Monday, December 31, 2012

What's New?

A few things that are new on this last day of the old year:

1. The biggest new news on the Dawkins front is the arrival of our little niece.  Yes. After six Dawkins blood grandsons, a little girl finally made her way into the mix.  David's mom is happy, happy.  We all are.  Here's to the new era of pink!

2. We found a new hiking spot this weekend.  It's just a skip, hop and jump outside of the sprawling city limits and we couldn't be happier.  It'll definitely be a Saturday morning repeat!

3. I hate to write this.  But another new year means David and I are a little bit older. The evidence: Hubs has been immobilized for half the weekend.  He had a bit of a crick in his neck before the hike.  Two hours of carry a toddler on his shoulders and it turned into a full fledged ice pack filling, bengay rubbing, neck pillow using, emergency. He's still on the mend today but much better. 

4. I'm starting a new late December tradition: strawberry freezing.  These little jewels are at their peak right now and as I learned last year, in about 6 months I'll be wishing I'd been more like the ant and stored up food.  Here come smoothies! 

5. And how will we be celebrating the new year? Once again our apartment community is hosting an all-out bash.  I'll be wearing my party clothes and eating curry tonight in the park.  Pictures to come! 

Happy New Year's Eve! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five on Friday

1. I've been running a little behind this week.  Working on a few projects, plodding back into daily life. The tree's still up.  The peanut butter balls are still holding out. 

2. It's taken a while, but I admit I've taken to cooking local food. And we're lovin' it. 

3. The secret to good daal? For me, it's coconut milk. My new best friend. 

4. Speaking of food, this guy is a crazy eater these days. And messy. Like you've never seen messy. 

5.  I wish I had taken more pictures at our fantastic first asian Christmas party.  We were too busy re-filling the biryani though.  Here's the only one that made the record...

See you next week! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas Children's Nativity Play

It's Christmas Eve.

And I still have quite a list of things to do before tomorrow.

Call us crazy, we decided to have a party for our neighbors...on Christmas Day. One thing we've learned about asian culture is that there isn't really a concept of celebrating a few days or weeks ahead. Our friends want to wish us "Happy Christmas" on Christmas. So last year, our door was fairly barraged by kind neighbors. This year, we just decided to make a party out of it.

Add all the preparations for 40 friends to the to-do list.

This morning, when the boys were watching the Grinch and I was wondering at my growing list, I started feeling a little heavy laden about it all.

The truth is, somewhere in my mind I equate a good holiday with laziness. Note I did not write reflective quiet...but movie-watching, sugar cookie-eating laziness. I don't really want to work to make things nice, I just want them to be nice. The problem is, there's dinner to cook and gifts to wrap and carols to sing and little ones to teach "Glory to God in the Highest." And it all requires self giving.

I ran across this excerpt from R. Jankovic's upcoming book this morning and felt very grateful for the reminder. Today is not the movie marathon I might have wanted. It is a day to give...because God generously gave to me. In the midst of the giving, may God give us joy!

So imitate Christ in your giving. Do it daily, do it in as many little ways as you possibly can. Find a way to imitate Him in the folding of the laundry, in the stocking of the fridge, in the picking up of other people’s socks. And then decide consciously that you are giving this meal, this clean room, this cheerful Christmas — that you are giving it all freely. And much later, maybe thirty years later, you would like to see your children turn a profit on it. You would like to see your kids taking what they were freely given and turning it into still more free giving. This is because God’s story is never little. He works in generations, in lifetimes, and He wants us to do the same.

So if the very suggestion of something you might do makes you bristle, if it makes you feel judged or threatened or angry, you need to look to Christ. Your salvation has been paid for; this isn’t about that. Stop and be grateful. Thank God things to bake have nothing to do with your salvation. Thank Him for loving you. Thank Him that He has given you so much to use.

Then, after you have remembered the strength of your salvation, go out and do something with it. Find ways to use what you have been given to freely bless those around you. Tie on an apron and dust yourself lightly with flour. You are not here in this world to work your salvation in (thank God), you are here to work it out.

