Sunday, October 27, 2013

In Chiangmai We Play Hide and Squeak!

(Thanks for the photo Laura- too funny). 
Poor Tobi is not feeling well today.  I wonder if it could be from all the mice that are lurking around- living in MICE City and all!  No, no, no it really is squeaky clean here.  Maybe we should've had a mouse-warming party when we moved here. 
No seriously, I hope you're have a mice day.  It really was mice to meet you... What mice weather we're having at the moment... hahaha.  I crack myself up.  Okay, I'll stop now!!

Anyway, instead of going to church this morning, the children watched a dvd of the Bible Read and Share stories.  
I had to smile as the older two explained to Spencer that "Potiphar's wife was trying to get Joseph and kiss him."

It's been a quiet few days with a week off school and Dave away since early Friday morning in the village.  

We enjoyed a fun day playing at a new water park on Wednesday as well as 5km walk around a bush track with friends on Friday.  
Yesterday was a lazy day at home for the children as I continued trying to get my planning for next term completed.  We are looking forward to Dave getting home around 7pm tonight.  

Today is Spencer's "official" birthday (although we celebrated with school friends on Monday) so I was woken up to an excited, squishy face pressed against mine informing me that he was really 5 now!  Love that boy. 
Here's a few pics from Monday's Curious George party:

There has been lots of activity at ZOE as usual.  David is away with both the youth group and a small team from Hawaii who are here helping ZOE out with some videography and photography projects.  I am keen to hear about his trip when he returns later today.  
There have been a couple of emergency hospital visits lately within the ZOE family so please keep them in your prayers.  One girl had to have an emergency operation to remove her appendix and one of our key staff members has broken her leg in several places. 
The ZOE kid's camp program is always loads of fun as well as a special time of growth and develop for the children personally.
You can check out more about the recent camp here.   
Below are some photos taken a a month or so ago at ZOE.

And to finish off, a picture of our very own Rapunzel {aka Eliana} after her hair had been in braids for three days (me being slack on the school holidays and not doing it).  She was very excited with how curly it came out and Tobi liked it too. 

Well from our home to yours (mice and all) I hope you're having a blessed day,
Andie :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How September Came... and Went!

Just like that.

I need to know, what happened to September?
It was here and then... it just disappeared!  
Well there's been lots happening and the days just rolled into weeks and the weeks into a month I suppose.
We have a week and a half left of school before a 1 week break.  That week off school is already filling up with Spencer's 5th birthday, a specialized media team at ZOE, Dave away on the youth camp and lots of planning to do before the new school term begins.
I am looking forward to carving out some time though for staying in my pajamas past 7am, swimming, an outing to either the zoo or the Night safari and a few movie-marathons with the kids.

We totally enjoyed our first AFL Grand Final party here a couple of weekends ago.  My friend Laura (fellow Melbournian and her two Aussie friends) boosted the numbers of attendees who actually knew what Aussie Rules football was and the rest of the party consisted of our wonderfully supportive American friends who randomly picked a side, cheered hard and stared on in amazement, commenting {and I quote} "It makes American football look like kiddy sports. Those guys are tough!"
Half time kick of the footy.
Other September memories included:
Celebrating Tobi's 8th birthday.
Saying goodbye to a very special helper that we'd all come to love and rely on at school.

Having our friends the Slimmon family here for a visit.

 ... and the ZOE staff sports day.

For more updates on all things ZOE related, please check out the official ZOE blog.  You can see photos of the new boys' home, read about the purchase of some more land, meet our new missionary family (The Robbins) as well as finding out how one young man reflects on his time growing up at ZOE (and more). 

Thank you for your continued support, love and prayers for our family and ZOE. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Unplanned Moments

I was helping cut open the rumbutans at recess yesterday when I slipped with the knife and cut into the top of my finger.  As blood spurted, I wrapped my other hand around it and headed off to the staff kitchen area to wash it off and survey the damage.  Next, I headed in search of the rather-large bandaid supply (always a must in any school) and located it in the cupboard of the preschool teacher's room.  Whilst my first-aid action began, a conversation also started with one of my fellow staff members who was in the office working... one that would not have occurred had it not been for that slip of that knife.  
I love these moments in time when a precious conversation is needed and can occur right there amongst the busyness of the day, amongst the blood and bandaid wrappers and lesson preparations.
I'm feel so thankful for the opportunity I have to be apart of the ups and downs of people's lives, to stand with them in prayer and faith and for these unplanned 'moments' (however painful they may be) that lead us to stop. and talk. and share.  

I often reflect back to that painful month in 2011 when Eliana was being bullied at her preschool.  At how we shared in her pain but had no idea how our little girl would bounce back or just when or how she would come through it.  It was through a random conversation with an unlikely friend who suggested checking out a new, little preschool, 30 minutes drive from our home, that had just opened the month before... seriously?  What? Would I really drive 30 minutes each way twice a day for preschool?  And yet, when I checked it out {with all my skepticism, hurt, unforgiveness and arguments for its "inconvenience"} it blew me away.  

Don't get me wrong, this preschool (and now school) is not built amongst beautiful surroundings, it hasn't got all the latest equipment, the playground is small and the classrooms are tiny, BUT the culture and 'feel' of this school was what won me over... and my husband... and our kids.  
And now, here I am teaching at the school.  Not surrounded by all the resources and technology that would make life just that little bit easier, but by some of the most wonderful teachers that make me laugh and that have built a beautiful culture where each child is accepted and loved.  Another unplanned 'moment' but one which lead us to discover something new. not previously on our radar. an answer to a prayer. more than what we expected.

And the award for the biggest unplanned moment, so far, would have to go to that time nearly 4 years ago when we uprooted our family from our comfortable life and moved across the seas to Thailand.  We never would've chosen this journey, but God has been right there alongside us with every step of the way. 
I like what Alan Ward writes,
"Isn’t all of life an unplanned journey? Each day comes to us; we don’t get to preview it and skip the days that we don’t like. We can only choose to receive what each day brings and struggle to find God in the midst of it all—for God is with us always if we can but train our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to be open to receive Christ into our lives anew each day.
I hope and pray that in time we will all learn to see God with us in every present moment and especially on the unplanned journeys that are so much a part of this life."