Saturday, December 30, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Tonight was our leaders' Christmas party. Actually, it's still going on, but I snuck away for a few minutes to write this post and check email. They're watching a Mongolian comedy on TV and laughing really loud. They're funnier than the comedy if you ask me.
Hetee and I cooked for our leaders (only about 20 people came all together) and after we ate we went ice skating. It was the first time for some of us and, although we were dropping like flies, we had a lot of fun. I have 2 big bruises on my knees and my hips are kind of sore from falling, too. But by the end of our evening I learned to stop without falling on my butt or running into the fence! I would have pictures but the digital camera battery went dead as soon as I got outside.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Whew! It's good to finally be back. I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted. Time flies when you're having fun. It flies even faster when you have a budding homeschooler, a toddler and an infant at home!
Also, the last few times I tried to post, the internet was acting up and I could never get past the login page. I'm glad it's ok now.
Not much new going on here except that for the first time in my life, I'm really concerned about the weather. It's been really warm here with almost, get this-- no snow! That's just unheard of for Mongolia. We couldn't even go sledding this year! Don't get me wrong, I don't particularly like snow. I just think it's freaky that we're having such a warm winter, I mean, we're practically in Siberia, for crying out loud! Maybe God just got tired of me bellyaching about the cold for the past 9 years that he decided to take it easy on me. That's kind of scary, too.
Over the past few days I've been overwhelmed by how fast my babies are growing. I noticed that Abi has grown out of her cat phase (crawling around meowing and demanding I give her milk in a bowl) Then Kenny turned 6 months, sat up unassisted and started scooting/crawling. And Nate is writing words, learning songs and memorizing scriptures. He opens doors for me and his little sister and is such a gentleman.
In a way I'm happy they're on the road to independence. But did it have to be so soon?
Enough rambling! I'm off to bed. We have a long day tomorrow with our Christmas service at 11 am and then a concert (people from church participating) at 6 pm.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This morning Hetee and I were at home, minding our business when we got a frantic phone call from a lady from church. She was begging us to come and settle a violent dispute between herself and her 22-year-old daughter. There was screaming in the background.
We got dressed and made our way over there as fast as we could, not knowing exactly what to expect. We had heard a lot about the daughter and her legendary ourbursts of anger. She threw tantrums much like the ones Nate recently outgrew. She even used her mother and 2-year-old son as punching bags, too, I heard.
We arrived at the apartment and the daughter let us in. Both women were on opposite sides of the room, crying. The little boy was sitting timidly on the corner of the bed. I felt my heart break as I noticed a bruise by his left eye. I surveyed the room for knives or other sharp objects I might want to avoid if things got out of hand. There were broken dishes on the floor.
Hetee and I sat down and Hetee asked them to explain what happened. They both just sat there crying silently. Then, all of a sudden they started talking at the same time. It got louder and louder as they called each other names and began to fight again.
As I was sitting there, spitting distance away (don't ask me how I know that), chewing on my thumb nail and wishing the floor would open and swallow me up while at the same time pondering the pros and cons of banging their heads together to make the noise stop, I noticed that Hetee was just sitting there, cool as a cucumber, listening. Why is he letting them go on like that? Why doesn't he make them stop? It's obvious this isn't getting us anywhere!
After what seemed like an hour of yelling- it was actually about 15 minutes, Hetee held up his hands and surprisingly both women immediately fell silent. It was a neat trick! Then he took a deep breath and calmly, magically, supernaturally began counseling them. I sat there, watching in awe as piece by piece he began to tear down the wall these women had built over the past days leading up to the big bang. Never before had I been so grateful for my husband's ability to "fix the problem" as men are typically known to do. He went in like a surgeon and skillfully articulated the problem, made it known to the women and told them how to fix it, according to the Bible.
I wish I could remember what he said that made everything all better. But the truth is I was too wrapped up in the feeling of comfort I had, knowing that I was married to such a smart guy, to pay attention to the details after that. And my tummy was rumbling and making me wonder why on earth I had had only a half cup of coffee and a slice of bread with butter for breakfast. Note to self: if you're going to settle a domestic dispute, pack a lunch.
By the time we had coffee and sweetbreads, everyone was calm and smiling, including the little boy. I offered to take him for a couple days to give the his mom a chance to work things out with her new husband with whom she is also having conflicts, but she declined. I sure hope she can keep her hands to herself.
