Sunday February 3, 2019

1 Peter 2:1-3 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Today was our last day in Bali and we took full advantage with a tour guide headed inland to see some traditional Balinese artistic trades and a spectacular view from atop a volcano. The first couple of stops were a Balinese traditional play depicting good and evil spirits. The play was incredible and the costumes were so detailed and intricate.

Following the hour show, we headed to a silver factory where they made all the silver jewelry by hand using no machines, then a painter, and to see traditional batik fabric painting. The demonstration of each of these trades was amazing to watch and left me in awe that things are still produced in this fashion today.

Our last stop before lunch was to a wood carving shop. It was incredible to watch these artists create the most intricate carvings our of nothing.

Then we headed up to the volcano; however, as we made our assent up the skies opened and the rain started pouring. By the time we got to the top of the volcano it was raining so hard that we could barely see out the window of the car. Unfortunately, because of the rain we had no view of the valley below, but it still was pretty neat to be amidst this torrential rain and barely be able to hear each other during our lunch.

We headed down the mountain after lunch and stopped off at a coffee and tea plantation to try some Lewak Coffee. This is a very rare coffee that goes through quite a weird process. It starts with an animal called the luak (or Asian civet) who eats the coffee cherries and expels the beans, which are collected, cleaned, and roasted before they are ground into coffee. I have to admit, despite the rarity of this coffee treat, I was still a bit weirded out by this practice. However, after being told what a delicacy this is and how rare is (it is mainly found on the Indonesian Islands–specifically, Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Sulawesi, though it can also be found in the Philippines and in East Timor.), Jeff and I decided to throw caution to the wind. We ended up sampling all of the different teas and coffees available, including the Lewak coffee. Being completely honest, we tried all the teas first and then moved on to the coffees, and they all were wonderful. The regular coffee was spectacular and I began to wonder if this Lewak coffee could actually live up to the hype. But it did! We tried the regular coffee, then the Lewak and then back to the regular. I can’t even begin to describe how different they were and how much better the Lewak coffee actually was. So yes, both Jeff and I had “poop coffee” and it was the best coffee I have ever had, hands down.

After a full day of sightseeing and traveling, we headed home for a quick dinner and bed. Jeff and I sat out on the patio enjoying a bottle of wine while the kids slept. It was a full day, but a lot of fun. We all seemed to enjoy seeing the traditional Balinese artistic trades, but we all were tired. It was the perfect end to our Bali vacation and tomorrow we head a bit further south to Perth, Australia.

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Saturday February 2, 2019

Isaiah 66:13 As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Today we all went our separate ways, boys and girls. Jeff and David went on a fishing adventure. While I wasn’t there, he shared his photos with me. They had a really good time and David was very excited to catch so many fish!

While the boys played out at sea, us girls took to the spa for the morning. Anjali had a facial and a manicure, while Lucia opted for a massage and a pedicure. I enjoyed watching the girls get pampered, just as I did yesterday, and couldn’t resist a pedicure for myself! Then to sit poolside while we waited for our boys to return from fishing.

We all had a great day. We tried to top it off with a dinner at a pizza place just across the street from the resort, but David and Lucia were just too tired, so Jeff took them back for room service while Anjali and I enjoyed a girls night with good conversation. It was so nice to sit and talk with Anjali like a big kid, discussing adult topics that I would not otherwise be able to with David and Lucia. I think Anjali really enjoyed this extra attention too.

Friday February 1, 2019

Joshua 1:9-10 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Another relaxing poolside Bali day awaited us. The kids were supposed to go to the kids club this afternoon so Jeff and I could do a spa day together, but they were not very cooperative. So, my amazing husband sent me to the spa while he hung out with the kids poolside. Lucia participated in Frog Catching and a Frog Jumping competition while Anjali competed in (and won!) a hula-hoop competition. David on the other hand was content to just hang in and by the pool for the afternoon, though he was very unsure about the masked Barong (the King of the Spirits–a traditional Balinese mythical character).

Jeff got to pet a bee who was saved from a near drowning in his cocktail.

We all joined back up for dinner at the poolside restaurant again for more traditional Balinese food and a Balinese dance. This was an entertaining experience for all and Jeff even got to dance with the girls (just like he did on our honeymoon!)

Today was another great day, but I was a bit disappointed that we were not able to convince our children to put themselves out there by participating in the Kids Club at the resort. As I am writing this blog about 2 weeks later, I realize that my older two children are still apprehensive about trying new things with new people. They are content to stay in their comfort zone with Jeff and me, which I completely understand. I just pray that by the end of this year they have learned that God is always with them and they do not need to fear the unknown, but rather walk straight into it because with God all things are possible.

