Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nothing Much

So, here we sit. We're about a week out of flying to the States. I feel like my brain is stuck in May. But alas, it is June. And I'm having blogger guilt. We haven't posted in a while and my creative side is on vacation. So if in doubt, post pictures.

We had a wonderful group of friends come into town last week. I love getting to hear people's take on life here. This group of people encouraged our hearts and ministered to our lives in a deep way. We felt very refreshed. And it wasn't just because they brought 16 bags of coffee with them.

We are in the process of not only packing to head to the States for a few months, but packing to move. We disassembled our bathtub and beds, have taken stuff off the walls and packed most of our earthly belongings already. While I was packing one morning, the girls were playing in the bathtub. With umbrellas.

I'm not sure how much posting will happen in the next week or so, but prepare yourselves for much commentating over the next few months as we hit the ground in the US of A.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Have you ever...

1. Have you ever felt so tired that you couldn't sleep? As if your adrenal gland is stuck in hyper mode and is gushing adrenaline into every appendage in your body, causing you to work and think frantically around the clock?

2. Have you ever felt like you are stuck in the "before" picture of a luxurious make-over?

3. Have you ever felt like your life is a sitcom, but then are grateful that it's not a drama or tragedy?

4. Have you ever wondered what your tag line is when people describe you? Like Ross from friends, he was "the divorced guy". Or Aaron Neville, he's "the guy with that large mole."

5. Have you ever wondered why we humans even bother to make 5 year plans?

Ok, just wondering.

Monday, June 07, 2010

My Life in Fortissimo

I'm not gonna lie, there is one thing that I am excited about when I think of visiting America that ranks higher than even cheese and Chik-Fila waffle fries. And that's quiet. We live in a world of 'fortissimo'. For those less cultured than myself (ie, those of you who didn't hear 'June' on Little Einsteins this morning use the word 'fortissimo' and tell the audience to clap, clap, clap) fortissimo means really, really loud. And really, really loud can be good when you are talking about a dramatic piano piece, or say, a fire alarm. Fortissimo is not good when it defines your everyday.

My house is not just a little bit noisy. If it's quiet, I start to worry that someone is bleeding in the corner or eating Play-dough. So, why don't you go for a nice stroll outside, you might ask? Well, I don't know if you've ever been to China or probably India, but it's really noisy here. I had a one hour lay over in Delhi one time and it just felt noisy there, but my friends that live there can chime in on that one. Even at restaurants, the music is so loud that you have to shout to the person next to you. I think everyone's hearing has gotten so bad that places feel the need to crank up their music, honk their horns incessantly and speak at a decibel not made for human eardrums just to be able to function daily.

My parents house has a huge back yard with very few neighbors around them. I cannot explain how excited I am to sit on that back porch and listen to nothing. Although I'm sure my parent's neighbors are not at all excited about our 'fortissimo' disturbing their 'pianissimo.'

I am craving a little bit of pianissimo in my life. Grab the hand next to you, take a deep breath and say Pianissimo. Doesn't that feel good.




Saturday, June 05, 2010

Public Service Announcement: What NOT to say to Moms

There are a few things that I'm going to share with you that will save you a lot of heart ache. If you are a friend or family member of a mom that has lots of small kids at home, I have a brief list of things NOT to do.

1. Do not plan a girl's night, retreat, double date, long lunch without kids and then cancel the plans last minute. Why? Because chances are, that mom has been looking forward to that time all week. And an even better chance that it's that very event that has kept her from going postal on several occasions. The mother will be gracious about you canceling, but then will retreat to the bathroom and cry for 5 minutes. Then, she will blame her contacts when her kids ask her what is wrong.

2. Do not ask her why her kids are not walking, talking, rolling over, potty trained, or sleeping in their own beds yet. This will cause a snowball of thoughts that will end in all of her kids being homeless or in jail.

