Monday, December 29, 2014

Hertzler Doings~Dec. 29, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015

Mon.-Busy catch up day. Washing, tidying, making job and goal lists, book lists, etc. for 2015, visited Alli and Nathan this morning and again later this evening. Philip went with me. He has so much fun with Nathan. Watched a Columbo with Phil and Susan. Made the best potato soup I ever made in my life for lunch today. It was cold and rainy. Susan had basketball practice this morning at New Life since they don't have school. Found out that Micah has the flu and another traveling companion of there's has it also but she is getting better. Brain still feels upside down. Hope I sleep tonight.

Tues.-Got to be with Nathan for 8 hours today. His mommy and daddy have food poisoning or something. What a little gem. Snuggled with him the first half hour of his 3 1/2 hour nap. Gave him some boiled water from a spoon and he seemed pretty thirsty. He drank like a little bird and ate lots of squash, sweet potato, apple sauce, and pears. He can sit up now on his own. He cries when Philip leaves and watches Michael intently while he plays guitar. He yelled for grandpa when he saw him come in and he plays with Susan's face with his little hands. It was a great day. Also made a recipe from Weaver's Orchard recipe book. Apple cider muffins with brown sugar fluff icing. Oh my goodness. Four X's a tapioca recipe. Watched Mrs. Doubtfire with Phil and Susan. That movie makes me laugh and cry and I had to think about Robin Williams and grieve for the sorrows he had.

Wed.-Got up by 7 today. Miracles do happen. Nathan came for several hours while Alli went to the doctor. She has an infection and they are running tests to see what's what. Nathan slept for an hour and a half in our bed today, going to sleep with the stroking of his face in about 2 minutes. It's wonderful. I say words that rhyme and stroke his face, legs, while saying words like "Nose...toes.  Sweet....cheek....Ears...hear...eyes...thighs...lips...hips...."etc. It puts him right out. Made a homemade angel food cake with the egg whites left over from Michael's egg nog. Shelly King came for a visit and ran with me to Walmart to get meds for Alli. Made some hot chocolate for this eve. The guys had their friends over and Susan had her friends over and now, all 11 of them are around the table playing Apples to Apples after eating fries, chips and dip, and four layers of pizza cake, apple cider, soda, and hot chocolate. Who is here? Susan, Mary, Molly, Claire, Philip, Michael, Logan (Hertzler cousin on his way south) Jordan, Chace, Dwayne, and Ricky. I am thankful for these dear friends for our kids.
Oh! The big news of today is that Susan finished her requirements for high school. I read her 3,000 word journal about our trip to Thailand and that was her writing requirement. It was well written and it made me laugh and cry.

Thurs.-Woke up around 4 when Logan was leaving. Went back to bed for a few hours. Susan and friends spent the night sleeping on the floor at HV. Came over and had a breakfast of homemade pancakes, bacon, and hot chocolate. They watched The Hobbit and Claire and Mary fell asleep on the sofa. Phil worked on biding jobs today. Susan slept, did some jobs, went to the gym. I went with Phil to Farmville. He dropped me off at Walmart while he went to Lowes. I made Michael's red plaid fleece blanket today and also made some Thai tasting meatballs and rice. Had root beer floats for supper too. Phil read somewhere that we should try to have 10 ideas a day. My goals for January include memorize Ps. 27. I am so familiar with it but couldn't quote it. I hope to get other Psalms down pat this year. I also challenge myself to write a little every day. So today I wrote about Ps. 27:5 and it's entitled 'Nathan's Pavilion' in my blog. Haven't posted it on face book yet. It feels good to write. The hot water is running in my bathtub. Tomorrow is a busy day. I've been trying to get things done today and realize that I should just rest and let my body catch up with itself. I'm glad tomorrow is just Friday. It's nice to know there is a Saturday before this Sunday. Oh-Travis M-tin. fell 12 feet. Was it just yesterday? Broken wrist and cheek, some badly bruised ribs and a concussion. So thankful it wasn't worse. What a precious family they are.

Fri.-Babysat Nathan early this morning and when he woke up, I went back to his parent's bed and picked him up and he smiled. He's a good little eater. So precious. Alli's tests came back normal. Clean bill of health. Went to see Dennis later in the day and he helped with my locked left ankle and right side stiff neck. Made seven layer salad with chicken for supper. Naomi called and we caught up and made a shore date for April. Watched a BatMan movie in eve with Phil and Susan. Finished spy book. Phil's dad admitted to Reading ER with pneumonia.

Sat.-Took down Christmas decorations. Decorated with shells from Thailand. Cleaned house a little bit. Visited Ron and Carol L and saw his beautiful Christmas villages. Michael melted wax and made a candle in a soda can and then took the aluminum off. Philip is working on his house and trapping. Susan went to the gym and got groceries. Phil is reading and bidding. I made up a box of Thailand for the Banton's. My stomach isn't happy. Am thinking about throwing up but am not sure if it's the vitamins I swallowed. Heard from Janelle on face book. Going to hurry up and get a few things done in case I really am sick. Yuck. Couldn't reach Mom although called several times. She is with Dad in the hospital I'm sure.

