Thursday, March 27, 2008

100s day

Just to let everyone know--it is 100 days until my birthday.

Here are some random gadgets from the Thailand trip:

This is the "master control" in each room. It turned on/off all the lights, air conditioning, television, alarm clock, etc. Kind of nifty but very confusing at first.
When we first entered the room, we were confused because we couldn't get the lights to turn on. It turns out that there was a magnetic strip that you had to put your key on (facing the correct way) in order for any of the lights to work. This also meant that every time you left the room everything on the control box got turned off, including the air conditioning. Man, were we suffering when we came back every day to a hot room! (actually we all figured out that we should just leave a key behind...)
This was the coveted hair dryer that was in a satin box. It was also chained to the drawer so you had to sit at the desk in front of the mirror in order to reach your hair. It's like they thought we would want to steal it or something!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Break Mentality

I am a professional. I am not a student. I do not get Spring Break any longer : (. However, I do work with students every day. Most of my clients are on spring break, so I inevitably feel as if I should be on spring break also. But I can't, so I just opt to go through the week with a spring break mentality. Here is how I accomplish this:

Phase 1: Take a mini-vacation. I am taking Friday off.
Phase 2: Try not to work late hours. Since I can see my clients during the day because they aren't in school, I don't have to work as many late evenings.
Phase 3: Do something irresponsible. I watched a movie Monday night, thus foregoing doing much needed paperwork and going to bed later than I should have.
Phase 4: Think Spring: I have worn short sleeved shirts for two days now even though it has been slightly cold each day. I have also limited the amount of time I wear a coat.
Phase 5: Do as little as possible. I have attempted to not fill my evenings with lots of stuff, but to relax and enjoy the evening.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Super Excited

I was so excited today because I got home before it was dark out! Tuesday's are normally my long days and I work until at least 8:00pm. But this week is spring break for most of my clients and the family we see on Tuesday night had us come a half hour early. So we saw them from 5 to 7 and I got home at 7:30. I know that it is not really something to feel super excited about, but I managed to get really excited driving home. Not to mention the fact that I had on short sleeves and no coat and I was not cold!

Oh, and have I mentioned I've eaten Sonic two days in a row for lunch! YUMMY! Apparently there are many things in my life that I can be SUPER EXCITED about! : )

Sunday, March 23, 2008


He is Risen! Today at church we had a wonderful message about Christ's redemptive work on the cross. Christ calls us to choose Him as we live each day of our lives. Pastor Ritch talked about how there is a wide road that many will choose which leads to destruction and there is a narrow road that leads to life. Christ stands at the fork of these two roads. Pastor Ritch made the point that everyone must choose which path they will take. There is no way to avoid this choice. Jesus calls us to the narrow road--a road that may not be easy but one that is full of joy and the promise of heaven. It is also a choice that is made for life. I must live every moment of my life knowing that I have chosen the narrow path. Praise God that He provided a way to Him through His Son. Jesus chose to die on the cross so that we could live eternally with Him! He is Risen indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2008

More Signs

During the amazing race around Chiang Mai, we walked by this sign. Anyone want to take cooking classes with me?!
This was at the main temple that we visited on Tuesday.
This was actually a sign that the kids wanted me to take, because they had posed for the picture below. Don't worry, they are only pretending to push the bells.

Yes, the McDonald's in Chiang Mai delivers. Very interesting. I wasn't willing to try it! Just dial 1711.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs

I have this weird obsession with signs. They make me laugh. So, my pictures from Thailand reflect that. The fun with a lot of the Thailand signs is that a lot of them have Thai on them (duh!). Here are a few...

This was on the bathroom mirror in our hotel. Instructions on what to do with your towel each day.
I'm really not sure what a stupa is, but the name cracked me up, so I took a picture!
This one was a joke for my mom. I missed taking a picture of the sign right next to it that said "Safety First." It was a construction area where they were renovating a pagoda.
Sprite was my staple drink of the week since they didn't have Dr. Pepper.
Yes, they had 7-11 in Thailand. We went there a couple of times.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Think Spring

This week has been full of rainy, gloomy days that have been cold. But today the sun came out and I realized that there is hope that spring is on the way. Well, in honor of spring, I thought I would post some flower pictures. Anyone who has been around me and my camera knows that for whatever reason, I like to take close-ups of flowers. Well, just so you all know, none of these pictures were taken by me (I think Kevin had my camera at the time because I was on baby duty, so I might have directed him to take something with my camera, but I didn't actually take them : )!) After the elephant show, we took the kids to a butterfly garden and these are some of the flowers that were at the garden. They were beautiful! My picture on the sidebar was also taken at the butterfly garden. Enjoy thinking spring with me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I got to ride an ELEPHANT!

