Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

- Cowper

Thursday, March 28, 2013

pass over us

We passed the cup tonight at a VeRy makeshift Seder.

Jude painted red over the door, remembering the lamb slain that judgement might pass over the Israelites.

And at the end, we sang loud of the everlasting Lamb born to mark our hearts with red, that judgement might pass over us.

Easter is upon us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


sprinkler time / kindle fun / cold on a hot day 
homemade salsa / roasting cashews / happy silas 
watermelon pops / momma love 
bed head / my popsicle eatin' hero

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Last week, before the drama of the weekend unrolled, I read a book that I think will be a marker for me.  One that I return to time after time.  If I could recommend one book to you this year, I think it would be this one.

Mimosa, by Amy Carmichael, is the true story of a young girl who spends the afternoon with Carmichael and others, and hears for the first time of a loving, Most High God.  She leaves before Jesus even enters the story, and does not return for some 20 years.  But in those years, she worships the living God and marvels at His love for her. He cares for her and supplies for her amid intense suffering and persecution.  It is the kind of story that ought not to be written unless it is true.  It would be unbelievable in any context but the mysterious and powerful reality of God's work.

It is the world I live in, a few decades past.  With all the nuances that trickle down through generations even as the shape of culture changes. I felt so grateful to live in this land as I read the words.  I hope you'll read it.

It was on the tail of that story that fever came.  And the perspective did me good.  Small, small are the things that I complain of often. The troubles I view as mountains.

I am finding that in this season, God repeatedly uses two things to help me gain perspective.

I. The stories of others.  The lives that I see interwoven with trouble and joy, pain and purpose are perhaps easier to view from a distance from a perspective that allows for thanksgiving and marks of grace. I see the evidence of providence in another's story more easily than in my own reality because of the gift of distance.  The words are clearer when the page is not quite in front of my nose.  It reminds me that the blurred page in front of me, has meaning to be read, though perhaps not yet by me.

II. The startling and unavoidable proximity of world realities at my door step.  I drove down the street yesterday to the doctor past women carrying wood on their heads, no doubt to feed their families.  Past men whose entire livelihood is wrapped up in a watermelon cart.  Children whose bed is a mat underneath a tarp tent on the roadside.  I paid my (very small) fees and knew that a mile away is a slum whose residents could not even fathom the expense of medicine for a simple fever and cough.


It does not change the world. But it does change the way we look at the world.  Which, in my opinion, is a good step toward the former.

Monday, March 25, 2013

drama, drama

Things have been a little dramatic in our world this weekend.

I've been battling a cough for a few weeks now.  Hubs kept asking me to go get it checked out. I kept dreading that asian doctor's visit and thinking it would clear up on its own.  Procrastination has its costs.

A fever set in on Saturday afternoon, followed by a variety of other unfortunate ailments. Plans canceled, doctor visit scheduled. I now have a medicine list a mile long and am waiting for chest x-ray results. This is day 3 in bed. Let this be a lesson to me.

David has been my hero. Really. 

The other drama from the weekend belongs to Jude. The boys were coming up from the playground on the elevator and Jude was leaning against the door. This is something we warn against, not infrequently, but on this particular ride it went unnoticed.  Our elevators are a little out of control.

The door opened. And Jude's arm got sucked into the shaft.

It was a panicked parenting moment for David.  No one heard him shout for help. He couldn't budge the door.  And Jude was screaming.

Finally, he was able to pull him free.  Besides a severely shaken toddler (& parents) and a nasty scratch, no other damage was done. Thank God.

There's our drama for you.

Never a dull moment!

Friday, March 22, 2013

cookie bowl

If ever there was a household with a sweet tooth, it's ours.

As long as we keep lacing up those running shoes, and living in the joys of 30 something high metabolism, we'll probably keep honing our baking skills.  Once those factor out, well....I don't even want to think about it....we'll just enjoy it for now.

This little Chocolate Oatmeal recipe has become a favorite around our house. It's perfect for making en bulk, rolling into balls, and freezing.  In the absence of choc chips, we chop up Silk Almond Cadbury bars.  Oh. It. Is. Good. We bake ours in pairs in these perfect little ramekins to avoid a quicker disappearance of the batch that wisdom would smile upon.

Of course, we usually wait until after would wild banshees are in bed.  Because, don't we all know, they don't need any more sugar energy to expend!

Give them a try! Click here for recipe.

