he’s the King, i tell you

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

*c.s. lewis’ the chronicles of narnia

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i was recently reminded of the above quote at a women’s retreat. and have found myself thinking about that last bit – / ‘course he isn’t safe. but he’s good. he’s the King, I tell you. / i have often wanted to find a way to describe my God, to find a way to put into words who God is to me, and c.s. lewis has done it.

God is so good that He sacrificed his Son for us. and He has said to us, “for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (jer. 29:1) see, that’s good.

but it’s the not being safe part that made me say, “yeah, exactly.” because if i think God is safe, i am forgetting that He is in control. that He is the King. that it is His will that will be done. and it is so much more than just who God is. it’s also how i should relate to Him and with others for Him. He’s going to ask me to take risks, to step out – do things way out of my comfort zone.

i think it’s pretty apparent that i don’t feel “safe” sharing my faith. because, well, i don’t do it. i mean, sure, when i’m around other christians, i’m all over it. i can stand strong. but it’s with “not-from-church” friends and “might-gonna-be” friends that i waiver. i want to be liked, and i’m afraid that my faith is something that might cause them to not like me.

to me, this is a prime example of me forgetting that God is not “safe” and that my goal in life should not be to feel “safe”. i believe when i respond to Him, it should be because i know He’s good – not because He’s safe. and because i know “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” rom 8:28

even the scary stuff….even the unsafe stuff. i trust in God because i know He’s good and because He’s in control.

compassion international

Learn more about sponsoring a child.

“february is blog month at compassion! we’re asking all of our friends to share their love for compassion’s ministry by sharing their compassion experience with the blogosphere.” and since i have a compassion experience and am absolutely obsessed with the blogosphere how could i pass up this opportunity?!

a few years ago, bh thought it would be good for us to be able to witness our money being used by God to impact the life of a child, you know, since we have three of those ourselves. so we sat down and talked, we asked the kids if they had any ideas about how to pick a child. i knew people who had chosen based on birthdates, wanting to adopt a child whose birthday was close to their own child’s birthday. or people who had chosen based on location, they were studying a particular country or knew someone from a particular country. but the only prerequisite our kids had – and really, it was just one of our kids – was that our child be a girl. so we sent our form with the request for a girl and received back the information for agit from indonesia, a 7 year old girl (now 9). and the more we learn about compassion – learn that this organization isn’t just talk – that they whole heartedly believe in what they are doing, that everyday they are working towards the goal of “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name” the more we are thankful for the privilege to partner with them.

if you would like to read other compassion stories visit shaun groves’ website.

it got better – for me.

the weekend ended pretty well. it started with a very short trip into the pit of despair. not the greatest of starts, but i quickly rallied back to just fine. and by the end of sunday i had reached a new all time high – i mean for all the time i’ve been in thialand – i made it to gettin’ by.

michael had made us lunch plans for sunday. he met a lady at a conference he went to in bangkok back in december, she works with an organization called the garden of hope who’s “goal is to offer comprehensive, holistic programs that bring restoration and healing to those in, at risk of, or exiting prostitution and trafficking.” so off to her home we went for a lovely lunch and some very nice conversation and a game of cadoo. it was very relaxing and for an extravert – like me – very energizing. we went straight from her house to church, where a11 had a bit of a breakdown. i wish we had a warning bell for when these breakdowns were coming, but they always seem to surprise us. after church i ran into a few ladies from the bible study i’ve been going to and some from the kids’ school. familiar faces and easy conversation are very comforting. then home for some family time – we watched a movie and had a light supper. then bedtime…

things went a bit awry at bedtime. c13 threw up all over his bed and a11 continued her breakdown. she climbed into bed with me and brought her birthday bunny. every three seconds she squeezed it’s hand and i heard heart felt wishes from her dearest friend.

i knew she’d fallen to sleep when i quit hearing the bunny.

