Journal

I keep a private journal, where I talk about the deeper details of my life, including the names of people and descriptions. In my private journal, I sometimes mention the deep struggles, the intense feelings, the secret thoughts, the prayers, etc.
This isn’t my private journal.
This journal isn’t going to let you into the deepest details of my life or thoughts.
This journal is what I feel comfortable sharing publicly, and especially has to do with the theme of this site, and especially which will effect this site.

Fire!

I slept in this morning. Or should I say that I slept twice? Waking up just a little while before my alarm would go off, I was still tired, and went back to sleep, finally getting up some time between 8 and 9. There was a lot on my invisible list of things to do today. I started this morning according to my typical routine: take care of the basic necessities such as toilet and water, and then spend time in prayer and reading my Bible (or these days, going through the Sabbath school lesson). As I was headed out with the laundry, the neighbor’s cat greeted me, asking for some lovings and some breakfast. I thought breakfast would do this morning, but the cat still wanted to rub, so I pet it and continued filling the washing machine.

The washing machine is a manual one. I switch each cycle: fill, spin, drain, repeat, and then take the wet clothes and put it into another part, a spinner, and then take the clothes and put it on the line. During the early fill cycle, I grabbed some chop sticks from the outdoor water closet (which we are using for storage) and picked up some pieces of trash from the yard. The exercise and the air did me some good, as well as the beautiful green around me. During another cycle, I looked in and under the lemon and lime trees again. Finding one lime that I had seen yesterday, I picked it and put it inside, and then looked for more. Nothing, at least nothing that I could find.

All seemed to be going well. I washed the lime and prepared some lime and thyme chick peas with the remaining chick peas from Friday. On Friday evening I had made dumplings by steaming spring rolls, and decided to do so again this morning, as it seemed it would be less work and require less attention than frying them in the rice cooker and I did not feel strongly inclined to deep fry this morning. I know that whatever is frying on the hot plate needs to be watched carefully, and turned off and on and off again and back on and off and repeat however many times it takes before the food is cooked. One day, just a few minutes in to heating the oil, the oil in the pan burst into flames (or was it the pan itself?), and there were a few threats after that also. Usually, however, when food is boiling in water or steaming, it’s fine.

The steamed spring rolls went through two cycles, and it was getting close to time to switch the laundry to another cycle. The spring rolls looked fine, but I wanted to keep them warm and give them extra cooking time, just in case, so I turned them on again, and went outside to switch cycles on the washing machine. While waiting the short time before I would switch to another cycle, I became preoccupied in the yard again.

I had unlocked the gate a few minutes ago, and had opened some of the windows in the studio. It seemed that I heard plastic crinkling, and wondered if the cat let itself in (as it does know how to open the front door if it’s not latched), or if a person had slipped in while I was out back. But no, it couldn’t be. As I looked into the window, I saw nothing, but then noticed something…I smelled smoke, and that plastic sound sounded like something else that was familiar…

Oh no. I went to the back window, where I could look in and see how the pot on the hot plate was doing. I forgot to check it for water, and it must have been empty (or very near empty). Sure enough, bright orange flames were licking the edge of the steamer and the lid.

I had to think quickly. I must have prayed, but if I didn’t, the Lord knew I needed help and wisdom. I almost panicked, but realized that I needed to remain calm and think logically, and I did. I believe the Lord helped me. I thought of a few things that I could do, but the Lord helped me to think reasonably. Assessing the situation, and that the studio was full of smoke, I realized that one of the first things I needed to do, if possible, was to unplug the hot plate. The box for electricity is next to the hot plate, and the box with the switches is far above on the wall, so I couldn’t just turn off the electricity, and I had to reach past the fire to unplug the hot plate. It seemed safer than hitting the button to turn it off, considering the closeness of the fire. I worried that I might get burnt, but if I didn’t send up a prayer for help and protection, the Lord heard my thoughts anyway. I reached beside the hot plate, and back, keeping my body and my clothes as far away as possible and acting carefully, though quickly, to pull the plug. The flames were still burning. Beside the hot plate was a wooden mortar and pestle. I removed that and put it in the sink before it could catch fire.

I learned from last time that, when removed from the heat, the fire might die out. It was pretty much contained in the metal pan, though the flames were leaping dangerously high, about 4-6 inches or so up out of the pot. I grabbed that same frying pan that had caught fire last time. When it had caught fire, I had removed it from the hot plate by its long handle and went to bring it outside, but the flames were so dangerous that I froze. The oil dripped onto the floor and the fire went out. Now, I turned the pan upside down and set it over the flames. They flickered and continued to burn. I lifted the pan, and the flames continued, so I put the pan down over the flames again. They flickered and burned for a little while, and then puffed out of existence, leaving a charred, black mess.

Actually, my spring rolls weren’t burt that badly, so perhaps the flames hadn’t even been going for very long, but my pan is a mess. I still need to finish cleaning it (and have already scrubbed it some). Though only one side of the spring rolls were burnt, the outside of the rest turned yellow, and I wasn’t sure if it was safe to eat, so I dumped them. But before I did that, the windows and doors had to come open. At first, I only opened what I could think of with the screens closed, and turned on the fans, and opened the doors, but then I realized I needed to open more, so the screens went open and the doors were fully opened, and the fans blew the smoke out.

It’s not good to be in smoke for so long. I covered my mouth and nose, really wishing that my mask was out where I could find it easily. I had to go outside and away from the studio to get fresh air, and then came back in, covering my mouth and nose and holding my breath through some of it and grabbed a chair and brought it outside. Then I went back for a book, holding my breath and covering my mouth and nose. Even when I was opening the windows, I had to hold my breath, cover my mouth and nose, and stick my head out for air. I should have opened my bed room windows too, but I was worried about wasps, so they stayed closed until I realized my bedroom still smelled smoky. After retrieving a book, my tablet, and the chick peas, I had some lunch outside. I didn’t do this all at once, giving a little time in between for the smoke to go out, and to take fresh air into my lungs. I ate my brunch outside while reading, and then went in for another book. Around that time I opened my bed room windows. The smoke was clearing well. I turned the fan toward my bed room, and then went back outside to read.

Would you believe the next story I read was about fire? My legs still felt shaky and my knees weak, but I stayed outside until the smoke had pretty well cleared (though some smoky smell lingered, so the doors and windows stayed open), and until I had recovered from most of that shaky, weak feeling, and then went back inside.

But the experience outside was beautiful. I listened to birds and saw butterflies fluttering by. It was so relaxing, and the fresh air, sunlight (through the clouds), and good, simple food was refreshing, and I felt some energy restored to me. For once, after many days of not feeling well (most days, but maybe not all), I feel well again, and think I can go a while longer, and I learned from the experience…hopefully what I learned will stick, and hopefully that won’t happen again, but I did learn, and it did me some good (even though I could have died).

While I was outside, I also finished my laundry and got it on the line, and I did check a few times to make sure the fire hadn’t gone anywhere else inside. It was a terrifying experience, but the Lord helped me to remain calm, and see the positive things in all of it, and He protected me.

Fire is dangerous, and so is smoke. What I did, going for a book, was not necessarily safe, and (especially in America) you may need to call the fire department even if you put out the fire, to report that a fire happened. Do some research beforehand. Prevention is the best medicine, but it’s better to be prepared than sorry, or dead…I’m so thankful that God protected me through all this, that the fire is out, and that the walls and floor here aren’t made of wood. Whew!

