Monday, May 30, 2011

Hong Kong part 2

Blogger isn't letting me cut and paste at the moment, so the pictures are totally out of chronological order. For those math majors and orginization freaks, I am sorry that this post will not help with your OCD tendencies.

On the last day, there was a "Golden Mickeys" show.  It was in Cantonese, but it's not like Mickey and Minny are having nuclear proliferation talks.  We pretty much got the gist of what was happening.
Belle is my 5 year old daughter's favorite princesses.  She has never even seen "Beauty and the Beast", but Belle is her favorite fruity vitamin.  So, we looked all day for Belle and couldn't find her.

It had started to rain and we were standing in line to see Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella when we heard the rumor that Belle was around the corner.  We waited in line for the three princesses and then were going to head over to Belle.  By the time we got there, we were told that Belle was leaving to perform in the "Golden Mickeys" and that we couldn't go see her.  I just might have throw a bit of a tantrum because I could just see my 5 year olds heart breaking as the nice girl in the red poncho told us about Belle's little scheduling problem.  Yes, I was one of "those" mothers.  I hate these mothers. The ones that think they are entitled to special treatment just because their son or daughter loves something.  And in that brief second, I became one of those people who pitch a fit until they get what they want.  On her way out to the show, Belle was ushered over to the corner they put us in.  Despite my little scene, my 5 year old got to pose with Belle.  Her smile made up for any embarrassment that was caused.

To get to Disney Land, you ride this fun subway straight into the park.  And like any good Chinese tour group, we all wore baseball hats.  

Even the holdy things are shaped like Mickey.

Makaria was freaked out at first at all the characters and animals.  This was the first character she met.  That didn't help things much. 

Thank goodness for the sign reminding customers that they must be "sober and of good health" to ride the Tarzan raft.

We did the Jungle cruise ride.  Makaria entertained the entire boat as she screamed and cried at every alligator and zebra we saw.

We then made through Adventure Land with Tarzan's Tree House. The weather was overcast and a little cool, which made my husband oh so happy.  

Over in Fantasy Land, we ran into Tinkerbelle.  This is Makaria's favorite.  She was fun and had lots of spunk.  

We rode the Dumbo ride.  

And found Asian Goofy. 

This park is much smaller than any of the parks in the States.  But, it's also nice because you can do almost everything in one day.  Our kids are at the perfect age to enjoy the Disney in Hong Kong.  There is only one big ride, Space Mountain.  We rode that 5 times.  Besides that ride, our entire family could stay together and do the rides.  

Brad sacrificed one for the team and did the tea cups with the kids.  Some sadistic engineer invented this ride.  There is no way anyone over the age of 15 enjoys this ride.

We hopped on It's a Small World.  I will say that I loved zipping through the maze of gates that hold the lines.  I explained to the kids that in the summer, we would be waiting for a long time to get on these rides.  But, because we were there at a slow time, we only waited about 10 minutes for any one ride.  

My kids were fascinated at this ride.  They loved it!  The oooh'd and ahhh'd the entire ride.  

It's HK Disney's 5th anniversary.  They added a few fun things to their parade to celebrate.  

My 3 year old, is not slightly obsessed with Buzz Lightyear.  Everyday after lunch, he takes off his clothes and puts on his Buzz Lightyear costume.  Everyday.  I had to "forget" to pack the costume so that he wouldn't wear it into the park that day.

After lunch at the Starliner Diner, Buzz came by for a visit.  Kesed took Buzz's hand and said "Buzz....I love you."

This filled his cup for the rest of the day.

We did the Buzz ride where we fought the evil Zurg empire about 6 times.  

We spent a lot of our time in Tomorrow land.  It had all the space themed things and of course, Buzz.

Here's our sweet princesses.  These ladies have more femininity in one finger than I have in my entire body.  They signed Selah's autographed book and gingerly chatted with my children.  They made me feel mean and angry.  

