Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blood? Bile?

We are having a wild time in Hanoi. The city is full of intrigue, beauty, history and motorbikes! (In fact Jason is out riding in the maddness right now). When I get back I'll let my pictures tell most of the story, but we had a funny moment today I just have to share.
This morning we visited a pottery village, furniture making village and snake village. Yes, snake, where they raise the slithering delicacies for restaurants. While sitting on bamboo mats by the river awaiting our meal, a man brought out our live 7 foot long snake (lunch). He proceeded to strangle it and then slice it open in front of us! It didn't exactly work up an appetite, but made a good video. Next they squeezed the blood into one cup and the bile in another. Our sweet little Vietnamese waitress offered us these as if she were asking if we wanted tea or coffee, "blood? bile?" she said several times in an inticing voice. In the end the "men" (Dad, Ryan, Jason and our driver) drank a shot of snake blood in whisky. I had a few bites of the 9 different snake dishes that they served up. .. hey it's better than dog!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hanoi Holiday

Well life has been too busy to blog. I've loved hosting my mom and sister the last five days. It has been great to revel in the beautiful season with them and be reminded of what amazing people they are. Last night my dad, bro, and his wife joined the fun. We took them around HK today. We all enjoyed the urban trekking, in spite of the fact the weather was dreary and drizzly. Tomorrow night we fly to Hanoi, Vietnam where an adventure is sure to await us! More to come . . . .

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thank you Lord. . .

5 loads of vomit stenched laundry. . .4 diarrhea diaper changes in one hour. . . . 1 very wiped out boy . . . and praising Jesus each step of the way that we are not on a flight back to America right now.
It would be have been hard enough making the 15 hours of flying with a 19 month old and 6 month prego belly sharing a seat. . . not to mention this. God knows what we can handle.
We certainly wouldn't have walked off the plane smelling of Christmas cheer.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Angela, Ryan and Terilee for flying out to see us so we can sit in out cozy flat recuperating and waiting. We promise to get healthy before you land!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Pics

We have been enjoying many holiday festivities in the past weeks with different groups of friends. The cozy gatherings, yummy food, and laughter really make us thankful for the communities in our lives. Here are some pics of Josiah by our friend's Christmas tree. These footsie pajamas were made for him last year and say "Baby's First Christmas". I never though they would still fit him on his second Christmas! The advantages of being a little shrimp (:
Only 3 days til my Mom and sister arrive. . . we are beyond excited!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our church is in the middle of a building campaign and using different creative avenues to raise money. Last month they had a silent auction and were encouraging members of the church to donate their talents and services to the cause. Coming home on the train Jason informed me that he signed me up. "English lessons?" I asked? "Babysitting?" "Western cooking lessons?!?" (after all, what skills does an elementary teacher turned housewife really have?!) "Organizational Consultant" he said, punctuating every syllable.
I didn't know whether to laugh or be mad. Jason went on to reassure me of the many ways I have helped to reform his life through my little organizational lessons and systems. I have indeed helped Jason many times straighten his office, joking that it was a good thing he married me because "he couldn't afford my services." This however seemed a far cry from advertising myself as a "consultant". In the end I decided to go for it because I love my church. I also returned the favor and signed up Jason as a personalized "running coach"! (I'll let him blog on that).
So that brings me to this week. Saturday I am going to meet my "bidder" and go to work on her small flat. She's told me several times it is a disaster, which should make me feel useful at least (how can you offer advise to someone who is already together?)
If anyone has any advise or tips for organizing please post a comment below. I have three days to figure out what I am doing. My friends in HK are probably laughing as they read this because I have had a severe case of "pregnancy brain" and can hardly keep my own life organized lately. To God be the glory!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Letting Go and Simplifying

I mentioned in a previous blog that I tend to over- complicated my life at times. Christmas is a perfect example of this; I want to make meaningful gifts by hand, bake every cookie under the sun and maintain a long list of family traditions.

This year I'd decided to create hand- made Christmas cards. I gathered most of the materials from various craft shops and had an idea in my mind of what I was doing. However, I hadn't had the time or inspiration to get started. The last few days I've felt myself grow increasingly anxious over the cards as the time pressure of international shipping mounted. Then, I couldn't find half of the supplies I'd bought and was unhappy with the way the photo printed. Every step seemed so needlessly difficult that I sensed the Lord was not blessing this process. Next came the epiphany, I thought "what's the worst thing that could happen? I don't send them!" The more I pondered this possibility, the more I felt I was not supposed to send these cards. I felt a calm flood my spirit as I released the entire thing. Freedom. I realized I wasn't focused on sending the cards in a spirit of love, but pride (look at my cute family and card). I've decided to simplify the process by sending a few hand written notes to people I love who don't hear from me otherwise (if you are reading this blog that's not you, sorry).

The whole decision was liberating to me because I was able to refocus my priorities. Now, instead of spending the weekend trying to pump out a bunch of cards while keeping my toddler from ripping them to shreds, I enjoyed the beautiful day outside in the park with Jason and Josiah. Christmas (life actually) is about being, not doing. So, I give you all permission to let some Christmas duty go and be in the moment!

Because this post needs some pictures, here is a glimpse of our little place this time of year. Wish you could stop in for a cup of apple cider!

Tiny winter clothes make me happy

Do you like the neighbor's laundry out the window?

I love this advent calendar because it is focused on Jesus

This is the latest addition to my collection of nativity scenes from around the world. It is made from recycled newspaper and from Vietnam, which is perfect because we are traveling there this Christmas! Can you see Mary is wearing a Vietnames syle hat? Love it!

This is our Christmas tree all the way from Sweden! Real Christmas trees are very rare here, but Jason surprised me this year with this beautiful tree (delivered by IKEA). I've never had a short needled tree and love how the ornaments hang on it. Josiah loves the "balls!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Last week at our church we heard a message on “Going Deeper in Giving”. It left me with a lot to think about in terms of how I am using my resources (time and money). In particular, I felt urged to reflect upon where my time is going. For most of my life, this has been an easier question to answer: 10- 12 hours a day at school/work. Now, some days I really am left wondering, what am I doing all day? I feel busy (I love to be busy) but do not want to be satisfied at that.

I decided to document the hours in a week to see how my time breaks down. This is based on a 5 days a week, 12 hours a day (roughly the hours Jason is gone each day)= 60 hours. I’m not sure how accurate this really is because every day/ week is so different. I didn’t make Josiah a category because I can’t slot him in; he is a part of every category.

*Housework (cooking, cleaning, laundry) - 12 hours
*Socializing (hanging out with other moms and kids) - 10 hours
*Projects (blogging, correspondence, making crafts, planning events, internet research etc) - 8 hours
*Running Errands (grocery shopping, bank, printing photos, doctor’s visit) - 7 hours
*Ministry (planning/ leading PLUS group, meeting with leader and members volunteering at African Fellowship) - 7 hours
*Transportation (buses, trains, ferries, walking) - 6 hours
*Down time (exercising, napping, quiet time with the Lord) - 6 hours
*Tutoring- 4 hours

I don’t have any real conclusions at this point, although I am surprised I spend so much time socializing and running errands. Also, I thought I had more down time but I seem to avoid voids in my day.

I was reading this morning from 1 Corinthians this verse “There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple”
I certainly have a knack for inviting complication. When I fill my life with lots of details and projects I remove my availability to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit. When I am rushing to yet another play date or trip to the market, I am no longer free to stop and talk with a neighbor or carry the groceries of a stooped over old woman.

I have been trying to pray each morning “Lord, what do you want me to give today?” Ultimately it is about surrendering all of my time to Him.

What do you think? Where does your time go?