Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So.... About That Trip.

While playing 40 rounds of Dutch Blitz on the trip was fun, it was not necessarily educational :). Last Thursday Pookie and I got to go with Deborah and her husband David to a Burmese school where they teach English twice a week. I had to laugh when David had all the kids stand up and start jumping around:

Kids, whether in the USA or in Thailand, sometimes get a little, shall we call it - tired - during school hours. Since I worked with students for three years, I can definitely attest to this fact! There is something about school that just seems to "trap" some students in for 7 hours each day. These students know, down to the second, just how long it will be until lunch or the end of the day:).

So being in this schoolroom brought back some memories of my days as a teacher... and now that I am looking back, I can remember them and smile!

Because you know at the time I wasn't always smiling at the antics of junior high boys:).

Monday, September 29, 2008

How's Your Kitchen Lookin'?

While I was on the Thai/Burma border, I went to a school for Burmese children. As I glanced around the school (which, by the way, was mostly outside!), I saw this lady cooking food for the lunch hour. Deborah then told me that often the only meat these children eat is during this meal. Just watch this lady cook in the "kitchen" and then thank the Lord for your own!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back In Bangkok...

It was a a great 5-day trip....

... and I finally got to play some of this!!!

More throughout the week... we have a lovely mold problem to deal with in the kitchen!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Road Trip!

You would think after Sunday night's taxi episode that I would be cautious about entering another taxi, but Pookie and I did that very thing on Monday night. We told the driver where we wanted to go (home - 5 minutes away) and then got in. My, oh my, this one creaked and groaned and just sounded like it was going to fall apart. Pookie turned and looked at me and said, "Will we get home?" :o) Thankfully we did!


I love all things pertaining to a road trip, so I'm skipping town for a few days to go to the Thai/Burmese border. There are four of us going, but only one person driving:o). If you would pray for us while we're gone, I would appreciate it! We'll be back around the first of the week!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Umm, Lord?"

Today was one of those times when I prayed that missionary prayer:
"Umm, Lord? I'll put it down if You keep it down!"

Normally on a Sunday, we all traipse off to a store/restaurant called "Food Land" to have lunch and to do the grocery shopping. But today Pookie and I stayed at church the whole day because Pastor Jeseda asked me to speak to the ladies about how I got saved and how the Lord directed me into missions.

Staying the whole day at church meant eating lunch there... my first time at this church. It actually wasn't too bad; white rice was the foundational layer. It was what was put on top that kinda concerned me! I recognized the chicken and some beans (I think!), but the rest of it was undefinable. After that plate was handed to me, someone handed me a heaping bowl of soup (I think they wanted to impress me!). Now if you know me very well, then you'll know that I am not a soup fan. At all.

So I just smiled weakly and took the plate and bowl to the table and dug in. The rice mixture really wasn't bad, but I should have been warned when after the first bite Pookie asked, "Is it hot?" It wasn't with that bite, but about 5 minutes later, my mouth was on fire and I could feel the little moisture drops pooling out of my eyes. I ate as much as I could, until I was full. Notice how I got full before the bowl of soup was even touched?!?:o)

While the choir was practicing (and let me just insert in here how lovely it was to practice English songs with the choir for 2 hours!), some ladies were making a Thai appetizer... I have no idea what. As I exited the choir room, this very sweet Thai lady rushed up to me with a huge smile on her face and shoved into my hand a ball (for lack of a better term!) of steamed something or other with some green stuff and made the hand motion for "eat! eat!" This is the part where that prayer came in:o). Down it went, and it has stayed down the whole day!

As if that wasn't exciting enough, we returned home tonight from church by way of taxi. There were 4 of us squished in the backseat, while Berm got to sit up front with the driver. Any thoughts of jealousy flew out the window as I observed from my position behind the driver several near accidents we almost had - all of them would have been our driver's fault. Most people slow down when a car cuts in front of them; this guy sped up and just narrowly missed the car's rear bumper as we scooted into the other lane. To make matters *worse* (is that possible at this point???), the driver asks if he was a fast driver - is that question even necessary?!? Then he told Berm that he had broken his leg. Berm stared at him before asking, "Is it still broken?!?!" Apparently this guy was just starting to walk on it again, and chose that moment to share with Berm that he had had 5 accidents in the past. Pookie was translating all this for me, and at that point I asked her not to share anything else until we got out of the car:o). WOW! No worries Mom... we made it home safely:o).

Just another typical day on the mission field!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some More Blogs...

