Friday, December 28, 2007

Whatevah...

You gotta see this. It's adorable. I know, lots of videos lately, but this just has to be seen.



Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Here's what we're thinking about this Christmas Eve. We're looking forward to next Christmas!



Have a great Christmas everyone! Thanks for always letting us "come back to the place that made me - me." :) You're all loved!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Happy Holidays, Everyone. Enjoy

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The kiddos got Elfed.

Click here to see Santa's little helpers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Locker Rigging

I lived in a small town in Texas when I was in high school. It was nice. Only 43 in my graduating class, we all knew each other, hung around together. I was the new kid in town, having moved there from California (West Covina, 23 Degrees! I forgot to answer your question!), and for awhile was the focus of attention, just because of being new.

This newness brought about a some unwanted attention, I must say. After awhile, though, it did seem normal. It's not as though I was hated: I was on the drill team and later a (yes...I admit it) cheerleader. (I had to try out in front of the ENTIRE STUDENT BODY!!!) I had friends. Really.

But our school had this thing about rigging lockers. There were no locks on our lockers (we didn't lock our front doors, either, and we left the car keys in the ignition so we wouldn't lose them! Imagine that!) which meant they were just waiting to be tampered with.

The year my locker was next door to the Science lab, I had a dissected pig hanging in my locker. That's what started it all.

There was the time I found a live chicken in my locker. I still got in trouble for not bringing my English book to class! "Mrs. Brown, I couldn't get it! There's a chicken in my locker and it keeps pecking my hand when I try to get my book!"

There was the deer's ear. I know it sounds morbid, but it was during hunting season. You just have to expect things like that during hunting season.

Then there was Roy Campbell. Yup. Someone asked me to borrow a pencil, I said I have one in my locker, we walked that way and I noticed a crowd standing around watching. I opened my locker and there was Roy. Sitting on my books. He just raised his hand and said, "Hi."

Don't get me wrong. I learned to give as good as I got. I was smart. I hooked up with the angel-faced valedictorian. No one ever suspected us, and she had a knack for genius contraptions. Did you know Cheerios, Rice and Spaghetti all make great material for rigging lockers? I know it. Angel Face taught me. Synchronized watches, bathroom meetings, hall watching....it was great fun.

OK. 'Fess up. What type of pranks were you known for in high school? College? Now?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Early Morning Melancholy

I woke up rather early this morning, around four-ish, and was pleased to hear the sound of rain. Nothing strong or dangerous, even though this is probably from a local typhoon that's skirting the island, but instead it's a slow, easy downpour. The air outside is crisp and cool, and laying here listening to the rain pound out a tune on the pipes outside is kind of nice.

I'm friends with rain. I have always loved it. In California a rainy day meant staying indoors in the classroom, playing board games or Head's Up Seven Up. It was a change of pace from the usual routine. You bundle up a little bit, get a little closer to people around you, talk a little more, relax a little more. It's nice.

I'm sure I'll have my problems with it a little later. Slippery tile outside the classrooms, stepping quick-paced through the gaps in the overhangs on the way to the office, but overall the rain leaves me a little melancholy today...and that's a nice change of pace.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Time of Thanksgiving.



It's that time of year, the time for family, food and giving thanks. I think I like this time of year so much because I have some great Thanksgiving memories with both sides of my family. On my dad's side, we had the Ledbetters, a rowdy bunch (and I do mean BUNCH!) that got together in any one of our small houses to feast and watch football. Everyone had their own things going on during the year: Dad pastoring, Uncle Otis touring with his choir, Uncle Bill and Aunt Jo working with their church in Bakersfield, Uncle Terry and Aunt Linda working with theirs in Oildale, and of course Mimi and Papa in Fresno. Uncle Mike, Aunt Teri and Uncle Johnnye were also in there doing their things. But we would manage to gather, feast and give thanks, and because of that there are some great memories.

The Ferrell side of the family was smaller, but no less rowdy, especially when it came to football. We'd meet at Mamaw's tiny house, but I say tiny now as an adult. It didn't seem tiny then. We had pallets all over the floor at night, sofa beds spread out, but it was the mornings I loved there. We always woke up to homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs, sausage gravy and bacon. And coffee. I didn't drink it then, but I loved to smell it. And Mamaw always started cooking two weeks before anyone arrived. She knew all of the grandkids' favorite foods and deserts and made sure we had it. We also had plenty of my favorite meal: black-eyed peas, cornbread, squash, carrots and zuccini. I'd choose that even over a turkey dinner! On Thanksgiving day we'd lay everything out on the table, give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives and then feast. But that wasn't the end. There was always an inevitable game of tag football in the yard. It's the stuff home movies are made of. And great family pictures. It's where we get the great photos of Ledbetters making their silly faces, or Ferrells posing with the winning football, everyone laughing, joking and enjoying the celebrations.

