Tuesday, June 30, 2015

round and round

We are finally settling in.  The daily routine is taking root and our little family is adjusting.  Hubs is lovin' being back at it.  His schedule is full. Asher is napping like a champ, growing that brain.  I have two little boys off at school every day from around 9:30 to 2:30. Wow.  That seems like a lot of time.  I should be cranking it out, right?

Clean up from breakfast. Feed the baby. Put away the laundry.  Chat with the house helper. Work on a project for hubs and the business. Get little bit down for a nap.  Get the groceries. Prep the dinner. Feed the baby. Change the diaper explosion. Wash the fruit and vegetables.  Try to work out. Fail at working out:) Eat lunch. Return a phone call. Fix a snack for the boys. Feed the baby. Load up to go pick up the boys. Play. Homework. Dinner. Bed.

This is harder than I thought it would be.

In the excitement of our American adventure, I think I kind of forgot the monotony of real life. Even real life here.

There's more work to do than I realized.  And sometimes, it doesn't feel like I'm doing it very efficiently.  Or maybe there's just a lot to take care of.  Then I glance over at that baby, the cute one, who sleeps sometimes but cries sometimes too.  He doesn't exactly help me stay focused.  I fooled myself into thinking that just because he can't talk to me yet, he'd not be much of a distraction.  Wrong.  Oh. So. Wrong.

I drive past a little slum camp on my way to get the boys, and I try to figure out a way I could help them.  I have no idea how to take my baby into that.  An orphan knocks on my window at a stoplight, and the best I seem able to manage is to pass a few crackers out of my purse.  Because I have three kids strapped in the back seat and I just have no idea how to safely stop and do more.

It's a transition season for me.  And I'm not sure what it's supposed to look like on the other side.  I'm figuring out what the round and round is meant to hold right now. The list might look good, but the reality can feel so laden with ordinary.  I think that's what that passage on servanthood might have been alluding to, eh?

The gospel is free.  It is absolute grace to a sinner like me.  No strings attached.  I don't have to do a single thing to be commended by God. Jesus is enough.  I am so grateful.

The same free gospel puts a love in my heart thought that prompts action.

What does it look like for me in this season?

I'm not sure.

And the tension is good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Hubs had some meetings out of the city this week. He was in a region that's new to him so the locals showed him the sights. It made me want to take a road trip!

A fort built somewhere around 1199. Spectacular, huh?

Doesn't that make us Americans feel so young?!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Miscellany

These boys. They love their Dad. For Father's Day, I asked them what they love most about David. Any number of things were on the tip of my tongue. Apparently though, the fastest way to little boy's heart - Wrestling

Good thing hubs can throw down. 

Here's a little miscellany for you: 

1. We are lovin' being back in the neighborhood. There's one thing for sure in a city of 10 million: you never run out of playmates. Hubs tried to teach the neighborhood crew baseball this weekend. The kids kept touching the base like you do in cricket. It probably didn't help that the only bat we could  find was a cricket bat!

2. I laced up my shoes for the first time post-partum. This is gonna be a long road back. Running is only fun if you are in good shape! 

3. I brought back a lemon press. And it will squeeze the tiny limes here just fine. I made some syrup and froze a bit of ice. think I've finally figured out the perfect limeade here. 

5. The rains are here. And the electricity seems to be gone! You should see my laundry room right now;) So we 're learning local games and hanging indoors a bit more. It's amazing the difference a year makes. We used to bounce off the walls if we were inside more than an hour!

Happy Monday to you! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

E. Elliot

I am a few days behind in this, but I don't feel I can move forward without joining the chorus of voices that are giving thanks for the life of Elisabeth Elliot.  I can hardly imagine her welcome into heaven this week.

If I had to make a list of authors who have significantly impacted my life and mind, her name would undoubtedly be at the top of the list.  She has mentored me through her writing for almost twenty years now.  I still quote her with great frequency. Not to be overly dramatic, but truly, I think my life would look very different apart from her influence.  Some of my most pivotal life choices were deeply impacted by her writing.  Her legacy in me is obedience to Christ apart from feeling.  And friends, it is a good, good legacy.

Ironically enough, I would suggest that her insistence that obedience is far more important than personal happiness has been the medium, in my own personal life, for hard choices that led into my very happiest of seasons.  She was a filled vessel, used for good purposes. I owe her a debt of gratitude.

John Piper wrote a very fine tribute to her here.  His eloquence reads better than mine.

We will feast together one day.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of his saints.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Swimming Champ

It was quite a weekend around here. I'll write more about that later. But let this serve as the announcement that hubs is the official 60 meter swim champion in our booming apartment complex:) He loves a good race and had a lot of fun.

The boys spent the weekend swimming in the separate ladies' pool, because the main one was closed for the championship.  We haven't done anything formal with Jude but he's starting to get the hang of swimming on his own.  It's so fun to watch! And Silas…the kid is as brave as they come.  He can't swim yet, but he thinks he can. Hence, the life vest. 

Here's a little video for the grandparent's sake: 

Congrats to all my swimmers! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Quiche Cup

Dinner time can get hectic around here.  Because there aren't too many prepared foods here, generally speaking, I'm looking at a minimum of an hour in the kitchen every night.  One of my goals this year is to find recipes that I can prep while the boys are in school, and just pop in the oven while we do homework or hang out.

Another factor is electricity. In a city of 10 million, with temperatures close to triple digits, let's just say there's a strain on the power lines.  I took a look at a few quiche recipes this week and almost all of them need to bake around 50 minutes.  That's a lot of power flowing from my little electric convection oven.