Sun.-Yay. Wasn't really sick. Just slightly queasy much of the time. Luke F. preached today. Really good. Went to Ruby Tuesdays with Freeman, Alli, and Nathan after Phil counted offering. Came home and watched movies, ate popcorn, got an eating plan from Susan, and planned my Monday in Farmville. Talked with Mom. She said that she and Dad sang some songs together in the hospital. He is doing better. So glad. She was so tired last night that she slept 12 hours. Dear Mom.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Backwards Happy Birthday~Another story from Thailand

On our first Sunday in Thailand, we went to the church in Hua Hin.  Janelle had gone to language school in the area and her language teacher is a pastor's wife and she and her husband run an orphanage called 'Mercy House.' She was so happy to see Janelle. She had never received Janelle's email that she was coming. What a blessing to be with other believer's and sing worship songs together in different languages. Janelle sat behind us and interpreted the pastor's sermon about the love of God. After the service we walked to a little restaurant and had rice and pork. Then the pastor's wife took us back to the orphanage and gave instructions to someone at church to tell our taxi driver where we were when he showed up.

At the orphanage we added our shoes to the scattering of pairs at the bottom of the stairs and went up to see the girl's bedroom. There were, I think, six bunk beds, neatly made with colorful pillows and comforters.  We visited the craft room and the gift shop. We met the young man who is quite an artist and found that he makes his beautiful art work without the use of his hands. He presses his wrists together to hold his tool because he actually has no hands. When we wanted to buy a thing or two at the gift shop, they insisted we take it as a gift instead.

Our taxi driver drove up and as we got into the vehicle, the children gathered around the gate and cried, "Good-bye! Good-bye! Sahwatdikah! Sahwatdikah!" and waved, bowed with their hands together, and smiled. I wished we had more time with them.

The next day, the Lady Next Door to the guest house, who was an entrepreneur of many good trades to the local tourists, told Janelle, that her husband, who had been our taxi driver to church and back, had been deeply moved by the children at the children's home. He decided that on his birthday, he wanted to bring them a special meal. Janelle went on to explain that the Thai way is to do something special for other's on your birthday.

So, I want to learn from this. What can I give to someone else on my birthday? To whom will I give a special gift?  If I truly am grateful for the gift of life, I will want to give something of my life to others, rather than expecting them to give something to me.

Maybe this is why we give gifts at Christmas.
Because Jesus was born.
And His birth was the greatest gift that could ever be given.

On His birthday, He gave.

I am not sure if our Thai taxi driver knows anything about Jesus.
But he acts very much like him.
And I have so much to learn from them both.

Hertzler Doings~Dec. 22-28, 2014-Thailand/Va

Mon.-Our train arrived in BKK around 7. Took a taxi to the guest house and had breakfast there. Checked into our rooms. Lots of kids and parents around. There's a Christian school next door and some of the kids live here. We walked to the National Park and enjoyed our leisure walk around beautiful foliage, waterways, outdoor exercise equipment, many joggers, and monster lizards. We went to a very big international market. Things were less expensive there than anywhere else. I bought more scarves, ties, jewelry, etc. Susan found her Christmas gift there-a beautiful turquoisy green purse. She found ray band sunglasses and other fun things. Somehow we lost Phil and after three hours of looking for him, we came back to the guest house after leaving instructions on how to find his way back with the information center who was also announcing his name, etc. every five minutes. It's still a mystery how we didn't connect but I guess one needs a little mystery in life. Susan got a pedicure and manicure right up the street from our 'home' and then we went out to eat with Janelle and Micah one last time. Had chicken cashew and it may have been my favorite so far. Hit the sack by 9 after saying a fond farewell to Janelle and Micah.

Tues.-3:00 wake up call. On the way to airport in taxi by 3:30. I sat in front and soon he began to exclaim, "100 baht! to air! 100 baht! to air!" I thought we had a mad man on our hands. I said, "We'll pay you when we get there." Finally, after more yelling and misunderstanding, he pulled up to a toll booth and we said, "Ohhhh," and gave him 100 baht for tolls to take the road to the airport. Unfortunately, he took us to Dq airport instead of the BKK one and even as he was unloading our suitcases, we were asking others about the airport and some English speaking young people explained that we really wanted the BKK airport which was about 50 min. away. So, back we went into the taxi. The taxi driver spent endless minutes trying to slam down his trunk lid and finally, the lock stayed locked and we drove off. Soon we hit a speed bump and the trunk flipped open again. Bang! Slam! Bang! Over and over again. He must have attached it somehow because it was partially open. We saw signs for airport that started with an 'S' which made us a little nervous but feeling like the cab driver was a bit of a loose cannon we decided that no matter what, we'd get off at the next airport and take another taxi driver if needed to get to a different airport. Fortunately, it was the correct one and we had time to spare, having allowed 3 hours as the airport requested for international flights. We were on board by 6:45 and I had an aisle seat. Thank the Lord. We arrived in Tokyo 5 1/2 hours later. Were there for about an hour. Susan met Stephanie at one of these airports. They had gone to Girl's Camp together. I think Stephanie came up to her at the BKK airport and said,"Susan Hertzler?" Stephanie had been working in Bangkok for 7 months with a church there. We boarded a plane for Dulles. 13 hour flight. Watched several movies and slept a little. Phil read and slept and Susan dozed and watched movies. We waited at Dulles for at least 2 hours to get our commuter flight. I understood why people just lay on the floor. Slept the 31 min. on flight to Richmond. Phil drove home. Susan and I couldn't stay awake. We visited with Philip and Michael a little bit and were in bed before 10 and slept until 8:30 the next morning. Susan slept until 11. Phil was up at 2 in the morning and did some emailing and came back to bed. I gained 5 pounds in Thailand. All that rice, I guess. So, we left Thailand on Tuesday morning and got here Tuesday evening but from the time we woke up until the time we fell asleep in our own beds, it was 31 hours. Let that mess with your brain a little bit.

