Living a Life Unexpected

Excitement Follows Wherever He Goes!!!

A_Alyssa     AsherNail     AsherCrazy

If you know Asher, you know that “excitement” follows him wherever he goes!  This has been a theme in his life since he has been very small.  Some of that “excitement” makes us laugh uncontrollably, but some of that “excitement” comes with some tears.  Well, our most recent “excitement” was the tear filled kind.  While he was playing in the park near our house, he stepped on a dirty rusty long nail.  OOUUCCHH!  Since, he was due for a tetanus shot, we had to take him to the local ER.  As you can imagine, he was not at all excited about this adventure, so with many tears we went to the hospital. The nurses immediately took us to a bed and began to evaluate his injury. The nurses began to tell us all that was going on and all that was going to happen. Once things calmed down in our area and the nurses began to gather all the needed supplies, Asher looked at me and said, “Mom, I really wish that I did not understand all that they are saying.”  Trey and I both started laughing so hard.  Oh, how we both deeply understood that honest phrase.

When we got home, I just could not get that honest little phrase out of my head.  Isn’t that exactly how we all feel at times, even when everyone speaks the same language?  When things are not going as WE planned and God or godly people try to give us hard advice, we want to close our ears and do it our way.  I can vouch that if Asher had done it his way, we never would have graced the doors of the hospital. 🙂  Like Asher not wanting to hear about the shot and the incision that they were going to have to make to clean out the wound, we sometimes don’t want to hear God saying, “Be patient”, “Just wait”, or maybe even “NO”, even though we may not want to hear those things, they are good for us.  They grow us closer to God and make us stronger in our faith.  If we had not listened to wisdom and taken him to the hospital, he may have developed a severe infection, as Christians when we charge ahead in our own wisdom and refuse to listen to God or godly people, we develop an “infection” in our spiritual walk with the Lord.  My prayer is that we always walk with open ears, attentive to the Lord and to godly people that He has put in our lives.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

 

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Lessons From a Lizard

As many of you all know, we have a lot of critters in our backyard, but my favorites have to be the lizards. We have an entire family from very small to almost too big.  I love to watch them playing in the backyard! Mainly, they are just trying their best to avoid our cat, who thinks that they are her personal play toys, but amazingly she rarely kills one.  The other day as I was watching this one little lizard, I reminded of  a valuable lesson.

This little lizard was trying his hardest to climb our drying rack. For those of you who have not seen a drying rack or might not even know what one is, it is a metal rack that we put our clothes on to dry in the sun. As you can imagine, he was not having a lot of luck and despite jumping quiet high, he would just slide right back down. He did this for about 10 minutes before he decided to just lay in the grass below the rack, probably out of exhaustion. The lizards love to be high up! They are always on the boys bike seats or wheels, in the top of the bushes or flowers, and occasional in the top of my curtains, but this little lizard was forced to stay in the grass where he was more exposed to the cat’s attack.

Believers are often much like that little lizard. When we find ourselves in a time of struggle or trail, we try everything in OUR power to get out of it. We scratch, we climb and we exhaust ourselves looking for the answer that is right there. You see, the rest of the story is that directly behind our drying rack sits a wooden ladder that is easy to climb and at any time you can find 4 or 5 lizards sunning themselves there.  The next time I find myself in a time of trail, I hope I remember the lesson I learned from the lizard, just turn around and grab a hold of the path that is easy and rest in the Son.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94: 18-19
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New Year’s Resolution

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The house is quiet again.  The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season has come to an end.  There are no more gatherings with friends to celebrate Christmas, no more Christmas parties at school, or Christmas plays to attend.  It is just quiet!  This morning in that cherished quietness, I began to think about what the new year was going to bring and what resolutions that I wanted to make this year.  I am no different than most I will make the traditional resolution to try to get more exercise and just like most I will probably not meet my lofty goal.  Even though this year, I am truly going to give it my best effort.

Like many Christians, I will have a resolution to study my Bible more, share more, memorize more scripture, have a longer quiet time, start a prayer or thankfulness journal.  These are the resolution that in the quietness of the morning, I began to think about.  I want my “Christian” resolutions to be something that I don’t just forget about when I am too tired, too stressed, too busy or just too lazy.  These are things that I should jump to do out of praise to the Father who gave HIS SON for me.  I do not want them to be a chore that I check off of my resolution to-do list and they should not be.

