Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Greetings

Dear Friends~

It is difficult to believe that 2014 is almost over and we are getting ready to begin another year. What a year 2014 has been for us at Promise Home and Charities Within Reach (CWR)

After the record cold of December, 2013 the weather turned wonderfully beautiful for the month of January to bring in the new year. Pleasant days and cool nights, perfect weather. The children continued their studies in school and chores around the house. It was during this time, CWR came to the decision that having house parents for the children and the home was the best way to move forward with our project. So with the help and recommendations from friends, we found the perfect couple/family. CWR also decided it was time to find a better house for the home; one where the kids could run and play without having to worry about the non-stop traffic that was at the old house. 

The new house for Promise Home 

School ended for the children the first part of March and they went to their villages to spend some time with their families. I am glad they go home to be with their families for a while. It is important that they stay connected to them. All of the children returned to Promise Home in April. 

April was also Songkran festival, which is a three day traditional celebration of the New Year in Thailand. It is marked by throwing water at people to wash away the bad. It is a fun time where truck loads of people drive through the towns with barrels of water and throw it on passing cars and pedestrians. We celebrated one day outside the house tossing water on every passing vehicle and scooter. What a great day that was. March and April is when the weather starts to turn very warm, so the cool/cold water was very refreshing. 

In mid April a group of 11 women traveled to Chiang Rai to visit and help with the move to the new home. They were able to meet Big and Fon, the house parents and they gave their unconditional approval for the couple. So, one very hot day, we packed the house and moved to the new location. I had asked for some help from our friends, wanting one more truck and few able bodies and they delivered. We got two more trucks and a car and many, many able bodies. We loaded everything up and made one trip to the new home. Once we got there, our friend Supannee took over and directed where furniture should be put and had her girls help with the cleaning. The help came from our partners at Bethany Children's Home and we are so grateful for them. They have been and continue to be a wonderful partner for CWR and Promise Home. 

In May, the children went back to school and it was an exciting time. Shortly after moving to the new home, we purchased a truck with a cover with a generous donation from a board member. Having the truck and cover is a necessity for them. Big could take the kids to school and on excursions without having to worry about them getting wet during the rainy season. The family at Promise Home worked hard to get the yard cleaned up and plant a garden with vegetables. Big and Fon would take the kids fishing and to the park for play. We celebrated Nittaya's 13th birthday with a barbecue and cake. 

In June, two of my nieces came to visit and they spent much time with the kids, playing games and helping with lessons. Big had a schedule of lessons that we followed every night of the week.  English four days a week and then math one night. Lessons were every evening after dinner. We would join them every night for dinner and then we would go play for thirty minutes and had lessons. 

While my nieces were there, two college aged girls came to spend two months volunteering. The two girls immediately joined in with helping with the lessons, playing with the kids, chores around the house and learning to cook Thai food. It was during this time that we took the kids to get new bicycles. We were able to get these bicycles because of the generous donations of our supporters. What a great day that was. Mom bought Nom a new bicycle as well. The pure joy on their faces was amazing. We had so much fun riding the bicycles around the neighborhood. We all took turns riding with the kids, even Mom. We had great fun. When we went on excursions, Big would load up the bikes in the back of the truck and off we would go. 

We also purchased new curtains for the lower level of the home and the children's rooms thanks to a generous donation from another board member and a dear friend and supporter of our project. The new curtains made the house look brighter and helped keep it cooler. We still need to get new curtains for Big and Fon's room and I hope that we can do that soon. The hot season in Thailand is certainly hot- we spent many days sweating in the months of June and July but that did not stop us from having fun. In July we celebrated Palita and Tins' birthdays with different dinners of their choice and cake- always have to have cake. Birthdays are important and Big and Fon made sure they are celebrated in style. 

In August, I came back to the United States knowing that the children and Promise Home were in good hands. I came back to help with fundraising and work on raising awareness of CWR's work. I Skype with the children and family every Friday night- Although we don't talk very long, we get to see each other so they know that Mom still cares. I miss them all very much. Big reports to me that all of the children are doing very well in school and their grades are improving. The children look happy and healthy every time I see them. They are so excited to see me and I them. Two weeks ago, they got to see several of the women who traveled there in April and they were so happy. 

The family celebrated Ahmorntep's birthday in September. Our good friend Ann joined them for a night on the town with hamburgers- Ahmorntep's choice. 

A group of four board members will be traveling to Chiang Rai in January for a visit. I cannot wait to see the children again and be able to spend some time with them. Although it will be a short visit, we will make the best of it. During this trip we will meet with a member of the Asian Mission Outreach Foundation. CWR will be joining the AMO Foundation so we can add more children to our home. Thai government regulations require homes that have seven or more children be a foundation and since our goal for 2015 is to add four more children to our home, joining this foundation is an important first step. We would like to find two more girls and two more boys that we can help provide a loving home environment and education for.