We have needed to get out and laugh together as a family.  There was no school, no cooking, no flash cards.  We ate sugar and fried foods and got sopping wet in the rain.  I have to say it was one of our favorite days as a family.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hong Kong part 1

Just last night, our family got back from renewing our visas and getting new passports. Our visas require us to leave the country every 90 days, so on this trip, we decided to throw in a trip to Hong Kong Disney.  We rode trams, met princesses and ate cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese.

The first night in Hong Kong, we made our way up to The Peak. There are stores, restaurants and an over rated lights show. It was raining, but we stayed dry by riding the Tram up the mountain. The kids loved getting to see the skyscrapers of Hong Kong tilt at a 45 degree angle while we made our way up.

Here's the Tram.  The station is right near a wax museum.  While this completely freaked out my 9 year old, my sons thought it was fabulous.  Mr. Wax Man became a consistent part of our week's conversation.  

Little Kesed squealed in delight every step of the way up the mountain.  Hong Kong is a city of height.  The entire city is outlined in both mountains and cascading buildings.  

We love a good jumping picture.  And so did the dozens of strangers who also caught this same picture on their cameras.  We ate inside at a little cafe and had a great time looking out at the city.  

I'm not sure I have a normal picture of this kid.

Supposedly the  Hong Kong sky line is where the Spider Man movies are based on.  

I'll post the Disney pictures and the rest of the drama tomorrow.  The trip started with princesses and trams and ended with stool samples and blood work. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

just as exciting

While we are totally pumped to be heading to Hong Kong in about an hour, I am equally excited to show you this:

Both Brad and Kesed have been taking this medicine for 9 months. This past year, they were exposed to TB. Those of you whom we saw last year don't need not worry because it was just exposure, they didn't actually have TB. But because of this, they were required to take a pill every morning. As fun as it is to give a three year old boy a pill to swallow every morning, I am more than mildly excited to be done as of this morning!

And now, we're headed to Hong Kong!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

my wrestling match with trivialities

This has been a frustrating week for me.  And when I list out the reasons, I peel back and feel like a jr. high kid who just lost their Justin Bieber binder decal.  It seems so trivial on this side of it.  But, the background theme music of my week was angry, death metal.  The kind that makes you want to grind your teeth and eat raw meat.

It seems like things always break on this side of the ocean.  I realize that things also go awry in America, but they also get fixed quickly.  This week, our internet had issues, our toilet broke, our hot water packed it's bags, air conditioner is leaking puddles and we are leaving to go out of town for a week.

That's always how it works.

I've had a few hormonal moments with some of the workers that have had to come over the past few years to help us fix things.  They come to fix whatever is choosing to break for that day, but you are required to buy the parts.  So you get on buses, dodge donkeys, walk miles, all while carrying a three foot pipe that belongs to the bottom of your toilet.

Thankfully the Lord stopped me in my stubborn, immature tracks this week.  Right after throwing a towel down and stomping me and my nasty, dirty hair back into my bedroom, the Lord reminded me that this is small.  That I am called to remain joyful and that I do indeed possess self-control.  And as a matter of fact, this would be a perfect situation in which to exhibit that self-control.


But, we do get to go to Hong Kong on Monday!  I'll make sure and take pictures of all the princess, Lightening McQueen madness that is sure to ensue.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Song with Erin Woods


This is my friend Erin Woods. Our lives crossed paths when she interned at a church where I was working with the youth staff. She ran around with screeching junior high girls all summer. For that, she earned my admiration and many treasures in heaven. Since the days of lock-ins and boy bands, she has become a beautiful singer/song writer. Here is one of her newest ones from the album Unraveled.

Below, Erin honestly shares how pouring over the Psalms would take her from doubt and uncertainty to eventually renew her heart and give her a New Song.

