West Meets East

What Mama did. . .

Five Minute Friday

Once upon a world so bright
She cupped my face in the deep dark of night
My lips were blue on that September eve
Minutes seemed like hours and I did not breath
But a breath I took and my little life began
Under the motherhood of an amazing woman.

I remember the nightmares and I remember her there
I remember that my bad dreams and fears I could always share.

She calmed my fears
And wiped away the tears.
And always made the silver lining appear

She taught me how to sew and knit
How to ride a bike and stay physically fit

We swam in the summer and we fished at night,
Camping trips and Christmas time was always a highlight

She made home made meals and taught me how to cook
She also taught me that I was more than the sum of how I look
"The heart is the place where real beauty can live,"
And it grows day by day with every sacrificial give.

At 13, when Grandpa was very sick and we thought he might. . .
She brought me there and through tears she and Grandpa made it right.
They made their peace, and I did too.
 "real" forgiveness was modeled and nothing less will ever do.

Goodbyes were said in those early December hours
I was unprepared for the pain and the funeral flowers
but Mama was there as I cried tears of sorrow, tears of loss and Mama's own tears would soon follow
She was there, did you hear that? "There" right where I needed her.
through the painfully lonely days of Christmas that year that now are a blur.

The years flew by for her too  I'm sure,
She made chicken noodle soup and home made bread in a pan
And I clearly remember conversations about how to recognize a "good" man.

She laughed a lot and sometimes she cried
Looking back now, there were times being brave for us was what she tried.

She worked so hard as a single mom: 3 teenage girls and the dating scene
We often times accused her of being mean.
"The curfew was too early, and I was not late!"
I was almost 15! "Why couldn't I car date?"

But Mama always did what was right, she did what was good,
It was for these ingrained morals that she always stood.
The car keys were a privilege not a right, I soon understood.

Sometimes, I said mean things, and I wrote them too
words of kindness towards my mom in my teens, were few
But Mama didn't give up although she had every reason to

She grounded me once, no maybe twice,
I take that back, the groundings were many and inter spliced
between seasons of different issues in my life.
But she never gave up, no she kept on loving
Kept on protecting, caring and forgiving.
Well,  time marches on and now we live oceans away
But Mama is still Mama and her influence in raising me this way.
She's Nana to mine and Grandma to others
But one thing I know, she has always been one of the most amazing mothers!

That's what Mama did. Actually, words can not fully contain it.
I am so thankful that Mama did what she did but mostly just thankful that Mama is who she is.

I love you Mom!

Thailand 2013 and Home Again!

When my husband first suggested that we stay in Thailand for an entire month. . . the ENTIRE duration of our free "on arrival visa", I think I might have laughed out loud.  Don't get me wrong, that sounds FABULOUS (yet exhausting) all at the same time.  I enjoy traveling, I love cultures and learning and I knew (from past trips to Thailand) that I would thoroughly enjoy Thailand.  I think I told him that we shouldn't be away from school, routine, and daily life for that long and caught myself saying this to him and wondered what in the world had gotten into me!  He calmly baited the hook with simple words, 30 days that you don't have to cook or clean up, 30 days you don't have to wash, dry or fold laundry, 30 days that you can be in the sun and breath clean. . . clean air.  And that's where he got me.  Hooked!  See, the air quality here in the city I live in was near 800 the day we left. Higher than 300 and they say you should not go outside.  It had been steadily climbing and my throat burned when I would wake up and my voice was hoarse when I went to bed.  My eyes would sting when I went outside and the pollution in the air is one of those triggers to an auto immune disease I've been wrestling with the last 2 years.   This 30 days was to be a gift to get out of the bad air and into the fresh clean air and sunshine of sunny Thailand otherwise known as the land of Smiles and let my body recoup and the kids relax.   We stayed the entire 30 days and although (obviously) it was not all vacation, we had a ministry conference and development meetings for portions of the time (this was our main purpose of going- but my kind husband saved the cash so we could stay longer and get enough time to refresh us before we came back), we did have good vacation time and all of it was refreshing in one way or another.  Here are some of the things we did, sights we saw and things we currently miss now that we are back in our home in Asia and fondly remembering how refreshing it was to step onto the beaches of Thailand and climb aboard tuk tuk's and elephants and drink fruit smoothies for breakfast and lunch and dinner.  It is good to be home though. . . hoping the kids and I still think so when we start school on Monday. ha!