Enjoy the weekend! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Garbage Truck

Probably looks just like what comes up your street, right?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Resurrection Story

This season snuck up on me.  There have been  no lenten readings in our little house so far.  I'm still hoping for a Passover Seder dinner on the calendar. And though I've spotted a number of great resources out on the blog world, nothing has made it's way into reality around here yet.  

I peeked in on my friend Bonnie's blog today though and was reminded about that set of Resurrection eggs a kind friend mailed to us last year.  The package came after Easter and the little box has been tucked away ever since.  

It's the perfect day to start.  

The plan: Every night after dinner, I'll hide one egg from the kit.  After the search, I'll tell the story associated.  And on Easter morning, 12 days hence, the last egg will be ready to be found...empty! Just like that glorious tomb.  

So, if you're looking for a simple way to teach the story this up. (or just go to Lifeway:) 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Jude is growing into a wee little man.  I love getting to know his personality.  I see it taking shape before me day after day.  And I marvel at how distinctly God has created these boys in my world.  One of the aspects, that is becoming more and more apparent as the days go by, is that Jude appears to have inherited introversion.  

I am an introvert.  Solitude has long been a friend. I remember being shy as a child....probably because it was a distinct struggle I dealt with way into college. It can be rough world when you're always banging up against folk.  A room full of people still makes me want to find a corner and stick to it.  It's taken long years of practice, loving patient friendships, and not a few tears and retreats, to come to a place where I really am comfortable in most social settings. I guess it's taken almost thirty three years, to be exact.  

All you extreme extroverts out there are shrugging your shoulders.  What's the big deal? Maybe the best thought to describe it would be like asking you to go lock yourself in a room and not talk to anyone for about 10 hours a day.  The converse is something like the life of an extreme introvert:) God has been working on my extremes for some time now, and I'm living more toward the middle, thankfully. 

I see Jude at the start of a journey though.  

I watch him retreat to his room.  Ask for space.  Leave his group of friends and go find a quiet place. Fall apart a little after a few hours at school.  And my heart hurts a bit because I know that years will stretch him.  And sometimes it will be hard. 

Then there's the additional aspect of this asian life. The culture we've brought him into is hardly compassionate toward the introvert.  We are in a communal society.  Space and solitude are foreign concepts.  I hardly know an asian who would think it better to be alone for a while than with the group.  When we sit down to play outside, the neighbors gravitate our way.  If for no other reason than that they simply cannot imagine that we might want space.  It presses.  And I see it pressing my little introvert as well.  

So my prayer is becoming that the beauty of communal society will feed good things into Jude from a young age.  That maybe his struggle won't be as pronounced. That he can live enjoying both the wise and rich practice of solitude alongside a heart filled with hospitality toward his nearest neighbors.  God is wise.  And he determines the very places men will live.  

It does seem to me that a part of his struggle has to be fought in me as well. I can't teach my little mini-introvert how to navigate these waters well unless I am learning myself.  It's hard to shepherd him into enjoying the nearness of people if I am always lamenting it myself.  Loving people is hard.  It stretches stubborn routines.  

Stretching is the way to growth though.  

God give us grace to grow. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

the weekend review

1. David and the boys recently found a little spot for "hiking" near our complex. It's becoming a Saturday morning favorite.  In truth, they just climb on top of a big rock near the train tracks. But the boys think it's fantastic.  And I never cease to be amazed at what a work horse I married.   He hikes...with both kids strapped on....all to give me a few minutes for a bowl of yogurt and a bit of quiet.

2. We've been spending a lot of time at the playground lately. Besides digging rocks from Silas's mouth, it's amazingly peaceful in the early morning. By 6pm though, it's one wild asian party.  Love it.  

3. I really do love living in a land where all sorts of little boy delights are within a fairly easy reach.  Jude likes trains. A lot.  We live about a 10 minute walk from the city train station.  So this weekend, instead of driving an hour across town, we hopped on the train and landed at the famous lake in our city (with a mammoth Buddha statue in the middle) in 30 minutes or so.  It definitely fed the train love.  And I loved it too, until we boarded a pretty full train coming home...

4. Here's where the train took us: 

5. Forget Mickey Mouse.  Chowta Beem is the thing around here these days. Who needs Super man when you can have a sword wielding tribe fighter as a super hero? 

