Sunday, August 20, 2017

Is the Guava still Green?

Am I still green? Am I even a "guava" anymore? I named this blog in reference to my husband's blog, "The Green Guava." In the end I've posted a lot more than he, and the title, "green guava" has come to feel as though it is my own.

The word for guava and foreigner is the same in Thai - "farang". For example: On Friday we spent time with Mae Wahn--a first for the family for months. She served green guavas. "Farang gin farang." Jube commented. There was the usual discussion about the play on words and how it may sound as though people eat people. Mae Wahn laughed--happy to have Jube back again.

Coming back to Thailand has felt strangely normal. I'm still working on putting these mixed-up feelings into words. I'm coming to realize that exotic is part of normal for my family. The mugginess feels normal. The food has become part of us. This city and its habits. Mae Wahn. They've all become a part of who we are and why we think as we do and do as we do. I cannot wrap my mind around this mystery.

How did this northern Wisconsin woman fall in love, land halfway across the world, and give birth to four children on foreign soil? In November of 2016 I went back to my Northern Wisconsin, reeling...tired and old to my bones. Two babies, back to back in the squelching hot season, along with the other pressures at the time, left me bone tired. Thirty years old - at least - and feeling every year of it. 
Four children, totally out, on the 90-minute ride between Bangkok airports.
I've come back to Thailand with my husband for four short weeks. I realize that the tiredness in my bones is lifting. I have no nursing babies and I'm not pregnant, so the heat feels bearable, even comfortable. 

I watch Jube know his way around this tropical city world and marvel. How did this come to be for this child of a Wisconsin country girl? I can't process this. I can not understand it, it is too big for me.

A familiar verse says, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." I've been stuck, trying to decide if it is wonderful or not. It's been hard work and turmoil sometimes. It happened painfully slow really fast at places and now here I am. But I'm coming out on the other side again, and it really is wonderful after all.

But I don't feel very green anymore. There is still space I need right now between me and the world--specifically, the blogging world. Putting myself out there feels vulnerable. More than that, I'm not sure that blogging is the medium I'd like to use to share what I might with the world. I need space from the internet world in general as well. One day, the Green Guava's Wife, may begin posting again. But for now, I feel more like a turtle, going into its shell.

Sleeping at 500 mph five miles in the air requires creativity.
Turtles. Yes, like my kids' pet turtles. They just swim around the tank, and expect to be fed. And when they want privacy they just crawl into their shells. But a guava? It just hangs there on the tree. And ripens while people watch!!! There is nothing quite as vulnerable as a ripening guava. It's been good. I'm thankful for the experience. But, for me, at this stage of my life, it's turtle time. But, knowing me, I'll be back...maybe by that time I'll reincarnate again...perhaps I'll be a parrot, or a polar bear...who knows? Apparently, anything can happen when you're a Wisconsin country girl.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

I keep thinking that I really need to either get at and blog, or decide I'm done blogging. I can't actually bring myself to it sits here in silence, feeling alone and abandoned. The truth is, I'm not sure where to start. So much has changed. I don't even know where to begin. Here's what's taken place in the last sixish months or so.

-Melinda and Austin and Lexi came to see us in Thailand. All told, we spent nearly two weeks with them. Other than that nasty sickness Lexi had, it was a lovely time.

-My folks came to see us in Thailand. They'd bought their tickets for a very cheap price and came for about two weeks. It was a stressful, yet happy time. I was mostly a mess the whole time they were there because we were moving out. But it was so nice to finally have them see our world abroad. 

-What belongings we didn't sell were put into storage and we flew home, not knowing for how long but discovering that it would be longer than originally anticipated. That's a story I may or may not share here one day. 

-Dru was ordained into the ministry at our home church here. 

-Dru went on a trip to Thailand for a wedding is very nearly home again and we can't wait. So thankful that his trip was a good, bittersweet time. He's telling me that he's still feeling that we are where we need to be and that the hard decisions we had to make, still feel like the right ones to have made. This is good. So good!

