Right now life feels so move-able . . . always sliding, changing, shifting, transitioning. I oscillate between fear of more change, feeling insecure and ready for stability and the glory of a new experience, the excitement of moving and building a new life!  While this is all a bit overwhelming (who knew how much stuff had been languishing in a storage unit for 3+ years?!?), I choose joy and excitement. Who doesn't want to unpack 179 boxes and make 17 trips to Goodwill?  Let the unpacking of the overstuffed garage continue before the next massive shipment of belongings arrive from Singapore on Monday. 

Happy Good Friday, peeps!


Building A New Life

This blog has been inactive for so long (sorry, peeps!) but at 1:28am, amidst a long night of sleepless thoughts, I have decided to write again. I want - and need - to write down the thoughts of my heart and perhaps these words will give another wandering world pilgrim some clarity, or at very least a kindred spirit in this crazy, change-full life. 

So we have moved again (not sure this deserves and exclamation mark but I feel I should add one to emphasize what a huge change this has been)!  On January 29th, my family of three left the tiny nation of Singapore for Houston, Texas.  My second time to live in Houston. I miss Singapore dearly right now... the food, friends, the reliable, oppressive heat, flip flops every day, the beach, swim squad, my students, our church family, hearing Mandarin and Tamil spoken everywhere, Little India on Sunday night.  The MRT at rush time, squeezing in amongst hoards of Singaporeans and foreigners, reveling in anonymity.  While I know this phase of missing my old home will pass with time, I hope I always miss Singapore in some ways.  I became a mama in Singapore.  A role I was never quite sure I would ever want or be good at. I realized, accepted - and finally heard! - God's purpose for my life. I questioned my beliefs, I stretched myself to the breaking point trying to comprehend God's presence in the world and why so many live in such horrific squalor and disease. 

Each time I move I am reminded of the quote "Bloom wherever you are planted."  I must admit, this is tough for me.  I'm nothing like the thriving flowers pictures behind the text below. The more times I move, the harder "blooming" becomes.  I actually quite hate it right now.  I am weary. I am weary of starting over, making new friends and reinventing my career, locating employment, settling into a new rhythm and finding a new piece of life somewhere new...  Yet, I am in love with change too.  I am so uncomfortable each time yet through my discomfort and adjustment, a tremendous growth occurs. So, here's to blooming in Houston...!


. . . there were three!

How quickly time passes!  I know this post is unforgivably tardy and I thank you, my dear, few, loyal readers for your (almost six!) months of patience. 

Why so absent?  Enter Isabella Katherine!  She's our beautiful, intelligent, spunky, opinionated, hilarious, expressive, affectionate cuddle-bug of a daughter. We just adore her!  Life has been crazy awesome, overwhelming, breathtaking and challenging all at the same time. But. We are slowly emerging from that new parent haze and one of my goals is to get back to blogging.  

Next post - public transit with an infant during a tropical downpour! 


It's the little things!

You know how, in the United States if you choose a doctor in your "insurance network", the doctor's office will usually directly bill the insurance company for reimbursement and all you pay is a tiny little "co-pay"?  {Ok, maybe some of your co-pays are larger than others, but you get the drift.}

You do you have to scan every receipt and submit an online claim including diagnosis and symptoms.
You do not normally have to cover all your medical expenses up front via savings or a credit card.
You do not have to meticulously keep track of every medical bill, the percentages the insurance company will pay and check back every 10 days or so to see if the claim has been paid correctly.

I should not complain really.  Our expatriate medical insurance here is absolutely fab, if I keep up my end of the billing responsibilities.  But oh, how I miss that little thing I always took for granted in the United States - direct billing.

So next time you head to the doctor or dentist, if you're one of the many Americans {or any other nationality} that benefits from direct billing, don't forget to say a little prayer of thanks.  I sure do now every time I happen upon a doctor's office that handles the billing for me.


Blessing Time

As most of you already know, in general I can be quite "the glass is half full" type of person.  While 2012 brought some unique challenges and changes, it was also a year full of so many joys and surprises!  So in efforts to curb my pessimistic tendencies, here are a few of my very favorite moments:

January . . . we nestled into our beautiful, new condo in Singapore.  We also discovered our new church family.  So thankful!

