Friday, May 31, 2013

Some Like it HOT!

And some SPIKE it HOT!
I'm guessing most people know the song, "Hot Hot Hot"  (a song written by Montserrat musician Arrow and later covered by Buster Poindexter.) 
It's what I feel like chanting everyday because, well, IT'S HOT here!
I won't complain too much though because I'm sure in 4 weeks time, when I'm back in Australia, I'll be complaining about how cold it is!!
One Saturday recently in the scorching sun, 4 courageous ZOE missionaries took on the challenge of participating in a seriously hot volleyball round robin.
Jessica, Jonathon, Dave and Rob put a team in for the 'fun' pool only to be informed that they're weren't enough other teams to run that competition and that they had been added to the 'competitive' section!
Well, the training began with Denise throwing balls to the team during their breaks at ZOE and as the day rapidly approached, it was with much anticipation that this group stretched their muscles and prepared for the unknown.
Surprisingly they won their first two games... yay!  But unfortunately the rest of the day, although close, did not result in any more victories.  All of us cheering them on were so proud of their efforts.  With sunburn and sore muscles, it was still all smiles as the Some Spike it Hot team looked ahead to being even better prepared for next year!  Go team ZOE!

Our children finish school today!  What? I can't believe my older two will be in Grade 2 and 3 soon!  I love watching them grow up. It is such a blessing.
Below are some photos from their big clean-up yesterday where they washed all the school chairs and ended with a big water fight - one of the joys of living in a hot country.

In preparation for Australia, our children have been trying to learn the Australian National Anthem.  They sing the Thai one every morning at school, but remembering when they heard the Australian anthem during a visit with us to one of the schools that Dave and I were speaking at last year, they have been prompted to learn the Australian one too.  It's actually quite lovely hearing them sing it around the house.  
In further preparation for adjusting back to Australian life, Dave and the kids have been keeping up with the AFL football this year.  A couple of weekends ago, Dave set up an area with hotdogs, snacks and the computer screen to create an authentic "footy" atmosphere around their viewing time.  Tobi is extremely excited because he will be attending his first ever AFL match this year when we're back.
Recently we celebrated two of our little friends turning 4 and 6.  Their party was in a park and was so much fun.  Below is Tobi with a school friend.
 The kids with some of their friends from preschool and school.
Well I need to finish off a few more jobs before picking my children up for the last time until mid August when they begin their new school year.
I hope and trust that you are well.  We love hearing from you and can't wait to catch up with all our lovely family and friends very soon.
I'll leave you with some photos from this morning's little party and chance to honour the teachers for a wonderful year of school.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Excess Baggage

Some of us could be hiding a little "excess baggage" under our loose t-shirts right now.  But that's not what I am posting about today- thank goodness!

The words excess baggage also make me sweat just thinking about our upcoming trip back to Australia and all the bits and pieces we need try to fill our cases with: brochures, newsletters, gifts and of course our bulky winter clothes (that only get worn in Australia) making packing a time consuming process as we have to carefully spread the weight around and ensure that each bag does not go past its limit.  
But that's not the excess baggage I am posting about today either.  [I still have 38 more days to think about that!]

What I was actually referring to in the title, is the state of my handbag right now.

I ripped a fingernail the other day so I went in search for some nail clippers in my bag.  

I was sure I had some... somewhere! 

Instead of nail clippers though what I found shocked me and left me feeling... well...pretty embarrassed actually.

It was what I had been lugging around on my shoulder.  
One out-of-control, ridiculously heavy handbag. 

No wonder my neck has been sore recently.

How have I accumulated so much stuff

I was thinking, if they ever make a reality show where they choose random women to empty their handbags out and see what's in them, I think I should be nominated for it.  And if there was a prize for the person carrying around more than what would seem physically possible, then I'd definitely be in the running.

Now, just to clarify, my kids aren't babies anymore.  This is not one of those big nappy/diaper-bags we're talking about.  Oh no, it a regular, over your shoulder, pop down the street, meant-to-just-carry-a-few-things sort of a bag.