 

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I’m Sorry, Flash…

I had just decided to adopt the gecko and to name it “Flash”, at least until I could get it outside. When I went to wash my dishes this evening, I found Flash in my garbage can. The gecko was in a vulnerable position, and seemed to either be having difficulty getting out, or else it was trying to hide underneath the trash. I picked up the garbage can to bring it outside, but it seemed I would have to either actually pick up the gecko and place it outside, or else shake it out of the trash can. I wasn’t sure it was safe to put Flash so close to the door, as she/he might easily come back in, so I also hesitated there. There wasn’t anything particularly nasty in the garbage can, mostly plastic and some tissue, and one small box. I didn’t want to shake the contents out onto the walk way and have to pick it all back up, so I began to remove the contents of the trash bag, and then took the bag out to try to remove the gecko, but flash climbed to the top and jumped out of the bag. It hesitated when reaching the broom, which was laying down on the floor by the back door. I was hoping to get Flash to run to the back door, which I had just cracked open for it (but even before, when it seemed to start in that direction, Flash should have been able to make it outside).

But Flash climbed the wall and ran behind the counter. I moved the counter and tried to gently prod Flash back in the direction of the door. Instead, it ran under the rolling bins. I knew it was dangerous, and maybe it wouldn’t have hurt to wait and try again another day. I had hurt at least one other gecko by moving the bin while it was underneath, because it got caught in the wheel, I think. I was worried for Flash as I moved the bins, looking. Flash moved out from underneath one of the bins. I noticed the red trademark of blood when a gecko’s tail is severed, and its foot also looked damage. I still hope that it was just because of the lint stuck to the foot. I looked over to where the bin had been, to see a thin, pale tale wiggling on the floor like a worm. I moved the bin that Flash had run underneath, but Flash was not there. Fearing the worst, I removed the bin that was on top (for it was two bins stacked), and then turned the bottom bin on its side.

Flash was twisted in something perhaps similar to the human fetal position (except on its stomach) near the wheel. It looked alive, and perhaps it was at this time that I noticed the foot. I decided to try picking Flash up, and covered my hand with a plastic bag from the trash. Flash wouldn’t have it, and managed to escape my grasp (I was also trying to be gentle so as to not hurt it further.). I considered putting Flash in some sort of container to nurse it back to health, but it didn’t seem safe or practical, and I don’t have an aquarium.

Flash began to run again. This time, back to the wall. I prodded it with a broom (and feel guilty for actually touching it with the broom and hope I didn’t hurt it more, considering also that these brooms have softer bristles than the ones in America, being that these are made of a soft grass, I think). It ran toward my room, and I was afraid that it would go in, and steered it away. Instead of going toward the back door, which was cracked open at risk of letting other creatures in order to let Flash out, Flash ran toward the front door instead, and hid behind a white board which was propped against the wall.

I shut the back door, and then returned to the white board. Many termites have been gathering outside, and last night quite a few were inside, so I had put a blanket at the bottom of the door to try to minimize the amount of critters that might crawl in from underneath. Though it was already dark and the termites were gathering, I moved the blanket and opened the door for Flash, but when I went to move the white board, Flash was not behind it. Instead, I saw its head poking out from underneath, and worried that I had squished it, but tried to be careful with the board. Flash, still alive, wriggled out from underneath, but wouldn’t go toward the door, even when prodded by the broom.

But flash looked exhausted. I’m very sorry, but instead of picking up the poor gecko, I pushed it with the broom into a trash can, and carried it outside.

Yesterday I had seen a snake in the yard, on the left hand side. I don’t want Flash to be eaten by a snake. Though I want Flash outside, I want it to have some chance to survive. The snake might have been in a tree, but I still thought Flash’s chances were better in a tree, so first I started for the tree to the right-hand side of the studio. Then I went to the left-hand side, toward a bigger tree, and not the one that I had seen the snake slither to (thought he possibility of the snake being in the tree was possible). I hesitated, and decided not to getting bitten by the snake myself. I dipped the bucket into the fish pond, hoping Flash would go for a little swim, but Flash didn’t want to go, and I didn’t want it to drown. I did want to clean Flash up a bit, and was hoping to get the lint off of its foot, so I brought the bucket to the hose, and proceeded to pour water over the gecko. I’m not sure if I succeeded in getting off the lint, but Flash seemed to respond to the water more than it did to the broom. Still, it didn’t want to leave the bucket. I shook and beat the bucket, because I didn’t want to touch the gecko…that poor gecko…

Finally, between the hose and the shaking, Flash plopped into the mud. I checked to see if it was belly-up, or head-up, and Flash was on its feet. Relieved, I gave him a little more water, though somewhat more gently, hosed down the bucket, and went inside.

I don’t know if Flash will survive, but hope that it can recover the energy and escape the predators. There should be plenty of termites and ants for it to eat, if a gecko’s diet consists of such things. My wish for flash: please survive.

I realize that I could have minimized the poor creature’s suffering, and my own, and that it would have been far less messy if I had just shaken the trash out into the walkway and picked it up, or if perhaps I had left the trash can outside. Then Flash might have been able to crawl out on its own, and disappear into the night. The gate should keep the dogs out, so they wouldn’t be there to go through the trash, and there wasn’t too much to attract bugs. Why did I worry? As for picking it up, I had to pick up almost every piece of trash anyway, though I probably could have just dumped it from the can into another bag. That bag is outside now anyway.

I had, toward the beginning, tried to pick Flash out of the garbage bag, but Flash wouldn’t have it, but maybe if I had continued to try to catch the gecko by hand, and hadn’t been so persistent when it had gone under the bucket, it would have been less messy and Flash’s chances of survival would have been higher. Perhaps it seems silly, but I prayed for Flash, and hope he/she will be alright, even though there are chances that if he/she does survive, Flash will just end up back in the kitchen in a few days or a few weeks.

Perhaps I’ll give a warmer welcome next time…I don’t feel good about this, except that now the gecko is outside at least.

I’m sorry, Flash…

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The kitchen’s been invaded.

I returned from Bangkok a couple of weeks ago on Friday morning, and haven’t knowingly eaten anything with milk or eggs since we finished our staff lunch that same afternoon, except for some egg yolk that contaminated some sliced vegetables that were given to me as leftovers. A plate of boiled eggs and fried tofu was also offered, but I declined it. While I can’t say that I’m ready to give up honey yet, the arguments against the consumption of honey are becoming more and more appealing. I drizzled some on my peanut butter bread yesterday morning, and threw away three slices of bread in the evening when I went for more and discovered that, at some point, ants had gotten inside the lid. I didn’t see any in the honey, but something didn’t taste quite right that morning.

Ants are everywhere (except, thankfully, for my bed, at least most of the time). They even come and harass me while I work or play at the computer, climbing onto the desk. I found them yesterday under my pots, and a few days ago they were all over the tiny shelf in the water closet where I keep my toiletries. When I try to prepare fruit (which has been my main sustenance, along with noodles last week and bread this week), I need to move the plate into the fridge in between fruits, and they nip my feet while I wash the dishes. Too often, I find them floating in my drinking water, though less often since I put plastic over the tap. The plastic bag was installed to keep an invading gecko from contaminating the tap. On account of the dangerous temple dogs that threatened me the first time I tried to walk to church alone, I’ve been afraid to venture more than a few feet from the gate, and the yard is very small, but that gecko is like a personal trainer that appears in about the same place almost every evening, sees to it that I get a good workout chasing it around the kitchen, and then seems to just vanish. It’s left me questioning whether it’s really there, or whether it’s a spirit come to harass me or a hallucination, but the ants (which apparently can’t all be killed by cornstarch and which eat gecko dung) were probably going after some gecko dung when they swarmed the bowl that I stacked my pots on (until yesterday evening, when I moved them).

