Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
“Journal every day!” My mom told me this after I told her about my discoveries lately. “It'll be a waste if you don't! Even if you only get in two sentences a day, journal every day!” She's right, with a man like mine, there will be plenty to write about.
About my discoveries, I've been reading Debi Pearls, Created To Be His Helpmeet. It's been freeing and challenging. I think one thing that really blessed me about reading it was the fact that she speaks right to the desires of my heart—really, the life she's calling women to is a life of doing the things that God has built into us to desire to do. There's really nothing I rather do other than being a good wife and mother.
She talks about three different kinds of men. My man would be who she would call, Mr. Visionary. Visionary men tend to be intensely focused on one thing at a time, yet easily distracted. Here's a bit of what she said that really says it well. “Visionary Man will take the trash out if he remembers it. But, he may also end up inventing a way whereby the trash takes itself out or is turned into an energy source, or he may just waste a lot of time building a cart for you to take it out. He will not mind cleaning up if he notices it needs doing, but he may get so deeply involved that he decides to paint while he is sweeping, and then switch projects before he gets finished painting. And he will likely be irritated when his wife nags him about it.” That is so my man!
Visionary men are “adventure men,” who seek out the world's problems to solve them. They are constantly moving from one project, and/or location, to the next. Debbie says to get on board and enjoy the ride. That's what I needed to hear.
The idea of moving to the other side of the city has seemed big and scary to me. But I've been beginning to realize that I need focus on the things that are exciting to me, count my blessings, and, well, get on board! That's what Debbie's book made me realize even more. “Enjoy the ride,” Debbie says.
So that's why Mom says I need to journal. Because it will be a ride. And Debbie says to cultivate joy—so we shall have a joyful ride.
About my “ride” this week. Dru was sick with a bad cold and sore throat. It hampered his abilities to work very well, but he pushed through. I'm never sure if I should tell him to go lay down and sleep for a while...or what. Then I got the stuff. Today I felt much better but have a breast infection, or something like that. Which put me out of commission and now my house is falling down around my ears.
Mae Wahn came up to hold Jube this evening and we discussed lots of things and I actually enjoyed myself. Sometimes, and shame on me, I feel threatened and unsociable when she comes up but it's all my own fault and it's one of the things I need to get over so that I can “enjoy the ride.” She told me one especially interesting thing. She has been having a hard time keeping her hired help. She told me that it's because some of them don't like the idea of Mae Wahn washing the farang's (that is, the IGo student's) underwear. In Thailand it's generally considered poor etiquette to take your underwear to the launderer but Mae Wahn over looked this breach and happily washes the underwear by just throwing them in the wash machine. The farangs didn't know any better and Mae Wahn, needing friendship and business, didn't say anything. I've asked her about it before and she didn't mind, and she still does it, not minding. But she works very hard because she can't get consistent help. Yet she told me, as best as I can translate, “The IGo students are my children. I can wash their underwear and mend their clothes.” Truly, they are some of her closest friends here—and sometimes, I think, her only friends. But she can't seem to explain that to her hired helpers.
I wonder if her Thai helpers feel awkward with her relationship with the farangs. They really aren't used to friendship with no strings attached. All relationships are based on the status of the individuals involved and the individuals in a relationship are generally never equal. Someone is always indebted to the other. But Mae Wahn is soaking in the love and reciprocating in the ways she knows how...this year she's even gone to see people off at the airport a couple of times, and out to eat with them.
After our chat, in which we also discussed Joy's grandmother dying without knowing Jesus—in which she really listened, she left. Later she came back with supper for us from KFC. What a wonderful friend! We talked some more over supper and afterwards, we showed her the difference between a chain saw and a timber harvester and talked about the dangers of the logging profession.
So that, my dears, was the ride for the week—so far. Tomorrow Kris flies back to the states and we have a Christmas party in the evening at IGo for the community. Then Sunday there is another Christmas party on Sunday with the CMCC people—a men's party and a women's, happening simultaneously. Monday is the Christmas party with the children at CMCC... There's a wedding Christmas Eve that we can't decide if we should go to or not. Christmas Day evening Craig's and all the loose singles will be here. I think that's all of the parties coming up.
So Merry Christmas to you all. And in the spirit of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone!”
Friday, December 11, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
It's Father's Day in Thailand. I cried a year ago when our church at CMCC had their Father's Day service. The little girls sang a song for their dads. Pii Noom dedicated a song to his dad, Pastor Kiat. And I cried, and cried, and cried. I was suddenly so hopelessly homesick and missing my own dad.