Wed.-Back in Va. I love my bed. Unpacked. Washed clothes. Visited with Alli, Freeman, and Nathan. Nathan hugged me and snuggled. No lie. He is getting himself around on the floor by rolling and pivoting. Susan went to the gym and dropped me off at the grocery store. I made 7 layer salad and a sweet potato casserole for tomorrow's lunch. Michael made pretzel candy with pretzels, chocolate wafers, and m&m's. He had worked hard at keeping the house clean while we were gone. I wrapped some gifts. Phil and I went to bed before 7. Not hungry all day.

Thurs.-Merry Christmas 2014!!! Woke up early. Started making 3 pounds of bacon in the oven. Warmed up 30 cinnamon rolls. Washed grapes. Orange juice rounded out our breakfast. Freeman's came for breakfast until lunch. We listened to the Messiah-Shepherds abiding in the Field-then sang 'There were shepherds abiding in the field' then Phil had Susan read the Christmas story from a scroll that Michael had written in calligraphy. Phil then gave it to me for my Christmas gift. He had commissioned Michael to make it. Phil had my name. So, then we started giving gifts. There were Thai ties, elephants, sunglasses, a purse, a bracelet, a frog, some jewelry, little purses, etc. given. After lunch we relaxed and listened to Phil's gift from Michael-a blues band-and watched a Columbo. Made homemade tomato soup and had bacon crackers for supper. A nice day. So good to be home.

Fri.-Slept until 8:30. 13 hours of sleep. Went over to Alli and played with Nathan while she got ready to go to Pa. I just walked in the house without knocking because Burl Ives was singing Christmas songs and as soon as N saw me he started yelling. Alli said, "It's okay, buddy." And I flapped my wings over to him and picked him up and danced with him over to surprise his mommy in the kitchen. Came home and did wash, dusted, vacuumed, washed floors, emptied bags, organized travel purses and supplies, washed a bunch of cloth bags, etc. Jordan, Erik and April were over for the evening for Philip's bacon burgers. Phil got something in his eye.

Sat.-Slept very little. Went to see Dr. Forand. She says I have parasites. I have just taken three days of wormer. So now I am taking some other things we have on hand. Washed Phil's silk shirts and hung them up to dry and ironed them. Took the card table out in the sun and worked on catching up with my blog.  Phil and Philip shot a buck and Philip also got a turkey. Susan to gym in the eve. I made some cinnamon popcorn and Susan and I both had ramen noodles and watched Columbo with Phil. I am dragging and am some place between here and there.

Sun.-Susan to UVA with Coach Stephanie and family for the day. Went to church and feel so out of things. Jet lag and culture shock. But it's good to be with our family of believers. Michael and Philip are making pizzas and Tommy T. is over and Hannah and Ginny Corbin and Samantha Y. are here too, playing games and eating. Phil is reading a Ravi Z. book for the second time this week and taking a highlighter to it. Phil needs to be teaching college somewhere. Ricky Benson came over later bringing milk and Michael made several batches of eggnog. I played some Apples to Apples with them. After the girls went home the guys went over to the man cave to hang out for awhile. Freeman and Alli and Nathan just got back from Pa. The attended the Hertzler, Diffenbach, and Mast Family get togethers. Susan's on her way home from meeting and greeting the basketball teams at UVA. I see her car lights now.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Carrot Cake Recipe from 'Simply Wonderful' complete with my little tweaks~

Especially for Elizabeth.

Carrot Cake-recipe entrusted to cookbook by Suzanne (Mrs. John) Smucker~

First off tweaks.

I usually add another half to this recipe to make a three layer cake.
Get your cream cheese and butter out awhile to soften.
When you pour the juice off the pineapple, strain it into a kettle.
Simmer 3/4 cup raisins in the juice for about 5 min. and then pour that over the shredded carrots and let them sit until ready to use. Then strain everything again. The raisins are not part of this original recipe.
I also toast the chopped nuts before adding them. Set oven for about 250 and toast 1/2 cut chopped walnuts or pecans for about 10 min. Bring out and allow to cool. This cake takes awhile to make.
Also, if the truth must be told, I double the icing.
This works out perfectly for a cake that's had another half added to it.
I also use a mixture of regular, coconut, raw, and brown sugar to fill the sugar quota. It gives a nice full flavor to it.

My apologies to Suzanne for all of the changes but don't take it personally;
I hardly ever follow a recipe.

Okay, I think we're ready for the original untweaked recipe.

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup oil
4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (Oh, I also add a little ground cloves and nutmeg. Just a little.)
2 cups finely grated carrots (Sometimes I cheat and buy shredded carrots at the store but they're really too thick.)
1 cup crushed pineapple after being drained.
1/2 cup chopped nuts
(I also add 3/4 chopped golden raisins but any raisins or dates will do.)

Beat sugar and oil together. Add eggs; beat until fluffy.
Add next 5 dry ingredients. Blend into creamed mixture.
Fold in carrots, pineapple and nuts. (raisins)

Pour into two 9" round pans. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min. or bake in a 9"x13" pan for 40-45 minutes.
Top with cream cheese frosting when cool.

She did not include a recipe for the frosting but I bummed one off another recipe.

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat until very fluffy. I like to add about 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to the frosting.
And remember, I double the above recipe.

Have fun and make sure to bake it long enough.
This cake gets better with age.