Of course, I’m sure you know I don’t want to kill this gecko. I feel bad when I do hurt them. I grab the broom or a duster and try to chase them to the door or the window, but it doesn’t always work. I’ve managed to drive a few away, probably and unfortunately hurting at least a couple in the process, but this one is very tricky.

Mangos are in season. We have two or three mango trees which are drooping with mango. I think tomorrow I’ll ask about checking their ripeness. Mangos are also cheap at the market, and I’ve been enjoying the sweet yellow ones that have just enough tanginess and a texture that is reminiscent of flan. I’ve also tried sapodilla, and would like to stash the rest in the freezer. I can’t tell when it’s too ripe. The taste is like caramel, but also seems to have a hint of alcohol flavor, like vanilla flavoring or something, I think. I kind of like it. It’s something I might try one more time, perhaps with help in (or after researching) selection and preparation. The first try was the best. After that, it’s been somewhat disappointing. I’d still like to try it in some homemade ice cream or a homemade smoothie, but dates are better.

Here’s another ant that was crawling on my keyboard. They’re tiny, red, biting things, nasty little critters. If only they didn’t bite, come after my food while I’m preparing it and/or eating, and stayed out of the water, then I might be able to ignore them, except when they’re crawling on my toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, etc…

I haven’t been feeling well, especially since some time ago in Bangkok, but have been feeling better since abandoning the eggs and dairy, cutting back significantly on pastries and other unnatural sweets, and eating more raw fruit. A friend brought me some lychee twice, and I have been enjoying the taste. The first time she brought it was the first time that I’ve eaten it fresh. Canned, I didn’t care for it. It was boring, kind of like canned pears (although I like pears more now than I did back when I tried canned lychee, though I did like canned pears then, sometimes), but fresh it’s totally different, and juicy and delicious. It seems jackfruit is also in season, too. We found some at the market that was ripe, a nice salmon color, and I really enjoyed it. I like to eat it washed in water because it not only does away with the germs, but seems to make it more juicy.

I used to brush my teeth with the water coming from the bathroom sink, but have been using drinking water this past week and wonder if that also has had a positive impact on my health. We’re told over and over that the water here isn’t clean and should only be used for washing. I know that, but old habits are hard to break, especially when you don’t see the contaminants (except for the obvious stinky green stuff that grows on your retainer, which you also wash in that water) after it sits in its container for a day or two. Since returning, the smell coming from the bathroom faucet and hoses has become even more suspicious, and I’m hoping that nothing died in the pipes (and especially not in the well) while I was away (nor after I returned). After all, I still wash dishes and myself with that water.

But even though I miss the kids, the fresh baked goodies from the vegetarian food store, the adventure, the freedom and comfort of being able to walk around the compound, and the delicious vegetarian food from the cafeteria and a few good cooks, it’s good to be back.

Change is coming. I’m in the process of renovating this website, but changes are happening in my life, too, and I trust that it will all work out for the best. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t have been so quick to take on the project of renovating this site, but should have waited to consider if I could accomplish the task before I started it. We’ll see what happens. For now, at least I know I can still add new posts as I work on moving things around, because the people who care have probably subscribed, and will have the new posts delivered to them even if they’re not posted directly onto the site. That’s pretty convenient, isn’t it? Thanks for sticking with me through all of this.

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How did this happen?

How did this happen? Please forgive me. I have backslidden severely, and am not sure that the damage is repairable, except that  “I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

It’s not that I had ever truly abandoned the use of eggs and milk completely nor entirely, but I had been so much more careful, and doing so much better. I had even been doing better about avoiding spicy, vinegar, baking powder, chocolate, soy sauce, and other harmful foods. When I did crack open an egg, it was mainly for the sake of my health, and only free-range (an hopefully organic) eggs and I didn’t even enjoy the fried eggs, though I think I may have liked the boiled ones…
Then I came here, and began to eat eggs a little more freely, because I perceived that the eggs were local and the chickens were obviously free range (and the baby males not thrown into a grinder. Then I began to eat quail eggs and conventional eggs, but not every week. I even backslid to the point of willingly eating things that contained milk…How hypocritical is it to eat bread that contains milk and egg and washing it down with soymilk?
Then I came here…and began to eat eggs even more freely ,almost every day and more than once on many days, and foods that contain milk also more freely…and spicy and other things. I also took food that was not vegetarian because of chicken flavored powder, and possibly fish sauce and maybe even oyster sauce (unclean), but I did not know that it was used until after, I think…
And then I began to suffer…
And so I backed up a little bit, my main concern being the cutting out of spicy food, especially chili, and the eating of more fruit.
And I began to heal…
Too many say you can justify choices that violate the naws of nature and health if it is the healthiest thing available, if it’s necessary for survival, to avoid hurting the feelings of others, to be a loving witness to others to show that you care about them by eating what they offer you, and other excuses. I have tested this theory and proven it false. What is a balanced diet? A balanced diet won’t leave you feeling weak, tired, sick, and in pain, with tender spots that you can actually touch, where even the application of water causes pain.
I still haven’t corrected my diet completely, but I am learning that I can’t just eat whatever I want without consequences. Please forgive me, my vegan followers…I’m trying to get back on the right track. Please forgive me if, while in Bangkok, I eat some eggs with pumpkin because it won’t be as painful as the spicy tofu, and because it will give me some needed vitamin A and B-12. Please forgive me if I eat a bun that contains a tiny bit of milk and egg because it is gentle on my stomach and will help with the healing process in my insides, and more nutritious than the plain white rice. Please be patient with me. I’m working my way back to the total vegetarian (vegan except for honey) diet because I do believe it is the best for me, except that it may be necessary for me to eat eggs occasionally, but I know I’ll have no excuse for the milk…Maybe in a few weeks you’ll see some more vegan recipes (except that I’ll still use honey, because it’s better than certain other sugar and will help with the healing process).
Please pray for me. Thank you…
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Thankful for a Full Fridge

January21groceries

^That bag of green circular shaped items is the noodles that I bought at the daily market. Below them to the left are the quail eggs. To the right is my favorite deep fried snack that I probably keep going on about, and in the middle are the bananas that a friend gave me. Anything in this picture not in a bag wasn’t from this shopping trip. 

Yesterday and today have been cold, rainy days. I needed to do some laundry, and since it’s still wet and raining outside, I washed enough clothes for a couple days in the bathroom sink and hung them in the hâawng-náam (literally-“water closet”, referring to the bathroom) and my hâawng-naawn (literally-sleep room, referring to the bedroom). I had trouble getting to sleep last night, for a few reasons.

We went to buy things yesterday. I definitely needed to get some fruits and vegetables, as I was down to one head cabbage and some garlic for fresh vegetables, and was out of fresh fruit, except for two bunches of bananas that a friend gave to me, and half a papaya (which was from a friend of a friend) left over from breakfast. I was also out of tofu and peanuts, out of which I had been making peanut butter, and I was hoping to eat a good supper of street food from the stands at the Monday market.

