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Friday, December 30, 2011

Multi-tasking...

We all do it.  And it can save you time when managed properly.
Today though, I discovered a not-so-good combination of tasks to do at the one time when I decided to take photos whilst riding a push bike with Spencer balanced in a cane basket that was attached to the back of my bike...
Let's just say we were all very thankful that, despite me losing control of the bike and nearly crashing into a tree, we came off rather well with just some minor scratches, a few ants crawling on us and a bit of a fright!
What was I thinking?  Honestly, I don't know!

Anyway... in conjunction with the two days off I mentioned that Dave just had, an anonymous donor gave all the missionary kids some extra spending money this Christmas.  Our kids have had fun deciding how to allocate their funds between using it to bless others, saving some and planning the past two days of fun-filled adventure. (in light of it just being Christmas, we all agreed that it would be fun to spend some of the money on a family day).

Today was especially exciting as we headed off this morning to a special place called Horizon where you can ride your bikes around manicured gardens, feeding animals along the way, visiting man-made waterfalls and getting lost amongst the vast playground and garden mazes.

All our children fell asleep on the way home, so Dave and I also had some time to chill out before heading out to the new Giraffe Restaurant near our house for dinner, where our table was positioned to view the zebras and giraffes.  This was followed by a night-time pony ride and water/sound/light show.  I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. What a fantastic time we had today as a family.

As we head into the New Year, I am making a commitment that from now on, when I plan on multi-tasking, it will strictly be things like cuddling my children, laughing together and gazing happily around at each member of my precious family at the same time.  My multitasking will be appreciating them, loving them and getting to know them more each day.

Here are some photos from our fun day!












What about you?  What are you planning for the New Year? Any resolutions? Drop us a line and leave a comment below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Wonderland

It's winter here right now.  You could be convinced that it was going to snow by the latest fashion ear muffs, scarves and beanies in the stores, however, besides the {welcome} fresh mornings and the cooler nights; winter in Thailand is definitely my favorite time of the year.  The forecast this week is for 30 degrees every day and it's been the same for the past few weeks.  What's not to like about that?
I just realised that this is our third winter here! It's hard to believe.  When we arrived in January 2010 it was the end of winter, last Christmas we experienced our second winter and now here it is again- winter time!

I am loving the kids being on school holidays right now- not typically a holiday period for the Thai schools but most international schools have a two-week semester break.  I love not having to rush off to the school and preschool drop offs.  I love having the chance to see my children playing together and watching their development.  And I am also loving that we have been able to see the ZOE kids a lot more lately.

Tobi, Eli, Spencer and I went out to have lunch at ZOE today.  We arrived just in time for some delicious Japanese curry cooked by a visiting Japanese team.  And after filling up on a hearty meal, I sat in the sun watching the mixture of kids roll down grassy slopes, playing soccer and chasing {wrestling} each other until the dirt stains looked permanent and the grass through the hair signified a group that had definitely had some fun.

Both tomorrow and on Friday, Dave has the day off! Whoop, whoop!  That was part of a special present for the missionary kids to have their parents home for two days this week.  As, you can imagine, ours are very excited.  Sadly, we have to go to immigration early tomorrow morning but once that is over, the fun begins!  We have planned a fun-filled two days together.  Then on the weekend we will be spending time out at ZOE celebrating the coming of the New Year as well as some time on Sunday with the Japan team by having a pot-luck dinner at the Night Safari.  It's sure to be a exciting next few days.

And so as I sit here reflecting about another Christmas gone and a New Year just around the corner, I am already sensing that the next 12 months are going to be GREAT!  This weather is so refreshing and rejuvenating, and I am excited about what 2012 has in store.

By the way, thank you for all your Christmas messages.  They meant so much to us, each and every one.

Well, for now, I am off to snuggle in to bed {yes, I'd forgotten what that felt like} under my thin bedspread, enjoying the sensation of coldish feet and crisp air because (in the words of Annie) I know that:

The sun'll come out 
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar 
That tomorrow 
There'll be sun! 

Just thinkin' about
Tomorrow 
Clears away the cobwebs, 
And the sorrow 
'Til there's none! 

When I'm stuck a day 
That's gray, 
And lonely, 
I just stick out my chin 
And Grin, 
And Say, 
Oh! 

