Friday, May 31, 2013

The Friday Five

1. Hubs brought home some curry for lunch this week from a street stall.  A grand total of 50c for one pumpkin & one cabbage curry.  Nobody got sick, and it was actually pretty tasty! Definitely a repeat on our table. 

2. It rained.  And within an hour, the temperature dropped 20 degrees.  When it's 110, that's a big, stinkin' deal! The heat isn't over yet, but by mid-June it should be on it's way.  We won't be sorry to see it go! 

3. These are the final days of "summer break" in our world.  Jude will return to preschool in mid-June.  I confess that I'm running out of ideas for creative ways to occupy that curious little man.  Today, he's been telling me a knock-knock joke: 

Jude: Knock-knock! Knock-knock.  
Me: Who's there? 
 Jude: I am. 

That 3 year old of mine is on his way to a profound sense of humor.

  In other news, last night Jude took a tumble down a ramp at the electronic shop.  He had an egg on his forehead by bedtime.  Today, he's happily sporting an angry birds bandaid front and center.

 4. My treasured SLR camera is malfunctioning. I am sad.  We've seen a lot of good days together.  Until I either get it sorted out, or'll probably not be seeing much of Silas unless it's in blur. That kid cannot sit still long enough for a cell phone shot. 

5. Hubs and Jude are going through some sort of man-bonding phase.  Jude is at a stage where he just loves to hear us tell stories.  So David's been breaking out his repertoire of jungle memories from his days in the wild of Peru. Combine this with a recent acquisition of The Jungle Book movie and the result is a little boy who talks incessantly about shooting monkeys, walking through jungles, living in the man-village and building houses with his bare hands. I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

Happy Friday! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

the smashed dandelions of loneliness

I have been thinking a great deal about loneliness through this past month. It's the word that keeps streaming through my mind in the midst of my days. And it's an awkward topic for me to write about on a blog.  So many questions pop up in my mind when someone tells me they are lonely. Through a lot of conversations and observations though, I am finding that it is a word that creeps into a lot of lives.  A quiet struggle of many women that I know, mostly women you'd never guess are lonely.  It doesn't necessarily hinge on a marriage (I have a sweet, rich one.), or a list of friends to call (God has given me even that in this far off land), or proximity to people (I live in one of the most densely populated countries on the globe). I could blame it on international living, and that distance from family is certainly a factor.  But it's not a root. The root is deeper in the heart than any of the outward excuses.

Recently, I ordered Elliot's The Path of Loneliness.  It has been helpful to me on a dozen levels, and I recommend it to you.

With her help, I am sorting through the difference between the aloneness that God gives to each of us - these separate bodies and lives that were very much intended to be unique, separate, alone and the pain of loneliness rooted in the fractured relationship between God and man, and man and man, by the fall. I am walking toward a place where I hope this present loneliness can become a joyful sacrifice to God.  A place where I am not lamenting the circumstances that seem to feed loneliness. But where I am trusting and offering, trusting and offering this daily life, whatever the circumstances, back to God.

The lessons aren't finished for me. In fact, I suspect I am near the beginning.  But I hope, I moving a bit closer to the relinquishment of these smashed dandelions in exchange for glory.

"Can we give up all for the love of God? When the surrender of ourselves seems too much to ask, it is first of all because our thoughts about God Himself are paltry.  We have not really seen Him, we have hardly tested Him at all and learned how good He is.  In our blindness we approach Him with suspicious reserve.  We ask how much of our fun He intends to spoil, how much He will demand from us, how high is the price we must pay before He is placated.  If we had the least notion of His lovingkindness and tender mercy, His fatherly care for His poor children, His generosity, His beautiful plans for us; if we knew how patiently He waits for our turning to Him, how gently He means to lead us to green pastures and still waters, how carefully He is preparing a place for us, how ceaselessly He is ordering and ordaining and engineering His Master Plan for our good - if we had any inkling of all this, could we be reluctant to let go of our smashed dandelions or whatever we clutch so fiercely in our sweaty little hands?"   - E. Elliot from The Path of Loneliness

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the difference

We've been hanging out with friends who came in for a visit this week.  They have a wee little lady in their family.  And we are marveling at the difference.

Girls are just so, so different.

I know this isn't standard for every gal, but for this one, there's no end to the sweetness, the quietness, the gentleness.  Her presence is just so feminine. I have a LOT of fun words to describe my boys, but those 3 wouldn't be high on my descriptive vocabulary on an average day.

I guess I didn't realize just how  boy our world is.  There's a big difference!

