Monday, January 31, 2011

First Days of School

Just two hours a day, five days a week, but she loves it. I pack a snack. There are other children and places to play and toys and letters and a whole new world to discover. I always thought I'd homeschool...and let's be honest, I probably will at some point or another....but for now, she loves this little day school. Everyone here puts their kids in school by 18 months or so. As you can see, our children were falling horribly behind ;). Just getting to know our culture.

Did I mention that on the way to school the first day, my friend Julie, whose son Judah also attends Annie's school, almost stepped on a dead rat!? What a lucky sign! And then on the way home the following day, I almost stepped on a different dead rat in a distinctly different location. Praise the Lord.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Aaaaaaanndd Lily Changed Herself.

Confession: We have a habit of tuning out our children sometimes. Oh come on. Don't pretend like you don't do it too. Sometimes they can whine and complain for who knows how long before we attend to their need. Don't worry. They're fine. They're survivors. Well this afternoon, Lily reached a new level of independent. She walked up to Jonathan, handed him a clean diaper. Walked into a private area. Took off her diaper filled with POOP! and very graciously and cleanly handed him the poop diaper. Needless to say, he got the message.

note: Annie did this too, around 19 or 20 months, but the way she got Jonathan's attention was to reach her hand into her poop diaper, bring it out with some poop on it, and stick it in Jonathan's mouth while he was lying down. I kid you not. They have very different personalities, these two.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Past Week...

This past week was sort of...hellish. It all started last week, on a Tuesday, with Lily falling about as ill as any child I've ever had (granted, that is only two, but 4 1/2 years of collective child-rearing wisdom, nonetheless!). She vomited up the entire contents of her body, lost about half a kilo, spiked a super high fever and proceeded to do the Big "D" for days. Now if you know my Lils, she is crazy. She is loud, she has energy coming out of her ears and she eats like a horse. For four days, she was none of those things. She didn't eat. She slept all day and all night. She couldn't walk, but for an awkward falling over limp. It was sad. But then she got better...

...And then, I started to feel really sick. It all started on Saturday night, at dinner, at a little burger joint. In the car home, I threw up all the way down the main drag. Hot, I know. Now I am 8 weeks pregnant (Surprise!), so I just chalked it up to early pregnancy hormones, however, I did not move from my bed for 5 days (i.e., today) Lots more puking, lots of other fun stuff. No details to come. Suffice it to say, I have been as low as I every thought I would be. Honestly, for the first 3 days, I thought it was just going to be a hellish pregnancy. Now, I am back from the dead and on the other side and while still normal-pregnancy-nauseated, I can safely look back at those days and say, "Oh! It was a bug!" Praise Him.

A LOT of things emerged from this very low, long, but short, week in my life. I will leave you with a few:
1. The Lord graciously taught me that suffering is part of what we he calls us to in this life. I so often want to escape suffering or make it end. I want to expedite the process and get to the conclusion without going through the valley and really knowing the one who suffered so deeply for humanity. I feel sorry for myself a lot here. I miss the beauty of the states, friendships...I idealize my past. But Jesus didn't have to idealize his past to know it was perfect. He lived in heaven. With God. Now that was actually perfect. And he left it. He willingly left it for a season. A long season. Not just to live in comfort on earth, (dirty, hot, cold, dusty, smelly earth), but to live rejected, hunted, tortured, tempted, mistreated...killed.
2. Death is also part of our calling in this life. That's why it says, "Take up your cross..." Luke 9:23 Not just physical death, although that is eminent, but death to all sorts of things. You have to ask God to find out what your deaths are going to be. My deaths are walking with my kids in the stroller, buying fresh smoothies, Autumn, winter, hikes in clean air, swims in clean water, living near family...they're not very hard yet, as this list clearly tells. But for now, those are my small deaths.
3. If we aren't suffering or dying some kind of death to ourselves, it might be time for a commitment check. Is that fair? I'm going to put it out there.

Okay, now for the lighter fare--here are some other things I learned:
4. You can watch A&E "Pride and Prejudice" easily in a day
5. Even a three year old can fall in love with Mr. Darcy (I kid you not, Annie went to bed last night rattling on and on about "Mr Darcy!, I want to see the movie about Mr. Darcy" Clearly she is my child.)
6. 7-up is almost as good as Gingerale
7. ice-makers are highly under-rated
8. A husband who will sleep in the same bed with you when you haven't showered in 6 days really really loves you. Like really.
9. We could not be more thankful for the precious community God has graciously placed us in. They cooked for us, watched children, grocery shopped and visited my sorry self. I cannot imagine how we would have survived this week without them. Such a sweet reminder that God provides for us in the valley.
10. Life will go on without you.

