Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lauren is on her way!

As I write this, Lauren should be landing in Singapore.  We had a teary good-bye at the airport this afternoon as we sent her off for a week-long retreat at a secluded island resort in Indonesia.  She will be meeting several high-schoolers whose parents serve in Nazarene missions on this side of the world.  They will be looking at their strengths, looking towards life after high school, and looking to God to speak to them in new ways.  We anticipate that this week will be life changing for her!

But even though this trip has been much anticipated, the process has not been easy.  This is partly because Lauren is our first child - she's the first one to venture off on her own.  And then there's little thing called "recent airplane crashes". Even though air travel is still one of the safest forms of transportation (MUCH safer than road travel here!), it still takes an act of faith to let go and to trust God with my girl.  Because I know that trusting Him doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen to her, but rather it means that I have to come to terms with the fact that He will be with her in whatever she has to go through.
Megann wasn't in the mood for an airport good-bye
To make matters worse, sometimes I worry that we've made a really bad decision to raise our kids overseas.  What if we've really messed them up?  What if they never feel like they belong anywhere... ever?  What life goes on for everyone back home, and they get forgotten?  What if they can't make it on their own in the world?  These are all things that run through my sub-conscious mind (I don't actually let my conscious mind chew on this for very long).

And yet, through all of this, there are these little glimpses of hope - that God sees us, that He knows us, and that He will provide everything we need.  A few weeks ago, Lauren and I got sidetracked by looking through some pictures from before we moved overseas, as she was preparing a fundraising page for her trip expenses.  Our last three years in Idaho were spent on the campus of NNU in the freshman boys' dorm, and one night several girls from the neighboring dorm put on a Princess Party for Lauren and Brenna.  All of the girls dressed up and they did "princessy" activites all night.  We had a fun time reminiscing about several of the girls who had made Lauren feel so special that night.
Princess Party Flashback - 2006?
Fast forward to just before Christmas... some pictures were posted on Facebook of a staff Christmas party of one of the churches in Idaho.  Around the table were several people who had touched Lauren's life.  One was one of the girls who had been at the Princess Party several years earlier that Lauren had especially remembered.  Another was Lauren's third grade teacher - her last teacher in America.  And yet another, was the couple who have organized the retreat that Lauren will be attending this week.  Wow!  Needless to say, I was in tears.  Such a sweet reminder that God hasn't forgotten about my girls!
So thankful for these sweet reminders!

Then, just last week, we heard from Ryan's sister that a friend of theirs was also traveling to the retreat, and would be bringing a few little gifts for the girls with him.  And we received a message from a cousin saying that another couple who were going to be flying over for the retreat were youth workers from his church.  When we shared Lauren's fundraising page on Facebook, donations came in from family and friends all over the world - including another one of those girls who had been at the Princess Party.  Lauren was able to raise more than enough money to pay for her portion of the trip, and was even able to use the excess to help defray the costs for some of the other students.  We feel honored and humbled, and so very grateful!

*** As I wrap up this post, Lauren is safely in Singapore.  Please continue to keep all of us, but especially her, in your prayers this week.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wednesday Playgroup

Ready to play with friends!
 I'm treasuring these last few months of being a stay-at-home mom with Megann.  In August, she will begin preschool at Logos, and I will be working full-time as the school nurse.  We've been trying school out two mornings a week, and so far the most difficult thing has been getting Megann to want to go home.  Next year we will all be a the same school, and we'll have a child in each level - preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school.  I'm so thankful that I don't have to drop kids at four different schools!

But, one of the things that Megann and I will really miss is our Wednesday morning playgroup.  It is such a sweet time of being with little friends and mommy-friends.  And it has been a good incentive to get out of the house for something more than a trip to the grocery store.  Most of the time we host playgroup in our homes, but one week this winter we decided to try out a park.  Unfortunately, the weather here is so hot that you can usually only stand to be at a park until the sun comes up or after it goes down, but this day we were able to enjoy it until around 9:30am (at which point we bailed and took the kids to a little playland in the KFC)

Last little bit of shade
As you can see from the picture, we tried to find the last little bits of shade on the playground as the sun got higher in the sky.  And the kids also attracted a small audience, but they're pretty used to it.  We shared some snacks, but when the shade was gone and the audience started asking for money we decided our time there was done.