Are we going back? Yes! One day we plan to. Do we know when? Hah! You know, I'm about done trying to make estimations about what God's timing might be in our lives. It never holds true. 

Why did we leave? Because of the direction we're wanting to head in Thailand, we are needing to change from one mission organization to another for purpose of team and support. We have the blessing of both of missions organizations for doing this and are thankful. The steps here are somewhat on hold as we don't know exactly when we will be returning to Thailand, but all the the ground work has been laid for this, 

I suppose that's a rather oversimplified version of our lives in the recent past. Honestly, some of it's been pretty hard. I'm at a place right now where I ask myself how much of what's going on in my heart do I really want to put on my blog? I find myself just wanting to sink into oblivion and just kind of find a quiet normal out of any spot lights or expectations. I'm not sure that that is bad or even unhealthy. 

My energies right now are going to go towards getting to know my church people support my man in his new role. It was no shocker to anyone that he was chosen for ordination. Least of all to me. I guess you might say I knew what I was getting into when I married that man. I try to tell myself that I'm used to my man being in ministry. Realistically I know that many aspects of this are going to be new and hard at spots. 

Actually I just might have just fibbed. My energies actually go to my children every day all day and night. I've been lazy today and yesterday, doing very little due to a full schedule before and not feeling well. The children  have mostly played happily all morning. If I go get to work they will get fussy and ornery.  That's just how it works. And lately my time management has been just terrible. Maybe having my hubby home and having to find a schedule will fix that. Maybe getting the cold out of my head will. Whatever the case, I will have to claw myself out of this slump soon. I'd be more concerned about it but so far today and yesterday, it's been a happy slump.

Tell me again why I let Jube pound nails in the kitchen? Anyway, the nail went into the board and he's happy, so I'll let it go until the two year old (who is trying out this whole "terrible" thing) needs to go down for his nap. I'm going to go comb my hair, change a pamper, and make lunch. You all have a nice day.

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified."

What if it takes more faith to believe God will see you through your difficult spot, than it does to believe that He will remove it? Some of what I write in this post is a reiteration of what was shared at our IGo ladies meeting this week. It spoke right into some of  the things I'd read, heard, and been thinking about lately.

Sometimes we think that having enough faith will make something happen. Like faith is the magic potion, just gotta have enough of it.

Perhaps coughing up enough faith to get us a one time deliverance is easier than believing day by day, step by step, that He is faithful to see us through. More faithful than our fickle feelings. More faithful than we can see with our human eyes.

Just maybe the good things He has for us don't include deliverance from health issues or a strained relationship or a financial crisis. Maybe the path is through this, not away from it.

I think we often get this idea in our heads about what we think His will is. And somehow, if we don't have enough faith, then He can't complete His will? Huh? Isn't that reducing God's power to the size of our faith?

Jesus asked the Father to "Remove this cup from me." God could have. He could have even figured out a different way. But He didn't because death on the cross was the most perfect and beautiful way--even in all of its ugliness.

And God didn't remove Paul's thorn in the flesh either.

Can God heal us, or deliver us? Absolutely. Jesus did lots of healing in the New Testament. But if He chooses not to heal you, do you still believe that He is good? Can you fathom the fact that maybe in His love for you He is allowing this situation?

We often define a blessing as a good thing: healing, success, positive answers to prayer. Many circles talk about the need to "claim promises" in order to unlock these blessings. Some will even refuse to acknowledge doubts for fear of contaminating the word of faith they are speaking. But perhaps a too-narrow definition of "blessing" is contaminating our view of faith.

I'm still thinking this all through, but I fear that this whole idea of naming and claiming things puts redemption in a box. And redemption is something that I get excited about. I watch for it.

Of course our world is fallen. But we sure think we know how to fix it sometimes. Shame on us! That's the work of Jesus. Let His will be done for our good and his ultimate glory.