Well, it's late and I have to turn in. Next time Hetee tries to "fix" my problem instead of just listening, I think I'll be more understanding.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Anyway the reason I got it is because of the English writing on the bottle (and I was out of conditioner, too). This is what it says (spelling errors and everything):
It conrtains specific composition, can get rid of the remaining chemical matter which is dyed and p-ermed. It makes dyed hair soft and springy and gets permed hair shiny and lasting. It contains strong moist compostion, can avoid hair becoming dry, and get hair soft and maneagabie.
Then on the front it says:
It makes hair as sick
I can only assume they mean "silk".
Ah, Mongolia--the land of never-ending blog material.
Well, I hadn't seen her in a while so when I heard, through the grapevine, that she was pregnant I kinda expected to find her in a more mature or at least sobered state of mind. Instead she outwitted her previous ditzyness by asking me if it's ok to chew gum when your pregnant.
Now, I get asked tons of pregnancy-related questions and I have never come across this one. But I don't think it would have been so bad if she wouldn't have waited until the end of my long, serious-as-a-heart attack dialogue about her future and the option of not marrying the guy just to get out of being a single mom etc. It was when I asked, with a dour expression on my face, "Do you have any questions?" that she sprang it on me. I felt something like a panicky, chuckly sort of feeling welling up inside as it dawned on me that things were more serious than I had previously thought. They should make a pill for that kind of ignorance!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Random fact #1:
I bite my nails
Random fact #2:
Every day I fight the urge to cut all my hair off
Random fact #3:
I can breastfeed and preach at the same time
Random fact #4:
I hate onions
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
We have been invited again by the foreign affairs students of the same university and by the students of another university as well. We plan on doing these classes after new years. Great, huh?
Hetee commented in the car on the way up there that he had always dreamed of studying at this particular university since it is the most prestigious school in the nation. But now he was actually teaching there! The look on his face as we entered the main lecturing hall, where the students were waiting for us, was priceless. Then, we were pleasantly surprised when we finished and the sound of applauses filled the room. It was one of those moments where you know you are right where God wants you.
Six people were there from our UB church to support us and learn how we do the seminars. It was great having them there. Thank you! Bayarlalaa!
Also, thanks, Mom and Dad for paying our way up there! It means a lot that you support our ministry. You were a big part of what happened yesterday! We love you!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
He's usually good at that sort of thing but has been so busy lately that I didn't want to bother him with it so I asked a young man in our church. But that guy took it apart and then forgot about it so Hetee tweaked a couple things, put it back together and it worked! He got a smug look on his face and mumbled something to the effect of, "You should have just asked me to do it in the first place." I don't know if he actually knew what he was doing or if there was a certain amount of luck involved. Either way, after 5 years of marriage, he still impresses the heck out of me sometimes.
Thanks, Sweetie, for all the nice things you do for me.
Oh yeah, and I know you secretly read my blog.
I love you!!!
Monday, November 06, 2006
That's it! No more computer for a while!
Today was FUN! A bunch of my g12 ladies and I went to visit the ladies of our mission church in Hutul, a town about a 45 minute car ride away (but our taxi made it in 20--that was NOT the fun part, by the way.)
The reason it was such a great trip is because we went to visit a lady there who just had twin boys! We brought stuff to eat and lots of gifts for the mom of the twins and also for the wife of the leader of the church there who also had a baby boy a week before Kenny was born. Then as we were eating and fellowshipping 3 more moms (we ended up splitting the gifts 5 ways and were able to bless everybody!) came by and two of the brought their babies, both boys! One of my g12 ladies brought along her 16-day old baby girl and I had Kenny. The lady who didn't bring her baby had a girl. So, there were 6 babies in all, ranging in age from 16 days to 5 months. Boy, were we busy! But it was a great time to encourage and get to know one another--and each other's new babies!
I had a cute picture of all 6 babies lined up but I'm having trouble uploading it. I'll try again later.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Nate: (from the top bunk) Abi, are you awake?
Abi: (from the bottom bunk) Yes.
Nate: Well, are you getting up or not?
Nate: Well, hurry up!
Nate: Because I want to get up!
Abi: Then just get up, Naynay!
Nate: I'm not a lady. Ladies first, remember?
Abi: (Crawling out of her bed) Ok, Naynay, I'm up.
To tell you the truth I have more hope of the girl and her boyfriend keeping their baby than my water boiler getting fixed (which is ok). We met with them night before last and after talking and praying, they decided against the abortion. They have yet to sort through all of their options, one of them being giving their baby up for adoption ( probably to us). But at least the baby will have a chance at life. A concept that gives me goose bumps. To me, this is the ultimate face off with the devil, a real life or death situation. And we won!
