January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday

**Well, this ought to teach me to not use the same password for every single thing. I had no idea my sister had hijacked my blog until I received an email with a comment.....which confused me to no end since the last post I wrote had to do with Singapore, not with birthdays.

After a mini-showdown at dinner when I told my sister I was not going to publish any of the comments because it seemed self-indulgent, she finally convinced me to. That being said, I feel very loved today which is extra sweet after my drama in the last day or two. Thank you, Lisa, for your very kind words. I most certainly do not feel deserving of the comments you made - you have given me something to strive for in life! I love you. **

Me and Garrett at Chuys!

So happy my Grandmother celebrated my birthday with me this year!

I hope you all don't mind if I hijack Keri's Blog for a moment. I'm her sister, Lisa, and I want you all to know that today is Keri's birthday. As you know, Keri will post a special blog on the day of her husband's or son's or dear friends birthday and write something so incredibly sweet that it makes us all cry. Even if we don't know who she is talking about. I figured that it would not be right to let her birthday go by without the same kind of love shown to her.

I could go on and on about how much I love her, what she means to me, the various ways she has inspired me, the kind of role model she has been, how she has demonstrated to me how to live life as a Godly woman, what the true meaning of 'friend' really is and how she has taught me how to love people. I could write a list of .......... things that I love about her but I'm not about to give away something so sacred as her age. I know better. So I have a better idea.

As a gift to her, I am asking that you respond to this post with why you love her and/or what her friendship has meant to you. This is not a goodbye kind of thing...we are not thinking about the "S" word. This is simply a way for you to love on her and wish her a happy birthday.

With that, I leave the rest up to you. Enjoy, have fun with it, and with a sincere heart I want to thank each of you for loving my sister so well.

Happy Birthday, Keri!

January 18, 2010

First Impressions

I am in our hotel room in Singapore, waiting for Scot to return from a business meeting. We have been here 4 full days and yet it seems like we've been here much longer. It is strange coming to a new country and not viewing it through the eyes of a tourist, but viewing it through the eyes of a new resident.

See Garrett and Nathan? They really do have a California Pizza Kitchen here!

I have soaked it all in and am honestly very excited about our move here. It is a beautiful country with a ton to offer and I am looking forward to our family having some amazing experiences here. Some things that stand out:

1. I am going to have to find a new home for my Chi. It is humid every single day. The weather feels much like Houston weather in late May or June......very warm during the day, but pleasant at night. It is odd that besides frequent rain that comes during the monsoon season, the weather here never changes. That means I am going to have to embrace my curly hair!

2. The people are extremely friendly and accommodating. Apparently there has been a big push by the government for improved customer service. The government has also encouraged good manners and respect is ingrained into children. It is very, very evident. The normal term of endearment for anyone older than you is to call them Uncle or Aunt so in chatting with a cab driver, you would refer to him as Uncle. I love it!

3. I have almost been run over about 5 times because of looking the wrong way in crossing a street. It is going to be interesting learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road with the steering wheel on the opposite side of the car. I can only imagine the predicaments I'll get myself into!

4. Just because the national language here is English does not necessarily mean I will actually understand Singapore English, which is also known as Singlish. It is going to take some getting used to!

Orchard Road in city center

I feel like we have experienced a ton since being here which would explain why this self-proclaimed night owl has been sound asleep by 9 or 9:30 most nights. One of my favorite evenings involved going to the East Coast. It's an area on the water where the vessels hang out waiting to be brought into the harbor. There's a long stretch where people are biking, running, and rollerblading along with several seafood open air restaurants. I am looking forward to spending many a Saturday in this area with the boys.

Apparently the crooked peace sign is some sort of popular Asian hand signal.
Wonder if we should have found out first what it actually means?

We also went to Clarke Quai that night. It is an large area with a ton of bars and restaurants and it goes along a waterfront.

Yesterday we visited the school we are hoping our boys are accepted to. It was incredibly impressive and I am super excited for them to have the opportunity to go there. Now we just sit back and pray that all my charming of the Admission Advisor pays off!

