The Difference a Workout Makes…

Well, I’ve done it…I’ve taken the plunge. I’m trying…with all my might…to make myself workout more often. It’s hard, honestly, when you’re out of shape and tired and pressed for time…yada yada yada. But…the last few days I’ve been going in the early morning. I love early mornings…I don’t like actually rising from my comfy and warm bed…but once I’m up…I do love the morning. The quiet, the still, the soft light, the cool. All of it makes me smile…and all of it I enjoy.

So I went to the gym on Tuesday morning and after I had showered and went to get ready the rest of the way for work, I ran into a lady (Thai) that looked pretty young. She shocked me with the words, “I’m 40 years old.” We chatted…I told her why I’m here…that I’m a follower of the Most High…(the conversation was easy because she speaks English really well…lived in Boston for 2 years actually). Her name is Patty…when we left she told me she comes everyday at the same time in the morning…that was my motivation to go that early today. So, sure enough, she was there. We talked some more after our showers and she asked, “Would you be interested in teaching English to my nephew?” I asked how old he was, 13, and then a few more details. She said, “Since you said you were a C I figured you could handle teaching a child, since sometimes they are difficult.” Well…I don’t know that being a C will make you able/qualified to teach a child…and I also don’t know if her comment meant her nephew is a monster…either way…I’ll take the compliment. 🙂 So…we’ll talk soon about the details. When and where and etc. But…I’m just excited at the opportunity…we’ll see where it leads.

Also…I went to the border last Sunday to renew my Visa…everything went well but it was kind of a rough trip. I took a mini-bus up there…there are special trips that only go to the border for foreigners to renew their Visa…so that’s what I did. The mini-bus was kinda dirty, had nearly no shocks left, I had to sit in the very back because all but two seats were taken, and 4.5 hours up and 4.5 hours back with 13 other farang (foreigner) people that spoke only of alcohol, sex, and where to buy condoms…not exactly my cup of tea. I did pr*y often while on the trip, especially when one older man sat next to me in the back. He kept commenting on how he visits my city every year for about a month, how he’s thinking of moving here one day, and how he’s interested in working with university students. Well…that about cut the convo there for me…I politely nodded my head and pretty much said nothing else to him. Oy…when it comes to the majority of folks that come here to visit…it’s usually not for pleasant reasons. That’s really heart-breaking…

Please remember this new contact with Patty at the gym, the people of Thailand as they deal with visitors who have no good intentions, and my trip that’s coming up this week…

Thank you!

Blessings!

The Curse of Babel…

Wow…I really have felt the motivation to learn Thai…more and more. Yes…it is still hard…yes…I get really annoyed sometimes with it…but no…it’s not impossible. I CAN learn it…and learn it well. I can…I can…with His help.

The other day I ran into my first debilitating situation because of language…my new friend P’Iang (who speaks no English) called me. At first, I was like, “Oh no…what will I do? I can barely figure out what she’s saying half the time when I’m with her, this will be even worse because it’s over the phone.” I answered…at 6:45 am…I answered. The ring on my phone woke me up…I thought…who in the world could this be? Of course…my friend that speaks no English. (So cute how He woke me up that morning.)

We “talked” for a few minutes. I knew she sounded sad and when I asked her if she was ok, she said, “May sabay leeuy.” Which basically mean “not good at all.” I also gathered that she wanted me to pray for her. But…I have no idea what for. I am so sad…I wanted to help and be a word of encouragement for her…but instead…I probably left her thinking…”Sheesh…why can’t this girl understand that I need her to pray for me about this?” I am sure she understood…since she knows I don’t speak Thai well…but still…it was a bit heartbreaking for me. I really wish I could have said more. This is one of those times to be silent, not only out of necessity, but out of inability. It was hard.

I ended up sending her a text message saying (I hope)…”Thank you for being patient with me. I will pray for you. God loves you.” It was all in Thai lettering…so hopefully it translated correctly.

