Taking Papaw to the Village

While Mom and Dad were here, we had one day where we were supposed to visit a sister in the village. She was so excited my parents were here and really wanted to meet them! Dad did great – it was in the upper 90’s in an open air house with no AC with lots of different foods! We had a chicken (the whole chicken mind you) and tofu soup, some gourd with tofu, a different gourd in soup, eggs and chives, wild greens, and a pumpkin dish. It was delicious, and Dad said he didn’t eat anything he didn’t like :) Of course our friends loved hearing that! Thankful he was able to get a little taste of life here!
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Railay Beach, Thailand

We didn’t take vacation back to the States this summer. Instead, we asked my parents if they would be willing to meet us somewhere. We were super excited when they said they would, and we started making plans for our destination. We settled on Railay Beach in southern Thailand which is pretty far out there. It was fun to fly into the little airport, then take a taxi to the pier (which also let us stop at the grocery store on the way), then ride a small wooden boat (in the pictures below) around to Railay Beach! It felt like a dream and I’ve always loved going to remote places. Somehow we made it with our luggage and about 20 bags of groceries!

Mom and Dad arrived a few hours after us, and we surprised the kids when they drove up on the back of a scooter that was carrying them and their luggage! The kids were super excited and wore Nana and Papaw out playing games in our little bungalow or playing at the beach. We also took a pretty amazing snorkeling trip which had to be the highlight for everyone! Yes, we saw Nemo in the sea anemone (and tons of other really cool fish)! Memories were made. . . and no one got sick on the food or injured :)
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Singing

The kids school had a special guest named Ba Nong come in from the village to lead a singing camp. He writes his own music, a lot of the basis comes from working in the fields and being in nature. They were doing a promo at a local library/drink shop and asked Kylie and some other kids from the school to join. They worked hard to learn several songs in one day. . . Kylie still didn’t know them very well since they were in his local village dialect, not just standard Mandarin, but I think she enjoyed it. She didn’t really like being on stage and having lots of people taking pictures which surprised me. I thought she would love that part :)
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Hands-On Geography

Colt’s class did some hands-on geography at the end of this school year. They learned how to use maps, pretty much walked all over this city, and saw lots of really cool stuff! Thankful for his teacher and his friends. Think June. Hot! They would leave after lunch from school and we would pick them up from somewhere in the city around 8pm. They WALKED many many miles each time. . . This kind of learning leaves impressions that won’t be forgotten.
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One of our favorite places. . .

This is one of our favorite places to go. . . a village about 5 minutes from our house. We love to play around the mountain there and have become quite familiar with the villagers that live there. The kids have cleaned out an abandoned house and made a secret clubhouse. They have picked mulberries and caught crawfish. We have found birds nests and bugs of all kinds.  The kids also often help the villagers catch escaped chickens and return them to their coop :)  We have climbed that mountain a hundred times, and enjoyed both sunrises and sunsets. Recently, the kids were delighted to find 6 puppies had been born. They quickly named them all and started “training” them. Now, they want to go back all the more and check on “their puppies.” The villagers live in a crude brick building with an open dirt courtyard and well water. The kids are always welcome and love it there!
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The Annual Flood Happened

I mentioned before that it has been raining for about. . . half a year. Rainy season brings a big flood each year, and that happened yesterday. The rain came down hard the whole day, but within the first hour the streets were filling and drains were back flowing. The river that runs through the city overflowed and spilled into the streets as well. We haven’t read about any casualties which is good. The kids are home from school today since some places are still flooded, and it’s still raining. The kids don’t seems to mind :)
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School

I thought this picture of Caden was so cute from the library at their school. The other pictures are from Colt’s class. They are learning geography hands on! Using their map and exploring the city!
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Kylie’s Art Award

Colt has been taking art lessons for a couple of months and really loving it. Kylie took about 8 classes during an art camp over winter break, then decided she didn’t want to continue. Their art teacher gave me info on entering an art competition. I asked if it mattered if they were foreigners, and she said it didn’t specify that stipulation so it was no problem. I asked the kids to pick out their favorite painting and submitted it along with their Chinese name, age, school, and name of their painting. The prize was 100 yuan (which is about $15). I was shocked when Kylie’s painting was chosen for second place award. We went to the ceremony and felt a bit out of place since I don’t think anyone was expecting a foreigner to show up (Haha). Kylie was in it for the prize money though and willing to walk the red carpet and get her picture taken. . . just not really smile (until we left).  Colt said he was going to win next time around!

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Excellent Article for Mother’s Day

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I subscribe to Not Consumed and the author sent out such a great reminder for me on this Mother’s Day. I wanted to share it in case any other moms also needed to read it too :)

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Hi Haley!
So it’s almost Mother’s Day. Ya know, the day Hallmark declared as a day to celebrate, love, and appreciate Mothers.

And I think we should. (If you haven’t celebrated, loved on, or appreciated your mother yet, stop and do that this very minute, young lady. Hehe. Kidding…a little… but seriously, go do it.)

Now let’s talk about you. Have you ever felt like you WEREN’T celebrated, loved, or appreciated on Mother’s day?

Maybe you have. Maybe you haven’t. I’ll be honest, I usually don’t get “presents.” My kids are little. No one has a car. No one has a job. And no one tells them it’s mother’s day. So, this day typically comes and goes as a regular old day complete with sibling rivalry and normal kid behaviors.

It might surprise you to know that I’m FINE WITH THAT!

One thing God taught me many years ago is that I DON’T mother my babies to be appreciated. That’s not my goal in this. I’m not doing all of this work to make sure they grow up and tell me how amazing I am.

I’m doing it so they will grow up knowing how amazing God is. I’m doing it to please the Lord.

So, I suppose you could say it’s not about being appreciated. It’s about being faithful.

Sweet momma, if there is anything I could say to encourage you today it would be this. STAY FAITHFUL. Don’t do this thing for the accolades. Don’t do it because you hope they will celebrate you, appreciate you, or make much out of what you’ve done for them.

Do it because you love them and the best we can love them is to model faithfulness so they too will trust and obey God, whether they feel celebrated, loved, or appreciated.

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Pretty good huh? Every piece of laundry you’ve folded, every tear you’ve wiped, and every moment of sleep you’ve missed… MATTERS. You are both noticed and appreciated by God. Stay faithful and keep pressing on!