I had such a de-light-ful time today organizing to my little heart's content! I wish I would have taken a few "before" and "after" pictures, but I guess I was too excited to get some cleaning and organizing done:o). One thing that was really bothering me was a bookshelf right by our front door. It just looked cluttered and while I'm not too swayed by what other people think, I happen to see that bookshelf every day!!! So now all the books, DVDs, and games are a little more orderly:o).

But anyway, I have some more blogs to share with you! These bloggers are all girls I know personally, rather than just in the "bloggy" world:

  • Jackie is actually a girl from my church who just started blogging... which is why she didn't make the list last time:o). Although I've only known her since November, she's a lot of fun and a great friend!
  • A Maryland Girl is actually a pastor's daughter in, you guessed it: Maryland! I'm not quite sure where she finds out all that info on platform shoes, but she's come up with some pretty bizarre ones over the years!
  • Hannah and her family used to be members of my church before they moved to West Virginia. Hannah is also the sister-in-law of Tiffany.
  • I met Rachel very briefly but I like to read her blog. She's expecting a little baby boy:o).
  • Deborah is someone I met when she and her husband came to Thailand a few weeks ago. They just found out they're expecting too!
  • Rebecca was a reader of mine before I met her... but I'm so glad I did! She goes to my brother and sister-in-law's church and I had a very nice time with her and a bunch of people from her church during a game night over Christmas break while I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law:o).
  • Melissa came to my Christian school her junior year of high school. I lost track of her after school, but thanks to the small world of the internet, I met up with her again:o).

And that's all for now... I think I'm going to do a little more organizing. I know, I know - very weird but that's what I like to do:o).

Doing Our Part.

Within the space of one week, two friends - one in PA and one here in Thailand - mentioned to me the book, "Mountain Rain", which is a biography of James Fraiser who was a missionary to China. On Monday night my friend lent it to me and I've been trying to read a chapter or so each night before bed. Since the book is not my own (and I like to make comments on the side of the page or highlight quotes!), I've been writing down quotes as I'm going through the book. I'm not very far into the book, but it has already challenged me!

  • "If our Master returned today to find millions of people unevangelized, and looked, as of course He would look, to us for an explanation, I cannot imagine what explanation we should have to give. Of one thing I am certain - that most of the excuses we are accustomed to make with such good conscience now, we shall be wholly ashamed of then." ~ Page 4
  • "One has sometimes to prune a tree in one direction, that it may develop better in another." ~ Page 8
  • "God means just what He says, and He will do all that He has promised" - Hudson Taylor ~ Page 10
  • "And if God has chosen it for us, hadn't we better go straight ahead and do it, without waiting for anything greater, better, or 'nobler'?" ~ Page 19
  • "Besides, as so often with the call of God, it was not an apparently logical step to take." ~ Page 22
  • "It does seem a terrible thing that so few are offering for the mission field... I can't help feeling that there is something wrong somewhere." ~ Page 25
  • "The matter is in the Lord's hands. If He wants me to go He will send me. It would be very unwise to attempt to rush things or force a door which He has closed." ~ Page 27
  • "But I am finding out that it is a mistake to plan to get through a certain amount of work in a certain time." ~ Page 32 (This one is especially true on the mission field!!!! It never pays to plan anything out to a great extent, because it will change 3 times before it is accomplished!)
  • "I am feeling more and more that it is, after all, just the prayers of God's people that call down blessing upon the work, whether they are directly engaged in it or not." ~ Page 35 (VERY, very true!)
  • "We are, as it were, God's agents - used by Him to do His work, not ours. We do our part, and then can only look to Him, with others, for His blessing. If this is so, then Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field." ~ Page 35
  • "Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees." ~ Page 36

Just some thoughts and musings on my end as I'm challenged by a missionary who travelled this path oh so long ago...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Irony Is TOO Much!

This evening I was sitting at my computer, typing away and listening to music when I heard the door bell ring. Now, very rarely does the door bell ring around here because Pookie is so popular on the soi. So I sat at my computer and thought, "Was that door bell sound really meant for me?" and then I decided it was, so I got up and opened the door to find Pookie climbing over the gate! It was quite a sight and I started laughing as I returned inside to get my keys. You see, when Pookie left to go to the Langes, the Gaudets' gate was unlocked, but by the time she came back, it was locked:o).

So a few minutes after that "episode" Pookie said she was going back outside. I told her I had locked the gate and asked if she wanted my keys but she said, "No... I have my own."