Because of the rain, we suspected that there wouldn’t be as many vendors at the Monday night market, but we were going to the daily market (which is under a shelter) anyway. I bought some fried vegetable spring rolls for supper. The vendor cut them in half and served them in a bag with a thin pointed stick and a small bag of sweet and sour sauce (which I did not eat). I used the stick to pick up the spring rolls and ate them as I walked around the market. I didn’t know what to expect at the Monday market, so I bought enough fruit and vegetables for the week, and it’s likely that at least some, such as the carrots, should last me more than a week.

I have to admit that I was disappointed with the quality of some of the items, but, looking back, I see that some of my disappointments were actually blessings, tokens of God’s love.

The first thing I purchased was a bag of quail eggs for 50 baht. I decided to get some potatoes, but while I was digging around to look for ones of good quality (I am fussy.), I saw a roach hiding in the pile. I poked at it with a potato and it moved, so I know it was alive. Disturbed, I covered it up (I’m not sure if I did the right thing.). I didn’t want to offend nor disappoint the lady who was selling the potatoes, so I stuck with the two I had picked out, and also selected a bag of 3 baby corn. She encouraged me to get a bag of mushrooms, too, which I gave away before leaving the market. At another stand I selected a few carrots. The vendor weighed them, and urged me to get one more, which I did.

I was disappointed with the red onions. I bought a bag of tiny red onions, and saw some later that I would have preferred to get instead, if I hadn’t already gotten some. It was difficult to find some that looked in good shape for a price that I thought they were worth, and these did not. I also bought some other cooking onions, and I think the quality and price were alright.

Another one that disappointed me was the fruit. I purchased a small package of small oranges for 20 baht, and 4 of them were rotten. I saw what looked like better deals (maybe not cheaper, because they were larger) at other stalls. The oranges were also soft, so they were suspicious. However, when I ate the oranges today, I realized that they are probably mandarin oranges. The softness does not mean rottenness, as they do not seem rotten, and are sweet and delicious, and do not have too many seeds. I like them.

I found a small bag of tomatoes for 5 baht, which I thought was a reasonable deal.  We had gotten into the car when I remembered that it was the only place the missionary family that brought me knew to buy some msg free noodles of the similar-to-instant-ramen variety. I compare them to Chinese noodles. We found one package of dusty green noodles, but the bag held air, and the noodles were vegan and msg free, colored green with pandan powder, which is from a plant, and didn’t have all the garbage that your typical instant-ramen in the US was (it’s not the same thing, but that’s what I compare it to, though they also have Chinese noodles in the US, so if you’ve seen those curly Chinese noodles, it’s a better comparison). I was disappointed and disturbed that the packaging was dusty and looked a little damaged, but looking back, I realize that it was a blessing and a token of God’s love that there was one package there waiting for me. I’m also thankful that our leader showed me the ones.

I was also hoping to find starfruit. I had seen some before, but was disappointed not to find any. Maybe it was there somewhere? Oh well, it was a blessing, our leader’s patient and helpful wife looked up what kind of a threat roaches posed to health and hygiene, and didn’t find much, and I washed the potatoes anyway. Besides all that with the roach business, I realize that roaches and other bugs could be crawling all over the produce even when we can’t see it, it’s just that seeing it disturbed me. It was not such a bad experience after all, though I do think, after going to the Monday market on a rainy day, that I’ll stick with the Monday market and the Thursday market for fresh produce and other things, even if it’s raining, but may go back to the daily market to get more noodles (I cannot say for sure, as I have not tried the noodles yet, and I cannot predict the future anyway). I think that tomorrow I will make a noodle soup.

January21groceries (3)

^Carrots, apples, and oranges from the daily market on the right. Greens (I’m not sure, whether I got these thin greens at the Monday market or daily market, now that I think about it.) in the upper left corner. The bag in front on the left toward the middle is sweet potatoes from the Monday night market, and I think that’s red onions in the lower left corner. There’s other things there, too, but I don’t remember what it was and can’t identify it right now. It might be the other bag of onions and some unseen items, but it might not. 

My dad and stepmother sent me a beautiful shiny butterfly birthday card with a carefully selected cash gift of clean bills.  ((My dad is very kind, thoughtful, careful, patient and generous toward me. I love him hearts. I would love him even if he wasn’t, but he is. I love my stepmother, too, who has also been very patient towards me and kind to me.)) We went to Tesco, but first I went to the bank right next door to cash the gift along with some donations I had received from others. At Tesco I purchased a package of 4 thin rolls of tissue (toilet paper, though we use it mainly as napkins and tissues here in Thailand), a bottle of sesame oil, a bottle of sunflower seed oil, oats, peanuts, yakinori seaweed, dates, daifuku, garlic salt, hair conditioner, and dog food.

Despite the rain, which had pretty much stopped when we arrived at the market, there was a good selection of produce. The vendor who sold fried and boiled quail eggs was there, and I tried a basket of fried eggs. The vendor who sold my favorite snack was also there. To my disappointment, I didn’t see any sticky rice doughnuts, which I’ve really only seen once, and was hoping I would find again if I went early enough (but either the vendor was not there, or the vendor was there, but the doughnuts were not). Maybe it was because of the rain? Perhaps I aught to buy some sticky rice and make my own Hmong cake (sticky rice doughnuts are very similar). I also found tofu.

January21groceries (4)

^On the right is baby corn and something else. Could it be tomatoes? I’m not sure, and am now questioning whether I got the tomatoes from the same vendor as the baby corn and the potatoes, or if I got the baby corn and tomatoes from a different vendor than the one who sold the potatoes. In the upper right are some small greens. I’m not sure what it is. It seems to me to be a cross between cabbage and collards. Maybe it is one of the other (baby collards/baby cabbage with the leaves), a hybrid, or something totally different. I think I should ask a friend to name these greens for me. In the middle top is leeks, then there are my Tesco purchases and something else. There are other items, too, that you cannot see. 

A man enthusiastically offered to sell me some cabbages. I like cabbage and they keep for at least a few weeks (I usually eat them up  so I don’t know how long these will keep for), so I bought one kilo, which was two, for 30 baht. The very next vendors on that side (if I remember correctly) were a friend’s parents. I was thinking about buying some leeks from them, but they gave me the leeks, along with some Asian cabbages and a bag of tomatoes for free. They might have already decided to before I even noticed they were there, because I think I first noticed when they were already giving away free produce to the person who was leading me through the market (going ahead of me, anyway), who happens to be another friend, and our leader’s wife.

My friend’s parents are so sweet, kind, and generous. They have given me free produce at least once before, though I think twice, and I’m pretty sure I got a discount the last time I shopped with them.

I’m thankful for all the people who have been kind and generous toward me. Thank you. You might not realize just how God has used you, but He has, and your gift has made a difference in more than one way.

A little bit can go a long way here. At Tesco, I also topped up on my phone, and on the way back we refilled the water jugs, which are huge. I didn’t keep track  as well as I should have on how much I spent. When that happens, I try to guess on the high side, and I’m also going to round up for this one…This shopping trip cost me less than 900 baht. That actually converts to a little more than $25 on google right now. That’s a little over 25 US dollars, and I’m not planning on eating all this food up in one week, but it seems that it’s better if I don’t set goals on how long the food and other items should last. I’m expecting that most of these things that will keep well and that I have a lot of, should get me through a few weeks, though. Perhaps I will share later how long some of these things lasted me. I’m thankful, though. God is good. He has provided, and shown me that I do not have to worry about things like “what will I eat” in the future. I am very blessed to have this abundance here. God is good. He has promised already to provide ((See Isaiah 33:16 and Matthew 6.)), and that He has been doing in more ways than I expected already. God is good.

