Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a heart toward home

We're on the mend. Thanks to a search of 4 pharmacies in crazy asian traffic, with two wild boys in tow, and a mama who thought she just might not make it  - we finally got that pink eye medicine though, and we're better for it.

It was quite a week for hubs to be out of town.

I've been thinking about my life this week. Giving thanks that I can truly write that I like what I have.  That's not always the case, and it isn't true in every season.  But in this season, even in the middle of a land that is full of cheek pinchers and aggressive auto drivers, a husband who takes trips far from home while I mann sick babies and wade through toddler discipline, I really don't want anyone else's life.  This is what God has given. And I'm glad.

It's just good for me to say that out loud sometimes.

I am reminding myself day by day that this is a season of life. And as with every season, sooner or later, it will change. God has been turning my heart toward home over the past few years.  And I'm starting to see why.  I need to be home a lot. There were long years when, if I had peeked in on my world this week, I would have thought it misery.  Little kids will tie you down.  They do.  But the sacrifice of loving and living for something other than me, is worth it.

The feminists are right about one thing: a woman will never find her happiness in this kind of life.  Wiping noses and potty training won't actualize fulfillment .  But that's where our agreement ends.  My happiness isn't to be wrapped up in these kids, this perfect home life, but in God himself.  The Joy Giver.  He gives joy. Contentment.  Love.

And living that out in the daily cares of my home continues to be one of the most profound experiences of my life.  Stretching me and growing me in ways no other task could.

I'm home this week.  And I probably will be for a while yet.

Giving thanks that in the midst, He continues to turn my heart toward Him...and toward home.

Monday, February 25, 2013

trouble & tutus

We had a full weekend, complete with an invitation to a princess party last night.  Jude wore his princely little punjab suit and went as a wee version of Aladdin.  I made a quick and easy tutu for the birthday girl using a band of elastic and some extra ribbon. I'm definitely going to be on the look out for more toile.  (I imported this rainbow batch from our jaunt to Chinatown in Thailand.) Tutus are such a fun little party gift!

Don't be too hard on me for this picture...someone had to try it on before it hit the party! 

After the tutus, came the trouble. Hubs left for meetings this week.  I was up last night with some sort of allergy attack. Silas woke up with 101 and by 11am had thrown up all over both of us.  Jude was crying when I picked him up from the school bus.  "I'm sick," were his first words out the door. Turns out, he has pink eye.  Yep.  We've got contagions all over this house.  

We're hunkering down for a lot of Cars, Mickey & Elmo on TV.  And hopefully a very quick recovery! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

morning light

There was a bombing in our city last night.  The closest we've ever been to such an attack.We woke to the morning light with the awareness that there are families nearby who are grieving deeply.

Today the city, for the most part, is as it ever was.  We woke. We ate. Jude hopped on his bus and went to school. But with any tragedy like this, comes the fresh reality that the men and women I see on the streets aren't just physical.

They have souls.  Souls that will outlast these fragile bodies.

Grateful in this morning light for a God who has made provision for our souls.

On God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, 
for my hope is from him. 

He is my only rock and salvation, 
my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 

On God rests my salvation and my glory, 
my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 

Psalm 62, esv

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

say what?

My language teacher and I were reviewing animals today.  She started telling me traditional phrases associated with a few of them. 

"Gardidee laaga peregee nawoo."

"You're growing like a donkey." 

"Cheema laaga meeleyga naduvoocu."

"Don't walk slow, like an ant." 

Hmm.  Not sure I'll be pulling those out on anyone anytime soon. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

pass the peas

My asian friends are crazy about feeding their kids.  Some of my neighbors follow behind their 2 year olds with a spoon in hand, shoving food in their mouths whenever an opportune moment arises. I'm really not exaggerating. It's like an entire country of grandmothers.  They fret constantly about food intake.  It is a frequent topic of discussion in my world.

Toddler feeding has taken me by surprise.

I thought I would be a bit more uptight.

