The past 48

Our first full day was spent acclimating and preparing for the teacher conference we will be doing at the end of the week.  Acclimating included riding around the city in these fun things.  I have great video of a bus almost hitting my feet as we crossed an intersection.  Good times =)

We finished our tour at this incredible hotel with an even more incredible menu for lunch.  It was about the time that we finished this yummy lunch that my body realized it was 2 am our time and it began to protest being awake.

I did manage to stay awake until we arrived at the night train that night.  I have heard horror stories about this train, but I’m now convinced all those people who told me those stories were lying.  It may have been the best nights sleep I’ve had since arriving here!  Really loved this experience!

We got off the train at 5:40 am and drove up the steep, curvy mountain for 2 hours until we arrived at this town.  This is where we will be for the rest of the week.

Yes, that is the Ranger game on the Ipad.  We arrived here just in time for the game.  I would love to say I stayed around to watch the Rangers lose, but I didn’t.  I went to the market instead and had a blast. The people here are so friendly and the whole area is just beautiful.   I am loving Bac Ha!  So thankful we are spending the week up here!

I’ll try to upload some pics soon that will show you how amazingly beautiful it is.  And maybe eventually I’ll be able to upload the video of the bus almost hitting me in Hanoi as well =)

But for now I’m off to dinner.  I hear its supposed to be the best food ever.  Hopefully they are not lying to me like they did about the train =) And then tomorrow we start working with the farmers and their wives, and I hear it is pretty hard work.  I’m looking forward to it though.

As you all wake up on your side of the world, lift us up and ask that we would sleep well tonight.  Sleep is something not everyone on the team is getting yet but it is so desperately needed before we begin a busy week here.

Thanks and enjoy your day!

We Made It!

Saying goodbye this morning:

After 24 hours on planes, we’ve made it!   The flights were good and pretty smooth and the time seemed to fly by quickly.  Although I’m not sure how my friends who live overseas do those long plane rides with their 3 or 4 kids!  I have been thankful all day my kiddos weren’t with me =)

We are 12 hours ahead and so I am now sitting in my bed and hoping I can sleep for the night.   Tomorrow we get to spend the day in this city and then get on the night train and travel North up into the mountains.  I hear you can sleep pretty well on the train?  I’ll let you know =)  Good night from this side of the world!

A Little Fun

Homemade pumpkin pie, decorating pumpkins, roasting and planting some seeds, dance parties, and spending the rest of the night with my hubby.  A great night together before I fly out in the morning.

The next time you hear from me I’ll be in another time zone!   Will you please pray for the next 24 hours for our travel?   I can’t wait to tell you all about  everything God teaches me and what He does while we are there.   I’m expecting great things.

 

Guess Where We Went?

Have I mentioned how much I love the month of October?

October is just not complete unless we go to a pumpkin patch.

Not only is the whole experience just a blast, but  I get to snap cute pictures of these beautiful young ladies.

I had a goal of getting at least one picture of me with the kiddos.  I just finished a photo album for Avery for her birthday and realized I’m ALWAYS behind the camera and NEVER in front of it.  I thought it might be a good idea to have a least one picture of me in her birthday album!

We even found someone to take a little family pic for us.  Have I mentioned how much I love my family?

And because it was my last family day before leaving for Vietnam, we celebrated by not going home for naps!  Instead we played all day long.  I even managed to snap this picture.

Yes, he is buckled in on the carousal.  You never can be too safe.

The perfect last day together as a family before I  leave the country for 10 days.  Man I’m going to miss those smiles, but I’ve now started counting down.  5 more days =)

The Ultimate Authority

The following scripture has been extremely comforting to me lately.   It comes from Job 38 where God is answering Job after he has whined and asked God why his life is the way it is.  God replies:

 

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.

Who determined its measurements—surely you know!… “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?  “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, “Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?  Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?…

Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?  Declare, if you know all this. “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on land where no man is, From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?  Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?  Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?  Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?

 

To each question asked, I have to reply, “no I wasn’t there and I can’t do any of that.  Only God can stop the waters, speak to the lightening, put wisdom in the minds of men, command the day, and give birth to the rain.”

Only God.

The  past month, I keep going back and back to these verses every time I get frustrated or angry or even confused about life.  Most days a good solid reminder of how much authority God truly has over EVERYTHING is enough to snap me out of whatever mood I’m in.

If I’ve interacted with you at all over the past month, you know I’ve quoted part or all of this scripture to you at some point.  God’s authority over all things has been my answer for everything in life lately.

It is good to worship a creator who has the ultimate authority over every problem, idea, circumstance, or frustration we could ever imagine.

Fun Times

I love the Fall.  Or maybe just the month of October.  I mean you get the State Fair, pumpkin patches, my sister’s birthday…the list of fun stuff happening in October is limitless.

But this year, I won’t be in town the last 2 weekends of October, so I’m trying to cram all my favorite October activities into just a few short days.  I mean, I can’t properly go onto Thanksgiving preparations until all things pumpkin have been fully explored.

So activity #1 for the Fall season was Nash Farms

Pony rides, leather pressing, petting zoos, decorating pumpkins, planting flowers, pumpkin bowling, you name it and they had it.

