I can't get enough of them. They are delicate and beautiful and have the capability to really brighten someone's day. 

I'm especially thankful for the flowers here in Myanmar and in Thailand. They have often been a reminder of God's love and of His creativity.

If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I have been taking lots of flower pictures. I can't help it.

I was inspired by this post to do a photography project for 30 days. I'm picking flowers as my subject and I will be back in roughly a month to share more flowers with you. 

I'm not doing anything formal but if you want to join in I'd love to have you. You can find me on Instagram here and I'll be using the hashtag #30daysofflowers

And just in case you want to see some more flowers:

This link here has some really interesting deconstruction of flowers.

A scoop of roses: a cone with flowers instead of the ice cream.

The word 'flower' occurs in the Bible twenty five times. I Peter 2 and Luke 12 are good sources for this.

I thought these floral ice cubes were a neat concept.

Seventeen flowers that look like something else.

My Pinterest board all about flowers.

What is your favorite flower?
What do you love most about flowers?
Do you have any neat floral photography ideas for me?


Bagan Ancient Temples & Sights

The temples of Bagan! When I first started re-searching Myanmar on the web these temples came up over and over again. They were stunning and I'd always hoped we visit the city of Bagan. Well, sure enough, one of our co-teachers invited us with her church and off we went! 

I've written about Bagan Golden Palace  and the Ministries in Bagan but today I wanted to share more about the palaces and other unique sights we saw. But first I need to tell you how we got to Bagan. 

Our friend picked us up in the early evening so we could take a long taxi ride to the bus station. When I say bus station this is not the bus station you or I ever picture in our mind. It is more like a neighborhood with 50 small businesses who each own a bus and they park wherever they want. On top of that you need to imagine busses and cars going around in a frenzy like an ant pile who just got stepped on. It was crazy but our friends knew exactly where to go! 

Our bus left around 8 in the evening and it was an overnight ride. I normally can sleep like a champion on buses but I just couldn't on this one! They even gave us a blanket but sleep wasn't happening for me. We arrived at Bagan around 5am and then had to wait at the bus station there for a taxi to get us to take us into Bagan. 

The taxi came and our friends then had to be awesome again and find us a hotel to stay at. By law, we weren't allowed to stay at the boarding school where everyone else was at but finding a hotel was no easy task either. To house foreigners the hotel has to be licensed specifically for that. One hotel said they had vacancy but when we got out of the car they declined our stay because we were foreigners.  ha! Forty five minutes later our friends found us a place to stay. We slept for one hour and then went to the boarding house to help over there. 

The second night we got much better sleep and the next day we got to sight see. You all, this city is dreamy and ancient. It had an ancient charm to it and I loved visiting it. 

This is one of the largest temples in the area and I hate to tell you but I forgot the name. I couldn't believe how huge the temple was and how intricately designed it was. The temples are from the 11th to 13th century and I was amazed to see how much of them are preserved. 

All around the temple are many shopping stalls. We purchased a few things but mostly just enjoyed the sights. 

I thought the inside was the prettiest part.

Bagan also has a huge museum full of ancient artifacts. It was interesting to see but you couldn't take any pictures inside. The outside though ... you could for sure snap away and the building itself was rather beautiful. 

Have I told you monks are all over in Myanmar? We see many of them every day. The ones wearing saffron are from Myanmar and the ones wearing orange are from Thailand. I hope to share more about that part of the culture here one day. 

Here are a few pictures of some of the other things we saw there. 

Now I'm going to be super honest: as much as I think the temples are beautiful I have such mixed feelings about visiting them. It's neat to see the creativity that God gives people but to think that all these were built for Buddha is hard to see. I hope to share a full post on that later but it won't be until I leave Myanmar. Either way I am glad we got to see a really neat part of this country. 

What do you think of the temples? 
Would you visit somewhere like this?


How Myanmar Stole A piece of my heart

Dave and I made it through our first three months in Myanmar! I can hardly believe it. I really shouldn't say we just made it because during those three months God has blessed us abundantly in the Golden Land of Myanmar. We are now in Thailand but the last week or so I have really started reflecting on my time in Myanmar and the tremendous impact that place is having on my life. 

When I first arrived in Myanmar I had some serious culture shock. It was dirty, moldy, the traffic was crazy, the markets were grimy, the buildings were packed so close together, I couldn't speak their language and I was just honestly overwhelmed by it all. It took a few weeks for the extreme shock to wear off, but it did, and things became familiar and somewhat normal. 

Even though life felt a bit routinish here I still was a bit dumbfounded when people would tell me that Myanmar held a charm that would grow on me. I never could figure out how this dirty place had charm. There was also a missionary here who traveled outside of Myanmar and when he arrived back here I heard him say: "It is so good to be home!" My internal thought was "How in the world can you call this place home?"

But then something started to change inside of me. Slowly but surely my eyes were opened to all those things I had heard about.

I had some of the teachers over for a Valentine's Day party and one of the them asked me what my favorite thing about Myanmar was. I initially told her I loved the fresh fruit and flowers (because I really do!) but then for the next few days I really pondered about that question. What was it that I really loved about this country?

Over the last three months Dave and I have been doing a lot of things - sight seeing, giving physicals at the medical clinic, teaching Bible classes, interacting with kids on the playground, purchasing produce from the locals, seeing art galleries, seeing someone paint a picture in the market and so much more. All these things have one thing in common - people!