That is all.

p.s. So Annie is having this major nightmare last night. She's screaming "NO! NO!!!! NOOOO!!" Over and over. Jonathan runs in there (because I am still not up to sitting up fast, let alone running anywhere) to see what's wrong and comes back a few minutes later laughing. "Do you want to know what her nightmare was about?" He asks me. "I woke her up and said Annie, it's okay, what were you dreaming about? and she said 'Daddy, Lily can note have my plate.'" Poor little kid. I'm serious when I say, you really do have to guard your food from the youngest iverson. She'll take the plate right out from under you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011



When I was a child

I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother's piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I've never understood
Why this is so

Bur there's an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"This Is The Love You've Been Looking For All Your Life"

The title of the sermon is, "Does God Control Everything." It's a Keller sermon, so you know it's gonna be good. I don't know how to link the sermon, b/c it's on our itunes, but as soon as I figure it out, I'll come back and do it. Suffice it to say, I needed to hear it this morning. The nausea is overwhelming. I cannot get out of bed, let alone think of anything I want to eat. I am here in our apt alone right now, praying that the girls are being good for Jonathan at church. I am lonely; I am sad; I am sick; I am lots of things, but how sweet it was to hear truth this morning. He started the sermon with:

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or danger or nakedness or sword? in all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. "
Romans 8: 32-39

And when I first heard the reading of that verse, I thought, "Yeah...but what does that mean. What does that look like in my life right now? How do I get through today on the fuel of God's love? How is that tangible?" I was incredulous, at best. But the word of God is a two edged sword that cuts even to the quick of the hearts of men (and women), hard, sad, sick [wo]men like me.

Basically, you need to take the 39 minutes and 06 seconds and on your way to work or in the gym or on your morning jog, just listen to the thing. However, the part that won me came toward the end. Keller did a great job of unpacking free will and sovereignty and in his brilliant winsome way made the whole thing a fascinating listen, but the part that ministered to my heart was this: That if Jesus, when "bomb after bomb" was being thrown at him by all the greatest dark forces of the universe in Gethsemane and on the cross didn't leave us, if at those moments he didn't say, "Forget them, the ones who reject me, the undeserving, this is too hard and they don't even care," then he won't leave us now! All of the evil inside me and all the evil outside of me cannot separate me from Him. He holds me near. I don't even have to do it. I just rest in it. And today, that was more than enough for me to thank God for being so good to a really yucky sinner like me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gratitude #641-655

641. Some quiet hymns to listen to on my itunes
642. A gift card to buy them (Thanks Staci!)
643. Two little girls, who didn't take their naps well today, and so, feel right to sleep when we put them down tonight.
644. A quiet house...
645. A warm sleeping bag (I have been cold almost every night in this country!)
646. A husband who has cooked every single meal for all of us over the past week. Likely, he'll have to do more of that. I truly don't know what I would do without him. Probably throw up a lot.
647. Did I mention I'm pregnant? Being pregnant.
648. nausea that accompanies pregnancy and usually means things are going well.
649. warm lighting
650. Lily is well after a scary illness
651. Good truth from a friend via email. Reminding me that I have so much to be thankful for.
652. My precious girls...oh my precious precious girls.
653. Joel and Mary Stuart and Oliver came to visit us for almost two weeks at Christmas!
654. I am over the flu bug and ready to start afresh.
655. Starting afresh.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love/Hate Relationship

First: What I hate. I hate bleach. Bleach damages clothes. It can blind you. It could burn away your skin. And more than hating bleach, I hate putting bleach on my produce. But that is what everyone here says you should do. And so I do it. I cut a gallon of purified water with 1 T bleach in this big ole bowl, and I soak my produce every time I come home for 15 minutes or so.
Then I soak it in purified water for another 15 minutes or so.
It is annoying. It takes awhile. And I hate that we are ingesting bleach in some form or another. I welcome alternative suggestions.
Second: I LOVE all the fresh, beautiful produce.
I bought all of this at the market the other day.
You can see it soaking, above, and drying, below.
Did I mention I got all of it (1 pineapple, 1 K oranges, 1 K bananas, 2 K broccoli, 2 K yellow squash, 4 big bunches romaine, 1 K carrots, 4 lemons, 2 pomegranates, 2 green peppers) for about $8?
Now that, I love.

Things That I Miss.

Every day I cry at least once, for missing something that I hadn't thought about before we left. The things I miss tend not to be tangible. You couldn't send them to me, even if you wanted to risk the extraordinary cost of postage. While I miss hair ties and Starbucks, that's not what makes me cry. I miss places and people and things you cannot mail. I miss traipsing up Virginia trails in Fall. I miss weather in January that falls below 60 degrees, and yes, even in FL it fell below 60 in January. I miss running water that looks clean and isn't polluted by garbage. I miss fresh mountain air. I miss my brother and his wife. I miss calling up my friends on the phone. I miss Sara-Beth and Kimberly and Hannah and Martha and being able to talk and plan our next visit or play date. I miss grandma and grandpa chase's house and I miss the marshes in Savannah. I miss Giu and Ghee-Daddy and their comfy house and walks around their neighborhood. I miss using my stroller. Even if I had my stroller, I couldn't use it here. The sidewalks are broken and mottled with the occasional [big] hole that falls into open sewage. The streets are filled with wild dogs, cars, water trucks and auto-rickshaws. So I couldn't use my stroller, even if I had it, even though I miss it. I miss the mountain house and I know I sound so spoiled right now. I'm trying to be brave. I'm trying. I really am. But the missing wells up inside me sometimes and it burns my throat and tear ducts and I can't hold it back. And I cry. And Annie says, "Mommy, are you sad?" And I say, "yes." And she says, "Why?" And I say, "There are just some things that I miss, Annie." And she nods. She understands. Even a three year old understands what it's like to miss things, things you can't send me, memories and places and people in the life I used to live and that I still love and that I still miss.

