Friday, November 23, 2007

Olympic Park and Urgent trip to Beijing

Here's a few more pics of our trip with our family. Right now, actually, Brad is on his way back from Beijing with my sister and her husband. She has an abscessed tooth and needs a root canal. But the doctor was able to drain it (ouch...) and she can get the rest done in the States. Then they had to take the slooow train back to our city. The fast train takes 2 hours. This bad boy that they are riding comes in at a whopping 5 hours. Just what my sister wants to do, I'm sure. But at least they will get back tonite and tomorrow we will celebrate Selah's birthday.




Malachi's got Uncle Casey right where he wants him.




Aunt Kim and Selah posing with a random statue at the Olympic Park.



Here's part of the gang sitting with these three fat rolling men at the Olympic Park. I'm not sure there's an Olympic event that includes "fat, rolling men."



Post Thanksgiving meal. Getting our crew to all sit still and snap any kind of picture is nothing short of a miracle. But my sister's the master photographer and she got some.


Selah and Malachi are with Mimi and Grandpa at their hotel and watching Shrek 3. Carrie and the smaller 2 are at home and are going to bed by 7:30. Pathetic, I know.

This is just a small update on things here. We're having a great time!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Curried fish, peppered noodles, pizza and Indian tomato soup....just like every thanksgiving. We ate Thanksgiving at my parents hotel's International Buffet. It was wonderful and NO dishes! We all had a great time eating and swimming and then headed to our house for some dessert/dinner.




Here's my parents, sister and brother in law and us as we ate. What a blessing to have them here.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Family Coming!

Carrie is going to pick up my family tomorrow and we are sooo excited. We'll get them from Beijing tomoro and come on back here the same night. They will be here for about 8 days. We'll post some pics when we've got 'em.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wretched I am! Who will rescued these kids from these parents of death?

Every parent knows the frustration of constant reminding, of seeing your kids continually not trusting you, of seeing your sins grow legs and live in your house for 18 or more years….We see what it does to our hearts…sometimes anger, other times hurts, other times their sin discourages. We then see so quickly that we are enflamed against the same sins that linger in us, that are so slow to die. How the Lord must fees both anger and sadness in view of our sin! Our Jesus grieved and “marveled because of their unbelief,” (Mk. 6:6). Yet, how little we rage against our own sin! How indifferent and excusing are we! How awful is our sin. How I learn every day to hate my sin more and more. Oh how beautiful grace is for those who have trusted entirely on Christ for the forgiveness of this wretchedness within us.

Monday, November 12, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SELAH!!!



Here's our sweet 6 year old! I can't believe it. She told me this morning "I, like, even feel bigger today, because I'm 6! Like, taller and stuff!" She's full of life, curiosity, joy, empathy, concern for others, and love for the spotlight. I could go on and on about how much we love our Selah. She's such a blessing and it seems as if the Lord is growing in her daily. She LOVES to pray and worship through song and dance.

And that hat she's wearing- I made it!

We're going to wait to have a party when Carrie's parents, sister and brother-in-law come to visit. Only 4 days!



Here's our lazy Saturday morning. We try not to get out of bed until 7:00. One day a "lazy saturday morning" will actually include being lazy.


Friday, November 09, 2007

For all you 30 somethings


Since the Christmas season is quickly approaching, I just couldn't help but dig into the archives of greatness.  This is from the classic "The Christmas Story"-one of the greatest of all time.  So long as you forgive the unsantifiedness of the plot.  Is "unsanctifiedness" a word?!  I'll leave it because it works here.  
Well, I have discovered here on the other side of the world, another Randy Parker (Ralphie's Brother).

For those of you who have never seen the movie-to you, I am sorry for your deprived upbringing (and the totally confusing blog).   But those that can relate, I love Ralphie's brother Randy.  So here's our tribute.

Good Times







Last night, we had over Charis' baby sitter, her husband and a girl that is living with them (she is also my tutor).  We had a spaghetti dinner followed by dessert.  My tutor can speak decent English, but we told her that we wanted to try and speak Chinese most of the time.  So we did!  About 85% of our evenings conversation was in Chinese!  We were really excited and only made about 785 mistakes :).  But they were gracious and kept telling us to just slow down and take our time in speaking.  

Both our helper and tutor love kids.  The kids were watching VeggieTales in this bottom picture, so we all joined them for a minute.  The idea of singing Christian vegetables was very interesting to them.  

We had a great time and can't wait to have them over again.  My parents (Carrie) come next week and they are all excited to meet them!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Ok, it's time for a "simple pleasures" blog. This week has been blanketed in thankfulness at how grand our Lord is and how He has allowed us to recognize the things we are to be thankful for.

1. Being able to read signs in Chinese.

2. Watching the old man clean his plant, leaf by leaf, each day at 11:45.

3. Having your 5 year old daughter come to you saying "mommy, I'm sorry for my disobedience today. My heart wasn't right." And the most amazing part was that it was unsolicited by mom and dad. Totally her initiated.