- Saturday mornings when we were slow and getting out of bed he'd offer to, "Sing to you." This offer would occasionally come while were driving down the road, but often it was associated with waking us up.
- One summer he bought a big orange boat and we fished often all summer long. I will always remember that summer as very special.
- When I found myself in a situation where I simply didn't know what to do and emotions would muddle things, he would help me step back and look at the big picture.
- Once when Jenny and I were in the thick of our teens my mom was concerned about us in relation to the guy friends in our lives. I'm not sure what all was involved in that, but I remember that Dad was going to take us out for supper to talk about it. The subject was brought up, Dad spoke about two or three sentences on the subject, and that was it. Jenny and I sort of giggle about that. Apparently that was all that was needed because we're both happily married and neither of us have scars from our past that I know of.
- Dad had a way of asking for a hamburger at the most inconvenient times. Usually on Sunday evening I believe. Us girls would have a way of trying to skillfully evade him when he was starting to show signs of hunger. We preferred not to be the chosen cook.
- Or he would do his own cooking...that usually happened on Sunday morning...
- Dad was the one who let me go to school that last year. I was going go home school with the rest of them, but I begged really sweetly and he gave in.
- My siblings still say he has a way of listening if I beg really sweetly...
- It could be late at night and he might be tired, but if one us children said we needed to have a private chat with Mom and Dad, he'd take time for it.
- He had absolutely no time for lying. He hated being lied to and would have none of it in his children. I am so grateful for that. He is a man of truth.
- Being a man of truth he also "cuts to the chase" to use his own words. He says what he means and means what he says.
- Dad was "there" for me even when I taught school in Idaho. I specifically remember when the church choir was going on tour and I was exhausted and had a cold. I did not want to go and felt like I had a lot of pressure to go. He told me I wasn't allowed to go. Wow!!!
- Home was safe. Always.
- Once someone, I think it was my Grandpa Sid, asked Dad how he raised such a nice family. He said it was by the grace of God. It's true, Mom and Dad weren't perfect, but yet they depended on the Lord and now all of their children are walking with Him. And now I look at my own short comings and a potentially big scary future and realize too that it shall be by the grace of God that Dru and I can bring up Jubilant for the Lord. Hearing my dad say that, humbly, to Grandpa had an unforgettable impact on me.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Hans Mast, the famous person himself, brought me six boxes of mint tea. Now he is my hero too. But I didn’t start this post to talk about Hans Mast. It’s about tea. Since being over here I haven’t really had real live mint tea. I’ve had mint flavored black tea which just isn’t the same at all. So when Hans asked Dru if he could bring anything over I ordered up some tea. I wasn’t really expecting six lovely boxes of it but here it is and I’m not complaining.
I miss my tea pots and cups back in the mini barn in Wisconsin. When my sister, Frank, along with some friends hosted a tea party at my mom’s house a while ago, I told them to go out and get my tea things and use them. I really don’t want them hauled over here because they might break and that would make me sad. So if my mom and sisters pull my things out to use every now and then so they don’t get lonely, it will make it okay.
I wonder if my little sister-in-law realized that she was using the tea cup I got from my step-great-aunt Ruthie Schrock for my graduation present.
Around the time I turned sixteen I was at a hockey game and couldn’t figure out why Mom wanted me to come home so bad. But I came. Here she had bought me my birthday present of a tea pot and four cup and saucers. They aren’t china, but they’re me, and I suppose that set is what I miss most. They will be facing a long cold winter alone in the mini barn.
There was one set they couldn’t seem to find. It was a tea for one set—the one I got from Shilah when I was in Idaho teaching school. I guess that would have been for my twentieth birthday. That one is also a beautiful set. I wonder where it is—probably in a bin somewhere.
Pastor Kiat came over and drank tea this morning out of my set from Fern. It is a different sort of tea set. In fact, I had it displayed on the top of my cabinets for a long time and this is the first time it was actually in use. I had Dru crawl up and get it for me and now it is down where I can put it to use. So if you come to my house I will serve you tea from an orange and green tea pot.
Shouldn’t every woman have a tea pot in use? Maybe when I get big I will have a tea kettle too, but not today. I will just boil water in a regular kettle and pour it into the tea pot. That will work for now.
