10 Years with Beth J: First “date week”

Note: our computer crashed a week before Christmas, so there was no opportunity to write this post on the actual date.  This post has been post-dated to the week it would have been published.

So to continue from the last post, I talked with Beth’s friends a couple of times to see how things were going.  One of my first conversations with Beth on the phone involved the way that the moviephone guy would say “mur-FREES-boro.”  Yeah, riveting discussions.  Anyway, so on one conversation, they told me that they were coming to Smyrna for New Year’s Eve to spend time with Beth’s parents and also to live it up in Nashvegas.  So Beth, Anna, and Taiter (and another friend) made the drive from Florence to Smyrna.

Meanwhile, I really wanted to hang out, but I didn’t really want to go alone.  So we all planned to spend New Year’s Eve in downtown Nashville at Graham Central Station (classy, I know).  However, all of my peeps bailed at the last minute so I joined the crew and we all headed up to Nashville and had a blast.  I didn’t realize at the time that the 1 guy that came with them was possibly interested in Beth….TOO SLOW MY FRIEND!  HA!  Anyway we celebrated the New Year by dancing and having a good time.

Over the course of the next 3 days, I met Beth and the group twice more.  Once was a dinner at Camino with the Hardimans and I think Mr. Green.  Another night was another hanging out at some country/pop dance club near Nashville with Mr. Pilote.  I was content to keep on dancing and talking with Beth, but the rest of the group had had enough of the country people dancing to pop music.  Think lots of starch, hairspray, and boots dancing to ‘NSYNC.

To cap things off with a “not how to court a girl” moment.  I gave Beth my number and told her to call me when she gets back home.  I believe her reply was, “I don’t call boys.”

But she did anyway!

Celebrity vs. Freak

We just got back from our Kathmandu trip and it was really restful and encouraging!  As we were at our meetings, someone mentioned something about people who move across the ocean sometimes lose their identity…sounds crazy, right?  But it’s SO true.  I (Beth) think if you’re not real confident in the States, your home culture, you definitely won’t be confident overseas in a foreign culture.  I can speak from experience.

I have discovered a lot about myself while living in ‘ol South Asia.  For example, I am a germaphobe, I really like structure, I really like being with my husband & kids all day most days (who’da thought?), and I am pretty insecure…

Yup, I said it, I’m pretty insecure…not quite sure why b/c I have an awesome husband, parents, family and friends that encourage, inspire and support me…but maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve time warped back to middle school with an inferiority complex since moving to South Asia.  I feel like everyone is watching me and staring at everything I do (but that’s because they are) and I have to be really conscious about what I wear/how I act in public (as to not attract more attention).  In this culture, it’s not rude to stare.

So, I feel like I have 2 personalities – Celebrity vs. Freak.

Why Celebrity?  I think it’s because I feel like we’re being watched and sometimes even treated like royalty!  As I appreciate people’s hospitality, I am not so sure I value the attention.  Listen, I know I am no beautiful movie star, nor do I want to be treated like one!  I am a normal, God-fearing woman that would like respect and courtesy.

Why Freak?  I think it’s because we are some of the few white people that live here…so, people are curious, and they stare.  Not just stare.  They look until I feel like there’s a hole stared right through me.  For example, we walk down the street and people riding their bikes watch us until I almost think their heads will turn 180 degrees! You know you didn’t like getting stared at when you were trying to find a seat in the cafeteria in middle school, right?!

It creates some kind of defensive mechanism inside me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like living here.  It’s just created some feelings within me that I have had to deal with/am dealing with, and praying how to combat future meltdowns and anger.  Praying for the Lord to give me HIS love for these people and to give me confidence in HIM, so that I would not be prideful in myself.  B/c I know it’s not going to be my own flesh that loves them.  I know it would be easy to be confident in myself.  But I want to love and take pride in Jesus, not be dependent upon myself (or others) for strength and reassurance.  Whew!  It’s a daily combat that we live over here.

Anyways, that’s a little bit of what’s going on my head and about our journey…can you relate?

Happy Wedding Sunil and Pinkey!