Hertzler Doings~Dec. 15-21, 2014~Thailand

Mon,-The Lady Next Door-entrepreneur of many trades-took us to the Kahom Sam Roi Yet National Park in Hua Hin. First we walked around a mangrove forest on a rickety elevated nature trail. We saw monkeys. One of the mothers held her orange baby and watched us through soulful eyes. We then drove to another place and hiked twice to get to the most beautiful cave in the world.  It was a strenuous climb and descent of several miles but it was worth the effort. Pharay Anak Hon is the name of the cave. When we got back down the second mountain we drank a coke and a bottle of water and sat gratefully under the shade of a restaurant at the bottom. Then we hiked up and down the easier mountain. We thought it was a difficult mountain when we first hiked it but once we hiked the second mountain, the first mountain seemed almost easy. All a matter of perspective. We had lunch at a restaurant next to the bay and drank more coke and water and had a meal for 220 baht for the three of us which was $7.00 total. We bought some stone elephants at the shops there and met our Lady Next Door. When we got back to the retreat center, I went to the ocean with Janelle and Micah for awhile and then met Susan at the pool. We had a lovely supper of pizza and French fries and salad and sat with a couple who teach Bible School in Bangledesh. They told us that Bangla is one of the 7 most spoken languages of the world. Susan and I had another massage and I took an aleve and arnica afterwards because I think I'll be black and blue by tomorrow. (I was.) Packing up tonight for tomorrow's busy day.

Tues.-Slept 8 hours straight. Got up and went out to the beach in the dark around 5:45 and watched the sun rise. Took many pictures and gathered a handful of shells. Susan came out with her camera and went exploring and found a sand dollar. Then Micah and Janelle came out. Our taxi driver arrived at 7 instead of at 10 but he had driven there the night before from Bangkok to bring someone else to the area so he slept in the car. We paid for our stay at the retreat and packed up and left by 10. We went to the floating markets. The price was high and we decided not to go but they kept coming down in their price and finally we decided to go and it was pretty great. Susan bought some fruit including durian fruit and it tasted like nasty onion pudding. Now she can cross that off her bucket list. I can too, although it never was on mine. We bought some lunch from a floating boat that had a grill right on it. Chicken on a stick. At the coconut sugar plant I bought some patties of coconut sugar. We ate them like candy even though they were to be used in baking to sweeten a larger recipe. Tasted like maple sugar. Came back to Bangkok and the Guest House. Janelle picked up her bag and we added gifts to the bag they were holding for us there. The taxi driver took us to the train station. We had a 3 hour wait and used that time to buy some supper on the street, snacks and pastries for when we woke up in the train tomorrow morning, take a shower for 50 baht and purchase a hand towel to dry with and a little bar of soap, buy some tiger balm for $3 instead of the $10 it would be around here, eat mango ice cream and mint ice cream, eat Susan's chocolate filled chocolate donuts she bought for us, and feel queasy from the bad chicken we had bought outside. Janelle sat in the men's area while Micah showered which got kind of long and she regretted telling him to use up the whole bar of soap. We saw backpackers from different countries and once when I thought I was in someone's way and moved, he said in an Australian accent, "No worries." Got on the train around 8 and headed to Ubon Ratchechani, sleeping through the night.

Wed.-MED Joy and Pi Bae met us at the train station and took us to breakfast.  Hurray for chicken cashew and rice and iced coffee for breakfast at the market. Then we went to the church to meet Pastor Joi and other friends and believers. We were still in a comfortable sleeping clothes. Pastor Joi and Phil had an emotional meeting. Johnny had poured his life into this man and you can feel Johnny when you are with him. They all were so happy to see Janelle and Micah again and tried to pick him up like they did when he was a baby. We went around the circle and shared and when Phil shared, he wept, and most of us joined him. We sat on that hard linoleum floor, praying, singing, sharing, weeping. I felt that profound sadness that someone had said I would feel. I felt it on the train earlier while we were coming into Ubon Ratchichani. (I don't think I am spelling the names of the towns quite right. Will have to check with Janelle when she comes back.) Then we went to the MED office. It was the same house where Johnny, Janelle, and Micah had lived when they were there. Joy, Janelle, and Micah, went out to the back woods area to see some trees that Johnny had planted and Micah stepped on a bamboo shoot coming up from the ground and cut his foot. Joy bandaged him up. A few days later, a piece came out.
We then went to Wed. market. We were stared at. People from villages would come out to this market to buy all that they needed to live. Phil bought some red silk to get some shirts made. The market was so crowded and people were riding motorcycles everywhere. Then we were brought back to the guest house where we would spend the next couple days while we were in Det Udom. There was an outdoor lobby between Janelle's room and ours and we sat around the table sometimes to read, eat, and talk.
Walked to the market down the street. Micah picked out a frog in a container and they split it and roasted it for him. We ate a restaurant where we cooked our meat over a hot grill and added vegetables to the broth simmering around it. Joy picked us up and took us to her sister's where Phil was measure for the silk shirts. They live in a beautiful village Joy's husband build their home. He is a carpenter. She lives next to her sister. Joy's husband cut open coconuts and poured out the juice for us to drink. We ate the soft insides as well. They sent one back for Susan. She reminds them of the main character in the Hunger Games movie because she showed them a picture of the deer she shot. Later, when we got back, Janelle and I walked around the block in the dark and bought water, soap, and popsicles. Went to bed before 7:30. 

Thurs.-Slept until 6 in the morning. Put our laundry on the porch in bags to be sent out. Walked to breakfast with Janelle, Micah, and Susan. Had chicken cashew and rice. Joy picked us and we went to different villages and had two huge meals one right after the other. Pastor Joi and others were along and after the visits we went to a beautiful water falls. Another climb. Down, then up this time. Went to Pastor Joi's in the evening for a beautiful supper. I showed them how to put peanut sauce on apple slices which made them shudder but some of them were game and tried it and kind of liked it. I joked about dipping mint leaves into the peanut sauce and they nodded and said that was exactly what to do. It was really good. What a lovely home and lovely people. So much generosity and grace. One thing I remember here too is that they very carefully sliced their bananas into bite sized pieces instead of chumping right into them like I had done. Also, Pastor Joi showed us his rubber trees with a flash light. You get rubber from a tree just like you get sap from a maple tree for syrup.