 The Gulf of Thailand in Cha Am

Walking for miles upon miles looking for sea life and sea shells

 Building and Destroying all things in the sand is the love language of this 
(and probably most) 3 year old boys

 Sometimes a girl's just gotta do handstands and cartwheels in the Gulf of Thailand! 

 Our last night at Dolphin Bay in Thailand we joined some friends in setting off these beautiful lighted lanterns. It reminded all of us of The Rapunzel movie and the annual search for the princess on her birthday.  It happened to be  Levi's birthday this day so it was a very special end to his night. 

 Mesmerized by the Sea

 All boy. . . dirt, water, and a lot of noise!

 A quick picture of the girls of the family!

 Our lanterns floating away

 An awesome ride in a song tao

 We spent some time in Chiang Mai, Thailand (northern Thailand) and of course had to visit the elephants! This was  a dream come true for my kids. 

This friendly elephant almost slimed my camera!  I pulled back and he slimed me instead of the camera!  My boys say I should say that correctly, he kissed me instead of the camera. . . but truly it was sliming! 

There are so many stories to tell and thoughts to share and maybe I'll get some time to post some of them in the days that come.  But all in all, I am so glad for the time we had to breath clean air, soak in the sunshine,  to take a break from ministry, to meet with God in fresh ways, to be together as a family and to fellowship with some friends.  I am so blessed!

He is mine. . . and I am His

Five Minute Friday

“You are His beloved.  Do you believe that?  Really and fully believe that?” He stood before us with humbleness and conviction. A week ago today I sat in a room with 70 other moms and dad’s who are in full time Christian service in an overseas setting in Asia. We were there to learn about educational and parenting methods and to receive encouragement from each other and a host of other reasons.  But we began each day with heart felt worship that reached down and touched a tender chord in my heart that hadn’t been touched in a very long time. My head nodded yes towards him but my heart shook it’s head no.  I felt paralyzed by the discrepancy between my head and my heart.  He spoke about His tenderness, His grace, His desire to commune with us, to see us in true community and to commission us forth with our heart’s fully embracing his love as our fuel.  The rest of the day I wrestled with this term “beloved”. . . what does it mean? Why is it hard for me to truly  believe that I – am – HIS - beloved?   Is it the broken home I come from that cripples me?  Is it the kilometers that have separated me physically and emotionally from my Dad since I was 10 that disables me?   Why is it that I can’t seem to experience the beauty and joy of being His beloved? And He being mine?  And there in those last 4 words I discover my answer.  I have not fully embraced Him as being MY beloved.  So, I sat my weary and confused heart down before Him and in silence and the hours that passed in between told it that we would  just stay there with Jesus. . . stay there until we let Jesus penetrate into each and every cell.  Sitting in solitude was one of his suggestions  to embrace this truth and it was in the solitude that I experienced the sweetness of my Beloved for the first time in a long time.  There is no greater love nor no greater joy than to be his beloved and for him to be mine.   

Temporary Amnesia

Five Minute Friday
I let out a loud sigh and shake my head in disbelief at the child standing before me.  A breath prayer, "Remind me right now Lord.  Right now I need to be reminded of who you are and how precious he is."

