October’s Come and Gone

The world seems to be spinning faster than ever these days. I could say that October has come and gone, but considering February was the last time we posted an update here, we are nearly at the point of saying that 2015 has come and gone. So with nothing less than long-lost resolution or perhaps a little pre-New Year’s Resolution, I share a recap of 2015 so far with a with an ever pressing desire that updates will come more often.

B.LightyearThis year, a deep love of Toy Story and all things Buzz Lightyear have overtaken our household. Charlie jumps from couch to couch to infinity and beyond fighting off the evil forces of Zurg and bath time.
Lila has found a love for singing this year and her songs grow clearer every day. She turned 2 in September and at some point burst into Let It Go and a love of Elsa and princesses. It is a blast singing songs with her.

Charlie got his first set of roller blades and learned to skate. He also learned to ride his bike with no training wheels. Grandma and Grandpa Stroud were a big help in this as they visited for much of October. The kids loved spending long days playing with Grandma and Grandpa.
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Jay saw some big job transition at Payap. His new position is in the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace as Program Integration & Facilitation Coordinator. The Southeast Asian Studies Center merged with IRCP and Jay is overseeing marketing development including all new branding, print materials, and a new website developed at ircp.payap.ac.th, as well as continued development of information about Southeast Asian Studies programs at seasc.payap.ac.th.

Along with marketing, he is coordinating monthly events on campus which help students and faculty to gain vocabulary to be able to conceptualize our ideas of peace at a personal and spiritual level, relational level, and global level. Once we begin to understand what we mean by peace, we can discuss steps for pursuing it. The hope is to have students form a club that IRCP faculty will oversee and mentor.
J.BandJay continues to write music and record, share, and perform every great once in a while. In July, he released a recording of a new song called The People Live in Wait. Click the link to listen.

Melissa has been working hard in the International College at PYU helping students find their way toward graduation but much more toward success, whether in class or maturing mentally, spiritually and socially. She keeps very busy and loves helping students from all over the world get connected at Payap. While many universities claim to be international in Thailand, Payap is truly international. The International College has about 300 students that represent 30 different nationalities. Some classes might have 15 different nationalities studying side-by-side. Teaching intercultural communication to a group this diverse is challenging and it makes for a very natural cultural laboratory where students quickly see how important it is to understand the world and communication from different perspectives. While challenging, it has been very rewarding.
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Both Charlie and Lila seem to be moving faster and faster every day. Charlie’s quote of the last month has been, “Look how fast I can run!!” Mostly we just try to keep up. As we move into the holidays, we’d love to keep up with you as well. Drop us a line via email, Facebook, or in the comments below and share your journey with us!

Jay, Mel, Charlie, and Lila

Heading North

Hey friends,

We have had a busy summer. We got to see many of you as we traveled back to the States for a month over June / July. It was great to get to relax and introduce Lila to her Great Grandmas and aunties, uncles, and cousins who were not part of the grand parade of visitors passing through Bangkok last fall.

As soon as we returned to Thailand, we loaded all of our possessions onto a truck and headed North to Chiang Mai, our new city. Melissa and I both started new positions at Payap University in mid July. Melissa is the Head of International Campus Life and I am the Director of the Southeast Asian Studies Center. Our positions have kept us very busy but we are at a point where we really love what we are doing now. Melissa has been teaching a class called Truth and Service as well as planning all sorts of student activities and I am redesigning the incoming study abroad programs here at Payap.

Charlie and Lila have settled into life as well. Charlie attends a local bilingual school and Lila attends a daycare not far from our house. Both love their schools and have lots of smiles coming and going to school each day.

First Day Before School

First Day Before School

First Day Before School

First Day Before School

First Day After School

First Day After School

First Day After School

First Day After School


























We’re all smiles!

It was quite a challenge to find the right house in the right area but we moved in just a few weeks ago and are slowly getting settled. Due to special gifts from some of you who have donated funds via Grandview Baptist Church in Iowa, we were able to purchase a car. This has become a great need for our family, but not something that we could really afford until now. We are so thankful for the generous gifts that made this possible.

Thank you!

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Amazingly, Lila’s one year birthday came this past week on September 7th and we had a little party with some very special treats. She loved the first attempt at donut pops (and I think it is safe to say that Charlie is a fan too.) Check it out in the video below. We hope you all are having a great September and enjoying the beginnings of autumn. Talk to you again soon!

Jay, Mel, Charlie, and Lila

Love Looking Back At You

Just before Lila was born, everyone kept asking me, “Hey Jay, are you going to write a song for your new daughter?” Just like with Charlie, I kept telling everyone that I planned to and that there was time. In the back of my mind, I was putting it off though. I wrote Charlie’s song Love, Dad almost a week before he was due. After I finished writing and recording it, he was in my arms 10 hours later. Knowing that our daughter was coming, I was a little worried about writing a new song for her because I was afraid she would be born within hours of her song being finished. We were excited for her to come but we also wanted her to wait for Grandma to arrive.

About a week before she was born, I finally wrote her song and over the past couple months, was able to put together a recording and this little video. Here is Lila’s song, Love Looking Back At You.

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