Currently Browsing: Thailand
Feb 12, 2013
While our tiny girl loves her stroller, she doesn’t necessarily love it when it’s cold outside. The husband and I took the babies on a mini tour of downtown OKC Sunday afternoon. By the time we were headed back to the car, me with a cranky Vivi in my arms, him with a cranky Linc bundled in the stroller we recognized that we might shouldn’t have ventured quite so far away. Once that sun starts drifting downward, it gets cold quick!
But even in moments when I question decisions we make or things we do with the babies (okay, let’s face it, that would be most moments), I always come back to the idea that I want our babies to know adventure. I want them to feel the coldness on their little fingers and see the sun streaming through downtown buildings as it sets. I want Vivian to feel exhilarated as she grips my jacket, bouncing against my chest as I cuddle her and run through the downtown streets. That’s the life I want for them, and we’re trying to build it for them one moment at a time.
I often find myself hyper-analyzing the things we do, whether it involves the babies or not. When we decided to move to Thailand 6 years ago, I analyzed everything from the impact on our careers to finances. And while Jon might be further along in his career, and we probably would have more money if we had stayed here, I would do it one hundred times over again because it impacted the story of our life in the most amazing way. I try to remember that in all the little decisions we make.
Friday night my little cousin had a basketball game and our sunday school class was getting together a little later. I was so nervous about going to both things because the babies would be missing their last nap and bedtime. I didn’t know how they would react and if it would affect their nighttime sleep, etc. etc. But I realized that I don’t give our little ones nearly enough credit. They were so good, and even though there were a couple of brief instances where we had a pretty unhappy little Linc and Viv, seeing them being held and loved on by their aunt and cousin, grandmas, grandpas and church friends was worth so much.
We try to stick to a regular routine most days, and it works for us. Because we do that most of the time, I think it gives us more freedom to veer from it as well. And we are always able to jump right back in. But I do believe it’s when we wander away for a bit that we create the kind of memories that never ever fade.
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Oct 15, 2011
For the longest time, Jon and I have felt God urging our hearts toward adopting a baby. For whatever reason the Lord has, this urging has always been in the direction of international adoption, specifically. We are both passionate about travel and other cultures and adopting from another culture seems to fit that. We of course realize that there are babies right here in our own country who are in need, but that doesn’t make the homeless babies in Thailand (for example) any less homeless. Even though we didn’t feel quite ready for a baby at that time, our visit to a Thai orphanage in 2008 watered the seed that God had planted in our hearts, nourishing our desire to bring a baby just like this little girl home one day.
Throughout the course of our journey through infertility, our excitement and longing for adoption has intensified ten-fold. I’ve said so many times that before we would do IVF, we would adopt. It honestly has never made a big difference to me whether our baby would come to us biologically or through adoption. I ache to experience both joys – feeling a baby grow inside me and welcoming a baby from another place into our lives. But the decision is not always that easy. God has blessed us with amazing insurance, which covers such a large portion of infertility treatments. For that reason alone we feel compelled to try for a biological baby first. In addition, the issues I had that were taken care of in my surgery back in May are recurring. So, as time goes on, they are slowly coming back, renewing their curse on my body and lessening my chances of ever conceiving a baby. With this in mind, we decided that if we were ever going to do everything we could to get pregnant, now is the time.
I still long every single day to start the adoption process. When I see a family with an adopted child, my heart aches in the same way it does when I see a pregnant woman or a precious little newborn. I was looking through some old journal entries, written in the past year and a half, and I found this entry, penned in April of this year right before my surgery.
April 4, 2011
Dear little McCoy,
I know I don’t know you yet, little one…but I already love you so much. Your daddy and I have been talking about you for the longest time, and we cannot wait until we get the chance to have you as a part of us.
Here in just a little bit I’m taking the first step to find out how you might come to be. Your mommy doesn’t know if you will come into our family as a tiny newborn that has grown inside me or as a precious baby from another country, but I want you to always know that I pined for you for so long, and I already love you more than there are stars in the sky, regardless of how you come into our life.
I know that God has a plan for you and for your life, and I’m praying for that plan all the time. I think about you every day, and deep inside my heart I long to be able to rock you, play with you, teach you about Jesus and show you the world .
Just the other night, we went to a mexican restaurant in town for dinner. Because it’s the best mexican food in town, there is always a long wait to be seated, so we claimed a bench spot in the already crowded waiting area. As we sat down, I noticed that the family to our right was busy corralling two little girls, who I’m certain were from somewhere in east asia. The mom and dad looked to be about our ages, and they were wearing shirts that indicated they were from our college town. Looking to be about 3 or 4 years old, these little girls were so precious. Probably appearing a little creepy, I couldn’t take my eyes off them the entire time. I was mesmerized by how much my heart ached to have little girls just like them as my own. My eyes began to fill up as I sat there feeling so intensely as if that should be us. Should is a funny word, I know.
