Monday, December 23, 2013

Thai Christmas Caroling

I finally went Christmas Caroling with my roommate's Thai church this year. Well, actually I went caroling for half the night- I had been sick earlier in the week and couldn't make it until 5:40am!

The Thais go caroling all night long! They go to peoples' houses who know that they are coming, so they are prepared with food and drinks. They either give them something to take with them or invite them in the house.
We met at someone's house at 7:30pm - actually we arrived there at that time, but no one else really showed up until closer to 8:15pm. We had 3 pick-up trucks to pile into as we drove around the city. Now I know to Minnesotans- 50s isn't cold...but in the back of a pick-up truck going 50-60 mph it gets a little cold! 

At the houses we sang and then the pastor would pray for the people at that house.  Then it was eating soup and drinking coffee or collecting a gift and going on. I went around until midnight when we stopped at my friend's house who also attends the church. I was encouraged to stop while I still felt good :) Best advice of the night! She took me home and the rest of them continued on. My roommate got home at 5:40am!!

For me I got to have the "best" of both worlds, because my other roommate was going to be the last stop for her church's caroling group that same night. I stayed up a little later and helped serve them meatballs, bread and cookies. Of course there was also hot chocolate to drink. At about 2am I was in bed...a late night for this old person :)

What a neat way to celebrate Christ's birth here in Thailand. A different tradition and way of doing things yet worshiping and celebrating the same Lord! I am always so moved every time I sing in Thai with other believers- we serve such an amazing God. One that loves each one of us and knows all our languages but even more than that....our hearts!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Songs...

These songs make me laugh and cry at the same time! WHY do they play them on the radio over and over again?!? 
They are not in any order...but enjoy listening to them again and again if you would like.

Christmas Shoes I really don't think I need to say anymore about this song. Just read what Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like says about it.

I am so glad there is a song called Christmas Makes Me Cry it makes Christmas away from home that much more enjoyable. Seriously, why do I want to sing a song (or listen to one) about crying at Christmas. I don't care if they are tears of joy, faithfulness, or hope...don't sing about them.

Why are we asking Where's the Line to See Jesus? We should know the answer- You don't have to wait in a line at the mall to see Jesus! The first time I heard this song I waited and waited for them to somehow say that important truth. Oh they do say how important Jesus is...which I agree with, but I would like them to at least mention that you don't need to wait in a line to talk to Jesus. I can talk to Jesus anywhere I would like at anytime I would like without going to the mall. I am not going to wait in a line to take a picture with someone dressed up as Jesus. Stepping off of my soapbox now- about that song anyway.

I just heard The Day After Thanksgiving by Brandon Heath. I really like Brandon Heath, but this song should be sang as a joke and not a "true" song. I don't mind the idea behind it and I don't decorate before Thanksgiving, but really- a whole song on the subject?! And they play it on K- Love?! That is going a little too far.

What are some of the songs that make you want to cry for all the wrong reasons?! 
Feel free to disagree with me as well. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Signs....



These last four were all at a cave we went to during Oct. break.





Saturday, November 30, 2013

House Boats

During our October break we went to the "house boats" all photo credits go to my friend- cause I dropped my camera :( Mae Ngad Dam is the closest thing you can get to a Minnesota lake experience. 
Swimming, kayaking, and laying on the dock Thai style!


We spent the night in one of these rooms...



Our room...complete with a mosquito net

Our very own bathroom....you can see the water right under you.
Don't worry I was told the pipes don't go directly into
the water! 

the view from our kayak 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hume Lake- Thailand


This is how I spent part of my October break! 
Thanks Hume Lake Christian Camps for coming to Thailand.