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow 
So ya gotta hang on 
'Til tomorrow 
Come what may 
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow! 
You're always
A day
A way!   

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Between Two Worlds

I'm thinking of the new mother who transitions from working long hours in the corporate world, to now finding herself changing nappies and wiping drool from the couch wondering, "Who am I now?"


The teenager whose parents see what he can be and yet when surrounded by his peers he loses his way, drawn in by the pressures to conform to that which is deemed 'acceptable'.


The expat who is overwhelmed with conflicting emotions- a passion for the foreign, exotic, unfamiliar and a wistful longing for home.


There are many instances in life where, for whatever reason, people find themselves caught up between two places, and not really fitting in to either of them.




Imagine for a moment the child who has not yet been rescued from a begging ring, a brothel or a life only knowing abandonment. Life as a victim of injustice, a recipient of treatment unimaginable and undeserving to anyone.  Where their life is not even their own because they were bought and their right to 'live' in freedom has been taken away.




Now turn your thoughts over to a newly rescued child. Imagine, just imagine, the feelings associated with finally being found... rescued and taken to a safe place.  What would it feel like to experience protection and LOVE, real... unconditional love... for the very first time?
Our traditions and our family rituals are a part of us, but this Christmas, would you say a prayer for our newly rescued children?  For their first Christmas experiencing peace, joy and freedom.
Let's celebrate these precious young lives ... rescued... renewed and now safe.  
No longer caught between two worlds but finally HOME.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Give This Christmas Away


I've been reflecting about Christmas lately and just how completely different December feels here.  There's no junk mail filled with tempting gift ideas shoved into the mail box. We don't have a television, so there are no ads proclaiming the newest 'thing' that we need.
And besides some random attempts by the big department stores to pretty things up with lights and a few Christmas trees, there's not too many other clues that Christmas is just around the corner.  
It also dawned on me that for several of our ZOE children, this will be their first experience of Christmas, ever!  
For the majority of Thai people, who are Buddhists, Christmas is not celebrated but rather the coming of the New Year.  At ZOE though, the excitement is building and the children are looking forward to not just what they can get, but just as much what they can give.  A huge outreach is planned for Christmas Eve where the ZOE families will pack goodie bags in the morning and then go delivering them to the houses in the local community later that day, giving away and sharing God's love.  And Christmas Day is going to be a huge celebration of the what this day signifies within the Christian faith.


Have you heard the song, Give This Christmas Away?  It's one that I really like and I've posted it below if you haven't heard it.
I'm continually challenged to fully grasp what this looks like for our family and how we can act upon it.  
The true meaning of Christmas, and what Jesus' birth means to us, prompts me to ask how can I give back, focussing on the most important gift of all.
I definitely haven't "arrived" in this area, but I would like to share some of the ways that I'm attempting to give this Christmas away and get my children learning how to do it also.  AND I am hoping that you'll join in and add some of your good ideas in the comment box below.  


Okay so these are the easiest ways that I've found so far:
1. Buy an extra pressie.
Choose a tag off one of those Christmas trees set up at your local shops or school that requires you to buy a gift for a child of a particular age/ sex etc.  This year we picked a little boy about Tobi's age who needed a new school bag.  
Result: This can be a great conversation starter for discussing needs verses wants, and a reflection on what other children do or don't have in comparison. 


2. Against the odds.
I wasn't going to buy Christmas cards this year (opting just to email or post out our Christmas letter) however I had the opportunity to purchase some from a friend who, in her spare time, works with an orphaned, HIV girl to teach her card making skills.  My friend was helping to sell the girl's cards for her.  I felt so happy to be able to support her in this small way and I scored some beautiful hand-made cards!
Result: Win-win!


3. Life goes on
As you know there is still so much to do to rebuild the lives of those affected by the recent Bangkok floods so our church gave us a list of everyday grocery items that we could buy to make bags and send to those still requiring relief in certain areas.  I love to shop, so I found it fun searching for the items on the list like sardines in tomato paste {ew} and other practical items like mosquito repellant, oil, rice, fish sauce, noodles, soap, toothpaste, sugar etc.
Photo taken by Tobi!
Result: I bought three lots of everything and left it up to my three children to pack one bag each.  I was able to talk about why we were helping as we packed and Eliana even went and drew some pictures to put in the bags too! 