As for my water boiler, I fear I'll have to concede victory to the dark side. There's still a chance that this part of the story will have a happy ending, though. Oh, the suspense!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Other than that life is pretty normal. Although ministry life is never quite "normal". This is a run down of my day:
This morning I snoozed through 2 alarms then finally got up around 7:45.
I got up, got my coffee, prayed and looked over Nate's memory verse (didn't have time to read more because I snoozed). Then Kenny woke up so I nursed him.
Nate and Abi were stirring so I got them up and dressed and got our am routine going. After breakfast, art and "school" time got underway.
Afterward I got the kids their snack of cookies and milk then settled down to check and write some emails.
Then it was off to make, then eat lunch. At 1 pm my dear husband tells me we have a meeting at the church scheduled for 3pm (he's been known to do that soI'm kinda used to it). I put Abi down for her nap and took a quick shower. Then got out and nursed Kenny and put him down, too.
We took Nate to the church to hang out while we had our meeting. Bad idea. He rearranged a bunch of stuff on the stage. Then at one point I caught a glimpse of him holding a saw and someone was saying, "Hang on a minute, Nate, let me get you some wood."
The meeting at church was with a young couple who is dating. We just wanted to touch base and see how things were going. We've been having some purity issues with young dating couples over the past few months so we're "cracking down" on them, haha.
I should probably state at this point that the things written on this blog are strictly my personal point of view and not that of Christian Fellowship Mongolia. Not everyone there is a wacky as I am.
Well, I'm off to call a girl who is 5 months pregnant and her mom is supposed to be taking her to have an abortion tomorrow.
To be continued...
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Nate and Kenny play a game that goes like this:
Kenny is sitting on the sofa, propped up with pillows. Nate takes a few steps back, away from Kenny, then he looks to the left and says "Ah", then looks to the right and says, "Ah" again, then looks right at Kenny and says, "Aaaaahhhh" and runs to him and hugs him. All of this he does in a a high-pitched voice which Kenny loves! For Kenny, who is crazy about his older brother and cries when Nate gets spanked, this is the best form of entertainment and makes him crack up laughing every time.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
We stepped out into the cool night air. It was well after 10 pm and everything was quiet. Solongo's mom looked at me, curious as to why I had called her out. I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer, Lord, guide me now. I had no idea how to say it but I felt that I should advise her to allow her daughter to see and maybe even hold the baby even if it were stillborn. This is unheard of in Mongolia so I was very careful in explaining why it might be helpful. The look on this woman's tired face told me that she understood what I was trying to convey. She promised she would do everything in her power should Solongo want to see the baby.
That night was a sleepless one for me. I awoke every hour or so, praying in my sleep for Solongo. At times I found myself begging God to return the life of that precious baby and at other times I prayed for Solongo and her husband for peace and the ability to let go and trust God. I wrestled with thoughts of my own miscarriage and the emotional tailspin that followed it. It was the most difficult time in my life. I wondered if, at 19 and newly married, Solongo could get through something like that. And her baby was a lot further along than mine was...
The next day we heard nothing. The day after that I called her and she told me that she had delivered after several hours of hard induced labor. Her baby, a beautiful girl, was indeed stillborn. I listened quietly as she told me over and over how beautiful her little girl was--she had big eyes and a head full of black hair. She thanked me for giving her the idea that she could see and love her baby. It gave her the courage to do something she instinctively wanted to do in spite of the doctors' disapproval.
Fast forward about 5 weeks. Last Saturday Solongo, her mom and I are talking in my kitchen. Solongo has been through the ringer but she's still hanging in there. Her husband was in Korea when the ordeal took place and has still not been able to return home. The tears begin to flow as she tells me how much she misses him and how she longs to be held in his arms and cry on his chest. They talk and cry on the phone several times a day.
Solongo went on to tell me that she cries when she sees children on TV. She's afraid to leave her apartment because she knows that she'll cry if she sees a baby, especially a girl. I told her that these are normal emotional symptoms and that they will pass in time. Before leaving she asked if she could see Kenny. He was already in bed for the night but I went ahead and woke him up and brought him to Solongo. She hugged him tightly and smelled his head. Then he looked up at her and gave her a huge smile that I couldn't have timed better myself. We all laughed. Then she and her mom were on their way.