Pookie started rummaging through her stuff and within 30 seconds, Pookie said, "Um... I can't find my keys anywhere!!!" and I just started laughing before I gave her a hard time AND my keys:o).

Dutch Blitz!

I brought along with me to Thailand a card game called Dutch Blitz and it has been a never-ending source of entertainment for us on Monday nights! You see, Monday night is the night that we go to the Langes house and have a game night and some fun. The first week I came, we played Uno Attack and the next week Skip-bo:

Here's the game night at our house with the nice, quiet, sedate game of Skip-bo:o).

After the above game was over, I got out the Dutch Blitz cards and taught these three the Dutch Blitz game. Oh. My!

Since I only have 4 sets of cards (and there were 5 people), Berm and Steve joined up together and Pookie and I thought for sure that they were going to break the table legs, they were slamming the cards down so hard!!!! The game is very fast-paced, and the point is to finish your blitz pile and get out as many cards as possible in as little time as possible.

So it's a very quiet, calm game to play while the baby is sleeping:o).

After I taught these three, they insisted the cards be brought to the Langes the next Monday night, so then I taught Theresa (Jeff was out of town). Well last night Pookie and Berm taught Jeff and he did really well for a "newbie"... in fact, he was winning for a while!

One funny thing happened last night. The cards were being slapped on the table with ferocious speed and shouts of glee and disappointment were heard. At one point, Berm and Pookie were both trying to put down the same card on one card. Pookie beat Berm out and spent several seconds "gloating" over it while Berm replied with outrage. Well, while they were going back and forth, I managed to finish my "blitz" pile and shouted out "blitz!!!" Pookie and Berm stopped in mid-sentence and just looked at me:o). They couldn't believe I went out while they were debating over that one card, but that's the way it goes!!!

So now, we are all anxiously awaiting a group from my church that is coming over in October for a very special reason:

They're bringing another deck of Dutch Blitz cards:o).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boy, I Hope I Did This Right!

This morning for special music the choir sang, "Fill My Cup Lord." I whipped out my camera when I realized it was in English, but by then they were already half-way through the first verse. I hope it's as much of a blessing to you as it is to me... I always think of what Heaven must be like whenever I sit in a church service in another country. In fact, I just read this last night for my devotions:

Daniel 7:14 ~ "And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him:"

So just sit and listen to some of your Thai brothers and sisters sing praise to our Lord!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In God's Time.

I posted this on July 24, 2007...
I truly consider coming to Thailand as one of the best experiences of my life and I thank God for it! For now the Lord is leading me home, but I also am praying about coming back for an extended period of time to work with the Gaudets... and I believe that, in God's time, that will become a reality again! So although I will be packing my bags up in just a few weeks and leaving for Pennsylvania, I know it won't be too long before I pack my bags up again as I follow my dear Saviour's leading! And you know what??? I wouldn't trade it for the world! God has been so good to me:o).

I am so thankful the Lord has given me this second opportunity to be here and to work with the Gaudets again. It really was in God's timing and I saw Him move me on in His Will.

Just wanted to praise the Lord!!!

Wedding Time - Thai Style!

So I have this bad habit of going to weddings and not taking pictures of the bride and groom.

Strange, I know!

But in my defense, a lot of the weddings I've gone to I've been in, so that's my excuse and I'm stickin' with it:). Today I planned on taking pictures and I was even seated with a good view:

But then the pastor's wife realized there were going to be a lot of people there, so she asked the church members to go to an overflow room upstairs and I meandered along up the stairs with Pookie. I still got to see the wedding, just not take any pictures. (How tacky would that have been to take a picture of an overhead screen?!?)

The wedding was very nice... at least, I think it was nice! Most of it was in Thai, but the few parts that were in English were nice:). I noticed a few things that were different from an American wedding:

  • They started decorating for the wedding on Tuesday. At first I didn't understand why, but then I realized they built some things and that required a lot of time.
  • We got there around 1:15 and the place was already half-full, even though the wedding didn't start until 2:00. But then to go the other way, some people walked in 45 minutes late!
  • The groom and bride had no attendants except for a ring bearer and a flower girl.
  • Boutonnieres were pinned on every preacher, older person, and the next door neighbor... or so it seemed:). I've never seen so many boutonnieres. Seriously!
  • When the choir or other groups got up to sing, the bride and groom sat down. I thought that was a great idea, because it hurts the feet to stand up there that long! (I know that from bridesmaid experience only!)
  • Asian culture is very private with showing affection, so the couple didn't hold hands during the ceremony, except to exchange the rings. That also meant no kiss at the end.
  • Everybody, and I do mean everybody, got their picture taken with the new couple. Everybody. Including the people who walked in late!
  • Pookie and Berm were telling us the other evening that the groom has to pay the bride's mother at least $3,000.00 (three thousand dollars!) to marry the girl and then has to pay for everything else, including a 10-course reception meal! I don't know how the reception went, because we didn't stay for it. (Never mind the fact that there was a 2-hour "pause" between the ceremony and reception.) Once we found that out, we started earnestly praying for the groom!
It sure was pretty:).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Calling All Austen Fans...