The refrigerator went from seeming almost empty (one reason being that I wanted to eat most of what I had before buying more, and possibly also because I have been eating pretty well) to being stuffed to the point where I had to carefully arrange to fit everything. God is good. God provided, and even though  (as far as food is concerned) I think I had enough in the freezer and in dried goods to get me by for another week, I think, I’m very thankful we went to the market when we did, and that there was so much available despite the rain (also answers to prayers), and that now the fridge is packed, and I had to move ice packs out of the freezer to make more room, too. God is good. I’m thankful.

Today was another cold day, but a little warmer, I think, especially warmer in the kitchen. Today I prepped two of the three different types of greens that I bought (I’m not sure about one type, but I know one of the two was purchased at the Monday market.). I kept busy for a few hours thoroughly washing, inspecting, picking apart and cutting, boiling, and bagging the greens to put in the freezer, and then washed and boiled some quail eggs. I also washed the dishes and cleaned the counter, too. I usually don’t heat up water for washing dishes, but today I did for two different batches of dishes. Thankfully, the water came out somewhat warm, though not hot, so it was not unbearably cold, though it occasionally came out cold.

This morning I also fixed some hot herbal tea from mint purchased at the market the last Monday I went. It’s still good, and there’s still some left. I made enough for everybody, but only one actually took some, so even though I had 3 or four cups, which both warmed my hands and my insides temporarily, there was still a lot of leftovers. I emptied the pot of the mint not long ago and filled it with water to heat up for a hot water bottle, but it would not turn on, so I used the rice cooker, but that’s a blessing also, because it will keep the water warm even if I wait for hours  before refilling the bottle, which is a large vinegar (actually artificial vinegar) bottle that I had thrown away, but fished out of the trash and washed for this purpose. Right now I have it in a pillowcase under my feet, and I just folded the pillow case over my feet again. It feels good, though my feet might be burnt in some places, as I did not wait for the water bottle to cool, and might have kept it under some spots for too long.

Pretty soon, I need to rearrange my laundry, most (if not all) of which I think is still wet. I’m thankful for the rain, because the Lord knows we needed it. It’s been very dry, and I was concerned for the trees (and also for the drinking water supply). The Lord knows how much we need(ed) to replenish the water supply and also to hydrate the trees, so if it rains all week, I’ll be OK with that, but I would prefer for it to be dry tomorrow, if we don’t need anymore, so that I can hang this laundry out if it’s still wet, and so that I can do more, as I have a lot that I want to wash this week.

January21groceries (2)

^The water jugs, a bag of greens, and some other bags that I already showed you. I’m still not sure what’s in the one. 

 

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Transitioning From 2015 and 2016

Tuesday I went to the mountain with two of my friends and some of their family members. We camped out overnight and left late in the morning on Wednesday, walked through my friends village and witnessed a little of the Hmong new year festivities, and then headed back for home. Both were beautiful experiences. I took pictures and videos, but the quality of most of them were not good, and so while I am making a video, effects have been added for that and for privacy reasons. After returning from the mountain, I also buried the last fish in the scrap pile, tossing clumps of clay and dirt onto the fish to discourage animals and hoping to reduce the flies.

It was tempting on Friday to go see some of the new year festivities here at the village. I could hear the music at least all afternoon and evening, and late into the night. I was woken up around midnight, Friday morning, or late at night on Thursday night to a flash, as it seems the fireworks or other explosions began early Thursday evening. The festivities seemed to continue late into the night on Friday.

Despite the noise, I think I went to bed somewhat early. On Sabbath morning I relaxed for a while, spent some time with the Lord, had a good breakfast of leftover wheat stew and hmong cake (sticky rice pounded and patted into a cake and baked/smoked by the fire) left over from the camping trip, a gift from my friend, got ready for the day, and eventually headed off to church on the bike. At first, on my way out, the neighbor’s cat (who I just call “Maeow”, though I might spell it in different ways) came meowing and rubbing against my ankle. I’m not sure why Maeow likes to rub against my nice socks on Sabbath morning (it did so last Sabbath morning on my way out to church, too). I put some food out for Maeow and gave the cat a pet. Meaow didn’t eat at first, but might have gone to eat when I went in to change my socks (as I did not want the cat smell to attract nor to excite the dogs). Shortly after, I was on my way. Of course, I prayed for safety before heading out, too.

I managed to park closer to the church than last time, though I was still confused and did not find the road leading up to a more appropriate parking space near the church, but one of the sisters who saw that I looked at least a little confused and who spoke enough English greeted me, listened to my concern, and told me I could park by the cafeteria. She showed me, and so I walked the bike over to the cafeteria and left it there. At first I sat alone, until my friends arrived and invited me to sit with them. For the sermon, I sat behind the translator to get at least a little bit more out of the message than last Sabbath. The service was a blessing, and on the way out I met another missionary family that works at the school. These foreigners are not Thai, but not from America either. The lady of the house invited me over to her home. We made plans for me to come over on Sunday (today), but they walked me to their house to show me the way, and invited me in for lunch, which consisted of kanom, dried fruit, and oranges (tangerines). The kanom was like mini cakes or soft cookies with a soya bean filling. I only intended to eat a few, but a few turned into all the kanom that the others didn’t already eat. That was lunch.The lady of the house also gave me a papaya from their tree, which I brought back with me, scrubbed, and am waiting for it to ripen a little longer. She said it should be ripe enough to eat in about two days, so one more day maybe.  I stayed until some time after 2, I think, and returned to the studo, where I spent the rest of the Sabbath reading and SDA made videos, including Walter Veith (and, I managed to get into the driveway quite well this time). For supper, I ate the banana pudding that I had fixed for lunch, with coconut milk added to it, and the rest of the coconut from last Sunday scraped from the shell and mixed in. It was filling, but my tummy didn’t feel very good at the end of the day.

This morning I woke up before five thirty, spent some time in prayer and Bible reading, got ready for the day, and headed out to the Sunday market after another prayer for protection. I arrived early, before the couple with the many baskets (and some boxes) had arrived to set up, and left before they came, so I do not know if they would have come. It was a small disappointment, considering that I had hoped to buy a lighter and some matches from them. Last night when I went to wash, the power went out in the village, or at least these houses, and I was pretty much in the dark, though not for long. Thankfully, my tablet had some battery power, so I spent the time playing Bible triva. My flashlight wasn’t working well, either, until I changed the batteries. I thought to buy a new flashlight, but decided to hold off, since mine is working, and there may be more here at the studio. Since I did not buy matches, I also held off on buying candles, which was also on my list.