The Middle and High School pool. K-5 have their own pools
where swimming is part of the PE curriculum.

One of three 6th grade hang out rooms.

A 4th grade Science classroom

Middle school band

3rd-5th grade library

The best part of our week was our decision to go ahead and visit a local church on Sunday. We were up early that morning because there was a light in our room that would randomly go off and on. It it weren't for that light, we probably would have slept in......hmmmmm.....

Anyways, the moment we walked into the church, a very nice guy that works for BP greeted us. Turns out a couple in his Sunday School class work for CAT. We met them and hit if off immediately and are going to dinner with them tonight.

I can not even put into words what I was feeling sitting in that church service. It was a full house of about 750 people with the Youth choir leading the singing that morning. The opening song was one I knew well and I was working hard to fight off my emotion. My world can become so small sometimes that I forget that God is doing amazing things all over the world. I loved every single thing about the service. It was simple and lacked much of the bells and whistles we have grown accustomed to in our churches back home and I loved it.

I quickly realized that our living situation and food experiences deserved a post all their own so this is one of three I'm posting at the same time. It will be interesting to come back and read over these posts in a year or so when life here becomes somewhat normal for us!


Looking for somewhere to live in foreign country is a very daunting task. It can be hard enough when you are familiar with the housing, but throw in a completely different way of living and it gets very interesting.

Many, many people live in condos or apartment buildings here in Singapore. There are very few "landed houses" to be had with many of those being on the outskirts of the country. We did look at one house out near the boy's school, but it is so far removed from the city that we decided that for now, we wanted to stay close to the center of town. Although, standing in the driveway of that house, watching American kids go by on their bikes and families in their cars made the temptation to recreate what we have in America very strong. I did really love this house, but we ultimately decided that if we are going to do this, we are going to get as much out of the city that we can.

We are currently on our 2nd realtor and apartment hunting is again on the docket for today. It took about 2 days for me to get used to the vast differences in living style here. The "dry" and "wet" kitchen is very interesting and is seen only in the newer apartments. The "dry" kitchen is what we would consider a normal kitchen off of the main living area. The "wet" kitchen is separated and often with no "air con". It consists of a sink and gas stove area and is used for typical Asian cooking which can be very smoky.

This was a brand new apt and was very nice, and very tiny. You can see to the right
the glass door that you can close because that whole area with the washer and dryer and "wet kitchen" is not air conditioned.

The apartments have a back door near the washer and dryer that can be accessed by the service elevator. When I asked why it would be needed, I was told it was for when you go to the market and come home with dripping fish and don't want to use the front door. Dripping. Fish. I think our back door will probably see ZERO action while we are living there.

All the apartments have their washer and dryer on what would be like a back porch, except that it's not a porch at all, it's just exposed to open air. Long gone will be the enormous washers and dryers we know, instead I will be re-visiting the washer and dryer type that we had in our first apt. Basically, it will take all day to do the same amount of laundry I can do in about an hour back home. The answer to that concern? Hire a maid and have her do it. Which brings me to my next observation.....

All but 1 of the apartments we've seen have a very small, windowless room off the back of the apt near the washer and dryer, with no air con, that is the maid's room. It is very much the norm to have a live-in maid who stays at the apt 6 days a week to do absolutely everything, right down to the cooking. It costs about $1,000 Sing dollars (@$700 U.S.) a month. I honestly can not imagine asking someone to live in a tiny, hot, room and do all my work for me, never mind how strange it would be to have someone live with us. I would really rather have the storage space!

There were several apartments that did in fact, have a bomb shelter. Our agent was very nonchalant the first time he opened a big door near the kitchen to proudly show off a bomb shelter. I stopped dead in my tracks with my jaw to the floor and started to ask the very obvious question:

"Um, honey? Why in the world would I need a bomb shelter?"