4. Buy fair trade  
This is talked about often so I won't go into it too much.  When you have the option, make a choice that gives farmers a fair price and help in community development projects.  Over here, I found some Akha Ama coffee beans to give as presents that are produced by local entrepreneurs supporting Akha communities and encouraging farmers to put more efforts in sustainable and organic agriculture. The Akhas belong to an indigenous group living in the highlands of Thailand.   We also buy coffee beans from one of the ZOE staff members here whose grandfather has a coffee planation that Dave has actually been to.  And we have a small range of fair trade chocolate too which makes great "teacher" presents.
Result: Supporting local traders and communities so that they can strengthen and continue to achieve sustainable farming.  


5. Buy handmade. 
At the risk of spoiling the surprise for certain members of my family by disclosing what I have bought them, I found some great items in a little shop over here (similar to the Oxfam shop) that sells handmade items by local hill tribe people.  In buying products from this shop which includes clothes, bed covers, jewelry, silverware, musical instruments, and dolls made by Thailand’s six hill tribes, it helps to support artisans from the hill tribes to earn an income.
Result: Profits from BPP & Hill Tribe go to support hill tribe villages and to the Border Patrol Police school students and their families.

6. Get involved! 
Help out/ support/ attend your local carols.  In our local area, Tobi's school puts on a wonderful carols service every year and everyone from the school community pitches in by baking and supplying hot cocoa etc and the whole event: food, entertainment ... everything is opened up and offered for free to our Thai neighbours that live around the school.
Result: Building relationships, being generous, seeking to live in harmony and strengthen our community.


7. Buy local.
When possible, we like to buy from the person in the street.  This year with one gift idea, we were able to buy most of what we needed from a little Thai lady in a market stall at our local market.  Think about where you buy so that, when possible, your helping the people doing business locally and showing your support.
Result: Strengthening local businesses.


8. Share the load.
It often takes a lot of work to give out and provide for a large number of people (we sure know about that here) but it doesn't seem so hard when lots of people contribute.  The little Christmas stockings filled with candy and hanging on the Christmas tree at ZOE have been filled by several of the volunteer families here. Each family contributes just a little bit, and when we all pool together...
Result: A lovely little treat for the ZOE kids to enjoy over Christmas!


9. Out with the old. 
Go through your children's clothes and toys with them (before Christmas) and assist them with choosing some of their toys to donate to a community group that works with children, to either provide for or sell these items to fund their work.  
Result: A great chance to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for but also to think about not just giving away out of our excess.  Encourage children not to just give away what is broken, dirty, worn or outgrown.  This is very challenging!


10. Invest
It's so easy to get 'stuck' in our Christmas traditions that have become so comfortable and easy.  Have you thought about investing your time on Christmas day into an elderly neighbour with nowhere else to go, a single mother or the family that just migrated away from another country? 
Christmas is a time when you have a great opportunity to connect and share with someone around you and get the chance to make sure no-one is alone.
Despite not being with my family back in Australia during this special time, I am glad that I have such a big family here to join with on Christmas Day.  I am definitely being changed, stretched and challenged and I will continue to keep thinking about this concept some more.  Please share your ideas too so that we can all have a big list to remind us.
Enjoy the song!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas~ My Thai Version!


Okay, so who says we can't have a little bit of fun on this blog?  I'm feeling Christmassy so come, gather around the piano and sing along to my Thai version of the 12 Days of Christmas!  And if you don't normally receive our family's Christmas newsletter and you would like to, click on the link to the left and send me a quick email and I'll send you one.
Are you ready? Here we go.

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a kingfisher in a mangrove tree.


On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree.


On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree.


Banana roti (thin pancake)
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree.


Loi Krathong Festival
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 


BBQ pork skewers 
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, six muu-ping skewers.  Five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 

Thai school children
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me, seven children wai-ing, six muu-ping skewers.

Five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 

Tuk tuks
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, eight crazy tuk tuks, seven children wai-ing, six muu-ping skewers.
Five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 

Khantoke dinner, fingernail dance
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, nine dainty dancers, eight crazy tuk tuks, seven children wai-ing, six muu-ping skewers.
Five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 


Fish spa: the garra rufa fish feed off
the deal skin cells
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, ten fish-a-feeding, nine dainty dancers, eight crazy tuk tuks, seven children wai-ing, six muu-ping skewers.
Five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me eleven ice creams meltingten fish-a-feeding, nine dainty dancers, eight crazy tuk tuks, seven children wai-ing, six muu-ping skewers.
Five glowing lanterns!
Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree. 

