Wednesday, October 30, 2013

a baby shower devotional

I always told myself that one of these days I would use this photo blog to capture a moment beyond my sweet baby William... and it looks like today is the day.  Although, I thought it would be pictures of Steven's business or an anniversary celebration or something besides a video of just ME (how narcissistic can I be?!?!)... but alas, here we are.

Our Thai teacher, Khru Som, is going to have her first baby at the beginning of December.  So, we decided it would be fun to throw her a baby shower with all of her previous students.  Since this isn't a typical thing you do in Thailand, we were excited to introduce her to this fun American tradition.  Gifts, food, games and friends... what more could you want? :)  But as I started thinking through the party, God kept putting it on my heart to share a little devotional with her.  In Thai.  (What?!?! No, God. No way... that would be so embarrassing.)  But the more I told myself "no way", the more I felt convicted that this is what He was asking me to do.  Having just transitioned into motherhood myself, I sensed that God was asking me to share what I've learned through the process. 

So, even though I still felt completely ridiculous doing this in Thai among my peers (those are always the hardest people to speak in front of), I determined in my heart and mind that I was going to honor God and Khru Som with this devotional...however messy it turned out.

And you know what? I actually don't remember what I said that night or how I even said it.  It was kind of a blur.  All I know is that I felt God's presence with me along with an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for the work He has done in both Steven and I since coming to Thailand.  It's been quite the journey.  And He has been faithful.

So, here's the short devotional.  Khru Wan, Khru Som's mom, asked that I record it for her.  Apparently it blessed her heart and she wanted to be able to share it with other family and friends.  I felt foolish recording it (and now for posting it), but I wanted this in our "Sauder Snapshots" to serve as a reminder.  A reminder of how far we've come (and how far we still have left to go), but also of how good God has been to us.  What a gift He has given us in allowing us to be here, learning a different language and culture, sharing our lives with such beautiful people.  I'm humbled to be a part of something so miraculous.  Thanks for choosing us, God.  And thanks for choosing incapable, screwed up people like us to manifest your glory.

English translation:
I had this idea of sharing just a short devotional with you tonight.  My hope is that you would remember this long after you've had your baby... In America, when you're at a baby shower, everyone talks about their birth story or what it's like trying to raise a child.  But, I just want to take this opportunity to share with you something that I think is much more important.

You already know this, but I just went through this experience not too long ago.  I knew that becoming a mom would be hard, but it was harder than I expected.  For the last twenty some years, I have only had to take care of myself.  If I wanted to sleep, I could sleep.  If I wanted to go out, I could go out.  But having a baby changed everything.  In one day, I was suddenly responsible for another life.  And unfortunately, you are going to sleep a lot less than you did before and you won't feel like yourself.  Sometimes, in the beginning, you'll feel like a crazy person.

BUT... (and praise God there's a BUT!)

But, all your sacrifices will be worth it because of how much you love your child.  You will learn and experience a love that is so incredibly deep.  Every mom here understands this.  It's a hard thing to understand before you become a mom, but when you first see your child's face and hold him in your arms you will experience this incredible love.  This love is a whole new kind of love.

And it doesn't stem from anything that he will do.  Because in the beginning all he'll do is eat, sleep, poop and cry.  But you will love him because he is your son.  He doesn't need to do anything to earn your love.  We love our children because they are ours.

We are really excited for you to experience this kind of love.  But more so, once you understand a mother's love, you will better understand the love of God.  In John 3:16 it says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son.  That whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life."  This verse means that just like you will love your son, God loved His Son, Jesus.  But because God also loved us, God allowed His Son to suffer and die on the cross for us.  God did this because our sin had separated from God.  Because God is holy, He could not be in relationship with something unclean.  Just like water and oil... they cannot mix.  BUT... Jesus was the only person without sin.  And therefore, Jesus died to take the punishment for us.  Now we can have a restored relationship with God because Jesus took our sin and paid the price for us all.  This is the greatest love of all.

So, every time you see look at the face of your child, I wanted you to be reminded of two things:
1) God loves you so very much.  God sacrificed His Son so that you could have a relationship with Him.
2) God loves you like He loves His own Son.  If you believe in God, you are His child.  Just like you love your son, you don't have to do anything to earn God's love.  God loves you simply because you are His.

Khru Som, this example is a small picture of God's great love for you.  We are so excited for you to not only experience what it's like to love your child, but also what it's like to feel so loved by God.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

11 months!

Okay, well it looks like I'm only gonna get around to photo blogging once a month.  Sorry, William!  I had such higher expectations for myself, but there's just not enough time in the day!  Sigh.  How do moms do anything with 2, 3, 4, 5.... kids?!?! 