so this morning, c13 stayed home from school -pukey stomach and all. a11 is home with a sore throat – i think more from crying herself to sleep than sick. i took s8 to school and before i made it home i had a call from the school – sore throat & upset stomach. so back i go, pick him up, take him home and put him to bed. and me? i hightail it out the door, head to wawee for coffee and wi-fi and next i’m off in search of a bicycle. then home and furniture comes today!!

jane, stop this crazy thing

i keep getting asked, “so, how are you really doing?” like i might not be answering the question, “how are you doing?” honestly. the honest to goodness truth is, i’m doing just fine. i’m including a graph to help define “just fine” –

 

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now, i know that doesn’t look so good, looks pretty close to dismal maybe. But it is what it is. you know during the closing credits of the jetsons, when george yells, “jane, stop this crazy thing”? well, i’m pretty sure i know what he’s talking about. it’s not that i want to go home, or that i’m sorry we moved – it’s that it’s just so much, so fast.

i’ve already posted about the delayed flight, flying standby, bh going straight to singapore from bangkok and the kids and me coming on to chiang mai. which was a bit of a rocky start (if you haven’t noticed i have a tendency to minimize things, i learned that in our “are they the right kind of crazy to move to thailand” counseling session). you thought how brave and adventurous i was when we were here without bh – I got us out of the hotel, went to the zoo, the night bizarre, the internet café… well, the truth is, that while we did do those things, and while it may have seemed brave and adventurous, it was really just forward motion. i would have rather stayed holed up in our hotel room and cried. but what good would that have done, other than to further traumatize the kids. and we did spend a few mornings crying over breakfast – some very nice people who were also staying at the hotel were kind enough to check on us, maybe more to be sure the kids would be okay left in my care.

then bh got to town and we had to really think and act like this was our new home. we took care of the kids and school and got moved into our house. i drove a stick shift – on what i consider the wrong side of the road – in the middle of morning rush hour down and around the streets of chiang mai. and that really might go down as one of the most stressful and scariest things i’ve ever done in my entire life. we found furniture, the grocery store, the local market. i’m learning to shop by picture and that there are some places to shop that are more english friendly – not meaning they speak english, but that there is some english on the packages. i’m learning that things take more time. i’ve learned that i’m spoiled. i don’t like hanging clothes to dry or hand washing dishes. it’s not convenient and it takes time and your clothes aren’t really soft. i want furniture – now. i’m glad we have mattresses and a kitchen table and chairs. but i want some place else to sit in the house. i want my mattress off the floor. i want to be comfortable. and i want routine.

i want someone to talk to. i’m a bit of an extrovert. you know barbra streisand’s lyric, people, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. that was written for me, about me, i’m one of those people – well, not really feeling the luckiest people in the world part right now. and i got no people here. i mean none that aren’t family and forced to endure me because of their genetic makeup or because they said, “i do.” and not only that, the only other adult in the house is introverted. which – if i understand what an introvert means- it means he’s some kind of freak of nature – you know, like a weird mutation or something. he’s drawn me a graph to show me the difference between extrovert and introvert, i’ve done my best to recreate it.

 

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lets say that the 0 – 7 are representative of how full up of conversation and interaction we are – with 6 being as full as you can get – and the 7 being there because i didn’t know how to make it go away. so, bh spends his entire day, either pretty full or totally full. i, however, start with plenty of space available and it’s not full until i close my eyes to go to sleep – and really, it might not be full then. this doesn’t really do his original diagram justice, but it gives you a good idea. the problems – well really it’s just one big problem – this causes are that he is all happy in his introverted little world, no one wants him to participate in any kind of conversation – it’s good, but then there’s me. sad little no.one.will.talk.to.me me. he tries, God love him. he uses exaggerated hand gestures, makes disturbing faces and he grunts, but those really aren’t good substitutes for conversation. so, i blog, a lot. maybe you noticed. and i check my email every chance i get. but it’s not the same. and the truth is, i want friends, but i hate making them. you know, the awkward small talk, the i’m not sure i’m gonna like this person, the i’m pretty sure they don’t like me. i know i’ve done it before, but once you’ve gotten past that you forget it and it’s like you’ve always been friends. it’s sort of like that mommy amnesia – the one where you forget how much it hurt to sit up in bed after a c-section so you go ahead and have another baby. that’s where i want to be, not having another baby – it took three, but now i remember the pain. i want to get to the you’ve always been friends place.