We normally do not have to make resolutions to spend more time with people that we love, we just spend more time with them BECAUSE we love them.  If we truly love the Father then we should desire to spend more time with Him, learn more about Him, and thank Him just BECAUSE we love Him.  It should not require a resolution.  So, this year I am not going to make a “Christian” resolution.  I am just going to do what the Father has commanded me to do in his word, BECAUSE I love Him and am so thankful for the ultimate sacrifice that He made for me.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you will be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Don’t be frightened, do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:8-9
I have stored up your words in my heart, that I may not sin against you.  Psalms 119:11
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

May you shine this year so that others can see Jesus in you!
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God is Good!

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but God is soooo good!  I really don’t think that you can say that enough, think that enough, feel that enough, know that enough, or believe that enough. When you cannot see past all the “junk” in your life, God see and God has a plan that is so good.  We must only remember that God is good….all the time….God is good!

I know that by now you know my heart for the school that I had the awesome privilege to volunteer in for two years.  I loved the school, the teachers, and the students.  Did I see a revival in that school? No, but I felt that through my presence there His light was shining bright in a dark place.  I was able to share Truth with them and stories of my life, a life changed by the power of the Truth.  So when I returned from the US and saw the Father dramatically close the door to my ability to volunteer there.  I was heartbroken and confused.  I forgot for a moment that God is good…all the time….God is good!

Well today, I am shouting that GOD IS GOOD!  No, he did not open the door to the school again, but he has allowed a part of the school to come to me.  🙂  Begining in January, I will be helping a teacher at the school one-on-one with her English in my home and she will be helping me with my language as well.  This may not seem like a big deal, but it is!  We will be spending sweet time together and I will be able to impart more Truth with her in my home than I was able to in the teacher’s lounge at the school.  My prayer now is that this teacher will become the Light in the darkness and that she will share with her fellow teachers.  God truly is sooooo good!

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 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.  Acts 26:17-18

 

 

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Finally Day 18 is Here!!!

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Eighteen days ago today, Trey left for America, but today he is HOME!!!!

When we lived in the US, Trey had to do a lot of traveling for his work and it was not uncommon for me to not know exactly where he was.  Sometimes those places would be in Kentucky, so he would be home after a night or two, but occasionally he would have to go to Texas and California.  That would take him away from us for a week or so.  Those times we really missed him and I could count on something strange happening during that time, but we learned to “keep on keeping on”.  Thankful God provided us with family close by and amazing friends that would come at the drop of a hat if we had a major emergency.

BUT…This trip to the US has been the first time in 4 years that Trey has been gone from us for more than a few days.  Our house definitely feels weird and we are all excited that he is home and thankful that his time away was not too eventful.  We had a couple of sick days (Asher and I), but we also had some fun times as well.  We went to a car show, went swimming with friends, went to a soccer game, went to a “Fall” festival, and ATE WAY TO MUCH ICE CREAM!!!  There are perks to being home alone with your ice cream lovin’ momma!  🙂

As I think back at these past 18 days, I cannot help but praise the Father for his faithfulness to His children.  He has provided us such a support group here, just like in the US, that would drop everything if we needed them.  They knew we were “home alone” and invited us to hang out with them AND..they prayed for us.  WOW!!!  The body of Christ is amazing.  I had told a friend before Trey left that I was terrified that the entire time that he was gone that I would not sleep.  That is kind of my how it usually works. I hear every creak or pop in the house.   I want you to know that I have slept fine every night, even the nights that I had the stomach yuck.  I know that that is because people (here and in the US) were praying for us and we have experienced a peace that has passed all understanding.  God is soooo good!

Thank you everyone who took the time to left us up while Trey was away and to lift up Trey while he was in the US!

Your prayers were answered and we will forever be thankful for each one.

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Guess what I got to do last week?!?!?

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Yes…I got to use my college education!!!!  🙂

A friend of mine who teaches at a village Preschool/Kindergarten invited me to come and talk with the kids about their T…T…T…Teeth.  The letter of the week was T.  It was so fun to share with these sweet smiling kids that loved to hear me speak their language and were quick to giggle when I made a mistake. I was also very lucky because many of the moms were at the school that day and were able to hear the presentation as well.  I am hoping that I will get some more opportunities to help my friend again and begin to build some friendships within this community.

