Friday, October 30, 2009

Our little vacation to Kenting

Earlier this month, Abbey had a week off for fall break. So, since we didn't have time for a break during the summer, we went on vacation! A typhoon tried to muddle with our plans, but we were not scared! The first couple of days were spent in Tainan at Ye-ye and Nai-nai's house and the following two and a half spent in Kenting at the beach. We splashed, we played, we had the beach to ourselves, we ate too much Thai food, and it was great. I tried to remember to take pictures, but well, it turns out that may not be my calling! Hope you enjoy the ones I did remember to take!

VBS 2009

Okay, I know we did this back in July, but I am a little behind in catching you all up to date. Someone had shared all of their pictures from VBS with me, but they also shared a virus that crashed my computer. We had to restore our computer back to the way it was when we brought it home from the store, thus losing every last one of our pictures. I did have these still on the memory card in my camera, I am just sorry that I do not have more of the kids. Oh well, on with the show!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ethan- Salami Boy

On our last trip to Costco, we splurged on Salami. (Here in Taiwan, it seems that they value it as gold. At least that is the impression I get from the price.) Well, Ethan loves salami and I have to ration him out or it would all be gone in one day. The other day he ate what I gave him and still wanted more. So, he meandered into the kitchen and said, "I can't tell you how much I like salami. I like salami TOO much." And yes, he did score more salami for being cute.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why all the bridge hate, you ask?

Okay, when Chris heard my last post (sometimes I make him listen to them!), he focused mainly on the fact that I was practicing bridge hate. I told him that it isn't all bridges, but just that one. Here is a snippet of that conversation:

C: "Why that bridge?"

M: "Because it is so long and there is a hump in the middle and you can't see the other side."

C: "It's not that long and besides, the one in Louisiana is longer. Do you hate it?"

M: "No, because that one is flat. When I was a kid, I was at someones house and they had a TV. There was some movie on and the only part I saw was the collapsed bridge and cars driving over the hump and flying out into the air. I was always afraid that the bridge was going to be out and because like three people a day drive the Natchez, I was going to be the first to discover that it was out."

(At this point, Chris is scowling and I am imagining my car flying out into thin air.)

And so you have it. That is why I hate that bridge. Logical? Maybe not. But fears rarely are logical in nature.

Later that night, I was thinking about that bridge and realized that there was a spiritual lesson to be learned from it. You see, I was on one side and really wanted to be on the other side. But the bridge had to be crossed. Once on the bridge, I couldn't see the other side, but had to trust that the other side was still there and trust God that the bridge was going to get me there. Sometimes when God ask us to do something, we have to leave a place where we are comfortable to get there. We really want to do what God is asking, but the uncertainty of the bridge scares us. The other side is your success. But on the bridge, that is where you don't know if you will be a success or a failure. Are you going to make it or go flying off into thin air and crash into the water? But, you have to try. Yes, the bridge could have been out (obviously, it never was!), but I never would have gotten home by just sitting on the other side worrying about the bridge. And you will never be a success just sitting where it is comfortable and worrying about the risk.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall is in the air!

So, what do you think of my new look? I am feeling fallish so much that I just want to go out and buy pumpkins and mums and school supplies! And then use the three and make a wacky table arrangement. Here in Taiwan, it doesn't cool down as quickly as it does in the states during fall, but the days get a little shorter and the sun slants in that beguiling fall way and I love it! Why am I so addicted to this time of year? The crunch of leaves (only memories from the States, certain not an experience in the ever so lovely, but ever so green Taiwan), Apple pies, new clothes for school and the hint of a chill in the air just excites me. When I was in college and would head home for a visit, there was this one road that I always took. The little, winding Natchez Trace with its two lanes, 50mph speed limit (who was the drunk that decided on 50?) and gorgeous fall foliage. I can still see in my mind the trees meeting overhead and the afternoon sun peaking through the oranges and yellows and reds of dying leaves. If you live near the Natchez Trace in Northern Mississippi or Alabama, go take a drive. Take one for me and look at the leaves and relax. But when you get to that terminally long bridge near the Florence exit, turn around. I never liked that bridge.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guess who has started school!

