Five Minute Friday: HAPPY — August 5, 2016

Five Minute Friday: HAPPY

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We are not public dancers, the Taubes. But we enjoy a little living room dancing every now and then to get the wiggles and giggles out of my little ones. For a couple years, my daughter has preferred the song, “Happy” from the Minions movie to get the jiving juices flowing.

She was happy (and not just because of all.the.presents).

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Happy.

That’s all anyone would have described baby Jo as, and that’s all she ever really was. Unless you robbed her of her fruit snacks, of course.

When we came to Nepal, the sad side emerged more and more. It was quiet and didn’t demand much attention most of the time. It was moody and morose but occasionally erupted in red-faced scream fests.

I figured she was a little bored at home and that the threes were just plain harder than twos which I had heard to be true. By four, I was, honestly, just grasping for anything to help bring the happy back.

I enrolled her in a nearby pre-school. I thought she might be sad to leave the house or scared to get on the bus with kids she didn’t know and who didn’t speak her language.

I was wrong.

She hopped on the bus like it was Grandma’s car with the car seat loaded up and cup-holders full of goldfish crackers.

She played, and sang, and danced and chatted her little English-speaking mouth to death. She came home and crashed on the couch each day. She was exhausted. And happy.

And mom was happy to have her joyful Jo and a house full of laughter again.

Sometimes the hardest decisions we make end up making us the most happy.

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A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Prov. 17:22).

What are hard decisions you’ve made that lead to your or your family’s happiness?
I would love to hear from you in the comment section below!

This post is part of Five Minute Friday link up hosted by Kate Motaung. I am enjoying being a part of this writing community and putting together these little posts and getting to know these wonderful people! Join the fun next Thursday night on Twitter!

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Beauty in an Overgrown Rose Bush — July 14, 2016

Beauty in an Overgrown Rose Bush

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She was sweat and tear soaked. The sidewalk had claimed her knees and hands once again. I was encumbered by her big-for-his-age brother and had one hand free to help her up the steep hill ahead.

She had suddenly become a baby again. The pain she felt lit her instinct to crumple in my arms and be carried back home. Naturally.

Since my arms were currently occupied, she reluctantly (and slooooowly) dragged her feet step by torturous step towards home. We passed the overgrown yard she can’t walk by without commenting on, but instead of all the weeds, this time, she noticed the rose bush spilling over the front gate.

“Mom,” sob…sob…sob…”The flowers…they’re so…beautiful!” sobby sob sob.

And there I was, my own eyes misty, full of pride and moved by a four year old’s appreciation of beauty there by the old abandoned home.

Through her tears, in the middle of her pain, dragging her tired tootsies, she saw beauty in an overgrown rose bush nearly choked out by weeds. And I was thankful. Because I wouldn’t have noticed until she graciously gave me the opportunity to see through eyes that had only witnessed a few seasons of bloom.

I slid her brother over to the hip made for baby-load-bearing, and I summoned my mommy super powers to pull her up on the other. She cradled her chin into my neck as she had done so many times before. Together, we pointed out all of the small sources of delight all the way home.

I thought of all the weeds that life has sown in my life over the last few years. Great changes, great losses that have yielded an overgrowing faith in an even greater God. And though my perspective has been often clouded by scraped knees doled out by scathing sidewalks, there has been observable beauty in the tiresome journey. So often I have missed it.

I’m on that long walk home. There is pain aplenty but there is also beauty here. It’s crafted by the same hands that spoke immeasurable majesty of an untainted world into existence. And it’s for me.

When I’d rather embrace the pain and crumple into a Father whose arms never get full and whose load is never too heavy, I know I’m welcome there. As we go, He will ever so gently nudge me, encouraging me to lift my head every so often for a peek at the rose bushes along the way.

One day, I’ll open my eyes to see the gold streets lighting the way to where the pain won’t touch me again and my eyes will forever be wide open to beauty which makes the wonders of the world mere piles of rubble in comparison.

What scraped knees? It’s popsicles and praise from here on out.

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Frequently Asked Friday: All About My MKs — February 12, 2016

Frequently Asked Friday: All About My MKs

Seems like all anyone ever wants to talk to me about anymore is my kids! I kinda love that about growing up since I’m not too fascinating but I could talk about my sweet and crazy toddlers all day long! Pull up a seat and grab your coffee…we might be here a while!

This is Jolynn.

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This picture sums her up pretty well. She is always running around pulling stuff out, changing her identity (actual quote: “I not Jolynn… I Batman!”), and causing all kinds of trouble. She is a real firecracker but is pretty go with the flow when it comes to change (major life changes anyway- I wouldn’t suggest giving her peanut butter when she thinks she’s getting Nutella).

