When the power goes out- an impromtu lesson in trust

Late last night two scared little girls gathered around me in the dark.  Our power went out around 10:30 pm and it was immediately stuffy and hot.  When the power is out we can’t run the pump to have water to flush, wash our hands or bathe.  The girls wandered out of their room, scared because of the dark, the heat and the quiet.

After a day of no power the first week they were here, and after an afternoon of no electricity on Thursday due to a large truck failing to get around a tight corner and taking out a power pole, our girls know what a power outage means-

Rule #1: Don’t put your TP in the toilet.
Rule #2: Don’t flush.
Rule #3: Don’t wash your hands.
Rule #4: Don’t open the fridge.

And the Fact the remains in the forefront of everyone’s mind: IT IS GOING TO BE HOT.

As they clamored for attention I felt myself getting snippy with them- I was sweating and harried, and I didn’t really relish the idea of enduring a hot night myself, especially if it was going to be fraught with interruptions.

Realizing that my own attitude was going to escalate the problem, we sat down to pray.  First, I explained to the girls what a privilege having electricity is, and how many, many, many people go through their lives without it.  I explained how it has only been in the last century and a half that people have gotten used to it, and how for years and years little girls just like them have been sleeping in the Philippines without air conditioning or even fans.

I could tell they were calming down.  I heard Button’s little voice that had been so worried and cross before say cheerfully, “Yes!  People have lived like this for a long time!  It’s ok.”

I reminded the girls of a devotion that we read recently that encouraged us to find something good that God might be doing even when things look bad.

We took turns praying.  Squeaky started off by asking for God’s help to trust Him even when bad things happen.  Button continued, offering up her little voice in petition to God that He would perhaps allow the electricity to come back on but help her trust Him in the meantime.  They both thanked God for all the times we’ve had electricity and didn’t appreciate it enough.

As we finished praying we sat quietly chatting in the dark.  Their voices were more cheerful now and even though the sweat was dripping down my face I felt a tiny breeze float in through the window and as I thanked the Lord for it my spirit was lifted.

Just as I was settling the girls on the living room floor where they’d catch a bit of a breeze the power came back on.  Oh, that moment when the power comes back on.  It brings a huge feeling of tentative relief- tentative because often it will roar to life only to go off again moments later and plunge everything in darkness again.  We collectively held our breath for a moment or two, then sighed with relief as it stayed on.  The girls were cheering and praising God for His answer to prayer.

They bounced off to bed, delighted.  I returned to my room, relishing the cool air drifting down from the noisy air conditioner.  As I climbed into bed I prayed and thanked the Lord for God’s loving hand that allowed the electricity to come back on just as two little girls and one mommy prayed for more faith to trust Him.

I thought of this verse, especially the part that says, “When he calls to me, I will answer him:”

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.  Psalm 91:14-15

This time His answer was, “Yes, right away.”

Sweet Reunions

One little perk of living in two or even three locations is that when we move around we usually leave a little box of toys behind.  Now, the leaving behind part is not the perk (just ask my kids), but the finding of the box upon return is wonderful!

This week our girls were reacquainted with a few special things they said goodbye to about 10 months ago.

Miss Muffet was super excited to see her talking photo album from her Easton relatives.

Winnie really wanted to see her “little blue drawers” again and her mouse family.

Button received Elizabeth the cat as a gift from the her doctor when she was hospitalized for dengue.
Squeaky was reunited with her beloved Baby Bear (who is quickly becoming a favorite with Miss Muffet)!

April Fool’s Day at our House

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day.

This was the first year our kids really got into it.  I wondered to myself if it isn’t basically just a “I can lie and get away with it” day, but when I asked the kids if they were lying they assured me “No, no, it’s just a joke.”  That’s one thing I’m still trying to wrap my head around since I’ve been a mother- what is the difference between a lie and joke sometimes?  Hmm.

Anyway, I digress…

Squeaky came rushing up to me in my bedroom yesterday morning and emphatically declared, “Mommy!  Daddy’s outside going around the block on a motorcycle!”  In unison Button excitedly yelped, “Mommy!  Daddy’s outside going around the block on a horse!”

