Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

The hills are still here in Tennessee.  And I could not be more grateful.  The boys are fully enthralled with farm life. Cows, tractors, a fantastic hayride compliments of PopPop and open spaces. When night fell, even through the clouds, there were stars.  More stars than city life ever lets me glimpse. Then of course there was the food.  Don't even get me started.  I have missed this place.  

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We made it.

We made it.

We are making it.

The flight could not have been better.  It was amazingly smooth.  For the first 22 hours, the kids were unusually calm (and no, we did not medicate them:)   They kind of lost it on the last leg from Texas. But, no complaints here.  It seriously felt miraculous.   We all had space to stretch out on the "night" flight.  Jude even slept 9 hours straight. Who does that on a plane?

Prayers appreciated.  We saw some definitive results!

Of course, by the time we saw all those grandparents and uncles, we were glad enough to be done! Oh, it is good to be home.  (And for the record, I did not weep in customs this time:)

Jet lag is rough.  But it could be a lot rougher.

Everyone kind of falls apart after 4pm.  And somehow 3:30am feels like a wake up call. Tonight I made handprint turkey shirts with the kids at 7pm.  That was a bad idea.  But the shirts are cute. And the tears are now dry.

I just baked a Pumpkin Cheesecake.  And I wanted to kiss the Philadelphia package.  It's been too long.

Butternut squash in the oven.  Strawberry pretzel salad is in the fridge.  Sister Shubert's rolls are waiting in the freezer.

We are ready for Thanksgiving on the farm tomorrow.

How sweet it is.

I am thankful!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Five

1. This week I took an unintentional hiatus from the blog.  I've also forgotten to bathe. I've scheduled things on top of other things.  I've been getting our house and family ready for a 6 month trip to the US while David was in another city for meetings. All. Week. Meetings. And I had another bout with fairly intense pregnancy nausea.

But hubs is back. We're almost packed.  The house is in order.

And it really looks like we're gonna make it. This is seriously by the grace of God. Seriously. 


2. On the cusp of America, David and I seem to be experiencing a sort of cultural delirium. A friend likened it to the sort of state  you go into at around 2am when you're all tired and giddy.  I've been laughing a lot over the past few weeks.  Sometimes in people's faces.  This is not always appropriate.  Let me give you an example.

Jude was crying in the elevator this week. My neighbor said, as any South Asian would, "He's crying." Well, now.  I know that he is crying.  But there's not really much I can do about it as I wrangle the 2 year old, the stroller and try to get everyone in before the elevator door eats us.  Asians almost always state the obvious when children cry as if awaiting a surprised response. I haven't figured out the full reason yet. So, instead of explaining that he was crying because he hit his knee, I just said, "Yes. He is crying." Then I started laughing….a little bit like a hyena.  Cultural delirium.  Do you know what happened next? My neighbor started laughing with me and repeating "He is crying." I got out of the elevator still laughing and Jude was still crying.

It's time to leave this country, people.

3. As if the first two Friday Five haven't alerted you enough to our cultural state, I'll share another story from the week with you. We were in some asian traffic.  A man pulled a pretty brave move into traffic, even for here. We almost hit him. But we didn't. He then rounded a corner at a high speed and hit a motorcyclist.  The man fell off his bike, and the car kept going. Hit and run.  David then proceeded to chase after the car. He tried with another car to block him in - but he got away.  (I'm sorry to all you grammarians.  I cannot bear to put proper commas into this paragraph today. Commas are a thorn in my flesh.) We then chased him at high speed (with our kids in the back seat) down the street and into a construction zone.  We bumped along the dirt road chasing after him. All the while, this pregnant foreign lady was yelling out the window and taking photos of his car and tags.  We finally gave up. We returned to the accident scene and showed the photos to the police.  He was driving a new car with a temporary tag…which apparently cannot be traced.  (Remind me again why temporary tags might be issued?) Though it was a bit of a bust, David had the full admiration of the local police force…who witnessed the accident but don't actually have vehicles with them on their post. (Yes, you read that correctly.)  Hand shakes and comradeship all around. We were good citizens…for once.

4. Goodbyes are hard. Jude has probably taken the hardest hit.  Six months is a long time when you're only 4. So we stuck pictures of him to boxes of candy and he distributed them to his classmates. He bought chocolates for his teachers. And we've had play dates galore this week. We are leaving in the hopes that Skype works on the other side as well. If you have a 4 year old little boy in Memphis, could you please send him over to my house soon? 

5. I've had a few "see you laters" myself this week.  But from the perspective of 34, six months isn't really all that long.  My overwhelming emotion has been gratitude.  I have people to miss….on both sides of the ocean!  That is just a really good thing.  I love our community here. I'm glad I'll miss them.  God has been gracious to us.  His provision on both sides of this globe is perfect.

Hopefully, my next post will be from the U-S-A!!!

I'm sure I'll have a few words to share about 24 hours of flying with 2 little people and my favorite man! Prayers appreciated. Hope to see a few of your faces very soon!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

His own

Things have been a little hectic around here. International moves, parties for seventeen, toddlers and pregnancy - they will kind of do that do a household. 