Friday, December 21, 2012

field day

Today was Jude's last day of school before a 10 day break.  It was field day. Here's the progression.

Waiting for the crowd to arrive...

Getting in position with lady bug on back....

Flat refusing to start the "Creepy Crawlers" Race....

Standing with arms folded, back to the race track...

Accompanied by the head teacher, flailing arms and all....

The finish line....

Oh, friends.  Tell me field day will get better as the years pass? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the cooking show

Hubs teaches a class a couple of times a month at a local English Club.  It's mainly college students, so they're crazy about fun games and food.  
This week, the boys and I went along for a Christmas Extravaganza.  I did a little cooking show. We brought Jude's mini-tree and the great Advent calendar my mom toted over the ocean.  

I'm at a loss sometimes to know what to fix for friends here since my all-veg repertoire is pretty small, albeit growing.  Kick out eggs and most desserts just aren't all that.  The biggest hit was the hot chocolate served before class and the runner up was a modified version of puppy chow that I made using some little crackers I found at our grocer. Feeling confident of the local taste, I made a pile of bags today for David to give to his friends as a Christmas gift. 

Don't worry, there's plenty in our fridge too.  On the schedule for this weekend...peanut butter balls! 

And in case you're in need of a little encouragement amid the busyness this year, check out this great post.  Good reminders:) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wish List

Most ladies here don't drive a car. But they are more than proficient at hopping on a scooter or riding side saddle on the back of a motorcycle, scarf flying in the wind. A friend at the school bus drop just got a new scooter. It's all the rage in our little playschool mom's group. I admit, I've been sucked in. But it's not the new fancy one I's this fantastic vintage ride parked in our complex that I LOVE. It's totally the Asian version of my first car, the blue '73 Volkswagen bug I inherited from my mom.

I think I'll just admire from afar though. I'm pretty sure all that vintage means in this case is that it is so heavy I'd fall over before I got put of the parking lot!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

unto you

I was going for something a bit more polished....but that's not real life, huh? Here is our very unpolished rendition of Luke 2:11.

Monday, December 17, 2012

and dwelt among us

We've been in the depths around here.  Watching grandparents fly away takes a little recovery time. By Sunday, we were spent. What on earth are we doing living on the far side of the sea? Our faith in the unseen was waning. So we decided to forgo our weekly jaunt to the local, native speaking church and drive across town to the international one.  There's just something about singing carols in your mother tongue that does the heart good.

In preparation for Christmas, a few brief words ran across the monitor that pointed to the incarnation of Christ. God sent His Presence among us in Jesus.  He came. Born into a lowly manger.  He lived here, in the dust and dirt.  From what we read in Scriptures there were long years of his life that were lived in ordinary, daily life.  There isn't a record of a childhood filled with healings or raising the dead.  The star in the East had come and gone.  The wise men returned to their homes. He grew in wisdom and stature.    And yet, he was living in perfect obedience to God. He was fulfilling every line of the law.

There are days, and perhaps there will be long years, when things in my world seem a bit too ordinary. The mundane creeping along jars my arrogant wish for something grander. Christmas is a beautiful reminder to me of how God blesses the common.  Christ entered into life here, the humble and ordinary.  He, who had seen what our minds could never even imagine, grew up in the quietness of daily life until God's appointed time.  The humble acceptance of such a life by One whose very essence merits unutterable praise and glory is startling.

God became man and dwelt among us.

Those are words I am treasuring up today.  May they sink into your spirit as well as you walk through this season. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

worth a thousand words

I promised another peek at our photo session with Robby.  What better post on a Friday than these little treasures:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

five with the followells

I'm doing a little back tracking because I don't want to miss a chance to post on a little visit tucked into the end of our visit with my parents. Robby and Jessica stopped over after a trip to a nearby city and spent 3 days traipsing around town with us.  Here are 5 of my favorite Followell memories from the weekend:

1. For a couple years there, in the pre-kid era, we were on a mini-vaca streak with the Followells.  We even went to Disney together one year....yes, without kids. Location-wise, this year was definitely our most extravagant:) My parents were gracious enough to watch Jude for the morning, and we hiked up the old Fort across town. I have long been convinced that conversation is just plain better on a hike.  It proved true once more.

