Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quiet Day with Deep Thoughts

This is Isabella's lantern for Mid-Autumn Festival. She was so proud of it. She drew pictures of her two new friends at school next to a mountain (the big blue thing) and sun. On my way home today, I stopped to buy her a proper lantern... and surprise, surprise it has the Disney Princesses on it but she was so excited. Now only if the rain will stop so we can picnic on Saturday.

Today was a rather uneventful but very refreshing day for me. It was Izzy's last day of school for the week so Joan, Isaiah and I picked her up and treated her to McD's for lunch. I planned to let them play at the playground too but it began to poor so we checked out the library... now if only I could find my library card. Joan took the kids home and I decided to get a cheap pedicure.

Tomorrow and Saturday are holidays and Mike won't be home this weekend, so I thought I'd give myself some down time before all the fun and excitement begins. I love going this particular lady in the old side of Sai Kung for a pedicure. It's nothing fancy but she does a great job, takes her time (it usually takes about 2hrs for the whole process) and she speaks little English so the whole time I can read or gather my thoughts. It's VERY relaxing for me, something I needed today.

I came home refreshed and energized... man what a little quiet time can do. The kids and I played, Izzy completed her weekend homework, we had a fabulous dinner and I (and actually Isabella helped quite a bit) made some apple crisp. Isaiah went to bed and Izzy went into town with Joan to pick up Auntie Tata so I had an extra hour or so of quiet time.

While I did go and get the pedicure... I've been struggling a lot the past few days thinking about poverty verses my lifestyle. I wouldn't by any means consider us wealthy but after the typhoons destroying families... I've been constantly thinking about all that I have. All the excess that I have and what some would do to have just a little of what I've got. I've been just torn on how to spend our money. I think about some things that we've been planning to buy (like curtains for our bedroom that we've been debating about for almost a year and now we have enough money set aside to do this... our windows are HUGE) but when I think about buying them, I think about what that money could do for a family in the Philippines that just lost everything.

I'm just trying to figure out the balance between giving freely and well I don't even know what... A fellow TFC'er is thinking through this same thing and she blogged much better about this so if you want my previous words to make sense maybe you want to check out her blog. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Manila Flooding

I'm sure you've all heard about the devastating rain and floods in Manila. It was brought close to home when our helper, Joan, told us about her stressful Sunday and devastation that two of her sisters family are dealing with.

Joan said that her sister escaped when the water was knee high because she knew she wouldn't be able to swim but her husband tried to take care of house things and didn't leave until all he could do was swim to safety. We praise God that they are safe but all their efforts to save their home were unsuccessful as the water peaked at rooftop levels leaving them with absolutely nothing.

Sadly, I'm sure this is not the only story we will hear about in the coming weeks as a huge portion of our Filipino fellowship come from or have family living in Manila.

Our hearts ache for them so I ask that you would please join us in praying for them, for safety (the family is in a new place but because they have nothing, they are sleeping on cold, dirty floors) and that God would provide for their needs.

Please also pray this would be an opportunity for them and all dealing with this to see God at work and trust in Him.

It's hard to know exactly to help in this situation but one thing I can do is to ask if anyone has any clothing to fit a 11yr boy, 7yr old boy and 3yr old girl and would be willing to donate them to her family, it would be greatly appreciated. Please leave me a comment and I can get more details to you.

Thank you for your prayers!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fun week with guests

It has been a fantastic week for us. We were blessed to have the Cox family (connections from Toccoa) visit us on their way back to Cambodia where they are serving the Lord in church ministry.

They've got a beautiful family with 3 precious little girls. (5,3,10 months) Isabella adored having them around and they all got a long really well. Their youngest, Tova, and Isaiah hit it off as well. It was really cute watching them interact and chase after one another.

In the midst of many conversations, we commented on how great it is to have connections all across the world... to have kindred spirits in ministry... and because of those things, it doesn't matter how well you know each other, we always welcome guests into our homes.

It really was great to hear their stories... how God brought them to Cambodia, what life is like there, what challenges they face living in a foreign country, the differences in our lifestyles, etc... It was great to hear their passions, to watch them parent and steal ideas :) but while we swam, went to Disney, tried some new restaurants and just basically relaxed and tried to help them recover from jet-lag... I was really challenged by the conversations we had.