4. Singing worship songs with our kids at night. Charis (our 21 mo. old) sings at the top of her lungs with her hands raised straight above her head.

5. Watching our newborn sons eyes get huge so he can take in everything.

6. iTunes

7. Making homemade volcanoes

8. Being able to see my feet (that's for all my recently pregnant friends)

9. Apple cider and Pumpkin spice candles

10. Introducing the concept of Christmas to those who have NO idea why it exists.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Kids and Trials





It's been a weird week and Kesed here has beautifully captured how we feel now. Over the last few months, we've known probably 10 people who have had babies. Some with emergency c-sections, some at 23 and 25 weeks along, some totally healthy. And then we've got friends who are suffering from terminal illnesses or lost jobs. We've also listened to quite a bit of teaching on suffering. As I process our friend's suffering and try and make sense of it in Scripture, I am reminded of Paul. He suffered insurmountably. And he continued in joy and continued in faith. Why...because he knew that Jesus was worth it. Do I really live as if "dying is gain"? Really and truly, do I believe that heaven is better than life now. Paul KNEW heaven was worth it. But to have joy in the MIDST of it is hard for me to imagine. To treasure Christ in both suffering and times of peace. Brad and I were talking that sometimes treasuring Christ above all, in times of peace, can sometimes be the more difficult task.
Through all of this, I have been brought to a place of thankfulness. Thankfulness for today. For today, all my kids are healthy, my husband is wonderful and life is good.
But the key is my continued thankfulness when God decides to take away, when he decides to break me down.
I know this is heavy, but it's also healthy. Too often, we don't ponder on our suffering and eventual death. And we should not merely ponder these things in order to appreciate this life more (to cling to life can easily become and idol of worship.)
but to appreciate our Savior who suffered and died and yet overcame death because of his perfection. It is THAT that we are to rest in. That Jesus is worth it.

I added the pictures in order to come up for air.

Suffering and Death





It's been a weird week and Kesed here has beautifully captured how we feel now.  Over the last few months, we've known probably 10 people who have had babies.  Some with emergency c-sections, some at 23 and 25 weeks along, some totally healthy.   And then we've got friends who are suffering from terminal illnesses or lost jobs.  We've also listened to quite a bit of teaching on suffering.  As I process our friend's suffering and try and make sense of it in Scripture, I am reminded of Paul.  He suffered insurmountably.  And he continued in joy and continued in faith.  Why...because he knew that Jesus was worth it.  Do I really live as if "dying is gain"?  Really and truly, do I believe that heaven is better than life now.  Paul KNEW heaven was worth it.  But to have joy in the  MIDST of it is hard for me to imagine.  To treasure Christ in both suffering and times of peace.  Brad and I were talking that sometimes treasuring Christ above all, in times of peace, can sometimes be the more difficult task.  
Through all of this, I have been brought to a place of thankfulness.  Thankfulness for today.  For today, all my kids are healthy, my husband is wonderful and life is good.
  But the key is my continued thankfulness when God decides to take away, when he decides to break me down.  
I know this is heavy, but it's also healthy.  Too often, we don't ponder on our suffering and eventual death.  And we should not merely ponder these things in order to appreciate this life more (to cling to life can easily become and idol of worship.)
 but to appreciate our Savior who suffered and died and yet overcame death because of his perfection.  It is THAT that we are to rest in.  That Jesus is worth it.


I added the pictures in order to come up for air.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Humility of Guanxi

There is a very important dynamic in Chinese culture we see daily here. It’s called guanxi (“relationship”)…which basically means high speed relational networking. We’re reminded of the mob but without the crime, shooting, etc… In other words, relationship is everything. Who you know makes every difference in daily life…not merely getting a job interview, but dictating every cause and effect of your life. Anyway, while guanxi can created various injustices and frustrations, we see that there is yet an inherent humility to the system. At least, they see with humble, realistic eyes their need for others. They do not presume an independence from others such that casual persons can be brushed off so easily. From their perspective, it is worth asking, “Who knows who is connected to who? Or what “use” they may have?” While distorted manipulation is far from love, some lessons are worth learning. In our home culture, we think we are self sufficient individuals who don’t need other people. It’s far from humble and grossly na├»ve on our parts. In our day of ipods and other isolated hobbies, we fear our generation has lost the skill of relating, the art of conversation, and a genuine appreciation for people. Just think about it, people pay 4 bucks at Starbucks everyday to stick headphones in their ears, stare at a laptop, and not talk to anyone….yet [so we think] we are “in community”. It’s a sad reality.

Reason 27 why we love China

Yesterday, we had to get our dining you light fixture worked one, including some rewiring. Our light would not turn off ever. I saw a big flass a while back when I turned the light on and it was never the same. The wiring was a joke. Together, the electrician and supplies cost about 75 cents!

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