2008 was a hard year for me. Many doors had been closed already and I had moved back home with my parents. I was the child that always said I was leaving Houston for college and not moving back. But eventually, money runs out and couch surfing gets old and you just have to swallow your pride and move home. And so, I did. Most of the next year was spent doing random work and interviewing for jobs that were in line with what I thought the Lord had called me to. But, I couldn’t seem to find a job. Nor was I finding it easy to connect with a community of peers who were working full time.
Finally, in September, a job came along. It was not, however, the job I was looking or praying for. But,  I’d asked the Lord to provide and He did, even if it didn’t look the way I’d hoped. So, I accepted my first full-time, buy a new wardrobe, you’re a big girl now, job. I was glad to have routine and income, but I was honestly confused. I thought the Lord had called me to something else, something, very much not this.

On top of that confusion, I’d been serving in an area where my heart and my passion collided and where I’d found some solace in the midst of nothing else lining up. Then, some changes were made and there was no longer room for me to serve there. My feelings were hurt, severely. I felt lost and broken and like my life, and the life I’d hoped for after college, was unraveling. For most of 2007 and 2008 my songwriting ceased. I would try to write but nothing would come. Eventually, after listening to a Breakaway Ministries podcast in which Ben Stuart talked about how we should speak to ourselves about truth just as David does in the Psalms, I took a cue from Psalm 42 and wrote “Oh My Soul”. And after that song, the words began to flow again. Then I took a cue from another Psalm (98). The writer says, “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him."

I was not there…not able to say along with the Psalmist that the Lord had done marvelous things. My head knew it was true, but life was unraveling. I felt broken and tired. Still, my God had promised to sustain me. He had promised to provide. Besides, He had already done so much for me. He gave me good parents that were willing to let me move back home. He provided friends to encourage me. And best of all, He saved me. Despite the hard days, I could sing. Not because I had the strength but because I serve a God who is sovereign, who has already beaten death, and in whom we have victory.  From this place of feeling so lost and yet, knowing the Truth about my God, I wrote “New Song”.

Since then life has cycled through some green pastures and deep valleys. I have been confused and felt a little forgotten. I have had some deeply sweet moments of assurance and rejoicing. And even though I often forget them, the promises of God are already complete in Christ. I am a new creation. And the victory has been won. Therefore, even when I feel like a mess and even though there are days I feel like I am in a losing battle, I can and will still sing of the greatness of my God.

New Song      
Copyright © 2008 words and music by Erin R. Woods

I may seem unraveled
But You knit me together perfectly
I may come unglued
But You take broken things and make them new
So I am not what I seem
You have already changed me

I will sing a new song
I will lift my hands in praise
You are alive in me
My Creator and King

There will be some hard days
But You ordained them all
I may have to fight a little harder
When the night begins to fall
But I will remember
What You’ve already done
You’ve already won

And I will sing a new song
I will lift my hands in praise
Whom shall I fear
If You are near

Holy Holy is He
The God of Victory
Holy Holy is He 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

hair cuts, bed pans and gogo boots

Oh friends, we had another performance in our apartment complex. If you remember the Star Studded Line-up that I wrote in May of last year, you will know that these types of cultural exhibitions make me very, very happy.

After clearing the path of photographers surrounding our children, I happened upon this:

I love these super hero gogo boots that I see so often in these apartment complex galas. She tapped around the "stage" and smiled as if she'd just been crowned Miss China.

Then it was the Beijing Opera duo. You already know my feelings about Beijing Opera. But I will say that if you sing it in the rain, wearing a costume, in the middle of my apartment complex, I will forgive your musical selection.

Sorry the pictures are so wanky, I only had my phone to capture the spontaneous musical that had descended upon our complex. If you look closely at the woman in the bright green pants, she is pointing at her singing friend. Green pants lady was shaking and pointing her finger so that her friend would begin her part of the duet. No subtly, just a point as if to say "SING, IT'S YOUR TURN AND YOU ARE RUINING MY PERFORMANCE CAREER!"

As I sauntered about trying to figure out why all the hoopla, I saw this:

Oh, I get it now. We are dressing up like Ming dynasty characters, singing opera and prancing about in bright red gogo boots to promote...elderly medical aides like bed pans, wheelchairs and raised plastic toilets. Perfect.

As I swung around to the back stage, I noticed that not only where the old people in the area getting a show, blood pressure machines, but also a free haircut.