Okay, in an act of pure honesty, ... and in an attempt to shock myself into not ever letting it GET THIS BAD again, I am now going to list everything in my bag!! (imagine me tipping it out now) {insert gasp here}

Here it is friends: (if I type really small, it might seem like less!!)
wet wipes
packet of tissues
(not too bad so far...)
numerous pens/pencils/eraser and a pencil sharpener
hair elastic (o.k. more than just one)
random letter in envelope
lacteeze tablets (for Dave and Eli)
tube of 50+ sunscreen
lip balm x2

ventalin puffer
scrap of material
hand sanitizer
chewing gum
wallet of all my 'members cards for grocery shops etc'hair brush (and a comb)
tiger balm neck rub
toothpaste (a small tube)
mouthwash (given free at the shops the other day)
travel sickness tablets
concealer stick
old shopping list x2
body spray AND
Thai alphabet flashcards

More like a survival kit isn't it?... I know!!!  And now you know why I was so shocked that there were no nail clippers in there.  Unbelievable, right?

Oh dear!  It's time for a clean out I think.

And then, all this excess baggage got me thinking and questioning how much other excess baggage I just might be carrying.

How that hurtful comment, unanswered email, short reply or sarcastic utterance meant I added extra baggage to my heart this week.  How unforgiveness or unrepentance meant that my heart felt weightier than it needed to.  How when I’d felt worried or stressed by a deadline I took that all upon myself and carried it around like a big, heavy burden.

How I couldn’t find what I really needed because everything else just seemed to weigh me down.

Ever get to the end of a school term and ask your kids to clean out their school bags?  It’s amazing (and sometimes disgusting) what you’ll find in there.  Like a moldy banana peel, an odd screwed up sock, letters from their friends, the watch you’d bought them to wear and nobody knew where it went, the note you wrote after they were absent from school sick five weeks ago or the missing swimming goggles that you’d already replaced.

Sometimes, we just need to have clean-outs more regularly, yes?

And it’s the same for our attitudes and our hearts too.

If you’re burdened by the weight of an unresolved argument, the sadness or confusion at the lack of communication or the stubbornness to apologise for something that you could’ve changed…

How about having a clean out this week?

Let’s not leave our hearts unattended, heavy and hurting when we have access to the One who comforts us in our sadness, who calms the storms and who forgives us that we might forgive others. 

I'm going to be cleaning out my bag and checking on my heart this week too!

Got more in your handbag than me?  Leave a comment!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The 300th Post!!

What is it about writing the 300th post that creates pressure? I feel like I should say something really intelligent, funny or at least mildly amusing.  
Ummmm..... {got nothin'}

Okay well it's a public holiday here today so, since my children have the day off school, I decided that I would put them to work and see if they could come up with something!!  

No, seriously, I just asked them a bunch of fun questions and we had a lot of laughs this morning as they all had their turn being "interviewed". 

(FYI, the question ideas were from the YMCA, Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids incase you want to do this with your own children).

I hope you enjoy!!

1. If you could spend your time doing only one activity, what would that activity be? 

S: Having a bath

E: Resting on my bed. Because if I chose something else I would never get to rest or sleep.

T: Learning more stuff. So I can be clever.

2. If you could learn how to do something new next week, what would you choose? 

S: Craft

E: Learning how to make pretty things... but proper things out of recycled materials.

T: I’d learn how to shoot guns in case a robber comes and there’s no one else there in the room.

3. If you could do something to cheer up a group of kids less fortunate than you, what would you do? Why?

S: Give them something big… like a basketball ring.

E: Give away all my teddies except one because they wouldn’t have many things.

T: I’d adopt them because then they won’t be poor anymore.

4. If you could pick something in your bedroom that would last forever, what would you choose? Why?

S: My little Mickey Mouse toy.

E: My snow globe because it’s made out of glass and it means a lot to me.

T: My Bombers hat and my money.

5. If you could send an e-mail or text message to anyone in the world knowing that they would in fact open it and read it, to whom would you send it? What would you say? 

S: Jonas.  Dear Jonas. I hope you have a good trip to Denmark. What does your house look like? Tell me xoxoxoxo Love from Spencer.
Why? Because I can’t see him anymore.

