Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kitchen cleanup.

I briefly mentioned in my last post about a situation that came up that became an exercise of patience. Ever since we moved into our house, we have had a cockroach problem. Gross, right? Some days we would have 7-8 sprawled out on our kitchen floor which was always what we wanted to see first thing each morning!

While my niece was here, we spent a good chunk of time cleaning the house and throwing away things that previous occupants left behind. We also discovered what roach eggs look like. Google that if you are really curious. In a word, disgusting. We knew the roaches were hiding out in the lone cabinet/counter/sink and went looking for a replacement piece.

I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say we finally found something we liked (landlord included), and found out from the store when the new one was going to be delivered. So 2.5 weeks ago, Nat went about the demolition of our old cabinet, knowing there would be roaches to contend with.

What we didn't know was that the actual nest was in the floor of the cabinet and pulling it apart meant roaches went scattering. Nat spent a good chunk of the day getting rid of the roaches and when he pulled the counter away from the wall, there was a whole pile of them in one corner. 

Umm, ick.

With the help of a friend, they moved the counter and cabinet out and only two baby roaches managed to drop out of it on the way to the door. :-) We took care of them, of course! We knew the cabinet was going to be delivered on Monday morning, so we dealt with the lack of sink for two days thankfully anticipating our new one to be installed - minus the roaches.

Monday morning two men showed up, measured the space, and said they would return after buying a few supplies... or so we thought. Here it turned out they were just measuring to make sure the new one would fit. After a phone call to the store clarifying that up, they said come on down and pay and then we'll install. Okie dok. Tuesday we go pay and ask when the cabinet will be delivered. At first they told us "next day" but we said that wouldn't work with our school schedule. When we asked about Thursday as another option, we were met with blank stares. With our limited Thai and their limited English, we went round and round until the man nervously chuckled and said, "oh! Not next day. Next month!!" 


We finally figured out that things indeed were lost in translation. Two little words were never mentioned when we were first at the store: special order. That cleared up a lot of the miscommunication. In the meantime, we were looking at being without a sink, counter, and cabinet for 3.5 weeks. 

Thankfully God's grace is truly sufficient. We went out to get a folding table (which we were going to buy eventually) and two buckets to be our temporary fix. It's working just fine. :-)

Oh, do you notice the grey fridge in the above picture? We now have three fridges in our kitchen!

The Lord provided us with an amazing deal to purchase our own fridge (2014 model!), rather than the two we were using. One came with the house since it was fully furnished, and then one came from the neighbor down the street who lent it to the people who were here before us. Both have issues and weren't big enough or efficient enough. So we have an abnormal kitchen: no sink and three fridges! Wanna come visit?!? :-)

Hopefully we can sort out the extra fridge situation soon and return it to the neighbor down the street or have it go somewhere else. We'll obviously have to move the small grey fridge before the new counter and cabinet comes because that's where they are going. :-)

So am I glad to be without a sink and counter for 3.5 weeks? Not necessarily... until I think about those roaches, and then I'm really glad they are gone! If we have to deal with an inconvenience for a few weeks, it's worth it to be roach-free! 

I AM looking forward to next week though... :-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blessings from the past week

~ only two days of language school! (This week we make up for it with four days:D)

~ a Sunday morning Bible study was preparation for the week ahead of needing patience (more later in an upcoming post)

~ going to the market and doing (most) of the speaking myself!

~ a great opportunity for my husband to have fellowship with other men, including two visiting pastors, during a day trip to a nearby province

~ ice cream from Swenson's... mmmm!

~ another Sunday morning Bible study and fellowship time with two missionary families

~ a visiting pastor graciously bringing our mail with him... and a few bonus items like Olive Garden Italian dressing!

~ after looking for two months, being able to custom-order seat cushions for our hard, wooden furniture in our living room (our house came furnished)

~ Paul having a great day at language school so I could stay in class

~ dinner with our neighbors and meeting another couple our age with children around our kids' ages 

~ a Skype video call with one of our dearest family friends back home

~ a beautiful hymn with the words "grace, grace, God's grace... grace that is greater than all our sins"

~ cool days and nights so we don't have to run the air con or fans

~ sweet giggles from my little boy

It's been a good week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


By no means is this picture going to win any awards, but it is special because it speaks of a lot of love to me. 

