Friday, November 30, 2007
*note: John Travolta shaking it dressed as a woman in the movie Hairspray ranks right up there with Hugh Grant's dance in Love Actually. Oh to hear Caitlin giggle at that...
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I had everything prepared each couple had a pan, bowl and supplies in their own little area. (Did I mention that 2 girls turned into 8 boys and girls. The original 2 did not even come!!) I also printed out little recipe cards for them. It was a smashing success! 4 pies were made, students were happy, and nothing was broken this time. We also enjoyed listening to Christmas music, looking at Thanksgiving photos and catching a few minutes of the movie G.I. Jane. Each had a piece of pie and were sent home with more in tow.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
8:30am- head out to pick up turkey (ended up having to drop it off at a restaurant to be cooked... my gas in my oven was out... ultimate domestic goddess status will have to be achieved another year)
9am- get back in taxi close to tears because our turkey was soooo cooked
10am- who cares about turkey? we had bagels for breakfast! thanks to allrecipes.com and Amy/Brad I was able to enjoy another Panera-sque meal. kudos!11:30am- run last minute errands before spending the afternoon in the kitchen and set tables
12:30- 4pm- cook pumpkin pies, sweet potatoes casserole, birthday cake, battle the turkey problem with Amy, repeatedly say "I'm sorry" to Brad because my TVU player is not working so he missed UFC (points for anyone who understand what I just said...)
4-5pm- shower, clean and mop my kitchen! (I am not sure you can understand what a feat this is! one hour to do anything I pretty much pleased... talk about how far we have come from last Thanksgiving)
5:30pm- begin eating a fabulous dinner with our Family (yes, 5:30pm exactly when we planned... food all done, everyone arrived on time...beginning to rethink the fact that we are in China (not often does everything go this smoothly!)... last year I showed up 20 minutes late and food was not done!)
5:30 - 8:30pm- eat, sing some songs, talk about what we are thankful for, read Book all with family and love every minute of it!!!
9pm- settle down to watch Macy's parade...oops! did not account for all the times differences/schedules... I got a glimpse of the Kermit the Frog balloon on the news. will have to do!
9:30pm - now- say goodbye to Amy and Brad, climb in bed to watch a little Gilmore Girls, get back out of bed to plan class (oops it is not Saturday!) and blog because now I am on my second wind...
All in all a pretty perfect day!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
"She who hoots with the owls in the evening can not soar with the eagles in the morning."
This acrostic poem was written by one of my students...
"Turkey frying in the fire
Unconditionally I love food
Run to the frying turkey
Kiss the cross and pray
Eleven o'clock pm. We share the turkey
Yeah, I full. Thanks, food."
Love it! :)
Monday, November 19, 2007
Lots of things going on right now that need healing. Relationships, my little sister Rachel, my spiritual walk and my heart. Everyone that knows me knows there is no way in Hades that I could be a doctor. I cannot stand to see people suffering. Right now there is a lot of aching in my heart for people I know that are suffering. In some instances there is not much I can do. However, I do know the ultimate healer. He is my Father. So I will do my part and hand things over to this great Doctor and I ask that you do the same.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Yesterday like so many others the past couple of weeks was tough. Finally, I decided I need to go run it off so I grabbed my mp3 player. Didn't work. Borrowed Jumping's mp3. Couldn't figure it out. Thankfully Katie's worked and she put it on her workout playlist. I hit the pavement and just ran determined to get this crazy energy in me out. On my way back home, near the point of exhaustion, I saw a free table in the bamboo park. I sat down and this song started playing. It was such a good reminder to me that when I am weak, He is strong. I listened to the song a good 5 or 6 times before getting back home. It was what I needed. I am still working through and pr*ying about everything, but I am starting to let go and let someone take control who is much greater than me.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I have this class I often term as "the bad class." In reality I love them all and do spend time outside of class with them more than any of my other students. However, in the classroom they are a teacher's worst nightmare. They talk, sleep, come in late, no homework and just treat me like I am anybody standing at the front of the room. I have tried write offs, singing to sleeping students, making them stand, everything. I even gave them a speech about how wonderful Chinese students are supposed to be, but they aren't and if I wanted to teach sleeping students I could go back to America where there are plenty of them. Yesterday we had a break through! Our chapter was talking about movies so I asked them to create a movie trailer for something already out, something coming out, or something they created.... They did awesome!!! I was rolling in my chair, crying from laughter. I got to see quiet little girls come out of their shells. I got to see these punk boys listening to others. Amazing... I get to teach them yet again today so we will see how it goes.
On a day where the rain is coming down in torrents, you really just want to crawl back in bed and not face anything, my "bad" students were the ones to get me through it. For that I am truly thankful for my students.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
On Friday night Lord Richard Whittington was murdered in his own home. The following night a group of people came together for dinner and to solve the mystery. Presenting the Whittington Hall characters...
This afternoon as I spend a little time quiet (also known as that hazy time after you wake up from a long nap) I am thankful for talents. Last night Brad, Peach and I went to our brother Daniel's house for dinner. After dinner Daniel played the classical guitar for us. We sat jaws dropped and listened to sounds that came from this crazy dear man's fingers and guitar. Amazing! People here have amazing talents. Amy has the talent of writing. Everything she writes is so elegant and thought provoking. Kim and Dawson both have the gift of music too. I always love it when they sit down at a piano. Katie and Brad have the gift of ministry. Both know exactly what to say to encourage,make people feel comfortable and loved. My Chinese friends blow me away with their bilingual skills! Today I received a paper lily from a student. How can one person sit down with just a piece of paper and create something so beautiful it looks like one of Father's creations itself? Talent.
