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What’s with the name: #spilledmilkmeditations?

You know those moments when, at the end of the day, you’re crouched under the dinner table wiping up the mess that your kids (or your spouse) has left on the floor? Spaghetti noodles dried rigid and stuck to the tile, mashed up avocado tracked in adorable little footprints across the dining room, spilled milk from an overturned sippy cup. As young parents with three kids under the age of five, we find ourselves in that situation a lot. It gives you time to think, to ruminate on the day and its happenings and all the meaning to be unwound out of conversations, books read, kisses given, or tantrums thrown.

Those are the spilled milk meditations. They are about the most important things in your life: your practice and discovery of spirituality, the family you’re trying to grow, the cultures and worlds that you grapple with. We just want you to know that we’re there with you, bent under that table in the midst of the messy life we live.

Here you won’t find definite answers, an advice column from a flawless marriage or perfect parenting or the end all solution to your life’s problems, but what we are learning, we’ll share with you. Some of it works and works well. Much of it we’ve learned from other parents and mentors, from plenty of rough days, from the cultures and people that we’ve lived among.

Like we said, we’re here with you in the midst of this. That means you have wisdom, tips, and experiences that we, and plenty of other friends, need to hear too. Chime in, disagree, share posts you like within your circle of friends and add your take on it. Life is better together and we’re glad we get to share it with you. Speaking of which, if you don’t want to miss any of our family updates, sign up here to get fresh meditations delivered to your inbox every time we press publish.

So, here’s to you, wanderer, life-wonderer, spilled milk meditator, husband, wife, parent-to-be or parent-in-progress. We raise a glass of our finest full-cream in your honor and look forward to our chats together under the kitchen table.

P.S. If you’re interested in what we’re doing in missions, specifically, we’ve got a monthly e-letter for that. Sign up here and get the inside scoop of what our life as a family in missions is really like.

Rainy days here in Chiang Rai

Digging for Treasure

We were out on the street the other day—no, literally, that’s our playground here, the road—when August looked down at the groove in the concrete and back up excitedly and said, “I’m going to dig for treasure!” With a hop and a bound, he ran back into the garage to get a stick. Once found, he brought the stick out and began laboriously driving it into the groove between two slabs where years of dirt had accumulated. The stick wedged into the ground, then he pulled it back out, flinging dirt into the air with it.

“Are you digging for treasure?” I asked him.
“Yes!” he replied proudly and excitedly.
“What kind of treasure are you digging for?” I asked.
“Dirt!” he answered, oh-so-satisfied with himself.

It struck me then, it wasn’t the treasure that he was excited about, it was the act of digging for it. As we get older, I think we lose that. We become goal-oriented. The process is a means to an end. We work to get paid to buy the thing we want or afford the vacation we want. We go to school to graduate and move on to the next thing. We drive to get to work and do our job so we can go home. We do the yard work to get it done. We have a party to take cool photos to post online. We dig to find treasure. I want to recapture some of that enthusiasm about the mundane, hard-work, “meaningless” activities that children find endless amusement with. I want the act of digging, the thrill of possibility and play to be the entire reason I do some things.

Chinese Karaoke Choir

We meet with a group of foreign-exchange Chinese students every week and a few other friends. To keep the conversations interesting, we asked them to print out some of their favorite English songs, so that we could study the lyrics. Our friends took it a little farther than that. What started as a simple English exercise turned into a full-on karaoke choir.

Singha Park Day

This is a video of a happy memory in a year full of happy memories. We gathered a few of the young leaders we meet with every week and took them and August out to a nearby park where they have zebras, giraffes, and plenty of space to run. We simply hope this video puts a smile on your face today.

Survey on Improving Non-profit Communications

Hello everyone,

We’re working on the rebranding of Emerge Missions, a sending organization that develops next generation church leaders in Asia. While doing this, I started wondering about how most non-profit communication strategies are structured. I drew up a survey to gather information on how people would like to be talked to by non-profits. If you’ve got 3 minutes, would you mind going through the 3 question survey below and answering based on your first impression? Your answers will really help us craft better communications and I’ll share the results as well for all of you who may be involved in non-profit works yourselves. Thanks!

 Take the survey here!

2013 Recap Video

It was a wild year for us. Our infant turned one with all the milestones that go with that age and more. We travelled over 17,000 miles by plane and 3000 by car in the span of four months. Our work here in Thailand saw an upset, but we made the most of the opportunity and we expanded from work at one campus to work at two, with an international reach. In all of this, we packed in some wonderful time with family and a few crazy adventures…oh, and we got pregnant again! Here are two versions of our recap video. The first is the short version. It’s 4 minutes and features the song Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron. The long version is 7 minutes and features the songs Safe and Sound by Capital Cities and Bloom by the Paper Kites. All three songs come from excellent albums and I highly recommend buying them if you like the music.

Short Version (4 min):

Long Version (7 min):