it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Month: April 2015 (page 2 of 6)

Party at the Zoo

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

We enjoyed an incredible day today at the zoo with our friends, celebrating both Titus’s 5th birthday along with Gabe and Alex (twins) who turned 4. The weather couldn’t have been better and I’ve even got a little redness on my arms and neck to prove the sun was out. The day started at 10:00 at the zoo and we stayed until a little after 2:00. We brought cupcakes and met a bunch of other families “near the goats” inside the zoo. Everyone joined in singing happy birthday to Titus and then we did another round of singing for Gabe and Alex. After cupcakes and singing everyone headed in to the park and we mostly lost the other groups because we grabbed lunch with our kids, but we still had a great time with Steve and Judy and just walking around enjoying the animals. I got a ton of photos, so here they are!

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Let’s pause here a moment for a little story. Above is a photo of Titus eating a hot dog during lunch. Shortly after he was playing on the playground behind him. He had brought a toy car with him that he got for his birthday and was taking it up and down the slide. But then he started crying and came over to use saying he lost his car. I asked him what happened and he said, “That big boy took it.” I asked him which kid and he pointed, so I walked up to the kid and said, “Kde je auto?” or “Where is the car?” He immediately said, “Nevim! Nevim” or “I don’t know. I don’t know.” We walked around and looked for a while, but were unable to find the car. I consider it a lost cause and even if the boy had it, I wasn’t going to dig through his pockets to get it. But that didn’t sit well with Bethany so she walked over and asked the same questions, except she found another little girl to help her talk to the boy. Finally, after a few minutes the boy went to his backpack and gave back the car. I joked that Bethany was in “mom mode” there for a minute and no language barrier was going to get in the way of her getting that car back!

Ok… back to the photos

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Party at the Zoo (4/25/15)

Titus’ friends Beni and Caleb got him gifts that we opened in the parking lot just before we left. Beni had been talking about it all day and was so excited to give Titus a present. It was really sweet and both Caleb and Beni were asking Titus, “Is this the best day ever?!” It was fun to see them all so excited about Legos and Spiderman and Titus was really blessed. Thanks everyone for making it such a special time for Titus and our family!

Titus’ 5th Birthday

We celebrated Titus’ 5th birthday today, although it the real party isn’t until tomorrow. This was the first time that Titus had school on his birthday so I felt like it was just a little weird that we kind of had to wait until he was out today before we could celebrate. We were all up this morning and we got to tell him happy birthday, but then we were quickly out the door to get him to school. Afterward we enjoyed opening up some of the many presents that were sent to our family from our friends in California and delivered by our friends, Steve and Judy. So, in a sense, it was like a party for all of us! Boxes of Kraft Mac-N-Cheese, brown sugar, yellow mustard, books, toys, chocolate almonds, etc. were all inside this jam packed suitcase! Thank you to our friends who blessed us in this way. You are awesome! Some families even sent individual packages which Titus loved opening. Here’s a few photos from that.

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Then we went outside to play some baseball and bubbles in the yard, as well as take a little tour of our landlord’s garden which is blooming a lot right now. I was too busy playing with the kids and hanging with Steve and Judy to capture any photos, but I think it was worth it. We all ended up napping in the afternoon and walked to dinner at a local place we really like. Titus wanted to have pizza on his birthday so he was able to get a big pepperoni pizza at the restaurant which he enjoyed. Afterwards we came home and had birthday cake dessert and opened a few more presents. I did manage to get some photos of that. Here you go!

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Titus' 5th Birthday (4/24/15)

Along with some imported whiffle balls, Titus scored a ton of Legos! I spent a lot of time this afternoon helping him build the little cars and trucks he got and I’m considering building another set he got while he’s asleep because hey, who doesn’t love Legos!? During the day we just enjoyed spending time together and talking with Steve and Judy who are here until Wednesday. They are such a blessing to us and I just appreciate their heart to come here and be an encouragement. We’ve really enjoyed their company and look forward to a few more days together. They’ll be joining us tomorrow at the zoo and hoping it will be a lot of fun for everyone.