It's the people here that have won me over! You just can't help but love them. How they are rising above their circumstances, how they work so hard but yet show such graciousness and how they have welcomed Dave and I into their country with open arms has all won us over.

Now that I think about it every place I have lived or spent time in, it has always been the people that have left lasting impressions.  

The great thing about this is that people are everywhere! Every place I live and every place you live God places people in our lives to build community. He gives us people to encourage and love and gives people to encourage and love us.  

Are the markets here still dirty? Yep! Do I have my hard days where I just want to tell someone how ridiculous the way things run in Myanmar are? Sure do! But I do know that at the end of the day I am blessed. I'm blessed with community and I hope you are too! 

What is community like for you where you live? 
Are you being intentional right where you are? 
What do you love the most about the people and culture around you?


High Tea

Sometimes in life you get to go on an outing that will be a treasured memory for years to come. High Tea was one of those special moments and I honestly can't believe I went to High Tea in Yangon! 

If you would of told me that when I moved to Yangon my good friend Pam would take me to High Tea I don't know if I would have believed you. BUT a fancy high tea place exists here and we went! I'm sure we have the British to thank for introducing this concept here so ... thanks Britain! 

First off, when we arrived at Pam's so we could carpool, I saw Kyron all dressed up for her high tea! I mean how cute is she? This little girl is precious.

Upon arrival we ordered our mass amount of pastries, tea and coffee. It was sooo good! I should also remind you that there is no Panera here, or anything resembling Panera, so finding a place that serves made from scratch pastries calls for an 'all you can eat' pastry event. 

Here we are properly drinking tea and coffee with our pinky in the air. 

The boys did not put their pinky fingers in the air but they did enjoy their coffees, smoothies and pastries. 

 In fact, Zak really enjoyed the pastries! I don't think I've ever seen a kid so excited by pastries.

But then High Tea also has a little pond with a fountain and you see, Zak stuck his fingers in the water and discovered that there are fish that nibble on your fingers. And then there was a little girl in a fancy dress that couldn't resist following in her brother's footsteps or the pond either so she gobbled down her pastries and out she went too. Pam and I had a delightful time watching them through the glass door! 

And here is my dear friend Pam! I'm so thankful for her and for her friendship. We both decided that we need to do more fun things around Yangon before Dave and I have to leave, because time does fly! Also it is just nice to be around a friend who loves the Lord and enjoys having a fun time. Her and I also decided that God has a good sense of humor in pairing us to work together because I have a bad ear and she has a bad eye, so she listens for me and I see things for her. ;)

And like I always say about all the fun sights in Yangon .... if you come visit I'll take you!
Has anyone else ever been to a British high tea? If so, what was your experience like?


Valentine's Day 2015

Valentine's Day! I hope you all had a great day celebrating love! It doesn't have to be romantic love either. It's a day to celebrate God's love, that His mercies are new every morning and to celebrate the many relationships he has poured into our lives. I love everything about this holiday and had a great time celebrating.

Dave and I had a great time celebrating Valentine's Day and we got to celebrate with lots of people doing some really neat things.

The first memorable Valentine thing was at school where we had secret sisters. We bought a little gift for our secret sisters each day and it was so fun! The level of excitement each day when I found a little gift was like a little child. I just love gifts! My secret sister bought me nail polish, some pink daisies, a chopstick for my hair and a few other cute things. 

The person I bought for loved bananas so I got her a banana pen (yep, they have those here), some banana cookies and I got her some stationary. I also found these super duper tiny mini envelopes that would open up so you could write a small note. I put a verse on those cards and it was fun to give her one each day. 

Friday the secret sisters were invited to my apartment for the big reveal! Well, only three out of nine girls showed but it was ok. I had a really wonderful time visiting with the three ladies that did come and it was nice to just visit and talk with them one on one. One of the teachers asked me what my favorite part of Myanmar is and it really made me think. After much thought I'd have to say the people, the fruit and the flowers but really it's the people. The people here are kind and resilient and I especially am thankful for the teachers here who give so much to share the gospel with the kids here. 

Another fun thing I got to do this week was to go to high tea with Pam, Kyron, Dave and Zak! Kyron got super dressed up and we went and had some fancy pastries, tea and coffee. Fancy delicious pastries are a super rare thing here so we may have gone a bit wild and purchased around 7 - 8 pastries to share amongst ourselves and then we purchased more to take home with us. I'll be sharing more about high tea soon. 

I got to Skype with my family on Valentine's Day! Have I mentioned I'm thankful for Skype? My family is all together in Idaho for my Dad and nephew's birthday. My Dad turned 60 and my nephew turned 2 on Valentine's Day. I feel sad that I'm not there but I also am thankful to be here, rightwhere God wants me. 

My favorite part about Valentine's Day was spending it with Dave. This is our first time to actually spend Valentine's Day together. Dave slept in while I Skyped and then we had a massive breakfast that involved bacon (If you don't know I have a slight love for bacon and our friends recently found bacon here which is just epic)! Dave and I spent most of the day at home and then we walked to a coffeehouse where we ate dinner, drank lattes and are now using their free wifi (also a rare thing in Myanmar). 

I also have to share that I think these daisies are so pretty! I really can't get over the flowers around here and I'm thankful that they are here for us to enjoy. This big bunch was a whopping $3!

Tell me about your Valentine's Day? What did you do? What was your favorite part?