Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Very very thoughtful

This is not normally a political blog. However, I do appreciate thoughtful article that make us think. An article in Newsweek by Michael Gerson, No Cause for Hypercaution, is well worth reading, regardless of your position on Iraq. I have found myself fed up this past year, but it is always healthy to listen to both sides, as there are intelligent, well intending people on both sides who typically are arguing for different means to often similar objectives.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Ode to Lotion

Saturday night has welcomed the unwanted guest of winter. Literally, it swept through our city and took all the leaves and color with it. I came from Houston, where fall apparently migrates to in the winter, because it rarely gets cold. That with the added fact that it never dips below 98% humidity has left me in a place of naïveté. My entire life, I never understood why people put on lotion. I thought it was to smell nice and to keep your hands soft. So I tauttled off to Bath and Body Works just like all of my teenage friends and bought the latest multi-fruited varieties of lotion. I got them for Christmas, birthdays and just because. All the time, having NO idea what function they serve outside of my humid hometown. I have now resided in Boston and China, where both are extremely dry in the winter. I have found myself tossing the Cucumber-Melon, for the grandma brands like Luberderm (where they don’t even try to make it SOUND pretty). I have had to discover lotion because my skin is in dire need. It’s staging a revolt.

Why the sweet nothings about lotion, you ask?! Because I am always looking out for the things I’ve been missing all my life. I like to cling onto the things that officially categorize me as an “adult”. And I think using Luberderm lotions is just ONE of those very things.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Foggy Epiphany

I just got back from taking the kids to school and doing a little
exercise. While out, I had an epiphany.

Both yesterday and today have been blanketed with fog. Maybe 25 ft.
of visibility. While I was walking today, I was led to have the
following thoughts:

I am being passed by bicycles and motorcycles on both sides of me.
As I watch them pass, their image soon trails off and they enter into
seeming nothingness. Their riding is slow and oblivious to what is
around them. And all I see is hundreds of people riding one by one
slowly into the fog only to disappear forever. As I was watching
this, I had the eery reminder of why we call this place home.
Because that is exactly what is happening. Slow, uninterrupted travel
into eternal nothingness. I also saw one young man with his glasses
pulled up to his forehead. Because maybe if he used something to
help him see clearly, it would fog up where he really wanted to go.
Others darted in front of cars they didn't see. They had no idea
what kind of danger awaited them right around the corner. And yet
they all keep riding.

I want to interrupt the riding. To clear the fog and make clear
paths. Some will choose to ride with their glasses pulled up to
their forehead and others will stop to look around for a clearing.
Whatever the person, I am to interrupt the travel.

Choose to interrupt someone's "travel" today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homemade Pop Tarts

A friend of mine sent this to me and I've had several requests to pass the recipe along. These tasted really good. Our family preferred the brown sugar, but both were great! We put food coloring in the frosting and put sprinkles on top. A fun cold day activity.


8 T. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
1 lg. egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)(I didn't put this in 'cause I don't have it, and it was fine)
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. milk

Fruit Filling:
1 ¼ c. jam
¼ c. flour

Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Filling:
6 T. soft butter
3 T. flour
¾ c. light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

2 ½ T. water or milk
1 ¼ c. powdered sugar
Colored sprinkles for decoration

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
Blend flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Alternately add flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, beating the dough until it's well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight. (Mine chilled for 10 min…didn't have time)
Before removing from refrigerator, prepare fillings. Mix jam and flour together. Mix all brown sugar ingredients until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide dough into quarters. Roll out each piece separately on lightly floured work surface. 12-8 inch rectangle, 1/16 inch thick. Cut into 8 3x4 inch pieces.
Place on lightly greased baking sheet. With a pastry brush or your finger, lightly moisten the outside edge of each rectangle. Spread slightly more than 1 T. of filling onto each rectangle, leaving about a 1/8 inch border all the way around.
Place tops of top of bottoms. Seal each tart with fork dipped into flour. Prick top of each tart 10-12 times with toothpick.
Bake 18-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Transfer to rack to cool
Frost and sprinkle.