My dream is to be able to raise enough funds to purchase land and then build our own compound for Promise Home. Being a member of the foundation will allow us as foreigners to buy the land. It will be purchased in the name of the foundation. I envision a dorm building for the girls and one for the boys, a central area where there is the kitchen and dining/activity room and guest/volunteer houses. I would like it to be on a piece of land that is big enough for a large garden and with lots of space for the children to play. A larger facility would allow us to help so many more hill tribe children in need. Big dreams but as they say, "Go Big or Go Home." 

It has been a wonderful year for us at CWR and Promise Home. We have been able to accomplish so much thanks to the hard work of our volunteer board members and their families along with the generous donations from you, our friends and supporters. We would have not been able to continue our work without your donations, support, and love. Thank you from all of us. 

At this time of year when we celebrate family and the holidays, everyone of us at CWR and Promise Home wish you the best for the holidays and the new year. May your time be filled with joy, love and peace. 

With presents from Mom 

Till next time.....

Happy Holidays,


Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello again~

Dear Friends,

I realized the other day that it has been a long time since I updated you on Promise Home and the children. I have been so busy here settling in that I simply overlooked a blog. I apologize for that.

The children continue to thrive at the home with the love and guidance of Big and Fon.  Thanks to the wonderful world of technology and Skype, I get to visit with them weekly and hear about their lives and see their beautiful, shining faces.

Ahmorntep, the youngest turned seven in September, although I still have a hard time believing that he is that old. He is still so small but everyone insists that his papers say he is seven so……… He is doing well in school and his teacher tells Big that he will move to Primary 1 next year.  He recently won a medal at sports day in school as the fastest runner in his class. He proudly showed it to me when we Skyped.

Tin is also doing well. He continues his hard work in school and he gets good grades. He takes his little brother under his wing and they are inseparable at times. He is still a sweet, loving boy and he tells me to come back every time we talk.

Both Nittaya and Palita are exceling in their schoolwork now. Last Friday, Big told me that he met with each of the children’s teachers and was told they were doing well. Big made special mention of the both Nittaya and Palita’s work and how well they are doing. They both look happy. Palita is still doing well with her English. She has the drive to learn more English and this encourages me.

All of the children just returned to school after their fall break and they will continue in school until March. They will have a week off for the Christmas holiday as they attend a Christian school and then they return until the first part of March. The country is entering the cold season and I do hope that it will not be as cold as last year. I clearly remember how cold December was. Big and Fon will be going out to purchase warmer clothing for the children so they can stay warm in the event it gets as cold as it was last year.

Big and Fon continue to help the children with their homework every evening and I know that Big’s focus on the importance of education is one of the key factors to all of the children doing so well in school.  The family continues to go on outings and do fun things. They have Bible study and worship at the home weekly and they go to church every Sunday. They are loved and cared for which is the most important thing for them.

Charities Within Reach is continuing to raise money for the monthly operational budget for the home and it is our desire to add at least four more children to the home in the near future. We have the house, the space in the bedrooms and the truck for transportation. Big and Fon are very wise when it comes to spending money and CWR believes we can find four more children who need our help and assistance. We are excited to be able to help more needy children in the Chiang Rai area. Our next big fundraiser will be the ever popular Thailand Sale on December 6th from 8:30 am-2:00 pm. Watch for more information on this.

It is through the generosity of others that we are able to do this. Your giving has made a tremendous difference in the lives of these children and even the children of Big and Fon. I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you who have donated and have supported us in this project.  May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Till next time…..

God Bless,


Ahmorntep's Birthday dinner 

Bikes in the park 

Shirt from Aunt Ann

Ahmorntep wanted a hamburger for his birthday dinner 

Birthday cake 

Ahmorntep and his medal for being the fastest runner 

Enjoying a day at the lake 

The family 

Fon and the children 

Monkey boys

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Goodbye... For Now

As the time to leave Chiang Rai and the children draws closer, I take this time to look back on what my life has been like during the past 8 months.

I started this journey with the determination to help make a change, even just a small change in the lives of children here in Northern Thailand and never once gave any thought to the change my life would experience in the process. I should have thought more about that because my life change immeasurably in October of 2011 when I first visited Chiang Rai and met some of the children.

My goal was simple: give them love and then all the things that I associate with love would fall right into place. I was coming here to give them a safe home, good food on a daily basis, enough clothing and the opportunity to go to school.  In addition to this I wanted the 13-year girl to be a 13-year-old girl and not have the responsibility of having to take care of her younger brothers, as her parents should have done. I wanted the boys to have a man who cared for them and who could show them how to be a good man. I wanted them to know that there was someone in this world who loved them.  Loved the enough to make them a priority, to make them feel and know that they were truly important and worth loving.

After a rocky beginning I was able to find the right people to help me achieve this goal and I will leave the children knowing that they have someone here who loves them. Someone who believes as much as I do that it is important for them to get an education, to be cared for, to be fed, to learn how to be a responsible/good adult and most importantly, that they matter in this world.

My life has been changed by the love I have received while I was here. I couldn't have imagined the overwhelming amount of love and joy I feel when I am with my family here and I could never have imagined how large that family would be. The children and family at Promise Home along with those at Bethany Children and Faith Homes are now a part of my fiber and my being. Much like my own daughter, my nieces and nephews, I see the children’s faces all of the time and bask in the love they share with me. I am now filled with so much love that I cannot imagine not ever feeling this way.