Solongo is in Ulaan Baatar now, trying to get a visa to go and see her husband in Korea (he has a work contract that doesn't permit him to leave the country). I've put my worries for her in God's hands but I still think about her a lot. She's a brave girl and I've learned from her and from this whole experience. I'm glad God allowed me (and Kenny) to serve their family and show them His love.
Daddy: Nate, put your shoes on. We're in a hurry.
Nate: Which ones?
Daddy: the Spiderman ones. Abi, find your boots!
Abi: I'm wearing my sandals.
Mommy: No, Abi, you can't wear sandals, it's cold outside. Find your boots now or we'll be late!
Daddy: Love, did you ever find your keys?
Mommy: Yes! Oyuna (our nanny) found them in my black purse, the one I looked in 3 times!
Daddy: Abi, did you find your boots?
Abi: Mommy, why do we have fingernails?
Mommy: ABI FIND YOUR BOOTS!
Abi: OK momma.
Mommy: Nate, you cannot bring all of those toys out with you. Pick one.
Mommy: Because I am always the one who has to carry them for you.
Mommy: Did he fall?!
Daddy: No, he's just hot with all these layers of clothes on. Let's MOVE!
Mommy: Nate, your shoes are on the wrong feet!
Nate: But they look ok.
Mommy: That doesn't matter. Switch them, please.
Abi: Put my boots on, put my boots on, put my boots on....
Daddy: Abi quiet, pease!
Nate: Mommy, why don't we celebrate Halloween?
Mommy: I'll explain later. Ok, let's go, we're ready.
Daddy: Love, I'll take Nate and Kenny and go get the car. You and Abi come as soon as you're ready.
Mommy: Sounds like a plan.
I finish up, grab my bag, close the door and lock it. I look down at my feet because they just didn't feel right. I gasp then sigh. I still have my fluffy green slippers on.
Abi: Mommy, why do we have fingernails?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
- For people who like peace and quiet: a phoneless cord.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- If I want your opinion, I'll ask you to fill out the necessary forms.
- Look out for #1. Don't step in #2 either.
- A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
- I used up all my sick days, so I'm calling in dead.
- Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie!'... till you can find a
- Shin: A device for finding furniture in the dark.
- If at first you DO succeed, try not to look astonished!
Monday, October 16, 2006
I've always loved giving to others, especially those in need. But lately, through a series of events and life lessons, God has been dealing with Hetee and I to give it all up. Everything. The last drop. Our All. Oh, I had my excuses all lined up in a row - I already gave God my all when I decided to be in ministry! and We already give so much! and, my all-time favorite, We have kids now. We have to be responsible givers!
Then last Wednesday I read about the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians. About how they gave their all to God and to others despite affliction, suffering, and poverty. They gave freely and beyond their means. AND GOD BESTOWED HIS GRACE ON THEM.
God's grace! I don't know about you but I can use some more of that in my life. My husband and I have decided to take God at His word. We're giving Him our all once again. He's God; He could just take it but He's being polite and asking for it. So we're giving it. I've heard said numerous times that it's not the amount given that matters, but what counts is what's on the inside. And that's true to an extent (2 Cor. 9:7). But at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I'm going to agree with Paul when he basically said (8:8) that giving is a test of our love. Love leads to generosity and I gotta tell ya, it takes a whole lot more love to give $1,000.00 than ten bucks.
If we love God we will give to His Kingdom. It's that simple. Let us be generous when we give! God didn't hold back for a rainy day when He lavished His love on us. Think about it, by our standards, He would have been considered an irresponsible and foolishly bad parent when He gave His only Son to die for us. The gesture was out of this world so shouldn't we answer that sentiment with no less than offering Him all that we have and all that we are?
Warning: Offering yourself to God can result in loss of home, job or car and, in severe cases, life. God has been known to take these offers seriously.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Anywhere in Washington state
2. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING?
3. THE LAST CD YOU BOUGHT?
Kelly Clarkson (Well, Hetee bought it for me)
4. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?
As soon as I hear "Mommy!"
5. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE?
My ice crusher/blender
6. IF YOU COULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
7. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV?
SUV. Sports cars are nice to look at, though.
8. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE AFTER LIFE?
9. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? It's a tight race between "I'm Not Going to Get Up Today" and "Myrtle the Turtle"
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?
11. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
making time stand still. Or go faster.