Now we are charged with making the memories. I have provided a few of my own, mainly for the mishaps. Let's just say I'm not known for my ability to cook turkey, and the one time I did get it right I was accused of ordering in. But they are memories and our kids will someday look back fondly at the different places we have lived and talk about their extended families. The ones here who are like family and the ones we share our lives with here.

We are blessed and we have much to be thankful for. Here's to wishing everyone a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just about the funniest thing I've ever heard:

Click here to listen to this eyewitness account to a car accident.

New Look at an Old Site

You have to go see my other site: meandthefam.blogspot.com. It's our family blog (the one that got me started in the blogging world) that we use to keep family and friends up on the things going on in our lives.

Susie did a great job on the site. She has an eye for these things, don't you know. Just take a look around at her site to see her talent! She does amazing work.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

He Kept His Word...

Mike over at Ozark Photo has a passion for photography and his surroundings, and documents them well. Since Fall is one of my favorite times of year, and because I went to college in the same town where Mike lives (Springfield, Missouri) I asked Mike to post some pictures of Fall when he could. It's been many years since I've been able to see colors in trees this time of year, and his pictures bring out such good feelings when looking through them that I boldly asked him to take some Fall pictures for me. Boy did he come through.

Click his name above or go to ozarkphotos.blogspot.com and browse through his pictures. I also like his collection of porches.

Thank you so much, Mike! The pictures are beautiful and I always appreciate the view through your lense.

Blessings!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

They call him Bruce Willis.





The first time we experienced the "Bruce Willis" phenomenon was in Thailand. We went to get our haircut (Big Dad of course sat reading a magazine during the event) and the workers kept whispering and pointing in his direction. Finally, one of the people came up to me and asked if he was Bruce Willis. "Sure," I thought, "And I'm Demi." (They were still married then.) But after looking at Big Dad in a new light, it was true. He does look like Bruce.

Fast forward a few months, and we're in a village in China. Yes, a village. A remote one. Did you know Hollywood makes it to remote villages in China? It does. And with translation. So we're sitting in this little restaurant eating noodle soup, and again with the staring and pointing. Finally, we hear the name. "Bruce Wirris" Big Dad and I looked at each other and busted out laughing.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we're in Taiwan. We go into a local store to check into getting something repaired, and the guy behind the counter asks, "Are you related to Bruce Willis?" At this point, we decided to roll with it. "Yeah, he's my brother," Big Dad said. "Would you like me to put in a good word for you?" The guy was incredulous. I finally had to tell Big Dad to tell him the truth. He was just getting too excited.

So this is my man. Mountain man, Bruce Willis look alike. And he cooks, too! How about that?

Once Upon a Time

Craver put a meme out there for anyone to take part in, and this one sounded good. We are to think back to what we were doing 30 years ago, 20 years ago and 10 years ago. I like that. Here's mine.

30 years ago I was 12 and in the 7th grade (I think). It was a rough year. Middle school is rough anyway. My future sister-in-law came to my rescue and allowed me to hang around her during recess so that I wouldn't be tormented anymore by another middle schooler. Funny that's what I remember. Maybe that's because I'm working closely with middle schoolers now. I'm sure we were getting ready for one of those Ledbetter Thanksgivings, with lots of yelling at the TV while watching football, our own football game later, and I was probably following Aunt Teri, Michelle and Leigh Anne (cousins) around like a puppy!

20 years ago I was 22 and working 3 jobs while going to college full time. I'm sure I was wishing I was home for Thanksgiving. I can't recall what I did then. It's a blur!

10 years ago Big Dad and I were in the throws of parenthood. Nathaniel was on a prairie riding a mule (wasn't born yet) and the others were young, crawling, walking, climbing, and leaving Legos all over the place.

Wow. It's kind of fun looking at things like that. I tag Leigh Anne , my new blogger cuz and Colleen, because she never posts anything!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It's definitely Fall



Nothing on this scale, but the weather is cool, which is making our evening walks so much more enjoyable. We have a local Taiwanese striped dog, Ban Ban, that walks with us. Well, at least part of the way. He's feeling it, too. Rolling in the grass, stealing the baseball Big Dad and Timo throw around. Then we have the festivities coming up: Professional baseball games, the Junior Carnival, Thanksgiving, softball season. It's getting good and we're loving it! Of course we don't have pumpkins like these posted, but we do have some gourds that look like pumpkins. At this point, that's all I need. Because really, the weather has a lot to do with Fall, and the leaves and such, but more than that it's about family, extended family and friends, and just being together and enjoying the weather. And being Thankful. We are definitely thankful.

