MYANMAR - Monk leader U Gambira arrested

There has been a tugging at my heart, a longing and a yearning to go to the Karen refugee camps on the Burma/Thai border.

Why is it that we here in the West are sheltered from the needs of real people in S.E. Asia? Is it only me? Am I watching the wrong news?

Why was it that in the late '80's all I heard about was Cambodia?

Why did I think Asia's troubles were over after Vietnam?

Don't think that what's happening in Burma doesn't affect me, or that it doesn't affect you.

My children have Vietnamese cousins because of the Vietnam War and all of the immigration it spurred.

Will my Grandchildren be Burmese/Americans? Or Laos/Americans?

I don't want to be sheltered in my big warm house where I have too much food in my cupboards.

My heart is being tugged and pulled. I want to see these refugees with my own eyes and capture their beautiful faces with my own lens.

I want to share these images with you.

It is just not that far away.

To think that I was only a few hours away less than a year ago.

It's stunning.

I almost crossed the border.

If I had more time I would have crossed.

The Karen are beautiful people. Warm, caring, compassionate, beautiful, hospitable. They are like you and me. No, they are better. They are more generous even though they have less to give.

Tomorrow I will wake up and send my children off to school where they will consume too many papers, do crafts, learn music, use fancy electronics.

While a Karen child will sit on a bamboo slat floor w/ 100 other children and only one piece of chalk and slate to share between all of them.


Free Burma!

A friend sent me this You-tube link.

Free Burma.

Burma needs Democracy. Now....


What it was like for some detainees in Burma

morning walkI don't watch very much t.v., and if I do it is not the News. It seems like most of the news I read is in my local newspaper or what I see on the screen on my yahoo homepage.

Here's the e-mail I got from my savvy friend, then I checked out the following link. It won't take much of your time so I encourage you to click on the link at the bottom of the post.

"Hey there,

I just thought I would pass along this article. It does a very good job telling what it is currently like inside Burma, and also the conditions the detainees faced.

From what our casual research has shown, there are still hundreds, if not thousands of monks, unaccounted for... The 1998 military crackdown by this government was much more bloody than Tiennaman Square, but of course, it happened in much more darkness.


It's important to note that many young men in Thailand and Burma go through Buddhist Monk training. You could say it would be similar to a "right of passage" or what Mormon young men do in early adulthood.

Look closely at the picture at the top of the post. You can see the monks taking their morning alms are YOUNG MEN. It would be my guess, and I am guessing, that it is and was YOUNG BUDDHIST MEN who are protesting the Myanmar Military Dictatorship.

Here's more:


Pictures of Buddhist monks shaking their fists at riot police in Myanmar (formerly Burma) have landed on the front pages of North American newspapers and scrambled some Western stereotypes.
These are not the blissed-out meditators of Western imagination. Generally pacifistic, but far from passive, Buddhists have a long history of social activism in Asia.

Monks held court with ancient Tibetan kings, and in Japan, lay Soka Gakkai Buddhists bankrolled their own political party.
"I think we misperceive Buddhism as a sort of stereotypically quietistic and world-renouncing religion, which has never been the case," says Donald K. Swearer, a visiting professor of Buddhist studies at Harvard Divinity School.

In Myanmar, many young men join the monkhood, which counts some 400,000 members, for a short time and maintain close ties to mainstream society. As society's moral exemplars, they work to alleviate the suffering of others.
That's why they took to the streets in droves last month to protest rising fuel prices.

Dissident groups in Myanmar say some 200 protesters have been killed, according to The Associated Press, and more than 4,000 have been rounded up and imprisoned.
When Buddhism was imported to the West, Americans favoured a more individualized Buddhism, concentrating on meditation and personal discipline.

The rising profiles of the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn have sparked a more socially engaged Buddhism in the West."

from: Religion News Service


Road Trip and a Bit of History

Mt St Helen's 10-23-07Took a roadtrip today. To get to this spot from my house takes about an hour, slightly less. Clearly, it's worth the drive. My goal in going up to the mountain was to get a nice portrait of it w/ some Fall foliage. I had taken many shots before this one, but when I got to this Viewpoint I knew I had nailed it!

