Monday, January 26, 2015

Family Day.

I think it's safe to say we are finally adjusted to Thailand time again! What a blessing the long airplane ride and jet lag are both behind us, hopefully for a good while! God definitely gives grace for those trying times and it's so good to be home.

We've enjoyed "setting up shop" again and jumping back into life in the tropics. Before the return of language study, we decided to take a family day and headed for the great outdoors! There's a gorgeous lake about 15 minutes away, so we wandered over there on Friday and enjoyed biking, walking, and eating lunch by the lake.

{a clear, cool day at the lake with a mountain backdrop}

{love these two blessings}

{my blue-eyed girl}

{Paul is happy to run barefoot again}

{flowers in our neighborhood showcase God's creativity}

Since we are still in cool season, I've taken Paul on plenty of bike rides. There's something exhilarating about feeling the wind hit my face and from the little giggles coming from behind me, I'm pretty sure Paul is enjoying it too! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughtful Thanks.

I decided in 2014 to be more intentional in praising God and even came up with a tag for my blog called "purposeful praise." Last year really stretched me in my praise to the Lord, so I decided on another personal theme for this year: thankfulness. Now I'll be the first to admit that there are many blessings in my life, but I need to pause and ask if I'm actually having an attitude of thankfulness, especially in the midst of a situation.

For instance, this morning Nat and I were watching our church's Wednesday evening service and as I was trying to take notes Paul was wriggling in my lap and kicking the table. Not exactly an ideal circumstance to be still before the Lord and let the preaching minister to my heart. To my shame I let out a sigh of frustration and even said, "Paul, why must you do that?" But then the still small voice reminded me to stop and be kind to my son. I put the pen down and pulled my little boy closer, quickly reminded how glad I am for such an active little guy!

So that's my goal for this year - to have an attitude of thankfulness, and hopefully IN the situation instead of AFTER the fact. :-)

To start things off... I'm extremely thankful for these three human beings; my entire, little world and I wouldn't trade any of them for anything!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Precious Memories.

In November we headed to the States for the purpose of spending time with people and I would say we accomplished the job! In fact, I wish we took more photos with people, but we didn't always think about it. So here's a quick recap of just some of the things we did during our 8-week trip.

We landed in NYC on a Thursday and five days later we were driving the 700 miles to my brother and his family in Kentucky. A quick two-day stay with them rounded out the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm so glad we made the effort to go. The return drive of 15 hours seemed like it would never end. :-)

My niece, nephews, and sister-in-law with my baby girl.

We did experience a few warmer winter days and Paul enjoyed getting outside to play with some balls and our pastor's children. But most of the days were too cold to play outside.

Some of my family got together the Saturday after Thanksgiving to go to a nearby Christmas village. What fun and what a good memory as we shivered together. :-)

Yes, it did snow while we were in Pennsylvania! I'm glad Nat thought to get some snow pictures, because most likely it will be several years before we see snow again.

We took a trip up to New York to spend some time with Nat's extended family. On the way we stopped at a grocery store that had the perfect cart for Paul. He loved pushing it around and stocking up on an essential: Cheerios! By the way, the one time I found a box of Cheerios in Thailand it was $12.00, so we won't be eating Cheerios anytime soon. :-)

While in New York, we stayed with Nat's aunt. She had a neat toy car collection that Paul loved to play with.

Of course Paul got to go sledding at Great-Grandma's farm! He absolutely loved it. 

Our main reason for returning to the States was for Nat's sister's wedding, which was just before Christmas. 

We also updated our family picture to reflect our newest little family member. It only took us 7 months for a new mug shot. :-) We took this after the wedding, so both kids were beyond tired, having missed their naps. Paul was quickly won over with cranberry bread keeping him smiling, but Ellie would not smile for anything. Oh well.

The week of Christmas found us in the Poconos with Nat's family. We got a vacation rental house and enjoyed lots of family time. Paul loved getting to know his grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

We also spent some time with my sister and her family at Valley Forge National Historical Park. What started out as a quick walk turned into a 4-mile hike. After that brisk walk, the kids slept soundly!

Paul with my sister and nephew.

Some friends of mine and I intended to slip away for a 2-day ladies retreat in December, but the house we had found forgot we were coming and shut the water off for the winter. I was definitely disappointed, but last Friday night we enjoyed a fun evening together as couples, so it all worked out in the end.

 We packed things up and headed for JFK Airport this past Wednesday. Good friends of ours were very gracious in waking up early and driving us to the airport for our noon flight. Thanks Ben and Alyssa!

Our layover in South Korea was a lot shorter than we remembered, so Paul didn't get to play on the playground this time around. Instead Paul got to watch the plane being loaded!

So there you have it! There were so many things that happened while we were home, but I can't recount them all. I'm just glad for the opportunity to be back in PA... And now I'm glad to be home in Thailand!