Monday, June 30, 2014

Ranweli Holiday Resort (review)

Since a few folks on this side read this little blog and may be interested, I wanted to write a quick review of our stay at Ranweli in Sri Lanka.  We booked a beach villa based on some good reviews on Agoda.  It did not disappoint.  It is near the top of my list now for places to stay.  The primary reason is the atmosphere.

David and I have evolved a bit from our backpacker days.  We rarely stay in low end when we travel right now, unless we need to.  This is not because our budget has really changed.  We're just finding that with little ones, we'd prefer to stay fewer days in more comfort than the other way around.  Our kids lick floors, wallow in showers and do weird things like that. My stress level goes down the cleaner and crisper the room.  

What we loved about Ranweli though was not just that it was clean. It was. (Minus a few gecko lizards that snuck in here and there:) We loved that high-end to them doesn't mean flashy.  It means unpretentious, natural beauty.  It was a sort of eco-resort.  They had herbs growing in pots, a garden along the path, a mangrove trail to wander, and fishing off the dock.  The resort itself is located across a little river, so you arrive by a bamboo steered ferry. The decor is earthy, the luxury is a sort of clean nature.  It's not every one's style.  But more and more, we are realizing, it's ours.  

We like atmospheres that are intentionally designed to draw your eyes toward the natural, the astounding creation that already exists.

We found it profoundly refreshing.  It drew us toward the Creator.

In the middle of a really hectic season, it was exactly what we needed.  Highly recommended.  Here are a few final vacation pictures in case you're curious.

Riding the ferry to the resort.  

Fishing in the morning with dad.  

Sand castles on the beach.
The water was pretty rough,
but that didn't stop
Silas from jumping some waves!  

The breakfast buffet was delicious.  And the dinner was fantastic.
 Definitely the best homemade salad dressings I've had in 3 years!

Be warned: the meals are pricey.  We found it worth it though.   

On our way to kayak in
the canal beyond the resort. 

Chillin' while dad does the work!  

The craziest slide I've ever seen - ok-
and probably the most dangerous:)  

The view from the swimming pool edge.  
We'll be back, Ranweli! 

Friday, June 27, 2014


Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
The world and those who dwell in it!

Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills sing for joy together
Before The Lord, for he comes 
To judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness, 
And the peoples with equity.
Psalm 98:7-9

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sri Lanka

Worth every bit of the effort to get here! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

To my Mom

It's her birthday.  And once more I'm off in the some foreign country.  I've missed more birthdays in my adult years than I've been a part.  Yet,  she has been the most amazing support throughout this journey (who comes across multiple oceans 4 times in 2 years just for a visit?!?).  Everyday I realize a little bit more what I owe to her. I see the providence of the Father in giving me to her.  No one else could have taught me for long years before how to survive in this land so well! Her love for me has been unfailing.  No matter what I've done (um, like run off to asia with my kids),  I have always known she would love me anyways.   My life has been indelibly shaped through her life and example.  Words fail.

I'm grateful for you, Mom.

All my love.

Happy Birthday! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

wimpy, whiny me

My husband is in another country.  Silas came down with a fever 12 hours after his flight departed. I set some goals for language progression, and they take a lot of time. Hence, no play school and language class with a feverish toddler.  Jude is going through a "phase" that needs a lot of attention from me.  I didn't eat dinner until….well…it's 9:30pm and I still haven't eaten dinner.  In 2 days, hopefully we'll all be on the beach together.  But before that happens, I'll be flying alone with my two banshees to meet up with the hubs.  Packing, cleaning, laundry and loading that car up at 6am to make the flight are all looming before me.

I have been tempted to throw myself onto the couch today and utter some exhausted complaints upward.  

There's a lot to get done.