Because it was raining, we didn't stay for long, but it was fun while it lasted. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

grandparent gush

Just a little shout out to the grandparents.

The girls.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

School Bus Song

Our School Bus Song

This is how we ride to school
ride to school, ride to school

This is how we ride to school
on all these rainy days!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Cuddle

I am not at all a cuddler. Ask my husband. He is very much a cuddler, so I have tried squeezing out every ounce of cuddling my 34-year old body is capable of. (I'm sure glad I can still round down to 30, but that will all change this year. Eeek.)

Here's my deal with cudding. I like to recycle things like plastic and newspapers, but not other people's air. When you lay next to someone, you have no choice but to breathe their air. It's warm and moist (moist is on the banned word list in our house, but it seemed appropriate here). These are the same reasons I hate public toilets. Warm, moist, warm, moist.

I just shivered.


Reason number two that I don't like to cuddle is that within 3 minutes, the back of your knees get sweaty. The body heat generated when two grown adults cuddle is off the charts. To sweat because you are just laying there is gratuitous sweating in my book. If I'm going to sweat it's going to be because I'm playing beach volleyball in Bali, not because I'm laying too close to someone.

But, one of my husband's love languages is physical affection. So, I've tried to get better at the cuddle. I just aim my head up so that I'm not breathing recycled air and take off the blanket so that my knees don't sweat. I haven't overcome all my issues, but I'm hoping these small attempts communicate to him that I'm trying. It's at least communicating to him that he indeed married a curiously quirky woman.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Glorious Desecration

This is my friend, Alison at "this is not a rough draft". We've known each other since we were both college punks. She is a beautiful writer and has the cutest kid's rooms I've ever seen. And, I think she looks like a lovely, modern Snow White. She has two sweet little ones and ministers alongside her husband, B. I pray that you will be encouraged and moved towards Godliness as you read what she shared.

A Marriage of Many Things

She was the belle of the ball--a confection of curls and ruffles, all dolled up to the delight of everyone. She ate their attention up, and I didn't have the heart to tell her that it wasn't actually her day--it was the girl's over know, the one with the veil.

It was no matter--she danced in her new shoes, smiled at the camera, and proclaimed her complete devotion for weddings.

It was expected, being that she was three years old. But there was also something else expected, and I whispered to her it in the ornate, sparkling ladies' room where I dragged her.

"Do. you.....have to go the BATHROOM?"

I tensed up, watching her eyes straining to see the dancing shadows on the ceiling from the chandelier. She was captivated by this present elegance that she was living in, but I knew better. She hadn't gone the bathroom in hours, and thus, we were one wrong move away from utter and absolute desecration.

As any mother, I had it all played out in my head--every potty disaster that could have happened. The pee, the poop--it was ruining dresses, being paraded down the aisle; there were tears and screams, and everyone was not looking at her--they were looking at me.

Me, the mother, who had been dancing between glory and crap, all day long.

It feels familiar, although that day the level of both were heightened. I'm happy to report that the dress stayed clean, her eyes stayed dry, and my composure stayed (somewhat) sane, but it's a daily struggle--and not just because I'm a mom.

I dance between the two often, yinging and yanging with my humanity--I am a devoted follower of Christ and then falling into the muck of sin. I am dolled up in my best while my flesh nags me to no end. I had tried to be one or the other--dignified or disrespectful, perfect or stained, wonderful or offensive, but sometimes I am, in fact, all of the above.

It's moment by moment that I plea for Christ to uphold me from my human self. To ebb and flow with my need for His shaping hand. I am one wrong step away from utter desecration for all He's entrusted to me, but He upholds me, calls me His own, and even if I ruin it, it's okay. He clothes me with righteousness. Equips me with gifts. And thankfully, within my efforts, He is in them--so maybe, when all is said and done, they won't look at me.

Instead, they will look to Him.