I cannot forget my dear friends Jermsak, Da and their two girls, Care and Moo along with Ann, Pastor Prathuan, Supannee, Wit, Nok, Pastors Ariel and Paz, in addition to many other friends I have made during this time for all they have given to me as well. They have loved and supported me unconditionally and gave me a huge family to be a part of. When I missed my own family back home, I was able to join them and that helped my feelings of homesickness. They told me over and over again that we are family and for that, I am truly thankful to God.

My experience here has given me the chance to see another way of life. It is a way that doesn’t have a lot of material things but it is a way that is grateful for the things they have,  the love they have for each other,  and for God. They have reinforced for me what is important in this world and I am humbled to know them. They have given me unconditional love and asked for nothing in return.  They accepted me as I am. I will miss the nightly ritual where I get hugs and kisses from each of the children telling me good night and the promise to see them “tomorrow”.  I will miss the joy of having the children show me something they did in school or when they learn to ride their bike without training wheels.  I will miss Big and Fon calling me mom just like the kids. I will miss the excitement and joy the children feel when I am able to be the one who gives them something that I was able to purchase thanks to the generosity of so many of you.

I do not look forward to August 3, 2014 any more than I did September 22, 2013 when I left my family and friends in the United States. I know I need to leave my family here to come back to the U.S. to work on the goals I have for the home but that will not make it any easier to leave it all behind. It will be another very difficult time for me but one I will overcome because I know I will see everyone again. It is not a final goodbye, but rather a temporary one. I am blessed to be able to come back here for visits during the year and I am going to do that.

Although I have experienced some pain during this journey, I have no regrets. I was given the chance to do something so worthwhile and so good that now I can only remember the good things. The hard times have faded into the background. I am thankful to God for allowing me this opportunity to make a difference in this world and I hope it continues for many years to come.  I leave the home and the children in good hands and I am secure in the knowledge they will be well cared for.  I often ask myself, "How did I get so blessed to be the one to do this work?"

Thank you for following along with me on this part of my journey. I hope that in some small way you were touched by the children and were able to experience some of their accomplishments and joy.  My work will continue and one day we will be able to affect the lives of many more hill tribe children here in Northern Thailand. 

Till next time…..

God Bless,


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paddle Boats

There was no school on Monday, July 14th so the kids all went to a lake for paddle boating. It was a last minute decision and they didn't ask me or the girls to come along but Big took the following pictures of their adventure.  We all ended up at Promise Home around 4:30 pm and everyone was tuckered out. When we got inside, Palita looked at me and said, "Bye Mom" and headed to her room upstairs. Off she went for a nap. Others laid down on the tile floor in the living room and sacked out. It was a hot afternoon so all were tired. Even those of us who didn't go.

It looked like a lot of fun and I am a tad envious that we weren't invited but that is how things go sometimes. Can't always do everything with them. I am just thankful that they get to go out and do different things. Things that kids like to do.

Till next time.....

God Bless,


The kids had a long weekend and Big decided it would be fun to go fishing. He had two rods and he borrowed more from a friend of his. We were going to catch enough fish to BBQ and we would have a picnic at the lake where we finally ended up. All eight of the family at Promise Home along with our friend's family of four and the three of us piled into the truck along with the BBQ and supplies for lunch and off we went.

We drove to one lake only to learn that some very industrious people decided it would be great to charge 2,000 Baht to fish. 2,000 Baht is $62.00 USD and that is quite expensive if you ask me. I didn't know if that were per person or hour but we were't going to pay that fee anyway. So off we went to another lake and we found a perfect spot. We unloaded all of the supplies, Big made the fish attractant and the hooks were baited. Those who fished waited and waited and waited patiently for a nibble however it was a very disappointing day.

After a while, we decided someone needed to run into town to get something else to eat or we would certainly be going hungry. So Fon and Nittaya took off and soon came back with BBQ chicken and papaya salad. Big had made some chili sauce to eat with the fish but it tasted pretty good with the pork and chicken as well. While lunch was being prepared, one of the kids finally got a bite on her hook. Such excitement and then the results..... One teeny, tiny little fish that we eventually threw back in for the next time.

Although we only caught the one little fish, we had a wonderful time. Just being outside, spending time with friends and the children made it a wonderful day. I think about Big and how important it is for him to be able to give the children fun times each week and I thank my lucky stars we found him to be the dad at the home. He and Fon are wonderful parents and the children are well cared for and loved.

Till next time.....

God Bless,

Getting ready 

Mixing the fish attractant 

Who needs to fish when we can sit here and look pretty

Patiently waiting 

Big waiting for his fish to bite 

So sad.... No fish 

Let's just sleep instead


The catch of the day! 
Tin waiting for a bite


5 Year Anniversary and Still Going Strong!!!

Good morning~ I woke up this morning and realized that five years ago today, I began the first leg of a journey that would forever change ...