so, right this moment i would say life sucks. but it’s all part of it. i signed up for this. i know it’s where God wants our family and i know it will all be good. and i know i have a choice. i can move forward, get things done or i can curl up in a ball and cry. one is much easier than the other, but i think i’d miss out on all the misery fun.

not to mention the blog fodder.

a really long sunday blog…

yesterday we test drove a car, it was good, bigger than what we are renting right now – but most important it was automatic. no more driving stick! we also made a trip to the store to look for fish sauce, the right fish sauce, the real fish sauce, and while there here’s what we found for the kids to do…

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and, yes, i did find the fish sauce…

then we test drove the car.

then we went to a ginormous mall, the central airport plaza. here’s a picture of just one of the motorcycle parking lots – and it’s not the whole lot – at this mall…

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michael had to get a new fancy schmancy cell phone for work and chan needed new tennis shoes for pe. tennis shoes that will never, ever touch another surface other than the brand new gym floor at the school. while we were there we found this…

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but we didn’t have any :(.

then home and to bed.

today, i woke up and decided to get back on the horse… i cooked a thai meal. my confidence was renewed because i had found the fish sauce, and this recipe called for fish sauce. here’s how it turned out.
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and it was tasty. no one had yogurt.

yesterday evening i went nuts and volunteered for all the volunteer opportunities currently available at the school.  thankfully, right now that is only 2 things.  one is international day – they group us by our nationality, and i would think i could come in handy – fresh off the boat from america and all.  and then they are getting ready to hold parenting with confidence classes.  i volunteered to be a hostess – which really means hand out name tags at the school every tuesday evening a for 4 weeks.  just glad they weren’t looking for a volunteer grounds keeper cuz i would have been all over that…

so, what have we been up to

other than learning to drive…

so thursday night we get a text message from the lovely folks at the office here in chiang mai – we had spoken with them earlier in the day about arrangements we needed to make for friday and they had a solution. they arranged for us to rent a car so i could drive c13 to school to meet with the high school advisor and arrange his schedule. meanwhile, they would send a truck to the hotel to pick up bh, a11, s8 and all our luggage. sounds great? well, after i familiarized myself with a manual, drove around the round about the wrong way, stalled out a few times, i was ready to go – the only thing left was convincing c13 to get in the car with me. once we were off it took us 90 minutes to get to the school; it should have been a 20 minute trip – but we saw some things i hope to be able to find again. then we had to get from the school to our house. luckily, the office manager at CMIS knows just where our moo baan (neighborhood) is. and when we got to the house most of the unpacking had been done!! yeah, bh, a11 & s8! next to do was find something to eat. so we journeyed out – found a super store with a kfc. and look what they had –

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and, of course, we had to do some shopping. but it’s hard to figure out where to start when you have nothing! so, we started with some basic necessities. dishes, a pot and a pan, silverware. a clothes washer!! saturday and sunday were spent setting up house, finding where to get other furniture. stuff that works for us, but doesn’t cost a fortune. and the one thing i really, really wanted to find – a round dinner table – we found yesterday!

other highlights of the last few days… when you don’t inform your credit card company that you’ve left the country they shut you down. when you make purchases you should remember that you no longer drive a minivan, but are currently renting a small passenger van. if here’s what happens if you don’t remember… (and don’t worry, the kids really could breath and they are all still alive) –

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this morning i was highjacked by motorcycle riders and couldn’t get into the lane i needed to be in so took the long unknown way to the kids’ school. and now i sit in a coffee shop – which is a little weird because it wasn’t too long ago that i read about this very coffee shop here – writing this blog, wondering what normal will be like here.