Fri.-Woke up to tortured cat sounds. Went to the market by myself. On the way, Thai businessmen who were also staying there, invited me to sit down for coffee. They had complimentary coffee outside every morning right inside the guest house entrance. They wanted to know where I was from. I asked if they were teachers and they were. 'Good luck to you,' said the handsome one. And 'See you later, my love,' as I walked away. The locals seem startled by blonde haired blue eyed women. I bought bananas and applepear fruit and some waffles at the market. I filmed a lady dancing. Everyone smiles and is friendly and wants to try out their English. Susan made a point of always telling anyone who spoke in English that they spoke very good English. It seemed the ultimate compliment. They laugh when I speak -'sahwadikuh'-hello and goodbye, I think, with hands folded together and a little bow. They seem to laugh with you rather than laugh at you but I do think that man was laughing at me when I couldn't find 7 baht to pay for toothpaste. '7 baht' he said to the man next to him, shaking his head, and laughing. At one stand there were turtles in a container and bags with broken up turtle in them. I feel I have nothing to give these gracious people and everything to learn from them. Everywhere is simplicity and beauty. I want to say, 'Kop Koon Kah' -Thank you, thank you, over and over to everyone I meet.
Joy picked us up around 9 and we headed to Buntarick and they pulled off the road at the place where Johnny died. This was so hard. When we got to Palanchai we met with the believers in the village at the pavilion where I had gone with Janelle those 9 years ago where I met Mr. Som Pom-the man who had killed Johnny. We had drunk communion juice in shot glasses from WW11. Red Swastikas were etched on the bottom. This day, we shared, prayed, and danced. Afterwards, we drove up to the Laos border and had lunch at a nice restaurant and then went shopping at the market nearby. We bought a beautiful table cloth for Anne, some candy for Christmas, sweatpants for Susan, and jello candy like the kind Uncle Johnny would bring back. We stopped at a roadside broom and basket shop and some of our friends bought new brooms there. We stopped again where Johnny died and Phil got out and stood there for a brief moment and then shook his head like 'I can't yet believe it,' and got back in. Profound sadness. Later, we dropped off Pastor Joi, thinking it would be the last we would see him. Phil told him through Janelle that it was here that he had lost a brother and it was here that he had found his brother in him.
Back at the hotel we had some free time and we walked to the steak house and got some fries. Joy picked us up later and she and Bae hosted us at the MED office and we sat on the floor and had 'take out' from the same restaurant where we roasted the meat and simmered the vegetables over little coal grills. I had octopus for the first time. Micah is quite skilled in handling chopsticks and coached Phil on how to do it and Phil got pretty good at it too. Susan was already pretty good at it. I stopped trying. The restaurant would come back later and clean everything up. Joy said that she is not a good cook. That's why she ordered take-out.
I brought such casual clothes along-clothes I could leave behind to make room for purchases. The Thai ladies dress up much more elegantly than we do. They also take several showers a day. Being neat and clean is very important to them.

Sat.-Free morning. Got more dollars exchanged. Went to breakfast with Susan to the restaurant and she ordered chicken cashew with rice, having repeatedly saying the words Janelle had given to her, and the people knew exactly what she wanted! Several generations run the restaurant and the grandfather tried to get his little granddaughter to come to me but she wanted nothing to do with that idea. On our walk, I took some photos of children and then I would show it to them and they would laugh. Everyone smiles and laughs. We did some shopping and found some scarves and when we came back and showed them to Janelle, we went back out with her again. Phil read and Micah relaxed in his room. For lunch we all got chicken or pork with rice. We ordered iced drinks in large bags. The coffee was so strong my head was buzzing. The pink drink tasted like cotton candy. Later, Susan and I went to the Lotus Store which is like a large Walmart. We bought more things and she put a box together at the PO to send to her brother and family in Alberta. We took the tuk-tuk to the PO and then another tuktuk from the PO to the hotel. A tuk-tuk is a motorcycle with a carriage attached so you can sit on benches facing each other and ride in the open air. It's a quicker way to get to where you want to go than walking several miles. It was after that we had our lunch that I wrote about above. Then we did more shopping. Joy picked us up and took us to Pi Baes for supper. She had a kettle of lots of little frogs simmering. We sat on the floor with their family and friends and had rice, sticky rice, frogs, chicken dishes, and sweet rice and corn wrapped in large green leaves. Before supper we watched Bae's sister and Joy plant mushroom spores on piles of tapioca scrapes. They fertilized it and placed hoops and plastic over it all and covered it with straw. Mushrooms will be growing in there by the time we get home to Va. That night, there was a beautiful sunset that I could see through the open shutters as we sat eating those little frogs. Bae's nephew and wife and daughter and son came over. Their son is about 8 years old. About a year ago he had an accident with a rope or a vine and it got wrapped around his neck and he was unconscious for 18 days. Before the accident he could speak with eloquence. Now he has trouble walking but he first crawled and now he is walking but needs help. He kept coming to Phil, Susan, and I. He especially liked Phil's black and white shirt with pictures from Paris on it. We left it with Joy when we left the area for her to give it to the little boy. The little guy's eyes look bright and normal. His mother reads to him. It has been such a hard thing for the family. Phil prayed for the father and it was good. They sent rice home with us and  large bunches of green bananas. Some time today, Susan bought watermelon at a stand and two red pointy fruits because the lady didn't feel like selling her just one. It tasted awful. Joy said that Bae would be happy for the second one so we gave it to her. Janelle brought white chocolate covered pretzels from Miller's Store with her from Va. and she gave these out to the different host families when we visited. Susan is almost finished writing her 3,000 words. She will soon be able to say that she is officially graduated from her Sr. year. Writing was her last class to finish.