My mother is an artist. She can paint a beautiful seaside or make a beautiful dress with no second thoughts. Her creativity always floors me. Now I am not near as creative as her, but I know she passed that gene on to me in some ways. I am thankful.
My father has the gift of being emotional. I have seen my father angry, cry, and love with fierce passion. I love that about him. I am probably more emotional than him in some ways, but I am thankful we have that in common. Just big old teddy bears.
Yeah, I am thankful for talents and gifts.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
One dream that I know I expressed with several people before I left was to make my life simpler. It was a practice I thought would be easy here and one I wanted to bring home. However, in all of my goofball ways I have managed to pump my schedule to all new levels, have more stuff in this little apartment than one can imagine accumulating in just over a year, computer has more programs than I don't even know how to use,etc. etc. Simple would not be a word that I would use to describe my life at all.
Today I stopped my Myspace account. (Well in the process.... they make you give reasons, email verification and several other tedious steps in hoping that you will get frustrated and just keep it. Pressing on though.) While it is not a huge step, it frees up maybe 10 minutes each day which is normally wasted anyway by just looking at other profiles. I hope to sit down this week and re-examine the craziness which is my life. Hopefully I can plan out some good ways to simplify my life a little more.
Simplifying is a discipline.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I am so thankful that I have the ability to walk, see, hear, run, be active and be happy. Much too often this is taken for granted. I am blessed to be able to walk to class each day and clear my head along the way. Blessed to see the older generation playing croquet in the bamboo park each morning. Blessed to hear China's national anthem for hours at a time during weekends on campus. (It really could be worse... I could not hear it.) Blessed to be able to pick up a basketball and shoot a few hoops with my students. Blessed to cook, surprise, write, read, share Good News and a million other things just because I do have good health.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
"For G-d said ,"Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." Man that is a good verse!
"Hey Amy! Check this verse out..." (Beth)
"Yeah. Where is that?" (Amy)
"2 Cor.4:6" oh! I have that tattooed on my back!
Followed by fits of giggles...
Lesson learned: When getting a tattoo remember what it says.
Just thankful that I am still so moved by the verse. :)
Starting today until Thanksgiving I am going to blog everyday about things I am thankful for. (Yes, I will blog about life and such things too, but really want to try to remember to be in the spirit of gratefulness as well.) Please feel free to leave comments about things you are thankful for as well.
Today I am thankful for parents. This morning I got to see Clark, Eden and new baby Justin and I was just reminded of how wonderful parents are. To watch Eden sit with her Book open and holding Justin in one arm and then seeing her glance down at her son with smile and pride...Wow! What a feeling that must be. His name was picked because it means "upright" and that is what they want for their son. Thank Father there are so many good parents out there. I think of my friends' parents and just the amazing job that they have done to instill in their children good character. A hard job with awesome responsibility, but I am sure great rewards too.
I must say I am blessed to such great parents. I can say my parents taught me the difference between right and wrong. They taught me to be loving and forgiving. They taught me that life should be about service because that is what they have done themselves. So today I sit a world away thankful for my own parents and parents in general. Hopefully one day I will have that responsibility.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Books (anything written in the English language is fine!)
Socks (for some reason now I like fun prints... maybe because they make my students laugh a lot)
Long sleeve shirts (one day I am going to learn to pack better)
Danish Wedding Cookies (Keebler pink box... been craving!)
Oven Mitts (I am a little hard on mine... have gone through 3 pairs..)
The thing I would really love most though is a letter. I don't think people understand how nice it is to read a handwritten note about life in America. It makes you feel connected. Not that I am not grateful for packages, but it is disappointing to not hear about the sender. So if you will, 90 cents is all it takes to make my Christmas or any day for that matter.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Friday night girls traveled in from all over Hubei province and we started the weekend thinking about what it means to be an ideal woman. After catching up with old friends, finding places for 40+ girls to sleep in our homes, and relieved that Lucy walked up (I was already sorting out in my head how to figure out to call her mom and tell her that we have not talked in over a week...) the Yichang women went to bed ready for a new day.
Saturday morning after waking up early to make/invent soup (much to the dismay of Brad who so graciously slept on the couch of our Yichang host headquarters) and deliver bags of muffins and loaves of homemade breads,all the girls got together to discuss what it meant to be a virtuous woman. Scattered throughout the weekend we handed out fab door prizes (thanks Sandra!), had fun singing (yea Amy!) and got caught up in some general silliness (one word...Barbie!) In the afternoon, we had some free time where girls went out to explore the city. We were able to share in our newly expanded foreign foods section of our supermarket. PTL! In the evening we gathered for a banquet and then finished the night talking about a woman of wisdom. This time we crawled into bed after making it through maybe 10 minutes of Maverick.
Sunday morning waking up even earlier, we once again went through bags of muffins and the best pumpkin bread (Brad the Baker strikes again...) We talked about what it means to be a woman who surpasses them all and how great it will be to be able to lay crowns down at the throne one day. We took supper together and felt renewed. The girls packed up, got on buses and trains, and went home thinking Yichang has perfect weather and that we are pulled together.
Looking back, I don't think the retreat could have gone much better. Everyone chipped in from Yichang to make sure all aspects were covered. Cloud seeding might have even been involved. We made some really sweet new friends and were encouraged by the Growth of some since last year. So tired yes, but absolutely happy.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
You had your before picture, this would be the after one... ;)
Friday, November 2, 2007
In just a few hours, about 50 girls will be filing into Brad's home. (He is either thankful he will not be there, or sad that he can't join such a beautiful crowd!) We will kick off a great girls weekend of fun, food, forming friendships, and thinking about how to be a "woman who surpasses them all."
Please be Thinking about the weekend for us. As you can see we are pretty excited!