Rainy season seems truly to be behind us and I'm so thankful. The weather, in general, has been milder and less intense which makes it easier to be alive. Again, I'm grateful.
Robbie's mom came to visit us which has been a sweet treat. Being over 8000 miles from home, family is hard to come by and we eat up every opportunity we get! We got her settled into one of the empty apartments in the dormitory which gives her the personal space she needs but also quick and easy access to our company when she wants it. The twins and Zachy have beds set up over there and are spending three nights a week tucked away with Nanita.
It's a happy arrangement although Nanita's not terribly fond of the many house lizards she has running around her space. Last night she had the boys run and get Oreo, the cat, to see if he'd hunt them. He proved his expertise and efficiency as he rounded up the unwelcome guests. I have a feeling Oreo will be invited back inside Nanita's quarters regularly.
We've been taking walks in the mornings, passing the fishermen who are grabbing what they can from the rice paddies still flooded from the wet season. The waters are dropping everyday so it won't be long until they'll hang up their nets for awhile and focus on the planting of rice. Already some of the paddies are drained enough and a few of the farmers have gotten a start, albeit it much later than they'd hoped.
I've picked up my knitting needles again and have been happily building up a supply of little gifts to give our kids and staff here for Christmas. I'm so thankful that life is at a point, no matter how brief a time it proves to be, where I have the ability to squeeze enough minutes out of my days to sit more casually with projects like this. The girls and I have plans to also make natural soaps, lip balm, and lotion to give as gifts. I've grown to really dislike the commercialism of Christmas but I still love the warmth of the season. We're hanging onto the parts of it that simply breed tenderness in our hearts as we consider, in a special way, the gift Jesus was, and is, to us. Twinkly lights remind us He is the light of the world. Christmas hymns remind us of the price He paid. A Christmas pageant with the children will enable us to share that truth with our new friends who don't already know Him. And the giving of a few simple gifts is a reminder of how He put Himself aside and poured out all He had to save us.
Lately our girls have been noticing a few men, presumably from our village, stopping right at our gate and then standing there to stare in. While most likely they're just curious about our odd collection of white skinned farang and steady stream of children, it's still unsettling enough to cause us to raise our guards a bit.
But then a few nights ago, Robbie and Sanae hadn't yet returned with their truckloads from an afternoon hike. Those of us at home on the property hadn't turned on lights in the houses. Suddenly Khloee, our black lab, starting barking incessantly. No amount of shushing her worked. She persisted as though she were chasing someone.
Turns out she was, in fact, chasing three someones.
Maat, who lives in the wood house directly next to mine, came and told me she'd gone to look and saw three men behind the houses and when they saw her they flipped off their headlamps. They were clearly surprised to find people home, after all, and didn't want to be identifiable. Soon after, Robbie and Ocean both returned and then the men kept surveillance over the property through the night.
Most likely, if they had any mischief in mind, it was with regard to possessions rather than people. However everyone is on higher alert and we're making double sure kids aren't wandering off to any area of the property by themselves. We'll also be looking into installing more outdoor lighting and security cameras. But for all our efforts, we still recognize that it's ultimately God who protects while satan pursues. What a fun thought to imagine the angels encamped around this place holding back the evil which might be lurking in the shadows.
Again, I am grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends and family!