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Thursday, June 23, 2011


I will be turning 27 this year.  I remember turning 17.  Feels like yesterday.  A lot has changed.

Not too long ago I was in the California Pizza Kitchen, having dinner with Brandon, Shiloh, and Brandon's family.  I got up to go to the bathroom.  As I was doing my thannng, a group of young college girls came into the restroom.  They were giggling.  They were all 'dolled up'.  They took turns using the other stalls, and chit-chatted about clothing, boys, and makeup while looking at themselves in the mirror.  I listened in as if I was listening in on myself just 5 years ago.  That was me.  My biggest worry was paying rent, and of course, if my hair looked good.

(Now, don't read me wrong, this is not a bad thing... I actually was smiling the whole time I was in there.)

Yes, its nice to go out with girlfriends.  Yes I do enjoy getting 'dolled up'.  Yes, I still love to giggle.  But my perspective has changed.

I choose the family stall, because I usually have a large diaper bag on my shoulder and a wiggly baby to hold.  The extra space is nice.  I wash my hands not because I might get germs, but because Shiloh might.  I look in the mirror to make sure I put mascara on BOTH eyes.  And that I don't have baby drool on my shirt.  I chit-chat about diaper rash, the husband, and how my jeans are fitting.  I rarely go out for a girls night because responsibilities of having a family are my joy and priority.

I wanted to tell those girls to enjoy this season, and never take a moment for granted.  I didn't tell them.  They probably would have thought I was psycho.  I told myself though, to not take the season I am in for granted.  Would I trade my life now for my life 5 years ago?  .... naw, I think I'll keep this whole mother thing.  Its rather sweet.  Change is good.

Real good.  'Cause I get to check myself out in the mirror with this diva...

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What has 8 wheels, carries a baby, and fits on an airplane?

A Stroller!

I wanted to thank a good friend for an amazing gift.

Every time I write on our blog I pretend that people are actually going to read it.  I pretend because in reality, I know that hardly anyone does.  I'm not that interesting of a person and not a very good writer, in fact I probably break every rule in the english language when I write.  But I know some close friends do read, so thank you!

Over a month ago I wrote this post.  And at the end I mentioned our needs, one being a travel stroller for Shiloh.  A friend who I went to high school with and since became my facebook friend, wrote me to offering to buy our family a stroller so that Shiloh could travel comfortably.  Her name is Reagan.  We go way back.  :)  We played soccer together in school and also on a few club teams.  We had many classes together, and were "Unicorn handlers" together.  Yes, I said Unicorn.  Ah, the good ol' days.

She is now married, to a fella named Everett, and they have an adorable little man, Logan, who is just a little older than Shiloh.  Isn't he super handsome!???!

Their gift to us, arrived in a beautiful cardboard box.

And we immeadiately took it for an inagural spin.  Shiloh approved...

The stroller proved to be PERFECT for our trips.  We used it at the airport, all the way to the gate.  We used it in between flights, for those looooong layovers in foreign airports.  Shiloh napped in it.

We took it on 45 minute walks in Israel, and day outings.  It was amazing.

One of the days in Jerusalem we thought the roads could be too bumpy for a stroller, so we carried Shiloh.  Mistake.  We regretted not having the stroller.  The next day we took it.... and even if some parts were "rougher" than others, the stroller held up just great!

Again, it was perfect for squeezing in that much-needed nap in between flights.

And it was great for our time in Asia where the streets are less-than-sanitary.... kept our little princess' shoes clean and her from getting any more germs than she needed.

Also, anyone with a toddler knows how hard it is to keep up with them.  But with Shiloh buckled safely in the stroller, I could enjoy a quiet, and more importantly, STILL baby.

We even took it up the Great Wall!  Better than lugging a 20lb baby uphill!

So a HUGE THANKS to my dear friend, Reagan, and her wonderful family!  That stroller got used EVERY DAY and it was such a blessing to us.  I guess this blog does get read after all!  :)  I really do have to brag though, Brandon and I do have the greatest friends ever.  Seriously!  Aren't they a good looking family!?!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Fine Line {The Not So Sane Moments of Traveling}

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity.

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is a time zone confused baby.
Every single night in Israel we were up around 3:30 am with an one year old that did not want to sleep.  Not even close.  She wanted to play.  To play running around on her newly found two legs.  To play climbing up 3 flights of stairs.  To play by keeping her REALLY sleepy mom awake.   So every morning at around 5:30 am, this very sleepy mom would wake up a very sleepy dad to take over.  Did I mention that it was EVERY SINGLE NIGHT?
Wakey wakey Shiloh!  Payback, mwa haha!

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is urine stenched streets.
At the mentioned location in the last post... it was in an extremely rough part of town.  We took Shiloh.  I don't know what we were thinking.  The alley way smelled of urine.  It was about 10 minutes before one of us volunteered to return with our offspring.  No place for a toddler.
On our way.... to the urine stenched streets.
There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is my husband meeting a pro-surfer.
Brandon (while up with Shiloh at 6am) met a pro-surfer who was staying at the same hostel as us.  Its all I heard about for the next TWO days.  Really.  It was.  Then in the middle of an intense Dutch-Blitz game, he threw down his cards, and yelled, "There's Tom!" and ran off to talk to him.  Then ran back and yelled at me, "Kir, hurry!  Go and get the camera!"  Geez.  You would have thought he was a 5 year old meeting Mickey Mouse or something!  :)
Tom Curren, Brandon, Rabbi Barni
There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is trying to find a public bathroom in Jerusalem.
Oh they have signs, yes.  But they don't actually lead to any bathrooms.  Then forget going into a restaurant, or a coffee shop.  They'll take one look at you and say, "Its broken."  I still have my doubts.... I just don't think they wanted me peeing in their facilities...  A clever scene from the movie Big Daddy was running through my mind.  What did I end up doing?  Thank God for McDonalds!