12. IF YOU COULD HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHERE WOULD YOU PUT IT?
I can have a tattoo but I can't think of any word or picture I like enough to have it permanently stamped anywhere on my body.
13. CAN YOU JUGGLE?
Let's see, kids, husband, ministry. Yes, I'd say I can juggle.
14. THE ONE PERSON/PEOPLE FROM YOUR PAST YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO?
15. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE DAY?
16. WHAT'S IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR?
A dish drain my mom gave me. Keep forgetting to get the darn thing out!
17. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER?
18. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER?
19. FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
cookies and cream
20. BUTTER, PLAIN, OR SALTED POPCORN?
butter AND salted. Or caramel
21. FAVORITE COLOR?
22. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE?
Toyota Cresta (from Japan with right-hand stearing)
23. FAVORITE SANDWICH?
turkey breast and swiss cheese grilled
24. ON VACATION WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
Puerto Escondido, MX
25. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
On da Bayou
26. FAVORITE SPORT?
Not much for sports but I do watch the World Cup
27. ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
Night owl for sure!
28. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SINGER?
I'd have to say Celine
29. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT?
The California, right now
30. DO YOU ATTEND CHURCH? IF SO, WHAT IS THE NAME? Yep, Darkhan Christian Fellowship ( cfmongolia.com)
31. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FAST FOOD? good ole'
burger and fries. Or a seafood platter. Is that considered fast food?
32. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW?
CSI and 24.
33. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PASTIME?
Coloring in my kids' coloring books
34. HOW MANY CLOSE FRIENDS DO YOU HAVE?
Not sure exactly but I can count them on one hand
35. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?
Any kind of homemade smoothie
36. WHAT IS YOUR WORST FEAR?
Being burried alive.
37. WHAT IS YOUR BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY?
My grandpa teaching me how to skate. Oh, and swimming in the river in Mexico.
38. IF YOU HAD TO DO ONE THING OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I wouldn't wear that huge choker on my wedding. What was I thinking!?
39. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM? To backpack all over the world with my husband.
40. ARE YOU ATTACHED/MARRIED?
Yes, 5 years in 1 week.
41. WHAT DO YOU FIND ATTRACTIVE IN A PERSON?
That they don't compromise their values.
42. WHAT THING(S) TURN YOU OFF THE MOST IN A PERSON?
43. ARE YOU A DOG OR A CAT PERSON?
44.WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WERE IN YOUR PAST LIFE?
Nothing - I didn't have a past life
45. WHAT ARE YOUR PET PEEVES?
Too many to list
Thursday, October 12, 2006
- "Abi, take your foot out of the washing machine and finish your supper!"
- "No, Kenny will not shrink if we take him out in the rain."
- "Nate, you cannot blow on that bugle while your daddy is preaching!"
- "No, we will not flood the bathroom just to see if the downstairs neighbors get mad at us."
- "Who threw my tea ball off the balcony?"
- "Oh my gosh, Abi, where did you get that gum you're chewing?!"
- "It's okay, really, the veins in his head will not freeze if I don't put a hat on him." (Refering to Kenny when an elderly lady at church fussed at me for not putting a hat on him.)
- "Nate, come and get me past this level on the game!"
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Today was a good day. We had our first snowfall of the season. Well, it snowed back in the beginning of September but it melted before we could go out and play, so that doesn't count.
The kids woke up this morning yelling, "Snow, snow! Mommy, the bumble bee poked a hole in the big snow cloud and all the snow spilled out!" (btw, they got that from me. A long time ago I told them that's where snow comes from because it sounded more interesting than the truth.)
I looked out the window and sure 'nuff, everything was covered in white and it was still snowing. On the spur of the moment I decided that we needed to celebrate so I made muffins with colored confetti mixed in, and we had a special "first snow" breakfast accompanied with coffee milk, a treat my kids love!
Personally, I don't like winter very much but there's just something about pure, white snow that makes me feel like celebrating! I love to see how it glimmers in the shining sun. It reminds me of the color of my heart when Jesus cleanses me with His blood!
After breakfast, I couldn't keep the kids indoors any longer! We bundled up and out went to play and run around in the snow. It was COLD but we had a lot of fun.
After I got the kids back inside, I ventured back out to pick up a package at the post office. It was from my friend, Sara, and it was for Nate--4 pair of Old Navy jeans--just what he needed!
Then Hetee and I had lunch with a missionary girl we are sending out to start a work in a town called Nalaikh. Two girls from my g12 were also there. I'd write more about that but Abi's asking to play on the computer...