You are looking at the North/Northwest flank of the volcano. The north side completely sluffed off into the biggest landslide in recorded history. You may have seen some ash in 1980. Even though I lived so close the winds blew East and went around the world before dumping on my hometown. I remember riding my bike w/ a dust mask on!!!!

Also, straight below you can see some water, that is where the Toutle River starts, which flows into the Cowlitz River, which flows into the Columbia and then the Ocean. If it weren't for the dikes around where I live our town would have flooded.

I don't think you can see a steam emmision here but there was a tiny one while I was there. The mountain has been active again since Oct. 2004.

This photo was taken from outside the official Mt. St. Helen's National Volcanic Monument area but is still within the Blast Zone as you can tell if you look Large.

This was a place that I visited often until the eruption. My parents took my brother and I camping up here, we fished in Spirit Lake (which is no more) and we picked wild huckleberries to put in our pancakes. We would pick so many we'd have to freeze them.

Just a bit'o history today folks.....


Message from Chiang Mai Thailand & the Myanmar Border

Hey Mary Ann,

I'm glad you sent me your blog. Most of the staff who work here at Ban San Fan are Karen and I have been to vist two of their homes. The Karen people are some of the most generous people I have ever met and those I work with are continualy blessing me. Ro's family, who I had the privilege of visting two weeks ago, all came from Burma (Myanmar). Her parents moved to
Thailand when they were around my age (mid twenties) and Ro was born in Thailand. They still live fairly closs to the border. We went to vist Ro's family for her friend's wedding (I'm sending a few pictures).

All the time I was there, as an on looker of both their joy and their (very real life), I was treated with the greatest of kindness. The Karen people are truly a beautiful people. I join you in your prayers for them.

God bless,Danielle

P.S. I am also sending a picture of some rice filds in a valley near Ro's home that I took with you in mind because you wanted one so much in January. I hope you like it.

***Danielle was one of the people that went on our mission trip in january 2007. She loved it so much that she went back in may 2007 for a year. She is helping @ an orphanage in Chiang Mai called Ban San Faan.

Chiang Mai is near the border of Myanmar (Burma) and there are refugee camps along that border, please go to Partners Relief and Development for more information.

***All photos taken by Danielle or Ro.


National Do Not Call List

grandma mary on the phone by TSE
National Do Not Call List

Rumor? Just heard that cell phone #'s will be given out to telemarketers. It is very easy to register all of your phone #'s online. ****UPDATE*** Checked the do not call website and it states that it is illegal for telemarketers to call cell phones. However, I listed my cell phone anyway! The last thing I want is getting these types of call on my cell!!!****

You can also do it by phone but you have to call from the phone that you are registering. The # is 888-382-1222.

It is very easy and only takes seconds. I had registered my home phone a few years ago but not I'm getting LOTS of calls so I re-registered.

If you are registered and after 30 days companies are still calling you, go to the National Do Not Call website w/ that companies name and/or phone #.

Please feel free to link this post and forward it to all of your friends! None of us wants telemarketers calling our cell phones as you will be billed for receiving the call.


The Real Burma

meyers and papa d overlooking tachilek town in myanmar, the northern most point in thailandHey friends! I just bought a book that I thought you all might want to hear about.

Did you know that the political dissidence happening in Myanmar (Burma) is nothing new? The Burmese millitary has one of the top land armies in the world. Know what they are doing with that land army? Oppressing their own people, and even more, they are systematically killing the Karen people.


Didn't know about it?

Well, thanks to the monks and the students protesting recently, the problem actually made it to the mainstream media.

Don't ask me why its been kept under cover for such a long time. I'm not political enough to know those answers.

However, I know that human life is much to precious for a people group to be exterminated. Unfortunately that type of behavior didn't end with the holocaust.

One of the highlights to our trip to Thailand was a visit to a Karen village. That is where we went on an elephant ride to a Karen church.

See, the Karen migrated from China, down into Burma, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. In fact, there are more Karen people in Burma than Thailand.