School Photos and Friends From Afar

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

What a day! It’s just before 10pm here and I’m sitting her with a smile on my face. I’m looking over some of the photos I got from today and am just thankful for God’s grace and excited about the next few days. Here’s a little summary of the day:

First, we had to divide and conquer this morning because we found out yesterday that it was picture day at Titus’ preschool. Bethany had a doctor’s appointment (baby check-up) this morning at the same time that picture stuff was going on at the Titus’ school, so I stayed home with Titus and Avery while she went to the doctor. I got the kids all dressed and we walked to Titus’ school around 10 to get ready for pictures. I didn’t know if they were doing just a class photo or individuals, but we were ready for anything! It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, and they ended up doing just a class photo outside under a beautiful blooming tree. Here’s a few photos:

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

I spent some time watching the other boys interact with Titus and also watched Titus’ reaction, but I can confirm that language is still a battle. The other kids are trying to talk to him and he’s still confused about what they are saying. I also noticed that they were kind of copying him, but I don’t know if they were being mean or just playing? It’s so hard to tell. At one point Titus hand his arms out like an airplane and was spinning around. The other kids joined him and were saying, “Ja jsem Ty Ty! Ja jsem Ty Ty!” which I understood as “I am Ty Ty! I am Ty Ty!” (the kids call him Ty Ty, not Titus). I just assume they were being silly? Speaking of silly, here’s Avery walking home today staring at her own shadow.

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

This afternoon we finished cleaning up the house in preparation for our friends, the Severances, arrival! Steve and Judy are from our sending church in California and Steve is one of the pastors. They actually flew to us from being in Israel the past week or so. They had a flight from Israel this morning, a cab ride from the Prague airport to the train, a 3.5 hour train ride to us, then a short car ride back to our town. Needless to say, they are troopers! We picked them up from the train station around 5:30pm tonight and it was such a joy to see them. We ended up taking them to a nearby mall for dinner and coffee and just had a sweet time catching up with them. It’s seriously such a joy to see them and we’re so thankful to Placerita for sending them to us for the next few days. Here’s a few photos from tonight. The first is of Avery and Bethany playing a little clapping game while we were waiting for the train to arrive, the second is one that Titus took of us with Steve and Judy at the mall, and finally there’s one of the kids playing at the mall’s play place.

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

Friends From Afar (4/23/15)

Tomorrow is Titus’ 5th birthday! The smell of a baking cake is wafting through the house as I type and we’re excited to a do small celebration with him tomorrow. On Saturday we’re headed to the zoo for a more formal party, so we’re all looking forward to that. I’m excited about what the next few days hold!

Speaking of Titus

While saying goodbye to Titus at his school this morning he said something interesting. I had glanced in to the room to see what the other kids were doing and I saw a few boys had lined every green army guy they could find in formation. I said to Titus, “Look, dude! Army guys!” He’s been playing with army guys a lot at home so I thought for sure he would be excited too. But instead he glanced over at them, turned back towards me, and calmly said, “Dad, those are for the Czech boys.”

Kids (4/22/15)

I didn’t quite understand it until Bethany and I talked this afternoon after she had picked him up. In a broken Czech/English conversation, Bethany had discussed both our kids with Titus’ teacher today. First, they had to talk about some paperwork needed for Avery when she starts preschool in the fall, and then just some quick things about Titus. Bethany understood a really simple Czech sentence from his teacher when she said, “Titus is better.” The context of that conversation was regarding his understanding Czech and we assume she’s just really saying, “Titus is getting better at understanding Czech.” W’re thankful, but that’s just language. A little later at home Bethany was asking Titus about his day and said, “What did you do at school?” He said, “I did nothing” in kind of a down tone. “Did you play outside?” “Yeah” he said, and added “but that big boy wanted to push me.” Hhmmm… I wonder if Titus’ comment in the morning is related to the one in the afternoon?

