April 2, 2015

"I really want to take the kids to a zoo!"


Last week the family piled in the car to just get out of the house and follow B on an errand. He was heading to a Catholic retreat center on the edge of town to try to solidify a reservation for an event we are hoping will happen in July. B had been there once before and said it felt a bit like a park, and since there are ZERO here, we all were excited at the prospect of walking around in nature even for just a bit. 

As we drove there the kids were asking all sorts of funny questions. We live in the tropics on the equator but most of their books refer to life in the US with seasons and terrain we never see. So Abi (having recently been introduced to the Little House series) was asking if there were woods or panthers outside of our town. After explaining the best I could I told B that I really wanted to take the kids to a zoo the next time we were in a place that had one. "They're the perfect age!" I exclaimed. 

At the retreat center the kids and I wandered around enjoying the trees and fish ponds. A groundskeeper told us to head down a little path because there was a "landak" down there. I told the kids I had no idea what a landak was, but we should find out. To our surprise it was a porcupine! (Sorry for the blurry pic.)

After B finished his business with the administrator the man asked if we wanted to see a bear. "A what?!" I asked, certain I had misunderstood. Nope, that's exactly what he said. Abi asked if it was big enough to eat little girls. The man just laughed and said it just ate fruit and rice. 

So he led us down a path and, sure enough, there were 3 cages. There was some animal we have no idea what it is :), a few small monkeys, and a bear! Apparently all these animals had come straight from the rain forest on our island. The bear was small (less than a year old) and tame enough the man was petting it and teasing it! It was so fun for us to see the animals so up close and so unexpectedly. 

God has quite a sense of humor and loves to give sweet gifts, doesn't he?!

February 8, 2015

Getting Away

Even though it takes a lot of work, it is always nice to get away from our city for awhile. This past week we took two flights to another island for a leadership conference with our company. Our kids absolutely love to fly! We have to take a whole day now for packing on the front end and resting on the back end. Traveling can be so exhausting with 3 little ones.

Our time at the conference was really nice. It is always great to be with other Westerners and to speak English with people who know and understand your situation. We had wonderful meetings where we were challenged to think through how we communicate in our culture and re-examine if we are sometimes communicating things we don't mean to with our actions and the way we use our time. It was very challenging! We feel like we are coming back with some good tools for learning. Even though we have been here 8 years, we still often feel that we have so much to learn.

The even was jam packed! We were up at 6 to get kids dressed and get them breakfast and then to our meetings at 8. Those went until 12:30 and then we had just one hour break to get everyone fed and back to our meetings. I think we crashed each night at around 9:30! :) So, it was a good time, but we came back very exhausted. Plus, all the kids got sick on our last day there. Though we've been back a week it feels like we are just now settling back in.

Here are some pics from the hour or two we got away to go to the pool.
Hangin by the pool

B and little Andy

Best of friends

Being silly!

Being silly!

Being silly!

December 3, 2014

What do they Speak there?

Here is an example of the types of conversations you have with TCKs (Third Culture Kids).

Abigail: Emma (our teammates daughter) says that she was born at the Taj Mahal!

K: umm... That's not true. 

A: but she said that's where she was born!

K: I think she was just making up a story. 

Caleb: Yes! She said there were doctors there!!

K: Maybe she said that, but that isn't true. She was born in Texas just like you. No wait... She was born in Arkansas. 

A: Arkansas?!? That's a weird name! 

K: Well, it's near Texas. It's in America too. 

A: hmm... What do they speak there, Mama?


November 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Andrew!!

Today is a special day because our sweet little boy, Andrew, is 1 today. We really enjoy having November birthdays because they seem to usher in the holiday season for our family. 


We put up our Thankful Tree on the first and then the holiday feeling begins. We have some friends over, make a homemade cake, decorate the house a little bit. We also have the perk of being able to take a day off for all our kid's birthdays bcause of our job. 


Then for lunch we have a traditional birthday food, yellow rice, which has become a family tradition of ours. 

So happy birthday little guy! We love you so much!

 

June 11, 2014

Our New Home

Though it has required much work over the past 2 months, the most exciting thing about getting back overseas has been our new home. We have truly been blessed throughout our time overseas to have just the right place to fulfill our needs.

When we first got here 8 years ago, our first home was a 12' by 12' room with a small bathroom attached to the back. It was very small and warm, but it did the job - we were forced to get out and make acquaintances and learn the language. With each passing move, and with each additional child, the homes have become larger.

Our new home has 4 rooms. A bedroom for us, for the kids, and for the baby. We also have a beautiful kitchen complete with cabinets (what a novelty!). In the small backyard the previous renter (also a Westerner) built a two story play area with a slide and three swings! We can look out the kitchen window and see them happily running around. We've also been blessed with a small office off the back of our bedroom. When the door is shut you cannot hear the kids playing - of course, they can still come in the room, but it's a good start. :)

We are looking forward to this next season of life overseas because of the wonderful provision of this home.

The front of our house

Side of the backyard with Mama's great helper

The dining area with one of the bedroom doors behind us

Living room with the door to the backyard behind that cute guitarist

Backyard during our Easter egg hunt

Abi in the play set looking for eggs

The kids sitting on the play set's steps

Mama's new dishwasher!

The front yard after an intense rain

Dining/ living area with our bedroom door in the back

Tea party in the backyard

Some cute kids welcoming you to the front porch


January 21, 2014

Finding My Significance

As many of you know, I (B) began suffering from panic attacks over 1 1/2 years ago. We still don't know how they started, but we've been able to understand more of why they came and how to keep them away.

As with most people, there are many factors that contribute to panic and/or anxiety, but mostly they have to do with change in ones life - new city, new job, new hours, new responsibilities, having children, etc. But for me, I found that the very root of my anxiety came from some old thoughts patterns of how I viewed myself and how I viewed others.

The best resource that I came across was a book recommended to me by my counselor during the fall of last year which is entitled The Search for Significance. This book suggests that all humans tend to believe 4 basic lies:

  1. I have to meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself.
  2. I have to meet the approval of certain others to feel good about myself.
  3. People who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.
  4. I am what I am. I cannot change. There is no hope for me.
At first I thought these statements were too simple to incapsulate all my "issues." But as the author took me through each one, I began to see that these statements, or lies, often times ruled me and forced me into some inappropriate behaviors, thoughts, and actions.

The best part of the book was how simply he answered these lies by stating the core truths of the gospel (these correspond to the false beliefs above).

  1. Because of justification, we are completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. We no longer have to fear failure.
  2. Because of reconciliation, we are totally accepted by God.
  3. We no longer have to fear rejection. Because of propitiation, we are deeply loved by God. We no longer have to fear punishment or punish others.
  4. Because of regeneration, we have been made brand new, complete in Christ. We no longer need to experience the pain of shame.
As I read through many passages from Scripture, I was reminded of how powerful the gospel is. I was reminded that I am deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing to God, totally acceptable and accepted, and that I am absolutely complete in Christ.

The hard work of the book was the last half in which the reader is taught how to replace these long standing false beliefs with the powerful truths of the gospel. It didn't come naturally, but I am much better off now that I can ask myself "What false belief am I believing? Why am I believing this? What is the truth about myself and this other person?"

I found that much of my anxiety came from believing these false beliefs and letting them go unchecked. 

If you ever find yourself overreacting to certain experiences or getting easily flustered by other's comments or actions, I highly recommend going through this book AND it's corresponding workbook.