Apparently Singapore had about 6 years, from 1998-2004, where all plans approved for building had to include a bomb shelter. I don't know if there was heightened paranoia or what. The crazy thing is that we were told for those apartments that don't have a maid's room, yep, you guessed it, they put the maid in the bomb shelter.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Needless to say, we will have seen upwards of about 20 or more apartments by the end of our stay here. There have been some days we have been excited and encouraged, and others where we have completely forgotten that we even like each other. I am hopeful we will find the perfect fit for our family.

This is a picture of the pool for the apartment that is currently our favorite. It is the ONLY apartment I took zero pictures of besides the pool. Garrett and Nathan, I promise to try and get more pictures to show you if this is where we are really going to live!


If you know me well at all, you know that I love a good meal. You also know that I have a real aversion to any food items that might be odd. I don't like to eat meat that is still attached to a bone, I have never cooked a whole chicken because taking the skin off and then all the meat completely gags me, and any dish that is swimming in sauce of any kind makes me nervous because you just never know what's in there.

That being said, I happened to have married a man that is all about adventures in eating. He's eaten fried crickets with a french fry shoved up its hiney (no, I had no idea crickets had hineys and no, I have no idea how they do that), eel that was in the tank happy as can be about 30 seconds prior to being eaten by Scot, and some sort of firefly squid that has liquid in it that squirts out when you bite into it......kinda like that gum I used to love when I was a kid.....except nothing like that.

Anyways, I have been trying to have an open mind about food since being here. I can blame our first night's dinner at Tony Romas (which Scot referred to accidentally as Tony Romos, like a good Cowboy fan) on extreme jet lag and hunger.

We went to the East Coast one night with a colleague to eat seafood. It was beautiful there.........sitting right by the water where there are tons of vessels waiting to come into port. Kids were running around in the grass and there were easily a half dozen restaurants with outdoor seating. We decided to let Andre' order for us and this is a sampling of what we had.

The next day Scot asked me if I really liked the meal or was I just being polite. I honestly liked the rice.

On Sunday, after church, we went to a local "wet market" which is like a farmer's market. We met a sweet lady that was intent on having us sample some of the local fruit. It was all very, very good. I had never seen any of it before, but loved every single thing we tried. I look forward to going back there to visit my new friend!

Last night we had dinner with a longtime friend of Scot's and his family. I first met them when I was in Singapore with Scot 14 years ago. We went to one of Scot's very favorite places here in Singapore to get Banana Leaf Curry. I was skeptical. Very, very skeptical. All kinds of things were ordered, many I didn't try, but what I did have was amazing. We ate off of a real banana leaf which is ingenious. I may just have to start copying that idea!

We have gone to a local grocery store, just to look around and I laughed out loud when I saw the Pringles flavors, and then almost wept when I saw the price of milk. I also got into trouble for taking these pictures......after you see how much the milk costs, you'll know why they don't want any pictures taken! It's shameful!!

That's right, $15.60 for a quart of Horizon milk. Guess we'll be trying some Pura Hi-Lo, whatever that is, for $3.55 instead!

Soft Shell Crab flavored Pringles anyone?

January 11, 2010


I feel like I'm being benched. Taken out of play. Forced to sit on the sidelines and watch a game go on without me.

I recently had lunch with a wonderful new friend of mine, Crista. She is one of those people that has made it her mission in life to absolutely spoil me with her words of encouragement. We were talking about this past year and the endless months she spent on bedrest with her 4th child and how she felt like "God had benched her".

That is the perfect description for how I feel about our upcoming move. I am asked all the time how I feel about it and I find it difficult to articulate. Sometimes I'm excited, sometimes I'm sad, and sometimes I feel like I'm being taken out of the game.


Why do I feel this way? Because I have been so honored to be a part of an incredible ministry that is growing at our church. Because I feel like, for once in my life, I have been obedient to a calling in my life no matter how scared I am. Because I started dreaming about all the possibilities here, and we are leaving.

The funny thing is, I started to realize that there are so many reasons for a player to be benched and as I started down a very familiar road of self-pity, God very quickly started to remind me.

Maybe I'm benching you so an injury, you don't even know you have, can heal.

Maybe I'm benching you because you need to rest.

Maybe I'm benching you because you need a little more training before I put you back in.