So I googled 'quiche in the microwave.' Wah-lah.  A really fantastic recipe that turned out to be a quick and easy meal on a night when hubs worked late.  Isn't this a beautiful little meal?

Here's the recipe from over at  www.fullthymestudent.com

1-minute Microwave Quiche in a Mug
Total time: 3 minutes
Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 1 min
Yield: 1 serving
Level: Easy

1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk (substitutes: half and half or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon melted unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
4 small grape tomatoes, halved
1/8 cup torn pieces of fresh bread
1 tablespoon grated cheese (e.g., cheddar cheese, mozzarella, etc.)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs, plus more for garnish (e.g., green onions, Italian parsley, chives, etc.)
NOTES: My microwave is only 900 watts so it took about 2.5 minutes to cook fully.  I also added some cooked, chopped spinach, strained. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


So much is ordinary in our life here. And yet so much is extraordinary.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wheatberry Salad

I was at a friend's house last week around lunch time. She offered a salad I might not have tried otherwise. It was an unexpected hit. Last night, I made it for hubs and he told me to add it to his list of favorites. Definitely a repeat in our house!  We are always in search of hearty cold dishes here, especially in the hot season. I added a loaf of homemade bread with honey, topped the salad with chicken and it was a spectacular combo. Even if you glance past the salad recipe, the Honey Mustard vinaigrette is a keeper!   Trust me on this one, and give it a whirl this summer! 

Wheatberry Salad Prep
 (Serves 4) 

Toast 2 cups wheat in a dry skillet for 4-5 minutes. Soak for one hour. Drain.  Add 4 cups of water and cook in rice cooker (I assume you could probably use a crock pot for about 4-5 hours and get the same results.) Chill. Chop 3-4 red, yellow and/or green bell peppers. Peel and cube 2-3 cucumbers and carrots. Seed and slice 3-4 tomatoes. Toss ingredients together and chill. Add cold shredded chicken to make it a hearty entree. Serve with Honey Mustard vinaigrette. 

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Mix 1/2 c olive oil, 1/3 c apple cider vinegar, 2 T Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 c honey. Add salt and pepper to taste. 



Monday, June 8, 2015

First Day of Kindergarten

We came back just in time.  Today is Jude's first official day of Kindergarten (or Pre-Primary II as they call it here).  Of course, we started the school journey pretty early around here so Kindergarten is a bit anti-climactic. But it hit me this morning that even if we were in the US, Jude would be in school this year.  We went for the Curriculum Road Map day this weekend and heard all about what the year will hold.  Apparently, it's a lot! Silas is in "reception" this year which means a pretty full day.  Jude was really excited to begin.  Silas was a little less eager but both of the boys ran inside without so much as a "see ya later, mom!"

For the first time in 3 years, I didn't have to come home and crank up a language class immediately.  Ah.  Brain freedom.  What will I do with myself? The list is long and full of things I'm really excited about in this new season! I don't think this little guy will leave me feeling too lonely around here either…

Happy First Day of Kindergarten, Jude! Here's to a new season!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Silas at Bedtime

The kid just plays until the very end....

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Cats Return

I don't recall the boys pretending to be animals much at all in the US. We've been back less than a week though and they're asking for milk bowls on the floor and meowing in response to my questions.

Anyone have a theory on why my kids turn into cats in Asia? 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

reading grace

 We're on the latter side of our recovery.  For the first time, we all slept most of the way through the night last night! And the parents are glad.  Delirium makes a house wild with three little boys.  

Jet lag has it's benefits though. You can get a lot of reading done at 3am.  I am reading two really fantastic books this week.  I'm hardly inside of them yet, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend them to you.  The opening chapters are that good.  

The first is Timothy Keller's book on work called Every Good Endeavor. If you only go to the book store and start this one, it would be worth it.  In the introduction to the material, he relates a small title by Tolkien called "Leaf by Niggle." I cannot helpfully relay the analogy to you without copying his entire chapter, so I will not try.  Stories have a certain power over me. And there are moments in reading when I sense that a story will remain in my mind, as a gracious analogy, until I am old. His retelling of "Leaf by Niggle" in this book was one of those moments.

The second book I am working on is Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the bondage of to-do lists, steps and bad advice by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick.  I confess that it is making me uncomfortable….all her talk on grace. It's a healthy kind of uncomfortable though.  I admit that often I unconsciously lean on a tidy life as a means of grace.  Here's a bit of what I read this morning that is working through my mind and heart today:

What do you boast in? Do you boast in your abilities or your wisdom or your nice home or your mad parenting skills? What gives you assurance and confidence at the end of the day? Are you pleased with yourself because you have your theological ducks in a row or because you're involved in all sorts of worthy causes?  
If we are tempted to boast about something, we can follow Paul's example and boast about our weaknesses…..It seems to me that the whole point of all the steps, lists, and bad advice we're given is to overcome any sense of weakness.  That message sells because we don't want to appear weak in our own eyes - or in anyone else's. We've forgotten the truth that Paul knew: "When I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)  
The Lord's word to you and to me is simply this: don't boast in anything you do or do not have.  Boast only in the truth that you are loved by the Lord, who poured out His just wrath on your Savior and clothed you in His righteousness.  Don't seek to commend yourself, because "it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (2 Corinthians 10:18).  
And the really wonderful but often overlooked truth is that the Lord already commends you.  Not for those things  you think are commendable, but for the sake of the Son He loves. 
Read that last line again.

Good news.  Good news. 


And all the Asian Aunties said, "those cheeks are there for a reason!" 

Let the pinching begin.