Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Case of the RED FACE....

The end of jetlag is finally in sight and I have to say I am so glad because my physical body couldn't have taken much more. Sunday evening we went to visit Pathway Church in
Whitesboro and at the end we were talking to different people and during one of my conversations I went completely blank...

You know that embarrassed feeling when you feel your face burn? And that feeling of complete moronishness (?ok...just give me that brain is just starting to wake up) just sticks with you for a few hours? Making you feel like you need to explain yourself and talk about it but you don't' because it reallly really wasn't that big of a deal!?? Does anyone know that feeling?

Ok...well, I forgot it existed. NOT that I don't do completely embarrassing things at times but it's something that God has taught me since my incredibly self conscious high school years...everyone messes up and it's not that big of a I am usually spared the red face as I laugh it off and move on...but last night I was not spared...OH NO!

I was just trying to share how a good friend of ours explained what giving up Thailand for this season is like the best. I went on to say...(I have to say I was speaking coherently although my eyes were red and my mind was darting back and forth, along with my eyes trying to figure out where my children were) "A dear friend of ours gave us an example that really does explain what it's like leaving Thailand...In the old testament the story of.........." (insert blank stare here...)

....well, ummm....the story of....I'm trying to think of the story...(trying DESPERATELY to pull Abraham's name from my brain but it was like all the names of the men of God from the old testament were swirling together in one big crock pot and for the life of me I could not remember who almost sacrificed their son to GOD!!!! AHHH!!!)

OK here is my honest this point I know I'm in trouble so I try to start to think of the other story that is a good explanation of what we're going through and I can't think of any of that...I continued on in great pain....staring down and then up at her expectant face..."uhhh....well....I'm sorry....I'm trying to think of the other brain just isn't working...when he sacrificed...(and then my flesh started kicking in...I was sinking and I didn't want to ask for help or let on that I was COMPLETELY STUMPED! I mean goodness...I'm a missionary...I KNOW THE STORY OF my demise I continued on stretching and grabbing for Isaac's father's name....oh what is it?!?!?! Someone put me out of my misery....PLEASE!)

And then she did it....I promise it had to have been a full 30 seconds where I'm just looking at her stammering!!! OK...30 seconds doesn't sound like that much but I want you to stop reading and count to 30 seconds slowly and imagine stammering through it.......go've got time...come one....

NOW...wasn't that painful!!!!??? OH where was I....oh yeah, and then she did it...she said "You mean Abraham?" and by that point I was trying so desperately to remember the other story I was just like....uh yeah...but what was the other one....oh man....

She gracefully let me give my excuses for sounding like such a completely incompetent that I know the bible inside or out or anything - I'm still working on that...but my don't belong on the mission field if you don't know the word of God....much less the name of ABRAHAM and his many stories!

So yeah, I walked away feeling so eyes were burning from sleep deprivation and my head had a dull ache that just would not quit and my physical body had a involuntary slump that I could not correct no matter how I commanded myself to sit up. I should have been able to laugh that one off but I just felt so's just pride.

I didn't want that woman, whom I had met once before...think that I was inept...LOL! And so I was embarrassed. God help me die! hehehee...until then...I will NEVER forget matter how tired I am!!!!

Last night was our first night of real sleep and I am feelin good this morning!!!! WAHOO! This missions house is such a blessing...I still am just kind of in awe that we're here again. God is so good...I just keep saying it over and over again...I think some people are like...YES HE IS!!! STOP SAYING IT OVER AND OVER!!

Because I'm the kind of person that usually when I say something about the goodness of God I'm lookin for an AMEN or someone with eyes ready to meet mine in greatfulness....I just love when I'm giving glory to God and there is someone who is right there who is on the same page and they are just relishing in the goodness of God with me...

I got some pants yesterday and I am sooooooooooo RELIEVED to have them! Why am I relieved instead of glad? Glad that I'm not freezing in my capris anymore...?? Because I looked like a big goof ball running around in's socks and tennis shoes in cold weather. I'm not into fashion ladies...really I'm not...ask any one who knows me...but I have a few things in my head that are just no no's...and capris with socks and tennis shoes are one of them!!!

So since we touched down in America...I have been letting go of my pride as I go out in public like that. Apparently a lot of people were capris with socks and tennis shoes and it's not so weird as I think...because I would say something about it and people would be like "What's wrong with that?" So where did I get this fashion sense? No idea...but it still looks completely silly on me.

Most women...
(except every picture I found only wore sandals...which gives me validity to believe that capris and tennis shoes during WINTER just are not OK)...


Many women can pull it off...I'm not one that likes it. Please don't get me wrong if capris, socks and tennis shoes are your summer's just me. :) new pair of pants are going to get lots and lots of wear!!! I'm so glad that things are settling down...sleep wise. It seems like now I can think beyond what's before me at the moment and it is sooo refreshing! I'm so excited about the opportunities to spend time with family and friends and I'm most encouraged that I'll be able to encourage people in Christ in ENGLISH! :)

I am praying that my time with God each day will fill my cup up so much that I can't contain all that He is...and that it flows out of me effortlessly. HA! When I said that I thought of my will take some effort...handling them with gentleness and love...regardless of their attitudes...ugg...only through Him can I master that feat...So with that I'll leave you and be off for some time with Him while all are still asleep. Oppp...Joss is awake now...that's ok...Joss is a good prayer partner.

On another note...Jossalyn and Jude are both sick...please be praying for them. We are ready for them to be healed...they both have that lovely green snot and Joss has a really bad cough and when she breaths you can hear it in her little chest.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Missionaries Ought to know about Grief

Thanks for this awesome article Jacqueline! Wow! Wish I had read this 5 years ago! here is what Jacqueline had to say in regards to the article...

What Missionaries Ought to know about Grief
Ronald L. Koteskey
download this as a pdf file

You may say, "I don't need to know anything about grief. No one in my family has died, and when someone does, I'll fly home to the funeral." If and when that happens, it may be one of your easier encounters with grief because everyone there will understand your grief, and your culture has developed rituals to enable you to resolve your grief. Although we commonly think of grief as related to the death of a loved one, there are many other causes of grief.

The dictionary defines grief as the "intense emotional suffering caused by loss of any kind." Missionaries experience many losses that other people do not, so those people do not understand. There is no funeral or other ritual to assist in grieving over these losses.

Missionaries may offer true, but over-spiritualized, platitudes in denial of the losses they experience. When people are dying and losing everything, we do not question their denial, anger, or depression before they come to accept their loss. Regarding losses other than death, missionaries may carry a load of unexpressed, unresolved grief.

More important than the "objective" severity of the loss is each person's own interpretation of the loss. Leaving a pet may seem like a minor event to most people, but those who have had that pet for years may experience much grief. Here are several losses that may increase grief for missionaries.

