Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gratitude #750-784

750. My girls, after years of fidgitting, LOVE to cuddle and read!
751. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (I actually think I stole this from Jimmy...I'll bring it back, I promise...)
752. Dr. Suess's ABC
753. The Relatives Came (thanks Auntie Martha)
754. The Maggie B. (given to Maggie in 1985, still good as new!)
755. Farm Peekaboo
756. "What is That?" Said the Cat (thanks Granne)
757. The Very Hungry Catapillar (Cadadapoo)
758. Angelina Ballerina
759. The Little Pea, Little Hoot and Little Oink Series (thanks Atlanta Iversons)
760. "Bead! Bead!" --Lillian (read! read!)
761. "Bap? Bap?" --Lillian (may I sit on your lap?)
762. "Gen? Gen?" --Lillian (Will you read it again, please?)
763. Filling in the blanks when mommy reads
764. This love of mine passed on to my children
765. Feeling Baby #3 flutter around inside...
766. Bon Iver
767. Newly framed art on the walls!
768. Feeling a bit more like "home" every day.
769. Grupa
770. Basha
771. phone dates
772. Annie's last day of school tomorrow!
773. planning a last day of school breakfast
774. hot enough to swim
775. Annie loves "cuencumbers" (cukes)
776. Got the post-first-trimester cooking groove back, ptl
777. allrecipes.com
778. Playing with Annie while Lily naps
779. Red Rasberry Tea, brought from the states
780. Cricket! Biggest game of the year tonight. (Still don't understand a darn thing that goes on, but it's fun to watch...)
781. My new laundry thingy that hangs from the roof and dries twice as much laundry as my old drying rack!
782. It also moves up and down on a pulley so I can "hide" it.
783. Space efficiency
784. a good playlist


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Holi

These delightful little beauties/beasties knocked on my door last Saturday
and barged their way in with colored chalk and raucous laughter
and made sure we participated/aculturated into this lovely holiday-festival:
Holi.

I Wore A Sari!!!

We were invited to a wedding, so I enlisted my dear friend Maria who went with me to buy my first sari. Basically it's a long, gorgeous piece of fabric. You have to buy a separate petticoat in the same color (an inexpensive, one-size-fits-all skirt with a draw string). Then she took me to a tailor who made the top (which actually is part of the long piece of sari fabric) And yes, it shows your midriff--which makes me incredibly uncomfortable/mortified/embarrassed/humiliated--but then you wrap the long piece around yourself and you can kind of drape and hide everything and it ends up being pretty forgiving!
PTL.
The lovely Maria, without whom I could not have done ANY of this.

When the Cat's Away...

Here are a few photos of what these three little mice did while daddy was away a few weeks ago. We missed him, but we had so much fun, by the sweet grace of God who gave mamma a good attitude.

Annie wore her socks pulled high to honor Daddy's Japanese heritage from the eighties and early nineties.
Lily thought it was funny.
This might have been Lily's last day with a paci.
Not because I meant to, but because we lost it.


And then we ate doughnuts.
These need little explanation.
We missed our daddy and we're glad he's home.
We had fun without him, but we have a LOT more fun with him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homeland

"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:13-16

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Land of the Rising Sun

My heart breaks for this tiny island with such rich history, such beautiful culture, and so many broken lives in the wake of this horrible disaster. May the ones who sleep "rise up" and awake! The Light of the dawn is upon you, in the land of the rising sun!

This is one way you can help, if you are so inclined.

My father-in-law, who lives in Japan and pastors several churches there and has given his life and career and heart to that precious country has been organizing relief efforts (with LOTS of help from other folks in their church) since the tsunami rolled in. He and my mother-in-law have used thousands of their own dollars to rent trucks and buy supplies. Every night they leave after midnight to avoid traffic, take back roads and brave aftershocks and radiation poisoning (some of the places they go are within 15 and 30 miles of the nuclear reactors in question) to deliver supplies, mostly water, gasoline, food, blankets and clothing to people, suffering people, many of whom have yet to see help or aid. The situation is dire. The country may never recover. These people are desperate for water. And food. And they are in bitterly cold situations with no heat and no electricity. Few have seen a government official to aid them.

If you have a heart for Japan or have any desire to help, this is a direct way to give to Dan's church and their efforts (which are going on right now and helping people!) without having to pay admin costs, but still receive a tax deduction (I think...). The money will go to supplies, water purification systems that Jonathan's uncle developed (he helped out doing water purification in the relief effort in Sri Lanka in 2004, too) that can purify up to 15 gall/minute!

I know some of y'all are wary of religion in general, and there is no doubt this family is a big ole group of evangelical Christians motivated entirely by the love our savior shows them. They will be sharing the gospel along with physical relief, because we believe with all our hearts, soul relief is just as important as body relief; living water saves, even more than H2O. HOWEVER, this website and this relief effort from the states linked above, spendyourself.org, is organized by Jonathan's brother. In other words, I can vouch for him. He will use every cent of that money on the Japanese people and their good. No money will go to his twizzler addiction. I promise. And again, 100% of checks given through this org. will be used for Japanese aid.

