Tuesday, July 31, 2012

cousin josie

A little news from my sister's world:  Josie Jane's waiting for a tiny addition in February.  

I know it's early...but I'm predicting a girl! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

the push and shove

Have I ever mentioned to you that pushing and shoving are a way of life in my new world? In a country with over 1 billion people, it's no wonder you have to be a little aggressive to accomplish tasks. It's not rude, it's just asian.

I've learned not to be offended with that sweet elderly auntie shoves past me in the grocery store or when my kind hearted neighbor throws her groceries on the cashier stand ahead of me. I just keep telling myself, "This isn't rude, it's culturally different." And sometimes, more often than I used to, I get kind of pushy myself.

The concept is reflected in everything from the traffic "rules" to the way you buy your pineapple.  It's a communal culture, there is a flux and give to the shove.  It is a way to stream 1.2 billion people through the streets, in and out of restaurants, stores and doctor's offices. It's better not to analyze it, just go with it.

But sometimes I get all American right in the midst of a shove.

That never works out well.

On Sunday, we were at the store to buy food for the 3rd round of guests for the weekend. Life was feeling busy.  We were in a crowded shop. And all I wanted was to weigh my corn and potatoes and get out of there.

But when I finally got to the head of the shove-line, a smiling asian approached and thrust her vegetables ahead of me.  The little clerk, being as asian as the rest, assented and took hers instead.

I lost my patience. My face turned red. My heart started pumping.  And anger burst forth.  In broken dialect I explained the concept of a "Que" to the still-smiling lady. She kept smiling.  My blood pressure kept rising.  And finally, I reached over and threw my bags of vegetables onto the weigh machine until she took hers off and the clerk accepted mine.

She was not at all flustered.  I was undone.

By the time I got home, it was funny. But I was ashamed.  Why let such a little thing, 2 extra minutes of my time, provoke me to anger? I felt, in my western outlook, that I was right.  I was in front.  It was my turn...in a country where people don't, and likely never will, 'take turns.'

It brought to mind this little tidbit I have often read in Prentiss's Stepping Heavenward.  Hope you find it as gospel-orienting as I have.  

4 Steps that Lead to Peace: 

  • Be desirous of doing the will of another, rather than thine own.
  • Choose always to have less, rather than more.
  • Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to every one. 
  • Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five on Friday

1. Silas is tough stuff.  Hardly a week goes by that he doesn't have some new mark or scratch on his little face. My neighbors are always a bit distressed over it. Ex: a nice bruise from a misplaced laundry basket.  I'll let you guess which toddler misplaced it onto his brother's forehead:) 

2. A few weeks ago, I came across an old recipe for Museli that I used to cook in Africa.  It's become quite a hit in our house.  Add a little yogurt and it's a fantastic, quick breakfast.  

Recipe: 5 c oats, 1 c shredded coconut, 1 c wheat germ, 1/2 c brown sugar, 3/4 c oil.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.  Stir every 10.  Allow to cool and store in air tight container. 

3. You win some, you lose some.  I bought a package of paneer and let it sit in my fridge an entire week before I was brave enough to try to do something with it.  A friend suggested I rub a seasoning on it and grill it.  I tried my chili seasoning mix.  It was a bomb.  A little more successfully, I marinated some in balsamic vinegar.  Neither will be a repeat though. I'm not giving up yet, though.  Surely paneer and I will be kitchen friends eventually!

4. This is what happens every time we put Silas in his baby recliner:

The kid practically crawls out of it. He's a big man now...ready for upright sitting.  Or so he thinks.  

5.  Soon we'll be making a quick trip to Calcutta for David to attend a meeting. I am excited. Hoping to see a glimpse of Mother Teresa's work while we are there.  

Intense love does not measure, it just gives. - Mother Teresa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

rub a dub dub

Have I mentioned to you that sometimes I really miss having a bath tub? What I miss even more is a hot water tank that gives me hot water for longer than 5 minutes.  Of course, I could not have any hot water heater at all and shower doors are hot commodities too...so trust me when I say, I'm glad for the 5 minute showers.  

