Happy Birthday Jesus!!

It's not about presents, or glowing lights on the tree, or even family or yummy food. And even though its hard not to get homesick (or family-sick), I truly appreciate these foreign-land Christmases, where we can quiet ourselves and focus on the birth of our Savior, without all the hubbub, and just remember the humility, the scandal, the provision, and the beauty! To remember the poor little family that gave birth in a dirty stable, and had to wrap their baby in cloth and place him in a feeding trough to sleep. Its amazing that 1 birth + 33 years = a life that has changed this planet more than anyone. Happy Birthday Jesus! We celebrate you! May we increase your fame on this earth!


Eden's first tooth....

Right before Christmas, Eden's first tooth came out. It had been wiggly for weeks, and it hung on forever. Finally we had her wiggle it 5 minutes each night, so that it would loosen quicker. In the end, daddy finally yanked it out - without any fuss! Eden was beaming with excitement, even though she was bleeding a lot! She didn't care at all. She loves the hole in her mouth and sticking her tongue thru.... Her smile is so joyful!! She put the tooth under her pillow that night for the tooth fairy....but she/he forgot to come (we've been SO busy over here)!! We felt SO bad the next morning, that we had to distract her and sneak the tooth out & replace it with some $ and a special note. Maybe the tooth fairy was operating on another time zone?? She had to fly a looooong way!? Eden didn't care one bit. :)


december festivities

We made a Christmas movie this year - these 7 kids wrote the script, painted scenery, created costumes, and acted superbly! We hosted a "premier" with little snacks, so all the parents could enjoy the end-product! It was really great!

We've played in the snow - even though the temps hover right around zero during the day. The kids are just now getting used to the long johns, the layering, the gloves & scarves and ear muffs too. Its really beautiful after a snowfall - so white and crisp and fresh. We'd love another fresh layer so we can maybe take the girls sledding. C'mon SNOW!!

Lots of holiday baking happening around her too ~ I even made some famous cinnamon rolls to share with our neighbors. I think they love me more now.

We inherited a puppy last week. Our business partners had to return to the States last minute, so we are taking care of their little puppy, Oreo. She's not house trained, so we have to take her out 5x a day, and also clean her feet every time we come back inside. She still has accidents, which are not fun. Nor is her constant high-pitched barking. Asia has been very responsible to take Oreo out for her potty breaks, and its incredible to see her rise to the occasion. We aren't going to keep her much longer, only because we don't know when our partners will return, and puppies in apartments during the winter is insane. The girls are loving her though!!

Someday, we will have a puppy for reals. :)


making a Jesse tree

Even though it is hard to be away from loved ones over special holidays, we have really tried to embrace this cross-cultural lifestyle, and make special traditions as our little clan in this place. I am thankful that we are removed from the Christmas hype and commercialism in America, and that we can breathe fresh meaning into the holiday, on this side of the globe....even sharing it with others who have never known the reason for the season. :)

This year - I am attempting to make a Jesse Tree, with ornaments out of felt. It has been pretty therapeutic for me too, sitting and stitching each tiny piece together by hand. I just searched online for ideas, and went for it! There are about 25-29 possible ornaments that I could make...so we will see how it all turns out. The girls are really enjoying the family time at night, lighting a candle, reading and talking about each ornament, and placing them on the tree. I've only made 10 ornaments so far...but its really fun. I love having a creative outlet = it helps me to decompress, relax and fills me up too!

Here are the few that I have made so far:
Creation & the Fall

Noah & Abram
Sarah & Isaac
Jacob & JosephLight & Moses
Isn't this so fun? hehehe.


blogging is hard for me

I'm not a great writer...but really, I'm OK with it. And I am not a "current blogger" posting regularly and in a timely fashion. But neither of those are the real reasons for this blog allowing cobwebs to form and the lack of communication on here. I LOVE to communicate and stay connected to family & friends - far and wide. But right now, I am at a loss for what to write - being such a perfectionist, and not knowing what approach to take: light & fluffy, with some humor thrown in? Solemn & reflective? Mocking & sarcastic with a hint of depth? Add in some emotional family events, cultural stress, and a lot of unknowns....it just makes it hard for this momma to figure out what to say. I want to make sure I communicate things clearly, and share my heart too.

The only accurate thing that I can share right now is that our lives are in His hands. We can't control the circumstances, but He is trustworthy. I want to be honest on here, and share the moments when we are content AND the flip side when life feels out of control. Being so far from family also takes its tolls. In any given day, I both love+hate life in this Central Asian metropolis. It's true. :)

I love that life is simple out here. I love cooking from scratch, and being reminded that I don't need more things to make me happy. I love the big, fresh markets and getting out for my daily needs. I love interacting with my neighbors, and feeling part of this Asian community. I love seeing the older generations socialize, exercise, and be involved in raising their grandchild. I love that my kids are getting a different world-view, and growing up in a foreign culture. I love the parks (in summer) and finding a patch of grass in the middle of some concrete. ....but even that was a little sarcastic, hinting at my underlying frustration.

I am tired of language learning. Even after 6 years, I am not fluent or completely comfortable in this culture. I am tired of side-stepping around gross loogies spit onto the street, or to be breathing in smoke fumes in the taxi. Stinky tofu smells wafting into my nostrils make me want to vomit. I am tired of crusty, stiff, stretched-out clothes, hung on my indoor rack. I feel so lonely for deep conversations, a bosom friend, or the freedom of driving a car. And that is barely scratching the surface. It may not help that winter has officially come, and we are headed into 4-5 months of freezing cold weather that brings on a dreary feeling that zaps my joy.

Its really hard to keep the right perspective when people do things that defy my own reason, or break my hygiene comfort-ability. I have a certain patience threshold, and most days I feel like I live right at the tipping point. Maybe this threshold applies to my joy, my ability to have grace, and my ability to love....and is a good indicator that I need to rely more on the One who gives me a higher threshold. He is the ultimate patient One, grace-giver, joy-filler-upper, love-abounder. :) And this is the part of me that wants to justify and share the right things, since I know in my heart what is right and how I "should" respond when I am living fully aligned with Him. Just know that my heart longs to see this place with the right eyes, and be more fully able to love and not judge. But I am weak. So this is good for me to share & vent my frustrations so that you know I struggle and that life is not always peachy.

Eventually, I want to catch up on this blog - and fill in the gaps (mostly for myself), but for now I am going to attempt some current goings-on, so that I don't get overwhelmed and forget it altogether. :) The last few months have been a doozie - so I may not update those for awhile. I am thankful for TODAY. Today I am staying cozy indoors, recovering from a nasty cold-bug, and I might make these granola bars......and sewing advent ornaments for our Jesse tree.