Monday, April 29, 2013

A Sad Goodbye!

Have you ever had that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach when your child is looking forward to something but they don't fully understand the situation.  And what they think is going to be this totally awesome time, has a nasty twist to it?  
Like visiting the doctor for immunizations or going to the dentist.
All week, Spencer has been looking forward to his best mate's party.  Except it wasn't his birthday party we were going to... it was  his going-away party! 
I'm not sure the reality of that fact fully "hit" until the games had all been played, the airplane cookies consumed and it was eventually time to go home... and say goodbye... most likely for ever.

It's not like our family is immune to saying goodbyes.  
We've had our fair share of them and I've heard that heart-wrenching cry before, but nothing ever prepares you to hear it again.  
The sobbing and the complete and utter sadness that you feel after you hug your bestie for the very last time.
How does a four-year-old even cope with that?  

And as a parent, there's nothing you can do to calm the tears but say, "I know".
Followed by, "You can choose dinner... anything you want".

But when every crumb of the KFC has been finished and the last drips of ice-cream are licked from around your mouth, the momentary distraction from the cold, harsh truth all comes flooding back in gushes of, "I miss my friend.  I don't want him to go.  He was my best friend".

And then, as a parent, you're back to just saying, "I know".  

There isn't a limit to the amount of cuddles that you can give on weekends like this.  No amount of extra love is ever wasted.  And the answers to the hard questions seem to form as a lump in your throat as you lay next to your precious, sad, little child just hoping they'll fall asleep soon.  
"Mum.  I'll see him when he comes back though won't I?... He is coming back isn't he?"  
And though I try to stifle back my tears, they're just too big and they fall anyway and I know the answer is not hopeful but I say it anyway, "I really don't know.  But I hope so sweetie.  I really hope so". 

Below are some pictures that tell of the friendship Spencer and Jonas shared.  They will hold each other in their hearts for a long time I'm sure.  
What a blessing to have met such a kindred spirit at a such a young age.  
But there is a third person that has shared in the fun with Jonas and Spencer too.  The gorgeous Ing.  Jonas- Ing- Spencer were an inseparable little group of three friends that knew how to have a lot of fun and they were all as cute and cheeky as each other.

All that could be said when the tears had temporarily dried up and the reality had finally sunk in was, "Thank goodness Ing's not leaving.  
I'm going to marry her".

Goodbye to the sweet Christensen Family.  You will be missed x

Sunday, April 28, 2013

ANZAC Day- Thai Style

Learning about ANZAC Day was something that our eldest son Tobi had never experienced at school due to the fact that, up until recently, he had been attending an international school with an American curriculum.
As the 25th approached, he was becoming more and more interested (and inquisitive) so when we told him that we were going to be attending a dawn service this year too, he was looking forward to the day even more.
Not surprisingly, ANZAC Day is not a public holiday here in Thailand, so after the dawn service, our kids went home for a short play but then had to go to school and Dave off to work.
Besides taking the time to remember what ANZAC Day is all about, some of the highlights from this week (in no particular order) included enjoying an Aussie barbecue for breakfast with friends (with sausages and damper), seeing Tobi and Eliana lay the student-made wreath at the dawn service and hearing Tobi read his Simpson acrostic poem out at the front of chapel on Friday.  
This really has been a very special ANZAC week.

To top it off, this weekend, Dave and the kids also gathered around the computer screen to watch a replay of the Essendon v Collingwood AFL match.  
Lots of, "C'mon Bombers!" could be heard vibrating through the house and the nervous cheers soon turned to shouts of happiness as Essendon sealed the victory.
You can take Dave away from the football, but you can't take the football away from Dave!  

And, as anticipated, I had baked ANCAZ biscuits... and lots of them!  Did I mention that I LOVE HAVING AN OVEN? 
So in the end, all the children at school got one, friends had some and also the missionaries at ZOE too.  
I don't think we did a very good job explaining the meaning behind the biscuits though as the Americans kept calling them 'oatmeal cookies' but anywhoo!  There's always next year.

Lest We Forget!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Everyday Heroes. Making a Difference

A real-life "Little Miss Sunshine" story.

