Sunday, November 22, 2015


Some Sundays I have a really hard time remembering that it is Sunday. Today was one of those days. During my quiet time, I begged the Lord to give me that "joy" in serving Jesus. Admittedly, my joy was lacking the last day or so. What changed? Not God. No, it was definitely me that moved.

As we started our service, I sang the first hymn with one eye on the hymn book and one eye on two reluctantly-seated children. Going through the motions, you know? But then my glance fell upon the hymn on the opposite page and when Nat asked me for a favorite, I said "Once For All". 

As we sang, the words ministered to my heart:

Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

Now we are free, there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.

“Children of God,” O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Blessed salvation once for all.

After we finished singing this song, my mom chose "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" - a song very dear to my heart. The Lord was answering my prayer as my perspective slowly shifted from my bad attitude to what He has done for me! The things of this earth tend to fade away whenever I turn my gaze to Calvary. We finished our service out with a message on the grace of God and by the time it was over, the joy was back! Praise God. How good and patient He is with me.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Amazing Thailand!

Prior to getting married, I lived in Thailand for a year working with some missionaries. When I first returned to the States after that year, all I could talk about was Thailand. I didn't realize how much I was talking about Thailand until a family member said, "Umm, Thailand is all you ever talk about."


That first visit was a long time ago (over 8 years ago!) and since then I have come to love this country in a big way. From the distinct smell and humidity that engulfs you when you step out of the airport, to the cacophony of sounds coming from every direction, Thailand is like no other country I have visited.

Some of the ladies over at Baptist Missionary Women are sharing interesting tidbits about their countries, and so I thought I would jump in and share Thailand with you. After all, I couldn't stop talking about it before! ;-)

1.) The normal Thai greeting is the wai. My daughter does a much better job doing the wai than my son does!

2.) Iced drink shops are everywhere here! Coffee, bubble tea, smoothies... you name it and someone probably has a shop for it! My Thai tutor explained it's because it is so hot here that people feel cool and refreshed with an iced drink.That works for me!

~my kids love this part of the culture~

3.) Blonde-haired, little Americans are a magnet. I'm serious! I am stopped several times a week by someone asking if they can take a picture of my kids. Around here, my kids are constantly called dolls, particularly Ellie!

4.) You will see "Amazing Thailand" printed on many tourist items (hats, shirts, etc), and for good reason. This country has a rugged beauty. No, there are no snow-capped mountain tops, but there's plenty of breath-taking valleys and lush rice paddies. I especially love seeing a rice paddy with new shoots. So fresh and green!

~this rice is just about ready to be harvested~

~"the sleeping lady"~

~each evening brings a spectacular sunset~

5.) Who doesn't love Thai food?!? My favorite Thai dish is chicken fried rice with freshly-squeezed lime. Yum!

6.) On any given day in any given neighborhood, someone is driving around peddling their wares. The best I've ever seen was full-sized wardrobes on the back of a pick-up truck (who looks out their window and thinks, "Oh, look! They're selling wardrobes on that pickup truck! I've been meaning to buy one.") We also buy some of our vegetables from a lady hauling them around on her motorcycle cart. And then of course you can buy tarps, ladders, or brooms, depending on the day. :-)

7.) Speaking of motorcycles, that is a main method of transportation for many people... and things. I am always impressed at the creativity of Thai people and how they can fit quite a bit on a motorcycle.

8.) In the market or at the grocery store, you will see lots of interesting things. Never a dull moment in going shopping here!

~in the grocery store~

~at the market~

9.) Often I will see Thai people wearing a coat, pants, socks, and a hat --- in 90* weather! Thai people don't like sun burn, so they will completely cover up. Even then, sometimes I'll see an umbrella just as an extra precaution!

10.) Let's face it - Thailand is hot. We've acclimated over the last two years, and now think low 70s is downright chilly. But give us 88 degree weather, and we only need a fan! Praise God for air conditioning for when the humidity makes it feel like 100 degrees!

Now that you're done here, head on over to April's blog and see what it's like for her! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I feel like God gave me a hug this week, just to remind me that He loves and cares for me. What a kind Father! So here are some of my hugs:

Our weather on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday stayed in the mid-60s and it was glorious! I love the cozy feel of being in a warm house on a cold day. The sky had that overcast look when it's going to snow (not that it did!), I had some music playing, candles burning, and comfort food cooking on the stove. We pulled out the slippers and socks, and the kids enjoyed wearing long-sleeves again. Why is this a hug? I grew up in Pennsylvania, where I enjoyed having four seasons. Thailand is the land of perpetual summer, so I was thrilled to have some cool weather, particularly since my brain knows it's October. ;-)


Earlier this year we stopped by a yard sale in Chiang Mai. A family was moving back to the states and wanted to get rid of some stuff. The yard sale was well attended, but somehow this little gem was overlooked by everyone! Not only do I love Yankee Candles, one of my favorites is Sparkling Cinnamon. Sure, the candle was half-used, but I didn't mind paying $1.00 for it! And now I have it as a reminder that God truly cares about the little things.