Such a beautiful people. Such wonderful smiles and joy. To think that just a few hundred miles away from where I stood at this church were more beautiful people like these being forced to flee for their lives into refugee camps.

I met Steve Gumar a few years ago when he spoke @ my church about his ministry. He risks life and limb, going into the trenches of land mined areas with his helpers. They are like warriors communicating with walkie talkies or something like that....keeping each other posted on the millitary action that's taking place all around them.

On his website I read that a man he knew quite well was brutally murdered in April. You can read that story on his website. http://partnersworld.org/index.html

We can't know everything that goes on in the world. We can't save everyone. But we can pray, we can educate ourselves and we can care.

Again, what's happening in Burma has been going on for two decades or more.

I bought this book that Steve's wife wrote. I didn't even know she wrote a book! http://partnersworld.org/usa_cart/product_info.php?products_id=32

I bought a t-shirt too, a pink one. I thought it would be good to support his work there and that possibly people would ask about the shirt and then I could tell them what little I know about what's happening in Myanmar.

If i was a good spitter I could have spit on Myanmar soil last January.

This is a real place.just like it says, the northern most of thailand

It is a real country.

These are real people.two old women in the karen church

They are suffering.

They are being persecuted.

They are being systematically destroyed.

The lucky ones make it to refugee camps but even these aren't safe.

I'm not asking you to save the world, nor do anything, just read about it. Know it's real and tell people about it.

washing the dishes tribal style


Popularity Syndrome

This morning I realized that my son is suffering from a not too uncommon disease called the POPULARITY SYNDROME. I have had many health problems but never this one. I can't recall anyone in my family having it although on his Dad's side there is at least one cousin who has enough symptoms to fit in this category.

It is causing him quite a bit of stress and anxiety. Often the symptoms of this disorder are quite easy for him to handle, and the first time we noticed the underlying anxiety that coincides w/ this disease was last school year. For my son, the hardest time to deal with the syndrome is at school. Primarilly, when the teacher lets the students pick their own partners. Everyone, or most everyone, shouts his name and waves his/her hand. They compete against each other for his attention in hopes that he will choose them for the "special" honor of being his partner.

My son tries and tries to cope with this situation, always hoping and praying that God will intervene into his plight by convincing his teacher to choose the children's partners for them. He is convinced that this will alleviate all the pressure and stress that mounts as the kids shout and wave at him.

This morning before school he was especially distressed about his disorder. We talked about many different aspects of the symptoms of this disease. In particular, the shouting, waving and yelling of other people around him. He was expressing his frustration and I could see in his face that he was really quite disturbed about the whole thing. Wanting him to feel validated, I told him that it would only be natural for a person to feel anxiety and be incredibly frustrated at the shouting, waving and yelling. I told him that he really should ellicit his teacher's help in trying to deal with this very real problem.

At that very moment, I realized the discomfort that one with this disorder suffers. I felt much compassion for him even though this was nothing that I, a poor humble person, had ever experienced. Just about the same time that I was having this realization he looked at me with a sorrowful face.

"You know what I do?" he said.

"No, what? Tell me!" I said with anticipation.....

"I pick the last person," he said.

"That's a great idea." I replied, quite shocked.

After he walked out the door for school I remembered this saying: The last shall go first and the first shall go last.

Wow, I thought. How often I think that the troubles in my life are meaningless, worthless, tiresome and irritating. But yet, so often they are used, if we allow them, to teach us lessons. Lessons, not only about ourselves, but about the human condition and how it relates to God.

"Just a child...." I thought. How did he know that this was God's own strategy at the spiritual competition that man pits against one another. Humbled again, as I so often am with the simplicity that children have, I was greatful. In that moment, I was greatful for my son's "syndrome" and all of the trials it would bring him, and the lessons too.

"Wait!" I shouted after him.

I gave him a hug and looked into his eyes. "You know what?! God has given you a gift. I'm sorry that it's hard," I said hugging him. "I know it's not easy. Please try to have patience with the others," I added, "and all the shouting and waving. And, it's o.k. to be frustrated. Just ask for help. Your teacher will help you, that's her job. Will you tell her how you feel?"