In talking about our lifestyle differences and cultural differences... I realized how immune almost I've become to living in a foreign country. How normal life has become for me and how the things that shocked me, stopped me in my tracks, etc... 3 years ago, don't even phase me now. In some ways that's good I think... I think it means that I've adjusted to living in HK. But at the same time... I feel like my eyes/senses are not as in tune as they should be. I'm not amazed when I see spots of grass anymore or even when I see the moon. I don't thank God when I hear birds outside or because I feel incredibly safe here. And I don't even hesitate to spend 4$ on a liter of milk.

After hearing some of the things that the Cox's have to deal with, I instantly became aware of how blessed we are to be in HK where I do feel safe... so much so that I rarely lock, let alone shut the door when I'm at home. Or how blessed I am that I can get by speaking English.

Even in the conversations, I was reminded of the differences of living in HK versus the states... such as living in a gated complex with a guard, or having to turn on the hot water when I want to shower, not having a proper washing machine and dryer or having one that the whole process would take approx 3hrs to complete.

Or just looking around the city and seeing things that are different... such as people hanging their clothes out their windows or drying them on the railing by the highway. Buildings and housing complexes that are at least 30 floors high... EVERYWHERE to where you really can't see anything but buildings.

But in all this discussion, I think I just realized that when we first moved to HK, I was really on the look out for God. I was really focused on Him, serving Him, seeing Him in everything and now that I'm comfortable... it's easier to go on with a normal daily routine and see things in that mentality. It's not that I'm not focused on God or that I'm not or don't want to serve Him but it's... I'm comfortable. I've dealt with riding buses with strollers, bags and children... shopping at a market for fruit, etc... and that's just normal life for me now. I focus more on specific people or specific ministries.

Chris is a photographer and made this awesome book about their lives in Cambodia and as I looked at it, I realized that I haven't taken a random picture of HK in probably 2yrs. How can I show others what our life is like, if I don't take the pictures of the daily things we see and do.

So I've decided that I want to be more intentional about life in HK as I was 4 years ago. I want to be more sensitive, more aware... I want to be able to share our lives and our new culture with others.

It was a great week for many reasons and the house seems all to quiet with them gone but it sure was a blessing to share God's blessings on us with them. Chris was even gracious enough to take some family photos for us (with Victoria's wonderful suggestions on how to pose and help to get the kids to smile) and I'm anxious to get working on a new prayer card and new blog header.
And as I took Isabella to a birthday party this afternoon... my eyes were a bit more opened to life in HK... having random cows in your back yard and eating satay alongside chicken nuggets. Life is good.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"... too tired."

Yesterday Isabella had an accident at school. When I asked her why she didn't tell the teacher that she needed to go, this was her response....

"I was just too tired."

Classic logic by a 4yr old.

Isaiah finally stood long enough to take a picture.. so proud of him. I know it's hard keeping that much weight off the ground. :)

I tried to take a few more recent photos of the kids but they weren't very cooperative. I did manage to get this one taken.

Here is a similar photo we took when Isaiah was 6 weeks. He's grown a bit since then. And my looking at this picture of Izzy. Wow... she's changed quite a bit too. Look at all that hair!

At dinner last night, Isabella asked me if I knew if Princess Lily Bob was a boy or girl and of course I said no and she replied (like come on mom you should know this attitude)... it's a girl Mommy. Joan then asked what she would do if the baby was a boy, what would we do with two boys? And Izzy's response, "We'll just give Buddy away." Priceless. But when we pressed her for who we'd give him away to she insisted that we keep him and she was just kidding.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm still somewhat speechless when I talk about it... still having a hard time actually believing that it is true...

God's special 30th birthday present to me.... another precious bundle of joy, due March 26, 2010!

I have absolutely no proof to share... no photos of the positive test, no ultrasound pictures (they don't give them to you here), the only paper I had that said... Melissa is pregnant... is in the hands of the Dr. now.