On Day 4 with the kids, our afternoon activity consisted of an elephant show and ride at an elephant park about 30 minutes away. The elephant show was really cool. The elephants played soccer, played the harmonica, and painted, among other things.

Here is one of the elephants painting a picture of an elephant. The elephants did all the work themselves, but the trainers actually dipped the paintbrushes for them.
Here are all the pictures the elephants painted during our show. It's sad to think that an elephant can paint better than I can!
Here is me, Lauren, and Hannah riding an elephant (in case you were wondering what the thing with the long nose is). I enjoyed the ride, but must admit that I was preoccupied with the baby in my lap. She was amazing on the ride, but going downhill on an elephant with just a bar to keep you in your seat is a little scary when the 1 1/2 year old keeps slipping down your legs!
Here is our final trek to the stand where we would get off the elephant. Hannah is demonstrating the proper way to hold on to the bar so she doesn't fall off.

2 1/2 hours full of patience

Tuesday is my late night with clients. My coworker and I meet with a family at 5:30 for marriage counseling. When we first started, we met with them for about 1 1/2 hours. Then the norm became 2 hours (for the last 4 months). But tonight we had a record breaking 2 1/2 hour session! Sometimes I leave the sessions feeling like we are getting somewhere and I am making a real difference. Sometimes I leave feeling like I never want to get married. Sometimes I leave feeling like I want to quit my job. Sometimes I leave feeling discouraged because the couple appears to make progress for a while and then all of a sudden they are back to where they started. All in all, the sessions move through a natural progession, which requires patience (because otherwise you would just want to yell at both of them to GROW UP!). Overall, I enjoy the couple and like working with them. I am thankful that I have a coworker there to help keep things on task and who can se things that I cannot see. 2 1/2 hours makes for a really long evening. I didn't get home until 8:30. But now I am relaxing, and it feels really good! I actually wish I could tell you some of the funny things that come out of these sessions, but there is something called confidentiality in my job...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Everyone Else is Doing It

Lots of blogs I visit are changing faces. Which makes me desire change. But I don't have the energy to REALLY change anything, so I just played with the colors of my blog. It spices things up just enough for right now.

I was going to include more Thailand stories, but I was actually going to narrate some pictures that I cannot get to download right now, so you're stuck with just some new colors and nothing else interesting. I'll try and do better later!

(Lately I've had a strong urge to sign all of my posts, and I'm not really sure why)


I don't know how many of you read the Thailand blog while we were there or if you are still checking it, but most of us are going to post some reflections about the week. I sent mine today, so I just thought I would put it on my blog too. Here's what I wrote:

I have so much I could talk about that was significant to me on this trip. One of the youth asked me in the middle of the week why I was the one teaching the younger kids. I'm not really sure how that happened exactly, but my first thought was that I was the shortest, so it made the most sense : ). Seriously, the younger kids amazed and astounded me in their knowledge and depth of insight. They were able to handle the changes in schedule that happened daily and were able to follow my impossilbe tangents and random comments (I try to filter them, but it never really works). They asked great questions and were always eager to volunteer to read or help in any way. I had random moments during the week where I was sad that I was not getting to know the older youth better, but God blessed me in that the last couple of days when I was able to spend more informal time with them.

The second thing that was significant to me was the afternoon that we went to the orphanage. This was the day that held the most uncertainty for us as leaders because we did not have a lot of detail beforehand about what we would be able to do at the orphanage. So, since the leaders had no idea what to expect, we could not communicate to the youth or prepare them in any way. But when we got to the orphanage and learned that we had a couple hours to do whatever we wanted, I loved that the youth took the lead without any questions. We as leaders were able to step back and watch them do what they do best. I know that many of the youth are used to doing similar things in the countries where they serve, but it was significant to me because they were officially on "vacation" during their time in Chiang Mai and they could have easily protested, but instead they served with glad and grateful hearts.

I could go on and on. God blessed this trip in so many ways! I praise Him for putting 8 "adults" and 31 kids into one place to learn from and encourage one another! What an awesome God we serve!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Slowly but surely

Today is the first day I have felt "normal" but tonight I am tired again. Continue to pray that I get a good nights rest, as I have not been sleeping well.