Last month, Abbey started school at Morrison, an American school here in Taiwan. We had originally thought that we would need to home school her, but at the last moment it became possible for her to go to Morrison. She is so excited and you know what, I am so excited for her. She is making new friends, learning to listen to someone other than her parents (which is a bit sketchy at times) and teasing the boys mercilessly! While I am a full supporter of Homeschooling and may still end up homeschooling my children, I am thankful for this opportunity. On a side note, I am also thankful for a clean house that stays that way pretty much all day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Typhoon Update

Hello everyone! I have had some concerned calls (my parents) and concerned e-mails about how we are faring after the recent typhoon. I am happy to report that we are doing great and did not experience any flooding or mudslides or well, really anything. Here in Kaohsiung, a few trees blew over and we were housebound for about three days because of the rain, wind and basically everything being closed. Mom and Dad Bracken's house did flood on the first floor, but they were not home at the time and are safe and sound. Dad was able to move most of the furniture from the first floor to the second and save it from being ruined. There is a major road construction project on the main road out from their house and most of the people in their neighborhood think that mud was clogging the drainage ditches and caused the back-up of water. All of the people in our church and their houses are fine and we thank God for his protection. I have to honestly say that I had no idea that the typhoon caused so much damage until I saw the report on Yahoo. My dad did not appreciate me laughing off his concern, but it just struck me as funny that my dear father who lives on the gulf cost where a good hurricane can turn everything into toothpicks was worried about us as we sit here in our concrete building. Just think about it for a minute. But we are doing fine and I do appreciate people thinking about us. However, later, if you hear a loud, blood-curdling scream, it is just Abbey getting her booster shot before she goes into first grade. I will just apologize now for the noise.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So Sorry!

Dear lovely readers, I haven't forgotten you. Honestly, I have thought about this blog plenty of times in the last few days, but I have been too too too busy. We just finished VBS-2009 today and I am happy to say that I will be back to write... next week. Just as soon as I can recover.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Truth Comes Out...

Yesterday we finally got to the heart of why Abbey has been asking so many questions about babies. She ask me, "Momma, do you have any more babies left in your tummy? Because I would really like to have a little sister too." And to this I quickly replied, "No, honey, I don't have any more babies in my tummy. I am happy with the two great ones I have!" And I am. I am totally happy with the two I have.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am Speechless…

Abbey is fascinated with babies and how they grow and develop in their mommies tummies. A couple of months ago, she ask me how babies get out of their mommies tummies and I told her in great detail how she and Ethan were born (C-section). I was immensely happy to have dodged the bullet on how most babies are born. Well, today she ask me how babies get in their mommies tummies. And I am sorry to say that not one 6 year-old friendly answer came to mind. I tried to pass it off to Chris, but he just replied, “Well, answer her… very carefully.” I delayed so long trying to think of an answer that she moved on to something else, but I know that question will be back. Does anyone have any suggestions? Any six-year-old friendly answers?

Little Funnies

1. Saturday we had a wonderful ladies meeting. After Sis. Hathaway spoke to the ladies, I was closing out the meeting and wanted to encourage the ladies to have close relationships with each other, but what I said was, “It is so important to have close relationships with your brothers and sisters in the church. Well, not your brothers, just your sisters.” Since most of them are single, a close relationship with the brothers might not be a good idea. You think?

2. Monday, we were on our way to Kenting and Chris was afraid that he had missed his road. I got out the map and tried to find where we were. Keep in mind that this was a Chinese, but I was looking for numbers more than words. We were on Rd 88 and the road that we thought we had missed was Freeway 3. Well, I could find 3 on the map, but just could not find 88 for anything. It was really starting to get annoying that 88 was not clearly marked since it is a major road. Chris suggested that I just put the map up since it was starting to annoy him too. In one last attempt to get my bearings, I decided to see if I was looking at a Kaohsuing city map or a Kaohsuing County map. It turns out that I was looking at a Taipei City map. No wonder I couldn’t find 88. My only question is: “Why in the world do I have a Taipei City map in my car?” (Chris thought it was so funny that I was looking at a map for the wrong city that he threatened to start a blog himself. “See, I have storied to tell too” he said.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just one of the ways I keep busy...