Sometimes I want so badly to just quit everything we’re doing now and start our adoption story. I’ve spent a lot of time researching steps of the process, agencies, countries, expected hardships, the financial aspect etc., and I’m so ready to begin something that is going to be a sure thing in the end. This cycle of uncertainty, waiting and heartbreak is just so trying.
That being said, I know that we are very blessed to be given this opportunity and that not everyone is put in a place where they can go to these extreme measures to build their family. Despite my impatience to begin adoption, I still pray every day and thank God for providing us a way to try and get pregnant. I don’t take it lightly, and regardless of what happens, I’ll always be so grateful that we had the chance to pull out all the stops and really go for it.
I wanted to take a moment and write down these thoughts, so down the road I’ll remember exactly where our hearts were during this time. I pray to God that this works and I get the privelege of giving birth to a baby that is half me and half Jon. And regardless of whether that happens or not, I have faith that our dream of bringing a baby home through adoption will come true as well. It just depends on when and how. I can’t wait to see how the Lord decides to build our family.
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Mar 11, 2011
I was in the kitchen making the husband’s breakfast when my mom came in and told me that there had been an earthquake in Japan. Since turning on CNN soon after, I’ve been glued to the tv.
Watching the images is taking me back to several years ago when reports of the tsunami in Thailand/Indonesia were splashed across newspapers and tv. I still remember it like it was yesterday – sitting in the OKC airport waiting for a flight to see the husband’s family in south Texas – staring in disbelief as I took in the news. Along with the rest of the world, I stayed glued to the tv for the next few days as my heart ached for the people who were affected.
Just three months later I made my first trip to Thailand with hopes that I could help in even the smallest way. Three years after that, I made my second trip to the south of Thailand for more tsunami recovery efforts. It’s hard to believe that three years later these people were still suffering from the devastation.
On Pratong Island in 2005, I remember staring at the loss and pain in the eyes of a man as he told me his story of that awful day. A fisherman by trade, he had gone out to sea early in the morning and had no idea that anything unusual had happened. He arrived home a few hours later to find that the wave had washed over his entire island home, taking his entire family with it. I think of him this morning as the reports of the devastation in Japan flow in, and I pray for the Japanese people.
This wasn’t the post I had planned this morning, but with the events of this morning I just can’t focus on posting about Coconut Lemon bars or yoga.
Let’s just continue thinking about and praying for all the people who have been killed, injured, are still trapped and have lost family members and friends in Japan. Praying that God will bring comfort, safety and peace.
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Feb 7, 2011
I honestly cannot believe how quickly the weekend flew by…seems like it just started.
On Saturday things warmed up a bit around here, and some of the snow started to melt off. By late in the day, many of the streets were almost clear…but there’s still tons of white everywhere else! Apparently (I never watch the weather) there is more snow headed this way in the next few days, but we shall see!
I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Saturday and Sunday we spent a lot of time organizing and packing. The story of our life these days. I have to admit it feels sooo good to get it done, though. We are still a long ways from being packed, but I think we did finally finish the office for the most part after being buried in boxes and files for the last few days.
Saturday night I got inspired to make a stir-fry. When I asked the husband what he wanted for dinner, he said something I thought I would never hear him say: “How about something besides mexican?”
I thought I was dreaming. Did he just say he didn’t want mexican food?!
So stir-fry it was!
I chopped up bell pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots and cabbage and stir-fried it in about one tablespoon of olive oil until it was tender. Then I tossed in some frozen edamame (did you know edamame has the same amount of protein as roasted turkey?) for protein.
After it had cooked for a little bit, I mixed together about two tablespoons natural peanut butter, two tablespoons tamari, a couple teaspoons rice wine vinegar and some water to thin it out. Honestly, I just kind of guessed at the proportions and tasted as I went. I poured the sauce over the veggie mixture and continued to cook them for another 5-10 minutes.
In the meantime I cooked some buckwheat (soba) noodles, and when it was all done I poured a big spoonful of veggies over the noodles….and that was it! Easiest stir-fry ever.
Stir-fry reminds me of Thailand so much. During the last few months we lived there, I literally ate stir-fried veggies in some form every. single. night. No exaggeration. Always on top of brown rice. Granted I wasn’t a vegetarian then, and I used fish and oyster sauce (Thai style) for flavoring, but it was still so good. Really takes me back:)
cooking with friends in Thailand
Anyway, on Sunday the husband and I went to lunch with some dear friends of ours from our college days. They are several years older than us and have three of the cutest little kids. During our time in Campus Crusade for Christ at OSU, Dan discipled Jonathan, and Debbie discipled me. They have always meant so much to us and have walked with us through some of the most important decisions in our life. It was so nice today to catch up and spend time with them…we’re really going to miss them when we move.