I had also hoped to get another child-sized toothbrush, as I dropped the last one into the sink and it broke. I realize that I should probably stop saying that the things I buy will last a long time, as I am finding that they are not lasting as long as I think they will. So far, the toothpaste and shampoo are doing well, but I’ve already broken a toothbrush and a few days ago, when fixing oatmeal for breakfast, spilled most of the bag onto the floor. I had been eating unhealthy amounts of coconut oil (and not eating all that I poured onto the food), but plan to cut back and have been doing better these past couple days. The salt is also going fast, and I need to cut down on that. The coconut milk and sesame cereal has lasted well, and so I know that 2 coconut milks should get me through a month, unless I plan to use a lot of it, and the soy milk powder is also holding up well. If the garlic and onion don’t spoil before I use them, then what I bought at the Monday market a couple weeks ago should last me at least a couple more weeks, and if I cut back on the coconut oil, that should last me at least another week or two also. I’m hopeful. However, I realize that I should probably stop saying how long I think these things will last, because anything can happen.

The lady selling the noodles was there at the market, and I purchased a 20 baht (large) order of fresh noodles as well as some of those fried yellow bean curd for breakfast. Last Sunday, I had purchased 30 and the man through in a few extra (I’m not sure if intentionally or accidentally, though judging by the extra fried ball of tofu in my bag today, I guess accidentally.), and I ate the whole bag in one day. Today I purchased 50, and yesterday on Sabbath made plans to go to someone’s house around lunch time today, so the leftovers should last me at least until tomorrow. I purchased some peanuts and another crunchy treat from a vendor who spoke some English. I guess I speak too softly, because he seemed to have difficulty understanding me because my voice was too low, not so much because of my English. We had a brief conversation, and I told him that I want to learn Thai.

I also looked for some vegetables and fruit, and a coconut. There were at least 3 vendors selling what looked like spinach, but I did not buy any. There was no coconuts, that I saw, but I did purchase some oranges (tangerines) from the lady who (I think) sold the coconuts also. A lady tried to sell me some strange sauce or relish of some sort with some sliced cucumbers or something, or a bag of some other strange food. I regret not buying the cucumbers when she tried to get me to buy them. When I looked later, on my way out, it looked like the prepared bags of cucumber and relish or whatever it was was sold out. Had I waited she might have made more. I did get some tomatoes, herbs, some bananas, and some tofu from the man who sold the yellow bean curd (not in that order), and greeted one of my friends (who saw and greeted me first) on the way out. It was an interesting experience. All together, I think  I spent about 150 baht or less, which is less than 5 USD. I had thought of putting the groceries under the seat of the bike and going back to the market to shop more, but decided to get back to the studio and eat some breakfast. On the way back, a dog started barking and running or walking after me (at least that’s what it seemed like was happening), but as I went around the corner, the dog stopped following me. I made it safely up the drive way and into the studio, where I put away the groceries (except for breakfast), and ate while watching Thai Good Stories on youtube.

I regret not recording any videos nor taking any pictures this morning. Please forgive me for not doing so.

God is good. I’m thanking Him for protection these past Sabbaths, yesterday, today, and always. I love Him.

I should learn some more Thai before lunch time, and for whatever reason my ear seems to be clogged. I’m in need of some hydrogen peroxide.

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The Last Fish is Dead.

Yesterday in the afternoon or early evening, the last fish seemed to be doing well, floating nose up under the water, and eating or sucking in food and water when on the surface, but I came out in the evening again and found it belly-up again. It was still alive, and still swam when disturbed, but came back to the surface belly-up again. Still, it was sucking in food and water. This morning it looked like most, if not all of the food was gone. Whether it was eaten or sunk, I’m not sure, but the fish is belly up, floating on the water still, not moving its mouth or anything, not even responsive when disturbed. Just in case it’s sleeping or will come back to life, I have prayed for it and gave it more food. In either case, I can praise God for His answer. At least I do not need to worry about the fish anymore. God is good, although it is sad that all fish died.

 

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The Last Fish II

The missionary family here left me some greens, some sort of “lettuce”. I saw them in the fridge today and at first thought that maybe I had some spinach left over, but no, I had eaten it all. When I pulled them out, I recognized them as the lettuce that was left behind. I didn’t want to eat them raw, so I washed them and boiled them in the rice cooker with garlic and toasted three slices of bread in the waffle iron. That made 7 thick slices of bread today. The greens were interesting. With some salt, at first I liked them, but by the time I finished them, I can’t say for sure. I think I’d eat them again, but spinach is better. Maybe they are better raw. I didn’t feel adventurous enough, though it was quite an adventure eating them.

The skinny, blonde dog—that is now wearing a pink shirt since last Sabbath, if not Friday or Thursday (it was probably one of the neighbors who dressed it, maybe its owner)—came around when I was dumping the first batch of scraps. It seems to be a fussy eater, so even though there was some oat scrapings in the scrap pile which it probably could have eaten, but didn’t seem interested in (though maybe it went or will go back later to eat it), I tossed two beef jerky style dog treats outside for it and went back to preparing lunch, or cleaning up (whatever I was doing at the time)

By the time I finished lunch, I had eaten two more slices of bread. Having eaten the entire loaf of bread in one day, and now being down to one loaf from the original 3 (in less than a week’s time), I am thankful that the bakery is closed for a while. I ate too much, and my belly is full. I need to get my act together and cut down on the coconut oil (which I have already used over half the bottle), the salt, and the flour. Tomorrow, perhaps I aught to have oats or rice or sesame for breakfast, and lots of bananas, because I have lots of those. To get a little exercise, I washed the dishes and took out the scraps, and then went outside to move around a little bit. I thought of closing the gate, but decided not to go down by the road dressed as I am. Instead, I decided to check on the fish (which for some reason in my mind I am calling “Chuckee”), which I have been and still am praying for. Surprisingly, the fish was no longer belly-up, but vertical, or almost vertical, nose and mouth up, moving its mouth as though sucking in water and food (probably both). I began to fill the jug and to pour in more water. Each time, the fish reacted. At least once or twice, I could see it swim to the bottom, but for some reason it rolled and floated back to the top. It seems to be longer than the diameter of the bottom, and I wonder if, perhaps, it is uncomfortable down there. The fish seemed to react well to more and more water, so I filled the bin. It continued to swim, and come back up, sucking in more water and food. Without my interference, when it bumped against the side of the bin, it moved again.

So the fish is alive, and no longer belly up. Praise God! I am thanking God that the fish is alive, and seems to be doing better now, and am still praying for the fish.

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The Last Fish…

Yesterday morning was Sunday morning, and I found myself struggling a little to get out of bed. Perhaps I ate too much the night before, and had some difficulty getting to sleep, though I did sleep. Not wanting to miss the Sunday market, and not feeling hungry, I got up, had my morning devotion, and got ready for the day. Then I fed the fish and headed out on the motorbike, slowly riding down the hill with the breaks on and the motor off, until I could park the bike outside the fence, closed the fence, and then got the bike started.

There were many motorbikes parked at the market, so I took the most convenient spot across the road and walked past many other bikes and into the market. I looked around for the lady who sells noodles, but if she was there, she wasn’t selling noodles (I looked for the noodles and didn’t see them, as I’m not sure I can recognize her yet without them.), but I did see some coconut and some of those delicious yellow bean curd. They taste like eggs and I have been wondering if maybe they are actually made from or with eggs, but I think I was told they were like tofu, but made from a different bean. I bought 30 this time, and the man threw in a few extra (whether intentionally or accidentally, I do not know) and 3 packets of sauce. I also purchased some soft tofu from him.

