January 26, 2013

my dorky little secret

So I am writing a novel.

There, I said it, and saying it is scary. Almost as scary as letting you read the first three chapters. The only reason I've had time to work on such a thing as a novel is because we are in beautiful Thailand, where the kids stay busy all day leaping over whitecaps, and Daniel is stuck in meetings from sunup to tropical sundown. Poor guy:( But this novel, which has been swimming around in the waters of my heart for years, is finally pulling itself onto land. Ready or not, here I go.

So anyway, if I neglect my dear old friend But a Breath just a bit over the next few months, its because I am hiding away in a closet in my apartment, avoiding my motherly duties, writing away.
Along with beautiful Thailand, I blame Mumford and Sons, and Candace who introduced me to them, for my avoidance of said duties. Creativity is just so alive, you know? So alive that it breeds. If I could just stay away from art and beauty, I would get so much more done!

(Hotel school. I am such a slave-driver!)

January 20, 2013


I have been in a March season, a Tuesday season, a 10:17 a.m season of life. What am I talking about? That time when nothing noteworthy is going on, and there is nothing in the immediate future to be excited about, but I am tired anyway and I find it hard to focus. It's that glancing at the clock more often than I should time; that read the same line of the Bible over and over because I'm too distracted to process it's meaning time; that, 'I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?' time. Everyone else seems more important than me, cuter than me, more magnetic than me. In fact, most days I feel like a repellant, like I am emitting some kind of scent that even dogs can smell as they slump away from me with their tails between their legs.

Ok, so that might be going a little too far, but perhaps now you have an idea of where I was at, coming in to this conference. Call it home-school-mom syndrome, or an early mid-life crisis, or low estrogen (which the Thai doctor here agrees with, Korrie:), or even a version of normalcy, or all of the above (my personal opinion) but above all else I think I had forgotten.

Forgetting is a terribly destructive thing to do.

Forgetting what, you might ask? Forgetting that my life is not about me, and therefore not about my happiness, nor my comfort, nor my glory. Forgetting that I don't deserve anything good, but rather I deserve to have the fires of hell nipping at my ankles. Anything "good" that does come my way, in addition to my guaranteed place in Heaven, is just a bonus.

Jesus wasn't cute. He repelled almost everyone in his last days on Earth. He smelled like death. But He didn't stay that way. He didn't stay that way, and that is my hope. Because you see, I am a disciple of Jesus, and He once told all of His disciples that where He is, there we will one day be.


I needed to remember that.

January 18, 2013

A very special way of life

We are in Thailand, where we often find ourselves this time of year. Lots of meetings, lots of vision-casting, lots of stiff necks (why are hotel pillows either too thin or too thick?) The kids have put in their time in child care, watching puppet shows and crafting bookmarks. Before we left home last week, Zion, who is five, said, "Mom, when we get back from Thailand, will we move again?" "No, Honey," I said, "we will still live in this apartment."

Aww, poor little guy, right? Actually, there is a pretty good chance our kids will grow up and thank us for the way they were raised. Every day, when I am not too exhausted to think past the next peanut butter sandwich, I think, 'Our kids are doing so well!' There is no greater joy in a mother's life than to be able to say that. Thank you, L0RD, for the many blessings in my life.

Playing ipad chess on the train. Thank you, Momo, for such a great Christmas present!

Coloring on the train. She does very good work! XXxoo

Ice cream is a nightly treat. Just 12 baht at the food court Burger King:)


January 10, 2013

Beads of Joy

Here is what I've discovered, in a nutshell: life is a string of difficulties, threaded with colorful beads of joy. The way I figure it, if I've got to suffer through this life with somebody, it may as well be with these four kids, this sweet man, these unique relatives, these loyal friends, and these real neighbors.

So in the mornings now, when Daniel leaves the house in his khakis and messenger bag, and I say goodbye to him from behind my coffee mug with kids hanging on the hem of my robe, he smiles compassionately.

"But you'd rather suffer with these little ones than with anyone else, right?" he challenges.

"Yes," I say, "And I wouldn't rather suffer with any other man."

He blows me a kiss and closes the door. I turn and face the cute chaos that is my life, with a heart that has been lightened by right expectations and a fresh perspective.

January 09, 2013

snow after all

I grew up in the snow.  Every morning, about a half hour before leaving the house, I would go outside and use a push broom to remove snow drifts from my car.  Then, with frozen hands, I would turn the key in the ignition to give the engine plenty of time to warm up.  With my car running, I would go back inside and finish getting ready for school.

That was ages ago, now.  Another lifetime, so it seems.  It has been years since I last laid eyes on snow, or touched it with my bare fingers, or caught it on my tongue.  It has been years since hearing the deafening silence of a world under snow, and the crunch of boots on a well-beaten path of snow.  Too many years.
So you can imagine my elation last weekend when our family took a road trip to "Snow Mountain" for a day of freezing cold fun.  I munched wasabi peas and squealed with delight from the passenger seat of our van as we ascended the mountain into the snow!  When we piled out of the van, my kids weren't sure what to make of the stuff, but I patiently showed them how to build a snowman, make snow angels, and put on a pair of mittens.  A frosty, happy time was had by all, especially one 32-year-old Michigander who forgot, if even for the day, that I wasn't a kid anymore.
Dog sledding!
His first snowball!
She was grumpy because no one would go on the sledding hill with her;)
Because I only had powder to work with, it took me over an hour to construct this little guy.  Yes, I brought the carrot from home.
To top it all off, this was my Christmas present from my sweet husband: a painting of a snowy Chinese street, done by an artist in Beijing.  Love!

January 08, 2013

Blue Mouth

Superhero "assignment," drawn and dictated by Zion.  Worth posting.