Blessings, and have a great Fall day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Picture This:



I pulled this picture off of the Fox News website. It's from the uReport set of photos, meaning they are posting pictures of regular folks at the scene. I would encourage anyone to go there and view them. It will give you a good sense of what many people in Southern California are going through right now. It's heartwrenching, to say the least.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Too Hard for Words

You know, I've always admired the strong, quiet type. The people who are strong beyond words, but you never know it because they are so humble and don't seek to draw attention to themselves. I just like that quality in people. However, there are times when they do need to share, and need to talk about the struggles they are facing. But I've learned: when these people talk, I listen.

I have a friend in the blogger world who is speaking now, and I'm listening along with the rest of her friends. Her words are always well thought out and worth hearing, but this time I think all who know her are speechless.

She is someone who has commented on this blog occasionally, and who's blog I love to read. She is wise, fun, and always full of insights. I have come to know her through her writing. Yesterday, she posted about a valley she is going through, and I must say it took many of us in her vast circle of blogging friends by surprise. She has cancer. In the last two weeks she has been through a major operation, a glimpse at her mortality, and all of the major struggles that news like this brings about. To me, her words during this time of her life will be like gold. I look forward to her insights, but not her pain and struggle. She's not so introspective that she thinks everything is about her, but she's introspective enough to impart some great thoughts. She has that rare ability to take herself out of a situation and see it from God's point of view. That's what wisdom is, isn't it?

Charity is at Wide Open Spaces. While she still has a tough road ahead, and she's waiting for test results and a plan of action from her doctors, she sees this as a journey and is willing to share as she goes along. I'll wait for her words. They will be gold, and worth waiting for.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ignorance Not Necessarily Bliss


I remember my dad talking about walking into my room when I was small and finding me on the top bunk of the bunkbed. I was 2, and there was no ladder. He said he wondered for a long time how I made it to the top of that bunk, so when I went in the room one evening, he ran outside and watched me through the window. Seems I climbed the post like a monkey, almost falling a few times, but I finally made it to the top. He said he was better off not knowing how I got up there. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

That's how it was for me tonight when T and I were out walking. A few years ago T climbed a big mountain in China called Haba. It's just a few feet short of 18,000 feet, and is pretty steep at the top. He's climbed it twice, and summited both times. The second time he called me from the summit. I swear he sounded like a kid on Christmas morning. It was so fun hearing his voice then, and it's something I'll always remember. But tonight, he actually divulged some of the details of that trip: steep ice walls, cloud covering, sliding and catching himself with a pick, ice caves..... I completely understand my dad's view from back then. Ignorance is bliss.

But it's also good to know the struggle. It gives you a little more insight into the character of your loved one. We don't know everything about our special someone, but sometimes we get little glimpses that are surprising and fun, and tonight was one of those. I've always known Big Dad was a hard worker. I've always known his sense of adventure and love of just about everything outdoors. Tonight I got a little glimpse of those two elements of his character converging to a point in time that he then shared with me through a phone call. That was a great moment, and I feel privileged that he shared it with me. Love you, Big Dad!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff



Erma Bombeck. You have to love her. I remember mom had her book "If Life was a Bowlfull of Cherries, I'd be Stuck with the Pits." I would pick it up for the title alone. Her love of life, her observational humor, the way she didn't take herself too seriously no matter how famous she got.... It's something that's missing in the world lately. I miss it. Anyway, here's Erma talking about priorities:


IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck

(Written after she found out she was dying from cancer).


I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn! With my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's'; more 'I'm sorry's.'
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it... live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!
Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what
Instead; let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.
Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with, and what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hope you have a blessed day .

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Typhoon KROSA




Introducing Typhoon KROSA. It's heading straight for Taiwan. It's supposed to turn north a little bit, but we'll get some strong winds and rain. It is a super typhoon at this point.

I'll let you guys know how it goes!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Dentist

Going to the dentist is such a strange experience. I've never been comfortable with it. No matter what they do to a dentist's chair or room, it's not going to make anyone feel at ease. There are weird gadgets and scary looking and sounding tools that just make people cringe.