One of the best parts of our work here is meeting everyday heroes.
This year, we've had the privilege of spending time with 
people from around the world, who care about the work being done through ZOE and who give generously of their time and resources.  
They are all heroes to us!
Several months ago, Dave and I met Tim and Carmen, an Australian couple who are not only making difference in the world through their own choices but also purposefully raising their daughter Gemma to impact her generation in a positive way.
Carmen, met David briefly after he shared at Donvale Christian College in 2011.  
[Side note: This school then went on to hold a fundraiser for ZOE, hosted by two Year 10 students and... the amazing fundraiser brought in a whopping $6500, which was just truly remarkable!]
When Carmen and husband Tim contacted us and shared that they were visiting Thailand as volunteers, helping out with a children's program at a missions conference, we were thrilled to be able to coordinate a date to spend some time with them.  
This couple really are so inspirational and it was a joy to hear them share what was on their hearts.
As we sat and ate lunch, Tim and Carmen began explaining about their daughter Gemma's recent birthday party.
Her invitations stated:
"A gift is not required, but we would love if you would consider donating to 
They help rescue and care for kids that have been victims of child trafficking in, Thailand".

We were shocked!
They went on to explain how they too were blown away by their guest's generosity. Even their friends who weren't able to make it on the day donated! 
With mutual friends, Carla and Chad.
Through their own selfless act, of not receiving presents for their daughter, they managed to collect $1500 to give to ZOE!
How much more meaningful it made it when they visited the ZOE Children's Home with their daughter and learnt more about the work we do here and how their actions will be helping the lives of so many others.
Thank you Tim, Carmen and Gemma! (And everyone else who gave).  
You really are everyday heroes!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

From Vegemite to Pig's Blood

I know, right? Gross title for a blog post but let me explain.  I have written about Spencer and his eating habits several times on this blog, but the other day, when he announced, "I don't like Vegemite anymore" it left me speechless... what? I mean what Australian-born child would ever say that?  Seriously?  
I had no reply.
A week later as we sat around with our various Thai lunch dishes in front of us, Dave points and says to Spencer, 
"Oh just letting you know that pig's blood there.  You don't have to eat it.  Just push it to the side".
"Where?" Spencer quickly responds... spots it... and then gobbles it up!!!
Okay enough said!!

Speaking of pigs.  
Recently Dave had the privilege of helping with the 8 newly-delivered piglets in the ZOE pig farm.  Ahhh so cute.  
He even got to tie their umbilical cords!
Well some of you may've seen some of the ZOE camp photos on Facebook, but for those of you who haven't, you can check out Jessica Dodd's page for the updates. 
Below are a couple of pics here too:

We hope that you had a good Easter. Despite David being a bit unwell, we still managed to have a nice few days.
On Sunday after lunch, we all snuggled in bed (with the air on!!) to watch the kid's version of the Passion.

This year, we used our Easter-egg molds (from my brother) to make our own chocolate eggs and I made my own recipe up for some hot crossed scones (in our new oven).

Dave has had a week off this past week.  It has been so nice to have all my besties at home for part of the school holidays.  It's been eventful and fun.  We've certainly packed a lot in to the past few days.
One of the highlights was having some of the ZOE kids over for a play on Tuesday afternoon.  We had so many laughs decorating gingerbread cookies, playing games and pulling out the Barbies, Lego and blocks.  This was a memory we will cherish for a long time to come.
Dave is back at work tomorrow while the rest of us enjoy one more week at home before school goes back for the last 4 weeks of the year!!! What?? I can't believe that the older two will soon be finishing Grade 1 and Grade 2... yikes!
David is heading away with the ZOE youth at the end of next week for a trip to the village.  He is very much looking forward to this as he both loves spending time with the ZOE teenagers and loves going to the villages.  

Well it is currently Songkran here.  A crazy (dangerous) and fun time of the year.  Songkran is the celebration of the Thai New Year.
According to the Bangkok Post, in the first three days of the holiday there were 1,447 road accidents which caused 173 deaths and 1,526 injuries.  There are still a couple of days to go!  We have been out and about a few times this year with much of the action happening right around our house.  We had a blast yesterday going out with friends in the back of a truck armed with water guns and icy water.  It proved to be a lot of fun. 

Well there is so much more to tell. {I'm sorry my updates have been few and far between!} BUT, I will save the rest of the news for another time... seriously, the story about our cockroach infestation will just have to wait for another day- when the trauma of has become a fading memory. Ewww!  I know you must be really disappointed about that LOL!

I'll leave you know with a few pictures from this first week of school holidays.  We enjoyed going to our aquarium, visiting several waterfalls and just hanging out as a family.

And, in closing, Dave and I are working hard to keep "encouraging" Spencer back to a diet inclusive of the great Aussie icon Vegemite... we will never give up!!