Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Few Daily Shots

Well, we leave for Thailand on Sunday, so we wanted to do a post before we left.  Here's just a few pictures of our lives here.

Here's Brad with his tutor.  We laughed because I caught the picture as he's putting his hand to his ear in frustration.  He claims that his biggest weakness in language is in his listening, so this picture really captured his time with his tutor.  We study in the lobby of a local hotel.  It's one of the only air conditioned places around.

Three "sleeping mermaids".  They were pretending and decided the mermaids needed a nap.  But the tiniest mermaid is rejecting the notion.

Here's Charis with her baby-sitter.  She's learning a ton of Chinese.  The bao mu (baby sitter) even asked us if Charis knew how to speak any English.  And at the beginning of the semester, I, Carrie, tried to write Charis' name in Chinese and mis-wrote something.  So it read "Jing Er" which means 'little shark'.  So that is now her nickname according to the bao mu.

Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.  After 4 pregnancies, we captured it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

China: Death penalty for damage to grid (article);_ylt=A

Peculiar Topics during Language Learning

So this morning, Brad and I talked about all the 'off topic' topics we had covered this week. Our curriculum has us doing the usual vocabulary about the post office, buying things, taking a train, etc. But we enjoy getting to have 'free talks' with our tutors and get us a little of subject at times. Here's a quick glance at the assortment of topics we've covered in the last week:

Our horrible treatment of the elderly in America
Dog fighting
How there are more laws to obey in America than here in China
Death penalty and the methods used (guns, electric chair, lethal injection)
Calcium and Zinc needs
There is very little 'American' food
The main thing American likes to import are foreigners
How to communicate Paul's usage of the word 'dung'
Irrigation issues facing China
There is no 'fee' to pay for 'extra' children anywhere else in the world
today, we had a conversation going from pizza to Americans killing Indians in history

And I'm telling you, I could go on forever. We got to laughing about the crazy topics we had both covered. And then we were encouraged that for the most part, we could do these in Chinese!

Selah's Mid-Life Music Selections

Selah was informing me yesterday of her maturity.  She put a song on and it was a slower Beethoven piece.  She told me that "Malachi likes faster music.  He doesn't realize yet that when you get older, you like slow, calm, beautiful music.  He just doesn't realize that yet because he's still young."

What I didn't realize is that she had reached middle age over night.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What's a.....?

As I've gone through a few months of homeschooling, I've come across many cultural things that I am having to explain to my kids.  Things that most American kids would be familiar with by this stage in the game.  This list could go one forever, but here are a few:

1.  What's Valentine's Day?
2.  Why do people do parades?
3.  What are pickles, lemons, and milkshakes?
4.  What's a post office? And why do you like the stamps instead of putting glue on the back?
5.  What's a firestation?
6.  What's a seat belt?  
7.  A red light normally means STOP.
8.  Fireworks happen at night in America-not the day as we have here. 

Then there are the culturally American inappropriate things that we have to tell our kids are OK here, but not in our home or in America.

1.  Grandmother's shouldn't hack lougeys.  Especially indoors.
2.  You need to have a shirt on when you eat at a restaurant.
3.  You can't just drop trow and urinate anywhere you'd like.
4.  To cross the street you must look for donkeys, taxis, bicycles, cars, buses and walkers.  And it will never truly be clear.  Just look and run!
5.  Most grandparents don't live "in the computer."  Even though that's when we get to talk with them.  
6.  You don't eat rice by putting the bowl up to your mouth and shoveling. 

Like I said, these are just a few.  We hope our kids are good athletes or musicians or something, because man they are going to be awkward Americans.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Getting Stitches in China

For the third time this year we had to head to the doctor for stitches today...This time Malachi (x2 this year).

After practicing his best Pete Rose face first slide into a flower pot, we rushed to a local hospital. Fortunately, a good Chinese friend lives nearby to help. After the emergency room said they wouldn't or couldn't help us, Malachi and I (Brad) were directed to another building across the street. Once there and up to the second floor, they said they couldn't help us either. Go to the 4th floor, they said. With no elevator, that means carry the 40 pound sack of potatoes up 2 more flights of stairs. Since the building is under construction, we walked (I walked, he laid) about 50+ yards and found some elevators! GRACE!! 

So as we wait for the elevator, I marvel that I am staring at a "No Spitting" sign while surrounded (in a hospital) by a swarm of smokers. Hmmm. Anyway, after we then get directed down to the first floor to the ear, nose and throat doctor. we are redirected again to another office in another building. Meanwhile, I'm dog tired and tell our friend to find the office we need to go to while Malachi and I wait (she didn't even know where to go next). Then it hit me, I've got a kid with a huge gash across his face near his eye, but we're sitting outside the hospital, near a construction site, sitting on the ground, Malachi has not shoes or shirt (due to the rush). "Why won't anyone help us!!!? Or at least have us sit somewhere inside the hospital?!!" Well, since it's Sunday, of course, no doctors are scheduled to come in today in the office and they can't be called in either. We return to the ear, nose, and throat guy to get the stitches on Malachi's cheek.