All my pots and cups have stories. I didn’t show you the two tea cups from Pastor Kiat and Mae Pahn (his wife) either. When I am old and grey, I wonder how many stories I will have to tell. I suppose not all of my tea set stories will be happy ones. There will be bitter-sweet memories and maybe even sad ones. But that’s okay. Life is like that.
Oh, and not all of my tea is going to be made to hot tea. I’m enjoying iced tea. Thailand is a warm country most of the time, so I like drinking my tea cold for now.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I was feeding Jube on the couch last night when I saw and heard fireworks RIGHT outside my kitchen window. Upon investigating later, I discovered holes in the screen and the tell tale red stick on the window ledge. It had gotten caught between the window slats and the screen. There was ash dust on my counter this morning.
It seems everything about this holiday involves fire hazards. Fire works go off all over the city for nights in a row. There doesn't seem to be any rules about who is allowed to light what size of fireworks. They send up lanterns, hundreds and hundreds of them. They make pretty, red lights in the night sky, but they come down and get caught in the high lines. And they float these pretty little boats down the river with some sort of flame on them.
So it's pretty enough--but oh, the noise! Our neighbors out the back don't only let off lots and lots of fire works, they also play their music so loudly that we can listen to it comfortably, whether or not we want to. But like Dru says, "I really can't complain, it's their holiday." So it is. I'm not complaining either.
When the Thai people play, they play hard. It's lots of water at one holiday and lot's of fire at another. At least nobody can say they don't know how to have fun.
But oh, I severely dislike bottle rockets!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thailand, my dear friends, is still quite warm. I'm looking forward to the day when it is cold in the mornings and remains that way for the majority of the day. I have discovered that my baby sleeps better in the afternoons if I take him down to the A/C. There I either take a nap with him, or Dru can keep an ear open for him while he works at the computer. I can go back upstairs and work.
Dru is feeling quite positive about how his studies for classes, which start next week, are coming along. Yesterday though he woke me from my nap to explain with some frustration that his computer was not keeping up and was locked up again. He is a man who can set a record at how many computer pages and tabs, etc, he has to have open at once. Right now he is down negotiating with one of the students. His laptop is much like mine but crashed and Dru's hoping to buy it off of him and we'll put the two together and that will give us something to hobble along on.
After he woke me yesterday and told me that it was 2:30 already, I realized that the bread probably wouldn't get baked and I'd be lucky to get my dishes done. But then Kathy and her girls came over and the girls swept my house and did my large stack of dishes while I made a rather large batch of bread. Heather was rather amazed that my baby slept through the noise of the vacuum sweeper. Sarah had just got back from a ministry trip and told us all about it--they had a really good time. Kathy sat at my kitchen table. Kathy, the dear lady, has some rather serious back pain these days. Right now she limps about with the help of a purple cane.
And then in the end Dru and I took
supper over for the Brownes so we all got to visit some more. Duff's are going to be going back to the states for a couple of months and I am not looking forward to their absence very much at all. They've become family for us.
My baby is much happier now that we both got the salad worked out of our systems. The poor child. I enjoyed it but I guess he didn't much. He's a very good baby--but he's especially good when I don't eat lettuce and peppers. So maybe, as Gabe suggested, I should stick to bananas. I should be offended at Gabe's insinuation, but can't quite get that way.
My baby is about to go from wearing newborn clothing to the next size up. He really is going to be a chunky little baby here pretty soon. He's the cutest little boy there is, I promise. But you all know all that already.
And now I should stop rambling and go do my dishes. There are ants in the sink and on the table. Yeah, I still have ants. But I also have bleach, ant poisoning, and ant spray. I am generally victorious in the end. They always revisit I suppose, but I've killed more of them then they have of me, if you know what I mean.
Okay, the baby is calling me. Goodbye
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The baby is doing very well. After a month of being a family, we've all decided that we like it. Dru was up with him for a while last night, but he settled--the baby that is, well then Dru did too I guess. Like all babies, he sleeps a lot. He's also becoming a little bit of a Mama baby, which I kind of get a kick out of right now.
As a couple we're still thinking and praying and dreaming about direction for our future here. Dru has a meeting with Val right now. But we're not letting it bother us and we're learning to rest. Dru's also studying to teach, and that starts next week. So I have him at home all week which is really nice.
Finally, some pictures of my baby:
So that's my life right now. I'm happy. Who wouldn't be, with such a wonderful man and sweet baby?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
He’s cute, if I may say so myself! Jubilant Dean Lattin. Seven pounds, fifteen ounces. And he’s all mine and I’m the only person in the world that he really cares about right now. That’s an amazing feeling. Okay, so he tolerates his dad as well—but I still like being his favorite person.
