Friday, November 23, 2012

Being Thankful... For the "I Can"

I love it how different each of my children are.  
You need only ask the question, whilst casually driving in the car, "What are 5 things your grateful for today?" to see how glaringly obvious it really is.
Spencer's answers would be something like this, "I am grateful for cuddles, kisses, wrestling, tickles..." {and anything else that involves physical contact}.
Eliana's would be, "I am grateful for nature, creation, snails, the trees, flowers..." and Tobi's (and this will come as no surprise to those of you who know our Tobi) goes something like this, "I am grateful for pizza, nachos, hot dogs, noodles, ice-cream...." and " the way, what's for dinner?"

I had a chuckle last night when Spencer showed me his Thanksgiving craft at the ZOE missionary Thanksgiving dinner.  
I looked down and read the leaves where someone else had scribed what he was grateful for, "Mum and Dad, brother, sister and squid!"
Spencer so often cracks me up.  
He is going through a stage of being really interested in tasting foods deemed as exotic or strange in some way.  I think it all started on our family holiday back in June when he ate a fish eye and LOVED it.  Since then he was asking about having a date-night and eating squid.  
He recently had this dream fulfilled and cooked squid at home with Dave and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process (hence it making it to the Thankfulness Tree).  
So what's next on his list you may be wondering?  
Well, yesterday he was eagerly discussing with us all how on his next date, he wants to eat bugs! Ewww!  At least we live in a country where bugs are a "treat" and readily available LOL!

When it comes to being grateful, we're all different aren't we?  And all our varying life experiences influence what we do or don't feel thankful for.
I know back in Australia if I were to fill up a sink with hot soapy water to wash the dishes (which wasn't often as I had a dishwasher) I would totally take having hot water for granted- it NEVER crossed my mind to give it a second thought.  But, after 2 and half years of not having a dishwater OR hot water in my kitchen, when we moved house a few months ago and our landlord offered to put a water heater in the kitchen, I was seriously almost in tears (with gratitude).  
Now, every time I turn on that tap and hot water comes out and I don't have to go and boil the kettle before washing the dishes, I remember and I feel so thankful... EVERY time!

This is the first house I have ever lived in without an oven.  When we first moved here, this took a bit of getting used to.  Suddenly I could not think of one single thing to make for dinner without an oven.  "What had I done?" I asked myself.  
It didn't take long though to realize that there was heaps of things I could still cook and I moved on with life!  
Well, I thought I had moved on until I had to make something for Tobi's school bake sale and the ZOE Thanksgiving dinner both within a week.
The bake-sale thing wasn't too bad, I managed to remember some non-bake recipes and made some chocolate rum balls (minus the rum) and some chocolate spiders which went well and were apparently all sold out by the time Tobi got there.  
So that issue was okay BUT Thanksgiving was a whole different level.
I found myself madly emailing my American friends for ideas and "googling" Thanksgiving recipes like there was no tomorrow.
All that I could think about was that amazing cinnamon roll pumpkin vanilla sheet cake and yummy pumpkin bread that I'd made last year... in an oven!
I eventually had to pull myself up on my discouraged and panicky state.  Here I was trying to prepare for THANKSgiving and I'd completely lost my perspective.  There are millions of people in the world who don't have ovens.  This was not a major issue.  

And now, the night after, as I reflect back on just what a wonderful time it was, I begin to wonder.  
I wonder how many other times I've almost robbed myself of joy due to focusing on "I can't" and not on the "I can".
Thanksgiving 2012
How often I wish I spoke better Thai.  But instead of fixating on what I don't know and getting down on myself, I should just be grateful that I can sit with my Thai tutor for a two-hour block and communicate. Yes, I might be slow.  Yes I might stumble and make mistakes and have to ask her to repeat herself numerous times but I have made progress over the past few years and, for that, I am thankful.

I am beginning to s l o w l y understand that whilst it is easier to find an excuse as to why I can't, I should make it a priority to find a way to turn it into an I can!

So this Thanksgiving season and heading into Christmas, I want to put away the, "... but I'm too old, too young, not skilled at..., don't have..., don't know..." that stops me from being thankful for all the things I do have and using them!

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. 

If you concentrate on what you don't have, 

you will never, ever have enough. 

~Oprah Winfrey 

Is it just me? Leave a comment below. We love hearing from you!

Delicious~Thanksgiving dinner

Monday, November 12, 2012


Have you ever felt like you're being pelted with fiery darts?

On Friday night, Dave finished Part 1 of a two part series on the Armor of God with the ZOE youth.

Dave has been teaching about the illustration Paul gives in Philippians as he compares the armor of a Roman soldier to the tools God has given us to equip us for the struggles (or battles) in life.

I found it amusing that less than 24 hours later, he was literally being pelted by balls being thrown at him; having to fend them off, whilst trying to frantically attack the "enemy" (teenagers) on the other teams.

On Saturday, Dave was an eager participant in a dodgebrawl (dodgeball) tournament.