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Taken from "The Practice of the Presence of God"
By Brother Lawrence
Monday, September 25, 2006
- the phone ringing when I'm napping
- my kids' whining
- anyone else's whining
- when people do what the doctor says, no questions asked
- when people expect me to translate things
- milk tea (hot, salty Mongolian drink)
- having my electricity or hot water cut off for no apparent reason
- when a single person with no kids tells me they're tired. Get a life!
- anyone who looks down on my husband
- gardening (I hope my life never depends on that one!)
- when people let their children control their lives
- when I break something expensive
- taking medicine
- too much (or too big) jewelry
- when people don't turn off their cell phones in a meeting
- when women think they don't have enough milk to nurse their baby
- Not being able to see my brother and sisters whenever I want
- when children suffer because of their parents' (or teachers' or doctor's) ignorance
- casting my hard-earned pearls of wisdom before swine
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Ok, God, you've made your point. I know I'm supposed to run to you and seek your face first but so many times it just seems less complicated to do things my own way.
You'd think I'd have learned by now. I mean, He's super faithful and always right on time. Like the day our third baby was born and we had $11.00 in our bank account. The next thing we knew a friend wrote to tell us that there was a check on the way for $200.00.
And then on my birthday we were broke but I still ended up with everything on my mental wish list including a few other things that were pretty cool.
God has also been there to help me through the emotionally tough times. Like when my friend's husband was cheating on her and I didn't know how to help. My heart was breaking for them but He was there for all of us. And last week when I helped a 19 year-old mother work through the grief of her baby's stillbirth His grace was sufficient. And when I lost my own precious little baby 2 summers ago and was unsure about everything, He held me close and gave me time to question then find the answers in Him.
He is also present in my daily life, when I would rather bury my head under the covers and go back to sleep instead of getting up and making breakfast for my family. By His grace alone am I able to answer 50 pesky questions a minute asked by a 4 year old who likes nothing better than to trip me up, it seems. I am also aware of God's faithfulness when I have to prepare a meal for 4 people with only $2.00 and have some left over the bless a widow. Now that's a miracle.
Time after time He has brought us through when everything around us looked hopeless. Maybe I am learning my lesson after all. And, hey, I have the tears of gratitude to prove it.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
- Kenny's smile
- a huge mug of coffee, preferably with my mom
- lightening someone's load, especially a young mother
- watching CSI with Hetee
- skyping friends in Mexico
- eating lunch with my kids at their little table
- having a long nap with no interruptions
- a hot bubble bath
- a good book
- making a new friend on or offline
- when Nate catches on to a lesson I have been trying to teach him
- cinnamon toast
- the way Abi calls me "mama"
- dinner out with friends
- finding money, even if it's just a little, from a pocket or an old purse
- giving something away
- getting an email from a friend
- chocolate, of course
- discovering and passing on a Bible truth
- looking at my new living room rug
- window shopping with Hetee
- saving a baby's life from abortion
- trying or inventing a new recipe
- cooking with Hetee
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Earlier yesterday Hetee took me to eat out at the Texas Pub, the only decent place in town. But halfway through my grape Fanta I realized that I had no urge whatsoever to eat there. So Hetee suggested that we go and buy the ingredients to make a nice supper ourselves at home. We decided on chicken spaghetti and got to work after everyone left and the kids were in bed. It didn't take too long, thanks to my new pressure cooker (a birthday gift along with a rug, and a cool blender-from our pastor friends who were here visiting last week). We ate right at midnight and considering we had to make everything from scratch I'd say we made pretty good time. It was the perfect ending to a great birthday. Hetee washed dishes and cleaned up even though he had to preach 2 times the next morning. That was a gift in itself.
Oh yeah, my hubby gave me chocolates (2 boxes!) and 3 beautiful, red roses to represent Nate, Abi and Kenny.
This birthday finds me very satisfied with my life and at peace with where God has me. My family brings me absolute joy and serving God has been so rewarding, especially in the weeks leading up to my birthday. For some reason, for as long as I can remember I've always wanted to be 25. It's like I was anticipating how good it would be somehow. Now it's here and I've decided to make every day of this year count.
Thank you all for your prayers, birthday wishes and cards. I pray God uses me to bless each of you all throughout this year and in the years to come!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Anyway, I wanted to be a part of the whole potato project so Hetee took me out to the field yesterday and taught me a thing or two about harvesting potatoes. It was a bit like digging for treasure and once I got the hang of it, it was hard to stop. But since I'm a bit out of shape since Kenny's birth, I had no choice but to put the shovel down after the 3rd patch.