Then there are the strange sensations to deal with. Mr. Thirsty hanging on your cheek is just weird, then when they stick the suction in your mouth and accidentally hit your lip or tongue....how are you supposed to handle that gracefully? And speaking of the tongue, what are you supposed to do with it? I just try to keep it out of the way, but I'm sure it looks weird. Then there's your eyes. Do you stare at the ceiling or close them? I'm afraid I'm not trusting enough to close them.

Well, anyway, here's my tribute to dentists. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stuff About Bees

One of my students is studying about bees, and it made me recall our bee business back in the states. It was such a learning experience, and we enjoyed being able to sell (albeit for a VERY small profit) the fruits of our labor. Bees are such amazing creatures. Here are a few facts, then later I'll share a bee story.

-You buy your bees from a producer, and they ship them via US Mail.
-The average worker bee lives only about 30 days.
-The Queen lives 2-4 years, and eats only Royal Jelly, produced especially for her by her attendants.
-The job of the bee depends on the age of the bee. Only the oldest bees forage for honey.
-There are guard bees (they keep the unwanted out), undertaker bees (they carry out the dead bees), nurse bees, fan bees (they actually stand at the opening of the hive and fan their wings in order to circulate the air in the hive so that it's a constant temperature.
-Everything the bee makes is useful: propalis, wax, honey, royal jelly.
-Bees wax has a higher melting point that regular wax, and makes great smokeless, dripless and longlasting candles.
-A large portion of bee keepers are left handed. (including Big Dad)
-Honey, unlike processed sugar, contains the same element in it as ipecac syrup. If you eat too much honey, you will throw up.
-Honey had trace minerals in it.
-Eating local honey (raw, not processed) allows your body to build it's immune system against local pollens, therefore helping allergies.
-The African Bee variety is the result of breeding aggressive bees by beekeepers. Aggressive bees produce more honey.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We thoroughly enjoyed working with everything bee related. It was a fun hobby. Big Dad still has his bee stuff somewhere. One day, I'm sure we'll have another hive. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lean on Me

In chapel today, the kids sang this song with their arms draped around each other, swaying back and forth. It was appropriate:

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on


I just had to smile. :)

Clarity

You know how you think you have things figured out, then God hits you with clarity like a ton of bricks?

Today's like that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Dream Place




I've heard about Andorra over the years, and the more I hear about it, the more I want to go. The principal of my school in Florida, Mr. Pritz, used to live there when he was younger. His parents were missionaries, and to hear him describe the place made you just want to see it: cobblestone streets, the city nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, centuries old architecture, history at every curve....marvelous. It doesn't help that my friend, Sabrina, is enjoying Scotland with castles on every corner! It's given me the European travel bug. But I digress.

A few years ago, I found myself on a long bus ride with a young lady from Portugal. She was describing Portugal, (which by the way sounds wonderful as well) and talking about her job there (she works for the chinese cultural center...who knew???) when I asked her about Andorra. You should have seen her eyes light up. She talked about the river that runs through the city, about how you feel like you've stepped back in time, how isolated but quaint it was, cafes all around, and I was hooked. SO, take a good look. I'll be there some day, and I'll just walk the streets in a dream-like state.... OK. I'm sure there are down sides to being there, but don't burst my bubble. I'm sure they probably have dandelions, though. :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Colleagues



I haven't written much lately, have I? It's been mostly because I'm busy in a crazy way, but in part it's been because I've been a bit discouraged. Mainly in what I see in fellow Christians. I get discouraged with masks in particular: Those who act one way to the rest of the world when the occasion calls for it, and then another way any other time. I KNOW in my head that people are human, they are walking their own path, and are learning in their own time, as am I, but it is just something that seems prevalent these days, and I just want more than that.

But, God is good. I don't know if He just opened my eyes to those around me or what, but I have lately been interacting with some colleagues who I have seen in a different light, and it's encouraging. I see them choosing the right words and actions during tense circumstances, agreeing to disagree, realizing that others' opinions are an extention of their persona and being respectful of that. In fact, they have made it part of their core values. I don't see it as words. I think it is a true reflection of their heart's desire to come together as a group of people for a common purpose.

Unfortunately, the climate of others with whom we work is not always so. There tends to be competition, the living of a scripted life instead of a genuine one, and it's sad. Hopefully there will be growth. And my personal intention is to keep my eyes on the road ahead and my place on it, rather than those on the sidelines. In the meantime, I have these great colleagues who are really living a genuine Christian existence, and it's such an encouragement. Never underestimate the testimony of a life well-lived!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hind's Feet on High Places


I'm tutoring a little girl at school, and we read this story at the end of our tutoring session. She adores this story by Hannah Hurnard, and jumps up and down when she knows it's time to read it. Here is an excerpt from today:

Much-Afraid looked at the Shepherd. "Sometimes I have wondered about the wild flowers," she said. "It seems strange that they should grow in places like this where the goats and cattle walk all over them. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give, and hardly anyone sees them."