Best eaten within a day or two of when they're made.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It was recently pointed out to us that the first ones listed to be thrown into the Lake of Fire in Revelation 21:8 are “the cowardly”. Wow…if this doesn’t make all of us all examine ourselves in order to find where we have been ashamed or afraid to share the good news of Christ, or when we have not loved others radically at the cost of our pride or expense, then nothing will.

In our day, when so many of our Christian leaders want to make everyone like them in order to grow a big church, (contrary to the fact that Jesus himself said everyone would hate his people), this passage is deeply challenging, saying to us, “Speak up!”

xiao bao bei

"xiao bao bei" means "small treasures." We are considering these to be the things our kids say that are priceless. We'll add them from time to time to our blog because they just say so many things that are cute and often times convicting.

"The clock is not our boss." "Mommy and Daddy are."


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Burma and subtle genocide

We have a friend who is a research specialist on the Southeast Asian subcontinent (i.e. Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, etc…). He informed us of a subtle strategy of “acceptable genocide” that the Burmese Junta have undertaken. They have taken leaders from minority group communities and expelled them to other majority group locations. In their place, the government has sent in majority group leaders and a substantial population of majority people, creating inter-ethnic marriages with the minority group women. This being done across the country over time, slowly minority groups are dieing out, being replaced by the majority ethnic group. In essence, genocide is happening through relocations using political and economic policy. Yet this goes unnoticed by the world. Such a strategy is being used elsewhere in the world. We know of another country in the region that has long occupied another people group’s region. Their strategy has been manifold. Through economic and political strategy, through flooding the population with the majority people, they have also tried to “westernize” it so that their customs and national identity become diluted to mere “culture”, in the same way that many people in America think of Christmas as centering on Santa or Easter as a celebration primarily of Easter eggs. In the present state of world affairs, no country demands the moral high ground in the eyes of the rest of the world in order to rebuke such a regime. Pray for Burma.

On this note, we too should beware. Brutal pagan governments can be more shrewd than the Church, for how often we become so infatuated with our culture that we cease being authentic Christians and wear Christianity as a sort of social badge. In fact, we then are killing ourselves! Who needs enemies?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

Why Money Doesn't Buy Happiness
Actually, a well thought out, researched article, not merely some conjecture with a few anecdotes.

Crazy Trip Home!

If you've been journeying with our family for any time now, you know we do the airplane thing rather frequently. And everytime in my small faith, I get anxious and freaked out about traveling with all of our children. And I often refer to our traveling as an episode of the "Beverly Hillbillies." Well, everytime we are sent what we call our "traveling angels, " just to prove to me that my worry is in vain. This time our angels came in the form of the Iraqi National Soccer Team.

Our trip to Thailand was defined by food poisoning. Thank Goodness, on the way home, Kesed was the only one who threw up and it was on me, so no big deal. We flew all the way home with the entire Iraqi soccer team. Although we couldn't communicate, they were wonderful with our kids. They played and held and were very attentive with our kids. Brad and I both felt an overwhelming desire to apologize for what has happened to their country. All we could do was smile and offer warm pleasantries. Curse the Tower of Babel and therefore our lack of ability to communicate.

We then hopped in the car that we had hired to take us back home. It was actually a van and a car this time. We all piled in and were off in just a few minutes of arriving at the airport. We stopped after about 30 minutes of driving to take off the license plates. This is fairly normal (albeit illegal, I'm sure) so this doesn't surprise us. So we get to the first of three toll booths. The van paid to go through and we gunned it past the toll guard. That was followed by peacock-esque squealing and yelling as we sped away and wove through traffic. But no license plate means no being caught. Our driver is FLYING down the road and we are seatbeltless. He shaved about an hour off the time it usually takes to get us home.

Tollbooth #2: Pull up to tollbooth and looked for closed booths to go through. None were open so we did a u-turn on the highway and headed down some side road to avoid aforementioned toll. On the way, almost being careened into by a truck carrying shredded paper.

Tollbooth #3: Both van and car find a large bus to get behind and we coat tail it through, therefore, avoiding the fee of all 3 tolls.