"...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..." And how can I share in His sufferings if I always demand He removes suffering from me?

And that's the other thing. Psalm 106:15 "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Is that what we're after? "

Seriously. There are more New Testament promises to indicate physical hardship and trial in the last days than there are indicating ease. But the promises of His presence and our being blessed as we endure are there over and over. Go check it out for yourself.

The amazing thing about God is that He can take the broken and painful, and in the end bring something beautiful and amazing out of it--something that could not even have been, had the painful situation never come to pass.

"What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?"

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Wagon Ride

I asked my man this question this morning: "Where is the fine line between knowing what you can handle and (responsibly) saying "no" to situations and opportunities that you know would stretch you beyond your limits, and being willing to hold your life with open hands and taking on really hard and seemingly impossible stuff and clinging to His grace, knowing it's sufficient. How do you know when to say "no" versus when to say, "I am being asked to do the impossible and I have no clue how to do it but God will have to be enough."

I think another way of asking this question is, "Is 'no' a responsible answer or is it the response of a soul that lacks faith...and how do I know the difference?"

I think God can use whatever decisions we make for His glory and His will isn't such a big puzzling thing to find. Might take some waiting, but God is more gracious than to tell us what He wants of us in riddles.

I do know that the grace of God is bigger than our answers to Him and when He desires something of us, He gently steers us in the right direction until we are there. I mean, not only does He direct our footsteps, He also guides our hearts until they are in tune with His will and desires.

When I was 15 years old, Dru was not cool. (Mildly put.) He was headed to the mission field and who knew what else...he was a tad um, weird.

I'm nearly 30. I married Dru. I have four kids. I've lived in Thailand for eight years. I don't like change, the city, overt adventure, or coming out of my comfort zone in general, but here I am.

I smiled to myself as I thought about this today. God has a way of putting you where He wants us, not only in our circumstances but in our hearts. Aren't we glad?

So I tell myself again today, "It's time to get on the wagon and hang on tight. Married to the man I am and having the God I do, there is no telling where we'll end up. Might as well figure out how to enjoy the adventure."

Meanwhile, I'm realizing that there is some terror in my heart about this next year. Quietly moving to Hat Yai without that interim step in the States would be a whole lot easier and safer feeling.

So as I'm sitting on this wagon, as it hurtles down the hill, I'm realizing that it's both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. But even as I enjoy this ride, I shall be periodically screaming at the top of my lungs nibbling my fingernails nervously and pensively. I'm wondering if we'll stop smoothly, with a few bumps, or just crash--leaving the wagon in shambles. I'm trusting that in the worst case scenario, God knows how to fix wagons--even when they're in splinters. He put me on this wagon, I'll trust Him for the ride.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Jumbled Thought Fragments

I keep trying to blog. Something profound and expressing all of my jumbled thoughts in a concise manner. But it's not coming out right--or not coming out at all. It's a combination of mommy brain and everything that's going on in our lives right now. Too much data on a slow computer, if you know what I mean.

I am thinking about how in the world I ended up with coffee shop going, city kids. Kids who don't know where carrots come from and what a whole sky full of dazzling stars on a dark night looks like. 

Thinking about communicating with my husband--I mean, we are communicating. But I'm processing the process. Because people change and life goes on and you forget the rules and have to review them. And make some new ones as our vulnerabilities shift. 

Thinking about having two babies right now. One with big serious eyes that are used for communicating with me because talking just ain't happening with words much yet. The other baby smiles even giggles some already. There isn't much serious about him except his need for food and more food--in case you couldn't tell by looking. The two of them rack up quite the diaper bill. I counted the other day--I changed eleven pampers.

Thinking about dreams and what to do with them. And wondering if they really are free after all. Depends on how you hold them, I guess.

I'm thinking about all of my earthly belongings and wondering which ones to store, which ones to take back to the States, which ones to pitch. Wondering how vulnerable I'm going to let myself be in the process. 