Everyone understands the loss of friends and family, but what about the house, the car, the supermarket, the school, the pets, the newspaper, and the toys? All of these, and more, are lost as you leave your passport country to become missionaries. Any, or all, may cause grief.
You may develop two homes, one in your passport country and one on the field. When you come "home," people there cannot understand that you feel the loss of the smells, the foods, the animals, the friendliness of the people, and the music of the country where you have been serving. Losing these may cause grief when you return to your passport country.


Headquarters calls, and you move to another field. You lose everything you have come to love over the last months or years. Grief comes again. Perhaps this culture has become home to your teens, and when you move to the new field, your older adolescents remain with other missionaries to finish school. They may be old enough to marry a national and stay behind forever-another loss and more grief.

The field committee asks you to take over a project that has not been handled well by another missionary. However, that means leaving what you have been doing so effectively-another loss. Your new project does not take off and the one you left also declines-more grief.


You knew that being a missionary would mean moving even more often than other people do in our mobile culture. Built into long-term missionary life are usually at least two moves every five years, four years on the field and one at home. In addition are the countless moves to different fields, to different places on the same field, to different states on home assignment, etc. The list of transitions seems endless.

People sometimes say IBM means "I've Been Moved." In the same way, MAF may seem to mean "Move Again, Friend," or WGM may seem to mean "We've Gotta Move." Missionaries are always saying good-bye, multiple good-byes to people, places, possessions and pets-grieving for all.

The hardest transitions seem to be premature departures. How do you say good-bye when you don't want to leave? What if there has been a moral lapse? What if you have not been able to stand up under the emotional strain? What if headquarters just said to leave your assignment or to leave the mission? What if you are leaving in an evacuation? More grief.


Travel is exciting to many people, but to missionaries on deputation, it can be dreary. You have been away from home for several years on the field, and now you are away even more. When overseas you could not get home for the funeral of a friend (no money, no flight available, no time free), but now that you are at home, you cannot get back to the field for a funeral there-unresolved grief in both cases.

Before airplanes, travel time was a time to work through the loss, through grief. It took at least days, if not weeks, to get from country to country whether traveling by ship, train, or horse-drawn vehicle. Today missionaries finish packing, step onto the plane, and in a few hours are at their destination. They have had no time to work through the loss.


That brings us to the time it takes to grieve. Grieving rituals are different in different cultures, so grief is expected to take different times in each. Grieving always takes time, sometimes much time. It may take a few days for leaving things, weeks for leaving friends, and months for the death of a loved one. Some people say that such bereavement should be over in a couple months, but it often takes much longer. Those who try to short-circuit the grieving process may experience problems years later.


Long after your time of grieving seems to be over, you may suddenly feel the loss intensely again. "Triggers" (stimuli that bring back memories of the lost person, place, or thing) surprise you by suddenly reactivating the grief. You may not even realize that you saw, heard, or smelled something that brought back memories of the loss. Smell is especially likely to do this, and you will not even know why you thought of that person, place, possession or pet.

Anniversaries are particularly difficult, especially wedding anniversaries. Birthday anniversaries are another difficult time. "First's" are also difficult, such as the first Christmas or first family reunion. Related events in others' lives may be difficult, such as the birth of a friend's child bringing back the loss of your own-years later, when you thought the grief was gone.


Missionaries may be more likely to experience traumatic situations. Other cultures may be more likely to have assault, political unrest, evacuations, bombings, killings, kidnappings, and so forth. When this happens to a missionary, others also become involved, and rightly so. Even though they did not experience the trauma firsthand, those helping also often grieve over the loss caused by the trauma.


When a people in business get moved, they blame the company. When people in the military get moved, they blame the government. When missionaries get moved, they may blame not only administrators at headquarters, but also God himself. After all people have prayed about the move and have determined that it is God's will. God called us, he made us move, and it is his fault. Naomi's statements about God in Ruth 1:20-21 are excellent examples. Returning missionaries may feel just as she did.

What can we do about it?

Be honest. The loss and grief you experience is real. Do not deny it; it really hurts. Do not over spiritualize it and say what a privilege it is to suffer for Jesus, if it is not. Be honest and open about your feelings of loss.

Be informed. Reading this brochure and other material about grief helps you become informed. Realize that all of these "Ts" are especially relevant to missionaries.

Be Christian. Too often Christians deny their feelings of grief. They may quote 1 Thessalonians 4:13 as saying that we are not "to grieve like the rest of men." Do not stop there because the rest of the verse is "who have no hope." We grieve, but like people who have hope. Look at what the Bible says:

Abraham grieved. Genesis 23:2
Jacob grieved. Genesis 37:35
David grieved. 2 Samuel 18:33
Jesus grieved. John 11:35.

"Jesus wept" is one of the shortest but most important verses in the Bible. If he wept at the funeral of a friend, we certainly can grieve about our losses.

Be missionaries. We have an excellent example of people saying good-bye to missionaries in Acts 20:17-21:1. Paul talked extensively about his leaving them, and then beginning in verse 36, note what they did:

They said their good-byes.
They knelt.
They prayed.
They wept.
They embraced.
They kissed.
They went to the ship.
They tore themselves away.

This is a good example of the grief expressed at the parting of a missionary. Paul had ministered to them two years, and such grief is normal and expected. If you do not express the grief over your losses, it may remain unresolved and return to hinder your work. Be honest informed Christian missionaries relative to your loss and grief.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We're BAAACCK!!!

We arrived EARLY this morning at DFW and were ready to drop! Whew...the last plane...plane 3 of 3...was about 13 hours felt like the flight that would never end!!! But it did and we survived...the kids did wonderful really. They were real champs about it all.

Although, it was very tough on Josiah the day we left - he cried more than I did. He just kept saying "I don't wanna leave Thailand". It broke my heart!!! The Hat Yai Team gave us a wonderful goodbye and I didn't weep profusely as I thought I would...I was able to control my crying and prevent a snot fest.

Our Thailand Family

Curry and Dawn (John's parents) picked us up from the airport - it was so wonderful to see them. It's a strange feeling to just be back. We've come back 2 times over the past 4 years and each time it was with the expectancy that we're going straight back in 3 months or a bit more...but this time we have no idea when we'll go back. We're just here.

We're not JUST here...I don't mean that negatively at all. So...what food did we have first? Welp, since we were in the states 6 months ago it wasn't that big of a deal to eat American food again. Although, John was extremely glad to be able to eat his meal without having to pick through it first and bite cautiously. Something happened during this last time of being back with me...I didn't crave American foods...I wanted Thai food. It wasn't that big of a deal to find a bag of doritos or macaroni and cheese at one of the nice import stores like it used to used to be like finding treasure.