But when we discovered that our hotel last week had a rare combination of a tub + almost unlimited hot water, we were all pretty happy. 

It's the little things in life. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

o victory!

Jude's quite the little songster these days.  Sometimes he breaks into a tune that we hardly recall exposing him to.  Here's a little taste of one of our bedtime hymns, O Victory in Jesus, re-done: 

Silas is just there for moral support right now:)   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

if momma ain't happy....

You know the saying....if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  And if you haven't ever used it, you've probably at least experienced it. Having been married only 5 years and a mother for a little over 2 of those, I still feel the "newness" of the position frequently. One of aspects that continues to amaze me is the influence that comes with the package. By simply waking up and giving myself over to a bad mood, I can sway the whole tone of our household significantly. If I tarry long in sin and sulkiness, gray seems to drip into the air of our family.

Last week when we arrived in Nepal, I had a hard time recovering myself. At 2am we woke up to a fierce mosquito who fought his way into the net. By 3:30am we were preparing to leave for the airport. The trip was long and I didn't pack any breakfast. Silas woke up feverish with another tooth popping through. Jude was a whir of excitement over the planes and airport tractors. He only napped 45 minutes the entire day. We arrived at our hotel to discover there was no a/c and occasionally, no power for a fan. The sheets were almost dripping from open windows in the rainy season, and they didn't really dry all week. The streets were crowded and muddy. And that 18lb baby felt a little too big to carry. By Tuesday, I wouldn't have called myself happy.

Be joyful always.

Yikes. That was a hard word to think on. There were a lot of annoyances whizzing around that I couldn't change. It seemed like I had a license to be a little disgruntled. But joy and thanksgiving aren't companions with complaint. It's convicting to watch your 2 year old unravel, and know that your own attitude is contributing. He doesn't have the capacity that I have to choose righteousness over emotion. I'm a sort of attitude barometer.

Thankfully, God is a relentless pursuer of His children and His Word kept pouring through, changing and re-making my mind. Thankfully also, I have a husband who dwells in thanksgiving and intentionally pursues joy. Sunshine behind my clouds:) It was a good reminder to me of the influence He's entrusted to me.  An influence He's intended to bring joy.

Here's to a more intentional decision to live joyfully, to teach joy to these little people who are watching...muddy streets or not!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Multiplication Monday

Somehow I always feel like the laundry will shrink in proportion to my time when I return.


I haven't washed clothes in 7 days....so multiply my daily loads x 7 and the laundry room looks like I brought the himalayas home with us.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nepal in a Nutshell

Tomorrow we fly away after a week in Kathmandu. The week has flown past. We have enjoyed it. Our check list is complete though, and I can't say that I'm sorry to go.  There really is no place like home....especially with two kids! 

I hate to admit this...but to be honest, our highlight has been the food.  We've eaten beef every single day.  A steak really does taste that much better if it's inaccessible for 9 months! Thanks to the tourist industry here among trekkers, there are amazing restaurants on every corner. 

The family time...away from language class and daily life...has been sweet. The boys are great travelers and seem to enjoy the exploration:) It has been a bit challenging in a hotel room for a week with not as much outdoor space as we're used to though.  We cannot wait to get back to our little park and walking track! 

The streets here are crazy.  (and they're not exactly tame where we live:) Add a lot of rain, mud and stray dogs to that...and it's quite a feat with 2 little ones in tow.  Next time we head this way, we're hoping it's not during the monsoon season! I never thought I'd say this, but I like the weather in our city better:)

As for the overall culture, it does seem to be a much milder version than our usual setting.  Cheek pinching has been at a minimum and I don't think anyone's pushed in front of me in line yet.  I guess the mountains mellow things out. 