E: Jonas. Dear Jonas. How are you going at your friend’s house? Hope you have a good trip to Denmark. Praying for you. 
Why? I would send this because he left and it was very sad. 

T: God. Dear God, Thank you that you made the world so people could have a good life. Please help me to do the right thing and help others. From Tobiah Cross.  

Why? So I could hear back from him.

6. If you could have a super power, what would you choose to have? Why? What super-hero name would you choose?

S: I'd choose to be super strong because I want to be like Tigger. I would be Super-Spencer-Cross-Superman.

E: I would fly because I would get a better view and I could go anywhere. My superhero name would be Super-Eliana-Cross-is-coming-to-the-rescue.

T: Be able to jump off buildings and not get hurt because if a robber is chasing you, then you can jump off and he can’t jump off without getting hurt. My super-hero name would be Super-Jumper-Cross.

7. If you could have any animal in the world and shrink it down to a mouse-sized pet, what animal would you choose? 
Why? What name would you give it? Why?

S: Stegosaurus. Because it’s my favourite dinosaur. If it was pet I would cuddle him.  I would name it Spencer-Stegosaurus-My-Cross-Stegosaurus because that’s like its nick name.

E: A giraffe. Because I know I could never really have a pet giraffe and I could carry around and look after it. I would name it Eliana’s-Special-Giraffe.

T: A guinea pig because it wouldn’t bite me. I’d name it Simeon because he was my best friend at my old school.

8. Where do you think would be the most exciting place in the world to visit?

S: Kad Suan Kaew (our local shops)
E: Australia
T: Heaven

9. Can you think of something we could do to make meals together more interesting and fun for everyone in the family?
S: Watch a movie while we’re eating.

E: We could have one of our family’s favourite meals each night, everyone could choose what they wanted from oldest to youngest.

T: Have it all nice like a hotel with soft music, big tables, yummy food and soft drink.

10. What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done?

S: Shaking my bottom while dancing.
E: Making funny noises.
T: Doing the chicken dance.

11. What is your favourite sport or game? If you could change one rule, what would you change?

S: Basketball. You should get points for tackling people because I like to wrestle.

E: Basketball. You could move the height of the hoop whenever you want. But only every 2 minutes. But if the coach blows the whistle and everyone is still happy, the coach can still change it.

T: Footy (AFL). Every time a team got a goal against the Bombers, then the Bombers would get a free kick.

12. What is the strangest sound you can make? What do you think it sounds the most like in nature?

S: My noise sounds like a pig snoring.

E: Like a fluffy.

T: A lion with a sore throat.

13. What part about being a kid do you think you will miss the most when you grow up?

S: Dancing all the time.

E: I think I will be less flexible.

T: Being able to run fast.

14. What is your favorite word right now? What do you like about it? When have you used it recently?

S: "Happy Christmas, Suk San wan Christmas"… I like it because Santa Claus brings presents to people in movies.

E: "Stupendous". If someone says it to me, I feel happy. I don’t really use it, I just heard it in a movie.

T: "Heaven". It makes me feel like I want to go there. I liked it when we were watching a movie and I heard the word.

15. If you could swap places with anyone in the world for just a day, who would you choose? Why?

S: Jhan so I could be in Ing’s family.

E: Jonas’ big brother. Because I could be in Jonas’ family for at least one day.

T: Seth (Simeon’s big brother) because then I could spend time with Simeon.

16. What do you think would be the best thing about being a dog or cat? What would be the worst thing? 

S: The best things would be wagging my tail. The worst thing would be doing poo in the garden.

E: The best thing would be that I could tell people I’m happy or sad by wagging my tail. There would be nothing bad about being a cat or dog.

T: The best things would be getting dog treats. The worst thing would be getting sick.

17. What is one thing that you think you will definitely be great at when you are an adult?

S: Cooking… oh no… I mean doing raspberries on little kids.

E: Looking after babies and children.

T: Being in the Olympics... competing in freestyle.

And there you have it, our 300th post!!  Thanks to Tobi, Eli 
and Spencer for helping me out.