Monday, May 27, 2013


Hubs has been out of town since Saturday. And when he arrives, he'll have 3 house guests in tow. We're kind of a mess around here without him. I'm guessing Martha Stewart wouldn't be too impressed with what they'll walk into tonight!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jude is 3!

The Lightening McQueen  Cake

Silas takes a swing.  

Annual Pinata Party 

Lighting the Candles 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jude!!! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Psalm 23

A friend of mine is in a kind of hard spot in life these days.  She has a lot going on that feels scary.  Jude and I wanted to do a little something to encourage her today and since the distance is long....our best idea was a video. Thought I'd share it here so you all could laugh with us and remember...

Do not fear.  He is with you. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


When I was a sophomore in high school, I vaguely remember a senior who committed to wearing the same pair of pants, every single day, without washing them...for his entire senior year.  Just shy of 3 years, Jude is well on his way to such ridiculous adolescent behavior.  This week, he's in love with his spider-man shirt.  And he's worn it (minus a brief interlude on Sunday am). Apparently, he just doesn't feel ready for the day without it. 

We're picking our battles at this point in toddler hood.  And wearing the same shirt's not on the list of hills to die on.  At least I can wash it out at night while he sleeps. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

clouds & mountains & stars

A friend sent us Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones recently.  I read this little excerpt today before nap time, and wanted to share it. If you're looking for a great addition to your children's book stack, or even your own night stand, check it out! 

Clouds & Mountains & Stars 

Have you noticed that when it's cloudy you can't see the stars? And that sometimes clouds can hide even mountains from you?  
For a moment it seems as if there are no stars shining, no mountains standing.  
Have the mountains moved? Have the stars stopped shining?  
No. The clouds have just hidden them.  
Feelings can be like clouds - they blow in and hide things from us.  Sometimes they tell us God doesn't care. Or that God is far away.  
The writer Amy Carmichael said, "Our feelings do not affect God's facts."  
Our feelings come and go. But God stays the same. 
His promises still are shining.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Silas Stats, 14 mos

Here's the skinny on Silas this month, primarily to serve the grandparents and my memory!

Foot Loose 

 Silas took his first succession of steps in late April at around 13 months.  Currently, he holds his hands in the air for balance, and goes as fast as he can! Last night I took Jude out to our track for a "run" and Silas walked somewhere around a quarter of a mile.  He's got energy. Stamina. And a lot of determination. Here's a little sample of the action:

Weighing In 

He's at 23 lbs. And measured exactly the same spot as Jude on his 1 year mark up.

Words & Such

His favorite word is "uh-oh." Usually repeated after he purposefully throws his juice cup to the ground:) Mama, Dada, and I'm pretty sure I heard "car" one day also.  He is a motor mouth when he's playing with his hot wheels and already loves to "read" books.


He loves a crowd.  If there's a bunch of kids playing, he just rams right in.  He's a pretty friendly little long as he stays in mama and daddy's arms.  Even at home, he is always on the look out for Jude.  He wants to sit beside him, crawl into bed with him, bang on his door when bro is alseep, etc.  You get the picture.  He likes to be around his bff brother ALL the time. And he's definitely a flirter.  Loves to bat those long eyelashes and get some squeals from the ladies. (Not a hard thing to do when you have blond hair and blue eyes in asia:) I'm predicting a fun little extrovert, always ready for a party.


He's fully functional in his "ring" at the pool.  He's fantastic at circle spinning. Light switches are magnetic.  "No" is definitely on his registry, but not necessarily something he's ready to obey.  (Isn't that the case with most of us:) He would climb to the top of the world, if I would be kind enough to let him.  He's been known to scale chairs, cabinets, beds, bikes, pretty much anything at all. He likes to shake his head from side to side and's hysterical! He's a serious dancer.  Clappin' his hands and boppin' to any old tune.  His favorite is from Madagascar....i like to mooove it, moove it. And boy does he like to move it!

Sleepy Sleepy

Bed time is around 8pm.  If he's not down by 8:30pm, he'll just about put himself to bed.  He usually wakes up around 5am for a bit of milky and then goes back to sleep for an hour (or on a good day, 2). He's still holding on to that morning nap, but in a pinch, he can forgo it and be decent.  Usually sleeps for a solid 2-3 hours in the afternoon. (Jude does too - my golden time.)

There you have it.  A few tidbits from our little man. We LOVE that guy!

