Not the same.

Saturday was a lazy day for me.  I had previously asked Cameron if we could get out of the house and go explore a park or something else equally as fun, but when Saturday dawned dreary and cold, I changed my mind.  I didn’t even clean the house like I usually do!  This, my friends, is not normal.  Instead, I drank coffee, ate my favorite donut muffins and read a book.  

All day.

Cameron, being the fabulous dad that he is, took Faith fishing while the rest of us indulged in laziness, but about 4:00, I realized that I would actually have to cook dinner.  We had planned to have cheese dip and fried chicken.

Healthy, I know.

I was out of milk and had maybe a cup of flour.  Ugh.  I grabbed a jacket and headed to the store.  I ran through the store, really not liking the Chinese people or their country.  I had to fight the desire to kick people out of my way, and I was really glad I don’t know how to rudely say “Move!” in the local language.  I may have said it under my breath in English though.  You see, people here were born without the ability to hurry.  Maybe even without the ability to notice when they are blocking an entire aisle while they chat it up with their friends.  

As I got to the register, I was feeling relieved that there was only one lady in front of me.  Then I noticed that she was checking prices.  Of a lot of items.  Resisting the urge to roll my eyes (I know!  The enemy had me in a battle!), I patiently (on the outside) waited.  Then the lady in the next aisle over crammed her cart into my aisle knocking into me.  Then, as I was getting rung up, the people behind me were talking to the checker.  The lady who still hadn’t left even though she had paid, was talking to the checker, trying to get her ring up two things that she had found under her bag…but my transaction was about half done, so she couldn’t.  And the checker was looking at me.  So, I handed her, in the midst of chaos, my shopping store card.  I have no idea what the benefit actually is of scanning this card, but it is just part of the process.  She looked at it, looked at me, looked at the card, shrugged her shoulders and handed it back. 

Hmmmm.

She didn’t scan it.  Whatever.

As I paid, a man and his child ran into me from behind, knocking me into the counter, and I didn’t feel like asking what the problem was.

Then, as I was walking off, putting it back into its proper slot in my purse, I realized that it was my door card, to get into my house.  Not to buy groceries.  I’m sure she was thinking, “Stupid Foreigner”.  Ha!

Oops.

Image

These cards may look alike, but they are NOT the same.

Continue Reading

Gracie, Obsessed

The students at Gracie’s school were asked if they were interested in entering a slam poetry contest.  Not many of the students were, but she was one of the few who volunteered.  So, Friday night, we all went to watch her present her original piece of poetry at a local artsy bookshop/pub, called The Bookworm, in a competition.  The judges were two poets, one hilariously awful one (of course this is my opinion…you may have loved him) and one we didn’t hear perform, but know is the slam poetry champion in Australia.   The students in the international schools around us (homeschoolers included) could participate in the event.  They were given a topic on the Monday preceding the competition.  The topic was Obsession.

Hmm.

Gracie took about five minutes and popped a poem out.  A really awful one.  I trashed it and told her to take her time.  Ha!  She finally finished it on Thursday evening, and I couldn’t have been more proud.  Friday afternoon, before the competition, Gracie went to the Bookworm for a workshop on presenting poetry.  Missing half her classes was definitely a positive benefit of the workshop, but I’m sure the experience is also one she isn’t likely to soon forget.

Without further ado, here she is!

She didn’t win in her category; I believe there were eight competitors, but she did a fabulously fantastic job of portraying her obsession with books.  The general consensus among the people there was that she would be a librarian someday…

Continue Reading

I know!!

I am so sorry I haven’t updated y’all!  I had planned on doing that over the weekend, but a bad batch of jiaozi ran its course through my system and I was stuck in bed most the of the weekend.  We are still here.  We are back in our “normal” routine and doing really good!  A few exciting things have happened over the past two weeks that I can’t wait to share with you, but class is about to begin and I don’t have time to tell you!!  Just know that we are here and thankful for your support.  I will share as soon as I have a spare minute!  Promise.