I read an article this week about wimpy, whiny moms.  It's been running in my mind all day.  The way we throw words around like "overwhelmed," "stressed out," etc.  It's a bit of an epidemic and I appreciated the forthrightness of the author to point it out.  It has helped me today. It helped me to shut my mouth.   This is my life and I have the strength, by God's grace,  to live it.  Complaints will help not one itty iota.

In a book I once read (if I could remember where, I'd tell ya:) there was a little analogy something like this:

Imagine a child in the middle of a room that needs picking up.  The child sits down, bursts into tears and begins dialoging with you about how overwhelmed they are.  There's no way they'll ever get this cleaned up.  It's just too much.

Imagine another child in the midst of a room that needs picking up.  She begins quietly to work her way along.  Little by little, the job begins to progress.  Slowly and steadily, she makes her way through.

It's helped me to think about that today and just keep going.  This is part of growing into maturity for me.  There's no analysis needed, no sorting through my emotions on the day. Tears and fits will never really help.  I need to put my head down and work.

So little by little, I'm packing those bags and wiping that runny nose.

Weary in well doing.  That is motherhood.  

Friday, June 20, 2014


You may recall that for the first year or so of play school Jude cried every day. He got on that bus in tears for ever so long. 

It's the end of Week 1 for that extroverted little brother. And he literally RUNS onto the bus each morning. I chase behind to deliver his backpack. 

Thankfully, Jude is resigned to going to big boy school and is slowly adjusting to the longer day. We're a wee bit tired around here without the afternoon naps. He's got brains, for a four year old. He told me today that teacher tells him he's "impressive." I think that means he can count to 20;) 

School days, school days. The biggest question now is if this momma can adjust!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


In a few short days, these crazy temps should drop about 20 degrees. The rains are coming! Excited is an understatement. Consequently, we didn't renew our pool membership when it ran out this week. The boys are kind of in withdrawal. Snorkeling in a bucket bath just isn't the same. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

To the Fathers

David spent Father's Day watching the boys while I had a fantastic weekend at a ritzy hotel, complete with a Krispy Kreme donut shop across the street.  I flew in late Sunday night and have been catching up ever since.  Consequently, I'm running a little behind on my Father's Day post. I don't want to miss the chance to honor the men in our lives though.

Let's start with the very first man in my life.  My father, the farmer.  He is one of the deepest influences in my life.  He was an anchor point for me in every season. He thought I was kind and intelligent and worthy of love.  And it made me want to be those things more because his opinion mattered.   His life spoke a lot louder than his words ever did.  He is the hardest working man I know.  I can never dismiss that part of his legacy to me is bound with the land.  In the life I have chosen, life is ever a transition.  Words cannot express what a treasure it is to me to know that there is a place that my grandfathers farmed and their fathers before them.  And my dad still works that land. It gives me roots. He has always given me a place to belong.  Love is too small a word.

No man has so significantly impacted my daily life in this season as greatly as David's father.  I have a good marriage. I have what I would call a great marriage.  There are layers of that greatness that are a legacy of Bob Dawkins.  He has tenderly cared for his wife for well over 40 years. He taught his son to tenderly care for me.  He was a wise manager of his household and finances. His son is a wise manager of our household.  He served in his home regularly.  His son has washed the dishes for me after almost every dinner in 6 years of marriage without ever being asked.  He said he learned it from his dad. His father cared for other people more than his own personal interests.  His son is the most selfless person I know.  To Pop Pop, we are full of gratitude.  Your legacy is rich.  We see through your line God's faithfulness to those who love Him.

And then there is my own sweet husband.  There is one reason I would like to have a house full of sons.  It is so they could watch the example of David and grow into real men in a very confused world. He is a father in the richest sense.  He is truer at home than any other place.  I see the real man day in and day out, and I respect him more than anyone else.  God's grace is powerfully evident in him.  We adore him.  Apart from salvation, there is no gift I give thanks for more than David. Happy Father's Day.

To the fathers, with love.  

