Saturday, June 30, 2012

Not Flesh and Blood

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading in my Bible the passage where Paul tells the Ephesians to put on the whole armor of God. I  liked the way my New English Bible says it and I read it several times. “Our fight is not against human foes…but against….the superhuman forces of evil in the heavens. Therefore, take up God’s armour: then you will be able to stand your ground when things are at their worst….. Give yourselves wholly to prayer, and entreaty: pray on every occasion in the power of the Spirit…To this end keep watch and persevere, always interceding for all God’s people.”

That night I had a dream that demonstrated exactly what this verse is talking about. I don’t know if you can say the dream “meant” anything. I just know that I woke up terrified and eventually realized that principalities and powers were probably delighted by my fear, so eventually turned the light on and read all of the book of Philippians and prayed until I could go back to sleep.

The next evening, I got a chance to tell Dru the details of the dream and how they affected me. So thankful for that man’s prayers! In the end, I had to admit that the powers of Satan are scary to me. But I realized that until the day that I can say that I have no fear of these “principalities and powers”, I can take refuge in the fact that my heavenly Father does not have one smidgen’s worth of fear towards Satan or his demons. In this I rest.

Later, on the phone with my mom, she told me about how the Native American children were able to attend the Vacation Bible School at Northwoods Mennonite Church. She explained some of happenings of that event, and especially what my brother faced on the last evening. Again, principalities and powers.

I’ve been on Dru’s Facebook a lot recently. I don’t really have a Facebook account of my own right now that I use, so I’ve been on Dru’s to keep up with what’s happening in the Skrivseth world. At the same time I see what’s up on his home page. I ended up removing a friend from his list the other day because of a totally inappropriate image. Also, there are words that get slung around in people’s common vocab that make me feel dirty to read. This is the world we live in.

My cousin just lost her children to social services; not because of parental negligence, but through the perversion of a system.Justice was greatly lacking, while lies abounded throughout the whole case. Again, I had to think about how we do not fight against flesh and blood. And what about our prayers? Were they not heard? I cried for an hour this morning and still find myself choking up today. How can my cousin and her husband pick up the pieces? How do you go on? What is there to live for? And then I remember that God is in control. I ask myself, “Didn’t I pray hard enough?” Because the situation really has been on my heart and in my prayers this month. But not enough apparently? Obviously, I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. Somehow, I thought that Truth would prevail.

Then I remind myself that Truth has already prevailed. Somehow. Somehow God is going to be glorified in this situation. Somehow God is in control. It feels like we lost our chance to pray this thing through to the appropriate ending. It feels like Satan has prevailed. Yet I pray to God, that He, who is not locked in time, will, in a sense, go back and change it. That somehow, this story isn’t completed. That principalities and powers will still be defeated as they relate to this specific situation.

Now I’m asking myself questions about what this means for me today. For me as a mom with two children. How do I raise my children in the fear of the Lord? The responsibility of it is huge! Is it even prudent to bring children into this world anymore? Yes, I realize that the grace of God is sufficient—but don’t tell me that as parents of children, aware of the world we live in, you haven’t asked yourself this same question.

“For I am convinced that there is nothing in death or life, in the realm of spirits or superhuman powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, the forces of the universe, in the heights or depths—nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39

Friday, June 29, 2012

I Love Dru

After a sad day yesterday filled with sick children a a piece of sad news, Dru brought me flowers.


Sorry if my blog looks a little funny, Dru was in the process of beautifying it yesterday when he should have been homework. He’ll get it fixed nice again one of these days.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lots of Pictures