Life in Nepal- She settled into Nepal life well, has never made a fuss about us leaving her to go to language school, and has never seemed phased by having a nanny that only speaks Nepali to her.
Language- She understands A LOT of Nepali and follows any and all commands given to her but generally responds in English. She is starting to say phrases like, “Where is this?” “I am fine,”  “I am hungry,” etc. and the bossy gal has perfected, “Don’t do that, little brother!”
Food- She pretty much detests any food that is not PB&J or apples, so she hasn’t branched out into trying any real Nepali food. She will eat wai-wai which is a Nepali staple here similar to Ramen noodles, but she only eats them dry. She just doesn’t know how good they are the real way! YUM!
Social Life-She is not currently enrolled in school but we are exploring that option for her as she will be turning 4 in just 10 days! In our neighborhood, there aren’t any children her age and at times she seems to struggle with boredom and a lack of social interaction. We are praying for a little Nepali friend for her!

This is Shepherd. And no, he doesn’t have any sheep, but we know where to get him some. He’s kinda spoiled like that…

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He might as well be Nepali and everyone around here says as much. We moved here when he was 3 months old so I guess this is all just normal life to this little man!

Life in Nepal- He spends more time immersed in Nepali than English and, much to my dismay, often spends more time with his Nepali momma while his mommy learns this language! I sometimes think he might be surprised when he looks in the mirror and may even wonder who that little white boy is!
Language-Sometimes, when I can’t get him to obey, I say my command in Nepali and get an immediate response! Makes me feel bad for any discipline I may have given out unnecessarily! Oops! He hasn’t started talking yet, but I suspect when he does it will be a mash-up between Nepali and English…Nepalglish???
Food- He’ll pretty much eat anything that slightly resembles food but he does seem to prefer Nepali food (lentils, rice, and all kinds of veggies) and even likes it all a little on the spicy side! He enjoys carrying in the fresh-delivered milk, sweeping with the Nepali style broom, and throws a royal fit when we come in from outside, when his Nepali mommy leaves, and when his Masala Tea runs out!
Social Life- He doesn’t have one, but what one year old does? His sister drives him crazy, and he is a total momma’s boy (Nepali mommy or me…whoever is here!). He can usually be found on one of our hips trying to get a sneak of what’s cooking and will form a special bond with anyone who will sneak him some.

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I remember on the plane coming here, I looked at my sleeping babes and wept over their total oblivion to what was about to happen, to how their lives would change and not resemble many other American childrens’ lives. I worried that they wouldn’t have friends, wouldn’t eat anything, and would be scared of many things we would encounter. And that they would never feel at home anywhere.

Most of my fears have come true, but these precious babies have taught me so much about just enjoying each day and taking whatever comes. Like my husband told me, they don’t know that their life is weird…or hard!  So I try not to clue them in!

I’m so thankful for my American girl and my Nepali boy. I know that they have many challenges down the road as they grow up in a foreign land. I trust that the Lord will enable me to help them face those challenges with the grace and love that has been lavished upon me.

If I’m their Mom in America, in Nepal, or on Mars, I am truly, truly blessed!

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Tell me about your MKs- Missionary Kids and Mommy’s Kids alike!
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

Our Longest Trip Yet — March 27, 2014

Our Longest Trip Yet

Last Sunday night/Monday morning, we made our longest journey of deputation! We traveled from Fort Myers, FL (waaaaay down there!) to Kent, OH (pretty far up there!). We had church in Fort Myers on Sunday night (that last night of a round-robin missions conference-4 churches in 1) and had to be at a missions conference meeting on Monday night in Kent, so we left right after the Sunday evening service just before 8 pm. We traveled through the night, taking turns driving, and taking turns sleeping, until we arrived in Kent at about 3 pm. Jolynn and I crashed for a few hours at the hotel, and Daddy went to get our car worked on. That crazy marathon of a trip did quite the number on our little Dodge Caravan!

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(Yes, I know it says the trip should take 19 hours, and it only took us a little over 18, but our GPS always gives us a shorter ETA than does Google maps.) All 5 churches were so sweet to us; I can’t say I wish we wouldn’t have gone to either. In fact, Fort Myers was a bit of a vacation for us, which is wonderful since Paul and I had not been on once since our honeymoon. We took Jo to the beach two different days. She loved the sand but not so much the water!

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We enjoyed our time with all of these church families, and even got to visit with a precious man of God that had hosted us when we had a meeting at one of our now-supporting churches in Kent. We were spoiled, Jo was loved on, and Paul got to preach to his heart’s content! At the church in Kent (Ravenna, actually) we even got to help the church put together and ship 20,000 John and Romans! What a blessing!

