Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Is That Me?

Clicked on this article via FB today because of this outrageous photo...that I completely identify with...and loved it.  (Thanks, Mrs. Alice, for the link up.) 

Photo Credit: Eli

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

from the craft closet

I had a 30 minute window the other day. The kids were quietly eating their afternoon cinnamon toast and watching a little Elmo.  Silas is in need of a wardrobe expansion.  The weather's a bit cooler now and some light weight pants would help keep down the scraped knees.  (And looks from all the aunties who think he should be wearing a is 80 degrees after all:) I tried to cut some pants from another pair he has. (Cute fabric compliments of my sweet friend, Mrs. Hutto!) But I forgot to stretch the elastic at the top.  They turned into baby bell bottoms that bare fit around his belly.  Ooops.  

Maybe next time. 

I did have one success last week, in the crafting arena.  Using a leftover frame from a family that moved away, I made this for my sweet neighbor who babysat the boys for us over the weekend.

I used a background and font from and printed it banner style for $2 at a little shop nearby.  Not a bad gift for $2! We both loved the way it turned out!

It's slim pickin's around my crafting closet lately. Maybe I'll try round 2 with the pants soon. That's all I've got for you today though! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

take a deep breath

Sometimes I feel like we've just really adjusted to life here. And sometimes I don't.  Take yesterday, for instance.  Hubs suggested that we go on a family hike.  I like to hike.  So I said yes.  Hubs has been several times to some rocks (higher than they appear here) in our vicinity.  It's a great place for train watching and catching a cool breeze on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.  Usually, he takes the boys on his own, to give me a little break.  I didn't need much a break though (or so I thought) and decided some fresh air would do me good. 

By the time we got there though, I was an inch from a panic attack.  

Because sometimes asia just does that to you. 

The trail has recently been blocked by some development projects.  There were holes everywhere, cow dung every other step, trash heaps haphazardly placed. My required-by-custom scarf was flapping in the wind, looking fantastic with my tennis shoes. And that new slum that just sprung up behind the walls was pouring out curious onlookers to our peaceful jaunt.  With the slum, comes a lot of pooping (yes, I just used that word) men at almost every trail bend.  Because asians love a little nature to do their business.  And I don't mind saying that that aspect alone had me feeling a bit crazy.  Add to it the fact that rock breakers recently came in and dug away the sturdy path up the tallest rock, leaving only shaky shards on the edge of cliffs. I also don't mind saying that watching my ever-adventurous hubs scale that rock with our 1.5 year old strapped to his back, well it made me even crazier.  

By the time we were atop those beautiful rocks, I was taking deep breaths and imagining myself safe and sound at Shelby Farms in Memphis. And David was laughing a lot and pouring juice into cups for the kids.  Because that's the way we roll together and it's so, so good for me. 

Maybe we have adjusted a bit to life here, or maybe we haven't. Either way, I seriously doubt I'll be hiking that rock again anytime soon.  I love you, Asia.  Poopin' men and all. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Five

1. The best part about today? My neighbors are coming over in T-5 hours to watch these banshees of mine so hubs and I can go on a legit date!  That man of mine has been workin' quite a bit lately, and I'm not sure that we've had a conversation (just the two of us)  that lasted more than 20+ minutes in a week.  Yay for sweet neighbors!

2. We were working on a project last night and came across this hilarity.  It's Jude, giving a language lesson.  If he keeps up the good work, I think he'll be able to star in Bollywood films when he's older.

3. My wool rug is starting to smell musty.  Monsoon season and  open windows.  Any advice? My first try is going to be baking powder...en bulk.

4. At a friend's recommendation, I just uploaded this to my kindle.  Looking forward to it! Thanks, Erin.

link to site

5.  They are working in our building this week.  With jackhammers.  During nap time.  Here's to hoping they take a weekend break as well! 

Happy Friday!!! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Link Up

Friends.  It's just been a little crazy 'round here lately. Jude decided this week that bucket baths are for babies. After all, he's THREE years old.  As if shower graduation wasn't enough, there are a few more things spinning in our life as well:)

 I've got some thoughts in my head, but not enough time to get them through my fingers for another day or two at least.  Until then, a few posts by some dear friends have really encouraged me lately.  Take a few minutes to peek in:

Melissa on Dry Bones 

Lee on a lot of random topics. (pretty much just read the entire month of July)

Laurin on Is It Worth It? Amen, sister.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Finicky eating. Fussy sleeping.  Fingers in the mouth. A few bite marks on his brother. 

Silas is teething again.  

Sorry, little buddy.  Growth hurts! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

present tense

Language.  Let's talk about it today.  I need to talk about it.  This is a post that I've had in the back of my mind for several weeks now.  It's been forming for a year and a half.  Ever since I started trying to decipher the garbled sound erupting from every street corner.  Let me first say, that I really do want to learn.  But learning and work always go together, don't they?  And I have a history of wanting to learn but not really wanting to work.