Continue Reading

When two worlds collide

I was sitting in a quiet house, all alone, holding the book I’m reading while watching my screen saver of pictures roll across my computer screen, listening to praise music when it dawned on me that this was making my heart burst with gratitude.  These images are the only time that my two worlds collide…the world in Texas with all my family and friends I call family and China with my girls and husband.  Seeing the pictures scroll in random order really portrays who we are.  It brings tears to my eyes to see my girls with the cousins blowing out candles, knowing that that won’t happen many more times before they are grown…seeing International school teachers playing games with my girls…architecture iconic to Asia…the smiles of family….goodbyes with tears…hellos with smiles.  It makes my heart explode for the love we have known and the love we know now.

Today, during class, my tutor and I went to a mutual friend’s house to welcome her new baby to this world.  As I sat and listened to them chatter in Chinese the same way I do with my friends back home, I was awed by how similar we truly are.  When I held that precious baby and felt the heartstrings pull at how much I wanted her, I knew it didn’t matter what language we speak or what color our eyes are or our skin, we are all made up of the same things.  Loved by the same Father.

Bursting.

A bright, clean, beautiful aqua door drew my attention as I walked home, so we went to investigate.  We stumbled into a cookie store, decorated with western decor and boasting claims that all cookies are freshly made with imported ingredients.  We watched the mixer whir and spin and the dough dumped onto the floured surface.  We accepted our free cookie with gratitude, and I made a new friend.  With promises of a return visit and a new online connection to keep in touch, we said goodbye with smiles on our faces.

I may have said goodbye to friends I have known and loved for as long as I can remember when we crossed that ocean of separation, but He has orchestrated opportunities to give me new relationships.  And for this I am thankful.

Continue Reading

Back on Asian Ground

After what seemed liked endless plane rides, we have arrived back to our home in the land of tall buildings, spicy food, and strange smells.  The flights were uneventful, easy even.  We have really great children, and 30 hours of travel makes me acknowledge the blessing they are.  We have also been given a gift in our friends on this side of the world.

Let me back up a bit.

Three weeks into our stay in America, I was certain I was not returning here.  When I thought about it, I cried.  Not a little cry, but a heart wrenching cry, that I couldn’t even think through.  As the weeks flew by, the thought of returning got a bit easier until it turned into a resignation that it was really going to happen.  I began to plead with Father to let us stay…to provide some overwhelming provision and direction that left no question.  At the same time I asked for this, I also released my desires to Him.  Telling Him that I was going to be obedient regardless of His decision, but if His choice wasn’t mine, that He would really have to prepare my heart for it.

Y’all.  He is awesome.

Not that I doubted Him, but He really moved ahead of us.  When the plane lifted off the ground in Houston, and I stared at the semi-blue skies and clouds, I felt the tears coming.  I didn’t want to leave.  I didn’t want to say goodbye for an indefinite amount of time.  I wondered when and how I could return in the quickest way possible.  When we sat in the terminal in Japan and all I could hear was really loud Chinese, I felt dread.  I felt disgust.  

Five hours later, when we landed in Chengdu, the noise level was deafening.  All of us were exhausted, pushing carts overfilled with stuff and I heard English.  I was in a fog, but it finally registered.  I turned my head and saw one of my dearest friends!  It was 11 o’clock at night.  She is pregnant, so I know she was exhausted, yet she was there.  To welcome us home.  I almost cried.  Instead, in true form, I went to hug her and somehow caused my whole cart of luggage to tip over almost onto her husband.  

Twice.

Then, when we got home, we were greeted with an awesome sign on the door with signatures from all our friends.  Another friend had changed all our sheets and made sure the house was picked up.  Yet another friend baked us homemade cinnamon rolls, dinner for the next time complete with dessert, and washed and readied a big bowl of strawberries for us.  The love was abounding, and my heart began to turn.  

It felt like I was home.

I didn’t expect it, although I should’ve, because I asked for it.  I began to feel excitement to see my local friends and start class.  My heart began to be aligned with His and His desires.  I couldn’t have asked for a better return to the city.  I am so grateful for the way my friends listened to His nudging to bless us, to be an example of His love, because there is no question in my heart as to where their ideas originated.  He is GOOD!

Continue Reading