There was also a random stop on the side of the road to exchange something and then continue on. Tired and dirty, we walk into our apt. to find our electricity has been turned off. Candles it is for two days. But we're back to normal now and started back at school today.

We got a laugh out of all of this as we both exclaimed "we're home." The moralessness of this place was a reminder of why we are here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Going Home!

Well, we received Kesed's passport and visa this week and we will be returning home on Sat! It's been a whirlwind week, but we are excited to be going back. As we have started thinking about going home, we have realized just how inadequate we are.

Inadequate to learn the language

Inadequate to build relationships that are fruitful

Inadequate to love our children as they should be

This is really not a pity party, but a full realization that there is nothing we can do in ourselves that will bring fruition to our days. It's only through the movement of the Spirit in us and in our lives that will allow us to be a part of anything good. He is good and has continued to show that to us, daily. So we travel back to our city, hoping that we have furniture and that our apartment hasn't been ransacked by theives. But we've got our kids and our laptops and everything else is expendable :).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Elephant Park

We got to go to the Maesa Elephant Camp last week and here are a few pics. Thailand is famous for their elephants. They used to be workers, moving huge logs and helping in construction, but they are now trying to preserve the species and therefore have outlawed a lot of the work the elephants are allowed to do. We have been here before and really appreciated how well kept the elephants were. Brad got a call on his cell right before he and the kids finished their elephant ride. The guy said "hey man, are you busy?" Brad replied "well, I'm on an elephant right now."

He and the kids got to have a 30 min. ride around the park. The kids loved it!!

Charis....not so much. This was a majority of her elephant park experience. She actually fed one a banana towards the end of the day. But mostly it was spent in the arms of this sweet woman.

The elephants put on a show where they play soccer, throw darts, play harmonicas and paint these beautiful pictures. Some even sell for hundreds of dollars.

Here are the elephants taking a bath. This is one of the babies peering up at onlooking tourists. They also have these poor women who stand down rivere with large baskets, catching whatever the elephants decide to "drop" in. Think your job is rough?!

Here's Selah and Malachi feeding them sugar cane and bananas. We did an impromptu lesson on elephants where we made masks, read about them online and talked about their possible extinction. The next day we spent the entire morning feeding, watching and riding them. It was really a blast.

Kesed's Baby Shower

We were blessed with a sweet baby shower on Wed. We celebrated with some friends who also just had a baby. To get to have a baby shower for #4 is such a treat. He got some non-hand-me-down clothes, towels, diapers and some other wonderful things.

Here's Malachi after sweating outside and playing with some friends.

So after much pouting about having to come to Thailand to birth, we've realized that it has been a real ministry to our family. We've had tons of fellowship, help with the kids, and western food (we even had a week of meals made for us post birth!). It's been a much needed break for us and we thank everyone here who has been such a blessing to us.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


So I've officially broken the youth barrier and am comfortably sitting in the world of 30. Never in my "where do you see yourself in 10 years" high school questioning, did I see me as a homeschooling mother of 4 who just gave birth in Thailand and was waiting to return back to her CHINA. Funny how the Lord works. But life is good and I wouldn't want it any other way.

My sweet husband had some friends watch our kids while he took me out on Sunday for the ol' birthday. We ate at Mike's...a hamburger joint filled with anti-Bush cartoons and edgy humor, but the best onion rings we've had. Either hemisphere. So we downed some burgers, fries and onion rings with a diet coke on ICE! That's one thing I miss from TX is the vastly oversized drinks and tons of ice.

Then we strolled through the Sunday night market. I love outdoor markets, to smell the foods of vendors and incense from nearby temples, watch the sellers try and make a buck, listen to the street performers....perfect. I also got to buy my birthday gift there: 2 beautiful skirts and two necklaces, all for a total of 8 bucks.

Then it's off to Starbucks....the real Motherland. It's a 3 floor Starbucks by the way. And here's the best of it: I had to wait for a decaf and the manager felt bad so she brought us a free green tea frappacino and 2 coupons for free drinks another time. It was a wonderful night spent with my two boys: Brad and Kesed.
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