On Feb 24, we were able to go to our gardener’s (Sunil) wedding with some other American friends.  We had a great time!  As you might have seen on Facebook, I posted this picture (below) of Maddie’s picture for Sunil and his bride.  She was so excited 🙂  (*Note, the “IYF” is b/c I sometimes say “FYI” when I’m talking and she picked up on it!)

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From what we could understand, it was a very Biblically based hour and a half service, explaining the roles of man and woman in marriage.  It was encouraging to hear the man speaking about how the woman is a helpmate, not a slave (as women are most likely seen here).  Below are the girls amongst the crowd there for the wedding.

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We pray for Sunil and Pinkey that they would be a light among the non-believer marriages!

20140224_120622We were waiting to give them their gifts 🙂

20140224_141427Sweet practice senior picture pose for Bug!

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Homeschooling, what?!

Ok, so, I (Beth) went to Delhi last week and got to spend an amazing week w/ many other friends and coworkers that homeschool their kids at an 80’s themed homeschool conference (totally awesome, right?!).  I’ll be honest, when I was growing up, homeschooling wasn’t the “coolest” thing.  But as I’ve gotten older matured I realize that’s an unfair assumption.

It really humbled me to hear the hearts of these moms and their reasons for homeschooling their children.  Some of them don’t have a choice.  Some of them don’t want to put their kids in the national school (who would blame them?).  Some of them do it out of conviction from the Lord that they want to train their kiddos up in the way they should go, teaching them day and night and in the home.  We are praying through if this is the way we need to do it…as I bite my nails. 

It was neat to see everyone’s different personalities- moms’ and kids’.  It kind of overwhelms me to think about homeschooling Maddie and Mahaney, but on the other hand, I get all excited about it too.  Especially the new school supplies – what a nerd!  Maddie will finish up Kindergarten here in national preschool in March 2015.  Then, we’ll go back to the States for some time.  We hope to be able to put her in a great school down the street from my parents for the first half of 1st grade.  After that, our plan is to come back here to FLL and we are considering homeschooling.

Maddie loves the national preschool she goes to and has gone to for 2 years now.  Mahaney…well, she’s still warming up to it.  This school is great and albeit a little small and a little dirty, we enjoy sending our girls there.  These days our mornings are free to study language, meet w/ others, plan for speaking in our ghetto Hindi for trainings, etc, but it will only be for a short time and we are excited about what the Lord has for us.

The Homeschool Conference was such an encouragement and we even got to hear from Pam Tebow (Tim’s mom) each day about their journey in working overseas and homeschooling her 5 kiddos.  Man, a lot of conviction came in hearing how she trusted the Lord, had faith when things got tough, loved her children and saw them as gifts from Him, and taught them Scripture using simple tunes.  Also, a lot of information was thrown at us about curriculum, testing, supplemental things, “screen time”, processing disorders, how in the world to homeschool, etc.  It was so good and I’m looking forward to the possibility of hs’ing the girls.

Heck, I’ll even be able to use those teacher skills I went to school for 😉

10 Things I Think I Think

Alright, here we go with another 10 Things I Think I Think.  As always, thanks to Peter King at the MMBQ for the idea (always love reading his)…..

1.  I think driving in the FLL has given me a new appreciation for NASCAR.  I used to be amazed out how they drove so fast with so little room between them and other cars.  Now, yes they drive at must faster speeds….but lets see them try to drive in close space with dogs, cows, people walking, people riding bikes, motocycles, 3-wheelers, small cars, big cars, buses, and cargo trucks all running 3 wide on a 1 lane road.

2. I think Scripture memory is way under-rated.  I never really got into much (and if I did I sure don’t remember them now).  Actually, I probably know more verses in Hindi than I do in English!  However, I highly recommend the Fighter Verses app from Desiring God.  It’s on your phone; it gives you quizzes to practice.  It’s great!  I started it right before Christmas, and I love it.  Even on those days where life is crazy and a quiet time is non-existent, I can still “feed on the Word.”

