough energy to do conversions for you!

Crustless Quiche 

Beat together: 
5 eggs
1 container plain yogurt (Dahi/400g) 
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cumin
Stir in: 
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 small bunches greens, sauteed and drained
(or if you’re fortunate enough to have it...1 c frozen spinach, thawed and drained) 
1/2 c coursely chopped cheese (grated..if you’re really energetic!) 
Bake at 170/325 for 50 minutes. Enjoy! 

Bean Burgers with Yogurt Salsa
kidney beans 800g, boiled (or drained can) 
breadcrumbs 100 g (Monaco/Ritz crackers) 
chili powder 1 t
coriander, small bunch, chopped (or dried) 
egg 1 
tomato, 1 medium chopped
Yogurt Salsa
tomato 2 small, chopped
plain yogurt, 200 ml
lemon pepper, to taste
Crush beans in bowl with potato masher. Add remainder of ingredients and stir with fork.  Shape 5-6 burgers with wet hands.  Cook in 1 T olive oil (or grill) for 4-5 min on each side until golden and crisp. 
Serve on burger bun with yogurt salsa.  Top with avocado slices, if available. 

Merida Gazpacho

This little recipe was acquired by Rebekah the summer we lived in Spain. We befriended the teenager who lived below us, Marina, and her mom became our Spanish momma for the summer.

5 tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 small cucumber
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
A medium chunk of hard French bread soaked in water (modified: omit/reduce water) 
1/2 cup of olive oil (modified: 1/4 c) 
Vinegar (to taste)
Salt (to taste

First, soak the French bread in water. Dice the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, and garlic and put in a large bowl. Add the bread once it has softened.  Then add the oil, vinegar, and sald to where it the flavor is spicey/zesty enough to your taste.  Beat the mixture very well in a blender, and if you like, you can use a strainer to catch any seeds, etc.  To finish, add about a liter of cold water and some (3) small ice cubes.  Be sure to test it to make sure you have enough salt and vinegar.  Further chill the gazpacho in the refridgerator, and it's ready to eat. Serve with boiled egg and cucumber slices.  

¡Buen provecho!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

call me sleepy

Last night wasn't exactly an uninterrupted stretch of sleep in our little abode.  First there was a wind storm.  It threw something against the door...which convinced a certain wife that a thief was surely upon us.  I bravely woke hubs to go and check.  Only the winds.  (which, by the way, will hopefully blow in the rainy season sometime this week!) 

Next a certain baby stirred for a midnight snack.

Shortly thereafter a toddler, who shall remain nameless, appeared at the bedside.  He was hoping for a little playtime.  Upon being deposited back in his bed, he crawled around like a caged lion for an hour before drifting off.  Poor hubs was on duty.

Finally, when all was settled, that early morning alarm woke us for the new day.  My language teacher was scheduled to arrive at 7am.  (yes, 5 days a week at 7am.  whew. ) So I fed that baby once more and jumped into the shower.

Jude stayed tucked in until 7:45 and the teacher didn't actually arrive until 7:50.

But who's counting, right?

As you might have guessed...our afternoon has been a bit more peaceful than our wild night. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Who made Jude?

Recently, I printed off the shorter westminster catechism for children.  We're taking it in baby bites with out lunch each day.  So far, I've been surprised how much the little man can learn in 2 minutes over a peanut butter and honey sandwich.  Here's a little sampling of our progress so far.  As you can's not without a bit of help:) 

MOM-Note: Let me just make a note here that "spiritual training" is hardly my strong point.  I don't want you to think we're memorizing books of the Bible and singing all 40 stanzas of A Mighty Fortress around here.  We're not.  I peek in on blogs sometimes and think...'oh, wow.  i am sooo far from that kind of mom.' Then I usually feel guilty for a few days. To prevent an eruption of mom-guilt in some heart out there, I just want to say that this video is exciting to me because it's not something I've done a lot of up to this point. It  is an area I want to grow in though...and I am finding these little questions tacked to my fridge are a helpful resource.  Hope you're encouraged...

...and get as good a laugh out of that last line as I did!

Monday, June 4, 2012

weekend craft

A little craft on pinterest caught my eye. It was quick, easy and manageable for a non-drawing gal like me! With my wiggly men, it was a 2 person I wouldn't recommend dipping any little feet in paint without some sort of plan:) 

It wasn't exactly our cleanest craft...but what little boy doesn't want to dip his feet in paint every now and then, right? 

Friday, June 1, 2012

asian cooking

I bought my first local cooking magazine.  And I must say, one delicious meal into it...

... I'm glad I did.

Who knew that kidney bean burgers with a dolup of lemon pepper yogurt could get such a reaction?