Last Saturday, we had a wedding in our church and I had the extreme honor of decorating for it. It was a ton of fun and I thought that you all might like the see the pictures. The only think I didn't do (decorating wise) was 1. The arrangement at the top of the harbor (Thanks Mom Bracken! It looks incredible.) and 2. Take these wonderful pictures (Thanks JoAnna... You are awesome!) So, here, have a little look-see.


As most of you know, Ethan had his pins removed on Tuesday. It was a pretty quick procedure (about 15 minutes) and he did really well. We got to come home on Wednesday and he is all over the place. He isn't suppose to walk on it for two weeks, but he sure is doing everything that he can without actually walking. And he is wearing pants again! He is so excited! I thought that some of you might want to see a picture of what the metal contraption looked like (since I never could figure out how to really explain it.), so here's a picture:

Thank you so much for your prayers for Ethan and for me! We are now counting down the days until he gets the stitches out and can take a bath (4 days) and the days until we go to the beach (10 days).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Say what?

The other night, a funny thing happened at church. A good friend (she is Chinese) was talking to me and she said, "If my brother comes Saturday, can he sleep with you and Abbey and Ethan?" The funny look on my face made her rethink her words and start yelling, "SIT, SIT, can he SIT with you?" And then we both laughed and blushed for about five minutes. After that, I told her that he was welcome to SIT with me, but as for the other, well, we aren't that kind of church!


Just a quick note to you all... Ethan had an X-ray today and everything looks great with his leg, so... Tomorrow, Tuesday morning in Taiwan, He will have surgery to remove the pins! Now, on with the post.

Friday, I saw a woman wearing a shirt with this slogan across the front "Burn the Breast." What in the world does that mean? Does she mean to say, "Hey, I'm hot?" Even I am stumped by the Chinglish. And that reminds me of another lady I once saw. I was walking behind this lady and her hot pink and brown leopard spotted pants caught my attention. She was also tottering on very high heels and had teased the life out of her hair. But the biggest surprise was when she turned around. Her shirt said "Wild Thing" and she was 70 if she was a day. Why on why do I not have my camera when things like this pop up! It would have been a classic photo!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Transformers... real or not

Ethan is totally in to Transformers. He knows their names and knows which one he wants next. He has actually sent me to the Internet to research a certain Transformer because he wanted to know if he was a good guy or a bad guy. Which, by the way, there are millions of site containing the folklore of Transformers. So, the other day when Chris saw a car with a huge Transformer's symbol sticker on its back window, he pointed it out to Ethan. "Hey Ethan, look at that car. It has a Transformers symbol on its window!" To which Ethan replied with a voice full of awe, "IS that a real Transformer?!" After we dashed his hopes and told him no, he quickly moved on to wanting a Transformer sticker for our car. Well, baby, if our car were a transformer, it would transform into a grandpa machine instead of a fighting machine.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tape that doesn't stick and biases that do

Sometimes, I look at my family and realize that even though we all have US passports, I am the only real American in the bunch. With Chris having grown up over here and my kids in the process of growing up over here (if Ethan can slow down enough to give himself a chance to grow up!), they are somewhat influenced by the world around them. This really came home to me yesterday. Ethan has these four metal post that junt out of his leg and connect to the metal contraption on the outside. Every other day, we need to change the bandages around the post. And the special tape that we got (special because it is suppose to be made to stick to skin) does not want to stick. In my frustration with the tape, I told the kids, "This tape is from some place not good." Abbey replied, "Maybe, maybe it is from China!" Now, while all of my Taiwanese readers laugh, let me explain this to the Americans scratching their heads. Everyone in Taiwan checks to see where things are made. And if the item is plagued with a "made in China" sticker, it is declared to be of horrible quality and assumed to have some strange chemical placed there for the sole purpose of harming the consumers. Some people will not even buy trash bags that are made in China. And my darling daughter, at the tender age of 6, is already aware of product bias. Oh well, I guess with the lead paint scare, the milk scare, the flip-flop scare, and the Red Bull scare, it pays to be informed!