People like to say he smiles. It’s pretty adorable when he does but I’m strongly suspicious that his smiles are directly related to condition of his stomach. Grimaces, Dru calls them. Smiles or no, his facial expressions are fun. Even at one and a half weeks he has his own little personality.
Dru is eyeing the diaper stack that I accumulated from my baby shower with growing concern. He speaks of rationing diapers to three a day. I’m sure he’s secretly wishing that cloth diapers were an option. I’m so thankful to his mother-in-law for assuring him that they weren’t.
Nursing has gone really, really well for this first time mom and I just have to thank God. I did take a little bit to get the hang of it and I can’t say that everything is totally comfortable, but I’m not in pain, the baby’s healthy and getting his fill. So I have to thank God for that—and my mom; for praying.
Everything about my daily life has changed it seems. All of the changes are good, so far as I can tell. One of the biggest changes is myself. Not only is my tummy back down to almost the size it would normally be, I feel good about myself. I was afraid I’d never feel beautiful again, no matter how much Dru told me I was. I wondered if romance would ever be fun again. But everything’s much better now that Jubilant is here. Even my food tastes good again—I didn’t quite believe my mom when she told me it would again as soon as the baby was born. In fact, it’s like someone turned the light on in side of me. I think I like being a woman after all.
So I’m a mom in
So I’m very happy right now. Happy for being able to feel like me again and happy for the two wonderful men in my life. Happy in the adventure my life seems to be turning out to be. Happy because God is good.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Today, I took my baby blanket downstairs to work on it. Mae Wahn had said she wanted to help me finish it. Of course, she can sew faster and neater than I can.
And after a while Dru came home and I began to get tired--nap time you know--so she sent me back upstairs to rest, and wouldn't even let me pick up my mess of blanket batting, etc. She wanted to know if it was okay if she'd take it home with her tonight and finish it. I let her.
I told her that these pictures were for my mom in America. I explained to her how my mom is glad for her because she can't be here to mother me herself. She said, "Tell her it's okay." Mae Wahn loves to mother me.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Other than "zooing" we went to the "other" mall which is bigger. And we ate out a couple times. And read books. And went swimming--the pool was about 10 steps out our back door. We found this to be very convenient and I hope nobody minds that we just hopped over the shrubs and rocks to get there rather than go around on the sidewalks. Oh, and we ate peanut butter, nutella, and cheese on crackers. We didn't watch any movies because we couldn't and I don't care a bit.
Sigh...what a lovely 3 days. All who are jealous say "I."
Thursday, August 20, 2009
They prayed for me as I want to be able to have the energy and health I needed to get stuff done before baby time. I realized tonight that the answer to both of those prayers just might be different than I thought they’d be—but that will be best anyway. For example: I had a whole bunch of food I needed processed and put in the freezer for meals for my man and I when the baby was here and I wasn’t always up to cooking. I was thinking hot dishes to pull out of the freezer. This afternoon I asked my man to help with the project. As usual, he was happy to help. He had a relatively “free” afternoon so spent half of it working on class prep for November and then gave me some time too. Everything hit the freezer like I wanted it to—but not in finished hot dish form. But it’s there, and I occurred to me that now my man is free to throw together whatever concoction he wants to and he’ll even enjoy it that way. So, why all the fretting?
They prayed for me and my frustrating ants. Dru came home with three different forms of ant killer. We had fun killing ants in the bathroom. Now I’m wondering if some of the ants that were bugging me in the kitchen were living behind the tile in the bathroom. I don’t know, but hey, we started on the project and I think if we keep after them consistently, we’ll be okay.
I’m very much feeling these days like I’ll be happy when the baby comes, but tonight I’m happy with him being in his little “hole” for another month. It’s my one last month with just me and my man until they’re all married and gone again. Long ways away, but from everything I hear, time flies and “they’re grown before you know it.”
God bless you all so much. Thanks again to those of you I got to hear again and see on webcam. Thanks Clark for adjusting the camera on that end so I could see faces better.
And here’s something to leave you all with. It’s been a huge blessing to read out of Proverbs the last couple of days. I’ve been reading the chapter with the day and making sure I don’t cheat and read the next day’s chapter…
I ask for wisdom. I confess that I am all weakness without You. I desire wisdom though it may bring shame to find what is true; wisdom when it hurts to understand and hard to obey.
I ask for wisdom to use the mind You have given me—for Your thoughts are higher than mine.
