Friday, September 28, 2007


Yeah it's Friday! Friday is "soul food" night in least for Sam and me. On most nights, being the oldies that we are, we stay in. Oh, we may go for a walk in the park, but we don't go out on the town, which is really kind of a shame, since that's when the city comes alive in a unique way. Anyway, I totally look forward to Fridays because as of about 4 weeks ago, we discovered the best (well, best for Thailand) Tex Mex restaurant called Charley Browns. I literally dream about their fresh salsa and chips, cheesy chicken enchiladas .... and crispy shredded beef tacos topped with a dollop of real sour cream! Believe me, this food comforts us in an almost spiritual way. Even last week when I was under the weather, we were still able to do Charley Browns by using the internet and ordering from the following site:
Just for fun, you ought to check it out and view the menus from over 70 restaurants in Bangkok. For 60 baht (@ $3.00), they'll deliver from any of these restaurants in 1 hour or residents of Bangkok, that is!
Well, I'd better go freshen up for my night out on the town.

P.S. Go Katy Tigers! (Fridays in September will forever bring precious memories of good times with dear friends spent in a sea of red shouting for our favorite team)

P.S.S. I'll get back with you on my visit to the school in the slum of Klong Toey...but just to keep you in the know, I'm going to begin teaching English to Pre-K and K students as soon as they return from their semester break. Thai students go to school from May- February with a semester break in October. I'm so excited! :) :) :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Life is Good!

As of today, I've been in Thailand for 2 months. What a difference time can make! After 1 month, I do remember sobbing and telling Sam, "I hate it here..." Believe me, it wasn't a pretty conversation. But in my defense, there was a lot going on and it's hard to adjust to anywhere when your heart is elsewhere. Given the depths of those feelings though, it's nothing short of miraculous that today, 1 month later, I can honestly say, "I love my life here." Maybe time was all I needed, but I also have to believe the difference is as a result of all the prayers that have been faithfully offered on my behalf. The peace I feel about where I am and what's happening in the life of my family is truly a gift.

The most exciting thing that has happened this week is that an opportunity to teach English to children who live in one of Bangkok's poorest slum areas is open to me. I'm going to visit and observe at the school tomorrow. If you're interested in finding out more about the group I may be working with you can go to . I emphasized may because I know this can't be about me and what I want. To make this kind of commitment, it has to be a God thing. I'll keep you posted.

Another bright spot in my "Bangkok life" is my association with the American Woman's Club. It has been a joy to join these lovely ladies in both their service and social activities. They have welcomed me warmly and invited me to join them as we all strive to make where we are home for whatever time we have to share it together.

Last, but certainly not least, I love my life here because I'm with Sam. It goes with out saying that the empty nest is certainly a challenge, yet it's life... all part of the journey we started over 30 years ago. I remember that back in the early days of our marriage when Texas was new and so far from California, Sam and I had to count on each other in a special way. The same is happening once again and because of it, our relationship is closer than ever. How blessed I am to be sharing life and living it to the fullest with my best friend...and getting to bring my entire family and all my friends from all my former homes along via the internet! Life is good!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Free at Last!

"Free at last; Free at last..." I know Martin Luther King Jr. was referring to a far greater struggle; however, even though it's a bit melodramatic to say the least, I couldn't help but remember his words when my body was finally free of the unwelcome virus, bacteria, parasite, or whatever it was that had hijacked my intestinal tract for the past week. Don't worry. I'm not going to try and paint another word picture...not really even going to write about...that.

Well, maybe just a little. Let's just say that since I hadn't been feeling like myself for a couple of days, I began to get a bit concerned, living in a foreign land and all. I even spent a few hours Googling the symptoms...Come to find out, now that I have the gift of hindsight, the more serious of the problems I was suffering from was the dreaded What Ifs! What Ifs when left untreated, can get out of hand so quickly! In fact, a bad case will rob me of sleep, take away my appetite, and zap me of energy as sure as anything. What baffles me is that What If treatment is available right here in Thailand, it's free, and it's not in the least bit unpleasant. Yet, I often find myself finally turning the to the pages of my Bible only after Googling and everything else!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The peace of God will guard my heart and mind...
will free me from my endless What Ifs.
Now that's Freedom!