Friday, January 07, 2011

What Christ Said

by George Macdonald

Thanks for sending it along, Mom. It speaks to me now. Oh how I long to see the fields again.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First Days

Long flight = tired babes
Depart MCO 12.1.10
Arrive SA 12:3.10
Making new friends
Purchasing appliances
Cleaning the sink
Yes, my cabinets are bright orange.
And 3 feet tall.
The girls room.
Stay tuned for an update!

A little beauty sleep goes a long way!
(This is a friends apt. Isn't it cute!? See what potential there is!)
Brought this from home.
One of my favorite things we bought. It's so beautiful but has so many flaws. Hand-made in Kashmir. Jonathan bargained for it and we got it for a song.
Some favorite patches
Favorite part
Our park
Masala Dosas
Rickshaw Ridin'

Christmas Card

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

She is Three

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we decided to have three birthday parties for little Annie. Or rather, we accidentally had three birthday parties.
The first party we celebrated in the states, a few days after Thanksgiving and a few days before our departure for S. Asia. Annie requested a Hello Kitty Cake and a Hello Kitty Party.

Don't make fun of my "Pin The Bow On Hello Kitty" artistic endeavor.
Okay, you can make fun of it. It's pretty bad.

Here the girls anxiously await Jonathan's instructions.
Uncle Eric did a little demonstration here. Sadly, these photos will not appear as per the request of the subject.
You're welcome, Uncle Eric.
The Besties (or Beasties?) play sweetly on the sidelines.
*Note: Although she hasn't seen her cousin in person for a month, Lily still shrieks with joy whenever she sees a photo of baby Glo. I almost cried the other day when I checked Sara's blog and saw how big Glo is getting. Sniff.
Each of the kiddos took a turn pinning the bow on you know who.
D.J. was a class act and didn't flinch at this girly activity.
Trinity was a bow-pinning rock star.
Martha was determined and daring in her japanese blindfold.
1. Spin around a few times
2. Push child toward kitty board
3. Stick on numbered bow with double sided tape on the back!
Easy as 1, 2, 3...4, 5, 6, are a lot of cousins in this family.
Noa thinks my jokes are funny.
Thanks Noa.
Precious Noll girls in their flower-print party dresses.
Woah! Are those girls from the graduating WPHS class of 2000?
Was that really 10 years ago?
10 1/2?
My we have aged well...
And again, please don't make fun of my efforts to make Hello Kitty come alive...
Her bow is made from Fruit-by-the-Foot.
And her nose is a peanut m&m.
Blowing out the candles!
A little bling for the birthday girl
Lilsy loves cake!
These two are recently engaged. Leah and Trevor are two of Annie's FAVORITE babysitters (right behind Gee-daddy and Granne)
Orlando Sisters
Fast-forward a week and a half to Annie's actual birthday. We celebrated it sans photos in our new apartment with s. asian ice cream! It was different. It was fun. The flourescent lighting was painful, but we are slowly adding warm lighting. I digress.

A week later, we celebrated again, but this time it was with our new friend Josiah who turned one! He and Annie share the same birthday, December 9.
Here, Annie assists Josiah in present-opening. She is a pro, you know.
Lily checks out the party table.
Josiah's mom made all these cupcakes!
And she even made one for Annie. Wasn't that sweet?
Annie, You are a precious girl. I love you so dearly.
You are beautiful, inside and out. You have a mother's heart and you love to nurture. You are strong and feisty, but gentle and kind. You are learning how to share. You adore your little sister. You adore all babies. You tell us daily that you "miss [your] cousins and Gee-Daddy and Gee-ew." You love to cook and play with your babies. You miss Obama, whom I forgot in the states. I am so sorry about that. You are adapting beautifully to every change we throw at you. You are an amazing human, and yet not without flaws.
Today you threw one of the biggest temper tantrums I've seen in awhile, but it was really sweet to teach you about grace and Jesus and forgiveness and repentance. You teach me new things every day. You are fierce and honest. You warm slowly to new people, but you strike me as incredibly loyal. You never forget. You are ever vigilant to inform us when someone says the word, "stupid," because obviously, people shouldn't say that. You still say blankley instead of blanket. You hate to go to sleep. You fall asleep in my lap moments after telling me you don't need a nap. You loves the "baby jesus story" the story of "jonah and the big fish," and zacheus. You love the song "Rejoice in the Lord," and "Rock of Ages." You love to make up songs. You can say Psalm 23. You are a horribly picky eater, but you love yogurt, eggs, cheese, apple juice and broccoli. You'll survive. Doubtless, you'll thrive anywhere you go. I am honored to be your mother and I am thankful for the grace that enables me to do it.
I love you, my precious three year old.
May you never doubt your Heavenly Father's love for you.
May you ever rest in His sovereign grace.