As always, I am shocked at how fast time has flown by and can't believe my little baby is 11 months old already!  I'm already starting to get a little teary about his 1st birthday.  I mean, goodness... my lil' guy is gonna be ONE WHOLE YEAR OLD?!?!  How did this happen?!?!  But before I jump ahead of myself, here's a quick recap on William's last month:  He is now standing completely on his own.  In the middle of the room, in his high chair (yikes!), in his crib, etc.  He loves to just stand there and play.  It reminds me of how long and lean he is when I see him standing in the middle of the room.  But he hasn't taken any steps by himself yet... Everyone says its going to happen soon, but he's such a cautious little guy that I'm not so sure.  We'll see!  He still loves eating and seriously eats more than I do at meal time.  He eats anything (except he doesn't like some fruits) and sometimes eats so fast and so much that he barfs a little up at the end of the meal.  I think that's more of a sign of my bad parenting more than anything else.  But what am I supposed to do?  The kid gets all mad when I try to cut him off.  Ha :)  It's really freeing that he eats everything these days.  No more carting around baby food or planning ahead.  One of the things I love most about my William is his quirkiness.  I've talked about it before, but it's really starting to come out more and more.  His favorite toys are a fly swatter, a dust pan, an empty yogurt cup and a cardboard box.  Granted, he's grown out of all his baby toys and we haven't done a good job of getting much else to play with... but why would we?  The kid loves the random stuff around the house more than anything.  So funny.  He constantly is cracking me and Steven up and I just think he's the cutest little thing ever.  (Okay, I know... enough already!)  But seriously, one of my favorite parts of the day is seeing Steven come home from work and watching both him and William's faces light up as they see each other.  It's so precious and reminds me just how full my life is.

Okay, enough sappiness... on to the last month!

Had Khru Som over for lunch and she requested Steven's french toast!  She's due in December, so we're excited to meet lil Hugo!

Tried out this little visor on William one night.  It's supposed to keep the water out of his eyes (something I would have LOVED as a kid), but as you can see William wasn't too excited about it.

Love this pic.  Steven was building something one day and William (my little busy body) stood there the entire afternoon watching his daddy.  We even had to have lunch by the door!  So precious.

He likes to put his toys under the couch and then stare at them.  He's so weird.

Went out to lunch with our friends Jeng and Mint!  We went to an all you can eat Japanese restaurant... we were in heaven!

Gettin our grill on!

Mint loved William :)

This kid loves Pawn so much.  Sometimes he waits by the door in the morning for her!

And follows her around during the day!

Pawn doing her bagel delivery with looooots of bagels and children :)

 Steven and I took a ride one Saturday and found this beautiful resort tucked away in the mountains.  We had lunch at the restaurant and swam in this beautiful infinity pool.  We both looked at each other and couldn't believe that we live in such an amazing place.  We are thankful.

Seriously?  Crazy beautiful.

This month Steven and I made an update video on our future here in Thailand.  Our friends did a great job putting it together for us despite our lackluster performances on screen.  Haha... 

If you're interested in watching our video, you can see it here:

Phew, now that the torture is over... here's my favorite video of William to date (yes, even more so than the mouse trap one!)!  It just shows his personality perfectly...

 Our friend, Boom, wanted to paint William and so I gave her a couple of pictures to look at... a couple of months later she calls me up and says that she's painted 7 pictures of him! haha!  So fun!

Her boy lives in Holland, so she really likes loving on William

William has kind of grown out of his baby toys, so we went to the store and bought him this bike and some balls to throw around!  What a big boy he is!

Wanna know one of the best things about being married to this man?!  I can show him a picture of something, ask him if he can build it and a couple of hours later it's becoming a reality... I'm crazy spoiled, I know.

The finished product!!!!  A buffet table.  I adore it.

William doesn't like to eat yogurt with a spoon anymore... he prefers to drink it.  Meal time is such a mess!

To add to the list of William's quirks, is his love for this fly swatter.  He carries it around with him everywhere.  Steven thinks he likes it because he can reach more things with it.  What a goofy ball.

Riding down the street one day and ran into some elephants.  Sometimes I forget we live in Thailand where this is normal.

A village up in the mountains of Chiang Mai

One of the things I dislike about grocery shopping here is the lack of baby seats in the carts!  William doesn't seem to mind, though!

This month a cute lil boy turns 3.  It seems only right that he would have this construction birthday cake!

Ready to party with Obie!

Praying before his birthday dinner... so cute!

 Happy birthday, dear Obie!!!

He wanted LOTS of candles on his cake :)

We had to take William into the doctor this week (he's okay), but the upside is that he got to sit in this cool John Deere tractor!

The cool weather is starting to come to Chiang Mai!  Which means we pretend it's fall and eat soup!  
 It's the little things... :)