Friday, May 06, 2011

A little Mother's Day suggestion

What Moms do NOT want for Mother's Day:

1. A pet of any kind. She already has multiple people in her life who puking and peeing on themselves. To add a pet to the mix means she will have to stop cleaning the kid's bathroom incidents and gag reflex issues. Because for the love of all things good, SOMEONE HAS GOT TO LEARN TO PEE BY THEMSELVES IN THIS HOUSE!

2. A nice mothering book. This one might seem counter-intuitive, but she does not need a reminder of how she doesn't match up to the other "Marthas" in the world. She wants to be Mary and sit for awhile.

3. A big outing. You see, this will require a picnic lunch...made by her; blankets her; bug repellent...bought and applied by her; and crayons for the car ride...pealed off the mini van floor and reconstructed into those paper cylinders...again, by her.

4. A plant that requires tending. Just get her some lovely daisies that she can neglect, let die and not incur one ounce of guilt.

If you are looking for a great Mother's Day gift, I've got some that are cheap and will speak to her more than any expensive item bought at a store.

1. Gather the kids and clean the house for her. Don't spend the entire time asking her where the broom is at or who broke the Windex nozzle. Ask her to leave the house for the afternoon. Send her to Starbucks to sit and read, send her to take her hair out of a rubber band and get it cut, let her go for a long walk and take pictures. Give her no back end time to be back. And then when she gets home, have a game plan for dinner that requires only two slices of bread and a jar of peanut butter.

I pretty much only have one suggestion. But, this sounds to me like the most magnificent Mother's Day gift ever.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Look Around

Today, I invite you to read about my friend, Kelly. I have never actually met her outside of the blog world, but I have decided that we would be good friends in real life :). Her family has a heart for adoption and has started a ministry called Minus 1 Project. Minus 1, because every time a family decides to adopt, there is minus 1 child in the world longing for a forever family. They have some fun shirts, bags, necklaces and gifty type things that support the cause of adoption and will help bring home their sweet child from Korea. Her thoughts on the call of action as a believer were convicting and sanctifying as I read them. I hope you will be encouraged too!

"God gave us the responsibility to care for the defenseless. It is through our hands the Father's love touches, it is through our voices His voice is heard, it is through our efforts and those of the church that His care is revealed to the ones the rest of the world has forgotten"
~Tom Davis, Fields of the Fatherless

For many of us our days are full of responsibilities. They range on a long scale of importance. Our responsibilities differ partially due to our stage in life. A single in their twenties has different responsibilities than a retiree than does a father of three. This quote addresses a responsibility we all have. One that has been ignored far too long, by myself included.

Caring for the "ones the world has forgotten" is not just a warm, fuzzy idea. IT IS A COMMAND. It is laid out over and over that this is the responsibility of the church. It is no secret that the need is huge. We only need to glance at the number of orphans to feel the burden of the task at hand. Then add on the number of poor, homeless, widowed, lonely...

Who could blame us for feeling overwhelmed and unable to help at all?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn....
Isaiah 61:1-2

Who could blame us? The One who has anointed and appointed us!!

Read carefully. Now I am in no way close to a Bible scholar but I notice we are NOT sent to feel badly, get depressed, "bless their heart", but to BIND UP the brokenness. That demands action. Adoption is one way to bind, proclaim and release those but certainly is not the only way. We need only to listen and look around at all the awesome ministries and workers that have devoted their lives to the least of these and the countless ways to support them.

We all love the parable of the good Samaritan on the road. What a lesson it teaches. A beautiful example of mercy, kindness and action. I think we would all strive to be like him and pray that our children would be, too.

Recently our family has started visiting an older man who lives alone near our home. His apartment window looks out over a bike path and playground frequented by our family. He is always sitting in his window and looking out. He greets every passer by with a smile and a wave. We visited him for the first time on Christmas Eve to deliver some Christmas cheer. Since then we have continued to visit bringing food, goodies and hand made crafts. I don't share this to brag or boast. Keep in mind, we had waved to Mr. Richard for YEARS before ever visiting him!!

Who is on your road? Look around you. If you can't find anyone, pray, and then change paths so that you will have the privilege of encountering someone that the world has forgotten.

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