But don't feel too bad for us right now when it comes to the heat. We have been enjoying the coolest weather in Cambodia in the past 20 years - nighttime lows below 70!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Logos International School

Not everyone knows what we do here in Cambodia, so I've been trying to use our blog to show you different aspects of our daily life.  Ryan, Lauren, Brenna, and Addie spend their days at Logos International School, where Ryan teaches elementary music, middle school band, and high school choir.  It's a big job!

The entrance to the school compound.

View from inside the gate.

Standing on the turf - a little hot, but better than mud!

The view from the playground.

The swimming pool!

Ryan at work with the 4th graders.

After school dance rehearsal - recognize the long hair? (it's Lauren)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ryan's Salon Concert

Last Wednesday, Ryan performed in a salon (small) concert downtown with the mother of one of his students.  The concert was sponsored by a Korean bank that is new to Cambodia, and most of the people in attendance were associated with the bank or, as in our case, family/friends of the performers.

Ryan played the piano and the trumpet, and Addie and I enjoyed a night on the town.  Afterwards we were treated to dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  It was fun to do something very out of the ordinary in our own city!

All dressed up and ready to go!

A picture of the performers and their spouses, I think.

Logos Jog-a-thon

Every year, Logos School has a Jog-a-thon fundraiser.  This year, the students raised over $9000 dollars to help renovate the gymnasium.  The gym currently floods when it rains, and has very limited seating on the sidelines, so the improvements will be great.  Plus, our gym is used by many different groups during the week, so it won't just be something good for Logos, it will be for the whole community!  Thank you to all who made donations!
Kids in the gym before the race
Addie - sporting the Jogathon t-shirt

Brenna at the finish

Lauren and friends
Ryan and Megann - nearly the first ones to finish!

Megann with the big girls

Logos Teachers Retreat

Can you imagine it?  Beautiful sunshine, sandy beaches, refreshing pool, good food, air-conditioned hotel room, great friends.  Too bad I spent the first half of it in a bad mood.  I don't know what my deal was.  Maybe it was because Ryan was sick, and I couldn't help but remember June of 2012 (the last time we were at this hotel) when Ryan was sick with dengue fever.  Or maybe it was because we forgot to load the suitcase that had all of Megann and Addie's clothes in it into the car before we left.  Or maybe it was because I was so incredibly exhausted from having three Thanksgivings the weekend before we left.  It's hard to know.
Aren't they cute?!  That's pretty much what they looked like all weekend!

But the speaker at the retreat spoke about Sabbath, and our physical, mental, and spiritual need for rest.  It was sooo good.  So, as Advent season begins, this family is going to be taking things slow.  A lot of really good things are not going to make it on the calendar, and that's okay.  We've had an unbelievable year, in so many ways.  We need time to think, time to reflect, time to enjoy being together.  

It was pretty sunny!

Fun with friends

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Going on a Walk

The other morning we decided to go for a little walk.  It was before 7am, which is already pretty warm, but the cloud cover made it more bearable.  This first picture is the view from our front door.  As you can see, I had a sweet little walking partner sitting out under the mango tree, ready to go. 

Our new home is at the end of a quiet road, which is wonderful! 

At the end of the quiet road is a busy road, which goes to Logos School.  It's always a challenge to pull out into traffic, because if you wait for a safe opportunity, chances are that 1-2 cars have already pulled out from behind you - directly into traffic.  It is common for motorcycles and vehicles to drive the wrong way into oncoming traffic, until they are able to pull into the correct lane!  I've found that when I drive I often think, "Am I far enough behind that truck that I could stop if those people fell off?"

Well, enough of the traffic - this is supposed to be a nice walk, right?  So, Megann and I turned around back down the quiet road to our house.  You can see our neighborhood in the distance.  The ladies on the motorcycles are on their way home from the market with fresh produce for the day.

And this is just a random gate on our street.  I have quite an affection for this color of blue that is often found on metal gates, railings, and shutters of the stilt houses in the countryside.

And back to "Home, Sweet Home" - we live in the left hand side of this duplex.  It is 3 stories high with the living area and kitchen on the main floor, master and little girls' room on the 2nd floor, and the office/TV room/guest room and older girls' bedroom on the top (that's really only 4 bedrooms altogether).