6. And just because I like to keep it real, one last pic.  Jude didn't trip and fall in this little shot. This was an all out playground fit, complete with a body plunge into the sand.  Ah.  Toddler days.  Never a dull moment! 

Hope you had a good one too!

Friday, March 15, 2013

the link up

Here's a little link love for you this Friday! 

1. I found this message on 1 Corinthians 13 by our pastor from our Louisville days  to be very helpful. Always need a little more love around here! If you're looking for something to put on that ipod this weekend, check it out.

2. Another great little find this week  (through providence i.e. a random comment on an obscure blog link sent by my sweet email-friend Kim) is this fantastic CD series by Diana Beach Batarseh called Ask Me WhooOOo. Link here.  

It's the Children's Catechism questions word-for-word, set to (pretty rockin':) music. Love it! I am excited about the help this will be in moving us forward with our Ask Me Who ?s! Available on itunes.

3. As long as I'm linking, let me go ahead and send you over to that random blog I mentioned.  Don't know the girl.  Haven't read much of her other stuff.  But she put together a sweet little series about young Moms living in an international context.  I was really encouraged and helped.  You might be too.  There are several articles, so be sure to scroll through, here's a link to a post on life in the far east.  Thanks for finding this, Kim!

Well, that's it for now.

Happy Friday!!! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

the celebration

While the tradition in these parts is a big, over-the-top, birthday bash to celebrate 1 year, we didn't cave to the pressure.  We opted for a smallish family celebration.  Our neighbors might have been a little disappointed, but I'm guessing Silas preferred the sprinkler party!

The day started with a little Skype Party for Silas, complete with aunts, uncles, cousins and even a rare and special appearance by Silas's 82 year old great-grandma.

Mid-day, we had a sprinkler party on the porch with Silas's asian b-f-f. (We were conveniently following the "1 friend per 1 year" birthday party rule:) The little caterpillar sprinkler I found for his b-day was quite the hit!

I confess, after about 3 weeks of sickness and crazy scheduling around here,  I didn't even make the little guy a cake.  The cupcake was a "watermelon cake" with sprinkles.  A healthier (and ok, easier) option. From the way he eats watermelon these days, I don't think he felt slighted.

So there you have it, our little 1st birthday re-cap.

Here's to Year Two!  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

the big ONE

A year ago today, we were welcoming Silas.

After just 365 little days in our family, we really cannot imagine life without him. He truly is a gift from God.  I want to write something more aptly reflective in days to come.  But for now, we're too busy celebrating!

Happy Big ONE, Silas! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

on the shelf

As far as I'm aware, no one recommended this one.  I'm not really even sure how I found it.  But it appeared on my doorstep after a long wait from the asian ordering site, and I am whittling down the final pages.  Walking from East to West by Ravi Zacharias.  For a western mind moved into the eastern hemisphere, it's been profoundly insightful, deeply helpful and very moving.  It is well written too which, of course, always helps. Whatever hemisphere you find yourself in, I recommend it highly.

"God makes an incredible investment in you when He combines two worlds into your mind.  Christians see the great value of such convergence in the life of the apostle Paul, who was Hebrew by birth but deeply conversant in both the Greek and Roman cultures.  Being able to speak in two languages from opposite ends of the world helps you to be sympathetic and, I believe, effective in not just hearing but listening, in responding not just to the question but to the questioner."  - R.Z. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

remember me

I've been thinking lately about what kind of things I'd like for my kids to say about me when they grow old.  Memories that I want seared into their little hearts.

There's only one problem with that kind of thought though.

I actually have to be kind and gentle if I want to be remembered as kind and gentle.

I actually have to practice patience and generosity if I want the memory of me to bear those fruits.

It would be easier if I could just write the list and have them memorize it, ready to quote at opportune or historic moments.  But that isn't the way true character is revealed. It's revealed in a thousand tiny actions that make up a lifetime.

These tones that I catch after a morning of wild chases and dirt covered clothes, they will be the ones my children remember.  The way I brush past that neighbor because I feel too busy to stop will teach them how I value people.  The distraction of my attention by this and that will speak to them about what my priorities are.

Life is jostling me these days.  And the overflow isn't always pretty.

So, I'm making a list yet, but it's not one for them to memorize, it's for me to bring before the Helper. Surely only the grace of God could change a woman like me, into a woman whose memory will be filled with generous and kind traits.

Thankfully, grace is abundance.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Friday Five

Here's a very random Friday Five for you from the land of coughs and krispy kreme! 