Please remember me as I travel some over the next two weeks. I will be working here in my city for a couple of days, then on to Bangkok, then onto another city in the southeast. It will be covering several ministries…local, medical, and prison. I’m quite excited and honored to be able to go and tell these stories, especially as they have to do with the Thai people. Very awesome…

Blessings to you on this wonderful monday…

Some Things Are Only From Above…

The past few weeks have held some special moments…

One Sunday evening at the Walking Street market, Khruu Panida, myself and P’Iang (a new friend…she’s 25 and speaks no English…which makes things really fun!) were shopping around. P’Iang is a friend of Khruu’s and she’s also a believer. When we were getting ready to go home, we separated for just a moment to shop for some last minute items…I passed by two Thai guys singing Christian worship songs in English. Now…there are always people singing or playing something in the market…but never have I heard Christian songs, let alone in English! I went and got the ladies and we went back to the two guys singing. We joined in on the next song, P’Iang and I did. It was wonderful…standing there in the middle of the big market, surrounded by people, and singing out at the top of our lungs, “Jesus, Lamb of God. Worthy is Your Name!” Wow!

Today I met up with two workers here that serve at the English Center we have here in the city. They are running everything while the rest of their team is in America. Jordan and Rob are 24 and newly married. Jordan asked me if I’d be interested in teaching some English classes there at the center…at first I thought…no…I can’t speak Thai well enough…plus I’ve never taught anyone English over the age of 10! She assured me…I could do it. So, for the next 6 weeks I’ll teach a one-hour class once a week at the center. Class starts next week! Also, Jordan and I were talking at lunch…this is indeed an answer to prayer…we’ll be accountability partners here. Very much a blessing…

This afternoon I met up with Khruu Panida for class…woo hoo…and near the end of class time P’Iang walked in to have dinner with Khruu…P’Iang and I talked (as best we could) for a little while. Sometime over the next few months, we’ll meet on and off (when she has time away from her University studies) to learn each other’s languages. The plan is for me to teach her English, but in the process, I’ll get to learn Thai. Another blessing! 🙂

Just some things I wanted to pass on…to share in the joy…but also to ask for you to lift them up to the Father…

One more thing…this song played through my computer speakers this morning…very captivating…

“Lord Deliver Me” by Sara Beth Geoghegan

Lord deliver me to you. Lord deliver from here. Lord deliver me to you. Lord deliver me from here.

Lord deliver me from the desire to be noticed, loved, exalted. Lord deliver me from the desire to be favored, popoular, chosen or acknowledged. Lord deliver me from the fear of being wrong, forgotten or ignored. Lord deliver me from the fear of being humiliated or left behind.

Lord deliver me to you. Lord deliver from here. Lord deliver me to you. Lord deliver me from here.

Grant that I may seek to comfort rather than be comforted by others. Grant that I may undrestand and love more than be understood and loved well. Lord deliver me from the desire to be noticed and encouraged. Lord deliver me from the desire to be appreciated and included.

Lord deliver me to you. Lord deliver from here. Lord deliver me to you. Lord deliver me from here.

Blessings!

“The City of Angels…”

This past weekend I took a trip to the capital city of Thailand with a friend of mine, P’Gade.

Where to begin? There is so much to tell…I’ll try my best to not bore you with details, but give plenty of in depth info that makes it interesting enough to read. 🙂

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P’Gade and I decided several months ago to go see a musical that we both love…Mamma Mia! It came through Bangkok on an international tour, so last May we thought we’d check out ticket prices…they were kinda high…around 50 bucks for the cheapest seats. But…Asia Air was having a 99 baht sale from my city to the capital…that means with taxes, etc…a roundtrip was only about $19!! Woo hoo! We snatched up those plane tickets. All went well and we actually got to keep our planned vacation, despite looming work assignments and other distractions. My friend Anna, who had come to visit for a few days earlier in the week, was headed home and so got on the same flight as us. We all three flew down to the city together…fun fun. On the flight there…I found out that Bangkok (the City of Angels) is actually just an informal name (well really Krung-tehp is the informal Thai name for the city). It’s real name? Well…how does กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลก ภพนพรัตน์ ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์ มหาสถาน อมรพิมาน อวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะ วิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์ sound for a name?  HA! In the official English romanisation, this is certified as the longest place name in the world in the Guinness book of records. I about laughed my head off when P’Gade rattled it off on the plane. I had no idea! When she said it was long, I was thinking like…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…not 3 paragraphs long! The “name” is a bunch of superlative statements taking about the beautiful city, who built it, what it’s made of, etc etc etc.