Here of are a whole bunch of pictures. The first bunch are from the first two weeks after we got home. So Jube still has his long hair. Below, a milk break—at about 4 a.m. when we were still working on jet lag issues.
My man climbed this tree to cut down some of the offending burls. The birds who come to this tree, leave behind droppings, which plant suckers right into the tree limb. So another kind of limb starts to grow, making a big burl and zapping the rest of the branch from its nutrients. We’re hoping to save the tree, but it really took a downhill plunge while we were in the states.
Water play. I had to take this picture to celebrate the warmth of Thailand after being cold for so long.
Cell group. Pii Kay, and Melissa, who is now back in the States. We miss her.
Halla and Emma.
Dru, Arlin, Champ, Orlando, and Scott.
Putting his bike away before it starts to rain hard. We’d just driven home on the motorbike, so he’s in his rain coat and helmet.
Licking beaters.
A break from mowing lawn. ‘Twas a warm day.
He’s cooking. The box is his stove.
Dragon fruit. Havilah loves it.
Another milk break.
My friend Lia. She’s from Indonesia, married to an American—a Beachy man from PA, no less. Right now Michael is finishing up at Payap and then they’re planning to move to Southern Thailand. I was at her house because we swapped cooking lessons. She taught me to make lemon chicken and I taught her cinnamon rolls. It was a nice day. And by the way, this woman amazes me. She falls into the category of super-woman if you ask me.
Children in the pool and Timmy stitching raisins from the rolls.
People ask me how it’s going with Dru in school. I love it. He’s in his element. And, at least for this semester, his homework load is not unreasonable. He’s less busy now than he was before, planning English lessons. We both feel like this period of our lives is a huge gift from God. We didn’t realize how much pressure we were under until now, when we’re not under it anymore.
If you look closely, you can see one of our “pet” lizards. We even have one who sports a blue head. (This is not him.)
After: Havilah’s Happy Birthday Cake.
When I was in school my sister and I took cake decorating classes. The final day we were supposed to do a cake. For Jenny and I, it turned out awful. Just not our thing. When we walked into the yard with downcast faces, Mom was in the garden. She was so sympathetic and understanding! She quit her work and came inside and we talked about it. It was a bad day, but it was a good day in that Mom “got it.”  So now, over a decade later, this is my victory cake. The frosting tasted awful because I didn’t follow a recipe—but it turned out cute.  Jube wants a snowman cake for his birthday. I’ll follow a recipe for the frosting and I think we’ll be just fine.
Yes, you can see that my hand is unsteady and it’s not perfect, but I’m unashamed of this lady bug and his (Jube insists that it’s a daddy lady bug) children. 
Havilah’s Birthday Picnic on the mountain.



Of course I forget the candle! 
Once the frosting was gone, she was done with the cupcake.
My good man.
Watermelon beats cupcakes any day.
Happy Birthday my special little girl. How did you get to be one year old so fast?

Monday, June 11, 2012

How the Sundays Go

Yesterday was Sunday and we went to church at IGo. I was excited when I realized that Dru wasn't leading worship and he wasn't going to need to translate.

Halfway through the service a Thai man walked in and sat at the end of our row. He was beside Titus and insisted on seeing Titus's notes. Which struck me as a bit odd. A bit later another man came up the steps. The first man stood up and suddenly it was very evident that he was angry and the second man didn't seem so happy himself. They were getting louder and louder. Rick lost his audience. I watched the faces of the other men who knew Thai. Scott was on the other side of the chapel, very tuned in, but kind of far away. Then Dru got up. He got the two of them into the rec room and they talked loudly out there for some time. Somewhere in there I leaned over and asked Titus if the guy beside him was drunk. "Probably."

The first man, who was indeed drunk, came back in and sat down. But by now he wasn't quite as quiet. Dru was out talking to the second guy. Then the drunk man went back out and I heard him say something to the effect, "You dead would be better," and put his hands together and made a chopping motion at the other man's neck. I was terrified, not sure what was going on. Then the second guy left, yelling at the drunk man as he went down the steps. Dru came back in and sat down for a bit. This is when he filled me in that the first guy was drunk and the second man was his friend. The poor guy was beside himself to get his drunk friend out of the church service.

Somewhere in there Rick stopped his sermon to pray over the situation--seeing as it was very difficult for anyone to focus anyway. I suspect that even Rick was struggling to keep his thoughts.

Then the man came back and between Dru and him they got the drunk guy downstairs. And from up in the chapel we could still hear the loud talking, bordering on yelling--indeed, it was yelling at points. I went into Lee's office with Renita and watched the goings on downstairs through the window. Finally, they got the poor, befuddled, angry man out. But by this time, church was withing about five minutes of closing.

