Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go. Joshua 1:9

Friday, April 27, 2012

Back In the USA

And there are a few things I miss about Thailand. A few days ago I wouldn't have known what to put in this post. But after just 4 hours in the states, I had a list.

1. People spend way too much time on their phones. Seriously, it's crazy and prior to our trip I might have agreed that in general people are on their phones a lot. But the stark difference between the two countries is unreal. You couldn't talk to anyone even if you wanted to because everyone has a phone or ear bud they're attached to.

2. This is the sick one. My country is the land of the fat and overweight. I just went from feeling like the heavy one in Thailand to being among the few healthy weight people in the Houston airport. And my fellow travelers have gotten heavier with each flight. I also noticed the quality of food between Thailand and Japan and the US. Our earlier flights with snacks and meals had fruit, protein, rice, and water. Our flight into Houston was pasta, hamburgers, ice-cream, candy, rolls, and soft drinks. And I didn't really want any of it. Give me the rice, veggies, and a protein any day.

3.  Care for the children and young mothers. In both the Thai and Japan airports I was asked several times if I needed assistance with Bee. In Houston, lugging 2 huge suitcases, a carry-on, and Bee crying behind me getting to our departing terminal, not one person offered help. Not one.

4. Cost of food and eating out. Wow. We could stop at a road side vendor or little family restaurant, and fill our bellies on  $2 per person or less. Here, that's not even possible. I miss it! And the food was so good too...I'm not talking McD's quality. Chicken skewers, stir-fry veggies, sticky rice or steamed rice. Good food. And so cheap!

5. While not specific to Thailand, we do miss the ocean. We loved our 5 weeks of beach front living and being able to just walk out to water and jump in. On our bucket list is to one day have water front property again.

6. We miss the culture. The friendly genuine smile on every face. And so helpful. No matter where you went there was always someone to help if you needed it. Here you can walk the entire length of a large store and not find a single employee to assist you. In Thailand, there is someone on every aisle.

7. Easy transportation. This at least applies to the DFW area. We got along just fine using the public transportation for getting around. Not even really possible around here.

8. No "Keeping up with the Jones'" mentality. Like new cars....not hardly around in Thailand. In fact you rarely ever see new cars and the main form of transportation is by motorbike. They also use everything till it is no longer usable. And then someone will come along and find a new use for it. They do not just throw anything away.

9. Entrepreneurs.  They are everywhere there. The number of roadside food stands, food carts, night market vendors, and many more. There may not be much in the way of regulation, but I like that. Anyone could sell anything anywhere to provide for their family. The US could learn a few lessons on that.

This is my starter list. I'm sure the longer we're here the list will get longer. We are so so glad to be home though! And there are things we love about the US. But there are quite a few things we miss about Thailand too.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

If you asked me...

If you asked me...
I would tell you that these last 5 weeks have been rough.
Really rough.
My husband and best friend is on the other side of the world.
And Skype is not an even close replacement.

If you asked, I would tell you that Bee's behavior lately has been the worst ever of her entire life.
Throwing fits of epic proportion, arms flailing, screaming spitting, 
the whole 9 yards.
And I know it's because she doesn't have her Daddy.
Yesterday during a rough patch I asked her to come sit with me.
"But Momma, I just want my Daddy!"
I know baby, me too.
I'm so thankful our time apart is almost over. 
Just 3 days till we leave Thailand, 4 till we see Daddy.
But, if you asked, I would also tell you, she has the sweetest moments.
Like waking up at 3 in morning being restless, I asked her if she was ok.
"I just need to be closer to you Momma"
So we snuggled even closer.

If you asked, I would tell you I'm learning to trust.
In God.
That He has a plan for us even when things seem bleak.
Plans to prosper and not to harm.
To bring us a future and a hope.
Whatever or wherever that may be.
And being so very thankful and grateful for all He has given us.
For the people He's used to bless us.
And knowing His timing is perfect in things.

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.
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Riding Cookie

We went with my cousin to her last riding lesson and were hoping to just get to pet and watch the horses. But we got to do much more and Bee was able to be on horseback for about 20 min. 
And I'm certain this will be the highlight of her time in Thailand. 
She was smiling the whole time and never showed even a hint of fear or nervousness. 
She sat up tall, held on, and just enjoyed every second. 
If you ask her she'll tell you it was a girl horse and her name is Cookie.
 She saw another horse out there with white legs and said "momma! that horse has socks on!" 
So proud of her!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last Week

If you asked me.....
I would tell you I can't believe we're in our last week in Thailand. 
This trip has been amazing. 
Looking over my blog posts from the last 5 months brings a smile to my face. 
We've experience so much, seen beautiful things,
tasted delicious food, and have loved every moment.
We've been in the mountains of Chiang Mai, traveled in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and sunk our toes in the sand of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Phuket. 

We have ridden on an elephant, and fed many more, Daniel even threw darts with one!
We held a white tiger cub in our laps and bottle fed him. 
Once in a lifetime thing for sure!