And a really funny thing I noticed tonight...I was walking around Wal-Mart at 2:30AM - UH HUH...A.M.!!! The boys slept all day by accident - I layed down at 2:30ish and they were already asleep expecting that John would wake us up at 4...but we didn't get woken up until 6:40pm and the boys wouldn't wake up! I've never seen them that way before. Normally jetlag isn't a big deal for my boys. So...when everyone else was crashing - the boys were WIDE AWAKe and ready to romp.

So at about 1am I was about to go out of my mind trying to keep them quiet and in one room and OFF THE FURNITURE!! So I loaded them all up into Dawn's car and off to wal-mart we went. We walked that whole place and it was so fun. Everything in America is so well made - it's so nice because everywhere I looked there was good quality stuff. Everything was so clean and I could speak to the night workers in English. It feels so good just to smile at someone and say hi and have small talk in english right now.

About what I was saying - the POINT of this little that while I was looking over a baby item (neat little bottle contraption that you can feed your food out of) and considering it...I had to convert in my head how much it would cost into Thai baht to see if I would be willing to spend that much money on it. My worth calculator has been reset to Thai baht!!! After I did it and discovered that it was worth buying and not too expensive - I just laughed to myself...realizing that more parts of me had changed and adjusted to living in Thailand that I had known.

It's 7:32am and the boys and Joss are just now falling asleep. I plan to let them sleep a few more hours and then keep them awake with promises of ChuckECheese as long as I can hold out and then when my last card is drawn...We'll pray for lots of patience and take our exhausted boys to ChuckECheese and let them go WILD...bring them home and let them crash at 7:30pm and I think we will be good.'s a good plan...but we'll see how well it works in practice. I'm off to spend some time with Jesus and then catch a few hours are some pictures...enjoy!

Church Plant - Baan Phrut

Dear Mee Khiaw

Some of the kids playing

Pii Thak and I

CheAnn saying "Thank you for bringing me a tract!"

Praying for Pii Thak and CheAnn

Joss having fun at church...

Clinton preaching his heart out...

Me listening in my "reserved" church spot

My beautiful sister in Christ - Candy...I'm going to miss her so much!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


We're leaving seems like this night has been forever in coming!! Tomorrow we will rise early and go through my last "to do's" as fast as possible and then be off to the airport by 12 for our flight that leaves at 2pm to Bangkok. Once in Bangkok we have to wait around until 1am for our next flight that goes from Bangkok to Soel, Korea. From Korea we go straight into DFW.

Tonight John and I were able to leave together on the bike to get somethings from downtown...and as I sat on the back of the bike I was lost in all the memories from the past 4 years here in Thailand. As we drove toward downtown and then through downtown I kept taking it in. Trying my hardest to burn pictures into my memory. I want Thailand to stay fresh in my heart. All that it is and all that believe God will do here.

I kept taking intentional deep breaths...taking in all the smells that once drove me crazy as we walked the streets...and savoring them. I still remember a distinct smell from Haiti when I was only a child...I later found out that it was from Rum factories near by...but the smells in you's like someone playing a mean trick on you. One moment you smell delicious food...then weird food...then sewage...then more weird food...and then incense...then sewage again...then delicious food.

I looked at the sky line and took in the palm trees and the structure of the buildings...I watched as the Thai people sat together infront of their shops as they do every night...I love the way the steam rises from the noodle shops. I love the way the Thai people are always outside. At one point I just closed my eyes and listened to the sounds...and tried to burn in my memory of John and I on a bike together in Thailand.

Despite all the things that make living in Thailand hard for us...I find myself holding back what feels to be a waterfall of emotion...and tears...Oh the tears that will fall...I am so glad and I really really am excited about going on to America and walking into what God has for us but I will miss Thailand like a dear friend. It's's's smell...I've come to love Thailand like I love my family and friends...deeply and unconditionally...quirks and all.

I believe we will come back but I don't know how long it will be...hopefully just a year or two...but God has not shown us that yet. Tomorrow is the day! We've almost got everything in order...we're going to have to pay overage fees but God knows and has provided.

You wanna hear something funny? Today I was packing our suitcases and I was weighing each one and I was just astounded and floored that each bag weighed 60kg!! Thats about 130 something pounds! We are allowed 15kg per person. That makes 60kg for our whole family and ONE SUITCASE weighed 60kg!!! I could not believe it...I was almost in tears...because I have thrown away...and given away sooo much stuff that I would have loved to have kept close. I had worked so hard and been so cut throat only to find that we were still way over and it was going to cost close to $1,000 dollars to pay for this much overage.

After packing and mulling this through for about 2 hours...Christina said..."Steph are you sure you aren't reading the pounds?" Then it dawned on me!!! I was....I so was! It was like a huge burden was lifted instantly!!! I screamed and thanked Jesus! LOL! So instead of having to leave more stuff behind...we'll be back to our expected $250 overage fee. It's a lot but much better than $1,000 don't you think? Especially when you don't have it!

I felt do you say....ummmm....STUPID! Actually I prefer to call it stress induced lack of awarness...hehehehe...So be praying for us during this journey. We are excited and very very tired and our journey hasn't started yet! I'm so excited to see my family and friends!! I can't wait to hug my mom, see my wonderful in-laws and squeeze my bestest friends!!

I'll update you as soon as I can after we arrive. Thanks for reading! I want to encourage you to think about heart has been heavy laden for the ones who have been decieved and have put their focus on other things...good taking care of their family...going to church...ministry...or going through their check list...and their focus has shifted from the most important thing in life. Our Savior...and time with Him.

I love Christmas time...remember the Prince of Peace, wonderful counselor, the lamb that was slain...the light of the world...the one that changed your life...refocus brothers and sisters...reFOCUS!

Only Love Remains - JJ Heller
Scenes of you come rushing through
You are breaking me down
So break me into pieces
That will grow in the ground
I know that I deserve to die
For the murder in my heart
So be gentle with me Jesus
As you tear me apart

Please kill the liar
Kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins

Until only love remains

You burn away the ropes that bind
And hold me to the earth
The fire only leaves behind whatever is of worth
I begin to see reality
For the first time in my life
I know that I’m a shadow
But I’m dancing in your light

Teach me to be humble
Call me from the grave
Show me how to walk with you upon the waves
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Josiah: Momma, I just want to give Joss some chicken ok?

Momma: No...babies like Joss don't have least not yet...

Josiah: Ok...I'll just let her lick the chicken then...k?

Momma: No...that's not ok.

Josiah: Cause babies like Joss don't have tongues?


Our time here in Hat Yai has been God's timing...when we weren't able to get the tickets for the day we wanted and were delayed a whole extra week we were disappointed but now we see that God is truely in control of our lives.