It's a funny feeling, this pride I have in my man for his talents and abilities, specifically in speaking in Thai, along side of the frustration I have that he's always using these abilities. On Sunday mornings, that is. I'm coming to grips with the fact that the Sundays that Dru can sit quietly with his arm around me in church, are going to be scarce and not to be counted on. If he's not preaching himself, or translating for someone else, he may just be trying to keep someone from getting into a fist fight right in the back row of the chapel.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Most of these pictures refer to my last post. So if you’re curious, go back and read. This is the truck piled high with vines and tree trunk after we took it down. We are more thankful for this little truck. We knew having a bed on our vehicle would be handy, but we didn’t know how handy. It’s become a necessity.


Sunday afternoon picnic on Mom and Dad’s bed. We had talked about going up the mountain and having lunch, but we copped ouet. I was worried Jube would protest the change of plans but he was very tickled about setting up a picnic on Mom and Dad’s bed. We threw together a pizza and it turned out very yummy.


Below, our planted pumeria tethered to an old stump until it gets better established. You can also see the vines climbing on the fence in the back. they’ll climb all the way over to the rose bush in the tire very rapidly. The rose bush is pretty sad looking right now. It was rather neglected while we were in the states and I chopped it way down yesterday.


Flowers on the plumeria tree.


The moss roses. I’ve always liked moss roses. I remember once Grandma Graber took me to see Aunt Pearl and she had beautiful moss roses along the side of her trailer. That may have been the beginning of my love for them. Dru told me today that he’s still trying to decide if he especially likes them.

IMG_3763 IMG_3764

And below is my center piece with all my seeds (in the ugly pots on the cardboard) trying to turn into plants in the background. That green thing is the mango off of my tiny little tree. I brought it inside to ripen. It hung low enough to the ground I was a little worried about critters, and just plain bugs, getting it before I did.


Home Sweet Home. I found this shopping with Melinda at a gift shop in Indiana. I was so homesick for my house in Thailand that I bought it and brought it home. The bird is from Bargain Bills in Rice Lake.


Have a happy day.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Happy Day After All

It did not start out so happy. Almost first thing this morning I washed a blue pen with the white load. It wouldn't have been so bad, but two of Dru's white school shirts were ruined. It doesn't matter whether it was my fault or Dru's; the shirts are dead. We didn't even have a discussion about it. We just bought shirts. Thankfully it was a much faster process this time cause we know what size of F&F shirt he wears at Tesco.

After the shirt buying, we went plant shopping. I chose two pots of moss roses, and then as we strolled from there, I said, "Let's buy a tree." So we did. I was thinking small, and probably a fruit tree. But we spent a little more than that and bought a plumeria. It's a white one. I like all plumerias, but I think I like the classic white one we see the most here in Thailand the best.

I've told Dru a couple times that we needed to buy a tree. With our rose apple tree threatening to die on us, there's less shade. The bees left the old stag that was outside the front door. It was covered with vines and offered more privacy and a bit of shade. But the vines were holding up the tree for the most part. It was leaning precariously towards the house. Dru pretty much pushed it over. Then we trimmed back the vines--they can crawl along the fence for privacy. The plumeria was planted close to where the old dead tree came down--only not quite so close to the fence. I don't want it to be overtaken by the vine.

Actually, it's a pretty vine with this flower on it. I picked most of the flowers and put them in a vase on my table where they promptly wilted. But I think maybe they're going to pick their heads up after all. They are extremely sweetly fragrant as well.

I made pasta for supper and dug out the parmesan cheese I brought from the States.  I'd been hiding from Dru. I was going to save it, but I decided it would be wisest to enjoy it before the humidity makes it yucky. He was very pleasantly surprised when Jube brought it out to the table because he'd just been thinking that parmesan cheese would be good with this supper.

I did dishes and did dishes and did dishes for about 40 minutes while Dru babysat and bathed babies. Now it's bed time and we're winding down. Btw, Havilah is learning to go to sleep all by herself at night without fussing, and is finally, for the first time in her life, starting to sleep all night.