video

Every other year Hume Lake Christian Camps in CA comes to Chiang Mai for a week of camps. They had camp for the high schoolers from a Saturday to Tuesday and then the Middle School got to experience camp life from the Wednesday to Saturday. I helped with the MS camp two years ago and decided to help again this year.
I knew many of these kids as they were 5th and 6th graders when I got here. Our role during the camp is to be the camp “counselors.” This means that Hume brings people to speak, lead worship, and plan games, but we provide the small group leaders. I had 12 girls that I was in charge of and had the privilege to lead in small group discussion groups, etc. Seven of these girls were 7th graders from Grace and the other five were from other international schools in the Chiang Mai area. It was a fun group, but a little hard to get a few of the girls to open up and share. I know that for a couple of the students this was just a “seed planting” time and for others they have grown up as missionary kids and know it all J Trying to meet them all where they were at was difficult but we had some great discussions.
I also had a group of about 14 students (boys and girls) for all our game times.  We had a great time as it had been rainy earlier in the week so the fields were completely muddy. It added so much more excitement to each and every game!
The theme of the week was “Wandering Lites” as in the Israelites. We also had times when the camp counselors from Hume shared their stories. It was neat as a few of them had also been missionary kids, so they could really relate to our students.
            Please be praying for the seeds that have been planted to take root in those that were hearing much of this for the first time. Also pray for those who “know it all” that they will make it their own and not just their parents’ faith. 

Go to here for more videos :)

                                                           

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hardships....what do I know about hardships....

I was thinking of different things to write to try to describe the struggles of grieving when you are overseas. I was trying to figure out the different things that were easier and the things that made it harder and put it into words. I was going to write a wonderful blog post to make people see different things missionaries/ military personal go through as they serve overseas and it was going to be a great post.

Then I read Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma by Janet and Geoff Benge and I realized I know nothing about suffering and giving things up to live far away from home.

*Side note: I HIGHLY recommend the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series and the Heroes of History series all written by Janet and Geoff Benge. They are great biographies that they recommend for ages 10 and up, but I would say you could read them to younger students as well. I enjoy them as an adult and know that many at my school use them for their classes and the students love them!*


We are so blessed to have technology, medical help, and quick transportation if needed. Yes, I am still processing grief and loss far away from my family, but I can communicate quickly if needed. I am also surrounded by so many who have gone through or are going through similar things. They understand, they get it and they are ready to sympathies with me.

I got a great hug from a lady who's father-in-law passed away about 3 months before my grandma. I got words of wisdom from others who had faced deaths in their families in the past. I had people crying even before I could start to cry. Living in a community of believers who have left family and friends behind in another country is an amazing experience.

So instead of writing a blog post about my "hardships" I am learning to count my blessings!

Philippians 1:3-11

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grandma Joyce


My Grandma went home to be with the Lord on Oct 7th, 2013

When I think of my grandma I think of a woman of God who loved her family. My grandma first and foremost was a godly woman. She was often in the Word either on her own or in a Bible Study. She was always praying for us and cared about each event in every one of our lives. She was so concerned for us that at times I would not want to tell her something just because I knew she would not be able to sleep. Yet, I always did want to tell her pray requests cause I knew she would pray!

She loved having the family together. She would start planning far in advance how we were all going to celebrate the holidays, etc. She loved to have us over or would come and just spend time with us.

My grandma was proud of all her grandkids. She was not only praying for me, she was also talking to friends about me (in good ways). I was blessed to meet many of her friends and some of them have supported me as I have gone overseas. Her friends even had me share while I was home from Thailand. This last summer she proudly took me to her group’s indoor picnic where I shared about my ministry in Thailand.

She also always spent time helping others- not just being generous with her money, but also with her time. I remember many years of her lining up meals for funerals at her church until she physically couldn't do it anymore. She also would crochet for Bundles of Love and was able to continue to do this during her fight with cancer as well.

She loved going out to eat and spending time with her friends. She often had a busier social life then I did at times in our lives. She traveled with us to family things and had to put up with our driving and choice of music/radio theater.

I rejoice that my Grandma is no longer in pain and knew the Lord as her savior so that I will see her and Grandpa in heaven. I realize how blessed I am to have had her in my life for 31 years.

My only source of sadness is that I was not able to be there with her and my family as she finished her race here on earth. I can find great comfort in this last summer with her and the last skype “conversation” I had with her just 3 days before she died.