I have amnesia or short term memory loss or something related to a faulty memory because I sometimes forget how cherished this bundle of a boy is, not just to me or to our family but to the one who created him.  I forget that this 30+ lbs of spinning, whirling child whose feet don't frequently still unless he is sleeping or reading, this one who sometimes spins out of control (or maybe it's me that feels like she has lost all control over what he does or what he finds funny or how he interacts with the world around him).  Yes, this one was made this way (woven together in my womb) and entrusted to me to enjoy, to cherish, to treasure for this short time in this earthly skin.  This tiny package that kisses me a million times when I pick him up from school, who flexes his arm muscles to impress his daddy and anyone else he can catch looking bears God's image.  He who grins from ear to ear with pride that he can read 3  letter  short vowel words these days IS cherished.  This little prince who still insists I am the girl he will marry someday and who plucks flowers for pretty girls and elderly women in our neighborhood, "just to make them smile," and finds heart shaped rocks he can bestow to his sister with love. . . he. . . this amazing child. .  is beloved to God. And truth tells me that he who sometimes (always at the most inconvenient of times) behaves as if his MIDDLE name were a 4 letter acronym that except for in the dark while we are lying in bed whispering, we are afraid to name out loud, in fear that saying it out loud will attach them behind his given name all to soon and for the rest of his life - yes, it is this little one - he- is - cherished and loved and created in the image of God with a purpose and with gifts to share with this world.  Please don't give him or me "that look".  You know the look.  And please with hold your statements that trigger my amnesia.  The ones that say, "he has A LOT of energy." "Boy, you have your hands full." because we both hear what you are really saying and it's not helpful but actually quite hurtful to this little 5 year old's idea of himself.  We need your  help remembering how uniquely created his is and how cherished he is - we don't need your help forgetting.  We do that just fine on our own.  Please help us to remember to see that he too is an image bearer of God - because he is.  He truly is and I can not bare to think of what this world would be like without him.

He Gives Me That Look

He gives me that look from across the table that makes my heart flip around so wildly inside this chest of mine that I almost reach up to touch it.  The corners of his mouth playful with me and I can't help but let out a tiny giggle and we are smiling and laughing and life should always feel this good.  The kids are grinning from ear to ear and they love this playful banter and laughter at breakfast so much it makes them all a little goofy too.  I get up first for a refill and he follows me to the coffee pot and I can sense he is right behind me.  As I turn around, coffee cup in hand - he gently takes it out of my hand placing it on the counter, his fingers lace through mine and he asks me for this dance.  I notice we have an audience peaking at us from the other room, I am laughing out loud now and looking up at him, I dance with him right there in the kitchen, completely un done yet - jammies still on, bed head hear and coffee breath but he doesn't care.  I get the distinct impression that he sees a different "me" here in this kitchen right now than I do. And it feels so good to be loved just as I am - undone, mess of a person that I am - I guess that's "love" isn't it?  Love dances and embraces and accepts and sees what is inside.  How did this day ever come to be?  We are both pushing 40 and that seems so old and yet here in this kitchen, this morning, I feel anything but old.  I guess that is what love does for a person - it rekindles the part that makes us feel alive.  His love also brings me coffee in the morning and gets up with the kids in the night, "so I can rest", he sends me out with my friends and with my camera so that I have room for the relational, creative "me" that needs to make an appearance every now and then and then when I get home from all of that creative girl-friend time he tenderly takes my feet up on his lap, rubs them as I go on ad on about who I saw, what we did, which aperture setting I used or tried and I am sure he does not know half of what I am talking about - but this man knows "me".  I guess that's what love does - it serves beyond what is convenient or interesting to itself.  And he does a million other really sweet things to demonstrate his love for me.  How does one ever "love" back enough when you are loved and taken care of so well?  I have absolutely no idea what the equivalent is in his man's world - but I am trying hard to learn.  Trying hard to figure out how to cheer on his favorite football team and how to get into March madness or super bowl season in a way that is a blessing and not annoying.  I am not exactly sure how to love him but every day is a new day to try and express it in his language.  I guess that's what love does, doesn't it?  It tries and intends to bless.  Now just to bring some "real" to this picture I am painting, I have no grandiose ideas that my marriage or my husband or myself have this love/marriage thing all figured out.  In fact, not even close!  We struggle ad fight and I subconsciously want control and yet have none.  He forgets to hang up his bath towel and around we go again.  But love is a choice that we make day in and day out.  The "choice" part is what makes the little things actually big things, big deposits that ground us and keep us dancing in the kitchen in our jammies - coffee breath and all.  I am so thankful for another year and another fresh start to love this man I call my husband and my best friend.