The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. "Nothing My Father and I have made is ever wasted," He said quietly, "and the wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. Many people live a quiet, ordinary life. Hardly anyone even knows about them, but inside their hearts it is like a delightful garden where the King Himself walks and rejoices. Some of My servants have won great respect from other people and are famous, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about. Learn this lesson now, down here in the Valley, Much-Afraid, and when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you."



What a wonderful thing to teach in a children's book.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!


Photo by Anna Carson
Today is Mom's birthday, and what can I possibly say in just a few lines?

I have such great memories of family, and the houses that mom made home. When I think of the home that mom made, it includes great cooking, "Back to the Bible" on the radio in the mornings, piano playing, and did I mention great cooking?

She made sacrifices for us, but we never knew it. She had it hard at times, I'm sure, but she made it all look simple. Even now I wonder how she was able to do as much as she did. She didn't have a PAYING job all of those years, but being a pastor's wife includes a lot in it's job description.

Mom, I wish I could be there for your birthday! This time next year maybe we can celebrate it WITH you for once in a LONG time! You're loved like a milkshake on the moon!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Josephine Hughes



I wrote about my grandmother and her passing awhile back, about the memorial afterward and her eulogy. Less than a week after her passing, we received word that T's grandmother passed away as well. It can be hard being on this side of the world and receive word of deaths in the family. The one place we want to be is there helping, seeing what needs to be done.

I remember when I first met Gramma Hughes. Timothy was a baby, and she came to visit, something she really didn't like to do. Not because she didn't want to see people, but mainly because she didn't want to be a guest. She was a hard worker and didn't like to be waited on. She was a tiny woman with a pleasant demeanor, and she loved the outdoors.

My daughter was able to go with Mom and Dad Hughes to visit up north when she was in 3rd grade, and she has such wonderful memories of the time she spent at her home. She especially remembers the garden, because Gramma H was always in it. Em helped her in the garden and it ended up being a lifetime memory for her. Something that simple.

I love that generation. They were a generation of hard workers with a sense of duty. The Great Generation. A generation that knows suffering, doing without, hard times and hard work. And they lived a long, healthy and happy life because of it. Gramma H was a machine operator for 40 years. She saved her money and didn't live a lavish life, though I'm sure she could have. That Polish frugality served her well. At the age of 92 she sewed over 70 pillow cases for troops overseas. She also helped care for her ailing 93 year old cousin. And in my closet, tucked safely away for now, are some doilies tatted by hand just a few months ago that she probably could have made with her eyes closed. Then there's the handmade Raggedy Anne doll that she gave my daughter when she was born.

It's not the stuff that we treasure. It's that part of Gramma H that's in it. Her attention to detail and her commitment to quality and a job well done. It's there in everything she made.

Today is her memorial. We would love to be there and hear the family talk of their memories of her. I wish I could have known her better. Distance does that to family these days. But we have a few tokens of her abilities around our house. We'll be thinking of her today.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Season 3

I'm on to Season 3 of the Gilmore Girls. Good stuff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One Hundred and Oneth

Picture thanks to the Starbuck's wall.



It's my 101st post here on Entertaining Angels. That's not a lot, I know (my family blog has over 350, but I've had it a lot longer), but still, it seems there should be some sort of fanfare! Soooo..... Yay for 101. It's a big number. In fact, the highest building in the world right now is 101 floors. Taipei 101. So it seems fitting.

On to other stuff.

I've been listening to Ravi Zacharias lately, (It's one of the things I do during my morning quiet times) and he and his itinerant minister Stewart McCalister were answering questions at Oxford University. I like them, because they don't shy away from the hard questions. There are some tough questions that we as Christians may be called upon to answer, and legitimately so, because sometimes we explain and claim a simplified version of Christianity that gives us a feeling of superiority and makes the world go, "Yeah, I don't think I want that." The world at times has the capability to be much more humble than the rest of us.