Sun.-I walked out to the street and got some chicken, watermelon, and pineapple and brought it back for breakfast. We packed up, leaving some clothes there for Joy to do with as she wants, checked out of the office-2,400 baht for several nights and two times of laundry-no security around money box. Honor system abounds here. Joy came and got us around 9:15 and we stopped at a roadside stand where she got halves of chicken grilled on a stick and some poppy seed crackers and we went to the aid's village for church. Johnny would go to them and we met some of the people who went with him and some he cared for. We had another time of sharing, praying, encouraging through the Word-1 Pet. 4:1-4. Joy encouraged them to persevered through the hard times. We had a meal with them. Their daughter made us rice sushi. Their other daughter runs a business called Stephanie's where she sells sushi. They wanted us to have all the sushi because they were used to it. One of the little boys-about two-took a special liking to Susan, and tried to talk her into taking him on a motorcycle ride. We brought one of the believers back to her home and it is there where Micah and Susan can say that they had the experience of riding a real water buffalo. Joy continued driving us towards the train station. We drove around the university where Johnny taught physics and Janelle taught ESL. Then we went to the hospital where Micah was born. Emergency C-section. Born blue. Then we went out to eat in Ubon Ratchichani and had three different dishes over rice. Also, got ice cream at the train station. Pastor Joi and others met us there to pray for us and help us get our luggage on the train. Another sweet farewell and an awareness that we will for sure see each other in heaven with no language barrier but hopefully, we will get to go back and see them again, after we learn more of their language and Joy learns more English. Susan and I changed into more comfortable clothing in the bathrooms at the station-have I mentioned squatty potties at all? We bought Pringles and other snacks. The train left at 6:30 and our beds were made by 6:45. I slept well during the night in the bottom bunk.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hertzler Doings~Dec. 9-15, 2014-Thailand Highlights~

Mon.-(written 2 1/2 weeks later from scanty notes)-Busily getting ready to fly to Thailand. Packing, cleaning, cooking, saying good-bye to family and friends. Took a quick trip with Phil to look for a money belt. Found a suitcase to replace the one I had packed. Just discovered its wheel was broken. Phil found a ten dollar amp that works great, hidden on the bottom shelf. Freeman brought Nathan over one more time. I think N said 'I love you,' back when I squeezed him. Susan's back is a little better. She went out to Farmville and visited Dr. Travis and her team. She bought a back brace and it helps a little. Rosalee called in the evening to tell me that our Aunt Esther-the only remaining sibling on my dad's side-passed away last evening. I will miss her funeral but I know she understands. What a wonderful lady. She always made me feel like a million bucks.

Tues.-Picked up Janelle and Micah shortly after 5:30 this morning. Got to Richmond airport around 7:30. Change of plans. Flight overbooked. Phil had already asked for an upgrade for Susan because of her back so we were first when they asked if we wanted to change our plans. Upgraded us to Economy Business and instead of flying to Dulles and then to Tokyo, we flew to Chicago and then to Tokyo. Trip from Chicago to Tokyo lasted 11 hours and 35 min. Flew from Tokyo to Bangkok-6 hours endurance flight. I sat next to a young graphic designer and Susan sat next to a young backpacking geologist and Phil sat next to an educator who teaches the gifted.  She recommended that we check out 'Hoagie'-a website that gives ideas for working with gifted children. Took a taxi van to the Bangkok Christian guest house . So relieved to stretch out and lie down. Slept from 2 in the morning until nearly 11 the next morning. Note from Janelle under the door, "I'm awake if you want to knock." She had fallen back to sleep by the time I got to knocking. The lights, air conditioning, etc. all turn on when the key is put into the slot beside the door. We have three single hard beds. Linoleum floor is everywhere. I never saw carpet in Thailand. The room is plenty big. Had breakfast on the back street around 12:30. Rice with eggs, veggies and fried chicken. Took subway to buy train tickets for when we ride overnight to BKK.  Went shopping. Found Nathan's wooden frog and Freeman's elephant. T-shirts for Freeman and Philip. Carved soaps for gifts. Rested. Had supper somewhere. Went to night market. Bought scarves and other things. Susan found out that her basketball team won without her and she was so happy and enjoyed her guilt-free trip. Lady Lions are still unbeatable.

Okay-now my notes jump to Friday-Thailand time which would have been Thursday back here so my Tuesday is actually Tues/Wed./Thurs. somehow.

Friday-Breakfast of boiled egg, noodle dish, rice soup, toast, jam, yogurt, granola, coffee, and juice, all right at the BKK Christian Guest House. Bought gifts at the gift shop right there. The three of us ordered watermelon pineapple smoothies from a vendor on the street. We left the guest house around 11.
Our cab driver volunteered to take us the whole way to our next destination instead of just taking us to the bus station. It worked our really well. Janelle's Thai language skills are still sharp. It's 90 degrees and very humid. 3 1/2 hours of driving. We are staying at another Christian Retreat Center run by Gasper and Jill. He is the treasurer of Samaritan's Purse or he was the treasurer. I am not sure which. Lovely people. Had a supper of American mac and cheese, salad, banana bread pudding with whipped cream. Before supper we walked on the beach and collected shells. We have the corner room and the screens on the windows welcome in the breezes from one side to another. We can hear the crashing waves. Susan has a bed on the floor and Phil and I have a queen size bed. Swam in the beautiful pool after supper. Raced Micah twice from one end of the pool to the other and I beat him both times. Our laundry is done here for free. We bring it down between 8-9 in the morning and pick it up at 5.