The kids and I tagged along to be the ZOE Zealots cheer squad but as we watched on supportively, we were all secretly thankful that it wasn't one of us out there in the game.
At the end of Round 1 {quote} "that was the longest 15 minutes of my entire life" and something else about "when would the torture end?"... the ZOE Zealots weren't looking quite so zealous and needed a strong pep talk to face Round 2!!
There's no need to go into the disappointing results of Round 2 and 3, needless to say, there were some very sore muscles and aching bodies after the brutal attack of the stronger, younger, fitter, more athletic teenagers than the {not so much} ZOE team LOL.  
You know it must have been bad because even Dave, who loves any opportunity for a sporting event or game, could be seen grimacing and muttering, "I'm just not as young as I thought I was!"  
But despite the day not ending in a victory, the ZOE Zealots were heroic to us!  Well done team, you did us proud!

I pray this week that if the fiery darts of temptation, lust, greed, disappointment, discouragement or jealousy are launched in an attack at you, that you can clearly see them coming and set about raising your shield in defense. 

I pray that these darts, sent to attack your faith, your mind or your emotions, will immediately be extinguished by your faith in God.

Ephesians 6:16: “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

Oh, I almost forgot, a BIG welcome goes out to our new ZOE missionary volunteers, Jonathan and Amanda Degler.  
It was great to have you on the ZOE Zealots team, but it's even better to have you on the ZOE Children's Home team!  
We're looking forward to getting to know you more over the coming years.

Friday, November 9, 2012

"Plan Y"

I used to be a "planner".  I had everything worked out.  
Or so I thought.
That was, until I started realizing that God has a plan too.
And it's often different to the one I have.  Very different.
So I'm challenged to trust.  To surrender.  To take my hands back off the steering wheel {again} and to focus on Truth.  The Truth.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” 
declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you 
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope 
and a future". Jer 29:11

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
Isaiah 55:8-9

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

But this week's challenge has not been about my own plans... for me.
It's been for one of my precious children.
It's been about letting go and trusting that God has a great plan for them too.  
Believing that He knows what's best for them- more than I do.
That just because I thought I had it "all planned out" that it's not too late to release those plans to Him and not grip on so tight.
Knowing that He did say that He will never leave us or forsake us, (Heb. 13:5). And that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). 
We also know that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). 
These are promises we can hold onto, no matter what our struggle may be.
Thanks for sharing in the journey!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Me? A Soccer Fan? Oh Yeah!

Well I thought I'd finally recovered from all the excitement having had Spencer's birthday party and the school break finished, but a family night out on Saturday had us all power-walking to the car, escaping an angry soccer crowd!

Let me explain!    

We may have missed the AFL Grand Final a couple of months back... and I'm still not sure if Dave's fully recovered from that yet!  But we had our share of excitement on the weekend when we decided to go see the Chiangmai Football Club (soccer) play the Trat Football Club at the big 700 Year Stadium here in Chiangmai.  
We rushed through dinner and were glad to see a large crowd arriving before the game (we didn't really know what to expect).
Asking our friend Adrian Rowse, whether we could borrow some money for our tickets (we had missed an opportunity to visit the ATM) we opted for the BEST tickets in the house- you know we kind of wanted to be like MCC members LOL... to happily discover that there was no need to borrow any money, the tickets were only 80 baht each (and the kid's we all free!!).  
That, my friends is a total of $5.30 total for the whole family... whoop, whoop, I love Thailand!
I really enjoyed watching the game but I especially liked the atmosphere.  
It was the last few minutes though that were particularly eventful.  
The score had been 1-1 for most of the game but suddenly changed to 2-1 when Chiangmai scored a goal extremely close to the final siren.  You can imagine the crowd's reaction, right?  Everyone around us was going berserk.   
It was then that things heated up as several team members ran off the field in a flurry of celebration and 'tiger' dance moves (their mascot is a tiger) without noticing that the game had been restarted.  With seconds before the game ended, and the CM team momentarily distracted by their almost victory, Trat used the opportunity to quickly score their second goal.  
The Chiangmai fan's cheering turned quickly to shock and disbelief whilst the Trat supporters had their turn at celebrating along with the sounding siren to end the game.
We didn't hang around too much longer after this, as it looked like things were going to get out-of-control pretty quickly as angry fans  were already beginning to run on to the field and I later read that a linesman was punched.  
I have been checking the updates on the match since the weekend and it seems there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the events that lead to the game being restarted whilst players were off the field but anyway, it was all very exciting and a match that we certainly won't forget!
The highlight for me though was probably when the Chiangmai's tiger mascot took off his big tiger head (I wasn't quite sure how our kid's would react to seeing this) and accepted a beer from a spectator.  As he sat down and enjoyed his cold beverage, near-by children could be seen placing the big head on each other and walking around (bottom middle photo)... too funny!
Yes, just call me soccer-fan-Andie hahaha.

On the work front, I was back teaching English again today at ZOE which I LOVE, did I mention that already? 
And, after a rather long break {whoops has it really been 7 months?} I am also continuing on with my Thai lessons again (beginning this Friday).  I'd appreciate your prayers for my language study!

Thanks so much for reading, for sharing in our lives and for your support of our family.  
We truly are blessed.
Andie :)
P.S  Some photos from the school break:
At the safari park.

At our local city park