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, twelve {million} motorbikes...
eleven ice creams melting, ten fish-a-feeding, nine dainty dancers, eight crazy tuk tuks, seven children wai-ing, s
ix muu-ping skewers.  Five glowing lanterns!  Four banana rotis, three friendly geckos, two elephants and a kingfisher in a mangrove tree.  Phew!

Yay! It's almost Christmas!!!  
Here's the kids posing in front of our beautiful {fake} tree.


Have a great week, Andie

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thai Father's Day~ King's Birthday Celebrations.

A huge Thai Happy Father's Day to all the ZOE fathers.  You do an amazing job facing the challenges of parenting- especially since the children in your care have come from so many difficult and traumatic situations.  Your patience and your commitment to these children just amazes me!  You truly are everyday heroes.
December 5th marks the 84th birthday of His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand and the longest-serving monarch in the world.
If you've been to Thailand you'll know how much the Thai people love their king. The King's Birthday is also Father's Day here and a public holiday.
Yesterday Dave, and most of the other volunteers from the ZOE Children's Home, attended a special parade and concert organized by the Assembly of People of All Nations Who Love the King in Chiang Mai together with some other 117 organizations.
Participants were requested to wear either a national costume (see photos of Dave in his Akubra hat) or to wear pink to honor HM the King for his 84th birthday. All nationalities were invited to participate in the event.  
After the parade, there was a candle lighting ceremony, singing and a display of fireworks and floating lanterns (see video below). The rest of the evening saw performances by local bands and singers, both Thai and foreign, as everyone joined in to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his birthday.






Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Time To Share.

I was reading an article the other day which reminded me, again, of why we are here.
It was describing a recent raid on a massage parlor in Chantaburi province, here in Thailand where 67 Burmese women and girls (37 of them were under 18) were rescued after a tip-off from Somaly Mam Foundation’s partner in Vietnam and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). The women's rights organisation reported that the girls had been coerced into working as prostitutes. An investigation discovered that the women had been lured into the sex trade by a trafficker.  They all faced debt bondage and were never let out of the parlor.

Unfortunately this story is too common and even worse are the cases of the children and women that have not yet been freed. 
If you haven't read The Road of Lost Innocence, I encourage you to do so as well as buy a copy for a friend for Christmas.  Her life story is truly inspirational.
From her website, Somaly Mam Foundation: Somaly was forced to work in a brothel along with other children, she was brutally tortured and raped on a daily basis. One night, she was made to watch as her best friend was viciously murdered. Fearing she would meet that same fate, Somaly heroically escaped her captors and set about building a new life for herself. She vowed never to forget those left behind and has since dedicated her life to saving victims and empowering survivors.
Just like Somaly Mam, our team at the ZOE Children's Homes is committed to caring for orphans, or victims of other heinous crimes and abuse, as well as rescuing children who are at-risk of being sold into slavery or have already been sold.
ZOE exists to combat the trafficking of children globally, especially in the sex trade, and provide shelters as well as loving homes to these orphans and children who have been abused or who are at-risk of any crime against them so that they can have life again.

Throughout this busy Christmas season, spare a thought for the little children who need fighting for and are waiting to be rescued.
You have the potential to share what ZOE is doing with an audience that we cannot reach- your friends, family, work colleagues, sports team, mother's group, church, school and neighbourhood.
You can create awareness about the atrocities of human trafficking, child trafficking and modern day slavery.
You can address these issues through your Facebook page, your blog, your local newspapers or any other link you have to mass media.
If you've been moved {at all} by the work going on to fight human trafficking and care for children. If you've seen, read, heard or experienced something that has affected you, then please share your experience with others.
It's as good a time as any.  Click on the link below {under the three little photos} and raise awareness about this important issue TODAY. 
Thank you,
Andie.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ebenezer... and I'm not referring to Scrooge!

What a wonderful weekend!
I hope that you had one too.
We celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday with the other ZOE missionary families and had a really fun day.