Friday, May 17, 2013


from the car window

 {"ama" grandmother }
{ go / now showing }
{ idol under construction }
{ on the way}

Thursday, May 16, 2013

not my favorite day

This morning, we were gearing up to get back in our routine after a trip to the village yesterday.  Jude was playing happily on the bed one minute, and the next he was crying uncontrollably.  He hasn't had any major medical issues since a little surgery last year.  We thought it was probably related.  I flew around grabbing things, Jude continued to scream, David got the keys, and Silas said he was ready for his milky.

Sometimes our life here feels scary.  And on the hour long drive to the emergency room in crazy traffic with a crying toddler in my arms, it felt really scary.  God is a peace-giver though.  And peace He gave, even through fears and tears.

Along the road side with a lot of prayers going up from our little car, the pain subsided.  Thankful doesn't even begin to describe the feeling.  We pressed on to the emergency room just to be sure.

After a lot of poking and prodding, ultrasounds and check ups, they sent us home.

All is well. And I am feeling especially grateful today that peace is there in the quiet as well as the crazy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Sometimes when I look at the thermometer and see 110, I start to think about how hot it is, how hard it is to take the boys out, how draining heat can be.  It's hot.  And when it's that hot, it's easy to get a complaining heart and feel justified about it.  I'm finding it helpful to put myself in the position of my neighbors though.  Some of whom live under a tarp, without even the shade of a tree.

It shifts my perspective to think of them.  To consider the other.

And it's hard to complain when you do that.  It's a helpful practice for me, not just in hot season, but in a whole lot of areas.  I'm not talking about a guilt complex for being born in a different socio-structure.  I'm talking about considering how petty complaints are in the grand scheme of things.  How insignificant they are in the shape of the broader world around us.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Perspective shifts may not change the world, but they do change the way we look at it, which is a good step along the way.

Monday, May 13, 2013

my mother's day

Hubs and the boys started my day yesterday with a French Toast breakfast in bed.  I had some vision in my mind of eating it peacefully while I read Proverbs 31 and geared myself up for a year of near-perfect mothering.

But Jude and Silas were so excited about the event that they bounced all over the toast.  I finally ended up at the kitchen table, scarfing it down, half cold.  This was only after cleaning up Silas's throw up though, which sprayed the floor and sheets as he was being escorted off the bed.  Apparently, he bounced too much.

Not heeding the warning breakfast should have given, I decided to wear a sari to church, since I wanted to look especially nice for Mother's Day.  I've never done this before, and don't necessarily recommend it to anyone else.  Getting in and out of an SUV in this kind of gear is hardly graceful.  Chasing Silas across the children's room, spanking Jude behind the nursing curtain,  and fetching roll away sippy cups were all made none easier by my wardrobe choice.

The day pretty much continued along that kind of humorous, sweet, ironic strain. David had all sorts of surprises in store. Letters from Jude in the mailbox, flowers beside my bed. Perhaps most noteworthy, Jude learned Mr. T's Treat Your Mother Right for my personal entertainment.

Along the way,  God graciously reminded me that Mother's Day is not a day to be served but a day to consider the honor, joy and glory found in serving.  Mothering is work.  Hard work.  Honorable work.  Time consuming work.   Joyful work. It isn't easy.  But most worthwhile endeavors aren't.

It's Monday again.  And in between wiping up milk and blocking Silas from the light switches, I'm striving to live joyfully - in the midst of serving.  Motherhood is a gift.

Friday, May 10, 2013

a camel in my tent

We've been having a little cultural quandary this week. Small but significant.  It boils down to boundaries and knowing how to establish them appropriately.  

David ran the situation by his language helper, to make sure we weren't being too, well...too American.  His response was a story. 

A man was traveling on a long journey with a camel.  The first night of the trip, he set up his tent.  The camel laid down outside.  But it was cold, so he popped his head in and said "Sir, it's very cold.  Might I just put my head inside the tent with you?" He was kind, and said "Of course." 

Every night of the journey the camel inched a little further into the tent.  

And by the time they reached the destination, the man was sleeping with an entire camel in the tent with him.  

So basically, unless we want a camel in our house, we should hold the boundary firm. Cultural lesson #957. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

pottery class

A few weeks ago, I read this post on a pre-school pottery & sculpture unit.  What a fabulous idea.  A simple and easy way to bridge an ordinary play-doh session with a finer form of art.

Today when Jude and I broke open a new box of play-doh during Silas's nap, I pulled down a piece Rebekah made for me in pottery class at college.  We talked about it, tried to re-create it a bit.  And introduced words like sculpt and kiln.

Then, we very quickly moved on to making play-doh bangles, mashing those pristine new colors together, and eating one another with "snakes."