I was having so much fun that I completely ignored when my two year old almost fell asleep at the leather pressing table.

About an hour later, he did ask me if I would please take him home to bed.  I finally gave in and we said good bye to our first glorious October fun.

Now to get in a couple different pumpkin patches and the state fair in the next 8 days….

Entertainment for Today

My little rock star thinks tinker toys are the best invention ever.

Give the kid a guitar or a drum set and a microphone, and he is happy for hours.       hmmm.. who does that remind me of?

The TV

Last month we got rid of our TV.

Not because I think TV is evil or wrong, but simply because it was time to do it.  I think the addiction started when I was sick. Sickness made me weak, and the TV became the babysitter.  Once I was better, the kids began to greatly protest that I took their babysitter away.

And lets be honest, it wasn’t just them who was addicted.  I really enjoyed having the TV entertain them.  I really enjoyed having the TV entertain me.  And let’s just say Netflix makes it way too convenient to find good shows.  I’ve never had cable before and so in the past, I would simply flip through the few channels and if nothing was on, I turn the TV off.  Not so with Netflix.  There is ALWAYS something on that looks interesting that you can watch instantly.

TV plus sickness plus whiney kids plus bad habits equal time for some drastic measures.

I think it was around the second week of August that I began to get convicted about how much TV was being watched by both the kids and I.  I think it was around the third week of August that Brent looked at me and said something along the lines of  “I really think the Lord is leading us to get rid of TV for the whole month of September”.

When I’m convicted and the Lord confirms that conviction through my husband, there is really nothing left to do but obey.

So we took the TV out of the house.  Its been sitting in Brent’s office for the past month.  Out of sight out of mind I say.

The kids did okay.  We explained to them that TV wasn’t bad and that they didn’t do anything wrong, but that God was trying to teach us all something, and we needed to obey him.  I will say my oldest made a countdown calendar to keep track of how many days until September was over and she could have TV back.   This decision was hardest on her.

I also had a more difficult time than I thought I would.  I discovered watching a show was my way I relaxed at night.  Especially on Wednesday nights when Brent works late.  I’m embarrassed to say the first Wednesday night was actually really difficult.  I think I walked around in circles.  I made a trip to the library the next day =)

Here’s what I learned over the past month though.

First, my kids have always been creative, but once the TV was out of the house and they adjusted to the whole “I’m bored” issue during the times when they usually watched a show, their imaginations took off in new levels. They began building things, playing things, and discussing things that I had never seen them do before.  In fact, after about a week of whining, they didn’t even miss watching a show in the morning or after nap.   Downside to this:  my house was always destroyed because most of these creative games involve LOTS of pillows and blankets and toys everywhere!  But it brought tremendous joy to my heart to listen to them  invent games and ideas and tools to fix problems.

Second, it brought a lot of peace to the house. Its not as if the TV was always on as background noise or anything.  We would turn it on to watch a show and then turn it back off.  However, with the TV not even being visible, the house just seemed peaceful.  The lack of distraction brought unity in a way that is indescribable.   In fact, here it is October 4th and the TV is still in Brent’s office.  I sort of don’t want it back.

Third, I felt greatly rested and peaceful during the month of September. There is a peace that comes when I simply live life engaged in reality and don’t escape to TV land at night.  If I were you and I just read that last line, I would think I was ridiculous.  I wouldn’t have believed it either if I hadn’t experienced it myself.   But the past month has been covered in this peacefulness and joy.  Of course that isn’t all simply because we cut out TV.  But cutting out TV leaves more room for music and talking and playing and laughing and reading and not rushing through life.

Overall, I’m thankful we took the TV out for the month.  It is football season, so of course we will be bringing it back soon, but I think we may need to make some boundaries about when the TV can and cannot be turned on.  It might just become a weekend event.   But whatever the rules are that are established, God truly opened my eyes to the joy of life without TV.

Once again, obeying God ALWAYS brings about peace and a greater joy in life.

 

Oklahoma

There are some people who have a special place in your heart.  This is one of them.

She is so special to us that we gave our oldest child her name.

Last week, we had the privilege of spending a few days with this special woman.

The kids were enamored with their great grandma and her toys.

The little man will now say throughout the day, “I just want my great grandma”

Of course any time a 2 year old goes on vacation, exhaustion accompanies him.

But that didn’t stop us from having a great time all week.

The little guy became pretty good at trying to steal all of Uncle Gary’s Mater cars.   Justus and Gary seem to be equally obsessed with Mater  which made for some good bonding between the two.

And Aunt Deanna and Uncle Gary have this perfect spot in the back yard where the kids could play in the dirt for hours.  Add in the fact that there were four dogs to chase around and my kids thought they were in heaven.

Just had to put a picture in of J in time out.  This was officially his time out chair for the week and he used it often.  As I said, vacation is hard on a two year old.

 

Nana and Pappaw were only able to spend a few hours with us while we were up visiting, but we made those hours count.  Everything from racing, to star gazing, to putting lipstick on Pappaw happened in those few hours.

 

It was simply a perfect week in Oklahoma.

Its Still Cute

No matter how many times we make brownies together, the end result is still cute

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