The village currently does not have any excess to running water and is extremely poor.  The school itself was falling in around the kids.  There were huge cracks in the walls and the thatch ceiling was moldy and falling down. The community is made up primarily of family members that have lived together for generations.  The area where I live is trying to buy this village to build more new homes, but the village leaders have refused to sell.  They said that this is their home and they will not leave.  As I looked around at the homes in bad need of repair and the school that is just dangerous, my American brain said “SELL…SELL…SELL!!!  Get out while you still can?” But as I walked through the village and saw the smiling happy  people, I totally understood why this is home to them and they can never leave.  Their eyes are blind to the disrepair and the poor conditions.  They only see family, memories, and support for one another.  It is truly a beautiful place in spite of its outward appearance.

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Unbelievable!!!

A few days ago, we celebrated our 4th Anniversary in Southeast Asia.  Our time here has not always been easy, but it definitely does not feel like we have already been here for 4 years.  I can still so vividly remember the day that we arrived. After an exhausting 36 hour flight and a 4 hour drive, we were dropped off at what would be our house for the first 8 months that we lived here.  It was a whopping 800 sq. feet, very cozy.  Our first very Asian meal was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  That began our adventure here.

As I look back, I cannot be more thankful for all the blessings that the Lord has provided for us.  We serve an amazing God!  Here are just a few things that I am so thankful for.

  • I am thankful for the way the Lord was with the boys when they came.  I cannot say that they never experienced homesickness, but the Lord provided them with amazing friends and a wonderful school here to help them through the rough times.
  • I am thankful for our friends that we have made here.  The Lord very quickly upon our arrival gave us friends.  That is such a blessing and now those friends are family to us.  They laugh with us, cry with us, celebrate with us, and council us.  They are truly worth their weight in gold.
  • I am thankful for family in the states that even though they did not enjoy seeing us leave, supported us and loved us.
  • I am thankful for all the material blessings.  We have a wonderful house, dependable car, great food, and health insurance.
  • I am thankful for Trey and the boys.  They went through a lot those first couple of years with me.  It seemed like I would get over one illness just to get another one.  It was hard and I was not always a pleasant person, but they encouraged me, prayed for me and loved me anyway.
  • I am thankful for the hard times.  The times when I missed the US, my friends, and my family.  The times when I was sick and all I wanted was my mom.  The times when I thought I would never learn this crazy language.  The list could go on and on.  I am thankful for these times, because in those times I truly learned what it means to trust in God.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity that my family has to live and serve here.  Our eyes have been opened to a life and a world that I did not even begin to comprehend when we were in the states.  A world that I hope that we can make a small impact in during our time here.
  • AND SO MANY MORE

Now, that I have spent the last few days looking back at our time here, I am anxious to see what is ahead for our family.  I see things on the horizon that once again I know are not going to be easy (Brenden going to University), but I also know that in those hard times there will also be so many blessings so that is where my focus is.  On our awesome God who loves us and wants the very best for us.  Let the adventure begin!!!   

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This picture was taken the 2nd day we were in country. The boys looks so little!

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To All My Fellow Gifts People

While we were in the states, our (AWESOME) Sunday school class did the “Five Love Languages” study.  It was great and definitely made us all laugh hysterically, at the videos, at each other and at ourselves.  Laughter is amazing medicine!  Anyway, when it came to the part where you take the test to determine which love language you are, it was not a huge surprise to me or to Trey that I was a gifts person.  I love to get gifts and to give gifts.  Okay….STOP…before you label me as materialistic, the gifts that I cherish the most do not cost the giver a dime.  If you were to ask my family what one of my most cherished positions is, they probably would tell you my ratty red journal.  The journal in itself is not the thing that I cherish, even though I have recorded some precious memories in there.  The part that makes it so sweet to me is that tucked inside the pages are letters that friends and family have written me over the years, words of encouragement and love.  Some of the letters are from years ago and some are from this year, but they all hold a special memories and places in my heart.  They lift me up when I am down and make me cry when I need I just need to cry.  They cost the giver nothing, but a moment of their time.

As I began to think about this post and the “stigma” that comes with being a gift person.  I looked to the Bible and what it said about gifts.  After much study, I think that God is a gift’s person too.  He desires for all the people of the Earth above all else to GIVE our worship to him and him alone.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.
Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable.
This is truly the way to worship him.
Romans 12:1

Not only does he enjoying receiving our gift of worship, but He GIVES freely to his children.  Man that is a big one!!! I find my self humming the hymn “Count your Blessings”.  We have so much to be thankful for and those were all GIVEN to us by our loving Father.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:
and I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of My hand.
My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.”
John 10:27-29
 
“Every good gift and ever perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
James 1:17

So, with this new found knowledge about the character of the Father,  I am going to stand proud in my gifts person status.  I am going to continue to cherish the gifts that I receive from friends and family, but I am going to also take my cues from the ultimate gifts person – the Father.  Giving first to Him the gifts that He desires, my undivided worship and giving to others the gift that I hold most precious – the gift of a life eternal.

