Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bracken Blurbs... again

I love to see the world through my kids eyes.  Their perceptions are sometimes amusing and often very insightful.  As many of you know that have been following this blog since they were babies, they are apt to say anything and let's just say that bashfulness isn't something we have discussed very much in our house.  Proper times to say certain things is a frequent conversation topic in the Bracken household.  So, without further ado, here are a few of the most recent observations:

1.  A few months ago, the kids and I were reading the story of the Princess and the Pea.  Halfway through the story, Ethan said, "Wait, it's a pea you eat?"  When I said yes, he replied, "I always thought that she just peed the bed!"  Yeah, that WOULD be hard not to notice!

2.  Just last night, Ethan was talking and he said, "A long time ago, when they had snail mail..."  Oh, I feel old!  I can actually remember a time when there was no e-mail and I actually had a pen pal! That wasn't as long ago as you might think...

3.  This last one, it isn't directly about a Bracken.  Some of you might remember this blog that was meant as a joke.  I thought that most people would get the punch line.  Apparently not.  About three weeks after I wrote it, a girl in my church came up to me and ask where that supermarket was located at.  I ask her, "What supermarket?"  "The one that you wrote about in your blog!  I've searched all over the internet and can't find it!"  And cue the hysterical laughter.  I laughed until I cried and could not breathe.  Somewhere in the middle, I wheezed out an explanation.  Then she laughed until she cried and couldn't breathe.  We were both possibly tired.  After we caught our breath, she told me that she had spent a couple of hours searching the internet and even going to the chamber of commerce page to try and find out about any new supermarkets in Kaohsiung.  Then she search for the whole island to see if it was in another town.  Amazingly, she was unable to locate it.  I wonder why... 

4.  Recently, Abbey and Ethan have both developed a slightly annoying habit.  I fully recognize that is just a part of growing up.  In fact, I can remember doing the same as a kid.  What is it that they are doing, you ask?  They will ask us a question.  When we answer, they will say, "I know".  To which I say, "If you already knew, why did you ask me?"  Their answer?  "I was just seeing if you knew the answer!"  Thank God for college!

5.  Last one!  We have a Sunday School contest going right now.  If you can memorize a scripture and tell a teacher at Sunday School, you get a point.  Points can be used to "buy" big prizes.  There is no limit on the number of scriptures you can say in one class time.  So, last Sunday, both kids remembered this before church.  They got their Bibles and started searching for a scripture to memorize.  When it came to tell the teacher, I didn't know which ones they had chosen.  But their choices so reflected their personalities!  Ethan quoted one from Revelation concerning one of the beast and Abbey quoted a lovely one from Psalms!  I LOVE IT!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Joys and Trials of a New House

We moved (Yes, once again...) into a new house in April.  6 whole months ago.  Now, I should mention that it is new to us, not new in the sense that it was just built.  Also, I should mention that it is a a rental, but Praise the sweet powers that be, I was able to convince Chris that we really needed a 5 year contract this time around and not just a year or two.  I keep adding to my dishes which means that he has to move more and more heavy things each time we move, so he agreed to the 5 year contract.  Ladies, when talking doesn't work, dishes will!!

So, after six months, everything should be settled, right?  Not right.  While this is a great house, it was almost completely bare inside.  And every wall of the house was painted off white.  Every room, every stairwell,  every single wall.  And let's talk about the great banisters.  All yellow.  A lovely yellow paint that scratched off easily.  Then we could see that they were once black and before that, a hideous maroon.  So, we have been transforming this into something that represents us a little more.  When it is done, I'll get you all some pictures. (Actually, to be really honest, you have a better chance of seeing those if you follow me on Instagram.  I won't say that I am addicted, but the ease of it is too convenient!)  So, I have been focused that last few months on finding furniture that we really like and can afford, narrowing down paint colors and replacing curtains.  I'll just say on that subject that orange curtains are hard to pull off and bright green with yellow and pink flowers do not exactly soothe the soul.  The whole process  has actually been tremendously fun!

However, I have learned something really frustrating about myself.  Which is happening right now, which is why I am writing this post in the first place.  Am I the only one that puts things off until guest are coming over?  It's like I can ignore anything until someone is coming over.  Now, I don't mean that I have piles of trash sitting around or that I never mop.  I'm talking about the fact that I was outside scrubbing the sidewalk today and buying new curtain rods and trying to get curtains hung.  I even considered (briefly) taking down all the curtains and washing them.  And who are these all-seeing guest?  Abbey and Ethan's best friends.  Kids that honestly will see nothing but toys and friends and possibly notice if I have food or not.  Which has lead me to this question...