3. Do not ask her to make a dessert last minute for a function that she is attending outside her own home. She will say yes, of course. Because saying no would imply that she does not have everything together and she is afraid she will be de-frocked from the Super Mom club. And that mom will feel guilty if she uses a five minute boxed dessert because others will know. They just will. So, she will go to the store, because it's always one ingredient that is missing. The domino effects of this dessert request will send her into panic mode...quickly.

4. Do not complain about how tired and busy you are because you have to go to the gym and then meet at starbucks today. That will cause her to sin.

5. Do not talk about how you never see the sun rise because you get up after 8 every morning. And how on the weekends you sleep in until 10 and then eat a late breakfast just in time for kick-off at 11. She will be tempted to start "accidently" calling you at 4:30 from her husband's phone (so you don't recognize the number, of course) and then hang up quickly. Then she will fall peacefully back to sleep feeling oh so pleased with herself.

These things above will send your friend into Mommy Depression. You don't want Mommy Depression. It's not pretty.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from me.

You're welcome.

Dancin' on the Train to Beijing

Friday, June 04, 2010

By bread alone

"Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes
from the mouth of God."

Matthew 4:4

Jesus quoted this verse when the devil was tempting Him in the desert. As I read this verse this morning and was praying over it, I came to a realization.

I often choose to live by bread alone.

Bread is simple. Bread is easily accessible. Even if there is drought and famine, bread remains. I can run to the street by myself and pick up bread. It's safe and secure.

As I was thinking through this for myself, I came to understand even more how often I depend on my own devices within a day. Brad and I have been talking over the last few months that they Lord seems to be leading us into a desert of unfamiliar and insufficient. There are things that we will be doing in our immediate future that we are absolutely incapable of doing on our own. We feel like we are finally needing to string up the white flag and fall into a foxhole, ducking for cover. The Lord has brought us to this point. He knows that we don't like surrender. He knows that we rely on our own abilities and facilties way too often. We do things that are comfortable and stretch us just enough that we won't break.

Relying on our own abilities led the apple to be eaten. For Ishmael to be born. For birthrights to be sold.

The verse in Matthew tells us that we are to live by EVERY word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Those words are good. Those words are true.

Those words will not spoil.

Not like my bread.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

One Month till States Bound

So, in about one month, we will be headed to visit America. It's a weird thing to process through. China is home and our kids really don't remember much about America. They are starting to ask lots of questions about living in the States. We'll only be there for 3 months, but I can see their minds spinning on what life will be like for us. We are doing a count down where everyday we add an element to the White House.

Yesterday, Selah stood in front of the American flag on our little White House and sang the Chinese national anthem. I thought it was a good summation of what she sees her identity as being. A majority of their friends are Chinese. They fully understand what kind of behavior will cause them to gain or loose face here. Charis was 1 when we left, so she's clueless. Malachi remember almost nothing about America. We will also visit the States with two more children than when we left-just 3 years ago.

There are things we're excited about, namely: fajitas, swimming, friends, family, grass, batteries that work, drive-thrus, libraries, Chic-Fil-A, and driving. But, there is a large part of me that is really nervous.

I'm nervous that I won't have a clue what people are talking about.

I'm nervous that I won't be funny and will instead elicit blank stares and inner monologue mocking from others.

I'm nervous about going to church.

I'm nervous that my brain will forget every Chinese word I've ever learned.

I'm nervous that we will not have a place in our friend's lives.

I'm nervous that our kids will feel like outcasts.

I'm nervous that the comforts of America will make me lazy in my pursuit of Jesus.

I'm nervous that I will gain 83 pounds consuming cheese.

I'm nervous that I won't be able to hear God clearly.

All of these things are founded in my lack of trust in the Lord's provisions.

Our good friend, DY, is also coming to visit us for about half of the time. Having her there with us is going to give us a good bridge between East and West. And I'll get to teach her and my 4 year old how to swim : ).

I'm sure I will have more musings as the month progresses.
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