Oh, and speaking of Havilah, I left her out in the sun too long. She burned. I put A&D ointment on her and hope she feels okay. She seemed to like it when I put it on. Dumb mom. She goes all over the yard, through the grass that Jube always thought was pokey and uncomfortable at her age. Her legs are all bit up, but it doesn't seem to bother her. Precious little girl.

Oh, and more on Havilah. Michael and Lia are back from the States and we saw them on Thursday. Lia always reminds me of how pretty my baby girl is. Ever since Havilah was tiny, Lia would tell me that my baby was pretty. She told me that, now, Havilah is even more beautiful than before. I always am thankful to her for reminding me. Yes, I do have a beautiful little girl. I forget to think about it in the business of life. Thanks, Lia. May your baby girl be as sweet, precious, and beautiful as mine.

My blog is turning into an online journal of sorts. I know my mom will enjoy it, and I hope the rest of you do too. It's sadly lacking in pictures, but I will try to get some pictures up soon. Please bear with me. Shall I start telling you at the beginning of each blog whether or not it contains something of general interest?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Few Thoughts From Today...

Havilah has decided to walk. When it's convenient. So about half the time.

Havilah had a live snail in her mouth yesterday. It was very gross. Don't even bother to process this. Jube plays with snails, but has never tried to eat them and I just try to make sure he washes his hands before he eats. Boys will be boys, right? But this morning I told him that today he couldn't play with snails because I don't want Havilah eating them. He was fine with that. Thankfully.

Today I made Jube an aligator out of blue play-dough. "I'm going to go get some people so he can eat!" He said gleefully. He couldn't drop the idea of alligators eating people until later when I told him, "Alligators that eat people are bad. Alligators that eat people have to be killed. So, if your alligator eats people, I'm going to squish him all up and put him back in the container." "Okay," he said. And I heard no more about alligators eating people. Maybe I'm silly, but his intrigue with the gruesome did not impress me. Sure, he's innocent and didn't think it through. I think he probably heard about people eating alligators somewhere or something. Maybe we watched an alligator video on youtube? But I can't handle that kind of thing. I mean, I am seriously upset when human life is not respected, and there is something terrifying about wild beasts... Enough said.

I've been thinking about Thai class today but not sure how I'd practically do it. Need a babysitter. Need someone who can come to my house. Need time. So that's still in the prayer stages. Right now the important thing is getting my man into the school groove. If I can take Thai classes full time when Frank comes, that may have to be good enough. And truly, that much Thai would give me a tremendous boost. 

This is my very good looking husband all ready for school on Tuesday morning, posing with his two very adorable children. I love my family.

So far, so good, with Dru in school. I like this schedule much better for family life. He's happier doing this than he was the past several years developing curriculum. Although he enjoyed that, he became very frustrated sitting behind a desk all day. This is more up his line. Oh, and he has to wear black pants and a white shirt to school every day. So I get to iron...and make sure he's spiffy on his way out the door. So far, this has been fun. 

I realized tonight that I need to be praying more diligently for all my neighbors, but most specifically, Pii Fone and her daughter, Dew. I need to be asking the Father daily, to call them, show them his love, and shine through me. You can join me in praying for them.

Goodnight. Have a good day. (Because most of  you reading this are on the other side of the world.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pictureless blog with lots of words.

I need to blog. It's been three weeks since we've been home and I've said nothing. So I'm here again.

It's so good to be home! I was looking forward to being home again since before we left, literally. Not that it's not good to be home and see everyone, reconnect with family, etc. But Dru and I have both realized that Thailand really is where we have made our family and put roots down in so many ways. But anyway, enough with that.

We did make some good memories in the States. I think for me, two of my most special memories, the ones I've thought about often since, are my conversations with my two best friends from childhood and teenage years. I got to spend about three hours with LeeAnne. It always amazes me at how we pick up and talk just like old times in a lot of ways. Our world are so different, but, oddly, we're starting to have common ground and share some of the same friends again.