"Do I use the excuse of guest coming to motivate myself or do I have issues?"

Okay, that isn't meant to be taken too seriously.  We all have issues.  Deal with it.  But it seems that the day before someone comes over is always a bit frantic and I so wish I could be one of those people that thinks to herself, "Oh, we have guest coming tomorrow?  I can't think of one thing that I need to do!"

Do those people exist?  What kind of person are you?  The Laid back housekeeper or the frantic cleaner?

Ahh.. the desire to be perfect can be such a drag! (I guess that I shouldn't mention that Chris is repainting the kitchen right now as we speak or that I'm off to reorganize my laundry system...)

Friday, June 1, 2012

English Strikes Again

Today we were at an assembly at our kids' school. The principal was talking about a USB key and Chris leaned over and we had the following whispered conversation:

 Chris: "What is a B key?"

Me: "A USB key."

C: "I don't get it. What's a B key?"

 Me: "A U-S-B key. You know, for a computer!"

 C: "Like a flash drive?"

Me: "Exactly."

C: "I can't believe I just wasted 20 seconds of my life. I thought he meant a B key from the US. I hate English!"

And what followed was that awkward moment when you are dying to laugh, but totally in the wrong place to laugh out loud. So, you hold it in and try to laugh silently. Except the laughter turns to tears and escapes through your eyes. And you are sitting in a assembly where the principal is talking about USB keys and nothing, not one thing is funny.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Latest Newsletter

East Asia News!

Newsletter of the Tom and Chris Bracken Families

March/April 2012

To all of our Friends, Family, and Supporters,

Good things are happening in Taiwan. Rejoice with us for the following report:

* A very blessed Turning Point 2012-Taiwan National Conference was held February 17-19. Pastor Don Hyler, of Atwater, California, was with us this year. What a blessing! We are thankful for his anointed preaching and for at least 17 receiving the Holy Ghost!

* Saturday, March 24th, marked the beginning of a new semester of Pentecostal Bible College with 25 students! It was an awesome day of teaching and learning!

* We are now in the last week of preparation before beginning the purchase of our building. We had an architect come and make a safety inspection of the facility and are awaiting his report. We are still short of the goal. Our hope is that some last minute offerings will come in for this over the next few days.

Thank you for your prayers and giving for this major undertaking. We are praying that all of the sacrifice by God's people will translate into many, many souls spending eternity in heaven!

Home of the Pentecostal Bible College of Taiwan and the Tainan Pentecostal Church

Pastor Collins, of Twin Falls, Idaho, handing me a building offering check for $50,000.00!

A former Taiwan Naval Captain, James Ho, who was just baptized-standing with wife, children, and pastor

Pastor Hyler Preaching during our National Conference

Pastor Chris Bracken teaching in the Bible School

Education Dynamics Asia | 6541 Paxton Road | Vicksburg | MS | 39180

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Sticker that Was

Yesterday was interesting. If you follow on Instagram, then you already know this story. Yesterday was spent in the hospital. All day. Because of a sticker. Things started off normally, but took a turn around 6:30. Ethan had a shower then headed off to Abbey's room to get dressed. I assumed that he could handle that himself, so I went off to fix Abbey's hair. The next thing I know, Chris is coming in asking if I have tweezers because Ethan put a sticker in his ear. It seems that instead of getting dressed, he decided to explore Abbey's room and found a sticker. He is six and his sister's room is not a place that we normally let him hang out in alone. For reasons only know to God, he found a sticker and put it in his ear. No parenting manual prepares you for this.

Well, after determining that he could not remove it, Chris and I headed off to the hospital. We dropped Abbey off at the bus stop and dashed over to the local hospital. We thought that they would quickly pull out the sticker and we might still get him to school on time. A small bit of our hope was stolen when they said that we needed to head to the University hospital in our town because they had the doctor that was trained to use the "special tweezers for children's ears". We joked in the car on the way over that he must take them home with him at night because they were so special.

