Wednesday, March 23, 2011

fire on the mountain

About a month ago there was a massive forest fire on the mountains behind our house. We live right near the Shenandoah National Park .  The fire burned 2,000 to 3,000 acres.  We could see the smoke and sometimes the actually fire from our house.  The fire burned about 3 days.

It was a Saturday. I was lying in bed around 9:30 and heard a fire engine drive by.  The wind was roaring and spreading the fire.  Firemen even from out of state came in to work on fighting the fire.  

That Saturday evening my sister was to have her bridal shower. My dad and mom left for the evening. My dad told us to leave if we could see actually flame on the mountain from our house.  I was driving away before my sister to the shower. I saw the panorama of the fire, and could see flame... i almost started crying turned around and told my sister, "You need to come now."  

It was exciting and scary to have this fire burning so close to us. At night the mountain had a line of red fire glowing and burning... it was beautiful. It looked like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings.  

Saturday, 1st day-pictures from our house
down the road from our house

seeing the big picture

Sunday, 2nd day-from a different perspective

2nd day, down the road from our house

...and for your enjoyment some local cows!
There was no loss of house or life with this specific fire.  But the same day (Saturday) there were 2 other forest fires burning in our area.  On another mountain a fire burned, 2 houses were lost.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My brother's family

     My brother and his family came down from New England awhile back. His wife Lexi asked me to do a "Family Picture Time" with them up on Skyline Drive. I gladly obliged :)  Here's a smattering of the pictures I ended up with. There's ALOT more where these came from. On a side note, It was very very cold up there on the mountains.

      It was the same time that Lexi took the pictures of me from the previous blog.

     Am I biased to say that they are a beautiful family? ;) And check out the beauty of Skyline Drive and it's wasn't even spring yet!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Red Riding Hood

Life has been crazy and busy. You know I'm not even sure when these's were taken ;) My brother was down her in the last few weeks with his wife and daughter. So sometime in the last 3 weeks was when these were shot (hangs tongue out).

We went up to Skyline Drive for me to take family pics for them. While up there I asked my sister in law to get some pics of me.  Thanks Lexi! You did a great job.  

I hope to post pics from their family shoot!  Got some lovely ones. 

Just a note, it was COLD up there when we did the pictures, hence the red nose. So maybe my lipstick and my nose match my coat. Oh well, "Ce la vie." 

I bought the coat recently.  I snagged it for my etsy possibly, but then I put it on and tied it up. I liked it, so I kept it. It is stylish and warm. Definitely vintage, probably from the 70's. On a side note, It's kinda funny. I sell vintage but I don't wear it much.

cowboy boots: $1/$2 leather, thrifted, "Made in Spain"
Calvin Klein jeans: thrifted $2
 Vintage red winter coat: $3

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

P'Saw Paw's life story-written August 25, 2006

A special girl I had the opportunity to teach, love on and share life with while I taught at Christian Freedom International's school in Thailand went to be with Jesus on Monday morning.  It was devastating to hear the process of her being on life support then that she did indeed go on without us.  

I was at the school in Thailand teaching for 3 months in 2006.  At first it was hard, culture differences and language barriers but as time went by those kids crept (some jumped head first) into my heart. I've traveled to a number of countries but my time in Thailand was my most special and heart changing trip.  

One of my life chapters is Isaiah 54.  It talks about the "barren" woman having more kids than the married.  A verse that was highlighted to me before my trip to Thailand was Is. 54:2 "Enlarge the place of your tent..."  In a sense God enlarged my heart and put 31 kids inside.  (You definately need to enlarge the place of your tent to house that many kids!)  I am single and have never married, but God has fulfilled that chapter in my life over and over.  Those kids were some of "my kids."  

P'Saw Paw was one of those kids. After being there for awhile I started going into the girls dorm room at night and saying goodnight, giving a hug and kiss to each of the girls. I would wish them "have a sweet dream."  P'Saw Paw told me one night to tell her to have a funny dream.  Makes me smile even now.

She wanted me to think she was funny.  I remember she tried to amuse me one time by putting tiny pieces of sticker all over her heart shaped face.  And wanted to know if she was funny.  

One of my last memories of her in Thailand was when I had to say goodbye to the children at the refugee camp.  That was a painful time.  She came up to me and took my face in her hands and sang a good bye song to me, with her face smiling. She gently rocked my face back and forth in her hands and sang, "It's time to say goodbye."  

I was there at the school to teach Art. I also taught some ESL.  A big part of why I believe God had me there was to have relationship with these kids. To love on them, to mother them.  

They had many study times throughout the week. One time I sat with P'Saw Paw and she and I wrote out her life story. I know that some of the other teachers had worked with the students doing just that (who knows how many times she had written her life story before I had the chance.)  I found her story printed out on a white piece of paper folded, in my journal the other day.  It's special to me to have it.  

I wanted to share with you what we wrote together.

P'Saw Paw's life story

"My name is P'zaw Paw (Joy). I am 14 years old. I was born in Kwge Bone. My family went back to Burma when I was a baby.