When we were in Indiana, Melinda and I stayed up late Sunday night and talked. I had no clue it was as late as it was, but it was wonderful to catch up. Again, it was interesting for me to discover that, well, I don't know how to say it, but suddenly, we have a lot in common again. I felt like we got where each other was coming from, and, well, it hasn't always been that way. But all the sudden we're both married and have at least one baby. So we've walked some of the same ground and there's so much in common again. And then there is Melinda's infectious laughter. Like the time I bumped her cantankerous ironing board down and yelled, and then she started laughing and so I did...then there was the giggle party on the couch that I have no clue what that was about anymore. So good to laugh with her again.

So those two conversations are way up on the list of my most treasured memories. There were of course the fun family times. It was interesting to notice the tensions and good stuff too, that comes from the Elv Graber family now being 4 family's rather than one. It was interesting to me to see how my loyalties personally, have changed from my parents to my man. But yeah, this was all good in the end and I'm so thankful for my family back in the States. Now if I can only figure out how to get Gabe and Jenny over here to visit...

I had some worries about coming back and settling in. One of those being Jube and how he was going to handle life. How was he going to handle the communication barrier, especially with Mae Wahn, since he seems to have lost so much of his Thai?

When our airplane landed in Chiang Mai, we went through immigration, then picked up luggage, and were headed out of customs. They asked us to scan one bag, but we could see everyone beyond, waiting for us. So I told Jube to run to Mae Wahn, rather than wait. When he picked her face out from the crowd, he ran to her, then just smiled and smiled. Happy to see her but not sure what to say because really, he couldn't communicate. Finally, unable to contain it any longer, he spilled forth in English telling her all about his trip to America.

Now he's entering the language learning stage all over again, but this time consciously, and he seems to enjoy it. He and Mae Wahn exchange language lessons, as much as is possible to do with a 2 year old, of course. All of this is a huge answer to prayer. Havilah too, loves Mae Wahn. We are SO thankful and blessed by that woman. There is a deep ache in my heart when I think of ever having to leave her, and I hope we don't ever need to part with her for a long time.

We did take a flying trip to Laos to get the proper student visa that we couldn't get in the US due to time crunch issues. But it went super well and we couldn't have asked for a smoother trip, thanks to all the many prayers that went up on our behalf. It was really fairly uneventful.

The first bit after we got back (from the US and Laos too, I guess) I felt like I was being attacked on all sides in all areas of my life. My motherhood wasn't good enough to bring my naughty little boy back to a good little boy after 2 months in the states. My wifehood wasn't focused on my man like it was supposed to be. And my Bible was dry. All bad, bad! And then Dru prayed and everything got better overnight. I will never cease to be amazed at the power of that man's prayers over his family. :)

Jube did have a big learning curb to deal with when we got here. I'm not sure why and all that, but it's getting better. Poor guy has had so many changes to deal with in the past three months. He too is glad to be back.

Havilah is nearly, nearly walking. Also learning how to go to sleep when Mom says so. And pushing teeth, little by little. Can't wait 'til they all pop through. How much pain killer can you give a baby anyway? I hate to have her on it all the time, so I don't. Yet when she's not on it, she's half miserable half of the time, poor dear.

I have pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, mallo seeds, 4 o'clock seeds...and I think that's it, in pots on my table. I'm going to get them very well established inside where I can keep a beady eye on them and the birds don't eat them and bugs devour them without my supervision. And then when there quite big, I'll plant them outside. I hope the pumpkin seeds from Louisa make nice plants and big pumpkins. I long for big orange pumpkins, but I worry it's a pipe dream too. We shall see.

My man did a whole bunch of yard work...basically reclaiming the corners of our property from the weeds and vines that overtake everything so easily. So now he's my hero big time and I can dream about what to do to make those corners pretty.

Okay, gonna go to bed now. My man's first day of school is tomorrow and I want to get up with him in the morning. I'm so excited for him. Anyone who knows Dru knows that he likes to study. There's part of me that hopes that taking a full load like he is won't be too much for him. And then there's part of that hopes his classes won't be terribly easy and not stretch him at all. Which is probably silly--but still, a lot of his classes are geared towards people using English as a second language. Anyway, I'm still happy for him. It's going to be a good 2 years.