March . . . God blessed me with employment at a Japanese English language school as an ESL teacher.  I have wonderful, hard-working students.  I have a flexible boss.  I love what I teach.  God is good!

March - May . . . Explored Singapore and the surrounding Indonesian islands.  We hiked, went beach-ing, toured Indonesian villages and had a few massages.  Pretty glorious!

June . . . our first home leave visit to the United States.  We celebrated my Mom's marriage to my kind step-dad Jim, who makes her so happy.  I played with my 8 adorable nieces and nephews as well and caught up with long-time friends.  We spent quality time on Cody's family farm, swapping stories on the back porch and counting fireflies.  What a fun-filled time with family and friends!

June - July . . . My month-long stay in Iowa with my sis, Mary, her hubby and my two nieces.  What wonderful memories and how I wish to live closer to my family!  (Please God . . . ?)

July . . . What a month!  My SAS roomie, Kimbodia, plus her awesome hubs came for a visit.  I am so blessed by friends, that no matter how many miles or years separate us, we are always able to pick up the conversation where we left off.  Our other Kansas friend, Jose, traveled to Malaysia with us.  Fun times!  Cody's siblings, Zach and Hannah, also stayed with us for 2 1/2 weeks, touring Singapore and exploring Cambodia and Angkor Wat.  In addition, on July 23rd, Cody and I received the surprise of our life - we learned that our sweet baby girl was on the way!  Like I said, what a month of blessings!

August . . . Cody and I celebrated 5 years of marriage.  Here's to many more years of love together (although, I'm not quite sure about the whole 75 years deal!)!

September - Present . . . Marveled at our babe's constant growth, felt her first kicks, saw her for the first time, heard the strong "ka-thump" of her heartbeat and finally "met" her face-to-face at the last sonogram.  Beautiful memories I will treasure always!

November . . . Celebrated our dear daughter's life with family and friends in Pennsylvania.  My Mom and step-sister, Susan, threw me a small, lovely tea party shower in Pittsburgh.  The very next day my creative-genius Mom-in-law planned a gorgeous shower in Latrobe.  I cannot stop smiling when I think of the fun times and everyone's incredible generosity.  (More on this later!)  In addition, our good friends, J&L, came for a Singapore visit and celebrated our first tropical Thanksgiving with us.  We had a blast and still miss them!

December . . . Took a "babymoon"!  Macau proved to be a perfect spot to relax and focus on us before the babe arrives.  (Post coming soon . . .) We also celebrated our second Christmas in the tropics, complete with friend get-togethers, family FaceTime, enchiladas and sugar-free biscotti.  Unconventional maybe, but relaxing and enjoyable.

What blessings God has showered upon us this past year!  And now - Happy 2013!  I have a sneaking suspicion you're going to be pretty grand too.


Happy Joy

Just in case you have been wondering . . .

[with 95% certainty per our doctor!]
Thanks be to God our jelly bean is growing like a champ!  As far as the doctor can tell, she's healthy and doing well despite her mommy's medical concerns.  So many of our friends and family have been praying for her and I just want to say "Thank you!".

God is so good.  More non-baby related news shortly.


God's Blessing

I've been a bad bad blogger again . . .   Please forgive me.

So the big news since you last heard from me is that yes, indeed, I am pregnant!?!  At the moment I am a bit over 15 weeks.  I have had a bouts with nausea, light-headed-ness and other pregnancy unpleasantness, but I should not complain.  God is good and obviously He has a perfectly placed plan for us and this babe.

The abridged story:

Jelly bean at 12 weeks
During an appointment with my lovely nephrologist on Cody's day of birth, she discovered a suspicious "fibroid" on my uterus while conducting an ultrasound of my kidney.  Well, after a couple of tests (I may have insisted on repeat tests just to feel assured . . . ), the suspicious "fibroid" turned out to be our little babe - just 5 weeks old!  Despite my recent health concerns, the babe was (and still is God willing!) healthy and thriving.  We are scheduled to find out the gender of our little jelly bean on October 2nd.

Stay tuned!