Sooo....that's our week in Nepal in a nutshell! Next week, I' hope to be back to my wordy blogging self:) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garden Of Dreams

Had a little fun at the Kathmandu Gardens...yes, it's really called Garden of Dreams:) 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ready for Summer Olympics 2012, British Consul, Nepal:

Check ups at the American Clinic:

The BEST kids corner we've seen on continent!

I know you thought we'd be hiking up mountains by now....but rain, kiddos and mountains hardly agree:)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Visa Day

After a lot of waiting, paperwork and wild babies.... Silas has a visa!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wordless Week

We're in Nepal for the week to work on a few things and take a little family time. Most of my posts will probably be short on words and big on pics!

The view from our Lonely Planet recommended room:

Since I've been up since 2am...I'll hold off on any major impressions of Nepal so far:)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Silas Stats : 4 months

Milestones are starting to whizz past as Silas moves into the realm of mobility. This week he's been more than a little frustrated with his sedentary life. Consequently, in one swoop he's taken on rolling and scooting.

His skills in each category are still being refined, but he's on his way! This is his latest technique for moving across the play mat:

It is usually followed by some serious crying.

One tooth down, a mouthful to go.

He is so full of smiles these days. I love it. I've probably just forgotten, but he seems easier to coax a grin out of than Jude was. I'm still predicting a very fun, outgoing temperament in this little guy! We shall see.

And as for brotherly affection...it just keeps getting sweeter! My favorite moment of the day just might be when they greet each other in the morning. Melts.my.heart.

I'd give you a weigh in, but my blog time is limited and currently little bit is sleeping. My guess is that he's only gained a wee bit since last month's growth spurt!

Happy 4 Months, Silas!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

family day

A few pics from our recent trip to the zoo. The sun was hiding and the temps were perfect.

Lovin' the cloud cover this rainy season!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

my bookshelf

Remember my post-baby book list from a few months ago? I'm still plodding along...slow and steady, right? 

Jayber Crow by Berry
A Soldier of the Great War by Helprin
So Big by Edna Ferber
A Fine Balance by Mistry
The Return of the Native by Hardy
Tess of D'Ubervilles by Hardy
Remembering by Berry
A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway
Number the Stars by Lowry
The Testament by Grisham
Excellent Women by Pym
The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Pargeter

It has been quite some time since I've worked from a list when selecting books and I am finding it to be a healthy exercise.  It is broadening my reading and introducing writers and styles that I wouldn't ordinarily gravitate towards.  I haven't been completely faithful to the list though.  This is owing primarily to the inaccessibility of a public library, though I do have a Kindle, thanks to my mom!  Here are a few additions to my list: 

David's sweet mom sent me The Phantom of the Opera for Mother's Day, along with the dvd of a recent concert. I admit that half way through I thought I was going to have to put it down.  It seriously started effecting my sleep.  Definitely dark....but wonderfully written. I'm itching to see the musical again now. If only hubs will take me to London:) 

I came across Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson and was immediately intrigued.  Amazingly enough David procured a copy of it for my birthday.  It was fantastic. One of these days I'll write an entire post on some of my take-aways. 

My mom lugged Expressive Photography by the Shutter Sisters over to me and I have seriously enjoyed perusing it.  I need to open it up again though. 

This week I spotted a book lending center within driving distance.  It's on our stop-by list now that we have wheels:) 

I'll keep you posted! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


We're seeing some big changes in the Dawkins household this week.  

1. Silas is getting his first little chompers.  One pearly white has already popped through but his gums are showing evidence that the hand chewing isn't finished yet! 

2. A few weeks into play school, Jude is finding his new routine a little easier.  He's even started riding the school bus home...yes, there's a play school school bus:) 

3. I'm predicting this change will revolutionize our world! Hubs is an official driver.  After 4 months, yes 4 months, working on the purchase of a vehicle...we are finally navigating these roads without the wind blowing through our hair in a rickshaw. Stay tuned for many new adventures from the road! 