We have been getting things done and going through our stuff and I'm shocked that I'm finding so much stuff that I just can not part with. I found a folder of Josiah's art since he was old enough to hold a crayon...and there are some serious master pieces in there! I found a book of notes that John and I had written to each other while we were dating...I found an old sketch book of John's that he's kept since he was 14...and so many other things.

I could go on and on. The insane thing is that our luggage is already over weight!!! The airline...AIR ASIA....are quite simply crooks...ok so maybe that's a little too strong. But that sure is how it feels. They only allow 15kg per person which is 33 pounds. It's known as a trap...because usually if you pack LIGHT...ONE suitcase weighs 33 pounds. And you are allowed 2 you almost always end up paying for a whole bag per kg. Imagine moving...all that you have...and having to choose only 33 pounds worth of stuff...

It's INSANE! Yesterday I was sifting through stuff and I just had to keep saying out loud..."all for you Jesus"...and at times I would say "it's just's all gonna burn eventually anyway...right?"....ugg....I believe we're just going to have to pack up some boxes and leave them here in Thailand and when we have the money...send for them.

That's our best bet right now...It's a good thing to experience...I think. It would be great for everyone to have to let go of STUFF...all of it...except for what you can fit in a's HARD but freeing.

Enough about that...aye? hehehe...We're counting down the days...our journey begins in 3 days!!! As my excitement about returning and seeing family and friends grows so does the hurt in the pit of my stomach about leaving Thailand. It's hard to describe but...we, as a family, are ready. God has been moving and really ministering to us and preparing us. We're ready...Ready for what God has planned and ready to step into it.

Church last Sunday was wonderful - Clinton Garsee shared and encouraged the body and at the end some of the Thai people who have been saved came up and with tears streaming down their faces they said "Thank you for bringing me a tract!!!". It was sooo awesome...and moving!

Ooop...time is out...have to cut this blog entry short. Thank you for reading and praying for us! Please keep us in your prayers! Here is some pictures from the last few weeks...there are quite out of order...sorry... :)

Waiting to check our luggage onto the train...

Is the train here yet Momma??

Josiah saying goodbye to Khruu Ruchada

Jude having fun on the train...

The view outside our window...

While we were very cramped...I think Jude's sleeping buddy...Puppy...had it the worst...

Jude in a cute costume Grandmaw sent him...

Jude and Nawng Awe playing the day before we left...

The one picture of the yard sale I it was crazy! :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


We made it to Hat Yai/Baan Phrut...We got our tickets! The Blakes are coming to America on the 23rd of December! Pray for us!! Things are tough but our eyes are set on Him!

PS - The Blakes on the Move.....??? What do you title for our blog?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

From my heart...

You know, for the past two weeks...while we have not been studying Thai anymore and have not had any duties except for to continue to pray, shine our light and prepare to move what we have to Hat Yai before returning to America - I feel as though I have been busier than ever.

I do believe we are making the transition from having two children to three. Jossalyn is no longer his adorable itsy bitsy baby just laying there...content to be able to see us. She is a full blown...beyond adorable 7 month old that has to be in the action too! Jude has developed into such an incredible 3 year's like on his birthday he made a concious decision to grow up a whole years worth in one day!

Josiah has matured so much over this past week it's amazing! As I sit here...Jossalyn is wheeling around in her walker grabbing things out of suitcases. (Intermission: 10 minute diaper change) Jude is getting his daily dose of 101 Dalmations...that boy LOVES that movie! Josiah and Daddy are still's 7:37.

The past week we've have another breakthrough...but one I don't write about too often. Have you ever just felt like the worst mother EVERRR?? Well, I have...I was speaking to another homeschool mom last night and she was like...excuse me that's MY TITLE...I think we've all felt like that at someone point or another...and then there's the other half of us that feel like that EVERYDAY! LOL!'s not that bad but during this time...during this's been rough. All the changes and Josiah learning that he must obey no matter what house or country we're in...and Jude learning how to deal express himself and his frustrations with his brother...and learning that sneaking around is not safe and NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Well, this week it just seems like we've finally broken through!!! The house has a different feel because peace and love reigns in stead of frustration and attitude. Am I saying I think the battle is over?'s just over for this season...and I'm oh so happy about it.

During all the things that have been going on in Bangkok and in other parts in Thailand it's like God has been protecting me from focusing on that stuff. I imagine it something like a father who knows that bad things are going on either side of his baby girl and he just keeps snapping his fingers...whistling and calling the focus of his child to be on him and him alone. In his gaze there is peace and comfort, TRUST and PURPOSE.

Many of the missionary moms last night kept asking if I was doing ok...they seemed to think that the hard part was all the train rides, the moving, the selling, the unknown of if when we can get tickets, the airplane rides...and then settling back down just to pick up and move again in 2 months once in America to somewhere we're not familiar with...they were all concerned about my sanity...and to be completely honest...for the first time I didn't need to say..."Just pray for me..." in that way that lets people know that I don't feel up for the challenge but that's what's going I'm gonna bit my lip...take a deep breath and press in.

Instead I just looked at them and said "yes! I'm fine!" It felt so good to just say...I'm fine. While it's two words it means so much means "It's ok. I'm not stressed...I don't feel like this is hard...We're ready...I have peace...I have joy...I have happiness....I am full of faith...We trust God..."

The only sorrow or sadness I feel is in leaving Thailand itself. I love this country and I LOVE the missionaries that are serving in it. It hurts my heart that I won't be here during these turbulant times...but at the same time I am excited to go home to my friends who are pretty much like family...

I am encouraged and full of excitement about ideas God has given me about helping missionaries. I'm asking God to enable me to ignite a fire in the church back home to take on missionaries in a new way. The churches who have supported us back home have loved on us and cared for us so deeply...and it meant, at times, LITERALLY the world to us. That love, shown through emails and calls, at times a box...kept us strong...knowing that we're not alone in this battle.

I have so many ideas...some that are so small...such as getting kids magazine subscriptions coming and sending them to the missionary kids that I know...that would be such a humongous treat for any missionary kid I know...and mean the world to the parents. Have a missionary prayer website so that missionaries can come and submit specific prayer requests...and even bigger ideas such as a gift box system - guaranteeing that missionary families at least get 2 boxes a year. I wish I could express how much boxes mean to most missionary's not the stuff...well, sometimes it is...especially if it's velveeta cheese...but it's the love that is put into the box...

Make a way so that any missionary mom who has trouble getting curriculum for her children can...and maybe a missionary support group online that helps with culture shock...raising children on the mission field...taking care of a family on the mission field...knowing what you're up against and recognizing it before it bites you on the b-HIND.

I don't know how or when...but my heart burns to be an advocate for missionaries in America. To draw attention to the need for support - financially, spiritually and emotionally. If people would take on one missionary family personally (as many have with us) and think of their children...send a toy...special candy from America...a bi -weekly email that is not generic...send 20-30 a month...WOW...if every Christian family would adopt a incredible. What a support for some of those who are fighting so far away from home...