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3. Here are a few things I think about our vacation in Thailand…
a) Thai fashion is off the charts weird.  No words to describe.
b) It was quite refreshing not to see people peeing on the side of the road.
c) I love some Indian food, but I really love beef!
d) Krispy Kreme is in Bangkok……(you see the “Hot Now” light)
e) There is also a Sizzler with an all you can eat salad bar!
f) I think it’s weird that I was excited about an all you can eat salad bar!
g) Bumrungrad hospital has got to be in the Top 5 best hospitals in the world.  Amazing!
h) I thought I had seen some nice malls in America.  In Bangkok, bigger and nicer malls exist on EVERY CORNER!
i) Also beware the night market…(eyes forward or straight down….just saying)
j) Forgot how much I really love thick chocolate milkshakes.

4. I think I wish I had written down more of what I think.  10 things is hard…

5. I think that it would be hard to go back to America and work an office job.  For 2 years, I have been working from home.  Beth and I are together most everyday.  I see my kids all the time.  When I do travel, I’m gone for 3-4 days; however, when I am home I am home.  I can’t imagine only seeing my kids for a few hours a day before bedtime, or not having Beth around all day to talk with.  While there are some downsides to the job we have, this isn’t one of them!

6. I also think that working from home is tough.  Having to go from a structured office job to working from home with no real schedule or routine was really hard.  But here we are 2 years in and I think we finally are understanding how it works.  There are no real office hours so sometimes work happens early, sometimes late, or sometimes all throughout the day.  Yet we love what we do so that is what matters!

7. Final thoughts about football…
a) I should have won the company fantasy fooball league.  There was a tie in the semi-finals, but espn rules say that the higher seed moves on…I wasn’t the higher seed.  I would have won had I been in the finals.
b) I should have won the CCBC fantasy football league.  I had 1 bad week in the quarterfinals; that’s all it takes.  I would have won both the semi-final game and the championship game.
c) I was right that the CCBC East division was the hardest.  Congrats Jeremy on the win!
d) The “should haves” are for our CCBC Commish, Mr. Miller.  He loves it when I trash talk in the past.  He says I learned it as a Duke fan.
e) Speaking of Duke, I got to watch Duke play in December….and it was a football game!  We should have beat A&M.  In other news, I can’t name 1 player on Duke’s team.

8. I think it is crazy that we will be heading back to America for our furlough in 18 months.  There is so much happening in 2014 that I know it will come quickly.  We are looking forward to the many volunteer teams coming to visit.  I am also super excited to release our 6 church planters to begin training others!  They have been so faithful these past 6 months in sharing the gospel and seeing new churches started in brand new areas!

20140105_1902539. I think it is so much fun having 2 daughters.  Maddie and Mahaney have been so much fun this past year.  It has been a joy seeing them grow and mature.  Maddie is learning so much in school, and Mahaney is really developing her own personality.  They love to play monster and hide-n-seek and spin around with daddy, and they also love to just cuddle while we watch their girly, kiddy cartoons.

10. I think know that I have a wonderful wife.  In December, we celebrated 8 years of marriage!  What has amazed me the most is that the learning process never stops.  I am still learning new things about her.  And not just new things, but we are also growing deeper in our relationship.  Working from home together has it challenges, but I cannot imagine working a job where she is not right there beside me.  I love the in-between task flirtations and small conversations.  I love the encouragement and support that she offers me as we work together!20140105_190437

Confessions of an overseas mom…Part 2

Ok, so, I wasn’t sure exactly what to write on this time (there’s so many options!) but hang with me…

In the past few months, we have asked the girls to help out here and there w/ things around the house. Having 2 sweet house helpers Mon-Fri has been SUCH a blessing and when I think about not having them, I feel nauseous. They sweep, mop, cook lunch, prepare stuff for dinners, make our beds, change our sheets, dishes, do our laundry, etc. EVERYDAY.  This allows us to be able to be free for ministry or language learning.  Without this we would be lost!

But I have had the thought about when the girls get older…Will they do things to help around the house if we always have someone we pay to do those things for us? So, we have instituted a “Chore Chart”. I got the really cute idea from Pinterest here and since then, the girls love doing their little chores and “flipping a flap”.

They both have basically the same chores, but Maddie has an extra “Do Homework”. We started this in conjunction w/ the “Nice/Kind Chart” and made the stipulation that the girls may not get a sticker for helping the other sister w/ chores on the chore chart.  IMG_5899

Pros:
-Great motivation,
-It teaches them to be responsible, and
-When they’re not sure what they should do, we can say, “Go look at the Chore Chart for what you need to do next.”