If I had ever really envisioned myself in this season, I don't think I would have put myself as the laid back mom whose kids eat crackers off the ground, barely touch their peas at dinner, and seemingly live off of watermelon for days at a time. But somehow, perhaps in revolt against the aggressive force feeding that is so blatantly hilarious to me here, I became that mom.

Sometimes I feel a little tweek in my mom-radar about it.  Do I need to tighten up? I tried, for about a week, to get Jude to eat more veggies.  I even made kiwi-pea popsicles.  And he picked the peas out, and ate the rest of the popsicle.

 There's a little blog I peek in on now and then, written by a mom of 4 boys. I happened upon this post last night and was so glad.
"A stunning new dining hall at my sons’ school features this quote from Shakespeare engraved in stone high on the front wall:  “Strive Mightily, but Eat and Drink as Friends.”  It is an appropriate quote for a school where the competition and camaraderie are strong threads knitting together a community that spans generations. 
But sadly, all too often parents and children “strive mightily” at the family dinner table, instead of “eating and drinking as friends.”  Misguided efforts at control disrupt precious family fellowship.  
It doesn’t have to be this way."  Click here for the rest of this post by Molly Powell. 
So I don't know that much is going to change around our house.  Jude will still probably spend most of his time eating grapes and ignoring the broccoli, but I feel a lot of relief about my laid back approach now. Maybe I just needed someone to give me permission.

Eat your peas. Or not. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

miscellaneous monday

1. We had a rare...and wonderful...rain storm this weekend, complete with hail.  This time last year, we didn't see more than a few drops of rain for 6 months. The air is cooler and we're lovin' it.  Here's to hoping we can hold off summer as long as possible!

2. Things have been a little hectic lately.  We took a trip to the zoo on Saturday morning for a bit of family fun.  The baby bears were wrestling.  Jude was enthralled. We finally had to drag him away from the show. He thinks baby bears wrestle just like him and Silas.

3. Valentine's Day was a huge success last week.  Hubs and I actually went out on a date. Thanks to some kind friends, we ate at a romantic little Italian place on Wednesday night.  We love babysitters! David served us all dinner by candlelight on Thursday.  This is our 5th Valentine with tuna cakes and mashed potatoes.  That hubs, he's a sweet one.

4. Last night in family worship, David told the story of the Israelites receiving manna from heaven in the wilderness.  (It was one of our more moving times in family worship...preceded by a minimum of 2 disciplinary sessions and a rather dramatic cafuffle over the couch cushions:) We prefer hands on teaching around here, so I stood on top of the couch and sprinkled bread crumbs onto the marble while David and the boys (the Israelites) "slept." Then Jude and Silas scrambled around eating bread pieces far better than they had eaten their dinner.  I won't be surprised if Jude doesn't ask for dinner to be thrown on the floor again tonight. I'm pretty sure they got all the symbolism and wonder of that amazing story.  

5. One more side by side baby comparison for you. In case you can't tell, I love, love seeing these guys in pictures around the same stage:

Jude 2011

Silas 2013

5. I have it written on my "goals for the week" right there on the fridge.  I'm really going to try to write a post about something more serious than recipes or rain storms:) My brain power just isn't always up to more than a few pictures. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Silas Stats: 11 Months

The days are moving way too fast.  And I know that I'll forget all these little stories and details that seem so unforgettable in the moment. For the sake of posterity, here's a update on my wee man, just one month shy of his FIRST birthday!

Weighing In

At last month's check up he was at 21 lbs (9.68kgs).  To me, all that weight is right in his thick baby thighs.  It feels like the kid has a lead weight in his diaper! 


Climbing, climbing, climbing.  I know I've written it a lot over the past few weeks, but the kid is out of control.  He can climb anything.  He can also get out of the stroller strap. We've had tomove to the 4-point harness to keep him in.

Other tricks include a pretty mean bite, usually reserved for this momma.  I call them love-bites.

Not to mention an uncanny ability to turn on the water faucet on the porch, no matter how diligently we've barricaded it. Let's just say, we've had a few spontaneous slip and slides.