We've seen how the Thai people love children.
A shop keeper heard Bee tell me she was thirsty and gave me a bottled water, no charge. 
I was looking through some items at a sidewalk vendor and the owner gave Bee a hair clip. 
Every time Bee and I have gotten on a busy Songtauw, someone will stand to make sure Bee has a seat. 
I've joked with friends that there are easily a few dozen random Thai's with pictures of Bee on their phone or camera...she seems to attract a lot of attention for some reason.=)

We've traveled by every form imaginable.
Train, both by day and night.
Airplane with flights ranging from 45 mins to 15 hours.
Boat rides on little long-tails and high speed catamarans.
Double decker buses and small minivans.
Truck SongTauw, and zippy little taxis.
Even the very Thai Tuk Tuk's. 
And the 3 of us on a motorbike.
And every time Bee has amazed us with her ability to handle it all. 
She's turned into quite the little traveler. 
And I'm not even a little worried about her and I traveling alone from Chiang Mai Thailand to Dallas, TX. It will be long, 36 hours of traveling with 4 flights and layovers.
But Bee's done this before and we'll do it once more.

We've made new friends, and strengthened our family ties.
I spent time with the beautiful baby boys and girls of the ViengPing Childrens Home. 
Their faces will never leave my memory. 
I adored them and gave them all the love I could. 
They opened my heart and I feel like I'm leaving part of me with them. 

So we're leaving Thailand soon and hope to return again one day.
We've loved both the mountains and the islands, we've loved the people, and I've got some Thai dishes I'll need to make in the states. 
Thailand changed us...and we'll never forget it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Phuket, Earthquake and Tsunami Sirens

Wow, what a week. And it went by so fast! We arrived in Phuket the night before Easter. Easter morning we met out at the beach at 7:30, had a little service, and enjoyed some beach time(well, most of us did, if you read my previous post you'll know Bee hated the beach after this day). We listened to David remind us of the beauty of the ocean, the waves crashing, and quesadillas (he meant cicadas) =)
Monday morning we attempted the ocean again, and again Bee and I were knocked down.
Tuesday morning was our last try at the ocean. After having waves so high they were splashing us in the water, I decided we were now done with all things beach and ocean.
The rest of the week Bee and I went back and forth between our room, the pool, and the minimart (for ice cream treats).
Laying watching cartoons on Wednesday afternoon the bed starts shaking, water in the glasses are splashing, and the empty pool outside my window is as choppy as the lake on a windy day. After about 30 seconds I  realized I wasn't crazy and this was an earthquake.
I quickly called my uncle next door and asked if earthquakes are common here, he said they do have them on occasion and he would check into it. Ten minutes later he let's me know to pack up quickly because we are heading to the top floor. By the time we were heading up there was a mass exit of people fron the beach following the Tsunami evacuation signs and the sirens were going off.
A little before 4 pm an 8.7 earthquake hit just off Indonesia. At 5:45 an aftershock of 8.1 shook us again. And yes, I was praying the whole time. Seeing frantic faces, sirens going off, and people standing on tops of buildings looking out at the water will get your heart pumping pretty quick. A few hours after the last aftershock, the danger had passed. We were very thankful that the earthquake had been a horizontal earthquake which doesn't displace the water like a vertical earthquake does.
And people remembered the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which was a 9.0 magnitude also off the coast of Indonesia. That tsunami killed 283,000 people. So we were not taking any chances when we ran to the top floor of the hotel.
We arrived back late last night and are thankful for a great and safe week in Phuket, Thailand.
This means we now have 1 week and 3 days before we fly back to the states!
Sun setting on Karon Beach in Phuket Thailand
Our wonderful room looking out to the pool
We saw some serious waves!
Fun in the pool with Aunt Michelle and Brianna
Where we spent most of our week
The girls taught her to use the peace sign while saying "asian"....she put her own spin on it and says "CHINA!" I have no idea why.
Fun Poses
Second day on the beach...her face lets you know what she thinks of it!
Brielle and Brianna
The fish we talked to every day
She didn't even want to walk on the sand.
This was her happiest moment on the beach, building this sand mound.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Grateful Easter.

Today could have been so different. Today I have no doubt I could have lost my baby girl. And my heart hurts at the thought.
Bee and I were caught by a wave and thrown off my feet. The undercurrent was so strong it took all my strength to hold myself back from being pulled under. If I'd not had a good grip or God hadn't been holding us up, today could have been a very different story. And I am grateful. Grateful to have my girly laying me next to me watching Pingu. Even grateful for the meltdown in the middle of a busy store with her crying "mommy, I'm just so tired". Grateful for the chance to clean sand out of her ears for the umpteenth time today. Just grateful to be her mommy.
I love you my little Bee.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Heading to the Beach...

And our hotel doesn't have internet, so don't be worried if you don't see me for the next week.
Bee is very excited (and me too)!
We are especially excited that once we are back to Chiang Mai, we'll have only 9 days before we start our travel back to TX.
Did I mention we're excited?
We are really missing our Daddy and Husband and will never again be separated this long (5 weeks) if we can ever help it.
But for the next 7 days we are going to be enjoying the sun, ocean, sand and swimming pool.
Till then,
Sawatdee Kah!