After church today we enjoyed the only benefit of having a plastic Christmas tree {yes, still grieving} and that is being able to spontaneously decide to get it out and decorate it without any prior planning!

So I've been thinking today about a song we sang in church today, a hymn which I'd never heard before (not unusual) called 'Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing'. 
Well, when it got to verse 2, and the words were "Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come..." I felt a little bit confused. What on earth was it talking about?

I was so glad when the visiting speaker volunteered the information during his sermon and his explanation, combined with me doing some further reading when I got home, had me pondering this really interesting word.

You can read more about it yourself in 1 Samuel 7:12-14 but the word "Ebenezer" comes from Hebrew which literally means a "Stone of Help."

Samuel publicly dedicated the stone as a monument to God's help and faithfulness. And as the people got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way, a reminder of judgment and repentance, mercy and restoration.
"Ebenezers" might be something like a cross, a picture, a prayer journal or a song. Things which serve to remind us of God’s love, presence and assistance.

This Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to God for the wonderful "Ebenezers" that God has given me in my life.  I want to continue to share these with my children so that they too will grow up knowing just how much God cares for them too. 
I'm looking forward to my kids being strong enough readers to be able to go back through this blog and relive all the answers to prayers and 'help' God has given our family.  
I know when I get moments to read back through, I am reminded of God's faithfulness, provision and promises every time. 

Have a great week,
Andie :)

Samuel was a wise and godly man with a good idea. He recognized something that's true about human nature—we're forgetful. At Ebenezer, Israel could stand next to that big old rock and remind themselves, "Yes, we serve a living and faithful God, whose mercies are everlasting."  
Charles Lehardy 

What "Ebenezers" do you have in place to remind you of God's help and faithfulness?  Have you come through a difficulty recently that has you standing in a place right now where you finally feel hopeful again? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Never EVER Too Young!

I sat at my computer feeling disheartened today. With close to 200 emails that needed attending to, whether to just be deleted or replied to; I just didn't know where to begin. 
I had a small window of opportunity while my youngest two had a "rest" {yeah, right} and the outcome ended up being fairy unsuccessful. 
As I sat staring at the screen, cursor hovering over the emails that needed the most urgent attention, my eyes fell upon an unopened email in my mailbox from a high school student back in Australia.
I opened it and began reading with interest:
We would like to say a huge thank-you for all the support you gave us as we ran the 'Love Life, Love ZOE' campaign.  This fundraiser has now reached it's conclusion, and we have received an impressive response. As well as raising money, we have also managed to raise an awareness of Human Trafficking in homegroups, and inspire students to continue fighting modern day slavery (through buying Fair Trade etc.).
We would like to say a huge thank-you for all the support you gave us as we ran the 'Love Life, Love ZOE' campaign.
Know that our prayers are with you, and we hope the money we have raised will make a difference in the lives of the children. Please use it where ever you feel led. We would love to see the money continuing your work at ZOE's and helping to rescue more children from human trafficking. (To see actual amount, see attached photo- we're clearly very excited about it!! )
We hope and pray the money will be able to touch many lives and make a huge difference :)
God bless you all, and keep up the good work!


 

Here's to a group of teenagers that will NOT be told they're too young to make a difference!  By the way the final amount they raised for the ZOE Children's Homes was a whopping $7459, just incase you missed the big signs they're holding up!  AMAZING!
What an extraordinary testament to their character and persistence. 
I love seeing and hearing examples of a generation who knows how to fight for what's right!
Flashing back, our visit to this school, on our last trip back to Australia, was the last 'event' that we had booked to speak at. We had left Spencer (our 2 year-old) at Dave's parent's house vomiting and we were leaving to fly back to Thailand the following day. 
After a month of appointments, speaking engagements, business meetings and catch-ups, Dave was particularly exhausted by this stage and I was praying hard for God's strength and energy for him as he spoke to the audience of a few hundred youth. 
After the presentation a couple of the girls approached us with their teacher and were eager to talk about how they could do some fundraising for ZOE. It was so inspiring to see their enthusiasm and passion.
After a few weeks of being back in Thailand, we received an email explaining how a small group of students had launched, what would be, a phenomenal fundraiser for ZOE.
Here's what they did:
At their weekly worship/prayer meeting at school, they committed their time to praying for the ZOE Children's Home.  
The meeting was advertised as "People Snatchers and a God who catches". It also advertised a free lunch (great tactic, I thought, for any hungry teens).  At the meeting, two students led an opening bracket of praise and prayer, followed by another student who spoke about her vision. They then showed a powerful 'anti - trafficking' DVD clip and then served each student that came a cup of warm rice to eat. (That was the 'free' lunch and was arranged to enable students to identify with others among the world's poor who have to make a range of difficult choices in order to merely survive). 
One of the students who has actually visited ZOE then talked about the ZOE Children's Home and gave a compelling talk to the other 60 - 70 students at the meeting. They also showed the "ZOE" promotional clip and broke up into smaller groups to pray for the children at ZOE's as well as the wider issue of orphans and human trafficking. 
They then went on to compete as home-rooms to see which group could collect the most 2 dollar coins= fundraising tubes and end up as the winning group!  What a great competition!
Thanks Maranatha!  You are just AMAZING!!!