Love from a dad to his son that he would keep the big box rather than throw it away.

Love from a dad to his son that he would spend time entertaining his son with said box even though he has plenty of other things to do.

Love from a dad to his son that he would get down on his son's level and play with him.

Yes, I see a lot of love in this picture. 

And now that same dad is showing a lot of love to his son AND his wife by putting the baby down for a nap... What a guy. :-)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lessons Learned.

This week we had a situation arise that was a test of culture and humility. As we interacted with a Thai person on the behalf of another Thai person (cultural norm), the answer we were given wasn't quite satisfactorily to our minds. Nevertheless we saw an opportunity before us to respond with meekness and leave the situation in God's hands. "Lord, we're willing to do ___________ because relationships are much more important than _____________." So imagine our surprise two days later when things worked out exactly the way we were praying for them to work out! A true miracle, in our minds, and one where the Lord gets all the praise.

The second situation was a personal one for me. I've been struggling with learning the Thai language and while I could launch into five good reasons as to why I'm struggling, I'll just leave it at I was very close to throwing in the towel this week. Wednesday in particular. My husband and I were talking about it Wednesday morning and I was laying out everything with such raw honesty. I'm grateful my husband is always sympathetic and understanding, but doesn't think and respond with his emotions. :-) He encouraged me to go to school that day and had a lot of logic behind his explanation. As I anticipated, school was.... rough that day, to say the least! That night, we were catching up on some messages from our home church, specifically from the New Year's Eve service. A group of four men preached that night with our church's assistant to the pastor preaching last. He mentioned that he had one message planned, but God directed him another way about 15 minutes before the service. :-)

If for no one else, I am very glad he was obedient to God's direction. He preached on how I am a new creature in Christ and how I really don't have any excuse not to do _________. Well I didn't need to go too far back in my day to think about what I could apply the message to! That message was motivation the rest of the week to press forward in my studies. Have my circumstances changed? Not really. I still have those five really good reasons to throw in the towel, but now I also have one that trumps them all: I am a new creature in Christ and I can get victory through Him. But I will admit I'm glad for the weekend so I can re-group and get prepared for Monday's class. :-)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Church, Chicken, And Crackers.

I didn't realize how much I missed taking part in an English-speaking church service until we live-streamed our church's Sunday night service Monday morning. It helps having a 12-hour time difference. :-) We were able to catch a portion of the song service, and I felt the tears starting to form as I listened. The piano and organ playing... the words being sung in English.... being able to pick out a few of the voices of people we know and love... having our hearts prepared for the preaching. What a blessing! 

I will admit I was slightly disappointed at first when we figured out our pastor was not going to be preaching, but a visiting missionary. But on the flip side, this was the first time in a long time that we actually got to see and hear from a new missionary. That's the bad thing of traveling on deputation: you miss out on the missionaries that come through your own church. :-) As I sat there listening to this man preach, the thought occurred to me I was taking notes and actually had my Bible open. You're probably thinking, "so?" but most services here in Thailand, I usually end up in the back of the room with Paul keeping him quiet. So for the first time in two months, I could really be still before the Lord during a service. Just keeping it real! That was such a precious time, and the added blessing was Paul slept until 8:00 so we weren't interrupted. 

Then my husband blessed me by making dinner Monday night. Usually after language school (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1 PM - 3 PM) I am so mentally drained that cooking dinner is the last thing on my mind. Those nights make for a great night out to the market or to some street vendor. :-) Sunday night Nat marinated some chicken and got the grill going Monday afternoon. After he grilled the chicken, he put the potatoes in the coals to bake and they were so yummy. I just savored every bite. :-)

As we were eating, my experiment was baking in the toaster oven. I should explain what my experiment was. In a box my mom sent recently, she included some graham crackers for Paul. I have yet to find them in country and as the pile of USA crackers were getting depleted, I decided to try my hand at making some. It was definitely a lot more work than I anticipated, and I let the dough chill Sunday, so by the time I baked the first batch it was Sunday night. There was a learning curve for sure! The first batch I rolled too thick, so they were more bars than crackers. Then the next batch I rolled thin, but the bottoms got burned because of the temperature. I learned that baking in a toaster oven is different than a regular oven. The good news is since all I have is a toaster oven, I needed to do five batches. :-) Trial and error!