Monday, June 1, 2009

How poodle became a bad word...

A few weeks ago, while we were still in the States, I took the kids to Wendy's to eat. On their kids meal bags, they were featuring different dogs and cats. Abbey and Ethan wanted to know the names of the different kinds of dogs. Things were going great until we got to "poodle". As soon as I told them what it was called, they both began giggling hysterically. I will admit that it took me a few moments to get the joke. Don't worry. If you haven't gotten it yet, you will in a minute. After that, Abbey would ask me, "Mama, what was the black dog on the Wendy's bag called?" I would answer "poodle" and she would look over at Ethan and say, "It was a POOO-dle!" and of course, they would giggle themselves to death. And that is how poodle became a bathroom word and thus banned in our house.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My new helper

A few days ago, a miracle occurred in my house. Abbey came and told me that she was going to give washing the dishes a try. So, I let her wash and rinse and then put the dishes in a big bowl on the side for me to dry (read inspect here). She did a wonderful job and we heaped tons of praise on her. So, then later that night, we had barely finished dinner when she stood up and started collecting our plates. These too, she was going to wash. That was Wednesday and she has washed dishes everyday since. She also very seriously informed me that if I needed dishes washed, I could just ask her and she would do them because "she is growing older and after she learns how to wash dishes, she will need to learn how to drive the car and cook dinner." Well, I think the car thing might have to wait. And I am fully aware that the novelty of washing dishes wears off. (Mine wore off so long ago, I am not even sure I liked it to begin with!) But for the time being, I am enjoying my vacation from washing. Now, when she gets old enough to fold clothes! That will be a day of rejoicing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Late Happy Birthday

I had planned on writing this Birthday Blog last week, but then Ethan's trauma came up and it never happened. So, well, now it is happening. Last Tuesday, incidentally, the day Ethan fell, was Chris' 30th birthday. I think my father- in- law summed it up the best when he called me that day. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hello"
Dad: "Hello and congratulations!"
Me: "Congratulations? What for?"
Dad: "Congratulations on Chris turning thirty!"
Me: "Say what?"
Dad: "Well, now that he is thirty, he will stop harassing you about being thirty!"

And that has been the story of my life since January. Chris has teased that I am old, I have retorted that I can't even run for president for five more years. He has insinuated that my hearing is going in my old age and I have replied that the loss is purposeful and selective. He has referred to himself as "The Young" and I have counted his grey hairs. In fact, on my birthday, he teased me so much that I laughed until I hyperventilated and passed out. (Yet another sign of my "old" age according to Chris.) But that is a story for another blog! Then last Tuesday rolled around and I suddenly got younger. Thirty was just another year. So, Happy Birthday to you, my darling husband, my favorite boyfriend, my pastor, and my best friend. And may peace reign until next January.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cute things from our three weeks in the States

1. Abbey discovered body spray! She saw a package of 4 at Cato's and wanted to buy it. I don't think that she really knew what it was that she was wanting, but I figured that she would really like it. But the really sweet thing is that she saw some friends that night and wanted to give each of the girls one. Extremely careful consideration was given as to which smells they would like best. She kept Chocolate and Raspberry for herself. One thing for sure is that Abbey has always been a wonderful sharer.

2. On every plane that we were on, when it was time for it to land, Ethan would need to use the bathroom. We could have taken him 20 times in that 2 hour flight and he would still need to go. The poor baby would be crying and wiggling all the way to the gate. Once, we were at the gate and everyone was standing up waiting for them (just who is "them"and why do they take so long?)to open the door. He took one look at all the people and cried out, "Make these people move!" Isn't that what most of us are thinking but just can't say?