Cons:
-I think I should have taken “Make Your Bed” off Mahaney’s b/c it’s not quite age-appropriate,
-The Chart went through the “I’m bored w/ this” phase, but we were consistent with it and even now, they are still good about looking at it!

So, what chores did you give your kids at ages almost 3 and almost 5?

Confessions of an overseas mom…Part 1

Ok…so, this post is probably LONG overdue and was probably buried under some layers of pride…but it’s a new day!  I (Beth) wanted to try to document and keep record of some things that we have done, are doing, and want to do to keep on track w/ the parenting style that has deemed soooo fruitful so far – Growing our kids God’s way…now, before you roll your eyes or pre-judge, just hear me out.  Will and I are both VERY schedule oriented people and scored off the scale “J” on the Myers-Briggs personality test. So, Babywise, Toddlerwise, Preschoolwise, Growing Kids God’s Way, etc. works for us.  We appreciate the schedule for the babies, the intentionality with the little ones and ultimately, the overall Biblically sound, well rounded teenagers/adults we hope our girls to be.

Alright, so, we want you all to journey with us as we parent our 2 little girls currently 4.5 and 2.5 years.  So, if you have any tips or tricks you did with your kiddos that worked, please suggest them!  I need all the help I can get…even half way around the world!

So, this post is one of the many confessions I will have over the next <ahem> few years…so, here goes:

I failed to listen to the ever-so-wise advice that “every child is different”…

Our oldest, Maddie, is pretty black and white and has been pseudo-easy to parent over these past 4 years.  Our youngest, Mahaney, on the other hand…a little more unpredictable.  Now, I had always heard that “every child is different” and all that, but I have had to learn the hard way!

Since Mahaney was about 7-8 months old, our lives have been in transition, so I’ll cut her a little slack 🙂  And since we’ve been in South Asia, I, myself have been going through A LOT of things mentally, physically, and spiritually.  So, for the first 11 months or so, I would say that there were many times Will and I felt less than great parents (to put it nicely)…there was a lot of yelling, short tempers, not a lot of patience or grace…adjusting to a place different from where you grew up is hard enough, but throw a couple of sweet little girls trying to adjust to and we felt like we weren’t being fair to anyone.

So, it has taken me almost 18 months to figure it out, but Mahaney is NOT Maddie and vice versa.  We put a lot of unrealistic expectations on Mahaney for too long and Will and I have had many nights full of tears and frustration (at ourselves).  Now, we are trying to turn over a new leaf!

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We are trying a “Nice Chart”…to promote niceness and kindness.  It’s working decently so far as we are only one week into it.  In a week, the girls need to be “caught being nice/kind” to someone else 5 times without me or Will asking them.  By lunch on Friday, if they have indeed gotten the 5 stickers, they will get a surprise!  It’s simple and easy for me to keep up with, I definitely have to write down what they were caught doing b/c at the end of the week, we discuss what each girl did and praise them for the nice deeds they’ve done.  Consequently, if they are “caught being not nice/unkind”, they will lose a sticker – bummer!

This is the girls’ first week and they both got the 5 stickers!  They got a cute Sleeping Beauty plate they could use the next day for lunch 🙂  So, this is our first among many attempts to parent our two very-different sweet little girls that the Lord has blessed us with!

[Insert Random Pics] – Done!

Ok, I (Beth) wanted to write a more formal post, but we/I are/am in the midst of another adjustment of family life, language learning and increasing ministry outside of the home, so, only 2 posts for April!  We are doing well and thriving, no doubt!  I was looking through the random pictures on my phone from this month and ummm, well, there’s some random-ality here for sure!

2013-04-05 18.13.01This little precious alien is Mahaney dressed up in her Ariel wig from Grandaddy and Granmommy during room time!  I posted on Facebook that she’s so cute in an E.T.-ish way!
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Not quite sure why this one uploaded like this, but can’t figure out how to fix it.  This little “thing” that Maddie is riding on is the most fun she’s ever had in 1.5 minutes…she gets to ride around on it on the ground floor of our local mall and get stared at by EVERYONE.  This was on our date this past month…

2013-04-24 17.12.18This just amazes me every time…the bamboo just holds up the concrete…not sure it’s the best idea, but it’s what they use and it works…for the most part…

2013-04-24 17.30.20We recently went over to have dinner and play w/ some friends and this is the little get-up Maddie came out with…she’s such a hoot!