What’s interesting is this is the first time Titus has really expressed any kind relational issue at school (that I’m aware of). As in any kind of community environment there are going to be little things like this, but our biggest desire in it is to shepherd Titus through it. First we want to make sure he’s acting in an appropriate way towards his classmates and secondly we want to help him understand how he should respond to those who might sin against him. In the case of the army men, I wonder if it’s something related to him not being able to speak Czech? Maybe the kids feel that distance and separation from Titus (and likewise Titus towards them) as they can’t always communicate. I know I feel that tension every day as I go the gas station or get groceries! And in the case of the boy pushing him, this sounds like a classic schoolyard moment. I’m not saying the other kid is a bully or anything, but I know I had my share of mean moments at recess (in fact, one time I deliberately kicked a soccer ball at another kid I didn’t like and we both were sent to the principal’s office). Nevertheless, even in these “little” things I want to be able to help my son think, and think rightly about situations. As his fifth birthday approaches in just two days it’s a reminder that he’s only getting older. I would do well to remember Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Getting Things Done and the Glory of God

Our world is kind of obsessed with “getting things done” (or “GTD” for the cool kids). Maybe you’ve read the book Getting Things Done by productivity guru, David Allen, and now you have a perfect paper-only inbox and you’re keeping the good people at Post-It® in business (just think how unproductive we were before sticky notes and David Allen!). For those in the business world there’s an unspoken award that is given out to the few who are “zero inbox” (that is, they have no emails in their inbox) and can maintain this for longer than one business day. Oh, you know the people I’m talking about. Before you can hit send on your email to them they’ve already replied back to you with everything you needed, perfect punctuation, and one of those never ending email signatures. They’re professional emailers (because, yes, that’s a thing). Who doesn’t love to “get things done?” It feels so good. You feel free, clean, and you don’t have that feeling of David Allen staring down from your bookshelf judging you because you let that “two minute” task slide!

Getting Things Done (4/21/15)

The Thomason home today was a GTD factory! Even as I write this evening, the washer and dryer are our pumping out the clean and dry clothes while Bethany folds more on the couch. Speaking of Bethany, I am crowning her GTD queen because she was in control today! She is in her eight month of pregnancy and today she cleaned every bed sheet, made those beds, washed the dishes, cooked three meals, and has done it all with a smile! I too got in on the GTD fun and got more done today than I have in a while. Working from home on occasion can help me focus, especially with the amount digital communication I do. I did that today and was able to really burn through a lot of those “pending” items that tend to linger in the back of the mind. With my notebook, list, and my keyboard working at 90WPM I was able to really get ahead which felt amazing. During lunch I walked to get a hair cut (c’mon exercise!) and even walked to the bank (double exercise!) to take care of a few things. I paid bills, had two good meetings over video chat, setup some meetings for tomorrow, and even got to chase the kids around the house. Man, we are feeling good!

I have to admit that there are probably a few motivating factors as we check things off our to-do list. One is that in two days we’ll be having our friends Steve and Judy in our home for about five days, visiting us from the U.S. and our home church. Of course we want our home to be clean, inviting, and ready for visiting friends. Secondly, in two weeks from tomorrow we’ve got the Josiah Venture spring conference which requires a lot of last minute details for me as we prepare everything and get it ready for the 300+ missionaries who will be together. Thirdly, and I think this is honest, we truly do want to honor the Lord in the work we do, whether in the home or elsewhere. As much as deadlines and friends visiting can be helpful motivations, I do hope that we’re constantly motivated by a desire to worship God through our work.

Getting Things Done (4/21/15)

I’ve actually read David Allen’s book on productivity (that’s my copy of it at the top of the page) and I thought it was helpful. However, what drives the book is a secular worldview that believes that merely relieving stress and worry are what lead to a happy life. As insightful as the book was in getting your mind focused on the right tasks, thinking through how to file things, and how to write things down, what it obviously is missing is the Christian worldview that believes that in whatever we do, we must do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Not every day may be as productive as today, but hopefully every day is full of work that is focused on God’s glory.

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