We gathered our "harvest" of about 20 potatoes (the boys will harvest the rest of the potatoes this week) and headed home. We made a huge pot of Borsche with beef, fresh potatoes, carrots, beets and cabbage.
Ah, Fall! My favorite season in Mongolia!
Friday, September 01, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
The other day Abi came to me in the kitchen as I was making french fries and asked for "bubble kisser". I told her I didn't know what that was and we stood there for about 15 seconds looking at each other with blank expressions on our faces. Then her face lit up and she said, "It's like ketchup". I still couldn't figure out what she was talking about so I told her to ask Nate. Without a word he got up, went to the fridge, took out the barbeque sauce and handed it to me. Abi's "bubble kisser".
Monday, August 28, 2006
So, I've been living in this country 8 and a half years. While I've adapted to the Mongolian culture in most areas, I still see things that make me shake my head and say, "Only in Mongolia!". These are the types of things that just couldn't be described any other way. You almost have to have experienced it to understand exactly what I'm talking about. Amanda, this one's for you!
You know you're in Mongolia when...
...you walk down the street and the litle kids playing on the corner fireball all of their English vocabulary at you in one breath. You don't understand a word.
...you take your kids out for a late afternoon walk on a lovely Summer evening and are blinded by the glare of the sun reflecting off the crushed glass covering the ground.
...the doorman (jijuur) at the local culture center holds almost as much power as the president and he's drunk with it.
...the lady at the post office rings to tell you there's a package but when you go to pick it up you find out they made a boo boo and confused your name with someone else whose name is nothing like yours!
...you go to pay your light bill and there's not a computer in the place--just file box upon file box packed with thousands of little scraps of paper with people's names and addresses and the amount they have to pay written on them.
...you leave your house in search of Russian ice cream and are prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it. (But you justify it because you can buy a kilo of root vegetables for about 25 cents this time of year. )
...an elder smells you (elder as in 'old person', not the mormons! There are lots of mormons here. In fact Hetee and I play a game--spot an odd number of mormons--1,3,5... and win!)
...grown men prance around in their underwear in front of a crowd and slap each other on the bottom. They call it traditional wrestling.
...you walk out of your apartment and you see a full-size pool table set up on the side of the street and nobody thinks it's odd but you.
But you absolutely know without a doubt you're in Mongolia when you can go to a restaurant and order pizza with pickles, peas, boiled eggs and well, pretty much anything you can't find on a pizza in America. Then you get up to go and pay and see the sign that they accept MasterCard so you get your card out and pass it to the clerk only to have him tell you that he doesn't know how to hook the machine up so your husband (being the nerd he is) offers to help out and then swipes his card only to find out that the network is down so you dig into your pocket and pull out your mutton-smelling cash and pay. But then I guess that could happen anywhere, right?
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I used to think all kids were basically the same. Then I met Nate.
When he was a year old he climbed into the oven and pulled the stove down on himself. It wasn't hot but then again he was too smart to go near a hot oven. Then when he was 2 he pulled an electric radiator down on his foot. Again, it wasn't hot but it did cut his foot wide open. I butterfly stitched it and it healed but I was beginning to think God had picked the wrong person to raise this lightning-fast, super-active toddler. From the very beginning, Nate saw it as his duty to question and challenge his daddy's and my authority. It's hard to put into words exactly how exhausting and exasperating it was to have every "no" from us met with a tantrum. Hetee and I half joked that if we could survive Nate, we could get through anything.
When Nate wasn't getting into trouble he was giving things away. He still does. Just recently, at church, we talked to a little boy whose shirt was torn. I pointed the fact out to Nate and reminded him that we had so much to be thankful for. Nate said, "I wish I could give him one of my shirts". I remembered that I had an extra one in my backpack but that it was his favorite Dr. Seuss shirt. I told him and he asked me to give it to the boy. Nate then took some shorts out and gave them to the boy as well. It didn't matter to him that the children sitting nearby were gawking and making fun of him. He was strong-willed enough to do what he felt was right.
At that moment I saw, through the tears welling up in my eyes, that my son was turning into the little man I so wanted him to be, in spite of my fears that I was inadequate as a parent. I thanked God that Nate was a strong child and once again, right there on the church steps I asked for wisdom and strength to raise him to be a man of God. Some months ago a friend told me that God knew what He was doing when He gave Nate to me. Now I was beginning to understand.