Maybe next week, we'll "fire" our own in the oven!

Having been to a handful of South Asian museums, I've never come away too inspired. Thus, I'm not fully convinced a museum field trip at the end of our "unit" would be the best choice.

There are perks to living in a country where museums aren't up and coming yet though. Just down the street, there's a shop where ladies here still fashion mounds of clay pots every day.  They might think we were a little crazy for making a field trip out of it, but I'm sure it would be a memorable adventure:) I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pasta Milano?!?

When my mom comes, she usually stuffs her suitcase with all sorts of random packets that she's picked up at the grocery.  It's taken me a while to work my way through them.  This little jewel has been in my "America" drawer for around a year now.  

Last night, there was a chicken catastrophe.  $15 worth of rotten chicken in my fridge.  Such is life in the land of sporadic power and shady refrigeration. In desperation just before dinner,  I pulled out some leftover frozen chicken and added a cup of cream and fresh tomatoes to this little packet of McCormick Creamy Parmesan and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Penne.  
It was the closest semi-homemade recreation of Macaroni Grill's Pasta Milano that I've ever tasted. (Ok.  Do keep in mind that I haven't been within 10,000 miles of a Macaroni Grill in almost 2 years:) 
 Happy Hubs.  Happy me.  Happy plate. 

So for all you girls who are always asking what you can put in the mail to me, stuff one of these little jewels in an envelope and send it my way.  America on my plate! 

Looking for a quick dinner idea? Try it.  I think you'll like it! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What's New?

What's new in our little world these days? Here are a few tidbits:

1. Noteworthy news first! We welcomed another wee nephew into the Dawkins family over the weekend! This addition chalks Grammar & Pop's grandson tally up to 7 (+ 1 tiny maiden in the bunch). In a few years, we'll be able to take down any family around in flag football.

2. Mangos.  They're not new but they sure are good.  I'm always looking for new ways to use them! My latest dinner table hit is mango salsa.  At a friend's suggestion, I just added cubed mango to my homemade cilantro, tomato, garlic & lemon blend.  It is better than good!

3. We're looking at highs between 107-112 degrees this week. Long hair and hot weather just don't mix. I've spent more than a few afternoons contemplating just shaving my head. But hot season will only last one more month, so I decided to go another route.  Enter this cute little clip I picked up last night.

Perfect for twisting that hair off my neck, and sturdy enough not to be yanked down my a certain grabby little boy. Lovin' it.

4. Silas decided to take on another round of pink eye.  Unfortunately, it's not really that new in our house:) He's been a good sport about it though and it's certainly not slowing him down!

Happy Tuesday To You!

Friday, May 3, 2013

sister, sister

If I had to list one of the hardest parts about my life these days, near the very top of the list would be the distance from my sister.  I miss her.  I miss last minute dinners together, meeting up for Mexican with she and my parents, rollerblading (like it's 1993) through Shelby Farms with her by my side.  It makes me sad that our kids can't play together in these little years.  I wish I could stop by her house and give her a bit of rest in these newborn days.  I want her  to see Silas tottering about on his wobbly legs.  I miss her through the distance. All the things that are easy to take for granted when family is close.   I miss her more than I can write.

But I think that in the distance, we can start to treasure more, love deeper, and recognize with greater insight just how precious a sister is.  This distance has done that in me.  

I look forward to seasons, however short, when I can be close by.  And make that list above a part of my daily life.  It will be a gift from God. But now, God's gift is distance.  So, through the distance I pray that I am learning to love and appreciate her more.  

Today is her birthday.  Over here on the far side, I am thinking about the joy her life has been in my own life.  The ways that God has used her to grow me, stretch me, teach me, love me.  I am glad she was born, and that His plan for my life included her in my world. 

Happy Birthday, Sister.

Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beach Attire

Several of you have commented on the wonder of my full-body swimsuit. I wear it regularly to the pool in my city.  But this week, we are on the coast, in a not-so-modern town where "western" fashion is not as far reaching.  

We're heading to the beach today, so I asked a local about my "swim costume." She replied that I should just go in my clothes.  

Why, after all, would a lady want to get in the water anyways? Wading should be quite sufficient. 

Below is what we found the lady beach-goers wearing one evening here. I'd call it more wedding attire than a beach wear, but...such is asia! 

The truth is, not many asian ladies I know can actually swim.  And with government posted signs like this one, who can blame them?

So, the next time you go to Florida, remember this little beach side maxim: The sea is VERY deep and dangerous. Please don't take a bath!