I ask for wisdom to live in the fear of You; to daily abide.
I ask for wisdom to walk humbly; yet wisdom that I might be a blessing.
I ask for wisdom for without it I am lost and am only folly and self-gratification.
I ask for wisdom so I can glorify You.
Wisdom: to live, to speak, to walk, to share, to be, to die. To glorify you.
And I guess that truly is where I’m at and what I need in my life right now. Thank God for His wisdom!
Once again, I had a collage of pictures to upload and the internet is bad... :(
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I’m sure that as a responsible adult I should be able to refrain from spending a half hour on face book a day—I really have no clue how much time I spent on it yesterday, which is a good sign that I spent too much time on it. Today I have decided that I simply will not go there. I have refrained so far from signing in and will continue to do so. There, now I’m accountable; I won’t be going on facebook today.
I have this theory that my temptation wouldn’t be so great if I would hear from my friends more often. I haven’t got a real, live, decent, newsy email from anyone since the 18th of July except for from Melinda. Thank you, dear, that was very nice of you. And I suppose it’s mostly my fault because I haven’t been very faithful about personal emails either. So I’ve brought the temptation upon myself. Sigh.
Anyway, I love you all. Part of the reason that I don’t write is that I never feel like I have anything to write. My life feels like a rather normal life. For me that is—I mean, I’m getting used to the heat in Thailand, strange fruits in my fridge that go bad after while, riding around on a motorbike and narrowly missing accidents, a baby kicking my ribs, and all those sorts of things that make my world go round. So now you all know what is going on in my life.
But what’s going on in your lives? Please?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
It’s been too long since I’ve updated, I know. Yet I find myself in the same predicament I did when I was 10 years old and had to write a letter. “There’s nothing to write about!” My life is very normal and it seems to be getting a bit more predictable even.
Yes, I’m fat and pregnant. It feels like I’ve suddenly grown quite huge in the space of about a month. I went for a long time without showing much at all and then all of the suddenly somewhere between the six and seven month markers I began to look huge. Not only that, I feel fat and awkward. Very awkward. Rolling over in bed is a major operation. Bending over is highly uncomfortable. I read that pregnant ladies should squat rather than bend over—but I instantly loose circulation from the knees on down.
I know that I’m supposed to look in the mirror and be “proud of my bump.” I’m not proud of the bump—yet I’m very satisfied with what’s inside of it. But no, I’m not overly excited about my own appearance right now. I do appreciate my nice skin—what’s it called, "The Glow?”
So I’m thankful for my baby and I’m thankful for my skin. I’ll happily grunt my way up steps and happily catch myself from tripping—my balance isn’t so good—because this is what it takes to make a baby. Yet, I’ll be even happier when people cease to comment on my cute pregnancy wardrobe and expanding tummy, and begin to comment on my cute baby.
Other than being pregnant I have sneezes, sniffles, and scratchy eyes. At least I’m not as tired today as I thought I would be.
My man is out on one of his teaching rounds today. I’m not sure if I’m going to be seeing him in an hour or in 3 and half hours. It all depends on if he stays on that side of the city between his classes. He’s not as busy as he was a while ago but he does have class preparation to do, if not for teaching English, then for the class he’s planning to teach at IGo in November. He’s having fun studying for the latter.
Lately I’ve been going with him on his Saturday romps when I can, although I wasn’t up to it last weekend. His Bible studies with Jaer-Jaer have expanded to include Jaer-Jaer’s friend, L.B. She goes by L.B. because her Karen name is too difficult for most people to pronounce. She can speak Karen, Burmese, and English. Can you imagine that? Anyway, it’s been a blessing to go along with Dru and spend time with them. Both Jaer-Jaer and she are really seeking the Lord and are excited about the Bible study.
I wrote my last story for my writing course and then submitted it to my grandfather for his critique. Of course, he discovered that it needs lots of revisions. So now my dear story is going to be sent in as is, which kind of bothers me, but Dru says I need to get at and finish the course. I can fix the story for publication later. Something within me feels dishonest about such a move, but I shall just confess my predicament to my instructor and continue with my life as directed by my husband. It WILL be nice to have that all finished up!
Okay, I’m at the bottom of my Word page now. Can I stop? (That from the aforementioned 10 year old.)