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Translation Necessary

Hopefully, you've all gotten the invitation to view our new album on Shutterfly by now. It was a hectic weekend, but so much fun to share our new home with a guest from home. John, a coworker of Sam's, arrived Saturday morning and we hit the ground running. Since this was his first visit to Thailand, we wanted to entertain him royally which we did by touring all the royal palaces and temples we could squeeze into 2 short days. Unfortunately for both John and Sam, there was no rest for the weary and it was back to work for them yesterday. Fortunately for me, I had the leisure of organizing and sharing the photos. Believe me, I'm not taking this abundance of time for granted. I have boxes and boxes of pictures at home in Texas waiting for me to have "free" time...if only I had packed them! Another activity on my calendar for yesterday was a community project's committee meeting at the American Woman's Club...this brings me to the title of my blog.

On my way to the clubhouse, which included a tuk-tuk ride, a short jaunt on the sky train, and a nice stroll though a busy neighborhood, I heard some sounds that needed no translation. The first was an ice-cream vendor. Without even telling you what sound I heard, you know. I'm guessing from this experience that all ice cream men, no matter where in the world they find themselves, use a happy sound to advertise and attract customers. To be honest, until yesterday, I'd never really thought much about it. It's kind of funny where my mind goes these days.

Another sound was that of children playing at recess. I'd walked past this particular school before, but the children had always been inside. Since the signs on the building were all in English, I'd assumed that this must be a preschool for expat children. What I saw and heard yesterday were Thai children racing after each other, laughing while digging holes in the sand, and swinging as high as their little legs could pump them. There was no translation necessary as the joy of friendship is understood universally.

The last sound I heard recently that also needed no translation was a bit different as it was the sound of silence. Do you remember seeing the picture of the bone thin boy in my "Royal Weekend" slide show? I took his picture to remind me of what I'd heard with my heart. He'd made no sound...just sat under the shade of a tree on the Ayutthaya temple grounds, but what I heard with my heart was God's voice reminding me that no matter where I find myself, the language of His love is understood.

"My children, our love should not be just word and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action." 1 John 3:18

In the past, much of my ministry took place at school. As any teacher knows, being an educator is so much more than reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. I've always felt that teaching was an opportunity for me to truly show God's love in action! Please join me in praying that I'll soon be led to an opportunity to serve God here inThailand as I'm feeling more and more ready for some action...Godly action that is!

Friday, September 14, 2007

As promised...

Thailand Tracey reporting back as promised....I had a wonderful time at the tea party. The treats served with the tea were delicious especially the traditional English Sticky Toffee Pudding which was served warm and with real whipped cream. It would have been so easy to have made a total pig of myself; however, believe it or not, I wasn't even tempted! I know, I know... you're thinking to yourself, "That sure doesn't sound like the Tracey I know." Well the truth is, I was so enjoying feasting on the fellowship of total strangers that the desserts were just there...definitely not the focus of the event for me at all. To be with a group of women I could converse and laugh with was treat enough. They were all very friendly and welcomed me, the newbie, in a warm genuine way. Eagerly, they took turns sharing valuable tips like having business cards made with my name and address printed in both English and Thai, opinions on where to get the best foot massages, and last but not least, the best brand of milk to buy and where to buy it. Needless to say, High Tea was truly a highlight in my week! more thought. I think in my last post I wrote something about sampling the privileged life. What a silly thing to say... I know that you know what I meant, but as far as a privileged life- I've enjoyed that my whole life! I count it a privilege that you call me friend, mom, sister, niece, aunt, cousin, daughter, wife... whatever I am to you, I'm blessed to have the privilege of having you in my life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tea Party!