3. Abbey saw a snake (outside of the zoo) for the first time. It was in the road and she saw it from the car. After that, she supposedly saw a snake every time she played outside. We would dutifully go and check to make sure that the snake was gone (it always was), but our heart wasn't really into it. We figured that if she really did see a snake, she wouldn't be skipping into the house to tell us about it. She would run hysterically inside, slam the door on whoever was behind her, climb on top of a table and all the while be yelling, "SNAKE". Yes, she is a city girl, thanks for asking!

4. On one extremely early flight, Ethan was full of energy. The lady next to us was teasing Ethan and said, "I wish I had your energy. Can you give me some?" He looked at her like she was out of her mind and replied, "No, energy is in your body. I can't give you any." That's him, logical to a fault.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

News from ground zero

Today was Sunday. I did not go to church. I did not teach Sunday school. I did not eat at the "Ice Cream Store". I did not fix my hair nor did I even put on shoes today. Here's what happened today:
1. I stayed home all day with Ethan.
2. Once, Ethan screamed like someone was cutting his leg off with a chainsaw and I almost seriously injured myself getting to the living room. The problem: He dropped his crayon.
3. Wonderful friends came to see us after both services.
4. I cooked... twice... in one day.
5. Abbey got mad at me and told me that she wants "An American Momma". Guess what? She is in luck!
6. I am reading a book called "Parenting Isn't For Cowards." I have realized that my children aren't extremely strong-willed, just somewhat strong-willed.
7. I really missed going to church today. The next month isn't looking so good either.
8. And finally, I remembered all the wonderful people that encouraged me to write more while we were in the States and I thought that I would share my day with you. Thanks!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What happened and how it ended up

If you read the last post, you are probably wondering what happened. You are also probably thinking of horrible scenes and ways in which Ethan could have broken his leg. Well, folks, I never would have believed that something so simple could have had such traumatic results.

Tuesday night, Abbey spilled some water. She got a towel to wipe it up and Ethan wanted to help her. He put his foot down on the towel to push down on it at the same time she pulled it away to wipe. I guess that his leg was twisted and with the pulling motion, the femur broke. Not a straight across break, but a long slanted break. He fell in the floor screaming. When we picked him up and started to check him out, the only visible problem seemed to be a strained, swollen knee. However, he kept crying, so we decided to go ahead and go to the ER and "just get it checked out to be safe". And, as you already know, it was broken.

We spent the first night with Rip and Snort. Wednesday morning, the doctor decided that pins would be better than a half body cast. (It is dreadfully hot in Taiwan right now.) So, into surgery for four pins and into the hospital for four days. Blessings be to the God of heaven that we were able to get a private room. Poor Ethan was in quite a bit of pain that first day. They were giving him morphine into his IV. He has an interesting metal contraction on the outside of his leg holding the ends of the pins. In a month, they will remove the pins. Just a little something wonderful to look forward to.

I will say that the medical staff at the hospital is excellent at handling children. They tried to get the IV and when the normal nurse could not get it, they called a special nurse that got it first try. When it was time for him to go into surgery, he started to cry about leaving us and being moved to a different bed, so they went ahead and put him to sleep there with us and then transferred him to OR table. Throughout the ordeal, they were gentle and considerate.

We are now back home and homebound for a while. Ethan is doing really good and just taking a little Children's Tylenol (Panadol for my Taiwan readers!) a few times a day for pain management. But please keep praying for him. It is hard to be unable to run and play when you are three.

Rip and Snort

Notice: I wrote this Tuesday, May 19th. I haven't had a chance to post it until today.

Well, dear friends, I am writing this from the hospital. Tonight Ethan managed to break his leg. And well, I guess a straight break was just too boring for him, because he managed a spiral fracture from just falling down. Tomorrow morning, they are going to have to put him to sleep to set the bone and the cast it from his ankle to his waist. (This lovely event is followed by a month of restraining a three year old.) Thus, we are spending the night in the hospital. And we are in a nice free government room. It is also free for the other two people in our room. In the short time I have been with them, I have dubbed them Rip and Snort.

