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Saturday, October 27, 2012

All-Boy


A quick post to say Happy 4th Birthday Spencer.
For those of you who don't know our little Spencer (aka Roo, Roosy, Roo-man or Spenceroony), he... is... so... much... fun.
He brings happiness and laughter to our family.  
And I'm so glad God chose me to be his mum.
It is an absolute joy.
Here's a few quick facts about Spencer:

  • He has an extremely long tongue (to the point where it can and does go up his nose- eww) 
  • He is rough and tough.  LOVES physical contact- any kind will do.
  • I'm not sure if it's because he's the baby of our family, but when he looks at me with his bright bluey-green eyes, my heart literally melts.
  • He LOVES the color green (his preschool teachers will testify to that).
  • Singing and dancing are two of his favorite things to do and the bigger the audience the better!
  • He is your stereotypical "all-boy": sweaty, dirty, active, destructive and athletic (oh, and covered in bruises!)
And, last one... 

  • He loves to eat fish eyes!
And there you have it.  To see some pictures from his DINOSAUR birthday party, CLICK HERE!!

Andie x 



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There's A Battle Going On

On our living room floor!
You could be forgiven for thinking it's my three children fighting.
I admit, that has been known to happen from time to time... but very rarely of course! {eh-hem}
But, no, this battle has been raging on and off for the past few days  and it involves little, plastic, army soldiers.
Tobi recently bought a pack of "army" toys containing soldiers, tanks, flags, camouflage and lots of other bits and pieces, with his own money.  
I was slightly hesitant at first as to whether he would even play with his new toys (this is the first of this type he's been interested in) but I have since been amazed at how all three kids have spent so much time setting up their armies, planning out their battles and organizing their equipment.
Honestly, there's a part of me (due to my peace-loving nature) that wants to shield my children from playing "fighting" games.
I like games where Eliana gets out all her toys and dolls, sets up the chalk board and pretends to be the teacher.  I enjoy card games, craft, Little People or ponies...
But recently I have been challenged by the fact that actually we all do battle every day- in some way or another.
For some, it's for basic survival needs.  
Other people battle with their spouse on a continual basis.  
And still others, have to fight for many freedoms that I know I often take for granted. 
It does my head in to think that while my small children are playing army men on our carpet rug, other children their ages {not that far away} are fleeing burnt down homes, running from land mines and trying to find safety; fighting just to stay alive.
In hospital wards all around the world, children battle cancers and other life-threatening illnesses every single day and then in many African villages the walk just to retrieve fresh water requires more effort than most of us care to think about.
And then I thought about Dave and I... about all of us who work for ZOE.  We fight a battle every day too.  
A fight for those who can't fight for themselves.
And it made me think.  There are good things to fight for.  

In the Bible, Paul tells us to “compete in the good fight of faith.” For Christians, fighting doesn’t mean proving our strength by hurting others. 

The “fight” that Paul talks about involves standing up for what we believe in and value, striving to be the people God calls us to be, and persevering in the face of whatever challenges come our way.  

You gotta know, there are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world right now. Of those trafficked across international borders, it is believed that half are under the age of 18 years old.

It's just NOT right.

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.   

And it doesn't just happen in Thailand.
It happens in Australia, in America... it happens everywhere!

There is a battle going on and I encourage you to get involved and join us in this fight...to end human trafficking in our generation.


Australians click here.
Americans click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts

Well it's Thursday night. Or early Friday morning if you're in Australia.
I should be in bed.
Should.
But my besty is away.
And so I find myself pottering.  Maybe wishing I had that chair pictured above to sip hot tea and read a bit more of all the books I've started but never finished! 
Dave's gone away for a two night, three day trip with the ZOE youth this week.
He was very excited before he left... acting quite like an excitable teenager himself (but trapped in an aging body). LOL.  It was very funny.
He was put in charge of the outdoor games... sound like something he'd be in to? Oh yeah!  His been practicing his ideas on us the past few weeks!
And just as the ZOE kids camp program begins to wind up, our three children begin their first term break.  Tobi is finished already and Eli and Spencer have just one more day.  
Eliana working hard at her homework.
Tobi and I are looking forward to being "helpers" in Eliana's classroom tomorrow and staying for Chapel (a highlight of the week).  Spencer is also very much looking forward to taking some birthday cupcakes along to preschool as his birthday is in the break.  
He'll be sharing tomorrow's celebration with Miss Rachael, one of his teachers.
I am currently working on a very cute dinosaur themed party for his fourth birthday (and trying to keep within a budget).  It will be fun to have some more visitors at our new home. and we've also invited the 2 Thai children from our street.
Well, I really should go to bed.
It's been a lovely week so far.  I had both Eliana and Tobi's teacher-parent conferences and I left bursting with happiness.  
As a parent, my children are a joy to me- not because of any achievement or test result they get but for who they are.
I already know how hard they've tried, the areas they've improved in and the challenges they've faced but what was so great was to be a part of these meetings which clearly showed that they are both a part of school communities that care for their needs and are partnering with us to nurture and guide their paths.
And on that note, I will take myself off to bed... alone but secretly hoping I get some little friends come and snuggle in.