Thinking about Melinda coming in two weeks and all of the visiting and trotting around the city we're going to do. And wondering if we'll be able to stay up late and visit into the wee hours or not.

I'm thinking about my Mom and Dad coming next month for the first time. I'm still pinching myself to see if that's real. 

I'm smiling right now because my black board says, "Impossible is nothing for God". I went to a coffee shop and they had, "Impossible is Nothing" on the wall in black lettering. It made me think about it in a different way. So I came home and wrote it on the black board. Dru says it's bad English. It messes with his mind. Which makes me giggle gleefully. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pictures and Prayer Requests

The Lord really gave us some answers and a lot of peace when we were in Hot Yai a week ago. We are so thankful! Yet, we still have a few more answers we’re looking for. One of the things we’re working through right now is how long should we spend in the States, knowing we need to spend some time there. So we’re in communication with our home church on this issue now. Meanwhile, it’s hard to leave people here.


Mae Wahn is really struggling with letting us go for a long period of time. The idea of moving to Hot Yai was hard enough to get used to. She knows she can handle six months of us being away—but more than that? We are her family, this is hard, especially with her mom passing away this year. After telling her the other night that we could spend a couple years in the States, she seemed to get sad and quiet for the rest of our time together.


I told Mae Wahn that my prayer is that she would feel peace in her heart and direction in her own heart as to what we’re supposed to do. So that when we come to a decision, she could be at peace and know that this is right for us. I’m asking that you who pray for us, could pray for this for Mae Wahn too. Pray for her to be comforted and have peace—whatever God leads us to do.

We really don’t know how our next two years or more are going to play out. Please, pray for us, and our brotherhood back in the States, durring this decision process.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Let's play a table game...

Actually, as a general rule, I'm not much into table games. So I'm making one up that I think I'll enjoy much more. Here is my table. I'll tell you about it. Then you tell me about yours.

First off, the flowers are from my man because today is Thai Mother's Day. He also brought pizza home for supper.

The napkins I've collected over the years. I like cloth napkins. The silver napkin rings I found at a second hand store. Same as two of the cloth napkins and the bird cage.

The bird cage I've been threatening to paint white ever since I bought it but haven't done so yet.

Inside the bird cage are dried flowers from my mothers garden far far away in America. I have a collection of them, but am running out. They make me all happy and nostalgic. It's my mom who taught me about pretty tables. Go on over the Stone House Scribblings and you won't browse for long before you see one of hers.

The little yellow bird is from my sister Francis. I treasure it. Francis is one of my biggest prayer warriors as well.

The candle I bought at Hobby Lobby last time I was in the States.

My cousin Lorinda sent the JOY wall decor over with Joelle. For now it's on my table. Some days joy is a decision, and that's the truth! Thank you Lorinda. One day, if I ever get a chance I would love to sit down and have a lovely visit with you and pick your brain about motherhood, marriage, and life in general. You once wrote me a lovely email in response a blog I'd written. It meant a lot to me and I still remember how it spoke wisdom to me in such a good way. Thank you.

Last but not least is the little dish of sea shells and star fish. It was found on the beach last Sunday. A rain storm was whipping into Naratiwat that evening but I said I had to put my feet in the water. So they let me. Dru and Rennie came too, but ran for cover when the rain started coming. Dru had told me to collect some shells for the children. The sand stung my skin as the wind whipped it up from the beach. The rain started falling. I realized I really would have to retreat to the truck. But I still needed the shells for Jube and Havilah. I was so tickled and happy to find those three star fish as well. I could have stood on that beach and just let the rain soak me through and the sand sting my face and arms until it was over. Someday I will. I'll stand in the warm driving rain on the ocean beach while the sand zings about and the waves bring in treasures of shells and starfish--and know that God is big and I'm in his care. Because that's what I felt that day on the beach. I left very reluctantly.

So what are the stories on your table?