So...back to TODAY...we're all packed and we'll be leeeavving on a jet train...wait? I mean...leaving on a train at about 2 today - which is an accident by me. We're on an overnight train on purpose! I was supposed to buy tickets for the latest leaving train there was...but alas...I bought the earliest leaving over night train. What does that mean for us? 6 hours of entertaining a 6, 3 and 7 month old instead of 2 hours!'s's an adventure!!!! RIGHT?!?!?! hehehee...yeah it is and it's going to be fun...

We will arrive in Bangkok tomorrow morning sometime and wait at the train station for about 6 hours to catch our next overnight train which will take us to Hat Yai. But please be praying because last we heard Hat Yai was flooding and the trains might not be able to get through. We are pretty sure that the waters should have gone down by the time our train needs to pass through...but this flood is worse than the one we had the second year here...and THAT was bad. At one point our team was out on an inflatable boat delivering water, rice and formula to homes.

Once we arrive...we will settle into the church down there and start going through our home and selling what we have. We want to get tickets for the week of the 15th but after everything has happened I have been told that some people are being told there is a wait from 3 weeks to 2 months. I don't know which is right...I'm praying that we can get tickets as soon as we get there and leave during that week.

I'm sooo excited about getting to see our's been over a year!! Josiah squeels everytime I tell him that he gets to see Asia and Mercy. Jude is just excited about the train right now although he is having a hard time with all the change. Yesterday he would walk around the house going "TOYS??...TOYSS?!??!?! We're we goin Mom? House all gone?!?! Goin on a train?? I wanna go on the train....wheh my TOYS Mom??" All of that said with quite a 3 year old strained voice. Poor baby...but we love on him and explain for the 20th time and Josiah helps a lot.

Josiah is gonna be the most flexible man when he grows! Welp, it's now 8:13...Josiah is awake...Joss is back to sleep...Jude is still taking his Dalmation dose and I have a husband to waken and many things to thank you for coming by and for thinking of us and praying for us throught his transition.

Please forgive me if I have not replied to your email. Sometimes I only have time to check my emails and then by the next day I forget to write back. Sometimes I remember emails that I haven't replied to (and they've been pushed down pass my view by junk emails or whatever) as I'm laying in bed trying to get to sleep and i try to make a mental note to reply tomorrow but mental notes don't work so good.

I'll write as soon as I can after our 2 day journey and share all the train pictures with you! Oh and the PAD protesting group won! The current political party has been resolved and the prime minister has been forced to step down - no one in that party can be involved in politics for 5 years. An interim prime minister has been installed and there are discussions of an election that will elect a new prime minister within 30 days!

Amazing! They plan on releasing the airports and resume flights by Friday which will be a huge task because the airport was a free for all while the protestors were there...there is no telling what has to be done to make the airport operational. The director of the airport made a plan to have the airport cleared and open by Friday...He called the plan a birthday gift for King Bhumibol, who turns 81 on Dec. 5.

I could write a whole other post about all that but...alas....time is UP! Again, thank you for coming and reading and for praying....thank you.

Check this out just for fun. Josiah went out and did this's bad quality because I had to resize it to upload it. We edited it...don't miss the ending song:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News from here...

Hi everyone...I'm going to give a real post from me today...instead of these quickies...but for now here is the lastest news about what is going on here in Thailand. Please pray for Thailand, our family and most of all for Renee and her family.

Todd is out of the country on a trip to the underground churches in many surrounding countries and he is unable to fly back into BKK as of right now. He's due to return on Monday...but the airport will be closed until Monday night at least...that is if the governments plans go as planned but so far their police efforts to oust this group from the airport have been smashed.

here's a good article on the whole situation:
Thai Business Leaders Tell Premier to Step Down Amid Protests
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By Suttinee Yuvejwattana and Daniel Ten Kate

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s business leaders said Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat should step down to end a siege at the nation’s main international airport, which has paralyzed travel and threatens a million jobs in the tourism industry.

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport remained shut for a sixth day as negotiations failed to clear thousands of protesters who are demanding Somchai’s resignation. Violence escalated in the past 24 hours, as demonstrators attacked police with steel bars near the airport and a blast at a government compound in the capital wounded 34 people.

“We’ve asked the government to resign or dissolve the parliament because we think this is the best way out,” Pramon Sutivong, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said today.
The call from the Chamber of Commerce increases the pressure on Somchai, who has been holed up in the northern city of Chiang Mai because of concern that growing protests in the capital may lead to a coup. A pro-government group plans to hold a rally in Bangkok today, increasing the likelihood of a bloody clash that may force the army to intervene.

“This situation can’t go on for long” Pramon said. “It will soon lead to violence, forcing the military to come out to stage a coup again. We all want to avoid that.”

An emergency order imposed on Bangkok’s airports and Government House has empowered police to clear the areas, though Somchai has said the government won’t use violence against the protesters. About 750 flights a day can’t get in or out of Suvarnabhumi, Asia’s fourth-busiest airport with as many as 100,000 passengers a day, the airport operator’s data shows.

Police Attacked

Negotiations to clear demonstrators failed yesterday, and violence broke out when 500 protesters armed with steel bars stormed a 150-strong police checkpoint. Police officers jumped into vans and sped away after demonstrators attacked the vehicles and threw firecrackers.
Somchai said yesterday he was willing to negotiate with protesters, if they lifted demands for his resignation and the dissolution of the government. Police efforts last month to clear demonstrators killed one person and injured hundreds.

Early today, an explosion wounded 48 people at the compound, said Winner Dachpian, a spokesman for the protesters. Nine people were sent to hospital, with three in critical condition, he said. A bomb was thrown into the site, the TNN television news network reported. Similar blasts have occurred in recent weeks.

Thai Army Chief Anupong Paojinda last week called for early elections to end six months of deadly protests.

Fresh Elections

The People’s Alliance for Democracy, composed mostly of the Bangkok middle class, royalists and civil servants, accuses Somchai of being the proxy of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup by Anupong and other generals. The group has rejected calls for fresh elections and said it wouldn’t leave the airport until the government steps down.

“If you can’t manage the country you have to resign,” Phongsak Assakul, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said by phone during a 14-hour bus ride to Bangkok from Hat Yai in southern Thailand. “Let the elected parliamentarians form a new government. If that government can’t govern, then let’s go have another election.”

An election may return the ruling party to power. Parties linked to Thaksin have won four elections since 2001 on strong rural support for its platform of cheap health care and village loans. The protesters want a new political system that prevents the return of Thaksin’s allies by diluting rural votes.

