October 20, 2011

When good is really, really Good

We walked in and there were between 25 and 30 Filipino ladies.  Most were sitting on the floor because seating was sparse.  They were working on new sewing skills they had just been taught and were taking great pride in their work.

10 of us stood in the middle of the room where the clash in cultures and economic status was palpable.  There is an awkwardness that comes where two groups of women measure each other up wondering how they are going to relate.

I plopped myself down in the middle of a group of women and asked them to show me what they were working on.  I asked for a pair of scissors and offered to help.  They timidly showed me how to cut paper patterns they would later sew fabric onto to form a sort of patchwork.  I got to work thankful for something to do with my hands and my eyes to help make the moment more comfortable for all of us.

As I worked, the ladies started to warm up and quietly began asking me questions.

Ma'am?  May I ask you a question?  Are you married?  Do you have children?  

I answered and asked the same in return.  I had learned quickly during previous visits that their presence in a rescue home for women did not mean they were without family.  Many have children in their native country and many have not seen their children in years.  They have pictures and phone calls and they are excited to tell you all about their babies.

Because that's what they are no matter how old they get.  They are our babies.

I listened and laughed as their wit and humor crept out from behind shy demeanors.  Those not as skilled in English would falter and others would help to translate.

I looked around at my friends who were with me and saw that I was not the only one breaking down some barriers.  Laughter and conversation rang out in that tiny room where over 30 woman would roll out mattresses to sleep on a barren floor at night.  We told them we had brought them new underwear and they giggled.  Many had not put on new underwear in a very long time.

As time passed and conversation flowed, we found out that these women very much liked to sing.  I asked them to sing for us and after much conversation and some debate, they settled on a song.

Diyos ay mabuti

Several began to sing and as conversation ceased around the room so all could join in the song, music poured out in a language I didn't understand.

Diyos ay mabuti

There was joy on their faces in spite of incredible adversity and the music they made was beautiful.  When they finished we applauded and quickly asked what they were singing.

God is good!

I fought hard to control the emotion that was bubbling to the surface as I looked into the faces of women whose lives are nothing like my own.  Women who are currently living behind locked gates for their own protection.  Women who knew that no matter the circumstances, God is good.

With our encouragement they quickly handed out Filipino song books and picked out songs in English that we could sing with them.  There was lots of smiling and complete joy as the music rang out in the room.  We even sang Joy to the World and there was Joy.

Our time too quickly came to an end and we stood and held hands in a circle with these ladies and we prayed.  We prayed to a God that loves each one of us.  A God that knows each circumstance.  A God that sees no racial or economic boundaries.

I went around the room grabbing and hugging as many of the ladies as I could.  They were completely fascinated with how tall I am so there were many giggles when the hugs were awkward.  I wrapped my arms around them all and told them that they were loved.

There was a silence among the ten of us as we walked to our cars.  How humbling it is to be reminded that God is good by a group of women who are living lives we would characterize as anything but.  To see that circumstances did not dictate how they felt about their Creator.  That in place of anticipated sorrow, I saw hope and I saw joy.

Diyos ay mabuti

October 11, 2011

Days Like These

A few weeks ago I was looking through this blog for one particular post.  I got sucked into reading posts from 3 years ago and just had to laugh.  Oh my, how life has changed!!  We just don't ever know what is in store for any of us, do we?  It definitely reminded me that since I failed at scrapbooking and have thousands of photos that are largely unorganized, I better get busy and start writing some stuff down.  

Football season here is almost over and I haven't posted one thing about it!  These memories are important because one day Nathan is not going to remember what he looked like when he was shorter than 6 feet tall and I need this stuff to remind him!

Football here is MUCH different than it is in Texas.  

First of all, not one single mom shows up to a game with a blinged out shirt bearing the team name.  In fact, there are no team shirts of any kind.  I know, I know......the horrors of it all!

The 5th and 6th graders play in the same league and are divided into three teams.  The three teams are the Rams, Gators, and Longhorns.  Scot and I were crossing our fingers that he wasn't chosen for the Longhorns because I honestly think he would have dropped out of football before wearing horns every weekend.  Heaven help me, that child has been thoroughly brainwashed.

They spent the whole season playing each other because there are NO other football teams to play in Singapore.  Every weekend each team plays two games that are only 2 quarters each.  That means every weekend all three teams play each other.  It makes life interesting when you tackle someone on Saturday and sit across from them in Math on Monday.

A couple of weeks ago they had their games on a Friday night and not being one to miss an opportunity for alone time with my favorite 10 year old, I coerced him into spending time with me Saturday morning by promising to feed him.  It is hands down both Garrett and Nathan's love language right now.

I walked and he took his Razor to the mall that has my favorite grocery store in it.  I still find it so weird that the majority of grocery stores in Singapore are located in malls.  I guess if you don't have a Wal Mart to pick up a new outfit, a piece of luggage and some milk then you need to put your grocery store in a mall.

We decided to check out a new restaurant that just opened.  Then I pulled out my phone to take pictures of some killer bruises he's gotten playing football.  Just because we love stuff like that around here.

Then I took this next picture just for fun and my heart melted.  My sweet boy......I found myself praying that those freckles never fade and wondering how in the world time has gone by as quickly as it has.

I was clearly on a roll so we took a few more and laughed and how I have to stick all my fingers in the air in order to take a picture.  I tried to take one with my hand looking more normal.....it isn't possible.

Have I ever told you that I snap backwards?  It's weird, I know, but I snap by having my middle finger going in front of my thumb instead of behind.  You're trying it right now, aren't you?  Apparently I not only snap backwards, I take pictures with my phone looking like I am some sort of finger contortionist.

While I'm entertaining myself by how odd I am, this is Nathan and his "seriously, mom?" face.  
I see it a lot.  

And then the earth shifted on its axis......I was actually offered a bite of his chocolate ice cream.

After he was sufficiently full, I drug him to the store.  This is Nathan perusing my grocery list so as to come up with a formula to ensure the most efficient path in obtaining all items.  I do love this kid.

Something I quickly learned after being in Singapore.....do not pass up the weigh station when buying produce for fear of the wrath of a 90 pound checkout lady when there's no bar code on your bananas.

Halloween candy is in stock!!!  We learned from last year that if you don't buy it early you are out of luck!  Laffy Taffy and Reeses pieces....into the cart.

It is not unusual to see kids with their scooters and razors in the grocery store.  The problem is getting your kid to resist the temptation to ride through the frozen food section inevitably crashing into someone who doesn't think his freckles are as cute as I do.

This was the day that my small cart of groceries came out to be over $300 and my debit card was denied.  That's always a good time!!  Lines of people everywhere and I'm fishing out my Amex mumbling something about needing to transfer money into the account.  You know, just in case the guy behind me actually cared.  Which he didn't.  

This was also the day that it was raining when we left and Nathan totally bit it going down the ramp to the taxi stand.  I didn't take a picture of that.  I do have boundaries.....kinda.

So as not to leave Garrett out of this post, here he is doing one of his favorite things.  Playing guitar during youth group.  The fact that I was allowed in the youth room during church to take his picture is pretty amazing.  

It's the part where I started screaming and shouting his name that I had to be escorted out of the room.

In less than 2 months, I will be a mother of a teenager.  
A moment of silence please. 

I love days like these.

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