February 27, 2014

Freedom is for the birds

Why did you rebel? Unless of course you never did, and then I say to you, "Well done. Everything he has is yours."

But for those of us who have tasted the pig slop, I wonder why we did it. And then I don't wonder, because I know why: we wanted to be free.

Free from rules. Free from restraints. Free to behave as we please.

But JE#US says two very important things:
1) I am the truth (John 14:6)
2) The truth will set you free (John 8:32)

Outside of my bedroom window there is a ramshackle gathering of buildings, huddled together in the smog. On top of these buildings there are flat, gray roofs. And on these roofs (or at least on some of them) there are pigeon coops. In these coops there are sleek, shining pigeons, fattened by their attentive owners. The pigeon keepers release their flocks twice a day, and we enjoy standing at my window, watching the birds fly around and around the block high in the air, dipping and jagging as a group. And then, when they've had their fun, felt the wind, and tasted the day, they fly back to their cozy coops where they are fed, protected, and enjoyed.

Are these birds free? Hmmm. Well, they live in a cage, they fly in circles in a small area, and they eat only what they are fed. Does that sound free to you? 

Of course any one of them, at any time, could fly away. The world might even praise her for it, saying she thinks for herself, keeps an open mind, grabs life by the horns. She won't be told what's what or how to! You go girl! 

But what the world failed to tell her - what her keeper knew, as he watched her fly off into the smog - is that her newfound "freedom" will destroy her. 

Out there the keeper can't protect her. He can't feed her. He can't love her. She will forage and starve. She will be pecked and gouged by those competing for the same meager stores. There will be no peace for her. She will sleep lightly and fitfully. She will long for those happy flights in circles, over her snug coop, under the watchful eye of her keeper, and in the company of her loyal companions.


Freedom, you say?

Freedom is knowing you aren't your own master, and you were never intended to be.

February 26, 2014

Introducing Gene

On February 25, 2014 (that would be yesterday) Bright Eugene Rupp, the one who made me a mother, who has always gone by "Bright," decided he wanted to go by Eugene, "Gene" for short, just like his WWII pilot great-grandfather, Gene Haggard.

This was no whim. Our son had been thinking this over in his big, bright brain of his for weeks. He just doesn't feel like a "Bright." And honestly, though he is smart, and has bright brown eyes, and lights up our lives, he is the furthest thing from eccentric, which is what his name is. He doesn't like my nose ring, doesn't want me to get a tattoo, etc. In fact, he might just be one of the most sensible people I know, so a sensible name like "Gene" fits him perfectly.

Today is his second day as "Gene," and he is dead set on it. He beams every time he hears his new name, though I find myself calling him "Eugene" more often than not. His siblings are making the switch alright, and Daniel is totally on board, though he is out of town this week and missing all the fun.

The Bright Era was a good era - no, a spectacular era - but now I am pleased to introduce you to our very self-aware, very driven, and sensible son, Eugene.

p.s. You might be wondering how I feel about this. Well, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that's sad. Of course. I called my firstborn son by one name for almost 9 years, and now I am calling him by another name. But it's the name he chose, and that makes it precious to me. Also I heard somewhere that parents should say "yes" to as many things as they possibly can, because they'll have to say "no" to so much.

February 23, 2014

money in the bank (and a scrap wood boat)

Some time ago I posted about Bright leading the family in a lively discussion about spiritual gifts, in which he declared "giving" to be his spiritual gift and therefore must start receiving an allowance.

Smart guy.

And yet his daddy and I weren't so sure about the whole allowance thing. Neither of us received allowances. I was expected to do whatever was asked of me with no compensation, and Daniel was expected to do nothing and got whatever he wanted (wink to my mother-in-law).

But everybody else is giving out allowances these days and even ole Doc Dobson endorses the practice, and so we have succumb.

We decided on 10 kuai every Saturday morning to each kid over 6 years old (which means Bright and Zion at this point), with the expectation that they'll tithe 10% of that to G0D's work, and save 10%. In return they must never push back when something is asked of them. If they do, 1 kuai is docked automatically.

And on the same Saturday that the kids received their first allowances, Zion drove in his first nail, creating this boat with Daddy.

Zion designed it, cut the pieces with a jigsaw, and helped hammer it together. Maybe there'll be another carpenter in the family one day!

February 20, 2014

soup de jour

We walked past a restaurant recently and this lovely soup was being advertised as the special.


We opted for McDonald's.

February 19, 2014

Good things take time

For a chicken rice casserole, Chinese cheddar cheese will do. It's cheap and relatively easy to find around here.