“One possible way out is to find a neutral person who’s universally acceptable to be the new prime minister,” said Ajva Taulananda, the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s honorary chairman and vice chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group. “This way, we will see a break from the political squabbling,” he said in a phone interview.

Travelers Stranded

Suvarnabhumi’s closure has stranded thousands of travelers in the Thai capital. Repatriating them, and returning the 50,000 Thais stranded overseas, may cost 1 billion baht ($28 million) and take as long as a month, Deputy Prime Minister Olarn Chaiprawat said, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.

“People are losing trust in the Thai people,” the Chamber of Commerce’s Phongsak said. “It really damages the tourist industry, not only hotels and airlines, but also restaurants, guided tours, lots of people.”

Thailand is allowing airlines to use a naval base in the east of the country to repatriate stranded travelers.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. warned of “chaotic” conditions and long lines at the military airfield.
The carrier, Hong Kong’s biggest, is one of about a dozen airlines using U-Tapao Airport, east of Bangkok near Pattaya. Japan Airlines Corp. and Singapore Airlines Ltd. were also using the facility, more than two hours away from Bangkok.

Airport Congestion

“There has been congestion because this airport wasn’t built to serve such a huge number of passengers,” Chaisak Ungsuwan, director general of the Air Transportation Department, said today. The airfield handled more than 100 flights yesterday, he said. Suvarnabhumi handles 600 daily flights.

The international airport in Bangkok will remain closed until Dec. 1, Airports of Thailand Pcl said yesterday.

Finance Minister Suchart Thadathamrongvej said the protests and airport closures may cause damage amounting to about 100 billion baht this quarter.

“The prolonged political gridlock will drag on our economy and create unemployment,” said Pramon, the Chamber of Commerce chairman. “We just hope that we can grow 3 percent next year, even though the hope is quite dim now.”

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Yard Sale time!

Today is our yard sale for the little bit of stuff we have here in Chiang Mai...Josiah is sooo excited because I told him that he could sell his books...(after I have picked through the ones we need to take back for homeschool). He can not wait to have his own section. Things still aren't resolved in BKK...I haven't heard anything more about the protestors downtown here in Chiang Mai.

Come back for some pics and more updates...Sorry so short...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The unrest has hit Chiang Mai

Previous events were elsewhere but they have now reached Chiang Mai. The current Prime Minister landed in Chiang Mai and all of the PAD protesters were here to "demonstrate". They have occupied the airport in Bangkok causing it to shut down and here in Chiang Mai they are "demonatrating" downtown.

Their demonstration included killing a 60 year old man by dragging him out of his car and killing him. He was active in politics...under the guy they are fighting against. This group has tried not to be violent...I'm confused as to why this man was killed. Even at the Bangkok airport...the toursits that are literally stranded in the airport are being helped by the protestors. They are giving the stranded tourists food because the airport shut down all restaurants and currency exchange vendors.

We are not in any danger at this time. We are located away from downtown and won't be going there. Please pray for Thailand. These are such turbulant times for Thailand...We will be taking a train to Hat Yai on Dec. 3rd but we must go through Bangkok and be there for 6 hours before our next train leaves to take us to Hat Yai...

Please be praying that this is cleared up by that time. They seem to want to mess with transportation services because it hurts the country the most because it's such a touristy place. We are planning on returning the week of Dec. 15th.

We pray that things are better by that time...for the sake of Thailand and for our travels.

Here are some links about what's going on:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Congo's crisis worsens - wow...please look...

I was so overwhelmed by these photos. Especially the one of Furah. A woman with her 18 month old baby strapped to her chest while carrying a huge bundle of wood that she travels 16kms to sell...through extremely dangerous areas.

Wow...I don't know hardships...please informed...take action...pray.

Congo's crisis worsens - The Big Picture -

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Saturday, November 22, 2008


This post was copied from John Lamberts blog. John and his family are in training to come to Thailand as missionaries. They will be here in about 3-4 months. I have been following their training in a jealous sort of way...haha...since we had none...and am in awe at the things that they have been learning...and the oh SO TRUE truths that John and Jaqueline both have managed to write out. Please pray for them as they are returning to America from Mexico (their training grounds) to prepare to leave for Thailand in a few's no small feat....while there is's hard in many ways...

Like I said they are able to write out what I could only think...This is not easy to do!! This is an example...I would never have been able to describe it better (there is also this article that is indespensible and describes many times what we've been through and felt over the past 4 years: HOW TO PRAY FOR A MISSIONARY):
Mission Blues: Beware of Re-Entry Stress!

Short Term Missions Re-Entry Stress
This is the process that you may experience upon returning home. Re-entry stress or reverse culture shock, generally is experienced to a greater degree the longer one has been in another country. Disillusionment with America and American Christianity play a part in any re-entry stress that is experienced.

Initial ReactionsIf this is your first trip outside your home country you will be exposed to things you have never experienced first hand before, such as the plight and poverty of many in developing countries. It is not uncommon upon returning home to become disturbed and even bitter toward America’s opulence and waste.When you return you will be excited to eat the “Big Mac and large fries” you have been craving. Your family and friends will be proud and excited to see you an you will experience a “high”.

You have just conquered the unknown, been used greatly by God and you will be the center of attention. Soon, however, this “high” drops and re-entry shock may begin.Following are a few examples of possible reactions you may experience. Be prepared to deal with life back home inlight of your new experience. All short-term ministry/missions workers will experience some degree of re-entry stress.

1. Self-concept – Any life-changing experience can cause you to re-evaluate who you are in light of the experience. Questions about the meaning of life and its direction may be a part of the re-entry process. You may decide never to go outside the United States again or you may discover that there is a call on your life to ministry outside the United States. Questioning life can be good, but the uncertainty of the answers may cause some stress.

2. Value Change and Choice – Clashes between you and those to whom you return may occur in several different area, such as material possessions, family life, racial prejudice, national priorities in ecology and politics, and Christian community conflicts. Some workers develop a “holier than Thou” attitude towards those who did not go.

This can lead to you becoming disillusioned with Christians at home and cause you to consider them more tolerant of sin and not as committed as the Christians you met while outside the United States.One missionary worker returning home, from the Far East, shared:

“Everybody looks rich. We stayed with good friends in a Western state who complained about the high cost of living. Yet, they are overweight and live like royalty. Many of them were talking about inflation and how they were having to cut corners…but most were wasteful and kept on buying. Why is air-conditioning kept so low? We freeze everywhere we go.”

You may face the problem of integrating what you have just seen with what you see around you at home. Your eyes may be opened to the shallowness of Western Materialism and you may want to react by telling others they are wrong to own so many “things”, eat so much food and waste so much.

3. Expectations – You will have had many expectations for your trip about the culture and language differences, the new and exotic country and God’s purpose for you making the trip. However, you may not have expected the reactions you may encounter when you return home. You may find that you feel like a stranger now in your own country.

