Monday, April 14, 2014

Songkran- Thai New Year

I made it back to Chiang Rai just in time to take part of my first Songkran Festival….

The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water upon others. Thais roam the streets with containers of water or water guns. In addition, many Thais will have small bowls of beige colored talc sold cheaply and mixed with water which is then smeared on the faces and bodies of random passersby as a blessing for the new year. Sometimes this talc is mixed with menthol. It is very common to have groups of Thais post themselves at the side of roads or corners of intersections with garden hoses or large new plastic trash cans filled with water (typically ice cold) that is used to drench sidewalkers and random vehicles (taxis, cars, motorcycles, tuk tuks) that come within watering range. Songkran is traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends, neighbors, and monks. The songkran festival is counted as a new life festivity in which many around the world take part in, but mostly focused in the country of Thailand.
Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran as a Buddhist festival may also go to a wat (Buddhist monastery) to pray and give food to monks. They may also cleanse Buddha images from household shrines as well as Buddha images at monasteries by gently pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance (Thaiน้ำอบไทย) over them. It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. In many cities, such asChiang Mai, the Buddha images from all of the city's important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually 'bathing' the images, as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. In northern Thailand, people may carry handfuls of sand to their neighborhood monastery in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then sculpted into stupa-shaped piles and decorated with colorful flags.
Some people make New Year resolutions - to refrain from bad behavior, or to do good things. Songkran is a time for cleaning and renewal. Besides washing household Buddha images, many Thais also take this opportunity to give their home a thorough cleaning.

What a fun day we had. This is the one time I allowed my self to get soaking wet while being fully clothed. For those who really know me, this is a very big deal. By the time I came in around 4:00 pm, I was soaked from head to toe. The entire family out here took part in the fun along with some friends of Maurethai. We started around 11:30 and there are still many of them outside on the street throwing water at truckloads of people and each other. It is now 4:44 pm. Today we did not worry about our water bill because the water has been running non-stop for several hours now. After spending the entire day outside in the sun, I am sure we will all sleep well tonight. Enjoy the photos.

Thursday, April 3, 2014



My furlough is almost over and soon it will be time to head back to Chiang Rai, Promise Home and the children. I have been receiving updates while I have been back here in the United States and I am being told that they are all fine. The first week of March, they all went back to be with their families in their villages to spend time with them during their summer break from school. They will come back to Promise Home shortly after my return and we will have some free time together before they go back to school.

We are still searching for just the right house for the home. I think we may have found it based on an email I received from our friend on Monday. I am just waiting for an update. Sometimes those take a little bit because he is busy with his job. If we are fortunate enough to get it, I will post pictures as soon as I can.

This summer will be a busy one for us at Promise Home. If all goes well with securing the house, we will be moving everything and getting it all in order. A house means that once we are settled, Charities Within Reach will look to see if we can assist more children who would benefit from what we offer. Eventually, we hope to be able to help a total of 8 children. In addition to moving, there are several groups of individuals who will be coming to visit and spend time with the children. The first group will arrive April 21, 2014. My daughter Vannessa is part of that group and she will arrive April 19, 2014. June 1, 2014, two of my nieces will arrive and in addition to spending time at Promise Home, I get to show them the beauty of the countryside in Northern Thailand. Then on June 9, 2014, two college students will arrive to stay for two months. They will spend lots of time with the children teaching them games, activities, English and other things. Their goal is to be able to give back some of the wonderful things they have learned over the years. I am excited for all of the different experiences and adventures the children will have.


Between December 1, 2013 and March 10, 2014 three 7th grade girls who are members of the National Junior Honor Society at Altona Middle School in Longmont sold fundraising sheets in order to raise money for a computer at Promise Home. The computer will help with children with their homework and will also give me and the volunteers an opportunity to teach different skills to the children. Since computers are used in almost every business around the world, giving the children an opportunity to learn computer skills is a part of our goals to help give them a better chance in life. A computer is something most of us take for granted…. Many of us have several of them ranging from desktops to laptops to iPads. We think nothing of carrying them around all of the time. So………..

The young ladies were able to raise $414.00 dollars for Promise Home during their fund raiser. This is amazing and we are so grateful for their efforts and support. Now, I am challenging all of you to help us raise the rest of the money so we can purchase the computer for the children. There are many of you on my distribution list so the amounts do not have to be be large. We can do this if everyone gives a little. My hope is to raise $500.00 more for the computer. I know we can get a good one for $850 to $900 dollars. If you are moved to help us with the project,  please go to and donate whatever you can.

I guess I should enjoy this colder, snowy weather today since I have heard that there are tropical storms and heat waves in Northern Thailand. According to the Weather Channel, the daytime highs in Chiang Rai are in the upper 90's. Will be going from a wintery blast to the heat of summer very quickly. I will have to remember the colder weather when I am baking in Chiang Rai.

Till next time……

God Bless,


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 ...