Sunday, June 24, 2018

#Merica Day

Yesterday we had a #merica day, at a Japanese mall, and an European warehouse type store. We bought berries. Strawberries,  blue berries, raspberries and black berries!!!! This is something I have missed for the whole 18 months we have lived in Cambodia. We found strawberries in the market in January, and February, but not for long. And though you can buy frozen berries in some variety here they can be between $10-$20 a kilo. These were $5 a kilo! They are frozen, but at such a good price! So we came home from these places and made hamburgers with strawberry milk shakes.

We love living in Cambodia. We love being here, learning/speaking Khmer, our friends, our home, but some days, it is so fun to have a delicious taste of home. So for now I will be munching on frozen berries, and baking things like blueberry muffins... we will enjoy a taste of home, that makes us feel a bit closer to our family and friends in America.

Today we are back to our normal Sunday of church, and preparing for the week ahead. Chris and the girls are washing motos, and bikes, I am meal planning, and wondering if I will be able to find the ingredients I plan to buy. Layla is eating a popsicle in her underwear.

It is a great Sunday afternoon in Cambodia.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What I have learned living in Cambodia

Things I have learned living in Cambodia:

1. Maybe I am not as fluent in English as I had once thought I was. Also us Americans speak an English that is (I would say) the most different from everyone else's English.

2. My kids are picking up things from the "other English". So if you talk to them and they call the bathroom the toilet, or the elevator the lift, or soccer football...give them grace. :)

3. When you live in a city that is built up with steep stairs you and your young children become master stair climbers. However when you live in a house full of stairs your children may forget that they are master stair climbers.

4. Be gentle to people you know learning your language. Language learning is downright hard. Though they can't tell you their name today, might of been able to hold a full conversation with you yesterday, so give them grace, and try again next time you see them. Don't give up on them.

5. A smile and gentle face can go further than you ever knew.

6. Let go of being in a hurry, or trying to be on time. Sometimes you will just be late, getting mad doesn't help it. Sometimes you will just be super early, and the other person will be late, and again anger doesn't help. Relax.

7. Sometimes life is like driving in traffic, everyone goes in their own direct all at the same time and it works, other times it takes someone from the outside stepping in and helping untangle the mess in the middle of the intersection.

8. Coffee is life. Don't forget your coffee.

9. Being who you are is enough. sometimes that is adding to who you are as you adapt and learn and change to be apart of a new language and culture and sometimes it is bring your home culture and life into your relationships here and sharing with those around you.

10. There are times you feel like you maybe have lost yourself. You aren't sure who you are, and what makes you you, but then you remember Jesus. He is the answer He knows who you are and who you will be. He is molding and forming you. Trust the process.

11. Loving others can be so easy most days and so hard other days. Give grace and except grace for yourself.

12. It's ok to pray for safety every time you leave your house, and to eat street food sometimes.

13. My kids like rice. Like really really like rice.

14. Layla likes chili peppers and sour mango.

15. Amirah can be so kind, and makes new friends so easily, everywhere we go.

16. Saying goodbye to friends you have just made can be so hard.

17. Sometimes it takes 2 languages to say what you are trying to say.

18. My family is feeling a bit homesick when we tend to eat mostly American or Mexican food.

19. Swimming almost anywhere is great family time.

20. There is so much more to learn!!!

Who Your Obedience Effects

Often we may write off obedience as being too small, or simply that, that thing could just be too small for God to actually be asking me to do that. We think He can't care about that, or we are waiting to be trusted with the "big thing" He is asking you to do.

Here is the truth, often if not always we have to be obedient in the small things. Obedient in the quiet, in the things that seem to not matter much, then He will ask you to be obedient in the bigger and bigger things. Sometimes the thing you think is small truly is big. It may even seem small because you are so used to obey Him, it just doesn't even seem big anymore.