The situation that was discussed on this program was one of what Stewart McCalister called "Simplified Theology" and it goes something like this: "Things are going good for me, my ministry is being blessed, therefore I must have God's blessings." What makes this thinking dangerous is the opposite of that statement: "If things are going bad for you, you must not have God's blessings. You must have done something wrong." He said it's funny to see those same people claiming God's hand on them when going through trials, much like Job. They tend to twist their thinking to fit their circumstance. The thing is, any of those claims can be true, but they can be wrong as well. Mr. McCalister pointed out a time in his own ministry when this particular brand of theology slapped him right in the face, and humbled him. He preached a message, and people came to the alter in droves. However, he said he knew with everything in him that his own heart was terrible at the time, and knew this movement of God's Spirit had nothing to do with him or his words or ministry. He was being used by God, despite his heart.

We have to be careful how we interpret things that happen in our lives. We can't let our egos or our need to feel superior or even important guide how we interpret events that happen in our lives. If we insist upon that type of theology, then let's get real. There are those who are more faithful and more devoted but are less "blessed". In the end, God does bless. He shows that in scriptures over and over. But he also has the hearts of kings in his hands. And what about that donkey? It is not this theology that will bring the lost to Christ. The thing that brings others to Christ is truth, whether we like to face it or not.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Class final!

Well, this next week is a doozy folks! I have one more day of testing kiddos then I'll be done with that (whew! About 60 total!). Then I have one week left in class number one. Then I have about two weeks left of meetings with parents, plus parent/teacher night this Friday...Hence the lack of posting material. I'm just too busy to observe, and I hate that!

I am tutoring this adorable little girl. Really. She is just too cute. Has the best personality, laughs at the drop of a hat, and really enjoys learning. It's great fun.

Here's a little tidbit of info for you parents of young children. Did you know that the vocabulary in children's literature is much richer than spoken language, including radio and TV? Did you know that the difference between a child in the 20th percentile of their class and a child in the 80th percentile of their class is that the child in the 20th percentile reads only .7 minutes per night, and a child in the 80th percentile reads 14 minutes per night? And that the child who reads .7 minutes per night is exposed to about 22,000 words in one year, while the child who reads 14 minutes per night is exposed to 1,400,000 words per year? Yep. That's the stats.

I know you all will sleep better tonight. For me, exhaustion is a great sedative.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What would you call it?




What would you caption this picture?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Home movies

Just thought I'd share one of our family videos from a few years ago. This is from a trip my family and I took to visit some of our old friends and neighbors. It brings back fond memories:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Things I Love




Two of my favorite things: Antique Clocks and Stained Glass



It's time for another installment of things I love. I think it has to do with the time of the year. Since Fall is my favorite time of year, and while it's still early it's still feeling a tad Fall-ish outside....it's brought me to the "Things I Love" post. So...things I love:

1. Fall
2. Getting peanut butter out of a brand new jar.
3. Gardenias
4. Walking along and unexpectedly passing through an aroma of orange blossoms or jasmine.
5. Sharpening brand new pencils
6. Office supplies in general. I don't know why!
7. Anything Chris Rice.
8. A good movie
9. Recently, Facebook. It's been so fun connecting with co-workers and former students. It has made me feel pretty old, though.
10. Fall/Winter holidays. All of them. And pictures of Fall leaves. Mike and Carmi, I'm putting my order in now!
11. New ideas
12. Crisp Red Apples. Our family can't get enough of them.
13. Hills Bros. English Toffee Cappuccino mix.
14. Can't forget Starbuck's Mud Pie ice cream. I know I mentioned it on a previous list, but there is nothing like it on the planet. I think it's a sin to eat it.
15. That lightbulb moment kids have when they finally get something.
16. Teachers in general.
17. A few good preachers.
18. Studying. I don't get to do it as often as I like.
19. Mexican and Italian food. I don't think that will ever change
20. Gilmore Girls.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Promptings, Listening and Learning


Sorry, I can't take credit for this picture. I wish I knew who to give credit to, but I don't. But it's a nice picture!

I thought I'd share this over a cup of morning coffee:

Starting out the new year brings to mind my friend that passed away last April. It's easy to think of her at this time, because while I'm in the throws of beginning-of-the-year scheduling, and I'm looking over my protocols,her handwriting is all over the place. This is natural, because I took over her position when I started teaching at this school.

But it has caused me to reflect on some things that took place during the previous two years I taught. She and I remained in touch, often catching each other on Skype to talk about the job, and her life in China, and about some of her former students.

It was during this time that I felt a real need to let her know how a few of her former students were doing. She worked really hard and lay the groundwork for the successes in these students lives. And, as is so much the case in the teaching realm, she didn't get to see the fruits of her labor. Their success came after the years of hard work, patience and perseverance that she displayed in working with them.