Okay. That's all I got. If you're frustrated by feeling like there is nothing you can do, here is something you can do.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In The Name of Love

She rises like a white marble mountain from the flat lands that surround her, and by every account, she is nothing if not magnificent. He built her in the name of mortal love for his favorite wife. He started its construction the year after her death.
She never saw it.

Accounts vary, but according to our guide, it took 20,000 people 22 years to build it, this mausoleum commemorating the dead. She is entombed in its perfect symmetry, surrounded by the pristine gardens and high minarets that make it look like a crown. Because after all, that's what it means: The Crown Palace.


He was supposed to have been buried here, in an identical crown, only black marble. They were to have been joined over this second most sacred river by a silver bridge: The ultimate emblem of eternal love.
Can someone tell me why in the middle of my poetic efforts a line has appeared under the text? Totally makes me look like a moron.
Sigh.
The day was perfect.
It could not have been more beautiful weather.
This happened to us a lot.
And this.
And this.
The girls are learning to take it all in stride.
They barely look up when the crowds gather and the cameras start rolling.
(All these flowers are inlaid semi-precious and precious stones, and the black koranic verses are all inlaid imported onyx from Belgium. I don't care if you're not a Muslim. This thing is SPECTACULAR.
Probably running from an approaching crowd of paparazzi
Following suit
No words.
Even today, almost 400 years later, the descendants of the original artisans who built and labored over this beauty come in every Friday and repair and care for the grounds and the building itself.
Do we look like Lady Di?
It is sobering to drive up to all the glory and see the poverty that lies all around her. Lives lived in ruins. She has a pretty thick barricade, but all around her there is a life that is the kind of hard I have never known being lived out amidst the beauty here. There is even a leper colony in her shadow. She basks in her own beauty and she does not care.

Even so, it makes me think of another kind of "Love [that] pitched its mansion in a place of excrement..." But that Love came to live the hard life, not be separated from it. That Love came to touch the lepers, not turn a blind eye to them. That Love came for the impoverished, not in spite of them. That Love came to know suffering, that he might save the ones who suffer. And that Love was not left incomplete, but finished what it came to do. Because despite the beauty and spectacular, seeming perfection of this wonder, I couldn't help but feel a little saddened by it all: a king, heart and will set to finish something wonderful, in the name of love no less, but thwarted in the end by his own son. That's the earthly version. The story that failed. But I know a King who set out to do something wonderful, too, also in the name of love. And not only did he finish it, His Son finished it for Him. In a manner most painful and most giving. And most most beautiful.
"...For nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just to Tide You Over

Jonathan is away for three days and three nights. I'm hoping to get some major catch up work done on this ole blog thing. Until then, enjoy a few photos of our Sunday afternoon. Spring is in the air and the girls broke out the spring dresses. Annie's is from our dear friend Brianna...it was so fun to tell her she was wearing a dress Bella used to wear. And Lily's I bought this past week in a small shop that sells beautiful things, made by "women challenged by life." It was an honor to support what they are doing there. And Lily looks pretty cute in her little blue dress. Enjoy!





Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gratitude #701-749

701. That the ones we know and love are safe and well after the earthquake on Friday
702. That there is hope for Japan.
703. HE is faithful
704. Spring is in our city!
705. The Tamarind tree outside our window has pink buds
706. So many familiar plants, even the big yellow blossoms that bloom in Spring in Winter Park--there are several on Via Tuscany. Anyone know which ones I mean?
707. Soft breezes
708. A wonderful trip up north
709. 2 packages and a suitcase full of special treats and lots of love from abroad
710. Japanese food for lunch today
711. Jonathan found SUSHI RICE at Toms!!!
712. sushi rice.
713. energizing apricot oil with yummy essential oils--a thoughtful gift from a friend.
714. 15+ weeks and the nausea is subsiding...
715. Um...I am definitely showing. What is up with the third baby?
716. My good friend who is going to have twins!!!
717. Another good friend who just gave birth to a healthy baby boy...
718. ...she says the transition from two to three isn't so bad.
719. vonage
720. Martha Noll and Joel (not Noll) who were born this last week, 3 years ago and 30 years ago, respectively.
721. My new nephews
722. Mountains
723. that I still have not seen a wild cobra
724. fresh watermelon
725. Mangos are coming
726. the anticipation and joy that comes with waiting on seasons and cycles to provide our food
727. Phone dates
728. Thoughtful friends and family
729. Wise and godly and thoughtful sisters [in-law and in heart!)
730. origami paper!
731. goldfish from America
732. the cracker, not the pet
733. hand-made quilts coming soon, made by "women challenged by life." (What is about a challenging life that makes their quilts so spectacularly beautiful?)
734. Joy mingled with grief
735. hand sanitizer
736. That I have a brain that jumps readily from "joy mingled with grief" to "hand sanitizer."
737. I mean isn't that just weird!?
738. My optimistic, adventurous, loving, wonderful husband
739. who is also a wonderful father
740. and faithful servant
741. seeing one of the world's seven wonders this past week
742. love
743. dried cherries
744. the clothing here is very forgiving to a pregnant body
745. the green that is everywhere, all of a sudden
746. occasional power outages
747. An easy bagel recipe that requires no malt
748. sunshine
749. life