I would also like to mention another school who, for the second year, collected two-dollar coins in the ZOE fundraising tubes.  Flinders Christian Community College outdid their huge effort from 2010 by raising {drumroll please} a massive $2257 this year!
And, I am talking about Prep- Grade 2 students now! WOW!
Don't you think their teachers are doing an incredible job of instilling in to these young minds and hearts how to show love and compassion for other children... children they've never even met?  Well, I do.  These two stories have left me with nothing else to say other than quoting these two verses:

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
John 13:34 NIV

What do you think?  Have you got a word of encouragement for these children and teens?  If so, leave a comment and I'll be sure to pass it on.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Year of Harvest- Reflecting Back

This is just like reading back through my journal and flipping through the pages of memories of months gone by and being reminded of all there is to be thankful for.
Continuing on with my "Thanksgiving" theme from yesterday, here's some highlights from my year just gone... And some of the things that I am grateful for:
Just being loved, even when I'm being {a bit} unlovely.  
The gals from Rockford who made me laugh.
Rainbows after the rain.
Mothers. Moms. Mums. Mae.
Visiting home (our Australian one).
Birthdays! Birthdays! Birthdays! Coffee.... and more birthdays!
And some good old school holiday fun.


What are some of the things you're most grateful for this year? 
Do share!!
thankful for: getting our washing machine fixed!

thankful for: protection during the floods

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrating the Harvest

I'm excited!  It's nearly Thanksgiving Day.

Okay, I know it must seem odd.  An Australian living in Thailand and getting excited about an American holiday, right?

But when we moved here, we not only found ourselves landing, smack bang in the middle of the Thai culture and customs but a also a sub-culture of American volunteers who we work closely alongside.

And this is how we end up; with a blend of Australian, Thai and American celebrations sprinkled throughout the year.  What a privilege to have such an interesting and diverse place to live.

I imagine that reaping a harvest is not always easy, especially in conditions where harsh and unpredictable weather affects the outcome.


It is evident from just driving around during the planting and harvesting seasons here in Thailand, just how labor intensive the method and process rice production is.  Rice farmers very carefully plan their harvest and they need to know the exact time to drain the rice field and to harvest the rice. 


But when it comes time to harvest, to gather together and collect what they had spent so much time sowing in to... what had been such hard work...

then, there can be celebration!

And so as Thanksgiving draws nearer, and I am "googling" recipes and wondering what to make, I also begin to question, what is my "harvest"?  

What is it that I look back on from the past 12 months that I have been working on, planting, watering, praying for, putting effort in to, waiting for?

What "harvest" am I celebrating?



And so, my harvest is not wheat, seaweed, grapes or rice.
My harvest is my relationship with God.
My marriage.
My three children.
My family.
My friends.
My contribution to ZOE and stopping child trafficking.
My fitness and health.

These are the areas that I am working on.  
These are the things that I spend my time pouring in to, pursuing, fixing, loving on, supporting, correcting, mending, repairing and improving.

These things are what I want to celebrate this Thanksgiving.  

Is the season of planting easy?

Not all the time.  Sometimes it's back-breaking work to get up early enough to have a quiet time, to set aside time just to listen, to continually correct and discipline, to keep in touch across the seas, to make a difference, to go for that walk or to make a healthy choice... but ...  I will see a harvest.  I may not fully see it yet.  
But it will come.  And I am thankful for that.


What's your harvest?  Leave a comment!