Really, I think that's the hardest part: the asking for help part. I guess I'll have to wait until he gets home from school to find out what the Teacher said. The teacher will help, I know it.....the good one's always do.


my voice 8/8/07

I chose a new ear/nose/throat doctor that i will go see on thursday. I had to take three medicines which was really rough but i am done w/ them now. Just waiting to see what the next step is.....


where oh where have i been?

Well folks, i've been tired. I've been wondering why.

I haven't been taking pictures, I've been wondering about that too.

I lost my voice, well it's very hoarse anyway. So, of course I've been wondering about that.

Last week I found out that I have a cyst on my left vocal chord the size of a quarter and it is causing it to be paralyzed. Why is there? I don't have a clue. I also have another cyst but i wasn't paying close enough attention and i don't know exactly where that one is or how big it is.

I am on three lovely drugs to see if they will help. Prednisone and a antiviral horse pill for 10 days and a double whammy antibiotic for twenty days.

Yesterday i had a cat scan of my chest. and monday i will have one of the soft tissue of my throat.

Today there is pressure in my right ear, it feels like it needs to pop. You know when your ear is plugged and you can hear your breathing bounce off the ear drum? Yuup, that's what it's like. Doesn't hurt though.

The cyst doesn't hurt either. It did, back at the end of May. Thought I had strep. But it doesn't hurt now. Just feels like I need to hock up a loogie all the time. That's the only thing the Doc said not to do: Don't clear your throat. Well, I didn't realize how much i was doing it until I had to start stopping myself!

That's all for now, I am very tired. I just don't have any energy.


the moral of the story here is THINK BEFORE YOU STEAL

for fear of giving up blogging altogether i'm going to be become a photoblogger for awhile.

to find out more about this pic go here



you're just a defenseless woman

boy that was a very long camping trip was it not?

no, actually we had a great time, i just came home and started a week of menstrual migraines that coincided with my kids' spring break. nice, huh? yeah, pretty sucky.

the kids caught 77, no i've been corrected. 78 salamanders in le pond de leroy. max-ay even said it didn't feel like camping because we slept in an old, run-down single-wide mobile home instead of a tent! man, i ruined that kid when i took him dry camping @ rialto beach and had him poop over a board last summer!!
going on a salamander hunt

i knew i would spend the kids' spring break in pain, getting over pain, or feeling the effects of drugs, so that's one of the reasons why we did something fun as soon as spring break started.

i must say, however, that even though i had four migraines that the pain level itself wasn't as bad as it has been in the past. i think the botox is helping with that.

one of the things i have noticed that has been surprising to me is now that the pain factor is more under control, is how distressing my other symptoms are. most importantly, lethargy, foggy thinking and especially sensitivity to noise. i didn't think i was sensitive to light but i've been noticing that more as well. i guess i've learned that migraines are not just pain. they are a whole set of symptoms that happen as a result of defunct activity in the brain.

nice huh?

don't ya just wish i could reach in my brain, flip a switch and make everything all better.

that's just not in the cards for me.

back to spring break~

i got a major project done in the midst of the migraine crap. i de-crapped the boys' bedroom. we rearranged beds, went through clothes, toys and closet. completely de-crapped the place. man did that feel good. so now, everyday, we are trying to stay on top of it. or i should say THEY are staying on top of it. the rule is: clothes, toys picked up and bed made before they get to watch t.v., etc.

so far, so good.

also i got my third round of botox last thursday. since i couldn't count on myself to be able to drive, i had my parents take me to Portland for the 5 min. procedure. max-ay was the only one brave enough to watch his mommy get shots in her head!! :P

(i just love it that i'm so tough~)

i told the kids before we left: Who wants to watch mommy be a super hero?

the girl immediately cringed and almost vomited.

the baby tried to stay in the room but panicked last minute and left.

max-ay was my super hero. but he hasn't really talked about what he saw. either it was no big deal or he was traumatized.