I can only call my desire to let her know of their successes promptings. It might have been a small light bulb moment in one of my students, but I knew it was there because of her work and I felt strongly that she needed to know. So I followed those promptings, and I'm so amazed that I did! Really. It's sad to say, but life was so hectic and busy, that it wasn't always easy for she and I to connect, but I did. I am so glad I listened to that voice.

See, while I miss Andrea, and I do regret not speaking at her memorial (I don't cry pretty), I am so thankful that I don't regret anything else. Had I denied that voice, had I not told her about the fruits of her labor of love, I would be grieving her death in a much different way.

Sometimes listening to those promptings brings about a whole new level of learning. It's that other level that God wants to take us to. The hands-on learning. Not just the book knowledge, but the life application part and the understanding part. He's there on that new level, just waiting to hand out the blessings that go with it.

So here's to promptings, listening and learning, and the blessing of peace that is there along side. In the end it's not about me, but it allows me to grow anyway.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Contentment


There's something to be said about people who have grown up in difficult times. I don't think we understand difficulties in the same way as generations before us. I realize there are folks and families who suffer, but to suffer as a complete generation I'm sure changes how one views the world.

Mamaw and Papa, my mom's parents, were such people. I remember sitting in Mamaw's kitchen shelling crowder peas during summer vacation. If one pea fell to the ground and rolled under a chair or cabinet, they found that pea. It was something we would tease them about. They recycled without being told to do so. They lived frugally, even though they didn't have to. They had what they needed, and that was that.

Their lives weren't easy. Papa had rheumatoid arthritis, and suffered a slow deterioration of his health and independence. I'm sure that had to be hard, since he was a strong vibrant man in his youth. But Mamaw took her place at his side as caretaker, without ever complaining. She was his wife, and this was what she was called to do. Her job of caretaker was not glamorous, and she received no "atta girl's" or "way to go's" She just did what she was supposed to do. She was a part of that great generation, who knew suffering, knew how to do without, how to ration....and it taught her to love the moment.

In all of the years of knowing Mamaw, I never knew her to say a cross word, even when we were visiting and filling her house with noise and bed rolls. Huge breakfasts of homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs and gravy were the norm, and evenings filled with card games and dominoes, or watermelon seed spitting contests were our entertainment. She would start cooking two weeks before we arrived, because she wanted to ensure that each grandchild had their favorite dessert. Mine was chocolate chess pie.

What did all of that work accomplish? Her children and grandchildren grew up knowing they were loved. We knew how to have fun without having to be entertained. Her children and grandchildren have fond memories of catching fireflies in jars and lining the front porch with them, or riding the lawn mower around the yard. We look back on our times at her home, and one word comes to mind: contentment.

It's what Mamaw emulated. She lived her life content with what she had, who she was, and what she was called to do. It wasn't glamorous. It wasn't exciting or adventurous. But it instilled in all who knew her this much forgotten quality. All I need to recall it is a piece of chocolate chess pie.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 tablespoon flour
* pinch of salt
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 unbaked 9" pastry shell

PREPARATION:
Melt butter with chocolate. In a mixing bowl, combine chocolate and butter mixture with sugar, flour, salt, milk, eggs, and vanilla; beat with electric mixer for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour filling into prepared pastry shell; bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes, until set.

Well, that was strange.

I don't know if it's because of our new abode which is a row house, but this typhoon just didn't seem bad. It especially didn't seem like a category 4. We were living on the 6th floor of an apartment building during the last category 4, and our windows shook and felt like they were about to blow out. The wind whistled and blew water into the house through the tracks of the windows. But this time, we hardly heard a sound. We had rainstorms this summer that were worse. This storm blew directly over us, too.

So, what we thought might be a night of moving things from the bottom floor to keep them from being ruined turned into a nice little rainstorm and nothing more. The southeastern part of the island received the first hits, so I'm sure they have some damage, but as for us, on the Taiwan Straights side, we're doing fine.

No dramatic pictures, though.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Category 4

That's how big this typhoon is. Should hit in the middle of the night. This should be good. Gusts to 165 mph, sustained winds at 120 mph.

See you on the other side! (Of the typhoon, people.)

Pictures to come...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Macro


Here is the macro shot I was talking about. Isn't that starfish the cutest little thing? We almost couldn't see it because of the angle when we were looking into the tank. My daughter is the one who saw it. I like the way the seahorses are out of focus in the background. I wish the color was a bit more crisp, but it was hard to get a shot without a reflection on it.

