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


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Birthday Celebration

This past Saturday we celebrated the birthdays of both Palita and Tin. Palita's birthday was on Saturday the 5th and Tin's is on the 27th of this month. We asked them what they wanted for lunch and it was prepared for their special day. We had a lovely salad, b-b- que chicken, rice and papaya salad. Of course there was cake at the end and presents. Palita turned 14 and Tin will be 10. On the 27th, we will have a special dinner to celebrate Tin's actual birthday day. I am so glad that Big and Fon believe in the importance of making birthdays special and something to remember.

Enjoy the pictures!

Till next time.....

God Bless,

Palita in her new sports outfit 

Birthday girl 

Palita and Tin 

Let there be cake

Happy Birthday 

Photo Bomb

Our lunch 

Tin's new watch 


Giraffes and Zebras

We went back to Boon Rawd Farm a week ago so we could ride the trolley around the farm and stop off to see the giraffes and zebras. When you get to where the animals are, you can feed them bananas or carrots. Feeding these animals was a new experience for the kids and a couple of them did  not like it at all. Nittaya was particularly wary about doing it and I had to be there to hold her hand while she offered the food to the animals. Each time one would get close, she would say mom in a worried tone and try to pull her hand back. Many times the treat she had landed on the ground and I would pick it up and give it to one of the animals. Nittaya did not like the long, black tongue of the giraffe. Not one little bit. The other kids were a little more brave about it and I think they enjoyed seeing these animals for the very first time.

The girls and Ahmorntep- he can't ever be serious

Sylvia, Nittaya and Madi

Sylvia and Big feeding the giraffe

Nittaya is not sure about this 

Beautiful Nittaya and me

Banana, yum! 

After the trolley ride, we all went to the park at Chiang Rai Rajabhat University (CRRU) for dinner. Big and Fon picked up some of my favorite b-b-que chicken, sticky rice and papaya salad. We went to the pavilion at the park and sat inside eating while it rained a bit. After dinner, we walked around the beautiful gardens and down to the lake. We had umbrellas so we didn't worry about getting wet. The kids ran around and played games with Big and the volunteers and I simply sat, listening to music and enjoyed the peace and beauty of the place. It was a great day.

Monkey boy! 

Palita and Nom 

Beautiful Palita 


Tin and Nom 

Hey, it says No Fishing! 

The family makes it a point to go on an outing every Sunday so the kids can experience something new in their lives. The past weekend they went on their outing on Saturday and went back to CRRU for more fun. This time they took their frisbee and badminton set so they could play even longer. Sunday they visited Fon's parents in their village.

Enjoy the pictures of both adventures.

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 ...