After holding done the strongest 3 year old since Samson, they put the "wine" on his face (alcohol), and did the repair. I was then advised Malachi would need an IV (yes, i v)  all week. Nope, we'll pass. (They are very IV crazy here). We were blessed through. Although, as Malachi told me, "they did bad things to me", I think his face was taken care of ok.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


We just read of the megachurch, High Point Church, that denied (canceled, actually) the funeral service of a navy veteran after they found out he was gay. They claim that it would compromise their principles to administer the funeral of a person persisting in a life of sin. Here's our question, does that mean no unbeliever can have a funeral at the church, since anyone who does not confess Christ persists willingly in the worst of sins? Why are people so insistent to condemn some sins, like abortion or homosexuality, and not more common, pervasive, and perhaps more deadly ones, like gluttony, laziness, lust, greed, unjust war, gossips, lack of thankfulness.....? Did persistent sin stop Jesus from weeping over Jerusalem? Did the blatant choice of sin stop Paul from wanting to endure Israel's punishment for them (in Romans)? Did we not read in Ezekiel that God does not delight in the death of the wicked when referring to rebellious Israel? Does such mourning somehow give approval of sin?
You don't have to agree with a person's sin to mourn over death, to mourn with those who mourn (which is also a command from God). In the coming year, with the presidential election around the corner, please, for each of our soul's sake, don't fall prey to the selective naming of sins, such that we choose not to be gracious with some outside the church people but grossly tolerant of others inside the church building. Please don't become seduced by one political party over another as if one side had the corner on moral issues. Worst of all, may we not begin comparing ourselves selectively to others so that we conveniently ignore our sin, coddling and justifying it as "not that bad". The wages of sin is I wish that all our brothers and sisters knew that we should mourn death...after all, God does (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11).

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Simple Pleasures

After receiving our August update, some of you have emailed to just check up on us and make sure all is ok. As I wrote before, it's been a hard summer for our family. But nonetheless we are excited at having been sent here. If you've ever lived overseas for an extended amount of time, you know that the excitement and adventure wears off and normal life sets in pretty quickly. And living anywhere that's not the West means that life is a lot slower and a LOT less convenient. But we've also really loved living here. Donna, a friend of mine, used to ask me randomly, "tell me a simple pleasure for today." So, while we're tired, we've realized there are many simple pleasures we have here. Here are a few:

1. Smiling at the sweet toothless street sweeper everyday on the way to the kindergarten.

2. Our kids getting to help the fruit sellers water their produce.

3. Getting to walk places instead of hopping in a car everytime.

4. Watching a couple from my kitchen window as they play badminton every morning.

5. Eating the amazing food. And getting to use chopsticks.

6. Getting to eat tons of meals with my family.

7. Teaching my kids how to love despite being an outsider.

8. Eating ice cream from vendors at any point in the day. Watching my son always pick out and love the most random selections (ie green pea, corn, raisin, etc).

9. Discovering a store that sells Diet Coke and french bread.

10. Watching my husband enjoy learning the language.

Friday, August 03, 2007

How We are Being Changed (a.k.a. What's We're Learning) Part 2

We’ve spent a lot of time recently in Hebrews 11 and 12, trying to understand how the Lord uses life circumstances to mature and train his children. A few things have refreshed us, encouraged us to patience, and taught us how our Father works in real life.

As we read 11:33-38, about the results of the faithful life, we get a broad and perhaps unsettling picture. One thing that stuck out to us recently when we read was the exact contrast of those who “escaped the edge of the sword” (v. 34) and those who “were killed with the sword.” (v. 38). We cannot measure the Lord’s favor based on results. Both were called faithful in Hebrews 11. If this is not clear to us, the ultimate example is given in Hebrews 12:1-2 where it calls us to endurance by considering Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” We have learned that that sustained joy and endurance requires 2 things: (1) a clear view of the goal of divine joy to be had and (2) realistic expectations as to the means of getting there, i.e. a shameful cross. I think our evangelical and cultural background has struggled in preparing us for this marathon, for we are regularly taught easy quick fixes, that we should jump ship when things are hard or don’t come “quickly”, and NOT taught to discern the good fro the best. C.S. Lewis poignantly diagnosed our sickness, we are “far to easily pleased.” Pray for us that we would mature in peace and patience as we endured His disciplined training and joyfully obey his command to us all to “be thankful always and in everything” (Eph. 5:20).

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