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Tons of multi-colored taxis fill the streets…

We landed around 11 p.m. and went to the guesthouse the company has in the city. Sleep…oh it was nice. 🙂 In the morning we hit the ground running and went to a weekend market called JJ Market (in English) and it was literally the most massive market I’ve ever seen…that’s saying a lot. I have seen a ton, in several countries. This one out did them all…plus we found Jack Sparrow there…or at least the Thai version of him. My friend Anna had her picture made with him. 🙂 That afternoon Anna left on the bus for her home…just P’Gade and I then…

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Real veggies? What do you think?…

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For Kong yong long e…

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Chicken fried rice…yum…

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On to the show! Mamma Mia was held at a big civic center sort of place. P’Gade and I changed into our “nice” clothes and freshened up…then grabbed some Chinese food and headed to our seats. We saw 4 Thai celebrities along the way (well, P’Gade recognized them…I just thought they were nicely dressed people) and grabbed our seats. We had so much fun…sang along to all the songs…and at the end we stood on our feet, clapped and clapped and danced a bit. This is a big deal in Thailand…most Thai’s are so reserved and quiet…standing up and “shakin’ it” was practically outrageous…but the crowd did it together. I guess that made it ok. I was really impressed with the performers. They sang well, they danced well. It was really good.

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A poster in the subway station…so excited…

I couldn’t believe how much traffic and mayhem was in the city. Everywhere, I do mean everywhere, there were people. There were vendors, stores, coffee shops, taxis, motorbike taxis, buses, the Sky Train (an above ground subway), then the underground subway. There were huge malls…one of which was the fanciest mall I’ve been to with Gucci, Armani, Ralph Lauren, fancy restaurants, and so much more.

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“The” mall…

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Waiting on the sky train…

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I have a bunch more things I’d like to show and post…however…my internet server will actually not let me post them! I had no idea…there are some wats (temples), and a few other things…I guess I’ll try to post them on Facebook…if you want to go there to check them out. I’m not sure if it will let me post them there either. We’ll see.

We saw the sleeping buddha, a massively huge golden buddha that is laying on it’s side. The Royal Palace was pretty as well, we didn’t go inside because there was a demonstration that was going on (politically…why I can’t post pictures I assume), and then on to P’Gade’s sister’s restaurant. I had the best Thai food I’ve ever had. So yummy! Then I got to sing on stage with the performer there, three songs! 🙂 Very fun!

On the way to the airport to leave, we left 3 hours early, and still got stuckkkkk in traffic. I mean, in one hour, we moved about two blocks. Thankfully our taxi driver was smart enough and kind enough to find a different way, getting us to the airport with 3 minutes to spare. Whew!

I’m glad to be home…I hate to admit it but I’m definitely not a city girl. The slow pace and calm and peace and quiet is much more my style. Everything about Bangkok is fast paced, loud, dirty, and just…icky. It was fun for a visit…but I certainly wouldn’t want to live there.

Yep, it’s good to be home.

Blessings!

Like Michael Buble Says…

“That’s life. That’s what all the people say…” Ohhhh…I could just laugh and laugh…which is a good thing considering this evening! HA! 🙂 

Let’s start with the beginning of the day…my friend Anna has been in town the last two days with me…so wonderful. She’s on her way up north of here and took a few extra vacation days to be with me. Loved it! Well, this morning we started with coffee and then went to make biscuits and gravy…some good comfort food. Well, we had forgotten to get baking powder the other night, so we tried a recipe we found with egg and no baking powder. Yep…turned out about as good as the idea sounded…we didn’t even make the gravy and only taste tested the “eggy smelling” “””biscuits.””” Hmm…ok so no breakfast for today. That’s ok, we were running a little behind our planned schedule anyway.

Today is Thailand’s “Mother’s Day.” It is really the Queen’s birthday, but it’s kinda been turned into a national holiday. So, there are some special things going on…one of which is that everyone is off work…secondly, there are some plant and flower sales around the moat. So we hit that up first, got some cute little plants, and fun pics of the pretty flowers. 

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purpleflower

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Then on to the Warrorot Market (Day Market) to get fabric to put on my walls. Anna had tried this decorating trick in America, where you soak the material in liquid starch and then place it on the wall like wallpaper, then when you wanna take it off, you just peel it off. We finally found three beautiful fabrics at the market (pale yellow, deep brown, and rick purple) and then a pretty yellow print fabric for a small accent). 

