Thursday, February 25, 2016

When the world doesn't change

Some moments are seared on my mind.   There was this random conversation years ago that runs through my mind every now and then. I'll never forget the way words struck me. It's been rolling through with force lately.

I was at my grandmother's house. We have pretty infamous cousin dinners on occasion. They are full of old stories, hilarious re-tellings of childhood woes, and wandering out to the pasture together. Usually someone brings some sort of weapon out for a showing or a tractor is unlocked for the little ones to climb inside.  It's a very "country" part of my life that I treasure.  On this particular day, my cousin, who serves in the Navy, had come into town.  Between his travels and mine, I don't think we'd seen each other in a few years. We were never particularly chatty, even when we were wandering the hills together long ago. We laughed about how long it had been and said hello. I had been working at an orphanage in Africa and had recently returned. I feel sure I was expecting the next question to be something about when I would finally find a boyfriend or get married, as was the usual course in cousin-questioning. 

 Instead, he turned to me and asked, in his southern drawl with a knowing smile on his face, 

"Well. Have you changed the world yet?" 

It was one of those moments that forced reality upon me.  If I had learned anything from looking into the faces of HIV orphans and impoverished widows, it was that the world and all it's suffering would not be easily moved. Sometimes the bleakness is overwhelming.  I have wandered around in third world countries for several more years now, in very good company. The arms are strong on the side of good.  And yet, the headlines in the newspaper still make me bow my head.  The streets that I drive past make me shudder. I hunger for a better world.  The children with their hands on my window in the middle of the intersection still make my heart break a little every time. 

Sometimes, it just doesn't feel like the world is changing. At least not for good. The headlines look worse. The poverty more grievous.  The research despairing. I can see the reality of it out my car window every single day. 

I read these words by Oswald Chambers this week.  I read them amid headlines that will make you weep and sorrows that seem inexplicable.  I read them amid a world that seems so stubborn to change its' ways of sorrow and shame. It is the summation of our hope.  

Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of  letting go and falling.  Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered.  Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated.  Also, our fear is that the very thing our Lord stood for - love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men - will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us.  Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that  God will never be defeated. 
- (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Feb 22)

Take heart friends. In the end, good wins.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Miscellany

Hello, friends! Why not start the week off with a lot of random tidbits from our life lately? I haven't done this in a while and there are some things you should probably know.

1. We hit the triple digits on Sunday. Yes. The big 1-0-0! It's hardly even summer.  Basically, this is the equivalent to Memphis hitting 95 on the first day of May.  All indicators point to a really, really hot summer around here.  They are predicting we'll peak around 120 degrees this year. When that happened last summer, up North, the pavement started melting.  I read about it in the newspaper.  Maybe this year I'll see it for myself.  What a summer pastime to look forward to, huh?

2. I feel the irony of this next tidbit.  We joined the pool on Friday.  And the boys were so cold, they could only swim for 20 minutes.  (It was only about 90 at the time.) Isn't it funny how cold can be such a relative term?

3. Asher has taken to eating my deodorant.  It's a terrible compulsion.  He just can't seem to stop himself.  Immediately after he takes a bite, he starts wailing inconsolably. This happens every.single.time.  Deodorant does not taste good.  Apparently, the elasticity of his memory is still forming.  After a dramatic morning due to the deodorant, I decided to move it to a higher cabinet.  Let's hope that will be the end of it.

4. Speaking of Asher, he'll turns the big ONE this Saturday! Today he stood up, hands free.  I'm hoping for a few first steps to celebrate the occasion.

5. Remember that vaccine I got last week? Apparently, it was mis-administered.  Inter-muscular didn't translate to the shot-giver.  I grew a third elbow (seriously) and had to do without much use in one arm for a couple of days.  Otherwise, everything seems to be ok.  I won't exactly say that my confidence in the medical care around here was boosted through the experience though.

6. Hubs has some sort of throat infection.  He can hardly talk.  And guess what? He had a training scheduled for this week.  And he's the main presenter. We'll see how that goes for him.  It might turn into more of a multi-media presentation than he originally thought it would be.

7. My miscellany has to end on the heat.  It is the main theme in my head right now.  There are three things that I like about the hot season.  I will repeat them to myself for the next 4 months. (1) I like mangos.  And I saw the first (very raw) mangos at the fruit stand yesterday! (2) All the mosquitos die.  And since mosquitos love to bite me, this is a major life bonus in the hot season.  I've already noticed a significant decrease.  (3) The trees that I love will soon burst with fiery flowers.  They fascinate me. The hotter it gets, the redder they bloom.  I'll show you a picture soon.

And on that note, I'll end this ramble.

Happy Monday to you!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throw Back

Asher was sick on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I had to get my immunizations up to date.  I've had a fever and sore arm ever since.  I will henceforth be more sympathetic when my boys get their shots. 

Since the week's been a bit of a bust so far, let's just flash back to the weekend and throw up a few pictures of fun.  

Here's to a fever free tomorrow! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Worm

My little introvert just found that quiet, exciting world that is full of friends and adventures. I LoVe watching him learn to love books!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Skip on over my blog today and link up to this article on a photo project on the inside of taxis in a big South Asian city.  Wow.