Nate still has his moments. The other day he slipped away from Hetee as he was standing in line to pay the phone bill. Rather than risking losing his place in line, Hetee asked a lady from our church who happened to be nearby to go and check on Nate. After about 15 minutes with no news from either of them, Hetee paid the bill and made his way outside. There, standing next to our car was the lady (with a mortified expression on her face) and standing on the roof of the car yelling-- was, you guessed it, Nate! Apparently Nate was playing outside the building and when the lady, whom he didn't recognize, tried to take him back inside, he went to our car--the only thing that was familiar and climbed on top. No doubt a plan that made perfect sense to a 4-year-old.
These past few weeks we've noticed that Nate has been more willing to listen to reason and obey than ever before. It's such a relief to see a shimmer of light at the end of our long, dark "toddler tunnel". We know that God is working and that He is in control. We've also learned not to criticize our son or blame ourselves for the way he is. He's a strong boy, an awesome kid and he's our gift from God!
Friday, August 25, 2006
When choosing clothes:
Before kids--Knee-length, black leather jacket or 2-piece swimsuit
After kids:--a shirt that's not too tight that my breast pad circles show through. (A "favorite" lately is my "Don't be a chicken, donate blood" T-shirt in XXL. )
Book of choice:
Before kids--any kind of fiction thriller
After kids--Myrtle the Turtle
Before kids-- Wake up and make-up
After kids--I don't want to wake up. Where is my make-up?
Before kids--cooking and baking
After kids--finding ways to get out of cooking and baking
Before kids--A looooong soak in a bubble bath with a mug of coffee, my Bible and candles everywhere.
After kids--A quick glass of apple juice and spirulina. I still do the bubble bath from time to time but it's not as long as before for 2 reasons: I get so sleepy that I have to get out or risk dying an embarassing death. Or it's just not as good as it used to be due to the little people pounding on the door because they "have to tell me something".
In my purse:
Before kids--make-up, money
After kids--diapers, less money
Now, I'm sure you've figured out by now that I've approached this "before and after" comparison of my life in a tongue-in-cheek manner. My children bring me exceptional joy in spite of the many... er, adjustments I have had to make in order to make all our lives a little smoother. One important lesson I have learned is, "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em". I can't count the times I've set out to have a nice, quiet bubble bath only to have Nate and Abi join me. (They helped me rediscover the wonder of bubble beards.) And Myrtle the Turtle has become one of my favorite stories (hey, there is a lesson to be learned there). I have a feeling these "baby days" will be over before I know it and I'll once again be able to don my leather jacket--without fear of getting peanut butter smudges on it.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Abi and her bobby are inseparable. From what I can remember, it all started when she was about a year old. The then new, pink blanket quickly became a favorite and although I tried many times to get her to leave it on her bed, she insisted on dragging it around the house...and church and, to my great chagrin, the market.
Washing bobby was always a challenge. I had to wait until she was occupied with something, quickly snatch it and throw it into the washer and press the "quick wash" button. Twenty-seven minutes. That was about as long as she could go without literally panicking.
One day I was caught in the act. She came to me, eyes full of excitement to tell me something wonderful, no doubt. Then she saw it. Bobby was swishing around in bubbles behind the glass door of the washing machine. I should mention at this point that Abi didn't particularly like the washing machine or the sounds it made as it washed, spun and pumped water out into our kitchen sink. As the sights and sounds registered, her eyes filled with tears and she gave me a look as if to say I knew I couldn't trust you! I tried to make my voice sound as reassuring as I could as I told her that bobby had gotten so dirty that it needed a bubble bath. She stood in silence, tears threatening to spill. She got close to the door and pressed her little nose up against the glass. With a sigh she asked me if I was sure the water wasn't too hot for bobby. I assured her that it was just right and that bobby was ok.
She stayed there, next to the washing machine in watchful silence until the cycle finished and the lock on the door clicked. I opened the door and we both pulled bobby out together. Daddy ironed it dry and with the traumatic incident behind us Abi and I (and bobby, of course) settled on the sofa for some much-needed cuddling. As I held her in my arms I whispered, "Do you know how much mommy loves you?" She looked up at me and I said, "More than you love bobby". I could see in her eyes that she immediately understood. Then that look was replaced by somewhat of an incredulous one and she said, "No way!"