Wednesday, May 27, 2015

blueberry crunch and heaven

my latest conversation in the car with these two…

luke: mom, is there anything worse than death?

mom: yes, buddy i think there are a lot of things worse than death.  death isn't the worst thing that will happen to us, in fact, it's the beginning of our eternity with God.  if we choose to believe that Jesus has died to forgive your sins and rose again… then your heart is made clean by God, we get to be with God forever.  so we don't have to be afraid of death… we can be excited about it.

luke: that's when the new world will come...

mom: yeah, the new heaven and earth will come.  it's going to be awesome!  just like how God created the world to begin with.

mary: and there will be no more scrapes, or crying or sad people.

they both chime in about the bad things that won't be in eternity with God… then it was silent for a second.

luke: i can't wait to eat blueberry crunch cereal.

mom: (laughing) umm, buddy what made you think of that?  what's the connection?

luke and mary, excitedly recalling daddy's recent words, which oddly enough connected heaven and blueberry crunch.

a few months ago we were sent a box of capt crunch cereal.  this is a big deal because our kids have no idea about many amazing, yummy cereals in america. one day danny made a power point, yes a power point, to teach the kids about the history of the capt crunch line of cereal, one of his favorites from childhood.  after they passed the "quiz" they were allowed to try their first bowl.  i know, we do weird things when you live overseas and realize your kids miss some of the small things that marked our childhood.  the last question on the quiz was "will daddy eat blueberry crunch in heaven?"  they screamed YES! and then enjoyed their first bowl.

so of course, after talking about Jesus bringing the new heaven and new earth and all the glorious things about living with God forever, luke went into silent thought for a second and said "i can't wait to eat blueberry crunch cereal."

life in God's presence will be way more awesome than blueberry crunch cereal… but for luke's sake, i kind of hope God will welcome him with a bowl of cereal.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Godly wisdom… from the lips of Mary

last night the car that we are borrowing got hit, while parked in front of our house… a girl backed up parallel to it (even though there were two open car widths beside our car!?!) and got her car stuck beside ours.  i ran out and she was still "stuck" on the side of our borrowed car.  people rarely use insurance here so things are just settled between the people.  they willingly took responsibility for the scratches on the side of the car but there was a pretty big scratch on the bumper that they said couldn't have been from her car.  i had just washed the car myself and i knew that scratch wasn't there… and there was still little fibers hanging from the scratch.  it clearly just happened!  after about everyone on our street came to weigh in on the situation, she gave me her identity car (which is the normal way to handle things here) and said they would come back in the morning when it was daytime.  

sidenote, times like that i'm SO thankful we live in such a communal and friendly neighborhood.  as foreigners we often don't know the proper way to handle a new situation and can sometimes we can be taken advantage of.  we had neighbors, the leader of our street, the leader of our neighborhood and two security guys out there making sure we were taken care of.  love our neighborhood!

danny and i had prayed for wisdom.  we didn't want to get nasty with them but we also were certain it was their responsibility.  moments before they came danny invited mary to pray with him and ask God for wisdom in the situation.  danny explained that we basically had two options if they deny responsibility.  we could not argue and just pay for it ourselves or we could speak strongly and insist that they pay.  mary said, "daddy, i don't think we should speak strongly to them.  it's better if we just pay it.  we shouldn't talk like that to somebody."  it's funny that we asked for wisdom from God and it came from the simple words of our 6 year old.  we all agreed that we would rather choose kindness and pay ourselves.

but God worked it so we didn't have to choose.  when they came, they had brought a mechanic friend with them.  he saw the bumper and said it was definitely from their car.  he seemed like a very honest man and a good mechanic, assuring that his work isn't complete until we're satisfied.

we talk about kindness with our kids all of the time, and i love that she suggested kindness even though it was not for our benefit.  she didn't weigh money or kindness… she just knows kindness is right so we should choose that no matter what.  it's simple but it's evidence all of our talk is sinking in… praise God.  :)  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

more afternoon playtime…

luke and the school girls that entertained him.  luke was totally not into all of the attention until i grabbed a ball.  a ball makes any awkward situation okay for luke, he just can't resist the pull of playing with a ball.  :)  

they played soccer for quite awhile and he loved it!  then they all got tired and moved on to this bottle cap game.  i didn't really understand it but i know that it's a game that has been played in villages for generations.  i love things like that!  they gave luke a turn too and cheered every time he did something remotely correct.  it was sweet.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

new friends and old friends… our neighborhood.

this week the rain has let up and we are celebrating!  we've spent our afternoons outside with neighbors… and sometimes strangers, like these girls.  a funny story about these girls provides a little look into the odd life of normal people living in a foreign land who are all of the sudden considered totally awesome.  haha!  if they only knew… 

luke was in the blow up pool and i was sitting on the street taking pictures of him (yes, the blow-up pool is basically on the street too).  these girls passed and i snapped a picture of them and smiled.  well, i think that was their clue that we are friendly, and not aliens, so they wanted to come take a closer look at us.  