I am sad that future generations won’t know her, but I do know that because of my grandparents’ legacy many generations will be impacted by their lives and love for the Lord and their family. 



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rainy Day....and both good and bad ideas

A few Saturdays ago I really needed to go to the store to get food and somethings for one of the ministries I am involved in after school. It had been raining off and on for about 24 hours, but there was a little break and  I biked to the main road to get a songtaew (public transportation) to the store. About half way to the road I realized that I was going to have to bike down the yellow dotted line to keep from getting wet. The roads are higher in the middle and either side was covered with water. This was a good idea.

I got to the store and it started to rain! Perfect timing! I decided to be a good roommate and buy laundry soap- good idea or bad idea this remained to be seen. I also had to buy poster size paper which was not rolled up. Before I went to get a songtaew back home (it had stopped raining) I remembered that I had little hair clips on my bag, so I was able to take out my hair tie and put my hair up in the clips. This freed the hair tie to act as a rubber band for the poster paper a good idea!

I got a songtaew back to the road and by now it looks like it might start to rain, so I was hurrying with my two bags to get to my bike. A dad and son from school asked if I wanted a ride, I said no, because I had my bike and wanted to get it back home. They mentioned the road was flooded to which I replied..."yep I rode through it earlier" (ummm it had rained while I was at the store...forgot that!). 

Got on my rain poncho-good idea and started biking. Suddenly I was biking through at least 6 inches of water even in the middle of the road. Buying laundry soap- bad idea- I knew that if a car tried to drive by me I would fall over in the waves they would create. I got off my bike and walked it on the sidewalk that was only 2/3 inches covered in water. Good idea



I stopped to take a picture of the "road" good idea until it started to rain again then it became a bad idea.
I made it home with only my shorts being really wet. Thankful for the rain poncho.

A few hours later I went to take more pictures with friends good idea


You can already start seeing the sidewalk that was completely covered before...


You can even see the speed bump!




Photo credits to my friend, Ginny, she took all the photos except the first two and this last one

Sunday, September 29, 2013

our front yard...

I spy something in the garden...can you see it?!



Oh, there is the giant spider eating the little fly.




I spy something in our tree....(from my roommate's room)



Oh, there it is a swarm of bees!


Here is a video of the bees... 

video

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Rice Field (a Thai fiction story)

ตามีนาดี  นาดีมีงู   อาไถนากะดูงู  
งูไปในรู  อาจะดูรูงู   อาจะตำรูงู   
ตาพาลามานา  ลาไปดูโค  
ขาโคในรูงู   ตาทายาขาโค  โคโอเค



Grandpa has a good rice field.  The rice field has a snake.  Uncle plows the rice field and looks at the snake. The snake goes in the hole. Uncle will watch the snake hole. Uncle will mash the snake in the hole. Grandpa brings a donkey to the rice field. The donkey goes to look at the cow. The cow’s leg goes in the snake’s hole. Grandpa rubs medicine on the cow’s leg. The cow is okay. 

Written by two students with help from their VERY patient teacher



I must admit that I came up with the mashing idea and the cow's leg. We had to make the story somewhat exciting while only using our limited vocabulary.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Roommate

 I must confess that I don't really mind my roommate....
he/she is pretty quiet and keeps the insects out of my room (or just eats them). 


I didn't like it too much when it tried sleeping IN my bed with me. 
The walls and ceiling is the best place for this little guy. 



I should probably name him (or her) so here is the first contest of the new school year! 


Help me name my gecko roommate!!!




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life of an Elementary Librarian

Life of an Elementary Librarian 


BOOKS for the week?!?!



I have been trying to read books in our library...must say most of these books don't look super exciting to read by myself...wish my nephews and nieces were around to read them with me.

 I am actually excited about reading Teaching with Love and Logic!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Funny things kids say....

At the beginning of the year in the library the 1st and 2nd graders learn about fiction and non-fiction books. I have decided to start by making them play a little game. 