Whoop whoop!  One day left.  I can feel school break coming on already!
Am I ready for this?  You betcha!   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

Ever have those days when things just feel wonderful?
When my alarm went off this morning, I awoke feeling happy and refreshed.  I had two little friends who had quietly sneaked in during the wee early hours of the morning and now snuggled me closely and no real plans for the day (the ZOE kids have school holidays at the moment, so no English teaching for me).  
I tiptoed downstairs to make Dave a coffee and bring it to him in bed followed close behind by Eliana who wanted to make the boys a babycino.
She chatted to me about her dreams and I felt an overwhelming sense of love for this little family that God has placed me in.
When Spencer awoke, he was excited to recap the details of his final doctor's check-up last night for his fractured elbow.  He's been given the all-clear and doesn't even need his sling any more!  We have one excited boy at the moment.  Funnily enough, he started eating his breakfast with his left hand and then soon realized he could go back to using his right hand again.

Here's the results:
The night he broke it.
(Below) Getting the plaster reinforced, to which the doctor was heard muttering "I just don't think we can make it strong enough for Spencer!" Hahaha.
Getting the plaster taken off.  Spencer couldn't stop giggling as he's very ticklish.  The doctor was surprised because he said most children scream just from the noise of the machine.

And... this morning.  No plaster, no bandage, no sling!  Whowhoo!
Another proud achievement recently was Dave getting his motorbike license.  Go Dave!  
FYI I have had a few little rides on the bike, in safe areas, away from the general public, and let's just say... it's going to be a little while yet before I will be confident enough to go on the main roads or go for my license.  I'll keep you posted!

Oh yer, and we finally celebrated Tobi's 7th birthday.  It was a bit overdue but there was pizza, presents and party bags and lots of other things starting with 'P' so it was all good.

BUT, what is it that really makes this Wednesday so wonderful?  
Well, I just gotta say, getting to know God is the most amazing thing.  To be on this journey of seeking Him and getting to understand Him more is so, so humbling but also so incredibly wonderful.  If you don't yet know God, He is so different from any conception you may have of Him, whatever it is. In fact, one of the names God is known by in the Bible is “I AM WHO I AM”. In other words, it is impossible to find any comparison to Him. The strongest, wisest, holiest, most loving and compassionate person on earth does not even come close to comprehending how great God is.
Wednesday is a wonderful day for thanksgiving and praise.

Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Joy Oh Joy

Sometimes the only words that come to my mind after a week like this week are...

back. at. the. doctors. again. surely. not.


Actually, the past month has been an eventful one that’s for sure.
After moving house, guests here, a small Australian team mixed in with one fractured elbow, a bout of food poisoning, painful throat infection and then all three children getting a nasty fever-thing and being unwell for several days each (separately) and being up at the local hospital to see doctors for Spencer x 5 visits (so far) for his elbow, Tobi x 3 visits (food poisoning), Eliana x1 long visit (suspected flu... 3.5 hours in waiting area) and me x1 visit (throat infection).
So, when Spencer got sick this last time, I just couldn't bring myself to go back again and opted for a "sometimes-mums-just-know-what's-best" diagnosis and got antibiotics over the counter from the local pharmacy (does that make me a bad person?)

Through it all though, there has been a continued sense of God’s peace and love for our family.  And I certainly have had lots of time to hang out with each of my precious children!  
Seriously, it's all good!

That was until...