This is what happens when you have a busy-filled month!  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

Life in the FLL: What do we do??

Well, this might be a loaded question…everyday is different…in good and bad ways.  We are in such a unique place in our journey here b/c we are together almost 24 hrs a day AND learning language.  We have a limit of one of us being gone max 7 days in a month.  Here’s a “normal” day for us:

  • We usually get up, get ready and take Maddie to school…IMG_3826
  • Then, come back and have an hour each of language class.  We have language helpers that will help us along in our studies and will go out with us if we need to practice in the community.  At this time, Will and I usually switch off watching Bug for the time being…
  • We go and get Maddie, come back, eat lunch (remember, here is what we eat everyday), and the girls take naps (and I do too!)…Will usually tries to get some work done during nap time and rests a little too…
  • After naps, we usually play for a bit, let the girls watch a short movie, have Art time and cook/eat dinner.
  • Then, we give baths, have Bible story time and put the girls down…
  • There’s not much time for just Will and I these days after the girls go to sleep…our days are so different, the girls’ bedtime has become 8:30 or 9 p.m.  This is one adjustment I wasn’t ready for, but we’re doing our best and trying to have date nights when we can.

When either Will or I go on trips, here’s kind of what a day would look like:

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  • Leave out for the destination either by car, train, or plane (sometimes)…
  • Eat on the road…
  • Arrive at training site and chat for a bit…
  • Start a training (on time or not…) with believers on why we share, where do we share, who do we share with, what do we share, how do we disciple, and *hopefully* how to start fellowships among their people or people who have never heard before…
  • Tea Break…
  • Start training again…
  • Eat lunch and chat with folks in Hindi…(can you spot the white girl in the picture below? ha!)
  • Start training again (and do some fun things to keep these folks awake!)…
  • Tea Break…
  • Finish up that day’s training and allow these people to put into practice what they’ve learned.  This is so important to allow them to obey what the Lord has426512_10151761575675130_1358223377_n called them to do as believers!  They usually come back that evening and give a report to how their practice went – this is a fun time of encouragement and tangible way to pray.
  • Chat and rest with everybody…
  • Eat dinner around 8 or 9 (or later!)…and then go to bed and get ready to do it again for 1-2 more days.  Whew!

So, what do you think?  hahaha…interesting, huh?

Life in the FLL: Wish List 2013!

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Ok, so, we are totally appreciative of EVERYONE who sends us things via USPS!  And this is not a “Pleeeeease send us things” by any means. Sometimes people ask what they can send us for some American good times…we’ve refined our list because so many people have sent us things from our last year’s list, we’re stocked up for a while…AAANNNDDD due to Beth’s “Gluten Free-dom!” (see what happened here)  So, there’s no pressure AT ALL…

Double Stuffed Oreos
Bisquick
Vanilla
Kraft Mac and Cheese
Cheetoes in a canister
Chi-Chi’s Mild Salsa in small “snackers” 4 oz cups
White Mexican cheese dip (no refrigeration needed)
Gummy Snacks
Squeezable fruit pouches – any fruit flavors
Dried Cranberries
Natures Valley Chewy Granola bars – Trail Mix is great!
Jiffy Pizza crust mix
Flushable wipes (Cottonelle or store brand)
Wet Ones Travel antibacterial hand wipes (we use these so much)
Lysol Wipes (35 ct/70 ct or the travel packs – I love these!)
Crayola Sidewalk Chalk
Crayola Watercolor paints
Crayola Washable fingerpaints tubes – red, blue, yellow and green package and/or orange, purple, turquoise and lime green package
Craft gems
Bubbles
Any cutesy seasonal or year round art projects

Like, I said, there is no pressure on ANYONE to send us a package.  We know that the cost of shipping through USPS runs anywhere from $40-$70 per flat rate box.  But for those that ask, here ya go!  Just leave a comment or send an email (willj31 at gmail dot com) and we’ll send you our address.  Thanks in advance!!!