Then I went to look for the other items, some dish soap, steel wool, a sponge, a notebook or paper, and a few other things. I looked for matches and found a lighter, but was not sure if the boxes that were packaged with the lighter were matches or some form of cigarette, so I did not get them. I think I found everything else on my list, and an interesting cloth with pockets that makes a good case for my small Bible and passport, something else I was keeping my eyes open for. I purchased from a few different people, and all my purchases today included:

From the couple with the many boxes and baskets…

  • 1 cute item that I want to keep secret for now
  • mini cotton swabs (my ears needed a good cleaning)
  • 2 bottles of dish soap packaged together with a sponge
  • two different types of sponges packaged together with “steel wool” or some other type of metallic scrubbing tool and a small sample of dish soap
  • something that makes a nice case for my small Bible and passport, and I can probably put my cards and cellphone in it, too
  • a cute package of toothbrushes with two adult toothbrushes and one child toothbrush. This was a wonderful find, as it gives me a clean, new toothbrush for scrubbing vegetables and fruit and a clean, new toothbrush for scrubbing dishes. I can reserve the old, used toothbrushes for more dirtier cleaning, and the child sized toothbrush is better for my teeth. I had looked for a new one at Walmart and the Dollar Tree before leaving, but settled with an adult toothbrush instead. Now I’m glad to have the baby/child sized toothbrush.

From the couple with the tables of goodies hygiene items (personal and household)…

  • dried/seasoned seaweed
  • laundry detergent (It was 18 baht for one pack, but he said he would give me 3 for 50 baht. It’s only a difference of 4 baht, I think, but I took him up on his offer, and it should last me a few months, at least, depending on how much washing I do.)

Other…

  • 1 coconut from the lady who was selling coconuts and other items (purchased this on my way out) She gave me a straw with it and offered to crack it open for me, but I did not want to drink it nor to spill it yet, so I declined
  • 30 of those delicious fried bean curd (or egg, whatever it is) and 1 bag of tofu on my way in from the man who was selling them. There was a woman there, too, so maybe they are a couple.

When I say “couple”, I do not really know if they are a married couple or family or just working together, though I assume the first or second, but I mean there were two people there and, in each case that I can remember, a man and a woman. I didn’t buy from every stand, because I didn’t need things that some stands had. On my way out a young man kept saying, “Sa-wat-dii-kab” to me. The sun was bright and I covered my eyes to get a better look at him. He motioned with his head and repeated himself. I think I smiled and said, “Sa-wat-dii-kaa” in response, but continued on my way. I hope I didn’t seem rude. I was not trying to be. I’m not sure if he was saying hello because he recognized me, was trying to get my attention to get me to buy something from the stand that he was at, or if he was saying goodbye because he saw me on my way out, as Sa-wat-dii can mean both. I think I was a bit slow to recognize and process what he was saying, too. I hope he has forgiven me. I’m sure God has, as I have asked Him also. I did not mean to be rude in either case.

The whole trip cost me 245 baht which coverts to about 6.79 USD according to google as I key this journal entry, and many of those supplies should last me at least a few months (I hope.). I am so thankful for how God provided. God is good. I’m thankful for His protection also, both there and back, and for self control. I had expected the 30+ goodies to last me at least a couple to a few days, but ate them all in that one day, though not all in one meal. They are addicting, and I have been wondering if maybe they are seasoned with MSG, which I need to remind myself is used commonly here as a seasoning (at least I think it is) which is from what I understand addicting, or if they are just addicting because they are fried, or because they taste so delicious, or maybe because of the sauce used on them. They are very delicious and even good cold. I was naughty and ate the sauce in the first meal, but in the second seasoned them with coconut oil, turmeric, and salt. They were delicious that way, too. Yum!

 

yellow bean curd (2)

This picture is from the first time I ate them. The lady who took me in for a few days bought them at the Sunday market long with noodles and a sweet, gummy snack made from sticky rice and coconut. I saw those at the Sunday market this week, too, but did not get any.

I gave myself a little bit more room to open up the fence, but found myself parking under the tree on the right-hand side. I thought to park there and push the bike out was better than to risk crashing or dropping the bike trying to go out backwards, and going in was better than sideswiping the branches and getting scratched up or crashing. Check my Is118J316 Thailand playlist for the video that will be coming later. I did manage to get the bike out from under the tree and properly parked.

I had some of the treats for breakfast (or brunch) and watched some videos on youtube. Also during the day, I did a large load of laundry, watched more youtube videos, uploaded a video onto youtube, put together some videos that need further editing before uploading, found myself getting bored, and saying to myself (or thinking, at least), that I shouldn’t be getting bored in Thailand, so I went outside to do some cleaning, and found a small bottom feeder floating belly-up in the water. I’m not sure if it was really dead or not, but I looked closely and it didn’t seem to be moving, so I scooped it out with one of the coconut shells that was lying around (I did put on some plastic gloves first), and then dumped it along with the other dead fish into the food scrap pile. These things are not listed in the correct order for how they happened, and at least some things, such as the videos, may have been done throughout at different portions of the day. I also knocked a spider web down.

For supper I finished off the bean curd (or egg, whatever it is) along with some apples and a still-not-ripe avocado, and the crumbs from the crackers that a lady made for me to take on the trip. They sustained me (along with a few other goodies) on the trip and also my first few days here at the studio (I had frozen them). I wish that I had known I could so easily walk through customs without them checking my bag, for I had dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and another bag of crackers that I threw away, in case they would not be approved of by customs, but I realize that if I had had more faith, or waited to see what customs would do (I wanted to avoid trouble, but the worst they might have done was probably have me throw them away or hand them over for confiscation), then I probably could still be enjoying some of those things now. To those who gave me this food, I’m sorry. Please forgive me for being wasteful. I wish I had known, or trusted more, or not let worry get the best of me.

I had a good night’s rest, though I went to bed some time after 10, I think, and slept in this morning. When I went out to feed the fish, I found the big bottom feeder belly up, but I prayed over it and told it in Jesus’ name to live (more than once), and moved the bucket, and also touched it (later, after coming in and praying more), and most of the times it responded by rolling over, diving back down into the bucket, and returning to the surface belly up. I hope that it was just sunning itself, or if it was hungry that it is eating now. I do not know what was wrong with these fish, but I washed my hands very well. I’m about to take the scraps out from breakfast (I had started to prepare potatoes, but had tofu sandwiches and the coconut water instead, and will check on the fish again.

The fish was still alive, but still floating on its back, and it seems less often responsive this time. I poured more water into the bin, and it seemed to respond, so I took it out and put it in another bucket and changed the water and gave it more food, but the response seems very minimal. I have resigned myself to the Lord’s will. If the fish dies, it dies. It will be sad that all the fish in my care died, and I wonder why it had to happen while the others were away and while I was taking care of them. I still hope and pray that the fish will live, if it is God’s will.

I’ve washed up and changed my clothes now, and am hoping for the best, but may the Lord’s will be done.

To those who left them in my care, I’m sorry that I did not take better care of them, and I am sorry that I do not know what to do for them. I’m sorry that they died. Please forgive me.