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Yet Another “See ya later”

Many times I have been asked by people, “what the hardest thing about living overseas?”  My response is always the expected ones; the language, the food, the traffic, being away from friends and family, etc.  All of those answers are true and honest, but if I were honest with myself, they are not the MOST difficult part of being here.  That would be all the “goodbyes” or “see ya laters” that my family has to endure.  I am sure that you are thinking only about the “goodbyes” that we have to endure when we leave the US and those are definitely super difficult, but we go through so many on this side of the world as well.  Our city is the hub for much of the language learning for our country, so many people come to country to study and then go on to their place of work after a year or so. I love that my boys attend a small school.  It is more like a family.  The big kids hang out with the small ones and there is not this vast division between the classes.  This makes for a sweet spirit in the school, but when a class graduates, all the kids grieve the departure of these students, because many of them will not return.  It is a deeply emotional time.  So, you see everyone in my family is effected by the many “see ya laters”.  All of which leave a deep ache in our hearts.

This month I have had to endure two “see ya laters” and that really takes a toll on you emotionally.  As I sit here and think about these two amazing people that the Father allowed to enter my life my heart aches.  I grieve for these loses in two vastly different but both profound ways.  The first lady that I said “see ya later” too, was an amazing mentor, friend, prayer warrior, and inspiration.  I grieve for her out of my selfishness.  When I think of her sometimes I feel like a toddler, she is mine mine mine and I do not want to share her, but I can already see that the Father is going to use her in so many wonderful ways as she begins this new chapter of her life.  So, I must be a big girl and let her go with my prayers and support.  My other friend will leave on Monday.  She has been a constant in my life for the past three years.  We laugh together, cry together, taught together, learned together, and acted really goofy together.  I grieve her departure out of my deep sorrow, because this is only a “hopefully, I will see you later.”  Of all the “see ya laters” that we have to endure these are the hardest and require the most faith.  We serve a good Father and he has a plan for all of his children, even when we do not understand all the whys, whens and hows. So, I entrust my dear friend into the hands of the Father.  My prayer is that He places in her life people that will continue to soften her heart and I praise Him for allowing her to enter my life.

Now after having poured out my heart to you about the heartaches of “see ya laters”, would I trade this life now for my life before?  NOOOOOO!!!!  With each “see ya later” that we endure wither here or as we leave the US, we learn to trust in the Father’s plan more and we look forward to the time when we will see some of those dear friends/family again at the feet of the Father, praising His holy name!

BellOsi

UPDATE:

Problem solved….Asher has a NEW bed and no longer has to climb the mattress mountain every night.  🙂

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Work Out the Details Later

If you have talked to me much about my life here, you probably already know that things over here are either really expensive or really cheap.  There is not a lot of middle ground.  Well, one of the things that is really expensive is good mattresses.  Trey and I after a year here realized that we were to old to sleep on a foam mat, because it took about an hour for us to be able to stand up straight. So, we splurged and purchased a mattress. OUCH!!!  Brenden was actually the lucky one.  We were able to pack his full size mattress in our crate, so he was fine, but Asher still after almost four years was still sleeping on his foam mat.  He is such a great kid and never complained, but it was always in the back of our mind that eventually he would need a better mattress.  We were just not prepared for the OUCH yet.

This week God provided Asher with a new mattress and with no ouch to us.  Some good friend of ours are returning to the states and they were selling a lot of their stuff.  People do not understand yard sales here, but my friend sent out a mass email to all her friends with a list of all the items.  As soon as I saw the twin mattress for $7, I called.  Trey went yesterday to pick it up and to my surprise not only was it a mattress, but it also came with a box springs. Wow!  When Asher got home from school, we set up his new bed.  He was so excited…..until…..we realized that we were trying to fit a US mattress into a Asian bed.  Some of you will find this very funny, but Asian mattresses are about 5 inches LONGER than the standard American mattress and about 2 inches narrower.  Asher’s new mattress would not fit!!!  After much head shaking and many ideas, we worked out a solution so that he could sleep on his new bed.

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Yes folk!!!  Asher’s new mattress is about 3 and 1/2 feet off the ground.  He literally has to run and jump to get in.  We will have to work the details out later!!!  Right now we are just thankful for God’s provision, for a great nights sleep, and for our sweet friend that makes all our furniture by hand for CHEAP!!  God is good all the time!

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