The third batch I turned the temperature down and kept a closer watch, but they still got burned on the bottom a bit. I couldn't figure it out, other than the fact I used the timer on the toaster oven. So for the fourth batch, I set a timer on my phone and checked then well before they were supposed to be done. Perfect! The fifth batch was just fine too.

By the time it was done, I had lowered the oven temp 50 degrees and cut the time in half. So now I feel like I have a challenge before me in baking things in the oven. Thankfully Nat is of a scientific mind and can help me with the calculations and such. :-)

As I went to take the picture, my husband graciously said, "I can move the burnt one" but I figured that it was all a part of the experiment so the burnt one stayed in the picture! I don't know if I will make them again since they were very time-consuming (and the dough was very sticky!), but then again maybe I will... now that I figured out the technique!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A future little helper!

I had a little peek into what the future could be like with a little helper and it brought me a lot of delight! As I was trying a new experiment today, Paul was playing with his toys and would occasionally crawl to the kitchen. After finishing up mixing some batter, I let him lick the spatula and he got the biggest grin on his face. Then throughout the day I would say, "come help me put away the laundry" or "let's clean up the toys" and he would come. We obviously need to work on the actual "helping" part, but it got me really excited to see Paul beginning to change and see needs around him. Still a ways to go, of course, but it's a first step!

Now that I wrote that, we're having a little boy return to touching a light after he's been told no. So we still have a looong ways to go!

My husband blessed me in a wonderful way today. When I mentioned I was thinking of taking a nap, he offered to watch Paul and go to the market to pick up some fruits and vegetables. I thought my nap would be short so I could go with them, but it turned into 1.5 hours and that was after sleeping from 10 PM until 7 AM! I guess that was my body's way of reminding me that I am pregnant, even though it's been an easy ride so far. :-)

Oh, and as to my experiment, I'll let you know if they turn out or not. If you don't hear anything more about it then you can guess... not. :-)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Praises In The New Year.

Our New Year started off with a bang... literally! Being the party poopers that we are (aka parents of a baby), we were in bed by 10:30 PM, blissfully unaware of all the celebrations taking place around us. But I can tell you exactly what we were doing at midnight - waking out of a dead sleep to the sounds of Chiang Mai exploding. Ok, so maybe not exploding, but there was a lot of noise and fireworks going on! After 15 minutes I was able to go back to sleep. My first praise of the New Year was Paul didn't wake up in the midst of all the noise!

Nat and I have a new accountability system going on and it has worked all week! Now that Paul is in his own room, we wanted to start a better morning routine... for ourselves. We've been up by 6:30 every morning which gives us time to get ready and spend quality, uninterrupted time in our devotions. My second blessing of the year! We joined in with our church's commitment to read the Bible through in a year, so now we have plenty of time to do so.

While Nat worked on a project throughout the New Year's Day, I decided to work on one too: our latest addition to our kitchen!

This might not seem like a big deal to most people, but I am thrilled to have some extra storage space AND counter space. Before we bought this hutch, my glasses and plates were at Paul-level and I was forever trying to keep him from breaking anything. Well last week he finally succeeded in breaking a glass (yikes) and so that kicked us into high gear to find something for the kitchen. So I happily spent New Year's Day organizing it, using the counter (double yay!), making some fun food like homemade pizza sauce and pizza and feeling like my kitchen is starting to come together. I feel very much at home in my kitchen now so that's my third praise of this new year.  :-)

Today's praises include chatting with a dear, dear friend for 2 hours, my hubby's back getting adjusted again, and more language learning. In the midst of everything, Paul has been playing quite happily which is always a blessing. 

I have several goals for this year... right now in the mental stages, but I should write them down. One of my goals is to be more purposeful in writing, sharing what the Lord is doing in our little corner of the globe and praising Him for it. So hopefully you will see more posts in the future. For now though, I need to do some more language study. After a 10-day break, we return to school tomorrow!