Nonetheless, I am working at it.  In the early morning hours when most of my friends are still tucked in bed or drinking their chai.  Before my banshees are in full form. I'm trying to take classes before the day gets into full swing.  Somehow my brain loses momentum the later I wait.  My newest tutor is fantastic.  She's fun.  And I don't dread class.  I just dread speaking.

I'm at an impasse with verbs.

We can't get along, no matter how much I analyze them.  I'm considering just living my entire life in the present tense for the next 5-8 years, freeing myself from the necessity of learning effective and proficient use of the past or future tenses.

It's all very funny when I sit down and think about it.  But in the middle of it, friends, I'll be honest, I feel like a failure.  And I hate that feeling.

To be very vulnerable, I feel stupid.  And I hate that feeling too.

You could leave a lot of comments after this post telling me that I'm not stupid or a failure, and that would be fine.  But in the middle of yet another poorly constructed sentence with root verbs flailing about in mid air, it's unlikely to help.

I don't really have a conclusion for this kind of post.  Because I'm still working it out myself.  But I will write that the gospel is good news to me in this.  It is the hopeful remembrance to me that there will be plenty in life that I will fail at.  There will be multitudes of instances when I really am not the best person to intelligently handle a subject.

My Father never fails though.  He persists and persists.  Gives and gives some more. Never slumbers or sleeps.  Never faces a quandary He cannot answer.  I am not enough.  I won't be in this undertaking, or in a thousand more.  But He is.  He always is.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

peanut chutney

So maybe I was a little dramatic yesterday when I wrote about friendship.  I do struggle with loneliness here.  That's a reality.  Motherhood requires a lot, and there isn't much left over sometimes to cultivate with. But I do have friends. Friends that are a real gift from God.  Friendships that continue to grow. I am thankful for those blooms and don't want to take them for granted.

Among them has been one of the kindest and most persistent acquaintances since I arrived here.  I call her Path, because for the first few times we met, I couldn't understand her name.  So I just made one up that sounded close.  She just went along with it.  (I really only realized my mistake after I saw her wedding album...almost a year into our friendship:) 
Yesterday she gave me a cooking lesson for a traditional breakfast dish that I LoVe: peanut chutney. It is served with warm idly, a steamed breakfast dish.  The combination is delicious. 

Here's the how-to: 

Peanut Chutney

1 c peanuts, toasted. remove skins
1-2 chilis, fried in light oil
1 clove garlic
1 t cumin
1 T tamarind juice (if available) 
dash of lemon juice
salt  to taste

Place in food processor and blend until smooth.  Add water as needed.  Serve with idly (or crackers:) Enjoy!!! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

a part of my portion

Today was one of those days when loneliness was a part of my portion.  It happens a lot in international living.  (It can happen in your hometown too.) I made some valiant efforts to bridge the gap of a very busy hubs this week with other activities.  But my valiant efforts fell in the face of south asian unpredictability   So it was the littles and me, eating samosas in the middle of a chaotic bakery on the side of a crowded, muddy road.  Where we had quite a few laughs together, and, as usual, a few tears too.  

Jude gave his rupees through the window to the street beggar.  Silas tried to chase mangy street dogs.  And I admit that I wondered on the way home if deep, consistent face-to-face friendships are just not my lot in life these days.  

It is possible that this season will drag on for longer than I would hope.  

A friend sent me this quote (from a book I recently read but did not remember:) and it was helpful to me.  

Our loneliness cannot always be fixed, but it can always be accepted as the very will of God for now, and that turns it into something beautiful. Perhaps it is like the field wherein lies the valuable treasure. We must buy the field. It is no sun-drenched meadow embroidered with wildflowers. It is a bleak and empty place, but once we know it contains a jewel, the whole picture changes. The empty scrap of forgotten land suddenly teems with possibilities. Here is something we can not only accept, but something worth selling everything to buy. And when, through a willed act we receive this thing we did not want, then Loneliness, the name of the field nobody wants, is transformed into a place of hidden treasure. (E. Elliot) 
I want the treasure. But am I willing to accept the bleak and empty field to find it?

I pray, yes. Give me acceptance. There will be unbounded strength from the Giver to persevere. And beauty, however hard found, will surely follow. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Lindsey, Jessica & Laura circa 1993 

 I've written about her on here before, asking your prayers. I'm asking again. Jessica has been a friend of mine since junior high...the kind of girl who has more blackmail pictures of me in her scrapbook than you could imagine.  Watching her bravery through this battle with cancer has been humbling and inspiring.

A lot of you have probably already seen this in the facebook realm, but just in case you haven't, it's worth your time:

Love you, Jess.