then, my parents took us all to the zoo. it was a remarkably warm day for the Pacific Northwest. mid-70's. we had a great time and my parents loved going. i took lots of photos so check them out: www.flickr.com/photos/cameradawktor

of course, i got a migraine by the time it was over but i was expecting that. THAT'S WHY I HAD MY PARENTS DRIVE!!!!

however, my injection kicked in by the time i got home and i was able to go out to dinner @ the Thai restaraunt with the family.

i ate a burger
potential installment for the next edition of "Everybody Poops"

now that was mean of me wasn't it??

i have something else that's been rolling around in my brain but i'll save that for my next post. i've been spending so much time on my pictures over at flickr that i've really neglected my blog.

oh! this is very exciting. i am taking the train to Seattle next weekend. i've been asked to shoot photos for a 2008 calendar benefitting MEOW. it's a non-profit group that works w/ cat rescue.

my gradeschool chum and fellow flickr friend www.flickr.com/photos/stephjaychrisben hooked me up w/ this group that she works with. actually, she asked a bunch of these people if they wanted to buy my 2007 calendar and they said, can she make a calendar about animals? so they stole my calendar fundraising idea and asked me to volunteer to shoot the photos.

i am so excited, wish me luck!!


see ya in a few days

see ya in a few days
Originally uploaded by cameradawktor.
o.k., doea anyone know how to analyze handwriting?

does it tell you that i'm a freak?




hmm....you'll have to let me know about that....

so this is my kids' spring break, they have been home 2 hours now. we are packing up to go here
misty morning @ camp le pond de roy

the crazy guy who was renting le pond de leroy's place is moved out. so w/ weather being unpredictable until july here in good 'ol SW Washington, we can safely go have fun and stay in their mobile home. the Mister just called and said i won't even recognize it and that the woodstove is going and wood is piled up on the porch!


when it gets a little warmer out we can pitch tents but we will try sleeping in the mobile. the Misses is going with us and she should be here any minuite.

o.k., that was her calling so i have to finish loading my truck.

anywhoo, her Mister and my Mister are going here
where my hubby is spending his next guys' weekend

so i thought that since it's spring break, instead of sitting around home
new stucco
that we should go have some fun like this
this is a preview to how we spent our afternoon.  here's a hint: if we were trying to exhaust our kid and his friend....it WORKED!!!
(at least we can only hope that this will occur.........) hehehe......


birthdays, sassy girls, and chocolate peanut-butter pie

Meyers D had a low key but enjoyable birthday yesterday. It's amazing that she's 11 now!

She made her own Peanut-Butter birthday pie:

1 ready made grahm cracker crust
8oz. cream cheese softened
1c. granulated sugar
1c. creamy peanut butter
8oz. cool whip thawed
1 can Betty Crocker Fudge Frosting

Cream the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Mix in peanut butter well and then fold in whipped topping.

Pour into grahm cracker crust and freeze until set.

Once set, spread Fudge Frosting over the top. Serve when pie is not frozen and cuttable. VERY RICH and delicious!!!
let's hope she's wishing for something i can afforddon't ask don't tell...(at least when it comes to cheating with your best-friend's pie)it's great when your kid can make their own birthday cake


the not so beautiful before

the not so beautiful before
Originally uploaded by cameradawktor.
o.k., if you read a few posts ago you will know that i was realling fighting depression. not so much with my thoughts, but with my body. i was soo sooo tired, like a 1,000 lb. elephant was sitting on me. sometimes it was like i couldn't even move.

i had no energy to take my kids anywhere, let alone even tie my shoes. i was able to stay out of bed but the chair and the couch in front of the t.v. really got to know my butt, if you know what i mean.

i decided not to see how long before it would pass and made a doctor appt. for the 26th. but, in the meantime, i decided to stop taking a vitamin i had been taking for the last 6 weeks. my neurologist thought i might want to try co q 10 to see if it would help get my migraine frequency down. at first i stopped taking pictures, which at the time, i thought i was just giving myself a break.

then after a month, and switching to a different brand, i started to get tired. tasks became much more difficult but i was forcing myself to get through them. i started thinking about how nice it would be to lie in my bed but during the middle of the day. during this, however, i was able to fight through it.