Monday, June 16, 2014


So maybe pre-k is gonna be a little intense. Homework on Day 3!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Girls' Weekend

So far this weekend I've had dinner with an old college friend, checked into a ritzy hotel for a girls getaway and eaten a melt-in-my-mouth Krispy Kreme. I think it's  gonna be a good weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

When life feels small

There are many days in this season when I find myself in the midst of tasks that feel very small.  Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months.  And life itself just begins to feel very small.  This is a part of the humbling journey of motherhood for me.  Perhaps it is just part of the journey of life.  It is the recognition that we are not the center.  That no one person, no matter their resume, ever really is.

I live in a place where millions of people are swirling around me all day long.  It's a crowded country. There are a lot of small lives. They are lived out in fruit stands by the roadside and tiny tin shamble shacks along the train line.  I see their milking cow tied up next to the crumbling cinder block farmhouse that grew into the city.  Their children pass me on the streets.  The masses overwhelming the tiny lanes.

There are aches that come in a place like this.  I am growing into those aches, just learning what they are meant to build.  Part of what aches the most is that those little lives, those unknown faces and places, are significant.  They are valuable. Souls are underneath the skin. Small lives matter.

There are subtleties in my mind that suggest important people make news headlines or sign record deals or buy houses in Hollywood.  If I were being more spiritual, I might say they write books about cutting edge theological debates and adopt 20 kids in the heart of Africa. I would never really say that out loud, but my mind works that way. Maybe it's the influence of too many western movies or glances at BBC. Whatever the reason,  I see it influence my own search for significance.  There are question that follow me, that I take out and look at from time to time.  I never mean to ask them, but I do over and over again.

If my whole life is small, is that ok?

If I never write a book worth reading.  Or never have a life interesting enough for someone else to write a book about…is that ok? Does it mean that I've failed? If my whole life is made up of small tasks, tiny acts of faithfulness that lead into long years of little services that no one sees, is that ok? If I am using my God-given gifts but only in the community surrounding me…not on a stage or in a way that leads to recognition…did I mismanage life somehow?

The world around me screams "no!"  It seems to shout at me from every corner that flashy is the way to go.  Success is measured in bank accounts, blog hits, media reports and power.

But when I read the words of the One I want to listen to more than all the other voices, He calls the meek blessed, the servant the greater, the lowest the one dear to Him.

He chose to be small. Rather than pomp and glory,  he entered into life in a humble stable and lived a common life as a carpenter, until His Father appointed otherwise.

I take heart when I think about Him, the humble servant whose power was wrought in meekness. Small is ok.  And those youthful dreams of living a life that someone would want to write about can just go ahead and die in faithful days, lived in faithful ways.

Because in the end, faithful will trump flashy every time.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Link Up

I've been listening this week to a three part program with Crissy Toledo, the daughter of Jim and Carol Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.  Her story is fascinating and helpful in a number of ways.  The powerful role prayer played in her repentance after several prodigal years will long remain in my mind.

Link up at Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh Demoss. It's worth your time! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sticky Fingers

Most South Asians eat with their hand. It's a serious skill to observe. No forks to wash after dinner. Just a little hand wash needed. I've heard it said that food tastes better. After all, you're including another 'sense' if you use you own hand instead of a fork. Some declare the metal disrupts the pure flavor of the food.

Whatever the real reason, Jude prefers it too. Not always, but often enough. He's getting pretty good at it too. 

Rice bowls up:

Showing some scoop-skill:

Savor the untainted flavor:

Sticky fingers, just like the locals:

And that, my friends, is how it's done. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

2 weeks

In just two short weeks the banshees start school. Yes. We finally made a decision. Jude will indeed be an official Asian 4 year old with school hours from 9-3. Little man is going to give play school a whirl so I can hit it hard in language class. 

Maybe there's been a little mommy-angst about the whole set up. But we are gonna give it six months and re-evaluate. Whew. 

In the mean time, we are hitting the last few weeks of summer hard. Love these boys. I love 'em.