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Sticky rice for a snack…this kind of rice is really really sticky, as in you roll it into a small ball to eat (with your hands)…a common item in Thailand. Sooo yummy and one of my favorites here. This stand I heard about yesterday from at Thai man at the office, he said it’s a famous sticky rice seller here…it was good…

Anna had to leave this afternoon and then I had a dinner date with the Harthcock’s and their adopted grand-daugther from Tibet. Her name is Lhamo. She is here in the city studying for her MBA and so we all went to dinner at a lovely place on the mountain called Galae. Pretty flowers everywhere and yummy Thai food. I took Lhamo home to the dormitory after dinner, she’s a sweet girl…hopefully we’ll get to know each other more as time goes on. 

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Down at those tables by the water is where we sat…

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sunflower

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The head of our friend the fish…he was yummy…

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She knew I was taking the picture…I think this is her “funny face.” 🙂 hehe…

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Here’s Lhamo…very sweet. She’s only been in the city for two months…and she has heard lots about the Father…the Harthcock’s are faithful in sharing with her…

Got back home and decided I’d try to do the first practice run of the material on the wall technique. So, cut out the piece I wanted, measured, marked, all that jazz. Then went to work. I got it up, then went to adjust the top portion, and it all came down…and wouldn’t go up again. So, I soaked  the piece again, tried again, this time it would work. It looked positioned right, stayed put. Then, as I was on the floor looking up at it, it completely fell down, directly onto my head. Ok…so that didn’t work quite as planned. And…the rich purple that I’d used…well half of the color I think got left on the wall. So, I went to grab a sponge and soap…scrub scrub scrub. Ummm…hmm…that’s interesting. 

thewall

Nope…that’s not a texture painting that I was going for…

Hahaha…so I guess there will have to be some painting in this apartment before I move out. I haven’t given up though…I figured I could decide on a different way to put up the material…maybe thumb tacks (but probably not since the walls are like all hard concrete) or double-sided tape. Don’t know how well that would stick…but it’s worth a try. 

So earlier I had also bought a new large candle for the middle of my coffee table…I had lit it while I was working. When I had finished my fiasco with the wall, I went to blow out the candle. It wouldn’t blow out so I bent over a little and blew harder. Splash! Alllll over the coffee table, and even onto my face! Thankfully it wasn’t really that hot…but it was kinda hilarious picking off dried candle wax from my face, and my eyelashes. It’s lucky it didn’t get in my eye! 

thewax

Wax splatters…and some that I scraped up already…oy…

Sooo…hahaha…what a day and night! I’m glad the Father’s given me humor in the whole situation…I think I could easily be really upset…but I’m more gitty than angry. Maybe I’m just so loopy I don’t know what hit me! 🙂

Earlier in the week Anna and I did a few other fun things…it was sooo great to have her here. 

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We went to iBerry (a yummy ice cream and dessert place)…Anna checked out some magazines when we first sat down…

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I had passion fruit and gooseberry (whatever that is…) sorbet….yumm…

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There’s a humongous statue of a dog-like thing outside…

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And a man using the “I Love You” sign…

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This was the first day Anna got in from her village, a 16 hour bus ride from here…this is at iBerry…

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We also tried on pretty dresses at Robinson’s (like Dillard’s) after having a free make-up make-over at the Revlon counter… 🙂 

(All pics taken with Canon Elph point and shoot) 

Blessings!

A Date with Gary and Evelyn…

Today I had the privilege of meeting with two of the oldest missionaries on the field with our company…Gary and Evelyn Harthcock. Gary just turned 90 last month…he and his wife have served with the IMB or on their own funding (like now) since 1975. 

The three of us met for lunch at Bake & Bite, a yummy bakery here in town. The point of the get together in the first place was to take a picture for a friend and an article being written on the couple, so Evelyn suggested we meet for lunch first. A great idea…

At lunch we chatted away about all sorts of things…their past…my past…what I’m doing in town, etc. Then “Smoke Get’s In Your Eyes” started playing in the background…I couldn’t help but smile because it just made me think about the past, what the Harthcock’s have seen and done, where they’ve been together, and where the Father has taken them in their long lives. Silly I know, to think about after that song played, but still…for one reason or another…that song evoked those emotions and thoughts. 