I love these images. 

I'm not much for coffee table books.  But this would totally make the cut for me!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Crash

A few weeks shy of his first birthday, Asher has eight teeth and weighs 23 lbs. He also has a habit of trying to crawl while nursing.

It's time for him to move forward in life.  Weaning underway.

He isn't taking it so well.  Currently, he's biting my face and arms a lot to let me know that he would prefer to eat me more than a bottle and the carrots on his tray. We're pressing onward.

As for me, by baby #3 I anticipated the reaction.  That actually does make it easier, but still not that fun.  When I stop nursing, my hormones fall into a sort of insane plummet.  And so do my emotions.  It's like happy crashes and I wake up for a few weeks wondering why on earth everything is so terribly sad. (Or worse, annoying.)

Silas, at three, is currently working a lot on self-control. (It usually involves some sort of Lightening McQueen denial.) I am joining him this week. Feelings are overrated in times like this.  Fixed truths are our friends. We're plodding on.  Hopefully, another week or two and some of the crazy will pass.

In the mean time, this little guy is growing up fast.   For the most part, he's the strong and silent type.  But when he does have something to say, he says it with gusto.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Have I told you lately that I love the local breakfast? It's really a wonderful part of life here. My obsession has gotten so severe that on Saturdays, when hubs makes pancakes, I still order peanut chutney for myself. Here's a little sampler platter from our spot this weekend. 

Trust me. Delicious! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Honor & Squabble

I have been listening to a seminar entitled Mother's Law by one of my favorite young mom writers, Rachel Jankovic.  I love that she talks more about the theology behind mothering, than the actual mechanics of a day.  It is helping me to work out some of the mechanics better in my own little world. 

One of the lessons for me as I've listened to her talk (and seen her writing) is the impact of the use of story in parenting.  I might be a little more tuned into this because of my recent interest in the Read Aloud Revival podcast. I've been thinking more about how story shapes us.  And what a tremendous medium it has been in my own life for deep truths to take root.  

So I've been experimenting a bit with the boys as we work through some issues in the brotherhood.  We're going through a season when it just seems so much harder to get along.  The love is intense, but so are the squabbles. "Live peaceably" is pretty much the verse of the month around here. One of the ways we're dialoguing about living in unity is through two friends we created.  Their names are Honor and Squabble.  Yesterday Squabble threw an all out fit over a purple striped sock. It was outrageous. And the boys loved it.  It's opening up good conversation and reminders for us, without the feeling that I'm nagging or preaching a lot.

Here's the start up story for Honor and Squabble. I have a feeling they are going to be our story-friends for a long time yet.

There once were two young knights.  Their names were Honor and Squabble.  Both of the young knights were very good at fighting.  And they had ample opportunity in their land for there were many wars raging.  However, they tended to fight about different things.  

Squabble was inclined to playground arguments about trifles.  He preferred a good fight over who had thrown the sand into a baby’s hair as much as a rift over who had reached the finish line first in a grand race among the boys. If someone took his favorite spoon at dinner, Squabble might fly into a rage and even shed tears. He didn’t mind to get a fellow in trouble either, he was as good at starting fights for others as he was finishing them up himself.  If someone bonked into another boy, and they both seemed not to notice, Squabble was quick to point it out and make sure that everyone felt the seriousness of it.  

Honor, on the other hand, preferred to save his strength for a different kind of fight.  Once, when his brother crashed his cycle, he rode as fast as he could to untangle him from the wreckage.  He helped him up and gave him a kind word to lift his spirits.  His mother needed him to save her from the distress of a diaper-change gone awry, so he fought his way through the living room forest to find her the wet wipes.  Once, he was tempted to lie so that he could win a game.  But, knowing that it takes more courage to tell the truth, he admitted that he had landed on the terrible, sinking snake. He took last place in the game but felt he could shake hands with dignity in the end. If ever anyone needed help, no matter how difficult, they knew they could rely on Honor.  

So it went that the boys fought on, in their own ways, until they were men. The fights looked a little different when they had grown up, but in some ways, they were very much the same. 

A Dawkins Girl

A brief glance at that little cousin picture will tell you that the Dawkins clan is heavily stacked with boys. 

This week there was a delightful upset in the trend.  David's sister just welcomed a little lady into the crew. We couldn't be happier to have a bit more pink in the family photos in years to come. We all know Grammar was praying hard for this extra bit of sweetness in our rowdy crew!

Welcome to the family, sweet girl! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hey, Mom!

We were rushing off to the neighborhood shop the other day for bread. Silas was with me. I was pushing the stroller like a woman on a mission, thinking about lunches for the next day and the growing list of chores to complete before bedtime. 

Silas tugs at my arm. 

 His face squints into the biggest grin he can muster.  Then he says, as if it might be the best news I've ever heard:

"Hey, mom, I'm smiling at you!!!"

It takes me a few minutes to realize that the only response he wants, is for me to smile back at him. 

Life lessons, 101.