Saturday, July 30, 2011

That's NOT Fair!

The concept of fairness has really had me thinking lately. Following a series of conversations with close friends and my children's words,"That's not fair", ringing in my ears... I've been on a quest to figure it out... in my own mind.  Where do I stand on the issue of fairness and how does it fit in to our family?
One thing I know from having three children is that despite them all having the same mum and dad, they are all completely different from one another. Although they do share a likeness in their appearance, they like different foods, they have different temperaments and there is no "one" way to parent them because they all respond differently to behavioral discipline and rewards.  
As embarrassing as this sounds, the first words to escape my mouth when one of my kids says, "That's not fair" are often "Well, life's not fair!"  But how do I explain that concept to my 5, 4 and 2 year old when so much of the other time, I am cutting 'equal' pieces of cake, dishing out the same number of crackers and making sure that what one gets, the others do too?
The problem is, that when one of my children misses out on something that the other one got, they feel unjustly treated. How do they learn to cope when they're not invited to a party that their sibling is, or when their sister gets a lolly bag and they don't?  If they think that life has to be fair, then aren't they being set up for constant disappointment and frustration?
I'm wondering, if society has swung too far on the 'fairness' pendulum by creating situations where every child is a winner, all the kids get a trophy and nobody fails?  
I love this quote from, "Aim for equity rather than for equality. Equity means that all children have comparable opportunities to be loved and appreciated and to have their needs met. Equity does not mean that all children are treated the same way. As you know, no two children are the same, and there’s no reasonable rationale for treating them as if they were".  
It goes on to explain that as alternative, we could teach our children that we are not attempting to treat them equally because different children have different needs.  
We can explain, I am trying to address your needs. I am not trying to be fair or make things even. Tell me what you need, and let's talk about seeing if we can make it happen for you.
But even this seems idealistic to me. Fine for the family that has the means to provide for their children's needs but what about the 1.7 billion people who are estimated to live in absolute poverty today?
It's not fair when children are born in to families where they aren't cared for, or when teenage girls are sold to brothels, or that little boys have to steal food just to keep their younger siblings alive or that some children have no food to eat night after night...
On is says, "The Bible reveals only three instances in which the word fair, meaning equal or same, is used, and each time it is terms of how humans should treat other people fairly. In all of these instances, God was not calling for equal treatment, but merely that we would follow the Golden rule to do unto others as we would have them do unto us".
This leaves me with both a lot to think about and a lot to communicate with my own children.  I need to figure out how we do life in an unfair world, how can I bless my children evenly but not necessarily at the same time and in the same way... and how we help those around us that are born (or find themselves) in unfair situations.   

What's your thoughts? Are you someone who is feeling the pressure to be "fair"?  What do you say to your kids?  What else can parents do to help their kids avoid the trap of thinking that life will always be fair?

I'm adding this video too, food for thought!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

26 days

It's amazing what can be fitted in to 26 days.  
That's what we just had in Australia and it was a FUN!
We fitted in 6 night-time catch-ups, 5 churches, 4 small groups, 3 schools (2 secondary and 1 primary) plus almost every other day and night seeing family and friends... it was really special.
Okay, so we're just a tad exhausted but it was so worth it and the only bit I would've changed if I could've was our little Spencer coming down with a vomiting thing the day before we left!! It caused a little bit of concern but thankfully he had pulled up well enough to travel and it was all okay!!
Thank you to everyone who came and heard us share around the place, you were such an encouragement to us and we have returned with our love tanks full and our refrigerator also stocked with Cadbury which should last us a little while!
We are already missing those Australian accents, big hugs, meat pies and fish 'n chips but we know that we will be okay and that it just makes us all the more eager looking forward to when we come back next time.

Well, I'm not sure what time my body clock is saying that it is but I do know that I need sleep.

I'll have more to update about what's been happening at ZOE Children's Homes in the past month as well as a few more reflections about our fabulous trip in Australia.

Signing out... Andie:)

PS We love your comments and feedback!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Castle

"What'd you call this love?"
"A meat pie".
"And it's got something on it..."
"Tomato sauce".
"Tomato sauce! Looks like everybody's kicked a goal". 

My name is Andrea Cross and this is my story...

Do you remember that 1997 movie, The Castle?  Most of the Australians reading this blog probably will.
Well, one of the most precious things about being home in Australia has been spending time with both Dave's, and my, parents in their "castles".  
Now I'm not calling them castles because they have moats, thick walls or towers but I am referring to the dictionary meaning that says a castle is, "A place of privacy, security, or refuge".
We've had a busy, jam-packed schedule this past month and if we hadn't had our parent's homes to come back to (some times very late at night), it would've been a completely different trip.   The moments of refuge and rest, for us, have made the difference between a good trip back and an absolutely FANTASTIC trip.  We just love our parents so much and they have been so incredibly wonderful to us!  The five of us have made some precious memories and enjoyed the unique characteristics of both the 'Lewis' and 'Cross' families.
Just like Darryl Kerrigan in The Castle, we too have made many compliments for our mother's cooking- especially their efforts to include as many of our favourite dishes as physically possible in such a short space of time!!  
Our kids have also accumulated various treasures that would be going "straight to the pool room"... if we had one!!
So, to our mums and dads, you haven't let us down. 
"I don't know what the opposite of lettin' someone down is... but you've done the opposite".
Thank you!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Everyone has a photographic memory… some just don’t have film.

And that would be me!!  Hahaha. My memory is shocking!

