Showing posts from 2013


She stands,  unsteadily, arms stretched out. A baby bird, ready for flight. The cage keeps her safe. She tries her wings. Butter colored hair whips red cheeks, dimples. Grinning she dares. The truck lurches Round mountain curves She sways, falls into friends arms outstretched. She stands again. and laughs. Yells! The pure joy of being 10 of being free of being brave.

Rainy Afternoon Musings

It started pouring rain this afternoon, washing the air from the smoke of burning rice stubble. Down in the fields I can still see the fires burning, but we can't smell them anymore. It's odd to have rain in cold season, and I'm reveling in it. The two oldest kids are off to Bangkok with Aaron to renew their passports. The Girl cried pitifully all last night and all this morning as I helped her to dress and take her things out to our friend's truck, waiting to give them a ride to the bus station. She has done this for a year and a half, cried at every parting, preferred to stay home beside me, even if it means missing out on something fun. I didn't even finish writing her birthday letter last year, though I wrote many paragraphs and struggled over it, because we were in the thick of this anxiety she was going through, not even wanting to go on outings with Beema if I wasn't going, and I couldn't figure out how to talk about it. I'm still not su

Growing up

He’s only half awake, angry, because he wet the bed, and he doesn’t usually but he’s been sick, and he’s so eager to be a big kid this week. I take him to the bathroom to shower off and he has to go potty first, sick tummies lead to many potty emergencies. “Mommy, go out!” He commands. He’s three and he doesn’t want my help in the bathroom anymore. When all is done and cleaned up and I’m carrying him out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel I ask, “Do you want to come upstairs and sleep the rest of the night in mommy’s room?” Last month his half asleep angry was because I took him to the downstairs bathroom and back to bed and he wanted to come upstairs and use my bathroom and go to sleep on the floor mat next to my bed. “No! Me no want to weep in yours room mama. Me want to weep in my woom.” “Are you sure?” I’m not quite ready for this. Plus, his bed is wet and I am tired and I don’t really want to change sheets right now in the dark. “Yes, me want to weep in my woom.” S


“I'm assuming you know what's happening with Mom but just in case you don't she's being admitted to the stroke ward at the hospital." It’s the night before Thanksgiving, here in Thailand, I’m up prepping food for the next day. We’re having new friends over to celebrate with us, because when you’re from a big family, it doesn’t really feel like a celebration without lots of people in the house. “I don’t know anything. I haven’t talked to her for a few weeks." I message back. "Did she have a stroke?” She went to the hospital last night when she had a bad headache, blurred vision and her arm started twitching uncontrollably. They did a CT scan and discovered bleeding in her brain. Her heart stopped at some point and they did CPR. She was rushed to the hospital where AJ (our brother) met her at midnight last night. (He's working in town). Last update was they were managing the pain and waiting for a spot in the stroke ward. I'm going to see her

7 Quick Takes - So much to say

Little bits from around the web that I thought worth sharing. I wanted to include pictures but my internet out here in the Thailand boonies is so slow tonight that's it's not going to happen. 1. Modesty, I Don't Think it Means What You Think it Means Probably everyone has read this by now because she posted it a few months ago, but I wanted to jump up and down when I read this post by Rachel Held Evans. Mostly because I've been saying the same thing for years and I can't believe that we're still wasting breath debating this issue with each other. There is a world to heal, a creation to redeem, a kingdom of peace and love to incarnate people. Let's stop judging each other based on our clothes and being afraid of our bodies alright? 2. The American Way of Birth the Most Costly in the World I have lived through this ridiculousness. After one of my home births I had to be admitted to the hospital for a few hours because the placenta didn't deli

PHFR - The missing updates

It's been ages since I did a PFHR post, and I don't know why because I've been taking a ton of pictures. So these pictures aren't necessarily from this past week. I have a lot of archives to catch up on from the past few months. Pretty I'm so glad that it is so beautiful where we live. I can deal much better with the many ugly things we're trying to improve when I can look at skies like these and get some perspective. Happy Kids in trees. Look closely. The Girl is way up at the top. This is the Girl's little perch where she prefers to do school work. Sweet little things from thoughtful children. Saturday morning pancakes on the balcony. This guy because he can do stuff now. Funny This is called a technologie. It's a common method of transport here, often for lots of people at a time. We live on a hill next to a road so every so often we see one of these laboring up the hill with a pile of pe

Scorpion Eaters

A little while ago we were sitting around a little fire outside in our yard, because it was family night and the kids had asked for a fire. I was just starting a story when Aaer ron yelled, "Everyone get back!" We live in the land of poisonous vipers, and poisonous centipedes, and all manner of other unpleasantness so we all complied pretty quickly. It turned out it was just a little scorpion who had crept close to the warmth of our fire. So Aaron, being Aaron, rather than kill it, caught it and fried it up so the kids could taste it. Who wants to see the video the kids took of a snake eating a Toukay(big gecko) while hanging in front of the kitchen window?