1. Jude-bug is back on the nebulizer.  We've been trying to eradicate a nasty cough all week, to no avail.  Yesterday the doctor put him on a stronger expectorant.  Pray it works.  

I knew asian mothering has set into my soul when I heard these words coming out of my mouth to the doctor: "We are taking him out doors early in the mornings, before 8am, do you think that could be the reason for his cough?" (My neighbors think it is:) She assured me, it was not. And she told me that with two wild little boys, I'd probably just acquaint myself with coughs and scraps for at least the next 5 years. 

2. We are just beside ourselves with excitement around here about Baby Boe #4. Wish we could drive up to "the valley" and squeeze that little guy! Just so happens that he's one day shy of my sweet sister in law Lisa's birthday! Happy Birthday to you both! 

 3. I cannot fail to mention that on my little excursion, I turned a corner in that strange city and saw a sign for Krispy Kreme. I was beside myself.  It was pretty much a highlight in my month.  This was lunch. 

4. I also realized something a little disheartening this week.  The rickshaw drivers in my city rip me off way more than I thought they did. I was in the fair land of meters for 2 days, and I marveled at the cheap fares.  But alas, they refuse to acknowledge that their meters work in our city and so I'm stuck haggling for rupees with kids in tow.  I'll let you guess who usually comes out on top. 

 5 . Silas is a papaya maniac.  He can almost eat his own weight in it.  And how can we refuse this little face? Mangos are in stock.  They are still green...the way my neighbors love them.  I'm holding out for a little more ripeness, and then it will be non-stop mango lassi for 3 months! Bring it on!

That's it for now.  Happy, Happy Friday! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Out & About

I took a quick overnight trip to another city this week. Drove myself to the airport (which is quite a feat), took public buses all over an unfamiliar city, crashed at a friend's apartment, shopped, read, had a fantastic pedicure.... the whole 9 yards.

I admit, I was feeling pretty young and independent. I was startled by the ease of traveling this wild country without a babe in arms. But by nightfall, I was ready to give up the quietude and ease for those sweet boys of mine!

The motivation for my little adventure? My suite mate from college, Leah, was in a nearby city with her family, on an adventure all her own, and I couldn't resist the pull of a dear old friendship.

Worth it every time!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Have I ever told you that we take our shoes off everywhere we go? Inside someone's house, it's essential.  Worse than rude.  A lot of times, in shops on the street, we take them off also. Not quite as mandatory, but pretty normal.  One of the weirdest for me is church.  We always take our shoes off at church, where ladies traipse in with sequined saris, shoeless. And it's not because of that verse about holy ground.  

Shoes are totally faux pas here.  

The biggest insult a lady can give? To "slipper" someone.  That's right.  Hit a man with your shoe, and you've pretty much slapped his face, insulted his momma, and spat on his ancestors.  

Let me just tell you that one of my biggest mom-problems here is keeping my kids away from shoes.  If an auntie catches one of them touching a shoe, the reaction is beyond out of control. 

So there you have your cultural lesson for the day.  Shoe be gone. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

annual day

This weekend was Annual Day at Jude's school.   They've been rehearsing dances for 2 weeks, sending lengthy emails about all that would take place, and ordering "costumes" for the occasion. Remember Field Day? This was like Part II. 

There's been no small amount of stress in our 2 year old world lately due to this event.  

Finally, last Thursday, I called the school and told the teacher that I would be just fine if Jude opted out of a stage appearance.  2.5 is still a little young for public dancing anyways. 

The above photo shoot was taken just before Jude loaded the bus Saturday to go to the "theatre." We wanted to give it a chance, just in case we were wrong. By the time we arrived an hour or so later though, he was already in solitary confinement, waiting quietly in a seat for us to arrive. I think they just gave up early, acknowledging the inevitable.  

So while the rest of the kids danced their hearts out, this is what our row looked like....

Glad Annual Day only happens once a year! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

97 degrees

It's March 1st, and we're stretching toward the triple digits. 3.5 more months for the heat to build before the rains will wash the earth down again.

We're adjusting, slowly but surely. Truth be known, we've only been running our a/c for an hour or so most days. We're learning to lean on fans and open windows like our neighbors.

Once it hits 100 though, it's over for me. I told hubs he better just write that extra a/c into our electricity budget. There's only so much adjusting a girl can take.