Friday, July 12, 2013


We came home to monsoon rains. Not a good match for a week's worth of laundry! If my ceiling fan technique fails, I may have to resort to the hairdryer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Maldives: Behind the Scenes

So it hasn't been all sunshine and sand on our vacation, there've been a few clouds in the sky as well.  Here are a few real life observations that might as well go down in the digital scrapbooking alongside the stunning blue waters and waving palms.  I hope we'll remember the waving palms longer!

1. Bed bugs.  Considering how often we stay in off-the-beaten-path budget hotels, it's a wonder that we can say this is the first time we've ever had the problem. Apparently, I'm highly allergic.  And I have hives all over my face (yes, face) and arms to prove it.  We changed rooms, and with the help of a little benadryl, had a peaceful night of sleep last night.  I could think of worse things to have to deal least it's not dengue fever, right?

2. Ramazan.  We booked our tickets to a 99.9% Muslim country without the least inkling that perhaps the cheap seats were there for a reason.  Yesterday was the start of Ramazan, and the whole island is fasting from sun up to sun down. Which makes finding open restaurants a little tricky and has altered our ability to use transport a bit.  It's just taken a little more planning on our part...but if we had it to do over again, with hind sight in place, we might have bumped those dates just a bit.

3. The Dive.  We were hoping to send hubs out for a morning of diving.  It was a Father's Day gift.  But it fell through today, along with a snorkeling trip,  and there's no time to reschedule. We've contented ourselves with some pretty fun sea kayaking though and are all agreed that above the water sports are a bit safer anyways:)

Vacations aren't anymore perfect than life.  But the journey is worth it.  We wouldn't trade this week in even if we could, bed bugs and all! The glitches have actually helped us be a little more relaxed than usual, enjoying mornings at the beach and afternoons reading while the boys nap.  It's hard for us to slow down. We like to adventure.  But God knew what we needed, and that quiet, beautiful beach has been a gift.

Tomorrow, we hope for one more morning at the beach before we head back to the land of honking cars and busy streets.  We're ready.  And that's what vacation is for, right? Not to live in a state of pampered bliss, but to rest us and fit us to go back and do what our true work is.

There's the skinny on the behind the scenes vacation in our little world!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Maldives, Day 2

We're short on words and big on pictures this week.  Here's a few for today! A morning at the beach: 

Followed by a little sightseeing in the capital, Male: 

Definitely one of our best visa runs yet!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Maldives, Day 1

We landed in the Maldives yesterday and spent the morning at a fantastic (and nearly empty!) beach about 5 minutes from our hotel.  The flight in was one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen.  It was hard to tell where the sky ended and  the blue waters began! Here's a plane shot of the little airport island, Huluhumale, on which we're staying:

We hit the beach almost as soon as we landed, at least for a few minutes.  Jude especially is lovin' the water, calmer and bluer than most beaches we've seen.  And entranced by the seaplanes that are continually flying overhead.

As for Silas, he's more of a land man himself, so the playground is his top pick as yet.  Thankfully the island is tiny, so everything is within a 10 minute walk. We're loving our double stroller this trip!

Here's to a few more days of blue water and white sand! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Friday Five

Yesterday we took a little break from Asia to celebrate the Fourth, but today we are back in the swing of things.  School, language, meetings, etc.  Not for long though! Let's start with the most exciting of the Friday Five:

1. We leave this weekend for 5 days in The Maldives!!! wohoo!!! We won't be staying at a fancy smancy resort or anything, but we have a little room a few minutes from the beach, perfect for sand castle building and dipping our toes in those blue waters. Yay for visas that require us to leave every 6 months.  It's like a forced vacation! 

2.  Hubs passed into the Advanced category of language this week.  Whew.  We are celebrating! He's worked awfully hard to get here!!! Language is like an ocean, and there's a lot of water unexplored.  But at least he's swimming!

3. We had our porch screened in this past week. And we LOVE it. David splashed a coat of yellow paint on the walls, we added a few chair cushions and strung up a strand of lights...and it's like we added a whole new room.  We are ready for the cooler weather! 

4. I've been experimenting a bit more with paneer. My latest love is to mix it with some milk and oregano and have a delicious ricotta filling. I've even ventured into pasta making, successfully making my own ravioli.  Yum.  Here's the recipe.

5. If you're looking for something to put on your ipod this weekend, tune into this one by Timothy Keller.  That man has been speaking some serious truth into my life lately.  Worth a listen.

Happy Friday To You!!! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

the photo shoot

I told you I'd give you a peek at some of those photos from my "session" with my new best girls out in the village. Let me give you the assurance that they did the posing, including the addition of a few hilarious props...glasses, water bottle, etc.  Asian style is something to be reckoned with. They definitely that thought I'd be the a sari and "specs".  Here you go: