Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell, 2015

It's New Year's Eve and I feel the need for a little retrospection.

Here's my quick list of what 2015 held for our family:

  • The year sweet, happy Asher joined our family. So many of his firsts are in 2015. His first (and 7th tooth:), first crawl, cruising, foods, etc. Um, notably, not his year to sleep through the night though! If the year held nothing else, I could move forward with unspeakable gratitude. Babies are blessings.  
  • The year that Silas's personality seemed to explode before our eyes. He is our wrestler-extraordinaire. He is full of races, wrestling matches and bike rides.  His language skills grew a ton this past year. I absolutely love hearing what's going on in his sweet little brain! 
  • The year Jude learned to read, really read.  It was the year his flashlight burned long over Frog and Toad's hilarious adventures.  This year felt like an unexpected shift for him. He is a boy now.  The baby is all gone.  This is the year I realized that a few special moments alone with this kid, on a walk or a secret trip to get ice cream, makes his heart burst.  
  • This is the year that we were able to eat dinner with the grandparents, stop by and visit with the cousins, and feel the familiarity of our native land.  It was the year that we saw faces of friends we'd missed. We were refreshed. 
  • It has been a year in which my marriage has been a place of steadiness, love and kindness we could never have built on our own. All adventures are better with a true friend. I bless the day I married that man. 
  • This is the year that my sister and I shared a floor at the hospital to welcome our 3rd children - a boy and girl.  The year I watched my mom hold two new grandchildren in her arms, with joy in her eyes. I will never forget that sweet, unbelievably fun gift.  
  • The year we made it back to South Asia after our American adventure.  It just seems like I should celebrate a little bit that we are here. We made it. 
  • It has been a year of joys, both pure and bittersweet. Babies that grow. Life that fills up my days as never before. Family that I have to part with again for a season.  It has been a year of facing some trials that were out of my control to fix.  It has been a year of deepening faith for me. Leaning into my Father's sovereignty more, and pressing into His goodness. I think I will hold this year in my heart for a long time to come as a season when I knew instinctively that my Father was near, and sustaining me in that nearness. Jesus holds all things together - even me
And if God wills, we will meet 2016 with our mouths full of praise, our hearts full of hope, and our hands…well, full of these wild boys. 

Happy New Year's Eve! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lonely Planet & me

I should be in bed. But I'm making a typed, color copy list of potential activities for our upcoming vacation. That's what Type-A people do. And I'm just going to own it. 

The review I'm unexpectedly excited about stumbling across? 

The Snake Farm

I hate snakes. But the reviews made it sound so compelling that I added it to the list.

See?! I'm inspired! 

We've been through Bangkok a few times now. And I've never really been a big fan. I mean, I do love the amenities, but the city itself is just kind of overwhelming to me. Generally speaking for us, Thailand means meetings. Bangkok means the shopping district. I hate shopping for more than about an hour and I'm not a fan of big cities. (Says the girl who lives in a city of 10 million;) This time we don't have any meetings. It's vacation. 

I booked a hotel on the Riverfront. And it just changed the whole idea of the city for me. I've been marking up my Lonely Planet map and loving it. I'm completely excited. 

I should still go to bed. Because the trip isn't for a couple of weeks, and that spreadsheet won't matter when my kids wake up in the morning. 

Good night. I'll be sleeping with my travel guide under my pillow.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

And in case you're wondering, this moment really happened in my unstaged mom life.  (I just made it a little cuter with picmonkey…and maybe I did straighten those stockings while Asher was crying:) 

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dinner at the Palace

There's a real palace on top of a hill across town from us.  Supposedly, the view of the city is the best you'll find.  For about three years, dinner at the palace has been on my that-would-be-really-fun list.  On Monday night, hubs whisked me away to the hill top for a belated 8 year anniversary celebration.

We had so much fun!

You know what the truth is? If I'm in a palace or a slum, I'm just glad to be beside this man I married!

Friday, December 18, 2015


We've been involved in a little bit of Christmas pageantry this year that I thought you might enjoy.  Our local fellowship put on a children's Christmas play and the boys each had a role.  Silas was a sheep.  Jude, a wise man.  I have it on reliable authority that Silas's sheep suit picture went viral at a local college.  He was kind of a hit.  

A friend gave me that white towel when she moved away.  I recycled it into a sheep suit. And now it's a snowman. That white towel's had a long, good life.

Silas  learned a new song this year about snowmen. He's a little obsessed.   Consequently, he's had a strong desire for a carrot nose.  Today is their last day of school before a two week vacation.  They decided to go out with a bang.

Christmas break, here we come! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Field Trip

I thought it would be a good idea to invite Jude's kindergarten class to take a field trip to my house today.  Nevermind the craziness in our life right now, Christmas only comes once a year.  I admit that I wore a Santa hat the whole time. I felt like it really pushed me into my 35 year old, mom of three role. I should have brought a tacky Christmas sweater over with me. (Except it's 90 degrees here this winter.) We read the Christmas story and lit the advent candles and played with the nativity. We checked the stockings and found some early goodies, drank hot cocoa and ate popcorn. Jude showed them his little Charlie Brown tree in his room ever so proudly.  

Maybe gingerbread houses are a little labor intensive for a group of 5 year olds. But we did it anyways. And it was fun. It was really fun. 

It was a really good day.

And, friends, I'm tired.

Monday, December 14, 2015

on self-pity

If I wanted to make you feel sorry for me this week, I think I could be fairly successful in evoking that emotion.  It just hasn't been the easiest season around here.  The list is long.  I hear that water tanker just now outside my apartment. It is delivering my daily 2 hours of running water and echoing in the affirmative.

But then, it could always be longer.  Much, much longer.

I find myself, at times throughout the day, counting the ways things are going wrong.  Last night, when that very fussy, sick baby spit up all over me, and the bottle wasn't washed (because lack of running water impedes a tidy kitchen). Not to mention that Jude and I had undertake a gingerbread house project that quickly got out of hand. There was no shower to be had until I could heat a bucket up, Silas was slicing something with a sword, Jude was yanking pillows off couches to build a good fort, gingerbread houses cast aside, and....

Sometimes I just want to sit down in a pile on the floor and have a good pity party.

I think you know what I mean.

But I cannot escape the verse echoing in the back of my mind at every turn, "In all things, give thanks."

In all things.

Self-pity and grumbling aren't just the natural response to a hectic season or various trials. They are sin. That tendency within me to want to pull up a long seat at the table of what-isn't-working-out-in-my-life is a dangerous, destructive desire that will lead to all kinds of trouble.

And the more I consider it, giving thanks isn't just a discipline of my mind and heart, it's an act of faith.  It is a choice to believe what I don't particularly see at the moment.

All I see is spit up but I choose to give thanks to God for the spit up, believing it is providentially good for me to be in spit up right at that moment.  It's working something I don't see, and so I can give thanks for what I do see (spit up and a dirty kitchen) and the good I am promised it is working. I read this beautiful quote in my advent reading over the weekend.  I wish I could write it on the back of my eyeballs.

"Joys are always on their way to us. They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night.  There's never a night when they are not coming."  - Amy Carmichael

The more I give thanks, the more thankful I am.  The more I expect joy, the more I find it springing up. Self-pity steals even what is before me. There's rarely just spit up, there were gingerbread houses and sweet babies as well.

It is the season, this one with the tiny babe born in a manger, for hope.  I will choose hope.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

mom tricks

Did you know that an ice cube will almost always buy me 5 more minutes in the kitchen? 

The motion is just non-stop.

I forgot how crazy (and cute) this age is.