Sat.-Awake throughout the night. Beds are hard. Good breakfast. (yogurt, cereal, toast, eggs, watermelon, pineapple, papaya, small bananas, and cantaloupe. Three kinds of jams. Some wonderful fruit is always in season in Thailand. Then walked on the beach, taking pictures, collecting shells. Beautiful sunrise of grays and blues with mountainous island reflecting on the sand. All 5 of us got Thai massages. 300 baht an hour. About ten bucks. The sweet ladies came to our room.
Had chicken cashew with rice for lunch. The folks next door run a taxi service, rent out vehicles, paint nails, arrange massages, etc. The lady first took us for a short ride where she met her husband and he took us the rest of the way to Hua Hin to the elephant rescue center. We all rode elephants. I rode one by myself and Janelle looked back and quipped, "You look like the queen of Sheba." I felt like the Queen of Sheba. After our ride, we watched a young elephant perform all kinds of trickes. He danced, played soccer and basketball, played a harmonica, gave us hugs, took hats on and off us, and collected money from us by passing a basket. I even gave him a coin and he gently took it with his snout and put it in the basket.
That night we went to an incredible Night Market where local artisans were selling their crafts. We got an H stamp with wax for Michael. The girl's boyfriend had made the stamp and she made the wax candles. We ate supper outside in the food court using coupons while the stands were being set up. Phil found two brass elephants for Philip from an antique dealer there. There were other stands. Pottery, leather working, glass blowing, beautiful clothing, scarves, jewelry, etc. I went out alone to the pool for 15 min. that night just to rest my legs in the water. Feeling the hard beds and rough rides in my neck and back.

Sun.-The taxi driver man took us to church in Hua Hin. The pastor's wife was Janelle's language teacher when she lived there. She was so happy and surprised to see Janelle. She had never received J's email. The last time they were at their church was the last time they ever saw Johnny. It was a wonderful church service. Janelle sat behind us and interpreted. We joined their Thai singing Christmas carols with our English. I recorded several songs on my camera. When they prayed, they all prayed outloud and it sounded like a storm of heaven. After church, we walked to a local eatery and had pork and rice and then walked back to church. The pastor's wife took us back to Mercy House Orphanage and said that someone would send the taxi driver over there to meet us. What a love filled Children's Home. They even have a face book page. Which reminds me to befriend them. We saw where they make and sell crafts. We saw the girl's room with quite a few bunk beds in one room and all of their shoes down at the bottom of the stairs. We never wore our shoes into the house in Thailand. When our taxi driver got there, the children all came out to say good bye to us. They waved and shouted. We had picked out a few things to buy in the gift shop but they refused payment and gave us the gifts. I had inquired about a beautiful drawing of Jesus and later met the boy who drew it. He is an amazing artist and he has no hands. He paints and draws using the strength of both wrists put together holding his instrument. He was so cheerful. I found out later that the cab driver was so moved by the children ( he has several of his own) that he decided to bring a meal to them on his birthday. Thai's do things for others on their birthdays.
We came back to the retreat center and while Susan and Phil read in the room, I went out into the ocean. It was warm and the waves weren't too rough. I was by myself until Micah and Janelle joined me about a half hour later. Later, I watched a little local Thai boy turning cartwheels in the surf. Then he'd stoop down and drink handful after handful of ocean water. Phil and Susan came out on the beach for a little while. Later I went back and got a shower and then went in to the pool. Then I took pictures of this beautiful property. I want to make sets of beautiful photo cards from Thailand. Other missionaries are here with their families to rest. One large family stayed here two nights I think. They are missionaries in Africa and were on their way home to New Zealand for Christmas and this was their halfway point. I met some sweet young mothers-Ava and Anna. They are serving in the mission field with their husbands and small children with no other family around them for support.
After we all got cleaned up, we walked down the street to a local restaurant. I ordered chicken cashew. Susan had sweet and sour prawns, shrimp, and squid. Phil had asparagus and shrimp over rice. Micah had 3 crabs with rice. Janelle had a similar dish to Susan's. Susan went back to rest her back and Phil and I had a dessert of banana fritter with vanilla ice cream while we waited for Micah to finish his crabs but eventually, we left them to go back home. They came back shortly afterwards.
Janelle downloaded some of the pictures from my camera on her computer for her book. For some reason, the pictures are flat, making us look fat and wide. (Found out it's the vertical pictures adjusting to the size of the computer screen.)
Crickets chirping.
Waves pounding.
Fan blowing.
Pages turning.

Guys back home are making breakfast and we're trying to stay awake to go to bed just a little later so we can sleep just a little better.

(Thailand trip to be continued into next weeks Hertzler Doings.)

Thailand Through My Lens

I took many photos these past weeks of the beautiful foliage and people of Thailand.
Many times, when I stood still, focusing my lens on the lovely flowers or smiling children,
a local person would come up behind me and look to see what I was seeing.
I saw 'beautiful' where they saw 'ordinary.'

I have a friend who does that.
She looks at people and sees the lovely,
and the rest of us, who saw only 'ordinary' before,
look through her lens and see beauty also.

I am so thankful for the eyes of God in her.