Most evenings we go for a bike ride and usually catch a beautiful sunset. By the time I took this picture, the sun was just about gone, but God has given amazing scenery as a backdrop to our neighborhood!


Any parent can tell you kids are a lot of work, but these two really do bring me so much joy! It's so fun to hear them giggling together. I love watching them play together. I pray they grow up being best friends. I have such great memories with my siblings, and I want these two to experience that.


And then this morning? My brother called me.

Big hug!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What a Friend...

We sang "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" during our time of Bible study this morning, and the words ministered to my heart in such a sweet way. I'm not discouraged at the moment or going through a trial (watch out, Anne! right?), but sometimes home and friends seem very far away from my little corner of the world. But what a precious thought that Jesus is my friend and I can take everything to Him in prayer - right here. Let the words of this song minister to your heart like they did to mine today...

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged -
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge -
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Where Did The Week Go?

The days just fly be here, so let's have a week in review via pictures, shall we?

We took our friends out to eat at a Chinese restaurant and I decided this is the biggest plate of pork fried rice I have ever seen! Oh, and the mushroom platter??? That was for my husband. :-)

Discovered an amazing view from a nearby mountain. We can't wait to go back and explore on a clear day!

That's a LOT of hay!

I loved having my friend and her husband here for a visit. What an enjoyable time sharing Thailand with them!

We have our ups and downs, but when my little guy smiles like this, he completely melts my heart.

A friend gave me Cadbury hot chocolate mix, so the first night that was even remotely chilly, I made some up and enjoyed it in my new mug.

Discovered a new cafe and restaurant or, as they label it, cafe and meal. ;-)

This little girl takes smoothies very seriously!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fun Visitors!

We have absolutely loved having friends of ours visit for the last week or so! It's been so much fun hanging out together, talking and laughing long after our kiddos are in bed. We've also enjoyed a couple of game nights, one of our favorite ways to spend an evening. :-) 

Our friends tend to be more explorers and adventurers than, shall we say, shoppers, so between the four of us, we discovered plenty of cool things to see in nature.

{The Readers and Nat explored a cave}

{Ellie experienced her first elephant ride near this river}

{Took a hike that led to twin waterfalls}

{New pictures were needed for a prayer card/Christmas card, so we snagged a few mommy & baby poses as well}

{Such happy smiles}

I'm so thankful for sweet fellowship and precious friendship. We're sad to see our friends leave in the morning, but we are so grateful they came and spent the time with us!

(Photo credit: Ilona Reader)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Enjoying Life!

We've had our share of busy days with visitors coming and going, investing in people, and just simply enjoying the life we have!

Last weekend we were traveling, so we had the joy of sharing a room as a family. These two were so delighted with the king-size bed that they entertained themselves on it for a good two hours. 

This little guy just melts my heart...

Nat and some men were invited to teach in a mountain village... I wish I had taken a picture of the road going up to where Nat parked the car!

In the village.

The evening view outside our room... So pretty, especially during the day!

Hanging out at a kid-friendly coffee shop!

I have a huge fascination with what motorcyclists can carry on their bikes. This passenger definitely got creative!

You can't see him in the picture, but the driver is actually a motorcycle taxi. I would love to hear that conversation play out, "Can you pick up 10 plastic chairs and bring them to me?"

Family day!

Oh this kid... :-)

... and this one too!

We stopped for a donut on the way home from the store today. The uneaten donut in Paul's lap is a good indication of just how tired he was!

Monday, August 10, 2015

At Least I'm Consistent!

We've been having lots of fun in our new house and city, so here's a quick update via photos. (Again!)

We bought this rocking horse just before we moved, and now the entertainment is endless around here!

This is the way Ellie drives...

Nat has been busy scrubbing dirt off the walls and ground (the walls in the background show the difference), and Paul has enjoyed "helping" Daddy.  :-)

A couple of weeks ago I took a quick trip to Bangkok to visit with some friends. It sure was fun being in the big city again!

Nat did a great job with the kids while I was away, and he sent me this picture of Ellie's "daddy-do".

Apparently the back of our truck is loads of fun too... 

Check out this coffee stand we stopped at... That stepstool was helpful and the coffee was very good!

Our house is in this neighborhood.

These two love playing with each other and have the cutest giggles.

They are also huge daredevils and are constantly finding new heights to explore. 😳 

Paul loves a mango smoothie! That yellow thing in his smoothie? Yeah, that's NOT a piece of mango, but some kind of jello-like rice glop. Big disappointment when the expectation is a piece of mango. 

There aren't too many playgrounds here, but there are plenty of kiddie rides at most malls and big stores. The kids were finally bold enough to take their first ride together. They loved it, contrary to the expressions on their faces. 

As always, there's more to share but it's back to enjoying life with the kiddos!