Now, I had forgotten what day it was, so they actually had me going for a second.  Dennis wasn’t in the room so it was possible that he had gone outside, jumped on a motorcycle (our neighbor/friend owns one) and was going around the block, but I thought it highly unlikely that he was on a horse.  “Horse?!” I asked.

Button quickly corrected herself, “Oh, I mean, motorcycle.”

After a few more seconds of me trying to figure out what they were talking about they giggled and chirped, “April Fool’s, Mommy!!!”

And that was the beginning.

They told Winnie that there was an elephant on our porch and she believed them- running to look out our front door.

Winnie told me that she wanted a certain type of cereal for breakfast and just as I reached for the box she crowed, “April Fool’s, Mommy, I don’t want that kind!” and dissolved into fits of laughter.

When I told Winnie she could eat candy all day she looked at me with a skeptical eye and said disdainfully, “April Fool.”

I tried to tell her there was a turtle on the front porch but she was much too smart to fall for that a second time.

And so the day went on at our house- many attempts at fooling and not a whole lot of success.  The girls sure had fun though.  I had to remind them that Filipinos don’t know about April Fool’s Day so please don’t try to play any tricks on your friends at Sunday School.

On the way home from church in the taxi I overheard Button say, “No, you can’t say that in here!  That is an April Fool’s joke and there is a Filipino in here!”

Caroling

We were surprised a few days ago when the little gaggle of neighborhood girls invited Squeaky and Button to go around with them and carol. Now, I’m sure that for most of you Christmas caroling conjures up some images:

people of all ages
boots and mittens and scarves
stomping to warm up feet
standing on dark porches or outside front doors
singing while your breath freezes in the air
carols set way too high to reach those high notes
a few cookies and some hot chocolate afterwards… perhaps?

It’s a little different here. Aside from being in a tropical climate where the normal caroling attire is shorts and flip flops, caroling here is typically only done by children and they do it every night- sometimes for the entire month of December until the 25th. Our neighborhood children started it just over a week before Christmas instead of on Dec. 1. Here, it seems to be a little money making venture for the kids. They expect candies and pesos after they sing. Usually one person will collect the money for the group and it is divided up amongst the carolers at the end of the night.
I’ve noticed that they basically sing 2 or 3 little songs, the most popular being “Joy to the World,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Most of them carry little plastic instruments of some variety and joyfully play along. At the end they sing a little thank you song before they run off giggling to the next home.

Thank you, thank you
Ang babait ninyo
Thank you!

“Ang babait ninyo” translates into, “you are kind.” Kindness is based on whether the person at the house gave them candies and money or not. If they don’t give enough then the song goes like this:

Thank you, thank you
Ang babarat ninyo
Thank you!

…which translates to… “you are so stingy.”

Scholastic Pursuits by a 3 year old (and other random things)

It was a big day for Button one day last week when she drew an “A” for the first time. We are so pleased that she stuck with it and made several really good letters. She hasn’t had much interest in trying to learn to write and doesn’t have the patience for coloring usually, but this past week she’s shown improvement in both areas. I’m really happy for her, because I know how much it will help her in the future! I’m hoping to have a little school time with her this fall while Squeaky has kindergarten.

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And lest you think that all is normalcy and boring-ness in our home:

Rarr

In our home, rarring is the biggest insult. The girls will sit around the table and Winnie will say a little tiny “rarr”. Immediately the other girls will protest loudly, “She rarred at me!!!” Winnie was the brains behind this pasttime. She started it about two months ago (probably after hearing one of her sisters roar) and she does it daily. I’ve tried different tactics in dealing with this family crisis. At first it was just funny. Then the girls started getting so upset by it that I tried to keep Winnie from doing it, but that seemed ridiculous too. So then I told the girls to just do it back to her.

Winnie can dish it out but she can’t take it. She starts it but the moment one of the other girls rarr back at her she accusingly exclaims, “Mommy! Ael rarred!” or, “No! Aia rarred!” The other day after she started it I quietly roared at her. “No, Mommy,” she said. Then I roared a little louder. “Noooo, Mommy!” she said. I couldn’t resist- I did it again. A big one that made her jump. She burst into tears and didn’t stop crying for 10 minutes. It ruined her whole day.

Poor little thing. It didn’t stop her. Last night she rarred again. So we got it on video for posterity.
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