You may have expected your family and friends to be as excited as you are about your experience and become hurt if they show little or no real interest about something that has made a tremendous impact on your life. Realize that many will just not be able to understand what you have been through. This seemingly lack of interest can reinforce in you an opinion that American Christians are just not interested in the rest of the world and are simply lovers and pleasers of self. You must guard yourself from becoming resentful toward family, friends and American Christians.

4. Sense of Loss – You may experience a sense of loss over newfound friends and places or from being disconnected from the rest of the team. Your recent experience is not the nitty-gritty reality of everyday life. Being in a strange country, away from all familiar cues and the security of familiar faces and places can facilitate a tendency to become extremely close to fellow team members an when you return home you may experience a sense of void. It may take sometime to readjust to your life as it was before your trip.

You may also feel a loss of purpose and self-importance. God has just used you greatly to minister to the needs of others in a different country and when you return this purpose may seem somewhat lessened.


1. Initial Euphoria -- You are pleased to be home and everyone is glad to see you.

2. Irritability and Hostility – After the initial euphoria you may become irritated and hostile towards others for any number of reasons.

3. Gradual Adjustment – It may take time for you to readjust to the way your life was before your trip.

4. Adaptation – You have been changed. Life went on when you were gone and it may take time for you to catch up.


To minimize the effects of re-entry stress find methods of “closure”. One example is to stay in touch with other team members after returning home. Be sure you should share things about the present with them and not just the memories of your trip. See your experience realistically and allow God to show you how to use this use it. Have a right perspective of God’s total plan.


1. Be aware that you may experience some depression, loneliness, fatigue and illness as re-entry symptoms of stress. You can be stressed by either happy or sad events. You may go through a grief process.

2. Be alert to your own expectations and the expectations of others. Value conflicts may occur.

3. Allow for rest, reflection and rejoicing in what you have seen God do. Go over your experiences and ask the Lord to show you the various aspects of your trip and grow from them Evaluate what you have been through.

4. Take your time to readjust. Be patient with others who do not understand what you have experienced. Adapted from:

Last, but not least, don't make any life altering decisions when you are going through this normal re-entry process.This is a great time to keep your devotional life with God strong and pray for wisdom on how to process your experiences the right way.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thanks Angie Miller! Love your blog!

Kate and John Mark...

Kate has done it yet again...check out her blog: I highly recommend her blog...I love it!

You know when you find a new cd you tend to leave your most favorites a side for a bit...well, that's what I did when I found JJ Hellers music...but Kate's post made me miss my everyday favorite that has been not so everyday for a while now.

But John Mark McMillan is back in my playlist and I am just loving it. He sings with such passion and his lyrics are so deep and real. He reminds me of a modern day Keith Green in some ways...not all...but some. So if you don't know who John Mark McMillan is then check him out here: The John Mark

Or on MySpace: John Mark McMillan

Or you can sit here a bit and listen to my favorite song Ashes and Flames.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

White Christmas?

Well, I have some wonderful news! We have a place to lay our head thanks to an awesome ministry in Whitesboro, Texas of a wonderful church First Baptist Church Whitesboro. The missions house that we stayed in when we were in America to have Joss had a cancellation and the house is now available for us to use until we move to Denver, Colorado in February! Wow!

I have such a fond feeling for this house and it will be such a pleasure to be able to stay there again...I would never have expected this but God knows all and is once again taking care of our needs. I am excited about being Whitesboro again....even though it is a small town it really has some great qualities. It's very homey and best of all it is home to one of my best friends and another awesome church called Pathway.

Our plans as of now is that we will be packed up and on a train by next week. We will be taking two over night trains...One from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and another one from Bangkok to HatYai. We will leave at about 4:30pm and be on the train until about 6am...then be in Bangkok until 3:10pm...when we will then get on another train until 7 or so the next morning. I'm going into it with three kids and 9 pieces of luggage thinking...THIS WILL BE AN ADVENTURE! I'm kicking all negative thoughts about this trip out of my head or I might run away screaming! hehehe...

Once in Hat Yai we will hopefully stay in the church there and begin going through and selling everything. This is going to be rough because it will be close to the same as when we left America the first time. Not the same though. Getting rid of everything you've worked on and had for most of your life is a lot different from getting rid of everything that you've had for the past 4 years. Except for what will fit into 9 suitcases that is...

But I look forward to it and it looks like we'll be HOME FOR CHRISTMAS! :)

Yesterday my Thai teacher came over to teach me 3 more Thai dishes and we had so much fun together. My teacher, Pii Khamm and I sat at the table and as we were eating our magnificantly made food I just about cried. I am going to miss them so much...I'm going to miss the way Thai people love to sit down...on the floor or at a table and share their food together.

I love how fun loving they are and I love how my teacher and Pii Khaam love Jesus. I'll miss the way it feels to "open up my house" in the morning and hear all the Thai men in the neighborhood clearing their throat in the morning...or the sound of someone using their pestle and morter to make their breakfast...and OH the smells of Thai breakfast...

LOL...I will miss all the insane looking bugs we find and going to the market...I love the market. Although...I won't miss the butcher handing me my money with nasty meaty hands. How nice it will be to not to have to worry about cross contamination and if my meat might be spoiled because it's been sitting out with flies all over it for a few hours....

You wanna know something kind of crazy? Yesterday we discovered that a lanturn is lodged in our electricity pole...gosh what is that called in English? You know where all the wires come together. Anyway, it's crazy dangerous...going to call someone about it today. The Thai guy who first noticed it said "just grab a really dry stick and get it down...". John and I just looked at each other and snickered at the thought. There is NO WAY we are getting anything and sticking it up in these horribly unstable electricity posts (oh someone help me out here...what are they called?). Usually when it rains we have a power outage because of the shear instability of the electrical design here.

Now how would a lantern get way up there...well the Thais just recently celebrated Loy Krathong. While it fills the sky with beautiful lanterns and creates a moving starry sky like many will never see in their is horrible at it's roots. They also send off floating lanterns in the river.

Apart from venerating the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act of floating away the candle lantern is symbolic of letting go of all one's grudges, anger and defilements, so that one can start life afresh on a better foot. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Many Thai believe that floating a krathong will create good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha. (taken from Wikipedia)

Here's the one stuck in our post: tell me...would you grab a stick and try to fish that thing off of there?

My first Thom Yum...and boy was it YUM! looks like ramen noodles because it is! It's Thai ramen noodles mixed with all sorts of yummy stuff. This is such a delicious dish...some of the stuff in it is ground pork, tomatoes, carrots, onions, phak chi, spring onions a bit of a veggie called phak chi farang (no clue what it is). This dish is called Yaam Maamaa

This is Yaam's made with glass noodles, carrots, tomatoes, onions and lots of different veggies, lime juice a tad bit of fish's made very similar to the previous dish. The best part about these two dishes is that the only thing that is cooked is the noodles and the pork. The rest of it is completely raw and loaded with all the good stuff.