So, how is it that I find myself away on holidays and I having barely taken any photographs?  I guess because so much of our life in Thailand is photographed (and blogged about) that it feels kinda nice to just simply "be".

Sometimes, I think, beautiful moments of play, interaction, humour or affection can be spoilt once the camera comes out.

And so, with only about ten days remaining, I apologise because I have no amazing pictures to share with you and yet we are having the most wonderful time.

Okay so here's our family's top ten things we are really loving about being back in Australia:

1.  Spending time with family and close friends.
2.  The food: meat pies, good tasting fish and chips, Barbeque Shapes, Cadbury chocolate, yummy Australian home-cooked meals... (this list goes on and on LOL)
3.  Understanding the language!
4.  Some sleep-ins!  (It's gets light at 5.30am in Chiangmai!)
5.  Looking through the shops... and being able to read the labels and the signs!!
6.  For Dave, watching the Australian football.
7.  Seeing friend's new houses, renovations, new babies and catching up on all their news.
8.  Blending in and looking (relatively) "normal".
9.  Open fires, carpeted floors, hot drinks, snuggling in warm pajamas...
10. Being spoilt with love!

Thank you to our amazing family and friends. We feel so overwhelmed with your hospitality, kindness and generosity.  We are really enjoying seeing you and will cherish these last 10 days, each and every second... I might even try to get a few happy snaps before we head back too!! 

Andie :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

ZOE Children's Home? Why?

If you've never heard about how Dave and I found ourselves living overseas, volunteering at a children's home and doing 'life' in a completely different way to what we'd imagined... Read About- How It All Began.

I believe that we have a responsibility to reflect God's heart to the poor and less fortunate.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…defend the rights of the poor and needy." Prov. 31:8-9.
I continue to be amazed at how God is bringing forth His plan for our lives and how He is providing wonderful people to assist us in such practical ways.

Thank you so much to those who have been willing to support us with your finances, your prayers and your practical assistance.

We feel truly grateful and a little overwhelmed at how God orchestrates everything just as we need it.

I’m reminded of that High School Musical song “We’re all in this together..” LOL but seriously there are so many different aspects to making change happen and making a difference.  

Don’t ever think that just because you’re not on the “front line”, that what you’re contributing is not as important.  That is just not true.

By showing your support you’ve become passionate about making a difference in the lives of children. 
Is it easy? Not always. 
Is it time-consuming? Yes. 
Will you be put out of your comfort zone? Probably. 
Does it come at a cost? Yes. 
Is it worth it? Most definitely!
I read somewhere the other day that instead of being discouraged by the size of the task, we should be encouraged by the limitless power of God.  
Thank you for joining us in fighting for these children.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Half Way Through Our Trip Back...

Many people have asked us when and where we will be sharing about our work at the ZOE Children's Home while we are back.  

We are so happy to have been asked to share at schools, small groups and churches as well as spending precious time with our supporters, family and friends.

Here's where we'll be sharing/ visiting on the weekends:

Bayside Church                 Sunday July 3rd         
(Big Buddies children's ministry)

Berwick Baptist                Sunday July 10th        
(Sharing at the morning service)   

Antioch House Church      Sunday July 17th    
(Sharing at the morning service)
Winepress                        Saturday July 23rd      
(Sharing at the night-time service)        

Village Church, Dingley    Sunday July 24th                
(Sharing at the morning service)                 

We'd love to see you there!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Have You Checked Out the ZOE Children's Home Blog yet?

Well, if you haven't... now is your chance!

Check out the latest post "Keeping Culture Alive".

This new blog is a great place to go and read all about the recent activities and events occurring at the children's home from camp updates, missions trips, latest news, child trafficking statistics and information regarding child sponsorship.

ZOE Children’s Homes is dedicated to ensuring that our children know their culture. 
We encourage our house parents and staff to pass down to the children the customs,
history and traditions of their people.

Andie :)

**The Cross Family are currently in Australia.  To hear David and Andrea share about their work at the ZOE Children's Homes, their current speaking engagements (open to the public) are listed HERE.
They are also speaking at various schools and small groups.  
To enquire about their availability email:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mu Ping... Australian Style!

My mum and dad are so sweet.  Knowing that we might miss some of the tastes from our Thailand home when we were back, my mum had been perfecting the process of making 'sticky rice' for weeks in anticipation of our arrival.  
Well, she has it mastered now and we have been really grateful for the effort she's gone to, to appease (especially Spencer, Dave and Eli's) rice cravings.  Mind you, Tobi and I haven't been refusing it either!

Yesterday morning we were spoilt, once again, with not only sticky rice for breakfast but "mu ping" our favourite road-side breakfast treat in Thailand.
Dad rugged up in about 4 jackets and withstood 100 km/hour icy, cold winds to crank up the barbeque and get the pork skewers cooked  to an authentic "mu ping" taste.
And what was the verdict?
Delicious! And not a scrap left-over.

They had recreated our favourite breakfast perfectly!!
I think Spencer's face says it all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

We Made It!

We are so grateful to be here in Australia.  Our flights were smooth and our children all travelled really well this time... yay!
We are enjoying catching up with our family and friends as well as sampling many of the tastes from home.
Dave particularly enjoyed digging into his mum's delicious lamb roast on the day we got back...

We spent the morning out at Bayside Church this morning out in one of the kid's church rooms teaching a Thai song, sharing stories and letting the kids try on some Thai clothing.

We are looking forward to the next week with more family catch-ups and some time to relax.  We will try to keep you posted over the next few weeks.  To see where we'll be speaking, click here!

Take care,