Faith and doubt and impossibilities

“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” {John 6:5-6}

It’s early in Jesus’ ministry. He’s been attracting huge crowds of people who are enthralled with His teachings and amazed by His miracles. They are intrigued by this ordinary looking guy saying and doing extraordinary things. And now 5,000 of them are sitting on the mountainside listening to Him, but they’re hungry. So Jesus and His disciples either have to send them home or figure out how to feed them.

So Jesus asks Philip, “What shall we do?” Continue reading

{a rant}

Twice this month I have had the chance to explain to complete strangers that I intend to get my Master’s degree in International Human Rights.

The first person I talked to about it — a CPA who was doing my taxes — said he admired the fact that I’m doing what I feel called to do, even if it’s not going to make me very much money. Still, though, I could see some wariness in his eyes about the fact that I’m pursuing an ambiguous degree that promises no steady income. Continue reading

learning to be cool-hearted

In Thai culture, there is a deep valuing of what they call being jai yen.

The literal translation of jai yen is “cool heart.” To be jai yen is to be level-headed and laid-back, to allow troubles to simply slide off of you, to be unperturbed when things to wrong. To be jai yen is to be, well, cool-hearted.

It is rare to meet a Thai person isn’t jai yen. We foreigners, on the other hand, are usually jai ron, or hot-hearted. We are uptight, we are easily frustrated by tiny mishaps, we are impatient, we sigh loudly and tap our feet and shift our eyes when things don’t go our way. We get worked up over everything.

I am jai ron.

During my most recent visit to Thailand I was reminded of the value of being jai yen. I was reminded that life is too fleeting to be hot-hearted, uptight and annoyed. It’s too fleeting and too precious to sigh loudly and tap my feet impatiently. Life is too short to allow small inconveniences to upset me. Life is too short to not live joyfully in each present moment, whether good or bad. And in the moments when I choose to be  jai yen, when I live life more gracefully and give out more grace, I am happier. My perspective is broader. My heart is more peaceful.

So I try to be jai yen. And with the Thai people I say mai bpenraino worries…all will be okay…keep smiling.

Cheers. Here’s to being jai yen.

photo by Megan Edmiston

photo by Megan Edmiston

photo by Megan Edmiston

photo by Megan Edmiston

the commonplace things

“We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power, and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him.” {Oswald Chambers}

I look for God in visions, in dreams, in storms, on mountaintops, in Thailand. And then I find myself back on flat land, back from dreams to the day, the storm has quelled, and I am back in the little Midwestern town I call home. And I find it harder to hear God and so I ask Him where He is.

And He reminds me: He is in this commonplace. Continue reading

The past week, in photos

Some of my favorite shots from the week in Pattaya. Photos by Megan Edmiston.

funny faces

me and mu

Me and Mu…a little giggle monster

cake

Little Cake. So precious.

megan and tip

Megan and Tip

cover photo

Cambodian refugee kids.

nit and nang

Nang and Nit.

me and cambodian girls

megan and girls

Love the drama on Nang’s face (second from right)

me and benz

Benz and me. Love.

smiles, wed slum

Joy.

me and antit

laughing elephant

elephant!

dana sized coffee

That is a Dana-sized coffee cup :)

pattaya

Slumbies and slides

So…I decided it’d be fun to have a slumber party with some of the girls from the slums while I was in Pattaya.

12 girls between the ages of 10 and 12?

Stellar. Continue reading

The feeling of coming home

Waking up in a sun-filled room, the familiar sound of motorbikes whirring by on the road outside.

Instant smile lands on my face.

I am back. Continue reading

the Eternal Love

Immanuel.

God with us.

You broke into this world all those years ago, your glorious son coming as a humble babe in a humble stable in a humble town. Savior. Redeemer. The King. The fulfillment of promises spoken for thousands of years. Continue reading