luke was playing in his pool with nenek mul and these girls huddled around them.  surprisingly he wasn't upset, just really quiet.  they just stared, for awhile… like 15 minutes.  it was awkward.  

then, they asked for my autograph!  ha!  there is a first time for everything, i guess.  this cute little girl was getting out a pen for me to sign her notebook.  i tried to tell them that i was just a normal lady but they insisted… umm, ok.  

nenek mul and luke.  she lives across the street and is one of the sweetest ladies… she just laughs and giggles as she plays with the kids on the street.  we love her!

back to our new friends.  they left luke and went slightly down the road to find mary having a picnic with khansa.  the school girls huddled around them for at least 15 minutes and also surprisingly, mary was okay with it.  finally Mary walked home and told me and nenek mul that she felt awkward and just wanted to have a picnic with khansa.  nenek mul handled it and the girls happily walked away.  i thought that might have turned them off to us… but two days later i came home to six bikes and six little girls waiting outside our house to play again.  i guess we have some new friends.  :)

those "star-struck" instances still happen when we're around new people that haven't seen us before.  but one of the things we love about our neighborhood is that that doesn't happen often.  we are as close to "normal" as we'll probably get in our neighborhood.  our kids play like normal kids, we chat like normal moms, and we're nothing special.  we will never be indonesian but we feel a part of this neighborhood.  we love having a place my kids feel comfortable and accepted for who they are and not considered "other" because of their skin color.  when we prayed about where to live we felt a real peace from God about this specific house… so thankful that He led us to a place that we can enjoy life with our neighbors.

here are some of the neighbors that stopped by later that afternoon… we haven't seen these particular ones in awhile because the rain keeps people inside during the normal afternoon play time so it was really fun to have the group together.  i'm so thankful that we have a few weeks of dry season before we head back to the states for a few months.  this afternoon play time is one of my favorite things about living in indonesia!  

indonesian kids are adorable, aren't they!?  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kartini Day

last weekend we celebrated Kartini Day with a little parade in our neighborhood.  Kartini Day is the remembrance of a woman (Raden Ayu Kartini) who fought for women's rights in Indonesia.  The day is usually celebrated by school children wearing traditional clothing and looking all too cute!  :)  Not sure where the connection is between women's rights and beautiful attire, but that's how it's done.  

the neighborhood playgroup that Luke was a part of last year held a little parade for playgroups from our area.  Basically we all just walked around the neighborhood and then each group did a song at the end.  It was so fun to see all the cute kids and beautiful teachers in their ornate outfits and beautiful head coverings.  i love the deep and unique cultural traditions in Indonesia.  

Mary, Luke and Khansa (our sweet neighbor) walked hand in hand most of the way.  Mary wore an outfit from Java, Luke was a man from Madura (obviously, he even has a mustache!) and Khansa wore bright Bali attire.  

i can't believe how big (and beautiful) she looks… make up and all.

and here are some photos of the other cute kids there… including our little neighbor friend, adik fahri.

some of the teachers from another school.  look at those outfits!  i love them! these are called kebayas, the traditional fancy clothes here that are worn for most occasions.  they are so beautiful!  mary has been asking if i could get one made for her.  i secretly love that she loves these bits of indonesian culture.  :)  she may just show up to church in america in a kebaya!  

i thought this little girl was so beautiful!  i finally asked her mom if i could take a few photos of her and the girl anxiously agreed… 

and here are tired, hot and sweaty mary and luke coming home.  

most of the make-up on both mary and luke had been washed off with sweat by this time… but look at those fake smiles and luke's pose.  so funny.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mary is SIX

on April 15th we celebrated our baby girl turning six.  she seems so big these days!  i kind of would rather keep her tiny forever… but i love the conversations and independence that is coming with age.  
the celebration started with a little party at school.  the birthday girl stands at the front, the kids sing to her and she sings a song to them also.  last year, she would hardly sit in front of her class… this year she was proud to sing to them and was so excited she busted out in awkward, white girl dance a few times.  that's my girl.  :)  

a student is asked to lead the class in prayer for the birthday girl too.  sweet kids.  

then all the kids come up and give her their present and a hug.  except two little boys gave her kisses on the cheek!  it was hilarious!  i don't think she knew what to do… we haven't really entered the world of kid crushes or anything like that so luckily, she just giggled and we moved on.  i'm so glad i was taking pictures because her face (and the happy boys' faces) were hilarious after the kisses.  :)

family picture.  

these are the teachers from the two kindergarten classes.  mary absolutely loves school and a lot of that has to do with these fun and kind women.  so thankful for great experience she has had with them!

then, i'm not sure what happened but something funny.  i just love this little series of their interactions.  they fight quiet a bit, but they are the often the best of friends.  i love it!

then we had a little party at our house for neighbors and friends.  the pictures are terrible (our house is so dark and small that it's not easy to get photos in a crowded room)… but here are a few.

that weekend mary and i went away for a girls night.  she was so excited!  we got a hotel room, put on make up, ordered room service, did a lot of swimming, talked and watched a bit of disney junior.  she loved it and felt so big and special.  i loved it too!  

mary, we love you so much!