Change is constant.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

slow & steady

When I was in college I spent a summer as a camp counselor.  A few weeks were dedicated to "junior" campers.  This meant a lot more work, a lot more homesick tears, a much messier cabin and, usually, quite a few more laughs.  We had one speaker that summer who was a fantastic storyteller.  I loved his sessions more than any of the more philosophical or splashy ones.

One of his stories was an adaptation of Aesop's fable of the tortoise & the hare.  "Slow and steady, never give up, never give up," he would chant, as he wove the tale.  And in all the years since, in various seasons, I've heard that phrase in my mind.

I am finding it an appropriate encouragement for life in general. And in the midst of these little years, it's a good word for me.

This morning it took me over an hour to complete a 20 minute Jillian work out.  I am currently reading through the one year Bible on a two year plus plan.  All of my projects are done in snippets. This language that we're learning will require years from me...just for competency. Most of my books are read in 10 minute intervals while I feed the baby.  And there's just a lot of general plod involved in getting things done.  I think most of you know what I mean.

It helps me to think about pace.  I am marathoning through this season.  Sprints were for the younger years.   The days before me now require slow and steady determination. This has never been my strong point.  I like immediacy of satisfaction. I often choose projects that set me up for quick results.  I struggle with follow through in almost every area. But as I press through in slowness and steadiness day after day with these little people, God is building in me more than what was.  I am glad.

Slow and steady, never give up, never give up.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time 
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9 NIV

Friday, July 6, 2012

minus the coveralls

These days Silas feels like he's too old to lie down.  He wants to sit up all the time.  Consequently, he's always folding over or rolling into precarious positions.  Oh, how I wish they sold Bumbos here:)

Last night when he was relaxing, he drifted off.  Something about this position is so classic old man to me.  It reminds me of how my grandaddy use to look in his lounger after a good meal.

All that's missing are the coveralls.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

american summer

This week my menu has been an unintentional tribute to what I think of as summer foods in America.  Perhaps a slightly subconscious attempt to partake of the 4th from afar.  One of the meals I stumbled upon as an afterthought in a hurry one night.  It's joining our A-list for quick and easy meals though.

Add a bit of ranch dressing mix (which Grammar keeps in good supply at our house via the post:) and a splash of milk to chopped chicken breast and heat until cooked or, if you like to pre-cook your chicken & store in the freezer like me, until thawed. A toasted burger bun, fresh tomato, cheese and mustard served alongside some homemade salsa.

Tastes like an american summer to me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Distance made the heart grow fonder.  Grateful to be together again! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

moo-moo makeover

The boys are minutes away.  I've been flying around the house putting back together all the loose ends of a dozen 'projects' I undertook in their absence.  My most successful project: a transformation of the moo-moo housecoat into a sweet little bathrobe.  

I narrowed the sleeves, put a slit up the front and took a foot off the bottom.  If I were in a pinch in the US, it could probably pass for a pretty cute kimono dress.  I love the way it turned out. 

For the full effect, you'd have to see it in person...but somehow it felt a little odd to put myself in a bathrobe on the world wide web. 

Not a bad project for $4 and 30 minutes:) Make your way to the thrift stores girls and give it a whirl! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

the countdown

The countdown has begun.  Only 24 more hours until hubs and Jude-bug are due home.  We are ready.

Originally, they were supposed to come home this morning.  The doctor asked them to stay an extra day for a check up before flying back:(

As for the recovery... Jude's back to his old self for the most part.  This afternoon they went to a park and he did a little "racing" as he calls it, a little backward walking (one of his favorite tricks) and afterward, to David's great delight, Lonely Planet led them to a steak house.

Silas and I have been holding down the fort today. Church, lunch, walk, read....

I'm about half way through Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry and can hardly put it down.  His use of words is stunning.

Distance sure is making this heart fonder.  Can't wait to see those boys!