Debbie and I / Dan and Jon – about five years ago
Other than packing throughout the afternoon, I also made some Super Charge Me cookies for the husband. While he ate cookies, I enjoyed a leftover vegan cinnamon roll. This morning someone brought cinnamon rolls to Sunday School, and ever since then I’ve been craving one. I can honestly say that these rolls are one of the best vegan baked goods I’ve made yet. The day after I made them, I realized that unless I wanted to turn into a giant cinnamon roll, I needed to put them away for awhile. So into the freezer they went. A couple of times since then I’ve pulled one out and heated it in the microwave for about a minute and a half…and it’s always just as good as when it was fresh out of the oven.
You really must make these if you’re a cinnamon roll fan!
So that’s the weekend in nutshell – only two more weekends left until moving weekend!
Last thing – I have to give a shout-out to my better half. Today is the husband’s first day at his new job, and I am so dang proud of him. I’m so thankful for all the hard work he has put in over the last several years to get us where we are. This is just one more step we get to take along the path of our life. I’m going to miss him now that he’s leaving earlier, getting home later and not coming home for lunch (tear), but I know he’s going to love his new role…and he’s totally going to rock it! Go get ‘em husband:) I love you!
Did you have a good weekend?
What’s your favorite vegetable?
I think mine would have to be spinach…or maybe snap peas. It’s really hard to narrow it down, though!
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Jan 11, 2011
“It’s so tempting to shut people down, to limit the upside, to ostracize, select and demonize. It makes things a lot simpler. Not seeing means you don’t have to take action. Not opening means it’s easier to announce that you’re done. And not raising the bar means you’re less likely to fail.”
I was reading Seth Godin’s blog recently when I stumbled upon this quote, and the hard truth of it really struck me. It reminded me of a situation that occurred during our time in Thailand.
In the far northern part of Thailand, settled in among the mountains you’ll find a city. Our Thailand home. Chiang Mai.
And in the middle of that city, you’ll find a little something called Night Bazaar, or as the Thai’s say it “night ba-saaaaah.”
Every single day at about 4 o’clock, rain or shine, the people would begin pushing their carts out to the sidewalk, ready to take on the crowds of people that would come pouring in in a couple of shorts hours. They sold everything from t-shirts to perfume to oil burners, lamps, watches, shoes and much more. You could gaze for miles down the busy road and still not see the end of it.
For us, Night Bazaar was a fun date night, a place to get cheap massages and a great people watching venue. We’d weave through the backpackers carrying their babies high up on their backs and the locals stooping on the curb to slurp up noodles before the next bargaining challenge came along.
And in all the craziness there was always one thing that caught my eye – a small Thai women who looked to be about my age sitting on the dirty sidewalk with a cup held out for change and a tiny baby at her side. While she wasn’t the only local who had found her home on the dirty streets of Night Bazaar, she was the one who caught my gaze every time I walked by… and held it. I couldn’t forget her.
After many nights of walking by her, pretending not to see her outstretched hand or her deep eyes, I finally broke down. I found a stand in the alley selling hot soup and bought her a small bowl and some water. I inched up to her, feeling quite shy, and taking a deep breath knelt down and, using all the broken Thai I could muster I expressed my concern for her and her beautiful baby.
But night after night of this same routine left me wishing I could do more. But I wrestled with the idea of it – what more could I do? Ultimately she needed a place to live, to raise her baby….to be safe. But I couldn’t provide that. And with the date of our departure fast approaching, there were only so many more days I could do anything at all.
And then just like that…she was gone. She stopped coming. I never found out what happened to her, and I probably never will. And that lack of knowing, lack of being able to do anything real and significant for her left me feeling disheartened and sad. And I realize that that is often what keeps me from reaching out to impact the world in any way – the fear of failure. The fear of feeling like I just can’t do enough. The fear that if I allow myself to see the need, then I will always feel the ache of what I wasn’t able to do.
And the same translates to the constant pursuance of goals and dreams. Being scared to death of setting the bar too high because I just might not be able to reach it. And that would mean failure. Six months ago I walked into my principal’s office, and I turned in my letter of resignation. Sure, I did it for a number of reasons, but ultimately I did it because I wanted to pursue more. I wanted to step out into the unknown and embrace something that would fulfill my vision for my life. And in these months, I’ve held back, sabotaging myself because of the fear of not being quite good enough.
But I want more. I don’t want to still be sitting here another six months from now envisioning in my mind what it is that I want to do with my life. I want to be doing it. It’s time to raise the bar and leap for it because I would much rather be brushing dust off my backside than never getting dirty at all. I want to see things, open myself to possibility and experiences, and offer myself to people freely, embracing the risk of hurt and disappointment.
What is one thing that you’ve been envisioning in your life for awhile, but you just haven’t quite gotten the courage to leap for? What are you holding the bar low for because you’re scared of raising it high?
And now here’s a small ray of peace for your day:
**Also, don’t forget to stop by tomorrow because it’s a very special day in the life of ChiaSeedMe, and I’ll have a very special surprise for you!
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