Thursday January 31, 2019

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Our kids were very tired today and boy Jeff and I had to bear their burdens : ). LOL. We took the kids on a bit of an excursion today into town. Now Jeff had gone into town the other day by himself to hit up the ATM and found that he was basically accosted by women offering massages to him. Today’s experience was quite different, according to Jeff that is. There were still women offering massages and shop owners trying to engage you and get you into their shop; however, it was not as aggressive at Jeff’s description. No one was pulling on our arms to get us inside their shop and offering countless “types” of massages! We made our way to the main shopping mall where we found some fun souvenirs and a dress for me and Lucia. We had a lot of fun touring through the shops and market in the middle.

Tonight, we had dinner again at the poolside restaurant. Every night the buffet menu changes, as does their theme/entertainment. Tonight we had Aussie BBQ and a magic show. The kids really enjoyed magic show and Lucia even got to be an active participant. She was thrilled and was a great assistant. I have the video on my Instagram page (@sarassimplelife)

Towards the end of our dinner we had a nice surprise phone call from the Farm. We got to talk with so many of the kids via video call and it was so beautiful to see their faces again. I miss that place and the people so much. I can’t believe how much that place has changed my life and I can’t wait to go back and spend more time with them. When we got off the phone I experienced so many different emotions; happiness for getting to talk with them, sadness that we aren’t there, longing to see them again soon, and the joy that their smiling faces brought me were all overwhelming. Walking back to our room I was both happy and sad.

Wednesday January 30, 2019

Matthew 26:39-42 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

I woke up this morning and enjoyed a peaceful yoga practice while all three kids played in the pool. I was able to do my yoga in the shade on the side of the pool while Jeff took advantage of the gym. After that we all just hung out poolside, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, endless cocktails while our children played in the pool. We finally pulled the kids out of the pool so we could get cleaned up and head to dinner. We enjoyed this peaceful meal while a band made their rounds and eventually ended up at our table. The kids thought this was the best!

We all enjoyed the day today and I think we all took full advantage of the relaxing day today. It has been wonderful to watch our children play together and have fun with each other. Trust me, there are still fighting and bickering, but in the grand scheme of things, they really are getting along well and we are all having a great time as a family. I can’t help but be a little sad knowing that we are the back end of this journey. I have never before felt so alive and truly “lived” life. My challenge over the coming months is going to be figuring out how to “live” after this year is done. I will continue to pray for God’s wisdom and guidance and I know He will show me the way when the time is right and when He is ready.

Tuesday January 29, 2019

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you

Today, we casually woke up and finished the remaining packing and headed for Bali. The flight and transfers were uneventful, which was a wonderful continuation of our holiday. I know that Jeff and I are both looking forward to the slower paced vacation that Bali offers to us. We don’t have anything planned for the next 6 days, other than relaxing and reconnecting as a family. Our hotel room was perfect, everyone had their own bed and the hotel proved to be. Just as perfect. The kids have access to a kids pool with a water slide, which they were quick to take full advantage immediately. Unfortunately, that pool closed at 5 pm, so we headed for the beach just outside the resort walls.

We quickly learned that the Balinese are superb salesmen/women. They learn your name and show you all the things you need to buy from them! It was a bit overwhelming and while the kids played on the beach Jeff and I ended up talking to several vendors who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Now don’t take this the wrong way, the people here are very friendly, they just want you to buy from them. I couldn’t believe how many people were selling the very same things right next to one another; talk about some friendly competition! But we all enjoyed the beach and Jeff was able to capture a fabulous beach sunset picture of the kids.

I am so grateful for this time to recharge as a family. Both Jeff and I were not entirely thrilled with the idea of taking such a long holiday, but it seems that God has his own plans and I am going to enjoy every minute of it. This evening the kids seemed content to eat dinner in the room while watching movies, so we ordered room service for them and started a movie, which allowed Jeff and I a chance to spend some time together at the Irish Pub on the lower level of the resort. This was a nice and relaxing evening for the two of us to have a few drinks, eat some dinner, and shoot some pool. We were having a great time only to find out that all three kids were still awake when we got home around 11 pm. It looks like we will just be hanging around the resort tomorrow since we will have some tired children. Surprisingly, Jeff and I are not really bothered by this; it is their vacation too and if this is how they want to spend their vacation so be it.