YoungLife Thailand

We have become good friends with the Vechprasit family in the last couple of years. They also happen to be the folks heading up YoungLife Thailand. And they’re our neighbors, too! How random, right đŸ˜‰ Well, in acknowledging just how too well things have aligned themselves for us to be more intentional in the relationships we make while here, our family has entered this new (school) year with the commitment to be as supportive and involved as possible with the literally down-the-street YL crew.

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What does that mean? It means as much as we are trying to assimilate to life abroad we are also more fully embracing being native-English speakers and engaging with the youth in this language area they themselves are learning at school and in anticipation of their future work opportunities. It means baking monthly birthday cakes. It means baking cookies in this humidity and heat. It means going on camps and day trips. It means really trying to learn who we are as individuals, as a couple and as a family — and using both the strengths and weaknesses tools for love and generosity and hospitality. It means stepping out of our respective comfort zones and being challenged to grow in ways we could have never concocted ourselves. It’s been tiring and beautiful and always always always worth it.

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Recently Dan went on a one-day trip to Ratchaburi with a looooooot of high school students who he has never met before from a school he has never stepped foot in and proudly wore the awkward badge of farang. To say I was and am proud of this man of mine is quite the understatement.

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And, really, if you know my more introverted people-watching better half who prefers not being in the limelight on a personal level, you can definitely understand just how outside of his comfort zone this trip was. But you can also probably imagine how much he rose to the occasion and gave it all he got. What a guy!

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We just celebrated our four year anniversary…and where we are now versus where we were all those years ago when we were in the “technically not dating but kind of seeing each other but are just friends and maybe more but not that but yeah maybe that and I don’t know” stage is so much better. We really have no idea what we are doing 68% of the time, but it’s so much nicer being bewildered and still committed to whatever may come together.

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Letter to Estelle | Nine Months

It’s here. That time…when you fight us over every little thing and try to establish your own mini kingdom within this household, when you acknowledge boundaries set and smugly go waltzing through them, when you are yearning to grow and do and be everything that your always-on brain is screaming at you to accomplish. The times has come.

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And you are owning this blip in time, Estelle. You are fully embracing life as the little sister, life as the beloved daughter, life as the baby on the cusp of toddlerhood. I’m just here for the ride. There are times I would like to say that your daddy and I are artfully guiding you (and your brother) along to become considerate, respectful and kind adults — an obvious hope and goal of ours — but, really, we are just barely keeping up with all this growing up you’re doing.

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It’s kind of cringe-worthy, huh? You’ll be reading this one day in the future and just wrinkle up your nose and think “Oh my gosh they really didn’t know what they were doing. Like they knew they didn’t know what they were doing and still kept doing whatever.” Yeah…sorry? But not really. Because it’s been rather freeing and enjoyable not knowing what the heck we’re doing half the time. We aren’t caught up in the standards of this and that or overly concerned of how and when. Instead, we are getting to know you better for who you are.

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And getting to do that — to watch you learn, to see you become you, to embrace your quirks, to celebrate your victories — all in the full trust and knowledge of Abba’s goodness has been empowering and humbling in the same breath. What prayers we have for you, sweet girl! What wonders we cannot wait to find alongside you! You have made me laugh out loud in such delight in these last nine months, Estelle, that I cannot begin to imagine how much fuller my heart will grow with the love I have for you in the time to come. So for now, in this time of discovery and defiance, I’ll just hold you a bit tighter and love on you a bit longer.

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Love,
Mama