About 3/4 months ago I was thinking about doing an online retreat for women who work cross culturally, but I was unsure if I should take the time, and spend the money to do it. A few days later I got an email from a member of our ministry team that she had heard about the retreat and she wanted to pay for me to do the retreat. Though the cost of the retreat wasn't much it was the push I needed to decide to do it. Because she was obedient to offer that simple gift to me, 5 of us moms, and 1 grandma got away, and were able to spend the weekend with Jesus, and each other. It was wonderful. It was exactly what my soul needed. This has now grown for us 6 into almost a monthly gathering. God took 6 of us who needed each other, and each others' friendships and knit us together a bit that weekend. All because a sweet member of our support team decided to be obedient to the prompting the Holy Spirit had given her. She invested, and now there are these deeper friendships forming amongst moms, and this grandma that was so needed.

That's my testimony of obedience. Just simply obey, you never know who it will effect. Whether it is big obedience or small obedience or like in the story above, maybe seemingly small obedience that is big for someone else.

A New Season

We have recently moved into a new house. To say it has been a project is an understatement. The hardest part has been to have the surprise of the project and adjustment it has been. It feels a bit like moving from the dorms at university your freshman year into a house with roommates your sophomore year. You suddenly realize all the things that you didn’t have to worry about living in the dorms, and how much easier 1 roommate was than a house full of roommates. You also have to figure out more of how to get places and though you may have done that in the dorms things are maybe a little further and life is just a bit more complex while being a bit more simple all at the same time. You have to learn new ways of living and though you like it,  suddenly all that was done for you is no longer lost on you. For us this past month has been like that. Moving from an apartment in a fairly central part of the city to a house more on the edge of the city. We like and maybe even by now are beginning to love our new house, however it is an adjustment.

We are in a new season, speaking more Khmer at home than we did before, rubbing shoulders with neighbors more often, and the kids playing with neighbor kids all the time. We are truly loving being in a neighborhood with families, and hopefully being a light for Jesus to the people around us. We are further from the center of the city, which means it is quieter, we eat at home more for dinner, and I am still trying to work out the best places and ways to grocery shop. Before I had my favorite markets and sellers in those markets, but now that is too far away to frequent for my weekly shopping trips, so I get to explore new markets and super markets. This is fun, and frustrating. Some days it is a fun adventure, other days it is frustrating and exhausting. Then there are weeks I give up and I go back to the market 20 mins away, because it is easy, and what can I say I miss it. We now have more house, more space, and can accommodate guests easier, and expand our ministry within our home. We also get to eat and talk, relax and sit with our neighbors. This is a blessing, and teaching us so much about Khmer culture we haven't yet learned or have learned in the classroom but not as much outside of the classroom.

Language learning for me had taken a break, and a backseat while we got moved and settled, but now I am ramping back up! Amirah and Layla are doing a summer Khmer program at an international preschool here, and I am having that time to catch up on things like this blog! And turn much needed attention back to my language study.

Amirah is officially a Kindergartner and Layla will start preschool when Amirah starts Kindergarten, we are entering the school age years!

Chris is working full time+ and enjoying it, we are truly in a new season here in Phnom Penh.

That's Normal Right???

It's normal to travel around with your 5 year old and 3 year old on a scooter right? To grocery shop with a backpack, and buy what you can fit, and what you can carry? It's normal to eat things touched by strangers with un-gloved hands, right? It's normal to not notice the man peeing on the side of the street, or the naked boys running around right? A totally normal to not fear my child slipping through the railing anymore because she has learned not to climb on it? It's normal to have very slick title around a swimming pool right? Normal to change your meal plan for the week because a place that had an ingredient last time has none?

I have found that I have become so used to our normal, that I don't even think of these things anymore unless someone is visiting or just moved here. All these things and more are totally normal to me.

However since moving into our new house I have so many things to add to this list of "normal things". The transition from an apartment to a house, and in a community has been a bit of a shock.  I am sure that in an a few more months there will be so many more things I won't think of anymore as unusual, and when you come to visit, you will look at me and ask if that is normal. I will smile and I will say yes, yes it is... here.

The beauty of this all is how God has made us all different, how He has shaped our societies and cultures differently and how they reflect aspects of who He is. There are things here I no longer see that aren't just different, they are also not good. However most things are truly are neither good or bad, they are just simply different, and when I look at our own American culture I see the same. Things that are not good, and things I that are good and I miss, and things that are simply just different. Embrace the different around. You just might see another aspect of our wonderful Heavenly Father.