It's so surreal and while I am sufferring minor nausea and tiredness and my belly is quickly growing, it's still hard to believe that I'm pregnant. I'm very thankful that I'm feeling as well as I am, that I'm already 12weeks, and that I'm only working 2 half-days a week so that I can rest when necessary without missing out on my little one's lives.

The only problem with this new little baby is the due date. It's due the weekend of the Rugby 7's and I'm told by many that I will have no husband and no guests at the hospital. :) So I'll just pray that baby comes early.

Isabella is excited and insists it's a girl and she has named her "Princess Lily Bob".

Monday, September 07, 2009

Where has the past year gone? I was always told that the older you get, the faster time passes by and that is most definitely the truth. I remember praying that Aug 25, 2008 would come and go, so this little guy would be here and I could get back to a normal (well as normal as having 2 children, 1 being a newborn) could be. Those 9 months were the longest and sadly the most miserable nine months of my life. I constantly tried to remind myself how blessed I was and how many people would kill to be in my place but the constant nausea and vomiting and knowing that I lost almost 9 months of Izzy's life was unbearable.

The public hospital wouldn't provide a 20 week ultrasound and I just couldn't justify the expense when I didn't want to know the sex anyway. I thought 'no big deal, if they were concerned about something, they'd make it happen.' Though looking back, it may have been wise to have that scan. Maybe it would have shown how big he was already and prevented my from having to have a c-section and a 9lb 15oz baby. :) But alas... two weeks before he was born, they felt something wasn't right as my stomach measured 3 weeks ahead. Lo and behold, we were told he was already 4kilos with a big tummy and that most likely, they'd have to break his collarbone to get him out. So we then began the discussion of a c-section. I prayed this would mean I'd have him in my arms in the next few days but no, they said it was my choice (I still get really upset at this statement... I by no means wanted a c-section but when you're told they'd have to break your baby... I felt like I'd be a selfish mom if I didn't agree with them) and made me wait two more weeks.

The whole admitting process was kind of funny to me. I admitted myself on Saturday afternoon and then went on home-leave until Sunday evening. On Monday, I was to have the operation about 10-11am. I should have been more realistic and known that wouldn't happen but by 2pm, I was getting quite frustrated and hungry. :) I began feeling stomach pains but thought it was and upset tummy from not eating. Almost 3hrs later, I realized it was labor and the contractions were 2 minutes apart. The nurse didn't believe me but after 30 minutes of monitoring, I was the lucky one to go next.

Once on the table, I began to panic and insisted that Mike be able to come in. Thankfully, they did allow him and it seemed that even before I could count to ten, Isaiah was born. I had to have my glasses off so I could barely see what he looked like, in fact I had to ask the Dr if it was a boy or girl... they didn't tell us. They took him away for observation and me for recovery. They let Mike stay with Isaiah which was fine by me because I was sick and useless for any sort of conversation. I just wanted to sleep.

I never did get to see Isaiah until about 5pm the next day during visiting hours.

I spent 5 days in the hospital, in a room with 10 other women, with only 2hrs a day of visitation. I thought I would hate that but it was actually quite nice. I felt very comfortable caring for Isaiah and physically rested by the time I went home.

It was a unique experience but I have no complaints. The total cost of having him... $50 US dollars.

Now my baby is 1... crawling everywhere, pulling himself up and trying to stand. Eating like he's a teenage boy, sleeping like a champ. He's very calm, happy, joyful though he does not like loud noises. He'll eat anything in sight (except veg. dumplings) and grunts/screams while he eats. He's a thumb-sucker. He loves his sister and wants to do everything she is doing. He loves the water though can easily fall asleep if being held in the pool. He watches everything that's going on. He's finally got some teeth, they all came in at once and now has 6. Still very little hair but two curls behind his ears. He's got amazingly beautiful blue eyes and a giggle that makes your heart melt.

He's 9.4 kilos (21lbs) but man he's a chunk... a heavy boy to carry around but he loves to be held and snuggled.

I can't even imagine what the next year will hold but I look forward to every moment. I look forward to his walking, running, and tackling his sister. I look forward to seeing his personality develop and see if he remains calm and laid back or will he quickly become a boisterous boy. I look forward to seeing his reaction to another baby and how he'll be as a big brother. What an exciting year ahead!

I'm so very blessed!