And just for the record, he's cruising along pretty well but no first steps to speak of! 

Baby Love

Silas loves water. The porch, the tub, the sink.  If he's in water, he's a happy camper.

He also loves his brother.  Jude makes him laugh all the time, with out much effort. After Silas wakes up, if Jude is still asleep, Silas pounds on his bedroom door waiting for him to come out! Adorable.

Nightly wrestling matches with dad are pretty high on the list as well.  And Silas doesn't know he's the smallest one in the group.  He's right in the middle every time. 


Ma-ma, Da-da, and the usual babble.  He does seem to associate us with our names and is definitely responsive to his own name.

I haven't been quite as on top of "training" with Silas but I'm fairly certain he's got a good understanding of what "no" means. Understanding and respect for aren't quite the same though!

Moments to Remember

The other day the boys were playing nicely in Silas's room.  All of the sudden we heard some intense screaming.  When David arrived on the scene, Jude was on the bed and Silas was crying on the floor.  He asked Jude what happened.  Jude: "I needed to get on the bed. So I stepped on his face." David: "Jude, you know you're not supposed to step on Silas, it might hurt him." Jude: "I need a step stool." Sorry, Silas. We might get Jude a step stool for your 1st birthday. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I consider podcasts to be a little over my head in the tech world.  The very name seems, well, a little too apple-clanish for me. But, of late....

At a friend's recommendation, we've been tuning into Al Mohler's 15 minute "The Briefing" podcast at night during kitchen clean up lately, and loving it.  It's kind of like a baptist version of Paul Harvey.

Timothy Keller, of Redeemer up in NYC, has become a fast favorite on my short runs. His notes on Exclusivity have been especially helpful here in the land of polytheism.  Thoughtful, and provocative.  He's definitely worth a listen.

Thought I'd pass the word along!

Monday, February 11, 2013

the weekend review

1. Since I only made it through 3 books before the asian library ran dry, my sweet mom put the entire Mitford series on my kindle this weekend.  I'm going to have to ration them out so I don't ignore my family and forget to go to language class.  I really love Jan Karon....and my kind mom:) 

2. Silas is a climbing maniac.  If he can shimmy on top of it, hoist himself up it, swing his chubby baby legs over it...he will.  There was one terrifying incident this weekend that involved a table, 2 candles full of hot wax, and an unsupervised climbing baby.  God had mercy on this momma and I walked in just in time.  Needless to say, all lit candles in our house will henceforth be moved to 8 ft and above...for the the next 15 years.  

3. Jude is all but obsessed with legos.  Towers, planes, cars, houses.  We are lovin' this new stage. Hours of quiet lego building in his room.  I think they call it "independent play." I call it good.

4. I've officially given up on hosting any more asian dinner parties for the next few months. I'm going to work on my "evening tea" hospitality skills instead.  Vegetarian options seem more abundant.  And it  is usually served around 6:30pm...much more within our time frame than an 8 or 9pm dinner.  My latest "tea" for friends this weekend included lemon decaf and fruit cups with a dolup of plain yogurt, mint, and a drizzle of honey.  Success. 

That's about it from over here! Happy Monday to you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

my asian auntie

For the past month or so, in hopes of beefing up my local dialect, I've been meeting with a more formal language teacher who lives down the road from our house. She's been teaching for longer than I've been alive. Class time includes, but is not limited to, her reading me lists of words and expecting me to repeat as loud and long as I can. I sit at her kitchen table and shout garbled words for all the neighbors to hear. It's hilarious. And actually surprisingly helpful.

My favorite cultural part of the class though is snack time.

She's just way too much "auntie" at heart to let me come to her house and not fix me something to eat. This is like an entire country of grandmothers. There's no way to say no. You just have to eat.

My snack of choice, which has become a frequent since I gave it lots of compliments:

Fresh sweet corn that she shucks while I repeat my vocab list, fried in a bit of oil and sprinkled with salt and chili powder. She insists that I eat it as soon as she makes it...."because it is meant to eat hot." It really is delicious.