Rip is quiet as a little church mouse, making you forget that he is there. He then takes advantage of your forgetfulness and rips one of the loudest snore in history. He has also been known to “rip a few” too. I think it must be a result of the exertion of the Great Snores. In the middle of the night, Rip went into labor. This might be fine if he weren’t a 200 year old man. I’m not sure what the problem was, but he would have made any Lamaze coach proud.

Snort is on the other side. He has constantly amused us all night long with a variety of snores, sniffs, coughs, and throat clearing. And don’t even get me started on the incessant smacking. I’m sure that he hasn’t slept a wink because no one could be making the much noise and sleeping at the same time. I have two kids and I know all about the noise versus sleep issue.
Incidentally, I am pretty sure that neither of these guys are suffering from a broken bone.

We have requested to see if they have a room that is a little less free and a little more quiet. But the prospects aren’t looking good. The nurse said that because of his age, we will probably have to stay here again tomorrow night. I am sure that Chris will spend a good portion of tomorrow working on that new room.

P.S. When we ask Ethan what the men sounded like, he seriously considered the question and then replied, "Dinosaurs." So, so very true!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

a Little Boy and Grown-Up thoughts

Today we were driving somewhere and Abbey was looking out the window commenting on things. She saw a shop that sales motor scooters and they had a Hello Kitty one for sale.
"When I grow up, Ethan, I was that Hello Kitty motor scooter." she says.
To which Ethan replied, "When I grow up I want that has...ummm.. actually, when I grow up I won't be playing with scary men or transformers anymore."

What three year old realizes that he is going to outgrow certain toys? Chris said that he thought he would be playing with G.I. Joes forever and I am pretty sure that my parents thought I was going to be packing my Barbies when I went to college!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Freedom... or not

This morning Ethan marched out the door with Abbey and his Baba on his way to his first day of pre-school! He has been anxiously awaiting this day and so have I. You see, I know that I am going to need to home school my children for the next 12 years and I have been waiting for these few months that they both will be in pre-school and I will be free! I turned around to my empty house after hugs and good-byes and smiled. I could go out for coffee, run over to the park and exercise, or even go back to bed! ( I will let you guess at which one won out!) However, my freedom was short lived. Abbey felt too sick to stay at school and came back home. But, tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day.

P.S. Ethan just got back home from school and had a blast! When I told him that he could go back tomorrow, he couldn't believe it. "Really? I get to go back tomorrow and play again?" Hallelujah! Success!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ironman, Hammerheads, and Secrets

Okay, I know that they last post was really serious, but I haven't been too sad to write! I have been super busy with our National Conference. Which was great, by the way! Ethan has been equally as busy coming up with the cutest stuff, so let me get it down before I forget them!

1. The other day, Chris and Ethan were talking about sharks and the different kinds of sharks. When Chris described a Hammerhead shark to Ethan, Ethan wanted to know if it hurts people by banging them! Visualize! You have to admit, what's the point of a hammer-shaped head if not to be used for a weapon.

2. Chris was holding Ethan and thought that he might have smelled something a little odd. He asked Ethan if he had a "secret in his pants" and Ethan replied, "No, silly, secrets are in your mouth!". (Just a note, but it isn't normal for Ethan to have a "secret in his pants".)

3. Ethan got a new transformer the other day and was checking out the back of the box with pictures of other transformers (His favorite part of the toy, I might add.) He wants us to tell him the names of all the others and then he will sit there and recite the names. Well, he seemed to accept everyone but Ironman. I know this because a couple of mornings later, he woke up and came into my room and ask this question, "Does Ironman iron?". Nope, honey, he doesn't. But if he did, he would be my kind of superhero!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

May I grieve?

At first, I was going to call this post "May I rant?", but realized that what was happening in my heart was more grief than rage.