This morning my elderly neighbor spotted me on the walking track and told me I was looking "pale." She instructed me to go home and eat something nutritious. I laughed and told her I wasn't feeling that "pale" but thanks. (Not the most appropriate cultural response, but that's what came out.)

The truth is though, my soul has been feeling a little "pale." There have been disciplines that have been shoved aside in the busyness of these days.  Disciplines that don't seem very monumental, but that will wear away in slow neglect of a soul. Singing a hymn in the morning isn't necessarily a scriptural mandate, but it certainly can impact a day. Opening up the Word is difficult in any season, but the neglect of it can be detrimental. A quiet walk doesn't seem like much, until it's no longer a part of the routine. Spiritual and physical disciplines are like a wall of protection. Right now, my walls have some cracks and when I step back, I see lies slithering in through the holes. 

One of the attitudes that I am finding is very prevalent in me starts with a simple line.  "I'm not…" 

Fill in the blank. 

I'm not…. teaching Silas the colors. And the kid confuses yellow and red. 

I'm not…. sure how to discipline this bad attitude in Jude. I'm no good at this. 

I'm not…. cooking brown rice for my family, just plain un-nutritious white.

I'm not…. sure I can handle 3 kids. I'm really not. 

I'm not…. confident I can navigate all the adjustments this year will bring. 

I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. 

Small thoughts. 

That make a soul pale. 

So I set aside my list of all that is undone this morning.  I sent those boys (who didn't particularly want to go) off to school. And I opened up to the book of Philippians.  I could write a few pages on the impact of that tiny book on my life.  But this morning one line jumped off the page at me. It was found tucked in the 3rd chapter, verse 12: 

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, 

because Christ Jesus has made me his own."

Christ Jesus has made me his own. 

Paul has just given a lengthy argument about all that he was by outward standards.  And it was a pretty compelling list in those days.  He then writes…I counted it as loss for the sake of Christ…for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. He remembers the glory of the gospel.  In receiving Christ, all the things that did matter, don't.  And that one who bore shame and suffering, who was despised and rejected….the One whose life, to many, many people, looked for the time to be full of sorrow and even failure…He reigns now victoriously. It is a kingdom that is and that is not yet. It is a hope though that is as sure as the sun, as certain as the tide of the mighty waters. It is this Jesus who has made me his own. 

I'm not.  

But He is. 

And I am in Him.  

His own. 

Good news, friends.  It is good, good news to this pale soul. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I had 17 adults and 6 kids in my house for lunch today. I peeled 6 kgs of tomatoes, diced 10 onions and about 18 cloves of garlic in preparation. Friends, go to your canned goods section and kiss something.

Thankfully, it was a potluck and we had a seriously good time. 

It is possible that I will be immobile for 24 hours now. Totally worth it though!! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Miscellany

Here's a little miscellany from our life this week: 

1. We are 2 weeks from take off for our 6 month stint in the US.  Whew. We've been trying, fairly successfully, to keep our heads in the game.  But it's getting harder.  SO. excited. 

2. The nearness of that date has really made us treasure the things we enjoy about our life here.  We've been having regular chats with the boys about how different our afternoons will look in the US.  The weather is not perpetually conducive to outdoor play, nor will they have hundreds of playmates literally a few steps out their door.  We love our neighborhood here and have grown pretty accustomed to the "community" atmosphere. We might actually get lonely sometimes in America. 

3. On a very random note, the boys played their first game of air hockey at the mall recently.  It was a big hit.  Have I ever mentioned that I love air hockey. 

4. Pregnancy has driven me to strange places.  For the past 2 weeks, I've ordered the "idly plate" breakfast from our local delivery restaurant.  For 75cents, 3 idly, peanut chutney (with a pretty intense kick) and sambar are delivered to my door within 15 minutes.  Perks, friends. There are serious perks about my life here. 

5. My cousin, John, travelled to our city for a business trip this week. It was fantastic to hang out for a morning.  I haven't seen him in ages…love that we finally met up on this far side! 

6. I'm not gonna lie.  When I saw the picture below, I felt shocked. I am 23 weeks pregnant, friends. I am only a little over half way. That is one seriously huge baby bump. Can I be honest? The reality that most people have not seen me in 3 years and will now see me only in this shocking state is just a bit humbling. Vanity exposed. 

Happy Monday to you!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Hubs is home. After a few days alone with the banshees, I am especially grateful. We scheduled a morning date together to head down to the city center. I haven't climbed the steps of Charminar since the day before Silas was born. In fact, I haven't even ventured down to that part of the over 2 years! 

 We climbed up today, and I was once again amazed by the perfect chaos in the streets and markets below. It was good to be a tourist again for a bit in our city. It reminded me of how wonderfully diverse, exciting and interesting this land really is. This is the country I never really wanted to come to, and after three years here, it is a country I'd never want to miss! 

Happy touring! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Isn't it amazing the change a little fabric and a staple gun can make?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crust of the earth

I was just informed that the "crust of the earth" has been located via the sandpit.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Sometimes when David is not home and I finally get the boys in bed, I sit on my couch in a sort of state of paralysis.

I am here now.  Looking around at underoos on the floor, milk cups half drunk, popcorn kernels on the rug.

I know that I should move.

But I can't.

Or at least I'm really good at pretending I can't.

Hopefully I'll make it off this couch before morning wakes.