Here is my first installment of pictures and stories from my trip. This is a picture of me, Kim, and the 12 amazing kids I got to teach in the morning. We were coming back from game time and decided to see if we could load everyone in the elevator. We managed to load everyone plus our great senses of humor! It cracks me up every time I look through my pictures to see how much personality they put into each picture that is taken of them. I promise we did some serious stuff too! Their knowledge of Scripture astounded me (especially Esther, who was only 6). We covered topics such as friendship, service, miracles, and evangelism. Each day was a little different, which stressed me out, but the kids handled it well and went with the flow. They were a great audience and I am so thankful to have been blessed with the task of hanging out with and teaching the younger kids on this trip!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I did make it home okay. I am still recuperating. So, this post is going to be quick, with not a lot of information. I'm just starting to come to the realization that I have been to Thailand and back. It seems surreal. I have some pictures that I want to put up, some stories I want to share, but I'm still lacking sleep and want to get to bed at a decent time. I'll post more later. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Kids across the world are all the same!

Here is the update on retaliation against the guys. I announced to the kids on Thursday what Kevin and Storm had done to us, and asked for any ideas they might have in our efforts to retaliate. As it turns out, we just had to sit back and watch. And retaliation from the kids was much worse than they would have ever gotten from us!

The guys found out the hard way just how friendly the service is here in Chiang Mai. Luc, one of the youth, called in a 4am wake-up call (that they, of course, blamed on us). But niether of them answered the phone. Well, apparently, here at The Empress, if you don't answer your wake-up call, someone personally comes to your door to make sure you are awake! But don't worry, they weren't finished there.

While we were ziplining as a team, taking afternoon siestas, and enjoying dinner out, the youth were busy at work. Apparently, while the service at the Empress is outstanding, security might not be so great. Several of the youth boys, with the help of a non-Bethany adult, bartered for a raw fish in the market. They then came back to the hotel and requested a room key for Kevin and Storm's room. The fish was delicately placed underneath one of their pillows to await their arrival from shopping after dinner. Hilarious, yes. A little mean, possibly. Totally worth announcing it to the kids, definitely. It turned into youth camp at its best! And the best part is that we never actually had to do anything to retaliate!

So, we're down to about 7 hours before we leave for the airport. Most of the kids and their families have left already, but a few are floating around, so we are slowly saying goodbye. It's hard to believe we will be home tomorrow!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Team Bonding???

We are having SO much fun here in Chiang Mai! But each night we get less and less sleep : ). Last night we had a variety show and then hung out and played games. So, of course Kari and I started a game of Settlers with some of the teens. Needless to say we got to bed close to midnight with the alarm set for 5:55am. Oddly enough, our phone rang at 4:00am with a wake up call. Hmmm...we wondered. What could this be about? We immediately assumed it was either the guys room (consisting of Storm and Kevin) or the teens pulling a prank. So, we felt the waters this morning by asking if everyone got a good night's sleep. No one mentioned a wake up call. Well, long story short (relatively speaking), Kevin and Storm thought that LaNae and Kim reset their alarm clock to make them late for breakfast. So, in retaliation, they called in the wake up call, but just for our room (Peter and LaNae have their own room) because they couldn't mess with Peter so they left LaNae alone. Oddly enough, neither LaNae or Kim messed with their alarm clocks. We polled the kids on what we should do to get them back. The verdict is still out...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Favorite Quote

So, I don't know how much I've told you about what I'm doing in Thailand, but I am teaching the younger children every day (ages 5-10). Today I wore my Dr. Pepper shirt that says, "I'm a pepper." There is a 6 year old (who is really 6 going on 30) who is normally right on with what I'm teaching and answers questions and volunteers to read, etc. Well during teaching time, she had her hand raised, so I called on her and she asked me "Are you really a pepper?" I had to try really hard not to laugh, but I continue to tell the story because it was HILARIOUS!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Marshmallow Head

I'm curious to see if anyone is checking my blog while I am gone! I think the jet lag has hit more today than yesterday. One lady here called it "marshmallow head." That's kind of what I'm feeling. Sometimes someone will say something and I hear something completely different. Or I can't quite come up with a really common word. I'm pushing through today and hoping to get great rest tonight before our week really gets busy (tomorrow is our first day with the kids).

Hope all is going well at home!