Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Birthday Men

This child turned six years old yesterday. I’m a little dazed. He didn’t stay this little. His brain works in ways wondrous to me and many times I’ve been thankful for his father’s interpretation of it to me. I wasn’t that smart at his age! But he’s a keen little soul. I think sometimes we expect too much out of him. Other times we don’t expect enough. He’s an artist. He’s a dreamer. He’s a keeper.
We bought him an Electronic Snap Circuits set. He is pleased.

I told him that he couldn’t possibly be six because I’m not old enough to have a six year old. He didn’t buy it. So I guess he’s six. Funny though, his last birthday happened just before we left from the State’s last year. He commented the other day that this last year went fast. He’s right, it did. I hope next year goes a little slower. Sometime between now and his next birthday I have find time to finish teaching him to read. He’s a clever enough child that my horrible homeschooling habits haven’t hindered him too horrendously.
Dru just had a birthday too. He looked like this six years ago.
He is a good man. I love that he has a tenacious grip on the Word of God. I love the perspective he brings to my life. His commitment to brotherhood and his patience in the face of disagreement has amazed me time and time again. He’s my favorite preacher and teacher, any day, and I get to live with him! He works hard and expects way more out of himself then I think is necessary. He takes care of us  well.  He makes me feel like a queen. He’s made an interesting journey of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I often tell him that I’d marry him all over again, only this time faster. We both know what I mean by that, and you probably kind of get the drift.
I love you, Dru Seth
Dru Seth Inis
I snitched this picture off of his company’s website. I think he’s quite good looking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Grace Looks Today

Yesterday I wrote this:

Really, it isn’t fair to blame the coffee. It helped. But something about the balmy afternoon stirred those feelings. Like I was fourteen again and walking in the door of the old Stone House. It was something peaceful and precious and happy.
Today I keep having memories about school days.
Jacob abusing my stuffed monkey. Putting lines on the freshly packed snow that was to be his kitchen floor, with my white rubber boots with the pink trim on top—and how upset he was with me for it.
The time LeeAnne and I were goofing around and she ended up with a bloody finger. I was so grossed out I didn’t let on because she’d have made me look at it. I told her later.
We hid from Mr. Zook one time too. Why were we so mean to him?
The time I desperately wanted to go to school in spite of feeling like I maybe had the stomach flu that was going around. I ended up flying down the center isle of the church auditorium to get to the bathroom in time to throw up. We were doing program practice that morning.
The time I burped, very loudly, to Miss Mast and LeeAnne’s horror—and my own actually.
The year we were still playing soft ball in December.
The heavy snow in March one year and how Dad just drove in the lane, through that heavy snow in his big truck, and dropped me off at the school house door. Mr. Zook seemed noticeably perturbed that it would have the nerve to dump three feet of snow in the middle of March.
The time I poked Heather and got caught. Honestly, Mr. Zook, I was ALWAYS good when you were out of the room. That was the first time I ever did that—I got tired of being good all the time. Then I got busted.
I also got busted the time LeeAnne ran into me at the scoring table and whispered, “I can’t make wide turns.” I replied, “You’re crazy.” Miss Mast made us write what we’d said fifty times. I don’t blame her really. We weren’t in the habit of not whispering at the scoring table.
Miss Mast once put me smack between Eric and Elvie (is that still what he goes by?) when we rearranged offices. It was an effort to help me be more diligent—because I was not a diligent student—but it didn’t necessarily eliminate distraction. I periodically had offerings of eraser bits delivered to me from beneath the divider. I didn’t particularly mind the seating arrangement, but I could always tell which one of them had won  the soft ball game at recess. They weren’t usually on the same team. The loser always had to bang around in his desk quite loudly for a few minutes to let off steam. I trust they’ve both overcome this tendency.
Mr. Zook once gave me a C+ on my report card for Phys. Ed. I have since forgiven him.
There was the time we girls decided to do a bread baking contest. Mine won because the judge apparently had a tendency for doughy bread. This was totally unfair to Esther and even at the time I was miffed because it wasn’t a fair contest.
As I sit here writing this my hubby is messaging me. We’re working through some hard stuff this week. I read some, I write some. Two different stories. I find myself incredibly thankful for the stability and happiness of my childhood. I find a kind of refuge in the memories today. I don’t know if that’s good or not. But I thank God for these memories. I thank God that the grace that has been there for me all the days until now,and  will continue to go with us through the future. That whatever happens in this story today, His grace will be just as loving as it was to me as a child. Even if it feels hard today. Because He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Here we must stand, or like Peter, we sink.
It helps to know that my Mom’s dining room still looks like this:

