Library Haul: Christmas Books for Kids

Going to the library (or the bookstore) with kids can be kind of intimidating. We want to make that experience easier for you by giving you a preview of the books in our local library and in our home library.

This way you don’t need to worry about a book being too boring, too beyond their reading level, or containing content you might want to be aware of before taking it home.

We live in Thailand, so it’s a challenge to get our hands on new books for our kids. Thankfully, there’s an international school nearby that has an open library we can raid for exciting and informative new reads every week. This week, we’re looking at (click on the links below to find them on Amazon):

Avalanche Annie: A Not-So-Tall Tale

Turtle in the Sea

Crinkleroots Guide to Knowing Animal Habitats

Animals of the World (sorry, Amazon doesn’t carry it)

First 100 Animals

Alphabet Book (Farmyard Tales Books Series)

Ladybug Girl

The Wild Christmas Reindeer

[ The Night Before Christmas [With DVD] ] By Brett, Jan ( Author ) [ 2011 ) [ Hardcover ]

Santa Calls

How about you? What are some of your favorite Christmas books?

What’s with the name: #spilledmilkmeditations?

You know those moments when, at the end of the day, you’re crouched under the dinner table wiping up the mess that your kids (or your spouse) has left on the floor? Spaghetti noodles dried rigid and stuck to the tile, mashed up avocado tracked in adorable little footprints across the dining room, spilled milk from an overturned sippy cup. As young parents with three kids under the age of five, we find ourselves in that situation a lot. It gives you time to think, to ruminate on the day and its happenings and all the meaning to be unwound out of conversations, books read, kisses given, or tantrums thrown.

Those are the spilled milk meditations. They are about the most important things in your life: your practice and discovery of spirituality, the family you’re trying to grow, the cultures and worlds that you grapple with. We just want you to know that we’re there with you, bent under that table in the midst of the messy life we live.

Here you won’t find definite answers, an advice column from a flawless marriage or perfect parenting or the end all solution to your life’s problems, but what we are learning, we’ll share with you. Some of it works and works well. Much of it we’ve learned from other parents and mentors, from plenty of rough days, from the cultures and people that we’ve lived among.

Like we said, we’re here with you in the midst of this. That means you have wisdom, tips, and experiences that we, and plenty of other friends, need to hear too. Chime in, disagree, share posts you like within your circle of friends and add your take on it. Life is better together and we’re glad we get to share it with you. Speaking of which, if you don’t want to miss any of our family updates, sign up here to get fresh meditations delivered to your inbox every time we press publish.

So, here’s to you, wanderer, life-wonderer, spilled milk meditator, husband, wife, parent-to-be or parent-in-progress. We raise a glass of our finest full-cream in your honor and look forward to our chats together under the kitchen table.

P.S. If you’re interested in what we’re doing in missions, specifically, we’ve got a monthly e-letter for that. Sign up here and get the inside scoop of what our life as a family in missions is really like.

Loi Krathong Festival

Every year at Loi Krathong, the sky and the waters of Thailand are filled with lanterns. The lanterns in the sky are tokens of a Thai person’s hopes and prayers for the coming year. The lanterns in the water are a penitence that they perform to the spirit of the water. They light the candle and let it float out and away from them in the hopes that their sins will be forgiven and float away as well. Of course, like any festival, the chance to gather with loved ones and have fun is a main draw of the Loi Krathong holiday. So, as lanterns fill the sky, fireworks bloom and so do the smiles beneath them.

A Fun Family Visit

The hardest part of missionary life, hands down, is being so far from your family. Thankfully, my family is so close, but Jacki’s is still 3,000 miles away. That’s been a little hard for us. So it was a welcomed treat when Jacki’s mom, dad, and younger sister decided to come and visit us for two weeks. From elephant and ostrich riding to waterfall treks and hilltribe visits, we packed as much into those weeks as we could think of. It was beautiful seeing Jessi bond with some of the kids from a nearby orphanage and Rick and Jeanette connecting with members of our local church. We’re hoping this will become a regular visit.

A Day at the Queen’s Garden

Our Trip to the Golden Triangle

Riding Elephants and Handling Snakes

Trekking up to the Waterfall with the Shamises

Q-Trip: South Dakota (Pt. 1)

The sun traces over rows and rows of corn. Their spacing and rhythm read like notes on a phantom piano. Jacki and I are nestled snuggly in the back of the Shamis’ family SUV on our way back from Faulkton, South Dakota.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Faulkton, it’s smack dab in the middle of farming country. Proudly owning the moniker, “The Carousel City”, it’s the hometown of wonderful people like the Bowars (Jacki’s mom’s family). This past week, Jacki and I travelled with her family to Faulkton for a wedding and a perfect weekend getaway from the city. We logged time with some incredible people, flew a four-seater airplane and rode 4-wheelers. Then, while Jacki played with babies and spent time with her relatives, I went out with the men for a day and a half of golf and a day and a half of fishing on the Mississippi. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Q-Trip: Alabama/Southern Georgia

Jacki and I made our way down through Alabama to Gulf Shores to connect with a few core partners, meet up with some family, and spend a day on the beach. After getting torched by the sun and spending a day recovering, we headed on over to Albany, Ga to meet up with Joel Diaz of Fumcalbanyaga and a few of his fellow church members. This is our visual chronicle of the trip.


A Letter from One of Our First Supporters

Well, I officially quit my job today. We are now totally depending on our Provider and our core-partners now as we start ramping up for life on the mission field. As we’ve been praying for faithful partnerships, we’ve been blown away by those who have begun committing to partner with us. For example, when Jacki’s sixteen year old sister Jessi called us and told us that she wanted to support us, we were floored. I asked her to write something we could post online to explain why she’s decided that she wants to help us give hope to Thailand. Here’s her letter to you.

Hey everyone,
I am Jessi Shamis, Jacki Quinley’s little sister. I wanted to tell ya’ll why i decided to sponsor Jacki and Andrew Quinley. One day, I was driving home, and I started listening to a song that Andrew wrote called Spiderman. The lyrics say, “Sometimes, even heroes need a hand to hold.”  That is true for everyone in this world and then I thought how many times God has sent Jacki and Andrew into my life just to pick me up or to help through tough times. I see so much of God’s light shining through them in the way they communicate with people and how they have such confidence in what they stand for.

I believe God is putting this opportunity in front of them for a reason. So many people need someone to come beside them and walk them into the right direction. Jacki and Andrew have been that for so many people here and now they get to be that for so many other people in the world. As they look at the road ahead of them, they are saying that they are called by God. But I believe those whose lives they touch in Thailand will say, “Jacki and Andrew were sent by God”.

If you’d like to join with Jessi and us in giving hope to the lost in Asia, just click on that link at the top that says “partner with us”. It will walk you through the few easy steps to make a secure tax deductible donation online or by check. We hope you take the time to pray about this and truly consider partnering with us. It’s an adventure you won’t regret. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

A Couple-A

Roadwarriors… that’s what we are. Just two weeks ago Jacki and I drove down from visiting her family in Chicago to Cleveland, TN. Tonight we notched a few hundred more miles into our belts as we made our way down to Mobile, Alabama to visit my family. Next weekend, she’ll be in South Carolina to visit her family. The Weekend after that we’ll be in Virginia for a best friend’s wedding. I’ll try to update you with photos and videos as we go along. Stay tuned!