It seems that at every turn, I am seeing more and more of my JCM classmates leaving the truth. There is a loss of holiness, loss of separation from the world and some seem to be even embracing "enlightenment and spiritualism". Now, while I could go down a side path on how enlightenment is anything but, I am going to try and stay on topic.

I think most of us at JCM probably had pretty much the same experience. The same teachers, classes, chapels, and opportunity to change. So, how does it happen that so many are walking away and I feel that because of my time at JCM, I will never walk away. I'm not doing very good at putting this feeling into words, but I feel like my heart weights 1000 pounds inside me. I remember in a class, during my freshman year, the teacher telling us that statistics said that a high percentage of us would eventually backslide. He encouraged us to make up our minds then that we would never consider giving up, no matter what. When he was talking to us, I thought in my head, "Well, that's not me. I don't care how high the percentage is, It's not me!" And it isn't nor will it ever be me. But, my question is, "What were the others thinking?" I know it was a moment that most of us remembered because we discussed it after class and just a couple of years ago it came up in a conversation with a friend from JCM. She is still in the truth and she said that she pretty much thought what I did.

Another friend recently ask me, "What happened? How is it that people I never thought would backslide have backslidden?" And to that, I can say, I truly wish I knew. Because if I knew, maybe I could be of more help. Admittedly, I am ashamed to say, I have a hard time knowing what to say to people who have spoken in tongues and felt the incredibly awesome Spirit of God and even studied the Bible for three years that turn away from it. People who have not tasted and seen the goodness of God, I can get that.

I realize that we have an adversary that strives daily to confuse and pollute our souls and minds. But how is it that so many who know the truth are deceived? Once I learned my colors, you would have a hard time convincing me that a red shirt is really blue. It seems that the same principle would apply.

So, here I am not knowing what to do (Yes, I am praying. I do know that much!) and just grieving in my heart. Even for people that weren't close friends. More so for people that were my friends. Ones that I spent weekends with and stayed up late talking to and studied together with and graduated with. And when we went our separate ways, I was sure was they were going to be doing great things because I knew how much time they spent in the prayer room. They were the friends that called me out when I missed too many mornings in the prayer room.

At this moment, I can imagine how the 11 disciples must have felt when Judas sold out Jesus. How they must have grieved and wondered if they could have changed things and questioned how they missed the clues and so do I.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The craziness of MKs

Most of the time, my kids seem like normal little American kids. Sure, they are picky about their Chinese food, request soup and rice more than they request McDonald's and say "Dway bu chee" instead of "I'm sorry". Yes, they would look at you like the world was over if you tried to serve them minute rice. But, for the most part, they are very American. However, within the last 10 days, their MK-ness has really shined through.

Case 1:

The other day I found taco shells, the hard kind, at Costco. We always eat soft shell tacos because it is next to impossible to find the hard kind. So, I excitedly bought them and came home ready to have "real tacos". When I sat the table for dinner, Abbey and Ethan both wanted to know where I got the "big chips". They liked the tacos, but preferred to eat the "big chips" without anything in them!

Case 2:

This past week has been Chinese New Year. At the local cultural center, they had tons of booths and games and train rides set up. We took the kids over to have a little fun and after awhile, they started noticing that 80% of the kids around them were eating ice cream. Well, it was a fun day, so we went to get some ice cream, too. These were the options available:

Vanilla and Chocolate swirl
Green tea
Strawberry and green tea swirl

What do you think the little MK's chose? Here's a clue to help you:
Yes, that's right. They chose green tea and strawberry swirl! I'm sure that the older they get, the more this MK-ness will show up. But, you know what? That is a good thing!

Jing Hwa!