I guess right now, her pretty table is my reminder of the grace of God which is still available and as sure as ever. Now to live in that promise.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Of Visas and Vientiane

I think we do not like visa runs. I think we do not like Vientiane. It’s really not fair to Vientiane. We go there to do visa work, which is generally stressful proposition with a family. Therefore Vientiane doesn’t bring to mind thoughts of peace and joy, as a general rule.
However, Vientiane in rainy season is a lot more favorable to be in than Vientiane in dry season. Even on the back of a tuk-tuk when you’re getting wet in spite of plastic being drawn down. Somehow, it was a warm, happy wet. Maybe because that happened on our way to the border, leaving the country.
I realized that my family likes sandwiches. Dru likes the Laos sandwiches made on French bread. I have become inspired to learn to make good sandwiches and serve them to my family often.
When you are away from home your realize more keenly the holes in your training. My children eat like birds and complain about the food set before them more often than not. I intend to bring this to an abrupt end as soon as I get home. It’s especially disconcerting to me because both of them seem to be somewhat anemic. Especially Havilah, who can eat six bites while the rest of us eat our whole meal. I don’t think that’s much of an exaggeration. She then proclaims herself full. But she’ll be hungry for five more bits in an hour. Unless it’s sweet, then she’ll have twenty bits. This, my dear children, must come to an end. They’re both too skinny and pail faced to have such habits. I always said I wouldn’t force my children to eat if they weren’t hungry, but five bites doesn’t constitute a meal. Furthermore, both of them are too skinny. I don’t mind feeding them three meals a day and two snacks. But It is not necessary to feed them seven snacks, give or take a bit.
Havilah has some issues concerning willful emotional instability. (Fits or tantrums, some people might say.)
Jube lives in La-la land. It’s fine in small doses but not for always.
Rennie yells and stiffens.
Three naughty children but I have no one to blame but me. I’m a dreadful pushover. I tend to threaten and say things over and over. How dumb!
Visa work actually went okay. We were pretty stressed out there for a bit when we realized that there was one document we had no idea we needed and weren’t sure how to get it. However, thanks to Sheriff Mark Kelsey of our little home town of Hayward, Wisconsin, we were able to get that last document together. Looking back on it now, we didn’t actually lose a day because of my passport needing pages, but it was an inconvenience and an expense of 82 USD to get pages added.
In the end, we’re taking two days of family vacation. Today was spent in much doing of nothing much. The children have colds. So the rest was lovely for them too. Tomorrow we  head to Udantani, or however that’s spelled, to spend some time with Pii Ang. The flight to Chiang Mai leaves around eight.
Monday I will have mounds of laundry to do and a yucky fridge to clean out. I have potatoes growing in the kitchen too. Oh, and children to train.
My computer clock says it is eleven forty-two. I hope this is coherent in spite that.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


I am in that stage of life where everything is busy. Husband is working hard. Baby is teething. Other children need constant in put, love, and correction. I live on coffee and survive headaches, which are a new and unwelcomed thing for me. I want to learn this stage well and enjoy it. I’m learning to relax and be happy in my chaos. I’m learning that I need Jesus all the time. I’m hoping that when this stage is over, I’ll be thankful for it. I’ll look back and say, it was hard, but it was good.

Right now I struggle to notice the moments let alone savor them. I find myself needy. I need to hear from my friends that all my struggles are normal. I also  realize that it’s okay to feel stressed out and needy. It is a state of being that I’m trying to become comfortable in. 

I hope I learn this quickly. I want figure out how to stay in the Word and in prayer—consistently. Then walk in that joy.

But this is hard work. This Mom stuff is the hardest work I’ve ever done. I think it may be the hardest work I will ever do.