The 2nd graders play "make-believe" or "true" and each student needs to say one thing that is "make-believe" and one thing that is "true." Then we get to try to guess which is true and which is not. 

This year the first graders just said one thing and we had to guess if it was true or not.

I don't know if this is the best way to introduce the idea of fiction and non-fiction, but it is a great way to get to know the kids and it gives me some funny stories :)

Here are some of the best ones from this year:

One 1st grader had us decide if he was telling the truth about wearing space alien underwear. He was ready to show us if we didn't believe him... :)

Another 1st grader said she had 1,000 cousins. We guessed that was make-believe and she agreed but then informed us that she had 90 cousins. I am still waiting to see her mom to find out if that is true or not!

One 2nd grader said that he lived in a pickle... hmmm we knew for sure that was false!

I know there were more...but I didn't have time to write them all down before I forgot!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Some photos from the first month back in Thailand...

Just some photos I found on my camera....

Coffee/library in Thailand :)

Yes, everyone needs a photo with an owl reading...

Went for my first Thai massage the other week...and it was
very refureshing :)

letting our lights shine in CM or at least our Minnie Mouse ears :)
Happy Birthday to my boss! We went out to eat and
the guys who worked there sang Happy Birthday :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chinelos

I am so excited to say that I got new chinelos (Portuguese for flip-flops) from Brasil!
 I am so excited for my new Havaianas and Ipanemas.

I had my Havaianas for about 4 years and wore them pretty much everyday! I also ran two 5k "Run for Relief" races in them. We have Havaianas here at the Night Bazaar, but I am pretty sure that they aren't really Havaianas just say have the name on them. 

This is why I just kept wearing my old ones...UNTIL this summer when my friend, Lydia, bought me not just one pair of chinelos BUT two in Brasil. She then brought them to the US where she left them with my friend and neighbor (in Thailand) who brought them all the way to Thailand for me!

They are wonderful and I am so happy and my feet are sooooo happy!

Here are some photos so you can all see my wonderful new chinelos and my old ones.

Just so you can see the difference....

and another view...they are actually lined up and the same
size just got worn down....alot

The two new pairs of chinelos

Friday, August 16, 2013

Names...

I am teaching K-6th graders this year and that means I need to learn about 200 students' names. It means so much when someone calls you by your name, but I am terrible at remembering names.

So...I need your help...

What do you do to remember names? 


I do have pictures of the students to help me. They also are saying their names to me and I am writing myself hints to know how to pronounce all the different names.

I am giving myself until Sept. 1st to know all their names. After that every time I can't remember their name I will have to give them a jolly rancher. I really need the help cause I only have a 3 lbs bag!



After I learn all my students' names I am going to work on learning 50+ high schoolers' names and 50+ kids names for the Agape Home ministry.  I don't think I will give them jolly ranchers though....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Even more summer photos...they just keep coming...

The kids thought that Old Country Buffet would be the best
place to eat...so 4 generations went...

Many nights and afternoons were spent watching
Little League and T-Ball!


Up to bat...

Pitching....yes at 9 years old....

Last game of the season!


The photographer wanted a photo as well...
The boys wanted to go to the Mall of America with me before I left the country. We enjoyed the Lego Store, Gamestop, and going up and down escalators! Yes, they were wonderful- they reminded me that rides weren't in my budget and never asked for food even. We were only there for a couple of hours, but it was wonderful! I would take them anytime!
We found the Lego Store!

So excited!

At least an hour in the Lego Store

They thought their sister would like this lego girl...
but they have to look cool...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Some more summer fun photos....


I am so blessed by these 4 Minnesota girls...Glad we were all in the same area this summer!


Oh and one of them has a very cute daughter...

 T-Ball games!

The ball player at his last game...

Going rafting down the Cannon River...

This 3 year old was wonderful on the river
and made sure everyone was safe

Trying to work together to cross the river...they needed a little help in the middle

Deke floating down the river...dad was the stopping point