We have one more crazy trip planned next month during which we will have to travel 12 hours from a Saturday evening missions conference meeting to a Sunday morning meeting. Whenever Paul announces to me that he has such a trip planned, he says, “You’re gonna hate me.” Well, I’m not super excited about making this kind of trip, but I definitely don’t hate him yet!

He says he needs to fire “whoever makes his schedule,” which of course always makes me chuckle because he’s the one who makes his schedule! In all honesty, I truly admire him for spending all those hours making phone calls and setting up our meetings. I know it’s not an easy job and he always does the best he can do by our family. We haven’t made many long trips and have only been to 13 states (3 of which we have only been to once!).

I’m thankful for the hours he puts in and for how he considers the needs and feelings of our family. Though things don’t always work out perfectly, he always takes control and gets us through them- doing the brunt of the driving, filling up the gas tank 4 times, letting us stop in a drive-thru at 4 am for breakfast, etc. It’s these times I sit back and admire his faithfulness, his patience, and his thoughtfulness. So, really, I wouldn’t trade these moments during these all-night drives for anything. But I would take a few extra hours of sleep!

Toddler Taught Truth — February 12, 2014

Toddler Taught Truth

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My daughter cracks me up. Especially when she throws tantrums. I really don’t want to encourage the behavior, but seriously, it’s hard not to laugh sometimes! Am I the world’s worst mom or can somebody relate to this predicament?

I’ve figured out that I can’t give Jo something (namely a piece of candy or food) if she can’t have ALL of it. I have to hand her the entire bag of fruit snacks instead of just one at a time. I have to give her a banana whole, not chopped up. I have to hide the jumbo bag of dum-dums in order to hand her one, and I have to show her my empty pockets. I’m not kidding.

I’ve seen my poor little girl sobbing…WITH A SUCKER IN HER MOUTH. I can’t even understand how she could possibly cry with a pink lemonade treat on her tongue. Seriously, what could be the problem? Didn’t I just send her to “toddler heaven?”

Her dissatisfaction with what I have seemingly withheld from her makes her incapable of enjoying the bit she holds in her hand. What she doesn’t know is that a lot of moms don’t let their babies have candy (and those moms probably aren’t in a car with their child for several hours a week!). I don’t HAVE to give her candy at all, but still, she acts like she has been on the receiving end of some major injustice by her mother not allowing her to rot her teeth out of her head.

And it’s funny how the Lord uses these moments to teach me. A red-faced nearly-two-year-old screaming with blue lips (from the treat- not a lack of oxygen!)  and a sucker in hand. And I think it’s ridiculous but it’s not far from home.

We were a stocking short on the mantle at Christmas, so I felt lonely when surrounded by a loving family. I long for my baby boy and fail to cherish the moments with my precious little princess basking in what an incredible miracle her sweet little life truly is. I think about each holiday and birthday being the last in the States, and I am tempted to sulk instead of take in every moment. But at the same time I long to be in India, serving where God has called our family, and I don’t make the most of the ministry God has given me stateside. And it’s nothing but ridiculous. I am robbing myself of the joy of the blessings God has given me because I’d rather focus on what I feel like has been withheld from me or even taken away from me.

I don’t indulge my toddler with everything she wants or thinks she needs because I love her. The decisions I make are for her own benefit. All us parents are in agreement here (except for maybe the lady who said, “Shame on you” for giving Jo yogurt while her father and I ate ice cream). This makes perfect sense to us.

Yet, when the Father in heaven withholds or takes away, we question Him. Does He really know what He’s doing? Does He really have it all under control? Why would He not bless me in the way He blesses others, and why would He take something that is precious to me away?

Because while it may not please me, it benefits me. And you know what’s the greatest thing about that? He actually KNOWS what’s best for me, without a doubt, because He created me. He knows my inside and out and has been conscious of every moment of my life from the moment of my conception (what?!?).

And let’s be honest, I really have NO clue what’s best for Jo. I read blogs and books, I pin and ponder, I ask advice and worry around the clock. But I don’t really know what’s best for her. But, oh, I sure do try.

But he knows. And he provides, and He doesn’t have to try. Blessings and benefits flow from His wounded hands. He is incapable of producing anything but righteousness. Rightness. And everything He allows in my life is for my benefit whether I can wrap my head around that or not.

Maybe it’s the blessing of being used for His kingdom or just the sake of knowing Him more intimately. But isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

That’s all I need. You can have my blue lollipop and day of the week. Just don’t take Jo’s. Trust me on that one.

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