grip this loving moment

I love Asian t-shirts. When I was student teaching in Japan, my friend Rachel and I would walk through stores and markets and look at all the t-shirts written in funny English and laugh. Lest you think I’m poking fun at people for whom English is a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language, I’m not. Nothing but admiration here. As a words girl, I just love the unexpected delight of things getting lost in translation.

We’ve seen some zingers here in Cambodia too. Stinks that I can’t remember any of them at the moment.

I did see one at a temple the other day (a Japanese girl was wearing it) that said, “grip this loving moment.” And I pulled a pen and paper out of my backpack and jotted it down, not because it was funny, but because it just hit a nerve.

I want to do that. I want to grip this loving moment. This is the day that the Lord has made, and I want to soak it all up and suck it all in. I want to be about his kingdom work. And I don’t want to waste a minute on things that don’t matter.

And as my heart breaks for my friend Sherry back home, who lost her 22yo son, Derek, in a car accident a couple days ago, I don’t want to take a single second with my loved ones for granted.

It’s 30 minutes away from 2012 here in Cambodia, and I was planning on being in bed well before midnight. Up early, six-hour bus ride from Siem Reap, dinner and ice cream with friends. But I want to include some “grip these loving moments” pics in this post which may take me until 2012 to write.

This is Sophan. I certainly don’t play favorites when it comes to our sweet kiddos at the orphanage, but this dude has me wrapped around his little finger. I don’t know what our future plans are concerning Cambodia, but I know one thing: I need to learn Khmer. And one of the biggest reasons is my intense desire to have a big ol’ heart-to-heart conversation with this teenager. His English is pretty good, but I want to talk to him in his own language.

These five kiddos put on a beautiful rendition of the Christmas story for their parents on Christmas morning. Loved every minute of it. They took their roles so seriously, and it was adorable to watch. Keri and I are scheming up ways to get at least two (if not four) of our kiddos married off to each other. I’m pretty sure the Nathan/Ava combo wouldn’t work though. Those two are eerily similar–completely delightful, except when they’re not. Then, hoo baby, watch out.

No, the blue tint is not a Photoshop touch. It’s a blue mesh canopy stretched over the courtyard of our guesthouse. Here are Scot and Keri with the banner we gave them for Christmas (made by my talented sister, Bethany). They also received peanut butter m&m’s, and a Spot It game. It’s not all that often that I get someone what I’d deem the perfect gift. But that combo fit the bill. So much fun.

Ava and Longdich. This beauty is another reason I need to learn Khmer. I can see in her eyes that she has so much to say to me, and I so wish I could hear and understand her say it. Someday. Anyone know a way I can learn Khmer in Columbus, Ohio?

We had a little after-Christmas party on Monday at Yvonne and Steph’s. We went swimming and then gave Panha and Veasna some cool Christmas gifts. Like mini-legos and two-packs of deodorant. Not because we’re hinting at something but because those boys go gaga over American deodorant.

We’ve ridden in a tuk-tuk about 98% of our time here in Cambodia. And we love, love, love it. We were all lamenting tonight how stinky it’s going to be going back to a land where you have to ride in a vehicle with windows rolled up and seatbelts fastened. Tuk-tuks rock. And after some super-duper uncomfortable, bumpy tuk-tuk rides around Angkor Wat, we were so happy to be back with our fearless driver, Pu Sovanna, in Phnom Penh tonight.

This is our beautiful friend, Steph. She hails from West Virginia and has spent time in 14 different countries. She and Yvonne room together in a fun little apartment and work at the Boys’ Center together. On the way to work one morning on her moto, Jesus told her she’s supposed to blog more often. Go, Jesus! She’s an amazing woman, and I’ll be linking to her blog every time she posts (and acting as Blog Nazi to make sure she posts on a semi-regular basis).

Here’s a loving moment to grip: dinner at Mike’s Burgers. We love this guy and his delicious American food. As much as we love Khmer/Thai/Any-kind-of-Asian food, it’s amazing how good some cheese fries can taste.

Well, would you look at that? It’s midnight! There are fireworks going off that sound like the city is under attack and are shaking our entire guesthouse. Every dog in Phnom Penh is howling like he’s been shot. And my family is somehow sleeping right through it.

Happy New Year, friends! I’d love to hear one wish/prayer/dream you have for 2012. Here’s one of mine: that God would give me the time/energy/platform (blog posts, e-books, speaking, whatever) to share the many, many things he’s laid on my heart in the past few weeks (months, year).

17 thoughts on “grip this loving moment

      1. Ben

        Marla, if you did get such a shirt designed (and sold it / linked to it from your blog), I think you’d be surprised how many of your readers would order & wear one.

  1. Shelley

    Marla – just did a quick google search. I’ve met a few Vietnamese refugees in Columbus (getting nails done when in town), and figured there would probably be some Cambodian refugees there as well. Turns out they started an organization to help other refugees – the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association. Here’s the website – I’m sure you could find someone who would love to teach you! 🙂

  2. Jen Hanson

    Devin and I are hoping and praying that 2012 will bring us 1) a place and community to connect with and get involved in and 2) a clear passion and people to follow through with that passion with us

  3. Jackie

    Marla you have a special talent to speak the truth. Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us in the blogisphere and at Grace. We are still talking about how awesome it was. God Bless you and all of those wonderful kids.

  4. Shalla

    Love this. Gave me goosebumps all over 🙂
    Thank you for sharing a part of Cambodia
    And always always sharing every bit of
    Your heart. We are hearing fireworks in
    Columbus as well and it is only 8:30! We have
    A long way to go!

  5. Sharon Meekins

    Dearest Marla,

    Happy New Year! I’ve been thinking about and praying for you and your family. I cannot wait to hear all about what the Lord has laid on your heart and shown you.

    There is a ministry here in Charlotte called Samaritan’s Feet. They have a mission trip to Haiti planned in July. My desire is for everything to fall into place so that I can go and bless the children of Haiti.

    I love you, sweet friend!

  6. Sharon

    Can’t wait to hear more about what’s on your heart, Marla! One thing I’m hoping for for 2012 is for an attitude change. For myself. It’s very much needed right now.

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