Happy Friday to you, from me and my asian auntie!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

same, same

Silas - Feb 2013

For the most part, when I look at Silas, I just see Silas.  

He's not a mini-version of Jude.  He's definitely his own man.  

But every now and then, I feel like I'm looking back into the past and re-living a moment with Jude. Somehow, whenever Silas dons this little yellow sweatshirt, he turns into Jude on the porch in Memphis:) I love it. 

Jude - Fall 2010
 Brothers.  They are definitely brothers! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fashion Chronicles, vol. 2

The Asian Fashion Chronicles continue.  If you're already bored with this little series, skip on over.  

Most of the pants here are out of control.  They're like drawstring MC hammer pants with cinched legs.  Flattering is not even in the pant vocabulary.  I wear them but rarely...when I'm visiting a friend at her home or on Sunday mornings.  Otherwise, you'll usually find me in a traditional top paired with western pants or leggings.  

I did inherit these rad yellow pants from a friend who was leaving the city though.  They're not really traditional at all, a bit on the funky asian style.  But I love them and sport them whenever I can get away with it. 

Have I been here too long or could I wear them in Memphis and get a thumbs up? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

generosity of heart

I was in the grocery store recently and little Jude saw a friend of his from school playing outside on the mini-golf course. I sent him out to play for a minute, since I could keep an eye on him from my spot in line. One of the many joys of grocery shopping at the tiny store within our complex.

He had in his hand a stack of fruit bars that I'd just purchased for his school snack. He took them along with him. I noticed a little caffufle a few minutes after he got outside, but noted that another mom seemed to be attending it. I carried on, pressed in by asians assuring their spot in the line, and handling a shrieking Silas, who'd been over pinched by a worker. Culture stress.

Groceries piled on the stroller, I walked out to the golf course to catch up with Jude. He was obviously a bit distressed. I was greeted by a mom whose first words to me were "Jude doesn't want to share."

Confused, I scanned the situation and realized that since his appearance on the golf course, a tiny army of children had gathered round and were waiting for him to hand out the stack of fruit bars. What other possible explanation could there be for a child with 5 fruit bars than that there was one for every one on the playground?

I'd like to tell you that my first though was, "Wow, another sweet and golden opportunity to use this communal society to teach Jude generosity."

But that wouldn't be true.

I had just been jostled in the grocery line by pressing asians. My 11 month old had just been pinched within an inch of his life by relative strangers. And I wanted to snatch those fruit bars up, shove that mom up against the mini golf course gate and scream, "My kid isn't selfish just because he doesn't want to give your kid his fruit bars. What kind of person tries to take food from a 2 year old? How'd you like it if I snatched stuff from your kid? Back off."

I get a little extreme sometimes.

Thankfully, I didn't go with my first instinct and the situation ended with a lot of happy mini-golfers, and a Jude who later that night, decided to share his bananas of his own free will, having had some practice earlier.

But the incident left me wondering about the state of my own heart. True generosity does, after all, begin in the heart. A society that on many levels demands sharing, makes my American individualist mentality bristle. This is mine. That is yours. Let's keep the lines straight, ok? But there's a lot more room in my heart for the birth of a truly generous spirit. Less calculation and tally, more free giving. One that's first response thinks of others. Not just to 'my own people,' but the other. A spirit that loves to give more than it loves to receive.

After all, has not God been infinitely generous with me?

Monday, February 4, 2013


Even over here on the far side, we took in a little action...though the party we joined was a brunch instead of a chili supper.  The excitement did not disappoint...even at 8am.

Go Ravens!

Friday, February 1, 2013

peanut butter, please

A few friends came over for dinner tonight. This little piece of goodness found it's way into the kitchen.  I can't even put into words the delight. Peanut butter and chocolate are an unfailing combination for me.

I was having trouble with self control.

I've been searching peanut butter icing recipes since they left. Here's one I think will be close.  Out of control delicious.  It'll be on my menu again soon!