By the way, seahorses are mesmerizing. I could watch them for hours.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Path Before Me


I took this picture at Torrogo Gorge a couple of weeks ago when my sister-in-law and niece were here. We took these just before we undertook the six hour trip through the mountains in the dead of night. We were oblivious of the perils before us, mainly because we couldn't see the thousand foot drops just inches from our car tires. We COULD see the one lane tunnels and narrow openings, AND...the smoking brakes on the other side of the gorge. What a trip.



Paths. I like pictures of paths. And roads. They represent a lot for me, and are symbolic for many reasons. This picture represents the work of a craftsman, someone who took pride in his work. He knew this path would provide enjoyment for people for years to come, because of the beauty they would be able to take in while walking this path.

Paths represent places where others have traveled before me. My way is easier because of the work someone else has done. This is no more true than in missions. When we lived in the village, I had luxuries that were never afforded those of just a decade before me, the internet being one. I may not have had water or electricity every day, or running water in my kitchen, but I did have a computer and access to my family just about any time during the week. My friend visited with her three small children and called me a pioneer woman with a computer. Funny but true. However, I could not imagine doing the work we did without that small bit of technology enlarging my world and keeping me connected.

Paths represent something else, too. They represent a journey. A route presented before me. I don't know where it leads, but I have an idea of direction. I will walk this path with others. Some will be with me a short while and we will encourage each other on our journey. Others will work to direct me off of my path, to more difficult places I was never intended to walk. But all along, there is Someone who walks with me, protecting me, guiding me, even when our paths with others veer away for various reasons, good and bad. He directs my paths, and makes His way known to me. This is my path, and no one else can walk it for me. Some of us will walk a long way together, but in the end, I will report on my journey and mine alone.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Mimi's Eulogy

Mimi's funeral was a real celebration of her life. All (7) of her kids made it there, and some grandkids, too. There were also quite a few pastors and people that are in ministry now because of Mimi and Papa's ministry. Below, I have posted her Eulogy, which my dad wrote/presented (all of the kids had some part in the service). It's long, because it chronicles their life and ministry (including their elopement!) but it is a good reminder of days gone by, and the lives that were led before technology. I especially liked the part about Mimi making breakfast for the soldiers they would find sleeping in their cars on Sundays.

So.....Mimi's Eulogy



We all know her by different names. Honey, Mom, Mrs. Ledbetter, Tot, Aunt Fleta, and Mimi. She was my mother. Most of the time I called her Mom. She was wife, cook, house cleaner, Pastor's wife, teacher, and a host of other titles - and all of them fit. Her parenting style was not soft and cuddly, it was more in the mold of a Marine Drill Sgt. She was born in grinding poverty at the beginning of World War I. She went through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Viet Nam, Desert Storm and the Invasion of Iraq, and was not moved or dismayed by any of these man-made disasters. She had a firm, grounded, and sure faith in her Lord.
She went from battery powered radios to the internet. From the horse and wagon to space ships. She lived in a time when there was hardly any cars to the time when there are concrete arteries clogged with teeming millions of them. Her family walked through plowed fields of cotton, corn and Johnson Grass to watching others walk on the moon. What kind of an impression did that make on her? Not any that I could notice. She cared very little that a person could walk on the moon. She would rather know if you walked with the Lord.
Entertainment for the Powers family was far different from ours. A group of neighbors would gather on a porch belonging to one of the families in the group. One would have a guitar, another a mandolin, another a fiddle, (There was never a violin) then maybe there would be a Jews Harp, an accordion and any other musical instrument they could round up, and they would strum and pick the evening away, playing and singing all the old songs they could remember.
The kids who couldn't participate, or didn't want to participate in the music, played hide-n-seek, Red Rover Red Rover, Blind Mans Bluff, or any other host of games. Some would chase fire flies and put them in a jar. Others would just sit and talk.
Another source of entertainment was the Funnies from the Sunday Newspaper. Grandpa's budget was so tight he could not afford the subscription price. So they would wait until late Sunday evening and then go over to a neighbor's house to get their paper. Their version of recycling. One evening Mom and her closest competitor Aunt Mae was commissioned to get the Paper. Somehow Aunt Mae got the paper first and headed out the door a step or two ahead of Mom. After telling them thank you and good night, Mom took off after her. She knew if she didn't catch her, it would be the next day before she got to see the funnies. They flew down the street, rounded the corner with Mom breathing down Aunt Mae's neck. As she got ready to reach out and slow Aunt Mae down long enough to get the paper from her, every thing came to a jumbled stop. There were fierce animal noises, papers flying everywhere, and two young ladies screaming to the top of their lungs. