Thursday, November 28, 2013

Riding The Elephants.

Today we decided to head to an elephant camp near us and really enjoyed the day. It wasn't our typical Thanksgiving Day, but since we were missing family, cold weather and the aroma of dinner cooking, we choose to do something that we wouldn't normally do in the States. :-)

We actually packed in a lot of things and the camp we visited was the best elephant camp we've ever been to, by far. So if any of you want to come for a visit to see us, we'll probably take you here!

We decided to do the all-in-one package which was well worth the price. We first enjoyed a Thai buffet lunch, followed by an elephant show. The elephants play soccer, move logs with their trunk and paint pictures. Very well, I might add! Always impressive. After that we took a ride on an elephant and returned to the camp on an ox cart. The day finished out with a very lovely and peaceful bamboo raft ride down the river. What a beautiful day!

I learned today that an elephant has 40,000 muscles in its trunk ... fascinating! As I watched the elephants, I couldn't help but marvel at the handiwork of God. What an amazing Creator!!

One of the 66 healthy elephants at the camp. 

Paul wasn't too excited about an elephant hug. :-)

Watching the elephants play

My niece (who is with us for another month) loved riding the elephant:-)

Paul and Nat on the elephant. Paul didn't make a sound the whole time we rode the elephant, but he definitely held onto the bar!

Just walking through the river

We had one tuckered out little boy at the end of the day! Here he is riding on the ox cart. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


We have arrived! In Thailand, that is and that happened a week ago. Oops. We have been slightly busy moving into our new house and getting acclimated to a new country. As an aside, going from a three room apartment to a two-story house has been a big adjustment!  There is space everywhere and it's all filled with furniture. :-) We've done some shuffling around to make hard, wooden furniture a little more cozy (if that is even possible) and we're slowly getting things put away. Actually I feel like we've accomplished quite a bit in one week's time.

Wednesday night was my first time cooking an actual meal in our kitchen (unless scrambled eggs and oatmeal count)! A few days ago we got the ingredients for chicken parm and then each evening we would be so tired, busy, or away from the house that we didn't get around to making it. Plus the Thai food here is incredibly cheap. Our first day in the country, we decided to go to the neighborhood restaurant for lunch. My niece, who is with us for several weeks, couldn't believe the three of us ate lunch for under $2.00! Let's just say it cost a whole lot more to make chicken parm, so that's going to be a recipe reserved for special occasions. :-)

We've been enjoying having a market just across the street... well, it's slightly more complicated than that because the "street" is a 6-8 lane road filled with busy traffic and we have to wait at the light for 197 seconds to make the u-turn. Yeah, it's always depressing to drive up to the traffic light and see it just turn red. That would be the perfect time to catch up on some reading. :-) Nevertheless, the market is always a sight (and smell!) to behold. Of course there are lots of things I haven't tried yet. :-)

A few months ago, a missionary's wife wrote me a letter as I was in the packing stage and said, "there are things you are going to pack that when you get to Thailand you'll ask why you brought it!" That has been very true on a couple of things. My niece brought some of our stuff over in her luggage and I'm thinking she'll be taking a few items back when she returns home! No sense keeping something here taking up room when it can return to where it belongs! Overall though, I've been very glad for most of the items we packed. Since it's been four years since I lived in country, I've forgotten what it was like to live in Thailand. Other memories came back in a hurry. :-)

A new day awaits us and each day since we've arrived has been an adventure! Good thing we still have our sense of humor intact - we've needed it several times already. :-) I'm sure there will be more adventures to come!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


And so it begins. Our marathon, that is! The next three days are jam-packed with special events, saying "see ya later" to dear people we love, and walking away from our first home. You'll have to forgive me for being sentimental; it is somewhat warranted for where we're at right now. 

We leave for Thailand on Tuesday and I am beyond excited that this day has finally arrived. We've had plenty of starts and stops to this journey but I know the Lord has been faithfully leading us through it all. 

I think about my dad passing away 6 months ago and how God in his mercy allowed us to still be in the States to grieve with family. I also think about all the travels of the last year or so and I realize we got to see tons of people that we usually don't see. Our travels have taken us from Maine to Alaska, with everything in-between and we wore out a path down to Texas - to the point that things in a state hundred of miles away began to look familiar. :-)

We've always enjoyed coming home and my heart does an extra beat whenever i type "home" into our GPS. Funny how the miles seem to fly by when we're heading that way! I often say to my husband that my favorite street in the world is the street that leads us to our street. :)

The hardest part in the midst of all of "the lasts" and the packing has been packing up my house - completely. We've left it before for months on end but we've always returned. I still have some kitchen items to pack away, and those carry-ones still aren't packed, but we're getting there. Back in the summer I began to get serious about the whole "everything's gotta go" deal and so I took the first picture off the wall. I think removing that first picture hurt deeper than all the subsequent events because it was so final. Nat came home from work that day to a pile of bubble-wrapped pictures and a tearful wife. Thankfully God's grace is sufficient and He gives strength day by day.

So here I sit at the beginning of probably one of the the most busy and emotional weekends of my life, and I contemplate that thought. God's grace is sufficient. Friday I took my son and spent the day with my mom and my sister, primarily to get out of my husband's hair so he could have the concentration to finish up some important details. My husband didn't ask me to leave (and he never would!), but I know how loud my son can get and figured this was one way to bless my husband. Of all mornings, Paul was up early, and I do mean early! God's grace is sufficient no matter what's going on, even as I tried to rock my son back to sleep. Throughout the day, Paul exhibited lots of signs of tiredness, so I assured my mom and my sister that he would definitely fall asleep in the car. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of seeing so many people throughout the day or if it was because I was using his old car seat, but Paul would not take a nap, aside from a short 20 minute nap in the morning. 6 hours later, I was very close to tears and frustrations. But then the reminder came. God's grace is sufficient. Totally. 

I'm happy to report Paul did fall asleep as we were heading over to someone's house in the evening, in his new car seat mind you! And God's grace was sufficient for me the whole day... I just needed a reminder. :-) I am very excited and unbelievably sad all rolled into one this weekend. Such a bittersweet time. But the one truth I'm clinging to this weekend is God's grace is sufficient... for me.