then, during my "womanly time" ( :) ) i had absolutely no energy. i couldn't get anything done and my emotions were just so flat, devoid of feelings. i thought i was just having an extra difficult week and would feel better when the "time" had passed.


i knew i needed to go for a walk and get fresh air and i couldn't even imagine walking across the room to put my shoes on.

that's when i knew that i was definitely having a low cycle (depressive episode).

but, because my thinking wasn't dangerous or distorted i thought i could wait it out.

realizing though that i had started a new batch of vitamins before the bottom fell out i decided to stop taking them. that was sunday. the very next day i felt so much better and by tuesday i was back to my great old self.

today is thursday and despite feeling pretty tired every once in a while, the 1,000 lb. elephant is gone.

i will still go to my doctor's appt though as i am trying to break the bad habit of doctoring myself, which has never gotten me anywhere and most of the time made me worse off.

i am so greatful that i am feeling better and am having lots of fun taking pictures again. my husband bought me a new mobile phone that has a 2mg. camera. it also has an mp3 player which i have never had before. so i have been having a good time trying to figure out how to download songs onto it.

to sum it all up, i will leave you with this stylish picture of my new haircut! haha.... the after (after depression lifts) is always so much sweeter than the not so beautiful before.... (THIS IS MY WORD FOR THE DAY!)

btw: if you don't get anything that i have talked about that 's good. it means you've never experienced it so consider yourself lucky!!!

the much more lovely after

slam dunk, do you wanna play?

slam dunk
Originally uploaded by cameradawktor.
my friend sent me an e-mail that you send to other people asking them to describe you in one word. it was pretty encouraging to me as this is what i got back: artistic, courageous and intuitive. you can leave me a word in the comments if you want to play too and i'll give you one back if you play in a post and let me know about it.

here's what i was sent:

This ought to be interesting. Be kind. :)
>>>> >
>>>> >The Game is on !!!
>>>> >
>>>> >Describe me in one word.... just one single word. Send it to me
and to
>>>> >me only.
>>>> >
>>>> >Then send this message to your friends and see how many strange &
>>>> >interesting things they say about you. This is really fun.
>>>> >
>>>> >Here's how:
>>>> >
>>>> >1. Hit the reply key and send me my one word.
>>>> >
>>>> >2. Then return to this message, and forward it to your friends
>>>> >(including
>>>> >me) and see what people say about you when limited to one word !!!
>>>> >
>>>> >The Game is On !!!!
>>>> >

are you gonna play????


i've been fighting it...

Well, I really have neglected this blog for a while, but maybe it's time I was more dilligent about posting.

This really is not the greatest time for me to pick it back up, but really, that's the whole purpose of my blog.

It's been sneaking back up on me, and i've been fighting it...but depression is trying to get a strangle grip around my neck again.

I say my neck because it cuts off my circulation which makes me quite lethargic and sleepy...which more than anything, is what i am fighting.

It started a few weeks ago. I had so much energy (which looking back was probably a mild hypomanic swing, because that's what it looks like w/ my bipolar symptoms) and I was getting great projects done around the house. Lots of painting, organizing, etc. I really am not a lazy person although I struggle w/ periods of non-activity.

Then my tasks started to get less easy, and I had to put mental effort into them and break them into smaller pieces. I told myself to get one thing done and I obeyed! Then I would tell myself to do something else. That's the point really, is that I started having to tell myself to get things done.

Then a week and a half ago or two I was starting my cycle. I felt really tired but and completely lethargic but I marked it off as all due to my menstrual cycle. And during it, I had to take numerous shots for my migraines and felt like I had been hit by a mac truck, but I slated that as due to the medications.

So when my cycle ended and I didn't return to my great old self, I began to realize that there may be more to this than mere sluggish-ness. In fact yesterday the ODDEST thing happened. I was having coffee with a friend and all of a sudden it felt like I had taken two percocet. My hearing was like it was in stereo and then as it subsided I felt like I was floating. My friend was really worried about me driving home, and honestly, I was too. But I have driven on percocet before, and I didn't have the kids with me, nor was it very far to go.