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Sabbath Here, Christmas There

Sabbath morning (December 26th) here in Thailand was the evening of Christmas (December 25th, not to be confused with Christmas eve) in my home state in the US. A few of my family members were gathered at my grandmother’s house on my dad’s side of the family, and I got up early and had a short devotional time in prayer and reading, having already arranged to chat with them through video (or voice) call on facebook. Not seeing any of them on facebook, I got out my new phone and tried to text my dad, and found myself having difficulty. The text message had no spaces or punctuation, and did not send. I tried to call, but the call would not go through. Then I got out the instruction booklet, dialed the necessary code, and finally managed to get through to my dad. He got onto facebook, where we tried the voice call (if not the video call also), but, as was the difficulty the first time I called him a couple days or so before, he could not hear me. I think I could not hear him, either. Finally, I decided just to call them on the phone, and keep it short. He put me on speaker phone most of the time. The phone was passed to my sister and then to my grandma, and maybe to my stepmother somewhere in between—I’m not sure. I talked with them for about twenty minutes to half an hour, wished them all a merry Christmas, and told them I loved them. After hanging up, sent them a follow up message, and went about eating some breakfast—warmed up leftover soup and waffle, and watching The Book of Acts. think I watched some of it in the morning, anyway.

Then I prepared myself for church. At about 9 AM, I went outside to get the motorbike started. I turned the key and turned it, trying hard to get the engine to start, until my fingers were sore from the pressure. Thinking that maybe I was not strong enough, I came inside to get some pliers or some similar tool, and tried with that to turn the key, but to no avail, though I did succeed in bending the key a little. I had even tried pressing the start button. I nearly gave up, but decided to call the missionary who had loaned me the bike, to ask him if there was something I needed to do to start the bike before turning the key. If he had told me, I had forgotten!

He confirmed that there was, that I needed to hold down the break on the left side and press the start button.  After trying that, I got the bike to start, though the engine stopped after it had idled too long while I was putting on the helmet that was also borrowed and probably adjusting my bag, too. It was OK. I had been warned that would happen.

Wanting to start on flat ground and not to crash on the way out, I started to push the bike down the driveway toward the road. The hill was not very steep, but the bike was heavy, and wanted to go down without me. I found myself having difficulty holding onto and controlling it, and dropped it on its side. I don’t remember if I opened the fence before I got down the hill, or if it was when I was trying to lean the bike on its kickstand to open the fence that it fell over, though vaguely I seem to remember the latter, but am not sure. I do know that there were dogs outside the fence, and I was trying to wait for at least one of them to go away. I didn’t mind two of the others so much, though I didn’t want them to bother me.  I had packed some treats, just in case, but didn’t need to use any.

The cat had rubbed against my ankles that morning, and I had already changed my socks to keep its scent from exciting the dogs or causing them to come after me, but one of the dogs was playful kind of friendly and the other just plain pitiful. I saw someone had covered that thin dog with a shirt, and was relieved to see that someone else was taking care of it, though it does seem to be at least one of the neighbor’s dogs.

While the bike was still on the hill, I picked it up and tried to get the engine started again to make sure it worked. Unlike the first time, it made noise, but wouldn’t continue to run, so I made the foolish decision of trying to give it a little gas. Though the kickstand was down, it didn’t stop the bike from ripping free of my grasp (I think I let go for fear of being dragged along with it.) and taking off toward the road, where it stopped short and fell over.

I probably left quite an impression on the dogs that were watching me and been quite a sight to the neighbors. I picked up the bike, praying that it would still work, set it on its kickstand in the middle of the road (or very close to the middle, if not exact), put on the helmet and closed the fence, then got on the bike (I might have had to turn it around, but I’m not sure), kicked up the kickstand, and finally got set out toward the church. I looked for the hill to turn onto, but didn’t find it. However, when coming toward a bridge, I felt a sense of familiarity and recognition from my first Sabbath here and headed onto another side road, which did lead to the academy campus. I passed an elderly lady who seemed to be motioning in the other direction. She looked familiar, like one of the church members (or attendees) or someone who had been to the wedding. I kept going down the road a little ways and then turned around. Not sure where to turn, I passed the lady again and turned up a road, until I found a familiar building from my first visit to the campus, and parked there, and then made my way, walking, to the church.

I’m thankful for God’s protection that day. I had arrived earlier than I expected, and sat through most (if not all) of the Sabbath school lesson, not understanding but a few words that I may have picked up. I became thirsty, and felt anxious to leave for that and other reasons, too,  but I prayed that if God wanted me to stay for whole whole service, that someone would offer me water. God answered as I was on my way out, there was some water that some were refilling and a lady asked if I wanted a cup as I walked toward them. She gave me a cup and I poured some water into it. As I was drinking, though, I noticed something in the water, and then realized there were actually many. Was it ants? I’m still not sure what was in the cup, though it looked like the cup should have been clean. I drank a little bit more, dumped out the tiny bit that remained, picked the strange things out of the cup, and put the cup into my bag for later.

I met some old acquaintances from my first camping trip, and their families, talked briefly, and settled into the back of the church. There, we sang, prayed, and I gave a small tithe from an SD card that I sold to a missionary.

I had purchased the SD card to go with a cheap video camera that I had purchased, but I dropped the camera once or twice and the color and video quality was bad after that, though it worked well for recording shortly before the quality turned really bad. I had brought the SD card with me, and had been praying for an opportunity to sell it or to do something with it. Another missionary was talking with our leader here about the price of an SD card here, and I told him I had one to sell. It was new, only used a few times/for a short time. I had thought it was about 8 dollars and was going to sell it for the equivalent of about 3 USD in thai baht, but told him to give me what he thought was right. He wanted me to set a price, and I wasn’t sure, so even after telling him this, I looked it up to see what it would cost at Walmart and it cost less than I thought (even if I had paid that much, but don’t remember), so I sold it to him for 50 baht which is about $1.40. I wasn’t sure if I needed to tithe, since this sale could have been considered as me getting back some of what I spent, on which I had already tithed, but decided to tithe anyway, just in case. I know that the Lord will bless.

The special music was in English. Two children sang, “Jesus loves me.” I didn’t understand most of the sermon, though picked up a little of what the woman translating was saying. I should have moved in closer. Later, though, after the closing hymn and prayer, when we were leaving, I picked up from another conversation that the sermon was about Jonah. I spoke briefly again with the old acquaintances and was directed back towards the bike. On the way back, walking alone, I heard the click click click of claws on the sidewalk and turned around to see a dog following me. Meeting my gaze, the dog stopped in its tracks. It didn’t look unfriendly, but just in case I started to open and reach into my bag to give it a treat, but it turned and walked away before I could get the treat out, so I let it be and continued toward the bike.  The exercise both ways was good for me, and I considered going back to the campus later to get some exercise, but have not gone yet.

I stopped too close to the fence outside the studio. I opened the fence and think I backed up a little bit, but not enough. The turn was too narrow, and I stuck my feet out to keep from crashing into the tree branches that had come down, but brought the bike safely up the hill.

I spent the rest of the Sabbath watching The Book of Acts, reading, spending a little time outside, and resting with the Lord. I am very thankful for God’s protection from the dogs and from my driving, and for protection on the road, and for getting me to church and back safely, for familiar faces and special music in English, that church was open, for the water (and the bathroom that I found on the way out, though I did not read the signs first and used the boys’ side) and for all that He taught me, for a few things came to mind when watching The Book of Acts, and maybe a few other times, too, and for the conversation with my family. Sabbath was mostly peaceful, and yet refreshing. I am so thankful for Sabbath.

“Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it.” (Hebrews 4: 1, HCSB)

“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].” (Isaiah 58: 13 & 14, KJV)

Note: At some point in the morning, I did feed the fish and the cat before I left.

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