Some of you who read this live in Taiwan, so an "update" on Jing Hwa may not be really interesting to you. However, if you think that I have left anything out, please feel free to post it in the comments section! For the rest of you who might be wondering if Jing Hwa is still wondering the Earth, I am happy to say that she is. Here's a picture to prove it.
She is the official translator in our church. That basically means that she is translating for someone during every service. She is still tons of fun and her English still has a southern accent! We haven't found her a husband yet, but if you know a great guy that is willing to move to Taiwan (*ahem* Please note that we aren't willing to let her move away) then send him over to this blog for a little look see. She is always joking that she needs to give me a picture of herself for my house so that when I have the English Home Meeting I can introduce her to any good guys. Well, Jing Hwa, This is better! I am introducing you to the world!
The other night we all went out to a little restaurant beside the ocean. We drank Chinese tea and ordered dinner and drank more Chinese tea. Before we knew it, we had been there for over 4 hours! Thankfully, it was a very laid back place where customers are expected to linger. She really is a wonderful blessing to our church and to me personally. To all of you who have said hello, I have passed those thoughts along to her.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Dangerous Milestone and the Discovery of Pirate Bones

Well, it was bound to happen sometime. It happen to Chris 9 times, every time involving his face. And Ethan does love to be like his BaBa. Sunday night after church, Ethan took a tumble down some steps. That wasn't the bad part. The bad part was that he had a little car in his hand and he put his hand up to block his face. The little car collided with his forehead and made a terrific gash. I was at the bottom of the steps when he turned around, tripped and fell back down a couple. I picked him up and blood was dripping onto the steps and my sleeve. So, all of us in our church clothes headed to the local ER. By the time we got there, it had stopped bleeding and I personally hoped that they would hand us a band-aid and send us home. But that was not to be the case. They handed us a form to give to the X-ray tech and said for us to come back for stitches. Three stitches in all. I have to say that Ethan was the most courageous child I have ever seen. He didn't fight the doctor and went in for the x-ray by himself! After stitching him up, the doctor showed us his x-ray (which was fine, praise God!). Ethan immediately wanted to know whose pirate bones those were. When he found out that they were his, you have never seen a little boy who was happier! So, now he keeps admiring himself in the mirror and saying, "I'm a pirate because I have pirate bones and I'm tough!". Had all of this happened to our daughter, you would have heard the screams in America and that would have just been when she realized that she was bleeding. She probably would have wanted to skip school and be on a self-imposed bed rest until the stitches came out. I don't care what anyone says, boys and girls are total opposites! It's not a Mars/Venus thing, it is more like a Mercury/Pluto thing! (Just for the record, I know that Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore, but it should be!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to the world of 2009!

Yes, yes, call off the search and rescue teams, I am still alive. Here's a little update on the last month. And I do have tons of stories I want to write. If I can just remember them all! So, here's the recap:

The Christmas Musical: Awesome. No other word describes it. Just awesome! The scene where Mary sang "A Baby Changes Everything" and then right after that the Angel and the narrator sang, "Mary, Did You Know?" was so incredibly powerful. Even in our practices I just felt like weeping. Our turn out was wonderful. We had 83 for our Sunday Morning performance and 90 for the Sunday night performance. And most of those were not repeats. I am trying to talk Chris into letting us do an Easter Musical.

Christmas: Too much food! But it was great to spend it with family. Abbey and Ethan ate more candy in that one single day than they had eaten in the last year! My favorite gift? My bread machine!

New Year's: We spent it with our church family. In our service that night, we took communion and really rededicated ourselves. Then we all headed out to Starbucks for some coffee and then back to the church. We ended the year with testimonies about victories in 2008 and prayer. Of course, we "ended" 2008 about 13 hours ahead of most of you!

VACATION!: Right after the new year, we took a 3 day family vacation. It was the first vacation we have ever taken with just the four of us. We went down to the beach and wasted time playing around. We came back with sand in our shoes and our faces sunburned and can't even explain how much fun we had.

We still have a little more celebrating to do. Chinese New Year, which is THE BIGGEST holiday of the year is coming up in a little over a week. And before that, someone will turn 30!!!! I expect to feel just like 29 and I am not getting old. I'm not!

So, here's to a great and successful 2009. Just remember, if your goals are easy, you will always have a sense of success. So, I'm not setting a goal of 50 pounds to lose this year, but a goal of 5 pounds! That way, if I forget, I can squeeze it in at the end of December. Don't forget, you heard it here!