So I canceled all my plans for the day and drove home, VERY CAREFULLY!

I don't think I got anything done.

Thankfully, my husband doesn't care what state I'm in as long as I'm not in pain. So I guess that's a good thing.

I'm tempted to wait and talk to my doctor about it if it gets worse. But why would I want to feel worse?

I'm tempted to wait things out, because my downward spin always goes upward. So, if it stays this mild and my thinking doesn't get low, I could try to wait it out.

The plus to starting an anti-depressant is that I could start one that's helpful with pain and it could help my migraines.

The minus is that there's usually weight gain involved and I fear I've already put on a bit of weight. I know I have over the past half dozen months, but I fear I've put on more since the first of the year. If I start to feel really bad I will not have a choice, weight or no I have to take care of myself.

But, if this turns out to be mild like it has been and short lived, I may be able to get by w/out it.

Decisions, decisions.

But today I've just been fighting it....


why i love the smell of cow poop

Allright, Jana read my questions below and wanted an explanation of why i love the smell of cow poop.

It's really quite simple.

Before I was born, or my Mom even got married, her dad died. He had built my grandmother a house on some acreage in a rural area. They had a garden area, seasonal pond, pie cherry trees, mile long driveway, old barn and a handful of cows.

Because my Grandmother had no man around the house to do upkeep on the "farm" my parents would spend a lot of time on the weekends out there helping her out. I absolutely ADORED my grandmother, being outdoors and mucking around the farm. I loved helping her feed the cows.

Now, everytime I pass by a farm I have to roll down the windows and take a big whiff. Naturally, the smell that I detect is the strongest one: cow poop.

It reminds me of my grandmother.....sort of like apple pie would remind you of home....

A little bit about me...

New Questions

> 1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? nope, i am an original!


> 3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I've seen better...

> 5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? one girl and two boys

> 7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? what do you think??? :)

> 9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No way, no how!
> 10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? fruit loops but i really don't eat them anymore

> 11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? yes, but pretty much all of my shoes are slip ons, mom's don't have time to tie...

> 12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? no, but i must be to put up w/ the crap i have to...

> 13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? tillamook chocolate peanut butter

> 15. RED OR PINK? red is my favorite color...

> 17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? my grandmother
> 18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? i am not sending this, i'm posting it...

> 19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Not wearing pants! grey sweats and no shoes

> 20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? cracklin' bran w/ blueberries and rice milk

> 21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? regis and kelly in the other room


> 23. FAVORITE SMELLS? cow poop....long story...

> 24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? monika from an interior design store in town

> 25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? yes but i haven't seen her since high school
> 26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? my kids playing soccer

> 27. HAIR COLOR? Brownish blackish

> 28. EYE COLOR? Hazel.

> 30. FAVORITE FOOD? thai food

> 32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? cast away


> 34. SUMMER OR WINTER? summer

> 35. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses, but depends on whose doing the hugging or the kissing...
> 36. FAVORITE DESSERT? chocolate peanut butter cheesecake
> 37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? really don't know who reads this blog anymore... suzanne r???



> 40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? don't have one...


> 42. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOUND? the birds that have returned this spring


> 44. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? photography
> 45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? longview, washington

> 46. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Everybody - it's fun to learn new things about my friends.


Mercy House

Mercy House
Originally uploaded by cameradawktor.
Mercy House is the place that most tugged on my heart during our Thailand trip. It is a dormitory for tribal kids overseen by a Thai church. There are about 25 girls and one boy living there at the present time. These kids are without DAILY adult supervision and are visited by a representative of the church once or twice a week.

These kids are amazing and clearly enjoyed being showered with attention by adults!

The girls rotate taking turns waking up before dawn to walk to their outdoor cooking area. When we were there, they had two pots to cook their meals in and the roof leaked! Our church is going to fund a new cooking area for them and I hope to get them some better cooking gear!

the outdoor eating and cooking area at mercy house

we took them some KFC as they rarely get to eat meat and they just LOVE KFC!! (And yes, KFC in Thailand tastes just like home...)
mercy house's favorite treat
doing a cultural dance for us at mercy house

The girls did some dances for us, a fashion show (which was the cutest thing ever!) and sang some songs in their tribal languages. Two of the girls from our team, Bethany and Lacey, did their dance for them and we had a prayer time with them. Lori and I really wanted to get back and visit them again but we just didn't have the chance.