I think the last time I went to a tea party was when Vanessa was about 5 or 6, and even then I wasn't the guest. Instead, I played the role of the maid answering the girls' bell rings and served the tea... Such fond sweet memories! Times change...Roles change... and I guess the best way to handle it all is to go with the flow. So that's what I'm about to do. Thailand Tracey is about to venture out to sample the privileged life of high tea served at a lovely Bangkok hotel. This treat has been arranged by the American Woman's Club as one of a variety of activities available each month. While you're all sleeping, I'll be sipping tea and indulging in a decadent chocolate buffet. What a life! Anyway, it's time to go, so I'm just going to put a pause here and I promise to report back later.
Love you all and Sweet Dreams!


Do I take things for granted? Yep, I sure washing machines. Maybe it's my old age, but I've seemed to have developed a bad habit of forgetting that I've washed a load of clothes and therefore fail to transfer them into the dryer in a timely manner. Anybody who has ever lived in a hot humid climate knows the result, and it's not pretty! The only way to fix the mistake is to wash them again. I'm just now rewashing a load of clothes for the 3rd time! Not really that big of a deal...yet when I really think about it, I know in my heart that it is a big deal. It's a big deal for me to take my blessings for granted and to be so wasteful living in a land where many people have so little. For that matter, it really wouldn't matter where I lived, it would still be a big deal and that's why I'm writing about it today. Maybe by taking the time to think this through and by putting my confession out there for you all to read, I'll be more conscientious in the future.
I think the source of my problem isn't really old age...that's just an excuse that I tend to be using more and more these days. The real problem is the amount of effort I put into washing the clothes in the first place. It's nothing to step out onto the service porch, add a bit of soap, fabric softener, push a few buttons and before you know it, I have soft clean clothes. I can guarantee you that if I had had to scrub those clothes by hand on the shore of a river like I've seen some Thai families do, there's no way that I would walk off and forget about them!
I'm pretty sure this is another one of life's everyday experiences that has bigger applications to ponder. Sorry if I'm getting too heavy. I'm really writing for myself today...just recording my thoughts as though I were writing in a journal. Anyway, since I've been over here, I've been exposed to different religions...mainly Buddhist. Though there is still so much I don't know or understand about what they believe, one thing I've observed daily is the practice of making merits. In order to deliver themselves to a better life, they believe that they must do good works and must offer gifts or make merits of food, flowers... You may remember seeing pictures of spirit houses with these gifts placed in them that I've taken and placed in my Shutterfly album. A better reincarnation is totally dependent on their self effort in this life. Personally, I can't help but think of what a contrast this is to Christianity! As a believer in Christ, I know there is nothing I can do to save myself. I have a home in heaven only because of what Christ did for me by sacrificing His perfect sin free life in place of my sinful one.
OK, so back to the washing machine... since my salvation is not dependent on my effort it can be easy for me to take God's blessings for granted! That's another confession... There have been so many times that I've gotten distracted with life that I've forgotten to take time to be thankful...I mean really thankful that my God is who He says He is. I can't begin to count the number of times I've taken the most precious gift I've ever been given and cast it aside and said, "no time today"...not literally nor purposefully, but just like I didn't leave the clothes in the washing machine on purpose, it's because I failed to live gratefully for all the blessings God has freely blessed me with. Yes, there's no doubt about it, I'm guilty. Praise God that I'm also forgiven!