Maybe I'm benching you because you need some one-on-one time with your Coach.

Maybe I'm benching you because the game became more about you instead of the team.

What is beautiful is that I don't have to know why. I just have to trust that my Coach knows me, my abilities, and my weak points better than I do. I trust that He cradles my life in His hands and moves me according to His purpose.

Being benched does not mean I am going to go into the locker room and change out of my game clothes. I will continue to sit on the bench, cheering for my team, ready to jump back in when the Coach calls my name.

God, my prayer is that this time is not wasted. My prayer is that Your will for my life be revealed in me. My prayer is that I am always willing to go where You want me to go. My prayer is that You will use me.

January 07, 2010

In His Forties

Yesterday was Scot's birthday. We both happened to be awake well past midnight the night before and I wished him a happy birthday before falling asleep. With resignation, he told me that he was officially IN his forties. At 42 he felt like he still "just turned 40", but now feels he can no longer throw that disclaimer in when sharing his age.

My first question to him was if he was happy with where he was in life. His response was "yes", and I think that's the best birthday present he could ever give himself. To be happy and content right where he is.

With both boys this year, I did a list of things I loved about them according to the age they now are. I was thinking about that while pounding away unwanted pounds on the stairmaster this morning at the gym. Isn't it only fair that I do that for Scot as well? I have to admit it's somewhat of a daunting task.....not only for me to write, but for any of you to read. 43 is a lot of stuff so here goes:

1. I love that you must have pickles and chips in order to eat a sandwich.
2. I love how the boys imitate the way you say "Dear Jesus" when praying for them.......
3. I LOVE that they have that to imitate at all.
4. I love the color of your eyes.
5. I love how much of the world you have experienced.
6. I love that you win any discussion about the most disgusting thing someone has eaten.
7. I love how well-respected and liked you are by others.
8. I love how you call all 3 of our Grandmothers "young lady" making them blush like a 20 year old.
9. I love how much you love your alma mater......Texas A&M.
10. I also love how much you now tolerate UT to make peace in our home with our Longhorn loving son.
11. I love that you never pretend to be something you're not.
12. I love that you are so generous with my family and your frequent flier miles.
13. I love that you love my sisters.
14. I love that you can seemingly fix any computer issue I have.
15. I love that you respect the way our boys (one in particular) idolize you.
16. I love the way you adore me.
17. I love how you will grab hold of me and pray for us and our boys spontaneously.
18. I love how much you love football.
19. I love that you can quote lines from so many movies.
20. I love listening to you sing.
21. I love how you can see both sides to many political issues and emphasize the importance of that to our kids.
22. I love it when you make breakfast on Saturday mornings.....banana walnut pancakes are my favorite!
23. I love your integrity.
24. I love that you will never let a fight between us escalate (no matter how much I want it to) to a point where we are going to say things we regret.
25. I love that you have no problem apologizing to me.
26. I love that you respect my opinion and listen to my advice.
27. I love how you support all my extra curricular activities and will gently chastise me when I'm in over my head.
28. I love your ambition.
29. I love your car!
30. I love how possessive you are of me as your wife when our boys are being disrespectful toward me.
31. I love the way you make me feel like I can do anything and succeed.
32. I love that you don't "require" a hot meal every night for dinner!
33. I love how eclectic your taste in music is......I never know if it's going to be Le Miserables, ZZ Top, or The Beatles playing in your car!
34. I love your head full of useless knowledge.
35. I love how particular you are about your hair.
36. I love the effort you take to make sure our boys know there is a world much bigger than the one they currently live in.
37. I love your very cute rear end!
38. I love how irritated you are going to be about #37.
39. I love that you don't care if the house is a mess.
40. I love it when you are laughing about something gross.....your shoulders shake and your face turns red....I love it!
41. I love that it matters to you to keep in touch with old friends of yours.
42. I love that you can make me laugh more than anyone else I know.
43. I love that you are the man I get to spend the rest of my days with!

I love you, Scot, and celebrate every birthday of yours thankful that God put you on this earth.



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