After lunch, and the Harthcock’s treating me to my meal, I drove to a flower garden they wanted to show me. It was gorgeous…even with the ever-present rain. It rained for a good hour, while we contemplated  a pretty place to go for the portrait.

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As we waited on the rain…and Gary picked up my camera to look at it…we decided to take a little portrait of the three of us…sweet memories…

After a while, we decided to head back to their house and they’d give me some of their books they’ve written. Yep, the two have written several books about many subjects: Buddhism, learning English (taught from Bible stories), and Gary’s autobiography. They had started out serving in Africa, then went to Cambodia, then finally here in Thailand. They’ve lived here for 10 years. Evelyn gave me three of their books…then the rain stopped. So…we headed out again. They were so very sweet and accomodating…I know that they decided they wanted to go out again because they thought it would free me up later (not having to make another appointment for a picture time). We went to a campus of a local university…very large and pretty with old tress, lots of green grass and flowers. It was perfect…the skies cleared a bit and the sun was just bright enough…but not so bright they had to squint for the pictures. 

I’m so grateful for these two new friends…just like grandparent’s. They talked and talked…I listened as carefully and patiently as possible…and found myself so happy to be around them. They had tons of stories, as you might imagine. 

What a wonderfully surprising day…

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Oh I forgot to mention…the sweet couple wear matching outfits everyday…Gary has a shirt and Evelyn a shirt and pants in the same material… 🙂

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A few from the photo shoot…

Blessings!

Just A Walkin’…

Last Sunday I headed to the Sunday Market (or Walking Street). I actually have no idea what the place is called in Thai, and most Thai people don’t know the name Walking Street…so there you go. All I know is where it’s located and that it’s every Sunday night…and it’s always pretty crowded. During certain times of the night, usually around 7 or 8, it is so busy and filled with people…I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic. One such Sunday, I remember distinctly, I walked as far back as I could into the HUGE market (way bigger than I thought it was) and absolutely got overwhelmed by the masses of people. Actually come to think of it, I think I mentioned this evening once before in my blog. Sorry about that…but now we know just how memorable that night was. 🙂 

At any rate…last Sunday. I went with P’Gade to a dinner at her friend’s house. It was a very traditional Thai home and dinner. We sat on the floor, in the open air “living room,” that was much like a garage, and then had one big pot of soup. It had noodles, green veggies, carrots, tofu, octopus, fish balls (much like a meatball, only with fish) and baby corn. Yum! We all sat in a circle around the boiling pot. Laughter, conversation, yummy food, good company. All things that make up a lovely dinner time. Most of what was being said I could not understand…but the more I hear it…the more I learn. I was just thinking yesterday how I am picking up some new phrases here and there. That’s a big encouragement for me…especially since in the past I have barely been able to grasp what is in my class and books, let alone any “outside” learning. 

Wow am I getting sidetracked in this entry!? 🙂 So, after dinner we went to Walking Street. There was a watercolor lesson being given outside our usual spot at Wawee Coffee. P’Gade and some other Thai friends sat down to expend some creative energy. 

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P’Gade with her blank slate…

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P’Thum, the architect, really did a great job on his landscape painting…

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P’Wee and his various “little” paintings…

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A classic, khaaw niaw mamuang (mango and sticky rice). It is like the Thai version of apple pie…I enjoyed this while the others learned to paint. 🙂 

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P’Gade’s masterpiece…she painted the flower at my request…

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This was actually last week when we (Santi (another one of Khruu Panida’s students) and his girlfriend (far left) Khruu Panida and I) all went out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant…it’s like a moving buffet that passes all around the tables in the restaurant. It’s amazing! It would be a total hit in America…

Two days ago I went to visit with Khun Nira at the jewelry shop. She’s doing well. Before I went in, I told myself I would be purposeful in my conversation with her…paying heed to the Spirit and His direction. We chatted for quit a while. During our time together I was able to speak with her about Buddhism some…able to ask her questions about traditions with the belief system, etc. The more I ask her, the more she answers…but with hesitation. Please be lifting up my relationship with her. Remember her, when you can, that she might be able to see Him in me…and that I might be able to share with her what He has for me to share. I ask for nothing more than what He wants me to do…but I simply hope that I can be obedient and moldable for Him to use. Thank you for lifting that up! 

One more fun note…I just love watching movies on YouTube! I got to see the entire movie of Little Women the other day. So cool! Free! 

Blessings!