 2. In their suitcases, across oceans and through a week of village life, they brought a fantastic stash of American goodies.  I'll be sipping hot chocolate this Christmas with real marshmallows thanks to them!

3. We made a few trips throughout the city gathering items for their sweet Eden.  We felt so priviledged to be a part. Read more about their adoption story here and here.  Oh.  We can't wait to meet that long-prayed-for little one.

4. We did talk them into a fish pedicure one evening.  It was pure hilarity.

 5. One of the things David and I miss most here is time with people who know us. There's nothing to prove. The relationship's already been through a number of seasons.  The friendship's sealed. You know what I mean? There's no wondering if they want to hang out or not.  They'd have been long gone years ago if they didn't.

That's why I love friendships with history.  And it did my heart good to have a few days with friends from long back.  It never ceases to amaze me the wisdom and maturity God has given Jess....truth that pours out into actions and words and attitudes.  I needed it. Mark this one down, another Followell/Dawkins Mini-Vacation success.

Where's next year, guys? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

like the ant

I found these guys in my laundry room.  Carrying a load 10x their size, up a flat, long wall. (See the speck below)  

I'm still in the post-visitor woes. That means I vacillate between thinking about what a great time I had last week, and wondering how quickly I could book tickets to the U.S. 

These sturdy, determined little ants...they've got just the kind of spunk I need right now.  I felt inspired. 

So. Despite my general hatred of anything crawling in my kitchen, I let them go.  They earned it.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A quick review of my favorites from our visit last week with my parents:

1. My Dad's trip to the village with hubs was a complete success.  Love these pics of my Dad and local farmers!

2. Our morning at some 16th century tombs....

3. Last but not least, our fantastic "Cookie Workshop" & Christmas Dinner is at the top of my "favorites" list.  It was so fun to see the kids open their gifts from my parents....with them watching.  A precious gift.  I'll be cleaning out the toy chest this week to make way! 

Monday, December 10, 2012


I'm much too tired to blog tonight.  My parents flew home in the wee hours of the morning.  And the dear Followells, who stopped over to visit a few days, flew home today after dinner.  I just laid on my kitchen floor in tears.  It seemed like the most logical response.

I thought about by-passing this little blog journal one more day, but I've been on such a winning streak for months now where blog consistency is concerned.  And moments like these ought to be written just as well as the prettier ones.  After a good night's sleep, the kitchen floor should feel a little less logical and regular life will begin again.  Though I've no doubt I'll be pressing down this lump that is welling up for a few weeks yet.  Because I like it when regular life and familiar faces intersect.

This is part of my journey here.  It's hard sometimes and the pain makes me shrink a bit. But I wouldn't trade it in, because there's peace in being here, now... living what's been given.  And taking the joy alongside the hardship.  The separation alongside the gift of time together.

I'll close for now, without really closing.  This is an open ended subject for me.

In case you're wondering...we did sneak in a little photo session with Robby while he was on continent.    What a fantastic artist he is.  Here's a peek.  More to come:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Party Clothes

My mom took me shopping today for some party babies or boys went along. It was a definite success!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Little Mamas

Much to Silas's dismay/delight, a 9 year old girl's birthday party descended on him. I really think they would have taken him.

He liked it... for a few minutes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


...what kind of stuff my mom brought in her suitcase:)

Monday, December 3, 2012

hello fun

We've been touring with PopPop and NanNan...and two happy grandkids! Today we hit Birla Temple, a Hindu site known for its hand carved marble hill top structure.  

Afterwards, we took in the Modern Art Gallery and some famous Chicken Biryani at Paradise Restaurant.  Paradise is like the Rendezvous of our town:)