What I See

We decide to eat lunch in a sit down restaurant near the border the day we renew our visas, rather than a street stall, mostly because we also need a bathroom. Six ladies and one girl, in coordinating tribal shirts, seat us and bring our dishes, ice, drinks, menus, etc. The girl, maybe 13, maybe older, she sits at a nearby empty table and watches us eat. The restaurant isn't very busy. Most tables are empty. I glance at her as she watches us, in between juggling baby, toddler, and food. She just sits, and watches. It's a school day. I wonder if she goes to school. I wonder if she ever gets to eat the same kind of food my kids are pushing around on their plate and probably won't finish. We've ordered 4 different meat dishes to go with our rice. Not a lot for 7 people by American standards, but probably extravagant for many here. Does she sleep in the house behind the open air restaurant? Does she push some chairs together after the customers go home and sleep there

Dear Son, I want you to fail this year

Dear Boy, Twelve years ago today you made me a mother. It didn't go at all as I had planned, and dreamed about, your birth, but there you were anyway, with a ridge in your forehead and a cone on the back of your head, and so, very, very fragile and small. For months I had to sleep facing you. My heart just couldn't take the uncertainty of facing the other way, of not watching you sleep and knowing you were ok. My heart filled up with so many feelings when I looked at you. Sometimes they spilled out of my eyes and squeezed my chest so tightly as it learned just how much love it could hold for another person. I would creep into the bedroom if you slept longer than an hour and put my hand on your chest, just to make sure that you were still breathing. I learned everything about being a mom with you. I am still learning. I've never parented a 12 year old before, and you've never been a twelve year old and this year is a whole brand new thing to learn and figure

Help wanted

I didn't realize, until I put up that last post about Dek, that it had been a full month since I last posted anything here in this space. Time really moves differently here. Days move slowly, and less happens in them, which I think ends to the melding of all of them together into a continuous blur and I look up weeks later and say, "What, it's October? I don't even remember September." Some of that has to do with the oddness of the seasons, that I'm not used to, so I have no feeling of the passing of time from the weather. So there's that. And there's also the crazy business of those long slow days with the laundry, and the schooling, and the parenting, and the walks to the little store for dinner ingredients, and the never ending dishes, and the baby, who needs holding and feeding, and the desperately trying to stay awake long enough in the few moments every day that I have to sit down and write all the work things I have to write, and then st

4 months

Dear little Dek, You are already 4 months old and this is the first letter I am getting around to writing to you. In my defense, you are a very particular little short person and you often only want to be held, but any old baby holder will not do. No, it must be mama who holds you. Big brothers and sisters will be tolerated for extremely brief periods of time. You will submit to being held by daddy if you aren't tired, or hungry, and don't have any gas, or any other discomfort of any kind. But if you wake up cranky and he comes in to pick you up, you actually yell louder, as if to say, "Not you! I don't want you you great hulking hairy man with scratchy whiskers and a loud scary voice. Bring me that woman with the milk boobs. I will only have her." We submit to your tyranny, because you are just super adorable when you aren't really angry that I'm not holding you. To be clear, it is just holding that you want when you do this. Daddy will hand you ove

On Being a Spectacle

"I wonder if it would be rude to take pictures of the people who take pictures of us when we're out." Aaron laughs when I ask this. "Does it matter? They're taking pictures of you." A farang family with a baby and several blond (ish) children causes quite a stir whenever we go out together. The first time I went to the Thai market, all the kids in tow, you could hear the decibel level in the already loud market go up at least 10 degrees when we trooped in the front entrance. The women in the stalls called to each other back and forth, "Do you see this? Do you see all these foreign children?" Or some other similar dialogue. It often isn't even words, just loud exclamations. I've learned how to answer the basic questions in Thai. "He's 2 months old. He's a son. I have 3 sons and 2 daughters. Yes, 5 in all. Yes, I'm busy." They worry that baby Dek's little legs are tucked inside the sling instead of out. Th


There are things I want to show you, but don't have any photos of. This is partly because they happen too fast for me to pull out my phone and snap them, also because my phone can't catch these things adequately and the big camera is kind of a pain to walk through the rain with while also carrying a baby in a sling, wrangling a 3 year old in a stroller, far easier than wrangling a 3 year old without a stroller, and carrying an umbrella. Also I'm not sure I want to act the tourist in our new neighborhood and take pictures of people without permission. One day as I was driving out our gate there were 4 young Burmese girls, wearing sarongs with the traditional yellow paste smeared on their cheeks, walking up the road carrying laundry baskets and laughing at something the boy who walked with them was saying. They looked like a post card. (All the Burmese here put a paste on their cheeks and foreheads. I'm not sure why. I'm told it doesn't prevent bug bites, but ca


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