Wednesday, March 13, 2013

House Guests and Adventures

We have had the privilege of having the daughter of some friends stay with us while they are in Guatemala for some training. She has fit so well into our family's routine and she has helped us to have some new and fun adventures as well. Her parents are missionaries to Cambodia and she was born over there. Since we live so close to Little Saigon, and since it fit so well with our geography studies lately, we have ventured over there a few times at her request.

First, David and Molly and Emily and I went with her to a Vietnamese restaurant for our first adventure. On our way in, we met a "beggar" who tried to give us pieces of red yarn which would ward off evil spirits in exchange for food or money. So sad.

David ordered some dish which included veggies, beef, shrimp, and squid on a bed of crispy noodles.

 Emily ordered a Vietnamese omelet.

 I went safe with egg rolls (I've been craving them forever!).

We then went and explored some statues nearby of Confucius and some "other guys" who reminded us of the Chinese terra cotta warriors.

Then today, was the really fun adventure! We went and hung out at the Asian Mall. We mainly went for dessert, but ended up trying some new foods as well . . . which Soriya happily purchased for us to try.
Soriya bought these and we were fascinated by them, but she couldn't tell us what they were. They looked like little presents! We had a tough time getting into them, but when we did, they looked less than appetizing to most of us, especially since Soriya couldn't tell us exactly what was inside. (Susan??)

This was Jack fruit, which tasted sweet, but not as sweet as, say Mango. But it was good. We brought this home.
 These were quail eggs and they tasted just like chicken eggs. The kids enjoyed these the most.

 This was a "sesame seed ball" and it tasted interesting. The dough didn't have much taste to me and there was squash in the middle (at least that's what Soriya said it was).

 This was banana fried in some sort of batter. It was ok. Emily obviously didn't care for it, but she and David were so good about trying most of the food.

 THIS . . . was a snail. Yep. Soriya and Emily and David ate snails. The rest of us weren't brave enough to try them. But we really enjoyed watching the others eat them. I was so proud of Emily and David (and SO relieved when they didn't throw it up right there in the mall!).

 You stick this stick in the shell, pull out the snail, and pop it in your mouth. Soriya kept telling E & D, "Don't look at it. 
Just eat it!"

 This was the most favorite place . . . ice cream cones and Icees!

What an absolutely fun time we've had. 
Thanks, Soriya!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

He DOES keep His promises!

These past few weeks have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining for me.

I thought it was over last weekend. Sunday, my body just crashed physically and I came home after church and slept and slept and slept. And I thought. And I prayed. The week ahead looked less stressful and I prayed that God would help me be wise in slowing down and pacing myself.

Monday morning dawned with an early orthodontist appointment and then a full day of school. Earl suggested that we go out that evening and talk and pray about how to "lighten my load" and prioritize things. That sounded wonderful and so I kicked up the pace to be ready to leave the kids alone for a few hours that evening.

We went out and we talked over things. It felt good to talk. And we prayed. It's always good to pray. As I lay in bed that night and looked forward, I realized that nothing had been "taken off my plate", but I felt ready.

About midnight, Jonathan began contending with a serious stomach bug. As it turned out, God had me "sleep" in his room for the remainder of the night and walk with him through his ordeal until about 7am. At one point, as I stood by rubbing his back and trying to comfort him with words as his stomach mercilessly convulsed, he cried out, "Mom! I don't think I can take any more!" Without having to think, I reassured him, "I know you can't, Sweetie. But Jesus can!" And I prayed for him again as we cried out for the strength that he didn't have.

"But Jesus." Do those words comfort you? They do me!

As I laid back down on David's bed to await the next "session of comfort", the Holy Spirit replayed the scene again for me: my son crying out in desperation for what he didn't have. And I saw me!

Abba Father! I don't think I can take this any more. I'm too tired. I don't have the strength! Help me! Isn't there something I can take or do to make my situation change?

And then I remembered Jesus. He has promised to be my strength. He has promised me that I already have all I need for life and godliness. He has promised that He will keep me in perfect peace if I keep my mind stayed on Him. He has promised that His burden is light and His yoke is easy. And I remembered that He has ALWAYS kept His promises to me.

And then He sent friends to walk beside me. 

Tuesday I found grace to walk through my day. Then He blessed me with "friend #1"! I got to spend a few hours that evening with her sitting on my living room floor, with our Bibles open, and a Starbucks within reach just reading and discussing the Scriptures on how much God loves His people. I went to bed refreshed.

I found grace for Wednesday and Thursday. And then Friday morning He blessed me again with "friend #2" and  more sweet fellowship. This time it was in her quiet home. Jonathan and her children were playing quietly in another room and we sat on a couch just enjoying talking about all that God has been putting on our hearts lately and about how powerful He is and amazing He is and how much the people around us need Him. I was encouraged and reminded that we have been gifted to live outside the level of comfort (tired, spent, scared at times, etc.) for the purpose of laying down our lives for our neighbor. I left there full of joy and refreshed for the journey.

Then this morning, He blessed me again. I was able to spend a few hours with "friend # 3-6" - 3 of the most godly women at our church and one very wonderful young lady who I have had the privilege of seeing grow up in the Lord. Again, I found myself just sitting with my Bible discussing the truths of Scripture and the power of our God.

He didn't eliminate anything from my plate this week. And next week doesn't look any different. But He did keep His promise to give me all I need. And His blessings came in unexpected ways and were oh so satisfying!

Oh friend and fellow pilgrim - are you tired and weary? Do you feel unable to go on at times? Fall at His feet and cry out "Abba, Father!" if you can. He is God and He always accomplishes all He desires to, and His desire is to bless and glorify Himself through you. Pray that He would open your eyes to His abundant blessings and to how He is keeping His promises to you. They may not be how we expected. Look carefully!

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

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