Mae Wahn made an astute observation the other day. “Dru chop kanome wong.” I had been making the same observation myself. Oh, btw, that means, “Dru likes sweet foods.” I actually think maybe she said that because of how much I sent down to her the other day. I baked a whole pound cake and made it into Jello cake and Dru and I ate it little by little, (okay, a lot by a lot) all by ourselves—except for the large piece that went down to Mae Wahn. It really was a disaster because I over-stirred the cake because I was too impatient to wait for the ingredients to warm to room temperature. Then, although the concoction I used as a topping was very good, it didn’t exactly set up. It wasn’t a very pretty cake when it was all done with but it was sweet. All of that to ask if the wife should bake sweet foods for her husband even if he complains that he’ll get fat, or if she should stop. My dad would live on beans for three meals a day if we’d have made it for him. Dru would live on cake and rice dishes for 3 meals a day if I made it for him. Yes, just as my dad would eat beans for breakfast, Dru would happily eat rice for breakfast. The wife likes variety—no, that’s not fair either. She likes potatoes. I think I’d eat potatoes for three meals a day.
Thai class happens for me when it suits me and my teacher and only then. On the days I feel tired and not up to it I call it off. Right now Pii Ang is spending a week of her time praying and fasting because this Friday is her spiritual birthday and she’s laying a week aside for the Lord in honor of that. We’re beginning to connect as friends on a deeper level than we had before and I’m very happy for that. I told her the other day that she was a good woman. She said she must not be good enough though because she wasn’t married yet. She is definitely good enough to be married! Where are the good men?
And now I’m going to stop because I want to post this. I don’t want to not get it posted so I shall post it whether I have anything else to say or not. (Which I haven’t really.)
PS Someday when my internet is more dependable, I'll upload pictures.
Friday, June 19, 2009
The other day I went up to my kitchen to start my daily routine. Instinctively I scanned the counters for ants. Non--except for a procession into my “pantry” drawer. That's the drawer I keep a lot of my baking staples in. Next step was to find what they were after. That took a bit but I figured out that they'd found a small hole in the brown sugar bag—it hadn't been sealed properly. Out comes everything in the drawer. Might as well do this job right. All of my tall bottles of oils, soy sauce, lemon juice, syrup, etc., got a washing. Thankfully the brown sugar bag hadn't quite been entered yet, apparently the sugar that had fallen out of the bag was enough for the ants up to that point, so the brown sugar was put away in Tupperware. Drawer got cleaned out and everything went back into it. I didn't mention the ant spray even. Can you tell that ants in my kitchen has been an ongoing battle? They weren't bothering me for a while, but now they've all come back in hoards. It felt like the more I cleaned, the more ants there were. The more I sprayed, the more holes they found to come out of. On and on it went—wait, it goes. Tomorrow I'll probably find a new procession of ants marching resolutely from their hole to some small bit of something that I've left out or simply didn't realize existed. It's a battle between me and the ants.
As I cleaned out that drawer the other day I thought, “There has to be some sort of spiritual lesson to be learned from this.” I thought of how frantic and desperate these ants seem to be as I work bit by bit at ridding myself of them. It's as though they make much out of the little crumbs they find because they no longer can find things like sinks full of dirty, sticky, dishes. (Jenny, I do have to do my dishes more often now.) The whole colony turns out to help with the harvesting of these small precious crumbs. And I thought, “This is how I need to be about the small nuggets of Truth I find as I read my Bible. I should go crazy over them.” Then I thought, “This is just a little cheesy, trying to find a spiritual application for these annoying ants.”
But I couldn't forget it. You see, quiet time and prayer time have been a struggle for me. Taking that time with the Lord is so important, yet so easily pushed off. My little excuse will often be, “I'll wait until Dru leaves.” Truly, my best quiet time is when he's not around, but do I make sure it happens then? Not always. I've come to realize that when the Holy Spirit says, “Now is a good time to have your time with God,” He's right. There have been times when I thought I could wait till later but then something comes up and that time I thought I had is occupied with something else.
Here are some of the discouragements that tend to keep me from being diligent in my time with God:
#1. It's hard to “get into it” after several missed days. I just don't have the passion.
#2. I can't get anything out of it.
#3. Everyday should be a day with the Lord, why is this certain time important?
#4. It's hard to focus in prayer.
But all of those things are only excuses I allow to be stumbling blocks. I need to think about these things instead:
#1. Like the ants in my kitchen, I need to make the most of the little bits of truth I do find.
#2. I need to be diligent, like the ants who search my kitchen tirelessly for food.
#3. I shouldn't be so selfish—this isn't about me, it is a way for me to bring glory to Him. Why do I insist that I have to get something out of it?