Our first moment of real seriousness came when the doctor, after looking in Ethan's ear, said that if it was too painful for Ethan that they might need to put him to sleep to get it out. We strongly encouraged Ethan to hold still and let the doctor get it out then. He, of course, screamed when the doctor tried to remove the sticker. They sent us down to wait in the ER. Well, the doctor thought that maybe they could just give him a sedative and that might be an easier route. Ethan took the sedative and then woke up fighting when the doctor tried once again to remove the sticker. Except that this time, because of the sedative, he didn't know where he was and why was so many people looking at him and why did his ear hurt. It honestly was a tiny bit funny, because after the doctor quickly determined that they would need to put him all the way under, Ethan still dealt with the sedatives effects for about 20 minutes. He would dose off and they wake up and ask me where he was at and why did he feel dizzy. I would explain and he would then discover the stickers for the heart monitor on his chest and ask about those. After explaining this, he would then tell me how Franklin in one of his books had the same thing. Then repeat 5 more times.

We then waited for three more hours for his stomach to clear out so they could give him a general anesthetic and get the sticker out, once and for all. Silly us fed him breakfast not expecting him to stick something in his ear. He headed in about 12:30 and I was getting nervous when he still wasn't out 30 minutes later. I mean, just pull the sticker out. When he was in recovery and they brought us the sticker, several things suddenly became clear. It wasn't really a sticker. It was a small rhinestone. A small, round, hard rhinestone. To a six year old boy, that is a "sticker". And he had pushed it quite far into his ear trying to get it out before letting us know about it.

We ask him over and over why he would stick something in his ear and he seems to have no idea. At one point, I ask him, "If you could go back, would you stick that in your ear?" His answer? "If I could go back, I would go back to breakfast and tell myself to just go brush my teeth!" That would have been a great idea!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bee Stories

A friend of mine recently wrote a story about an encounter with a bee. You can read it here. It is a great story! And it jogged my memory about a great bee story that never made it on to this blog. As you have probably noticed, lots of stories about the kids make the blog, but ones about me, not so much. Most things that are blog worthy, I am actively trying to forget. But, here's a little story about how Thanksgiving 2011 went down.

All of the Brackens in Taiwan decided to have a little fun for Thanksgiving. Not the traditional turkey and lounging around the house Thanksgiving for us. We are missionaries. Adventurers. Conquistadors! We planned to head up to the mountains to "Bracken Hole" and BBQ beside the river. Since November is nice and toasty here in Taiwan, we also planned to swim in said river. Well, about two years ago, a typhoon came through and causes massive flooding in the mountains. Unbeknown to us, it wiped out part of Bracken Hole. So, when we realized that place wasn't going to work, we set off to find a new place to BBQ and swim. This actually should have been an easy mission. Except for the flat we got on our car. And the two lug nuts that broke when we were trying to change it. Chris and Dad Bracken set off for the nearest town to get it repaired and Mom B and I ended up setting up an picnic/BBQ area on the side of the road. I think we all thought that the guys would be gone for about 30 minutes. They ended up being gone for close to three hours. Finally, they returned and we attempted to recover the day. Chris grabbed a piece of BBQ chicken and headed over to where the kids were playing to watch them. I joined him to ask all the details concerning the car. Remember that piece of chicken. It comes into play in a moment. Well, while we were chatting I heard a bee buzzing. Not thinking, I casually swung my hand over my head. That was the last thing I did casually for about two minutes. I must have scared the bee, who was sitting on top of my head, because he stung me. Then he got stuck in my hair in an effort to escape. So, during our normal conversation, I suddenly screamed and started hitting the top of my head. Just as Chris was starting to ask me what I was doing, the bee flew out of my hair and straight at Chris. He threw his piece of chicken in surprise. Then he started yelling, "IT'S OUT! IT'S OUT!" in an effort to get me to stop beating myself to death. And that day I learned that bee stings to the head hurt. Really hurt. For three days hurt. And that quite an impression can be made on children if you will scream and beat your head. Also, sometimes God test our thankfulness on Thanksgiving.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Let me begin by saying, "Happy Thanksgiving!", "Merry Christmas!", and "Happy New Year!". There. I think I covered all of the holidays that I missed. Once again, November and December flew into my life like Hank the Cowdog chasing Pete the barn cat and just created havoc to my schedule! I'm going to be doing an end-of-year update for you all soon.

I wanted to mention to all of you that I am on Instagram. If you happen to have that app, my user name is: tebracken. I would love to have you follow me and to even follow some of you! It is such a quick and easy way to post pictures! Tonight I posted a great picture of my homemade chicken alfredo pizza. It was truly great!

May God bless your new year and may your laundry learn to wash itself!