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is trans-pacific flights with an already traveled-out 1 year old.
On our flight from LA to Tokyo, Shiloh did not want to sleep.  At all.  Well, I take that back, she might have napped at the beginning.... but that was when we weren't tired... so we showed up in the morning in Tokyo we were in desperate need of SLEEP.  Thank you to the quiet airport.  And ear plugs.  And eye masks.
This was the exception, not the norm... :)
There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is a pacifier.
As most parents know, you can never have too many paci's on hand.  Well, we had ONE.  And if it was lost, temporarily or at times, feared gone forever, we morphed into two SUPER PANICKED PARENTS.

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is Beijing's rush hour.
Never, I repeat, NEVER attempt to catch a taxi in rush hour in an Asian country's capital city.  It is impossible.  Even if you try hailing one down and begin to throw your luggage AND baby into it... they still won't take you anywhere.  Don't ask how I know that....

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is the Great Wall on a Saturday.
Way too many people in one place.  And all who are more excited to see our child than the historical GREAT WALL!  Seriously?  Our screaming child is more interesting.  This was my "breaking point".  A screaming baby, on a hot day, hiking up the Great Wall, and everyone crowding around to touch her, photograph her, video her, and then try to give me advice (in Chinese, mind you) about why she might be crying.  If I knew Chinese I would have said, "Its because you are all hovering over her!"
How is this more interesting than the Great Wall?

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, and that line is _______________ ?  What is yours?

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Story Time

There are so many stories to tell.... I won't bore you.  I'll pick only a few.  We really only spent a short week in each place, so in reality, there is tons more going on than what we saw.

The first story comes from Door of Hope.  A fella moved to Israel years back, and had a heart to serve the poor and street people who lived in the inner city of Tel Aviv.  He would take coffee and tea to a local park and hand out hot cups of it to the prostitutes and drug addicts there.  After a little, he bought an apartment nearby that park.  But didn't realize that it was directly in the middle of the red-light district there.  So when strung out ladies would show up at his doorstep, he tried calling around to find a safe house for them to go to, even a program that would help house them, anything really.  But there was nothing.  NOTHING.  No program to help women in prostitution.  No ministry.  Nothing government.  No Jewish center to reach out.  These women really had no one who cared about them.  So that is how Door of Hope was begun.  He now has a center where the women can come in off the streets during the daylight hours.  They can receive a hot meal.  They can wash up.  There is even a salon where they can be pampered, and a closet of donated clothing for them to pick out new clothes.  And beds so that they can rest.  But most of all its a safe environment, where they aren't taken advantage of, where they are LOVED.  They see love extended to them when they come to Door of Hope.  Its a beautiful answer to a need seen by one man.  We had the opportunity to serve there a few times.  It was beautiful.  It was ugly.  It was heart-wrenching.  But these woman are given a glimpse of hope, and some have truly seen and received that hope.  Those are the warm stories.  Some have rejected it, or not survived the effects of their lifestyle.  Those are the tough stories.  But it was a honor to see this merciful extended hand of LOVE that now exists to help these ladies.

In the second country we were in we had some amazing things happen. I cannot be specific about the details, but we had open doors to do things you can't normally do. Not to mention the one-on-one times that was spent with the locals, one time some of the staff had two locals over and they played "The Passion of the Christ" - it was really cool to see the reactions. So many great conversations with people about great things, it was a great trip and if you see us in person, please ask us about it.

Another story is, well, a conglomerate of many things.... we got to meet with each student while we were visiting them... and let me tell you... God is doing great things with each one of them.  From the personal to the experiences, to the relational, to the outward, and the inward.  We saw God move in them and through them.  It was exciting.  It was encouraging.  They are on FIRE, so watch out!  :)  We know that God will be using them... in their hometowns, but also in the nations.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And.... we're back!

We traveled over 80 hours.  Took 10 flights.  Went by plane, taxi, foot, sherut, city bus, moving walkway, car, escalator, Jeep, shuttle bus, tour bus, and subway.  Trust us, as much as we LOVE to travel.  We are traveled-out after all that!

It would take too long to share about all of our experiences for this one post.  I think I'll spread it out a little.   But don't worry, if you're longing for the stories about all the amazing things that God is doing around the nations, I'll post soon on that.  But for now, I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from our time, favorite moments, funny moments, or photos with a great story behind them.

Roof top gatherings.

Ordering shawarmas- see how they're in "deep thought".

Little bubs chasing birds.

2 people that make my life joyous.

After lunch hookah session.

Just look at all those choices!  Japanese airports have it all.

"He's got the whole world in His hands"

She was my flower girl in my wedding, and here she got to help my little girl walk around.

My friend Jim who wanted to see my other friend Jesus.

Driving by yaks in the Himalayas.... while listening to Freebird.

Tibetan prayer flags tied to the fence.

Love this little boy, but he DID NOT LOVE that baby goat!

The traditional Tibetan prayer flags on a hill above a monastery. 
Tibetan tent-makers.

Such a historical place- Tian' anmen Square.

Stories to come...