#4. No matter how I feel, people still need prayer and my Father in Heave still deserves my thanksgiving and praise.
So that is what comes of ants in a kitchen. I'm still not on good terms with them. I still squish, spray, and wash them away. But somehow, they'll probably still remind me now and then that my time with God is important.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
This is the Story of My Saturday. It's not overly long, but here it is anyway. It starts with part of a journal entry. Enjoy.
I've managed to be sick with a cold this week. That made me tired. I didn't sleep when I should have yesterday; then, I couldn't when I wanted to. The plan for today was that I'd be gone all day at a workshop taught by Kris about teaching English. Dru was going to be gone all evening at a father's picnic with the men from CMCC. I was brave about this planned lack of contact with each other until this morning when I woke truly an emotional wreck. I didn't want to spend all day away from Dru. I began to cry when I was putting on my veil. Dru hugged me and said, “Why don't you just come home at noon.”
That idea sustained me until I got into the kitchen to grab something to eat about ten minutes before I needed to be out the door. It was then that I realized that if I got as far as Kris's classroom, I'd immediately dissolve into tears like a kindergartener at school for the first time. So instead of waiting until then, I went ahead and cried right away again and told Dru that I simply couldn't do it. He hugged me again and called Kris, five minutes before I was supposed to be there. I couldn't call, I was still sniffling.
So Dru and I did what we usually do on Saturday mornings together. (Notice that word together.) We headed off off to Payap for Dru's Bible Study with Jo-Jo, stopping first at the coffee shop because that's where his wife stays while he's gone. He ordered a sntich of food and a fruit shake for his wife (she never did get anything when she went up to the kitchen, she just started blubbering and came back down again) and a coffee for himself. Then, while we sat together on the sofa, he studied for his Bible study and I just sat beside him, sipping my fruit shake and enjoying him.
Eventually he left, but soon after he disappeared, a piece of blueberry cheesecake appeared before me on the coffee table and the dishes were cleared away. I gave the waiter a puzzled look and he motioned out the door. Then I understood that my dear man was spoiling me again, just because. I considered crying again, a happy cry, but decided that it might make things awkward for everyone else at the coffee shop. How do you console a weeping, pregnant, farang woman?
That evening around the supper table with Kris and Craig's at IGo I explained my cause for absence in class that day. Of course, by then, we could all laugh and Kris totally understood—it's a woman thing. Not only that, I am a pregnant woman. Some days are just that way.
I even made it through the evening until Dru got home around midnight from his party. It turned out to be a pretty good day. Thank God for good husbands who let you cry on your shoulder, make your phone calls because you're still sniffling, and buy you cheesecake.
Friday, June 12, 2009
It's time for him to leave. He's walking in frantic circles around the bedroom—stopping at his desk now and then to move papers around in hopes that the book will materialize under one of them. I just sit here smiling at him. He even has a sheepish grin on his face. Finally it occurs to me that I do actually know where his Thai book is. “It's upstairs.”
So Dru drops his other book on the bed and heads upstairs. A minute later he's back in the room, beginning those silly circles again. “It's on the bed.” So he grabs it, kisses me, and leaves—still wearing that goofy grin.
As you can see, we're still alive and getting along as we normally do. Right now the A/C is running. I'll turn that off as soon as it decides to start raining. For some reason it hasn't again for a day or two. The heat starts rising and my pregnant body doesn't keep up very well. Never mind, it's supposed to rain all weekend and I can't wait.
The only complication that comes with so much rain is riding the motorbike in it. It's always a miserable prospect. Last week we were having our Saturday date and were just about to leave the mall when we noticed it was raining. Neither one of us wanted to ride home in the rain so we thought we'd wait it out in a coffee shop. We curled up with our library books and read for a while. And talked for a while. And did nothing for a while. Finally, we got up to leave—and it was still raining. So we drove home in it. We drove home through a downpour the other evening too—I can't remember where'd we'd been even. Must have been the Payap cell group. I just remember wetness. Would that explain the cold I managed to get the other day?
I spent Wednesday nursing the miserable cold. By evening, I was sick of the house and so was Dru. He'd had one of those days where he had spent a good part of the day at his desk doing lesson preparation. Neither one of us felt like cooking. We drove until we came to a Thai restaurant that didn't have a stitch of English in the menu. I discovered that I can read the word, “macaroni” in Thai characters. It looks like this: มักกะโรนี.