Only a few days ago, when our Internet cut out.  
We realized that we had not yet received a bill at this new house.  Coupled with that, I had attempted {unsuccessfully} to pay our electricity bill and when I finally went to do it, it was over due- meaning that we’d have to go to the electricity office to pay it (and not just 7-11).  
Unfortunately the office shut at 3pm so we’d have to wait till the next day as well as finding out where our closest office actually was (since we’ve moved to a different area now).  
Dave had to visit City Hall yesterday (something to do with his work permit) but happened to pop back home for a minute only to bump into the electricity man, poised and ready to cut our electricity off!  
Hmmm is this sounding vaguely familiar?
Anyhoo, with the electricity bill all sorted (phew) and the family all on the mend, I felt like I just needed one more thing to complete my happiness- the Internet back on!  
It’s one of those things that you never really realize how much you rely on it until it’s gone.  That recipe you need to Google, the medical illness you need to self-diagnose, the friend you need to email for their birthday, the Skype call you want to make to your parents... not to mention checking Facebook for an update on all the exciting things happening in other people's lives. Right?

But you know what? Not. Right.
I'd temporarily forgotten.  I actually didn't need the Internet to complete, or even contribute to, my happiness.  
My joy comes from the Lord.  I got it all wrong {again}.  I must be human or something!  I am so glad I have a God who forgives me when I lose sight of the MOST important thing in my life.
Personal attempt 1,694,389 at getting that right this week... how about you?
My faith in God’s salvation is a constant reason for joy and thanksgiving, no matter what temporary situation I am in. The knowledge of my salvation sets me free from the past, gives me faith for the present, and a glorious hope for the future. 
Hope for the future gives joy, and faith for the present gives peace.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Ahoy There Captain (Part 2)

I blogged earlier about our special friends from Australia, Eric and Cathy Wieckmann.
If you didn't get to read it; you can here.
You can imagine how excited Dave and I were when they wrote to us earlier this year and shared their desire to come out and minister at ZOE and visit us here in Thailand.
Thank-you so much Eric, Cathy, Cam and Jill.  You were a dynamic team.  You really encouraged the whole ZOE family and you have left us a lot to think about.
Some of the highlights of the week included:
  • Teaching the Leadership Students at ZOE. 
  • Doing a cool magic show for the ZOE family (invoking a lot of "ooooo's" and "ahhhhs").
  • Running a session with ZOE parents on 'Developing Character'.
  • Teaching at a local children’s home. 
  • Teaching at a school. 
  • Friday night church service at ZOE (190 people of all different ages captivated by Captain Eric as he ministered. 
  • And hanging out with the Cross Family (a major highlight as far as us Crossies are concerned!)
Yep, this past week really was a huge blessing.
Check out just a few of people touched by the work of this team.










 THANKS so much!   

Ahoy There Captain! (Part 1)


I can’t exactly remember the exact moment that I first met Captain Eric and Cathy.
Sometime after Dave and I were married, I volunteered to be a part of a team of people who went around to primary schools in the weeks leading up to Christmas and did puppet shows and taught songs to the children. They were the ones organizing it so it was probably around this time.
It wasn’t long after that, when they birthed the idea of having a “Life Gets Better” camp for children who had gone through trauma, grief, divorce or loss.
Caring for children in need was a passion that we both shared and the weekends away, were a practical way that we could be involved.
We began to see the results of giving these special children, who had been through so much, a weekend away of fun, encouragement, 1-on-1 attention and unconditional love.
It was over the next few years that David and I began to know both Eric and Cathy better. Through being a part of the planning team, helping to lead camp training and (for Dave) being camp MC. 

It was through these times that we developed a deep respect for this wonderful couple (and their 3 children).
As the years past, we yearned to help children more and more and started the process to become foster parents.
We’ve learnt so much from Eric and Cathy. Their wisdom and years of experience are so valuable. And not only that, they are so much fun to be around.
Despite their busy lives, with the births of each of our own children, Cathy and Eric were one of the first of our friends to show up with encouraging words and a special gift.
Even after our youngest son Spencer was born, as I hobbled out of my physiotherapy class, I looked up to see their bright smiling faces waiting to see me and it meant so much to see how much they cared for the people around them.
Since moving to Thailand and being involved in ministry in a different country, Eric and Cathy have come alongside us and supported us with both their finances and prayers. As part of our prayer team, they have kept up to date with all that’s been going on in our lives and work over here.
On our last trip back, we had the pleasure of having lunch with them and spending time hanging out at their home. Their love and support just simply amazes me.
You can imagine how excited Dave and I were when they wrote to us earlier this year and shared their desire to come out and minister at ZOE and visit us here in Thailand.
Last week, the time finally arrived!
We had the pleasure of hosting Captain Eric, Cathy as well as some other friends and fellow LGB camp leaders, Cam and Jill Begg… to be continued!


READ Part 2 NOW! 

Or to read more about what Captain Eric and Cathy do in Australia, check out the CHIPS (Christians Helping in Primary Schools) site.