Visiting Mercy House, we learned that many Thai people have a calloused attitude toward tribal kids. Evidentally, the church that oversees their care feels like since the tribal kids had "nothing" while in their tribe, that they need nothing but the bare necessities now. Personally, i think adult supervision IS a necessity and that's something these kids don't have.

Even so, these girls are amazing....going to school, leaving their families and cultures, washing and cooking for themselves...

It is so exciting to me to see these tribal children get an opportunity for an education. It's just such a shame that this cannot happen for them in their tribes. But, some of the tribes are still nomadic and move their villages for crop rotation.

I hope and pray that these kids will not be so enamored with city life that they abandon their tribes. Living in the city gives them an opportunity to see what the rest of the world is like and hopefully they will take their knowledge and skills back to benefit their tribes either by advocating for them or living with them.

I also pray that these kids will hang onto their tribal and cultural traditions so that the beauty of their cultures will not be lost. I also hope that the lure of Western Society doesn't strip these beautiful tribal cultures of their rich identity....
these girls really love to have their pictures taken


Visiting a Thai School

English Class for 8th Graders
There is a couple at my church that performs songs and puppetry at public schools called Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth. So one of the things we did was visit a Thai Christian School of 2100 kids. The photo here is of an 8th grade English class that Papa D and I visited.

Roger - Also Known As the 8th Grade English Teacher

They were totally your typical teenagers! It was great. In working with the kids I found how important it is to have a native English speaker teaching them English. That's one of the reasons that Western teachers are so sought after in college programs, especially. We learned that we could get a job overnight in a University just with a Bachelor's degree. And, since Papa D and I both have them (I am 12 credits shy of my Master's in Ed.), we came home dreaming of working in Thailand!!
the buck and elizabeth show goes to thailand
When we got done in our English class, we got back to the performance area and saw this sight! We were so shocked to see shy Meyers D standing in front of 400-500 kids singing songs she had just learned! We were so proud of her boldness!!
One of the things I loved most about visiting the school, was seeing so many of the kids wearing their traditional tribal clothing. That was so marvelous and impressive, as well as important. I'm sure that I've expressed this already. But one of the things that I feel is so critical in Thailand, is for the tribal people to hold onto their culture and traditions as they begin to assimilate more into the modern culture. When I go back to Thailand, either short term or longterm, this would be one of my focuses and missions in encouraging the tribal children to not abandon their culture.
child from the yao or mien tribe
tribal child at sahartsuska school
pretty in pink
This is just a slice of some of the tribal dress you would see in Northern Thailand.
I leave you with some of my favorite pictures taken at the school.

*Karen child with Joe & Terry
experiencing one of the satisfying moments of life


More on the New Life Center

a beautiful, confident and capable new life center girl
So back to the New Life Center girls...
The girls go to school in shifts, with some going during the morning and others during the evening. So we went there twice!

The second time we went there we met this young lady. She was super confident. She grabbed me right away and showed me her tribal dress that she had emoroidered HERSELF!! Wow! I was impressed by her character. I think she has serious leadership qualities. Just another reason why these young ladies need to be encouraged to pursue their degrees AND go back to their tribes to be involved in helping their culture to survive in today's world.

new life center 6
The girls put on a dance with dresses from all of their different tribes. Their dresses were wonderful and I took portraits of all of them and put them on flickr. These girls' lives would have told very different stories if they had not made it to the safety of the New Life Center.
sleeping quarters for the new life center
I asked the girls to show me their sleeping quarters. They are squished in like little sardines with a blanket pad to sleep on. Most of them do not have pillows but a few have stuffed animals to lay their heads on. They also have some quilts.
roy went to thailand with two daughters, now they are innumerable
Clearly, roy and lori here fell in love with these great girls, as we all did! What survival stories they all must have. Perhaps after we learn Thai we can hear them all....