Monday, November 17, 2008

On a lighter note...LOVE THIS!

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NOTE: This was posted by Stephanie Blake...and you can trust this link. Thanks Dawn!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My heart...

Now that the cat is officially out of the bag I feel as though I can breathe again. Whether I should or not, I want to once again share my heart with you in complete transparency...I feel as though I can open my heart and blog again. For the past few weeks things have been so confusing at times and it felt like my heart would suffer a wound that would not be recovered from easily.

I went from complete trust to sorrow...then on to wonder and then to hope...and back to sorrow again but that time with despair lingering near. So much to think about and so little time...isn't that just terrible? Not the time part...but the "so much to think about" part.

It's a great thing to be able to think about stuff and try to figure it out in your brain...don't get me wrong but oh how we females love to plan and figure things out and OH how we let go of the guiding hand of our father when we prefer to think things out on our own rather than lock onto His eyes and trust that He will lead us safely down the path.

The TRUTH is that it is in Him that I place my trust. Not in the responses of others or the plans of man but in my faithful God. I have gotten so many loving emails from you and I can't tell you how much I appreciate them. I am still taking it all in breath by beautiful breath...but I am really excited about seeing you again and being able to have a more active part in your life.

Even though I know we will return someday...I feel as though I am grieving at times. Some precious awesome people that God brought our way while we were on furlough this last time said something that really stuck with John and I and I think it helps describe what I'm going through to a T.

They talked about how Abraham finally had been given his son...which was a promise that he had been waiting on...and waiting on...and he finally was able to grasp his promise in his hands and his promise was reaching maturity...and then what did God ask him to do with it? Sacrifice it...lay it down on the alter to God....

Did Abraham say "BUT GOD! This is MY PROMISE! I waited so long and here it is and you want me to give it up?" I feel the same way sometimes about leaving Thailand at this time. I feel like we've been working so hard and there have been many wonderful things that have happened and God has done some awesome things but we were and are ready to see even greater things. Because of our break throughs in language and excitement about Thailand we felt as if we were really more equipped vessels to be able to see revival fires sweep across Thailand...
It seemed as if we were stepping into our promise and now we are to give it up until God sees fit to send us back. What I've struggled my lameness...has been...will I trust God's perspective. I know it's the ultimate perspective...he sees the big picture...while I'm zoomed in on Thailand...he's zoomed in on the world. Will I allow my dreams and my wants and my hopes to be subject to His plans and wishes? For they are far better than my own.

The answer is yes...of course it is yes! I love Thailand...I really a friend that I've come to know and love for her weaknesses and beauty...but as great as this friend is and as deep as the love for her is in my heart...I fully trust His plans.

Above all else, I'm excited because this is what God has planned. I pray that we will stay focused and in Him enough to be dead to ourselves so that he can use us to the maximum in whatever he sees fit. There are so many unknowns and I'm glad about it. I'm glad that I can't make plans right now. I'm glad that I don't know where we will stay or how we will make it...I'm ever so glad that I don't know what Denver holds...I don't want to underestimate what God is going to do by my assumptions or plans.

I've been thinking a lot about what we've done in Thailand over the past four years and I'm amazed at what we've accomplished and been a part of...but even more than that I am amazed at the work that God has done in our lives. While we were on a mission for God...he was also on a mission masterfully working on us.

I realize now that we were in the prime position for God to move and mold our lives in order to change our stubborn flesh and etch himself upon our hearts. I yearn to maintain that position upon returning to the states. I yearn to continue to allow Him to be the reason I wake in the morning and that my day is about furthering the kingdom...

Don't get me wrong...a lot of my days are "off days" but because we set our hearts on being missionaries for Him and giving our lives for Him...we gave him liberties that at times when we are living our lives in America we just don't give. Upon returning to America...I will continue to put my trust, my hopes, my desires, my children, my life in His hands to do with as he pleases. I want to encourage you today in your you are walking with Him.

What is it that you need to surrender to Him? Are you trying to figure everything out in your own strength? My husband said something tonight on the phone with a dear friend that I heard in passing..."It's not about you and how good you are and how well you live...if you've done's about Jesus and His grace. It's about the power that lives in you that enables you to do great things beyond yourself."

Trust God with your won't be disappointed.
And now for a few pics from the past week or so....

Yeah...I made this! Wahoo! Well, if my memory serves me correctly then many of you will be like...that looks like NASTYNESS...WHY would you be proud of that!?! It's DELICIOUS that's why! It's called Laap Moo...and maybe if you invite me to your house I'll make you some!

This is Josiah on our field trip to a silk factory...

Me and my big boy...

I believe his exact words were: "Oh yeah, I made this..."

This is hilarious to me. We decided to look up some games to play as a family in the evening times and we found this one called "Doggie Doggie where's your bone". So someone sits in a chair with a "bone" under their seat (can be any object that you can hide on your persons fairly easily) and that person is facing away from everyone else.

Everyone sits quietly...well, I barked for fun when I was it...but that's besides the point. Someone comes up and steals the bone...and once someone has it you say "doggie, doggie, where's your bone...some one took it from your home. Who could it be...maybe me..."

Then the "doggie" turns around and tries to figure out who has the "bone"(a tennis ball in this cae). In the picture above I caught a moment that I will cherish for many years to come...this is Josiah saying...I don't know who has it mommy...all the while thinking the ball is well hidden on his head! LOL!

We later played "honey, if you love'll smile". By the way, don't play me in this will LOSE! muahhahahaha...(just thought of you Barb...your family practicing your sinister laughs together...ha! Oh and I have not forgotten that I am tagged... :)

Beautiful Jossalyn...her nose is a little banged up...she tried to follow her brothers out the back door in her walker...
She looks sooo chubby in this pic! She's sitting up all by herself now!

This is Josiah totally FREAKING OUT about the bandaids that were sent from America in a box from our family at Liberty Lighthouse...I had NO CLUE this would be as huge of a deal as it was. Now every time I turn around someone "needs" a bandaid...even Jude goes around saying "owie...mommy...bandaid please"
Another huge hit...ring pops!

The Pruetts volunteered to take the kids to the Night Safari tonight...they had a blast...I'm so glad because I don't know how well I'd do with all 9 of those kids....

Me and my baby girl...oh she's sooo precious!

Jude staring down the lepord...he's so brave...

Little Jude is 3 years old TOMORROW! Happy Birthday my little brick! We love you sooo much and I'm in awe as I watch you grow into the unique and strong little boy that you are! MUAH!