The hardest part of our trip was when our hosts pulled off to the side of the road
at an obscure place in an obscure town
and Phil got out and stood on the ground
near where the place his brother John died.
Near where the place his blood was spilt.

And I thought that this is what we do when we love God.
We stand near the place where His Son died.
Near where the place His blood was spilt.
Near the cross.
Jesus keep me there.

We visited several villages while we were in Thailand.
We met with the believers there.
We sat on the floor cross-legged and stiff
and heard about their memories of John and what he did for them.
We heard their testimonies and prayed for their struggles.

One old man from the village asked for prayer.
He said, "I do not yet believe in God, but I want to."

I wanted to crawl over next to him
and say, "Me too. Pray for me.
I do not yet believe in God, but I want to."

One day we climbed up and down mountains for several miles
to see a cave. Its' beauty was breath-taking.
Several times during the climb I thought my lungs would burst.
My knees are still screaming protest to the strain I put on them.

On the way down, we came upon other weary climbers.
We said to them, 'You're almost there!'
'Really?', they panted hopefully.
'Yes, and it is worth the climb.
Don't give up. It's so beautiful.'
'Thank you,' they gasped.

I wanted to weep.
Because this is life, you know.

Many a weary pilgrim would have continued on their journey
towards God if only someone had said to them,
'You're almost there. It's going to be worth it.
Keep on going. Finish well.'

The journey is hard but we're almost home.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hertzler Doings~Dec. 1-7, 2014

Mon.-Busy day in Fville. Met DDF at Uptown Café for coffee and cranberry/orange scone. Always so great to be with her. Went to the bank and the hair stylist to get some hair oil, went to the new thrift there on the right-Carousel's-nice place. Went to B and M and bought 3 packs of pansies to plant so they look pretty in the snow. Went to Food Lion, Judy's, and Walmart. Came home. Unpacked. Went to Dr. F. Came home. Made two chickens. Watched a Columbo with Susan and Phil. Guys worked on firewood most of the day. It was a warm flip flop day. Tomorrow it's supposed to sleet.

Tues.-cold rainy day. Had Nathan for a little while. Made lots of food for the next couple days. Planted over a dozen pansies to decorate the snow when it comes.

Wed.-Guys are still working around here cleaning up, building garage cabinets, etc. Nathan came for a little while and took a short nap on a gator ride. I wrapped him up in his great grandpa Streams camouflage pant blanket that I knotted for him. He had on a fluorescent orange jacket and he matched the blanket. I took a picture of him and he looked like he had red hair. I packed up some things today, gave some things away, moved some things to old house, and reorganized some disorganization and told myself I'll work on it another day. Janelle and Micah stopped in to pick up some things and we had a nice visit. Susan worked out at the gym. Phi working on getting a job permit for the L's. Phil and Philip set traps. Michael was out with a friend most of the day. He is enjoying his calligraphy tools and paper. He wrote a thank you note to some one in calligraphy and sealed the envelope with red wax and an 'M' emblem. Hoping to get to bed early tonight.

Thurs.-Lunch with Dianna at Miller's. Regular New Life reunion out there. Learned later that up until 11 months old baby's think you cease to exist when your face is hidden. Good catch up talk with J and am enjoying my crème colored blankie. Went to Goodwill and got a few books and then to Walmart, then to Susan's game. All but Michael were there to cheer Susan on. He had a night flight. Nathan came with Alli and met Freeman there. Nathan loved the game and it egged Susan on to know he was watching her. Phil bought me a supper of burger and fries there. Susan hurt her back during the game and had a rough evening. Slept with phone by my bed so she could call me from her room if she needed help getting up.

Fri.-Took Susan to Dr. Travis and he took her in immediately and worked on her a long time. No need for xrays since this was a muscle/tissue injury. Said she strained/sprained the long muscles of her back and across the bottom of her back. Basically whiplash. They were so kind. Loaned us a back brace. Susan used ice and heat all day plus took a Tylenol and IBprofen together every three hours. Watched lots of Monk. She is still very stiff and sore but it is a relief to know that nothing is broken or blown. Dr. T. said a sprain hurts more than a break and it is more difficult to recover from this whiplash injury than a broken bone. I did some basic chores around the house and outside and watched some Monk with Susan. Guys went to PAlvin and Charity's Chi Alpha farewell party. Felt so thankful all day for hope and for kindness. So many people were good to us today and went out of their way to help us.

Sat.-Did a lot of odds and ends today. Went to Dr. F and took Susan to Dennis. What a great help he is. Susan also went to the Longwood game with friends for Molly's birthday. I hung out at Judy's until the game was over. Guys went hunting. Michael's making breakfast-cooking now-for church tomorrow. Phil was busy with many things. Rainy day.

Sun.-Michael made two big pans of breakfast casserole for the final Encounter Journey class at church. Delicious and a little bit more than enough. Jenny preached on 'The Peace of God.' So good. Full of scripture just as are Pastor Bill's sermons. Came home with Freeman and Alli to their place and then they brought Nathan and I back to our place and we had fun with him while his parents went to 'Cinderella' production in Farmville. We had a little family meeting after they got back and discussed some future plans. Nathan and I got into the swing of things. I flip him and he likes to be flipped. I started counting, "One...Two..." and before I hit three and sometimes two he would arch his little back and start flipping over. He didn't want to stop. Then he threw up a little and I felt a little bad but couldn't stop laughing. Nervous laughter, probably. Philip and M shot guns for awhile and then Philip, Michael, and M, went to Marv F. for a formal dinner. Susan, Phil, and I, spent the evening getting ready for some adventures coming up.