I have this theory that those grandmothers who remind us to “savor these moments, they go by so quickly,” would never look to have this intense mommy time back. Because it is hard work. They had their chance at it, gave it their best shot, and I do say, deserve their grandmother stage. You know, where they spoil them rotten then send them back to us. But it tells me that the memories that stick best aren’t about babies who don’t sleep well because they’re teething. They might remember being tired, but they’ve learned not to resent it. They don’t remember discipline and line upon line, precept upon precept. No, they’re remembering those blue baby eyes that sparkled so brightly when nap time was over. Bouncing blond curls. Laughter. Snuggles. Victories. They remember the happy things. They savored well. I would do well to do the same.

On another note. Today I made some pretty. Then I guarded it. Havilah stole the bird and the pumpkin cookie cutter then brought them back guiltily when she was caught. Jube saw a clear pretty table and thought, “Aha! my crafting space is clear! I shall now make a paper sword!” But I said, “No. I want to enjoy my pretty space.” I get the biggest kick out of how Jube did admire the pretty though—and how Havilah can hardly keep her hands off of it. Now, go make some pretty, and enjoy your day. Savor the moments.


fall table

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In this quiet moment.

This is a quiet moment. It might not last long. The children are all down for naps, but there are dishes to wash and laundry to fold. I need these quiet moments though. I didn’t get one yesterday and I realized that this moment  really does help me get through the rest of my day.

Dru’s brother Adam is here right now. It’s fun. With in an hour of him being here, the two of them were singing. People say that they act like brothers. In my mind they’ve always been as different as black and white. So I’m watching them. They are brothers after all. Adam doesn’t like to be asked if he’s fussy any better than Dru does. They both like stupid puns. Even their voices have similarities that I didn’t notice before.

Adam is getting to see our lives pretty much as they are. Even the messy bits we wouldn’t have chosen for him to see. Some of those bits are probably good for him to see though, as he considers moving his family over here.

Dru is as busy as ever—tons on his mind this week. We’re working on baptism plans for Bob and Yai this weekend and also visa work—on top of all the other stuff that has to happen with work and school. And Dru’s phone locked up on him for reasons unknown. His life is kept organized by that phone. Meetings, deadlines, contacts, you name it, it’s on that phone. He’s using mine right now, but it’s not ideal. He’s stressed about to the max right now, I guess. So I’m praying for him more today. You can too, if you think about it.

Today I’m thankful for an ant who goes by the name of Bobby. He’s made of a pop sickle stick, pipe cleaners, pom poms, and googley eyes—all glued together. The children and I discussed ants this morning. We discussed work and where it came from. We discussed doing things with out complaining and arguing. Then Bobby was cobbled together. Today he has begun on a journey all around the living room and kitchen. A job well done and he gets to go forward. Complaining and failing to obey or complete a task, and he goes backward. Right now Bobby is sitting on the sugar jar on the table. He’s six steps away from the starting point at Jube’s desk. This is as far as he’s gotten so far today—beings the children forgot to obey and pick up some toys at one point—along with some other misdemeanors. Jube found it truly disconcerting when Bobby had to move backwards. I don’t know why. There is no named reward in the event that Bobby really does make it back to the starting point.

I do know that I was at my wit’s end. Somewhere a long the line my children decided obedience was optional. I knew that Jube needed something visual, but I was really struggling with what to do. So I packed two bins full of toys and stacked them away. (Children who can’t put toys away without much coaxing, crying, fits, complaining, procrastination, and etc. don’t need to have very many toys, I say.) I totally rearranged the living room, making one corner of it a toy area. I put a way the significantly less toys. Then I sat upstairs in my rocking chair feeling dazed. I got out my Bible and read the ant verses. I did some praying. This morning “Bobby” came to be. So far, he’s a very welcome member of the family, if you ask me.

I’m still struggling to keep up. Still tired. But I’m more okay with it. I’m still feeling humbled by my experience last week. I’m kind of feeling my way around. I don’t have answers really. Neither do I want them. I just need to live this motherhood thing out day by day, in prayer, by Jesus. I’m praying about little things more. Jesus is the answer, really.