I'm off to a wedding today (although I've yet to talk to the bride or groom!) but before I do so, I thought I would post this:

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I would love to see who you are... so take the quiz and let me know!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sharing... 'Cause That's What Christians Do!

Three posts in one day?!? Wow!

I realized recently that I started something a while ago, and intended to post each week under this new thing, but, yeah, that didn't happen! So I'm going to overload you today:o).

But first, I want to tell you about just how lovely Bloglines is! Before I ever used bloglines, I used to have all the blogs I read (which is incidentally what this post is about!) under the favorite tabs and I would go through every single one of them each. and. every. day. That's crazy! Then one day, one of the blogs I read introduced me to bloglines and I have been hooked ever since! It's so nice to click into bloglines and see which blog has been updated... no more searching through every. single. one!!!! The one downside to bloglines is that I've noticed I don't comment on the blogs I read as much as I used to. But I'm going to start rectifying that!

So with that said, I'm going to share some of the blogs I read... currently the number of blogs I read is up to 49! All the blogs I'm going to share with you today are ladies from my church:

  • The person who originally got me started on blogging (over three years ago... on a MSN blog) is none other than my Pastor's daughter and friend Rachel! Go check out her blog... she covers a wide variety of topics and it's always an interesting read!
  • Nina just recently started blogging (outside of MSN of course!) She is a very sweet young lady with inspirational thoughts and musings from the Bible!
  • Another Rachel! She blogs occasionally... I think when she has time and is in the mood:o).
  • I've mentioned Emily before... enough said!
  • Tiffany should also be a pretty familiar name around here... besides being one of my closest friends, she has two adorable little boys, with Dillon taking her on an incredible journey!
  • Abbi is such an encourager... with her blog and with her comments! Presently she has been on a curtain call - they look so nice in her new house:o).
  • Katina is Abbi's sister and between these two girls, they are some great friends!!! Gotta love those girls!
  • This last blog is not a girl's blog, but Ben's blessing blog is always worth the read! Ben is Nina's older brother.

Whew!!! That should keep ya'll busy for at least ten minutes:o).

September 11th.

Spending 9/11 in a country half-way around the world is... different. Since in Pennsylvania I live within a 2 hour drive of NYC and within 3 hours of DC, I was very much aware of what happened on that Tuesday morning seven years ago. Many people in my area make that daily commute to New York City, so my area was personally affected by that day.

But today as I think about September 11th and all the ramifications of that event, I think of the fact that America hasn't taken a step closer to God; no, the temporary spirituality was just that: temporarily.

I heard two songs today: "I'm Proud To Be An American" and "I Stand Redeemed." I am proud to be an American and thank the Lord for that privilege. But even more important than that is the fact that I am a Christian... that I CAN stand redeemed!

So today, on a day all Americans remember, I pray for my nation. I pray that she would turn back to the Lord. I pray for the Christians in America to develop a backbone and not be afraid to stand up for what's right. Because really, if I stand redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, is it not my responsibility to share that with others?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Picture Or Two....

I realize that some things (wait, let me change that to many things!!!) that I see here in Thailand I am used to, but then thought about the fact that this might be, you know, strange, for you folks on the web, so I picked out a few pictures that show the culture and day to day happenings of this place.

For instance:o).

It's perfectly normal (and acceptable!) to see a motorcycle at this angle. The motorcyclists zoom all over the place and in tight places too. We were going to church Sunday evening and this one motorist worked his way past one car's side mirror and then had to lean the other way to get past another car's side mirror... very typical!!

No it's not Christmas in September... it's just some kind of cake/sweet festival happening at the 5-story mall, that's all!

Sawadeeka! This is called a "wai" and this is the way Thai people greet one another. There's all sorts of ways to wai and who to wai, but suffice it to say that this is a wai!

On Saturday four of us went to a 7,000-vendor weekend market, so while I was waiting on two people to make a purchase I saw this tuk-tuks lined up and realized that while I am very used to seeing transportation like this, I'm sure you are not! Tuk-tuk, taxi, and motorcycle drivers sit around waiting for passengers. While we were waiting for Bro. Tom to pick us up from the market, we had so many people say "taxi?" because we are farangs (foreigners) and must have looked like we needed a ride!

This is a wat, specifically Wat Aroon. We passed it while taking the water taxi to the Grand Palace in downtown Bangkok.

Pookie posing with a statue... these statues are seen all around the Grand Palace.

The area right outside of the Grand Palace. One misconception a lot of people have about Thailand is that it is a third world country. While Thailand certainly has some third world tendencies, it is also very modern and very up-to-date regarding technology.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Friendships... Very Sweet!

Sunday morning between Sunday School and the morning service, Bro. Jeff came over to me to talk about the plans for after church. Thai churches normally serve a meal after the service, but Bro. Jeff was letting me know of his familly's plans and then said what Pookie and I did would be up to me. I then said, "well, let me see what Pookie wants to do." He got this funny grin on his face and said, "You know, that's exactly what she said!" This isn't the first time that has happened; and every time it does happen, we both laugh when we realize we're doing it again: showing respect for each other in our friendship. Now we don't actually sit down and think through the process and say I want to respect my friend, but we do defer to the other. Sometimes that drives the person asking the question nuts because it takes a bit to get a straight answer out of us:o).

It's been very sweet to share a house with Pookie. Just last night as I was ready to drift off to sleep, Pookie came into the room and asked a question. That led to a 45-minute discussion and it was so neat to hear her state her convictions and how the Lord brought her to that point. This year would have been almost unbearable if we weren't getting along so well, but we are getting along great! One lady told us the other day that we act like sisters... Praise the Lord for the friendship ties made across cultures!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Going To The Ants.

I have about 3 posts rumbling around in my head, with time to write only one! This morning I noticed something that I thought was amazing, but I first have to explain that seeing little crawling things around the house is normal. Each night we cook, we throw water on the kitchen floor, scrub it up, and push it down the drain. It's just life to see a gecko running across the wall or to see what I think is a piece of dirt actually moving:o). But one thing I noticed recently are the itty, bitty ants.

They are so diligent, and I am not kidding you. Plus, they are smart. On Sunday I noticed the ants crawling up and down the bathroom wall. Now before any of you flip out, they really are tiny, tiny things so they are more of a bother than a problem. These ants were all scurrying up to the ceiling and then down to the floor. I decided to hose down the whole wall and I didn't give it another thought until this morning.

The ants were back again, but this time, instead of running up and down the wall, they were going up and down the paneling which is a dark brown (the wall is white)! The first thought that popped into my mind was that verse that says, " Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:" (Proverbs 6:6). It is so true! I didn't quite realize the Lord would have me learn a lesson from little bitty ants, but the Lord has used stranger teachers (I'm thinking of Balaam and his donkey right now:D).

Go to the ant... there are plenty of lessons to learn:o)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Banana Bread Anyone?

Let me start off by saying that I am very much so appreciating this situation:o).

Banana Bread. Ah yes.

I tried to make some last week, but forgot that food spoils here rather quickly so the bananas we had bought the week before were, um, bad. So then tonight I went to make it (with new bananas!) and went rummaging through our spice cabinet for the vanilla. Pookie told me it was in a tall brown bottle so I grabbed the one that matched her description. I was about to put it in when I double-checked the label and saw it said "Worcester sauce"... not exactly the taste of vanilla! So I went to borrow some from Krinny, but she didn't have any so instead I substituted sweetened condensed milk instead! Everything looked good and that's when I popped it into the *ahem* oven:

Our "oven" is really a toaster oven... that thing on the top to the left of the fridge. Last year it took us about two hours to bake lasagna, so that should give you some idea of the efficiency of the oven. By the way, I am NOT complaining; it is better than nothing!

So I put the bread in the oven and went to watch "The Beverly Hillbillies" with Berm and Pookie. About 20 minutes later, something smelled really good! I took out the bread, tested it, and realized that only the top layer was done. Because I didn't want to, you know, charcoal it, I took off the top layer and then stuck the bottom part back in. 20 minutes later and that part was done too!

It wasn't beautiful to look at, but it was good, especially with butter on top of the hot bread... yum, yum!

I just won't show you a picture of the pan, that's all:o).