My mom and dad stayed in Burma. At that time my mom and dad worked all the time. When my mom and dad went to work my sister was young and she took care of me. At that time I was a year old.

My mom and dad worked very hard. One time my mom and dad saidd, "We will go to live near the Moie River." We stayed there when I was 3 years old.

We were going to go back to our village. We had started walking to our village that morning and we walked until 5 p.m. The moon was out, we could see a little bit.

The Burmese soldiers were watching us when we were walking. They were hiding in the forest in an underground hideout. We heard the soldiers. They did not come out.  There was a big tree. Too many dry leaves were on the ground so we were walking loudly.

The soldiers came out and commanded us, "Stop, do not run, or we will shoot."  

My mother took my sister Moo Nay Paw to hide behind a big tree on the left side of the road. My father took me to hide behind a tree on the right side of the road.  

My father's friend was afraid of the Burmese soldiers so he started to run away.  The soldiers shot after him.  The first shot missed him, but hit my mother and killed her.  The second shot killed my father's friend.

After my mother died I went back to a Karen village with my father. My sister lived with my grandmother. After my mother died, me and my sister were separated.

My dad worked to hard. He had to plant a big field with rice all by himself. I did not want to be away from my father. But I had mercy on him and let him go.  He needed to work very hard.

When I was five years old my dad died. He died because the Burmese soldiers killed him. Before he died he told me, "I will go and find money for food for you." He was going back to the Burmese village with a friend. He was on the same road my mother was killed on. He was also killed on that road.

His friend came back but, my father went and never came back.  His friend told me, "Your dad is not coming back."

After he died I lived with my aunt and uncle. I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle for 3 or 4 years in Mae La. After, I lived at Freedom House [an orphanage run by CFI.]

Sometimes I feel good and sometimes I feel bad. Sometimes I feel bad when I remember Mama and Daddy. Sometimes I'm so sad. My parents were animists. They worshiped the tree. I look like my daddy. His hair was very curly. My sister looks like mama. But her hair looks like my daddy.

God blessed me and brought me to the CFI School. Now I know some English and some Thai. I hope God will show me what to do step by step.

Now I don't have a mom and dad, but I will have a mom and dad in heaven.  "God will be my ma and dad."

-Co-wrote with Teacher Marie, Aug. 25, 2006

Yes funny, beautiful, P'Saw Paw you do have a ma and dad in heaven because God will be your ma and dad.  I love you little lady and I treasure the memories I have of you.
She cut her curls off before I came to Thailand. She didn't like her hair :)
My church bought the children new sneakers/soccer cleats!
The girls made their outfits! P'saw Paw is the one at the bottom of the pic. Her sister is holding the notebook on the right of the pic.
With Teacher Andrew and Teacher Ben
She was small of stature but big of heart, and personality!
"Ya en na." (I love you in Karen.)

spring flowers on Sunday

steve madden leather pumps: $2 thrifted
tights: Gabriel brothers
skirt: $3 Worthington (?) recently thrifted!
button up (Target): Thrifted  $3
Old Navy jean jacket: $25 on sale
beaded/seed necklaces: Jamaica and thrifted
turquoise pendant necklace: Vintage from Grammie
hooped earrings: $5 Forever 21 

I wore this outfit to church a few weeks ago on Sunday and thought I'd post it today.  Don't you like my spring flowery shirt!?

The weather is being finicky. We've had some beautiful warm days and then we've had some pretty yucky snow/wet/rain soon after.  It's beautiful today but has been cold.

Life continues to be crazy.  Maybe sometime I'll refer back to this and explain more.  Let me say these last 3 or 4 months of my life have been some of the hardest.  But I know my Lord and I know God is with me.  

It shows me how transient life is.  More and more my heart ties are being transferred to heaven.  There is a peace that I feel. But my heart hurts sometimes.  Sometimes I just hurt.

In Steal Magnolias one of the ladies says, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."  That touches on some of what I've been going through, what I'm trying to say. (I think I assumed that when I would face loss  my world would be completely upside down. That inside it'd be the end of the world. It isn't.) My heart hurts. There's pain and grief but I'm also soo full of life. And those around me are full of life. There's love around me in my friends and family and in My God.  I do smile and laugh, but sometimes I cry.

I think there's a cleansing of the self that happens sometimes through grief. It clarifies things. It's like after it rains the air seems more clear and crisp. But when it's raining it's cold and wet, and that's all you feel, the rain; the tears running down your face. But, the sun comes out and it shows you that the grass is green and there is still life.  With grief though those clouds hang over you for awhile.

And the rain comes sometimes when you don't expect it.  Something reminds you of that person, and it hurts.  I think my tears come, this time around, more when I remember them. When their is a memory which stirs my love for that person, and then it hurts.  Your heart is living, and pulsing with love. And when part of it is taken away, and you touch on that part it hurts. And the tears fall.

I think in times like this our grief and our love bleed together. There are memories that bring joy, which touches on our love, which in turn brings us to tears.