(FYI the clothes have finally made it to the dryer!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Middle of the night phone calls

It used to be that I dreaded middle of the night phone calls. Thank goodness I hadn't had that many before moving to Thailand, but when one did interrupt my dreams, my heart would always be racing as I just knew really bad news was coming. That was then. Now I love them because it usually means Vanessa, though being a very bright mathematician, hasn't stopped to figure out the time difference, and is calling me just because...just because I'm Mom and she wants to share something, usually good news like being excited about a lunch date with a special friend, something that makes my heart glad. How thankful I am that I live in a world where it is so easy to reach out and touch someone make their day just by saying Hi! I'm thinking of you.
Speaking of reaching out, I'm so impressed with the technology skills of those of who have reached out and commented on my blog as I've still not figured out how to do that! Yesterday, I was trying to leave a comment on a friend's blog but couldn't get the right combination of user name/password. I don't have a Google acct., but of course I do have a Blogger acct. What they want in order to publish a comment? Maybe, with a bit more patience, I could have figured it out, but my was patience was spent at the bank yesterday morning as Sam and I tried to navigate the Thai banking laws in order to establish a local account. Let's just say that we left the apartment at 7:30 AM, didn't leave the bank until noon, and Sam just got a phone call from them today that the account is ready to be funded. With any luck, after a call to the states tonight requesting a wire transfer, the account will be good to go. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just call me "Grace"!

I can't believe that I was in the least bit concerned about what I would have to write about on this blog. Oh, ye of little faith... God always provides! Let me see if I can paint a word picture for you. This afternoon after triumphing over the Thai language challenge with Daphne's help, I decided to seize the moment and follow through on another one of my goals and that was to go to the workout room and put in an hour of exercise. All was going well...I had even completed the circuit 2 times and was pushing the limits to an hour and a half be honest, I was only going the extra mile because the HBO movie wasn't over yet:) Anyway, I'm watching the movie and ticking off the miles on the treadmill when another lady comes in to workout. As you know I'm desperate for friends so when she started having problems figuring out how to work the stationary bike, I was only more than happy to help. Obviously, that was a very nice thing to do; however, I momentarily lost my focus and forgot that I was on a treadmill going at a pretty fast rate. Well, to make a long story short, I have road rash down both arms, a major bruise on my right hip, a couple of broken blood vessels, and last but not least, I've suffered significant embarrassment and scared a friend away:(
As I was soaking my wounds and pride in the tub, I started thinking about an analogy. I think that life is kind of like this... as long as we keep our focus on God and stay on his path for our life, things usually go along pretty well. We can choose to avoid many of the pitfalls that can cause disappointment and heartbreak. However, if we're not careful, we can lose our focus...even to do what we think at the time is something good. Before you know it, we're wounded, broken hearted and in need of healing that only the Great Physician can offer. Praise God that his grace is sufficient no matter how severe our fall. I don't know about you, but I think it would be an honor to be called Grace! In fact, I can't think of a sweeter name.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Where there's a will, there's a way!

As many of you know it was my intent to begin blogging upon my arrival in Thailand as a way of keeping in touch because I knew myself well enough to be confident that my bad habit of failing to make it to the post office would follow me around the world. Well, that was a great plan; however, I found it impossible to break through the language barrier as every time I attempted to go to, it would assume that since my computer was in Thailand, then I must speak Thai. Wrong! Just when I'd reached the end of my rope and was even questioning if there was anything in my life worthy of sharing, my dear friend Daphne came to the rescue. She tried researching different fixes and finally resorted to creating the blog herself back in the good ol' USA. After a bit more coaching, here I am in Bangkok typing away:) I feel victorious...kind of like that shout from a mountain top feeling. So what now? What is it that I write? Well, to start with I'm thinking of how thankful I am for friends and family like you who might be reading this. God knew that I would need you and it's no accident that you've blessed my life. It's impossible to know how many times have you've been God's voice here on earth offering kind words of encouragement, or His hands as you've hugged and helped lighten the load of life when it was just too much to bear alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for sharing in my life's journey and allowing me to share in yours.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


To see what time it is for Tracey and Sam, go to and select Asia/Bangkok. For USA Central, they are 12 hours later than us so, at 7 AM on Thursday in Houston, it's 7 PM on Thursday in Bangkok.


Across the Ocean

This is Daphne trying to set up a blog for Tracey that is in English and not Thai! We'll see if it works so we can spend more time in Tracey's new world!