Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Little Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving! To our friends and family near and far . . . thank you for being a part of our lives, loving, and blessing us. May you have eyes to see the blessings around you today. What abundance we have to give thanks for!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Anybody remember the post I wrote here  about our friend Sunethra? She is a mom, a widow, and a domestic helper in our neighborhood. Today Sunethra will be moving on to a new employer in a different part of the city. We had her over this week to say goodbye. During the visit (on a whim) I quietly asked Annette if she wanted to give Sunethra's daughters (3 and 5) any of her toys. I was hoping she might share some stickers or pony she no longer plays with. I was stunned when without hesitation she announced, "I want to give her baby Ashley." Baby Ashley has been Annette's most special doll. We explained to her that the doll would go to Sri Lanka and she wouldn't get it back. Annette understood and was insistent. Jason and I exchanged sideways glances filled with pride in that moment. I love that she wanted to give from the very best what she had.

We have a new helper in our village, Lanny, from the Philippines. Her immediate family, consisting of her husband (also an overseas worker), daughter and her, live in three different counties. Lanny left her daughter when she was three months old. Last week her daughter turned 9 and Lanny was planning a trip back for her birthday, the first of her birthday's she would ever be present for. But a week before the trip her employer decided she needed Lanny's help for that week. . . I hardly knew what to say as she poured this story out to me, baby on hip and two others running around.

Recently I heard a mom say that her life is narrow but that doesn't mean it's small. Being a mom really has narrowed my world and in many ways restricted what I used to be able to do. But narrowness also brings with it a focus. When a light is narrowed it becomes a laser. Were it not for this season of life I probably would not stand outside and chat with the neighbors. Or spend hours at my kitchen sink looking down on the world below.  I have wrestled a bit with feeling "forgotten" or "lost" tucked away in our humble little village, but God is showing me that he is bringing people (even from different nations) to me. People to love, right outside my door.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Here's a glimpse into some November moments at home for which I give thanks . . . 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Secret Garden

 The tan building behind the big tree is our house. If we take the shortcut to the beach we walk through this dirt parking lot, past a junk pile and a wall made out of more junk. I had never been on the other side of the wall, until yesterday . . . our neighbors mentioned they were going to the "farm" and did we want to join them. We definitely did.This farm is literally a minute from our house and I was completely  intrigued to gain access inside.
 I was amazed by how big the garden was in the middle of the city. Our neighbor Pauline explained about the many unique plants eclectically growing. There is sugar cane, a lychee orchard, loofas, various varieties of bananas and papayas, bamboo for eating, okra, sweet potatoes, choy sum, malungay, and oh yeah turtles for soup! The tour also explained some of our mosquito hardships, as there were several ponds of stagnate water . . .
 The garden felt like a time warp, as if I'd stepped back into old Hong Kong. It was quite a contrast to the towers and cranes surrounding us and hard to believe that 20, 60- story towers are being built a stones through away.

Our favorite part of our village is the people.  Most of our neighbors spend a lot of time outside so we've gotten to know them pretty well. It is probably the most connected we have ever felt in the Hong Kong Chinese community. They are often brining us Chinese food and soup. If I have to run out quickly they are always happy to have the kids come over. This week a neighbor brought me this, Roselle Hibiscus. Have you tried it? She made jam from it and I made a delicious iced tea.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Moments

I was considering my purpose in slicing together these seasonal videos and realized that it stirs in me a sense of gratitude for what is right in front of me. I struggle with feeling content when I focus on what I don't have (particularly space and a yard) so it is so helpful for me to celebrate the beauty in the moment.

May this season find you filled with gratitude for what you have. Also, please join us in praying for our precious friends in the Philippines who have back to back endured an earthquake and violent typhoon.

Fall Moments 2013 from Christine Paine on Vimeo.

Friday, November 1, 2013

3 Ring Circus

I have spent about equal time teaching and being a mom now. When Josiah was born I observed that teaching felt like a sprint and motherhood like a marathon. Now that I have three little people at home some days it feels like I am sprinting a marathon. In other words, running in circles. I told Jason, even when I'm not "busy", I'm busy. 

Most people love that glorious 6 month stage when babies can sit but not move. This stage lasted about 24 hours with Annabelle- then she started CRAW- LING!  She is now very mobile and into whatever she can get her hands and mouth on. 

One (typical) morning this week Annette changed outfits 6 times while Josiah took 30 minutes to put on his uniform. As Annabelle scooted under the bed to eat some lint, the “bumps” in Josiah’s socks launch him into a melt down. From the kitchen I barked orders and packed snack boxes at a break- neck speed. It was then I remembered Josiah’s Bible verse that he now had 2 minutes to memorize so I shouted it at him “Children are a gift from God!!!! Psalm 127:3”. Even in the crazy the irony was not lost on me. 

So my challenge continues to be to see the beauty through the mess and enjoy our children who, after all, are gifts. 

 Here is our busy, busy girl!