Ever since the rainy season started (about 3 weeks ago), there have been an abundance of snails in our yard. Jacen's favorite activity? Thwacking a snail on its shell to make it retreat. Anyhow, I caught this big guy on the wall by our gate.

090530 Snails

Lizards in the yard

Jacen and I were doing some yard work this morning when I spotted a lizard running across the road. While Jacen kept an eye on him, I ran and got my camera. We actually saw three of these guys, but this one was the most photogenic. He was an adept tree climber and obviously a male, as he kept trying to intimidate Jacen and I by bobbing his head around and inflating the air sac under his throat. If you can identify what type of lizard he is, leave me a comment, please.

090530 Lizards


We have been catsitting. A friend of ours went on a trip, and we agreed to watch the cat for part of the time. Personally, I could give or take the cat, but, of course, Emmy loves it and gives it more attention than anyone. The cat is good at chasing toys and string and stuff, so the kids have had fun. Still, I'll be glad to return Snuggles to its owner.

090517 Snuggles

The Tea Party

For Emilee's birthday party, Ann hosted a tea party for 6 of Emilee's little lady friends. They drank tea (6 different types!), ate scones and sandwiches, decorated cupcakes, and played games. They dressed up in their best dresses and looked very pretty. They had a great time.

090515 Em Birthday Tea Party

Emilee is 8

Wow, it's hard to believe Emilee is 8 already, but she is! We let her have her choice of restaurants for her birthday dinner, anywhere in Chiang Mai she wanted to go. So what did she pick?

090515 Em Birthday

After dinner we went home to open presents. She had received packages with gifts from both her grandparents (thank you, grandparents!!) as well as from us. I think she was pleased with what she got.

Crispy Seaweed

While driving around the Chiang Mai moat during Songkran, we were given some of these sample packs of Japanese crispy seawood. Now I'm certain that nothing makes seaweed taste better than being crispy and from Japan, but even so we weren't really motivated to try them.

090509 Crispy Seaweed


I went to my favorite Thai market this week and saw something I had never seen before. It looked like a strawberry that had grown up near Chernobyl. In English it's called Rambutan; in Thai it's nga. The fruit is native to southeast Asia, and Thailand is one of the largest growers of it. The skin peels off pretty easily, and the fruit inside is the same consistency of a grape or perhaps a plum. You eat the meat, but not the seed inside. It's not extremely sweet, but it still tastes good. I got a kilo for a dollar.

090508 Rambutan

You can read more about Rambutan here.

Swim Meet Part 2

The kids have been practicing for several weeks this spring to get ready for the meet, though the pollution we had canceled some of their practices. Still, they looked ready to go for the meet. And you know a team is serious when they have swim caps. Both kids favor the backstroke, but they certainly had the most fun on the inner tubes.

090506 Swim meet

Swim Meet

As you probably know, Ann has home schooled our children since kindergarten and continues to do so here in Chiang Mai. Although there are less resources here than she's had in the States, our kids have been blessed to participate in the extension services of a local international school. This program lets our kids use the library and participate in sports. So for the first time, our kids participated in a swim program, learning the crawl, breast, and back strokes. On Wednesday, the school had a swim meet. It featured all the traditional races, as well as more light-hearted events like inner tube racing, the t-shirt exchange, and the two-headed breast stroke.

090506 Swim meet

Jacen's team took first place in the inner tube relay.

Review: The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World is a short book (159 pages) overviewing several of the prominent and not-so-prominent characters in the reformation. Each chapter gives a few events from their lives, how they impacted the reformation, some of their theology, and their most prominent texts.

Overall, I am disappointed with this book, but I'm probably disappointed because I had high expectations for it. It had been described to me as a fun read, one where the author moved history out of the dusty-and-boring category and into the fun-and-interesting category. IMHO, the author did not achieve this; his writing style is not especially amazing, nor is his portrayal of the characters particularly interesting. And worse, because the book is so concise, events in the characters lives seem disjointed at times. For example, in the chapter on Calvin, he attempted to set the record straight on the events of Servetus' death, but he never took time to explain who Servetus was, what he did, and how Calvin had him put to death. Things like this make the book a bit fragmented at times.

Still, the book is worth reading, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the main characters of the reformation; it's a good jumping off spot, a pointer to interesting characters so you can go and find real biographies to read. But even though my 10 year old loves history and biographies, I won't be giving him this book just yet; it's just not that well written. Teens and adults, with a little motivation, should have no problem with this book and even benefit from it.

Interesting note: Amazon has a Kindle edition for $9.

Doi Suthep

The wat itself has even more shrines and statues as well as places to light candles, offer prayers, and listen to the instruction of monks. It is centered around a giant pagoda where the relic of Buddha's bone is supposed to be housed. More about Doi Suthep can be found here.

090501 Doi Suthep

Personally, I found Doi Suthep to be a very sad place. Worship was being given and petitions were being made, but not to the Creator God.

The courtyard of the Doi Suthep wat

Legend says that a monk found one of Buddha's bones, and at the invitation of a local king, but this magical relic on a white elephant, who was released into the jungle. Where the elephant stopped, they built a wat, a Buddhist temple, to house the relic.

The location has been built up over time to include a large, outer courtyard which houses a variety of different shrines, including some from Hinduism. Pilgrims and tourists alike wandered around the courtyard, looking at the various religious artifacts. There are several sets of bells, which supposedly bring good luck when rung.

090501 Doi Suthep

Up the mountain to Doi Suthep

One of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep, a wat (Buddhist temple) on the mountains just west of the city. I had the first of May off--it was Thai Labor Day--so we decided to visit the place for ourselves. Being on the side of a mountain, it was a rather steep drive, but it was also a great opportunity for a scenic view of Chiang Mai.

The wat is at the top of many stairs (over 300). At the base of the stairs vendors were hawking all sorts of stuff: food, paintings, t-shirts, jewelry, you name it. It reminded me of Jesus overturning the money changers' tables. I suppose if they used the worship of the Creator God to make money it shouldn't surprise me that do it for world religions.

090501 Doi Suthep

Once we past the vendors, we were ready to climb the stairs.

Epehsians chapter 3

After a hiatus, I have returned to my study of the book of Ephesians. This week I finally finished my translation of and commentary on chapter 3. Everything I've done in Ephesians is freely downloadable; it might be a helpful resource for your own study of Ephesians.