Yesterday we were out for dinner with Val and Allen and Carolyn Roth. Allen is here as a visiting teacher. We ate at the J House, a little “hole in the wall” restaurant. It was quite warm out there but we had a good time talking with them and picking Allen's brain about their lives on the mission field.
Last night Dru went to show the last set of video clips from the Bible series we were doing with the Payap group. I spent about the whole time he was gone having quiet time, writing an email, and talking to Mae Wahn. When I spend time in prayer like I should, I stay reminded that we're in a battle. But I also remember that Jesus has already won the victory. It's amazing to know all that.
I don't know how long I'll live in Thailand. We don't know what God has for us. Yet, even if we're only here for a short time, it will have been worth it. God has taught me so much since I've been here.
I remember staring out into the rain one day at IGo not long after we got here. It was before we were moved into our own apartment. It was dawning on me that some of the things we consider truth are relative to culture. In Thailand, it is true that feet are disgraceful. Not so in the United States. For some reason, that was the beginning of realizing that each culture is entitled to their idiosyncrasies and before I judge, I must go to the Bible to make sure that I'm not dying on a hill that wasn't meant to be there in the first place. Maybe that was a strange discovery for me to make—standing there, watching the rain pour down. But it was the beginning of learning to love a people who are so different than my “home” people. And in discovering this, I also was able to discover that we're so alike. Way deep down inside, we're all alike.
I've had to rethink everything that I held as truth. Who is God? Who is the Holy Spirit and what is His work? How do we work with Christians who don't believe quite like we do?
Truth, it all comes back to truth. Make that capitalized—Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Only through Him and the work of His Holy Spirit of truth can people be set free. Psalm 115:4-8 talks about the idols people build for themselves. Idols that are blind, dumb, deaf, immobile, but the sad part is in verse eight. “Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.” We see that here today—literally! And ONLY the Truth can set them free. It's a miracle that blind eyes can see Truth.
Keep praying for our friends here. We want them to see the Truth and be set free. Pray for us. We want to be a clear picture of His love and work; vessels for the Holy Spirit to use.
Friday, June 5, 2009
- Yellow flowers that grow out of sidewalk cracks--picked especially for me by Dru
- Homemade soap that smells so nice that I don't want to use it because then it will be gone and I won't have it anymore
- Clean dishes
- My husband
- Dead ants
- Baby kicks
- A baby blanket from both of my moms
- Cards and letters from home
- Rain in the forecast
- Cardboard boxes (I always don't have one when I want one, and Daddy sent a nice big one, now I don't need it but it's in my storage closet.)
- Applepie spice and cloves
- Pancakes that my man liked so well that I wrote down my recipe
- A Giraffe mug found at a garage sale
- Beginning to be able to read Thai on road signs
- Moist oatmeal cookies and brownies that I didn't flop or burn
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This morning I had a really good time of visiting and prayer with Becky. Good friends pray for us in ways that we don't have faith or courage enough to pray for ourselves.
Yesterday when I was talking to Mae Wahn she told me she'd even wash my underwear for me--out of the blue. I decided I'd let her. (Here in Thailand it's not proper to take your underwear to be washed, you do it yourself.) That was one less thing to have to worry about today.
I told Dru that Kathy and Sarah had called about coming over. He didn't seem overly excited about it and finally on his way out the door I asked him what was wrong. "I just don't think you have as much work to do as you think," he said. I wondered what new marriage lesson this was until I went upstairs and discovered that he'd done my whole stack of dishes. He really didn't care that Kathy and Sarah were coming, he was just being mysterious for my benefit.
When Kathy called and said they'd have time to come over this morning, I had to think, "Wow, God is taking care of me today!" I'd been kind of wondering about being able to catch up with house work; company Wednesday night created a deadline. So Kathy and Sarah came and gave me an hour and a half or two of their time.
God is good! I feel so blessed! Thank-you God, for caring!
End of entry.
That was all written and then my man walked in the door with supper. "Will I ever grow out of my childish liking for McDonalds?" I asked, chowing down a Big Mac. "I never did," he said. So in the end, although I have so many friends who love me and take care of me, I'm most of all thankful for my man. Thankful because he knows how to spoil me best, and he loves me most.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Pii Ang to translate.
During praise and worship, they're often at the front of the church dancing and doing motions. Mae Phan is with them here, she would be Pastor Kiat's wife. She's one of those elegant, poised ladies who makes you think of a queen.
Pii Oi. Oi is a jolly girl whom I love dearly.