But, for homemade macaroni and cheese*, I buy New Zealand's Mainland brand cheddar cheese, which is way overpriced at our international market but well worth it, when our life affords so few other "comforts of home."

Besides it's creamy texture, pure milky color, and superior taste...it has a great logo: Good things take time.

Gosh, they sure do, Mainland. They sure do.

In fact yesterday, while making said mac and cheese, I tried to come up with something good that doesn't take time. I failed to think of even one. For my husband and I, it was love at first sight, but what we have now has been 13 years in the making. I believed the gospel message in an instant, but it wasn't until a decade later that I took it to heart. Friendships that take off right away don't usually last, rookie sensations usually fizzle. Liquor gets you drunk in a hurry, but then being drunk only feels like a good thing. In actually, few things in life are worse.

And then there is that thing for which husbands are ready instantaneously, but into which wives must wade slowly. Since I am a wife, and this is my blog not my husband's, we'll count that one as a good thing which takes time.


All that to say, if I ever find myself with a brand new adopted toddler again, for whom I feel absolutely nothing at first, I will try to remember the wise words of Mainland cheese. When the pain of a loss lingers, or the loneliness after a move is bringing me down; when the book is taking forever to write, or when my language learning process seems to be c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g, I will try to remember the cheesy motto. When my hair foil takes the better part of the afternoon, or when it seems like CHR1ST will never return for us, I will try to remember that good things take time.


Macaroni and Cheese

(smooth and creamy, with no processed cheese food...hurray!)

  • 3 1/3 cups dry macaroni noodles
  • 4 T. cornstarch
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 t. dry mustard
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 T. butter
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • 1
    Boil macaroni noodles.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish.
  • 3
    Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 2 cups cheese until melted. Add macaroni and mix well. Pour into casserole dish. Will be runny. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes.

February 15, 2014

my black-eyed valentine

My valentine is handsome. He is smart, too. But best of all, he loves us well. No man has ever loved his family more. Just tonight he stepped WAY out of his comfort zone for the sake of his sons, who want to learn to cook. The guys mixed marinades and wrapped corn in foil, while Jubilee and I played Go Fish. I loved it. I got to hear Daniel say things like, "Okay, the capital T means tablespoon, right?" and "I'm not sure what paprika is, Zion, but it's red so it must be spicy." It was an inspiring display of a father's love, and it made me proud to call myself Mrs. Daniel Rupp.

While I'm on the subject, I simply must post this picture of Daniel on ice after wrestling with the boys on the rug. Zion's surprisingly powerful right hook caught Daddy right in the eye. What a guy.

I love my valentine.

February 12, 2014

one day's junk is another day's treasure

Bright used to do this thing with his arms like a chicken, while jutting his face forward and rocking back and forth.  Mostly when he was nervous, which meant any time we were in public. I cannot tell you how embarrassing it was. Daniel and I wanted to say, "Don't mind him, he's a bit challenged." But of course he wasn't challenged. He was four. 

We were looking through old videos the other night and we came across a clip of Bright doing his weird chicken thing. Instantly we were both emotional. How could we have HATED that so much? It was so cute. And now it's gone forever. What I wouldn't give to go back in time and tell the Kayla of four years ago, "Don't let that embarrass you, enjoy it. Oh please enjoy it. It all goes by so fast."

February 11, 2014

It's about time

Have you seen About Time? If not, then it's about time you did.

I mean WOW, what a movie. Daniel and I were left speechless at the end of it, and I was literally bawling. Daniel was so in love with me and the kids after watching that movie that he could hardly keep from rushing into their bedrooms and dragging them from their beds to cover their drooling cheeks with kisses.

But he didn't.  Instead we talked late into the night, about all the things over which we waste our time worrying. We talked about all the beautiful things we fail to see, because our noses are so pressed to the grindstone.

"I'm tired of just getting through my days," he said.

"Me too."

"I want to let more things go."

"Me too."

And then, hand-in-hand, we prayed. We thanked G0D for his mercy. We thanked him that our time has not (yet) run out. We asked him to grant us the wisdom to recognize each day for the precious gift that it is.

And it's about time we did, if you ask me.

February 08, 2014

gone viral

After months of dreary misty mountain weather, it was great to soak in the rays in Thailand for a time, while Daniel worked his tail end off.

And after months of eating thick, rich holiday food, it was great to nibble at papaya and sip spicy coconut broth. Until the whole family got slammed with a stomach virus. That wasn't so great. Although it did take off the pounds from the afore mentioned holiday food. Silver lining, right?

We love you, Thailand, stomach viruses and all.

The virus in action.