Wednesday, November 23, 2016

From Gratitude to Adoration

"I'm thankful for my husband and my kids. I'm grateful that we're all healthy. I'm thankful for my house, my friends, my books…"

This was how I used to pray when I reflected on the good things in my life.

Then, a couple of years ago, I came across two sentences that changed the way I view the gifts generously dumped across each year of my life.

"Gratitude exclaims… 'How good of God to give me this.' Adoration says, 'What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!'" -C.S. Lewis

Moments of joy and things that are beautiful are just distant and brief coruscations (glimmers and sparkles) of the indescribably awesome Being who is behind it all.

Now, in addition to thanking God for things, I am drawn into awe and wonder over who He must be.

When I enjoy the simple goodness of watching my two-year-old swinging ("Higher, higher!") and singing every nursery rhyme she knows at the top of her lungs, I thank God for my healthy, second-born and I wonder in awe, "How good and playful must the Being be who thought up children and swings and songs?"

When my eyes close and my brow furrows in concentration to hear the subtleties within the richness of a new piece of orchestral music, I thank Him for music and I wonder in awe at the richness of the creativity of the Being behind it all.

When I walk home from the market, see storm clouds coming, and hear the sound of thunder rumbling deep and powerful like a growling cosmic dog, my pulse quickens as I realize this is just a glimmer of the most powerful of storms and the most powerful of storms is just a far-off coruscation of the power of God.

When, in the middle of a busy day, I tell my husband my back hurts from scrubbing black mold off the walls the day before and he massages the sore spots, I thank Him for Michael and wonder, "How tender and good must be the Being who thought up the tender, loving care of a good husband?"

This Thanksgiving, by all means, be thankful for all you have. Then, marvel at how all those things are but a brief glimmer of the good, good Father behind it all.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Don't Do It All

This month, I tried something new -- writing on someone else's blog!

My friend, Bethany, has been hosting a series on her blog where different moms share their strengths (what they DO) and their shortcomings (what they DON'T DO) because "in this age of Mommy Wars, what we really need is a reminder that none of us can Do. It. All."

This week, she's featuring me. Click here to read all about my strengths/shortcomings as a mama.

Click here to read other contributions from other mamas. You will be challenged and encouraged!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Things I've Seen Thai People Do While Riding a Motorcycle

It seems that almost everyone here in Bangkok rides a scooter -- young, old, male, female, and even pets go along for the ride. I've compiled a list here of all the crazy-to-me, normal-to-them things I've seen Thai people do while riding a scooter.

Even food stalls are often attached to a bike for easy transport.
To properly imagine each of these scenarios, you need to keep in mind that most people aren't wearing a helmet and many of those who are leave the straps unbuckled, dangling below their chin. All of these examples are on moving motorcycles weaving in and out of cars, trucks, and buses on heavily congested roads.

So, here we go. Things I've seen Thai people do while riding a motorcycle:

I've seen teenage girls riding together, one driving and the other braiding the drivers' hair. I've seen toddlers sitting between their parents' knees, slumped on the handlebars, fast asleep. I've seen a woman carrying a sleeping newborn hop onto the back of a friends' scooter for a quick ride down the block. I've seen moms driving with kids my kids' age -- the little one on her lap, the big one sitting behind her mom, arms wrapped tightly around mom's waist.

I've seen motorcyclists drive on the wrong side of the street straight at me and my car. I've seen motorcycles squeeze through small spaces next to my car that I didn't even realize were motorcycle-sized. I once noticed a motorcyclist trying to squeeze between my car and another while I was stopped in heavy traffic. I opened the window, pulled in the mirror, he nodded his thanks, and drove on.

I've seen people transport large, heavy bags of rice or concrete or who knows what. I've seen people transport fans, blades whirring in the wind. I've seen people transport their Thai iced tea or coffee dangling in a bag from the handlebars. I've seen large dogs sitting on their owners' laps like a child and small dogs sitting at their owners' feet.

I've seen women very dressed up for work in tight skirts and high heels riding side saddle on a motorcycle taxi while texting on their latest model iPhone. I've seen people talking and texting while driving, too. I even witnessed two small accidents where the phone went flying to the ground and hit the pavement in three or four pieces.

Not like the US, right? Though, I think the US is the oddball country as most nations I've been to are more like Thailand. It's fun, crazy, dangerous and someday it will all feel normal.

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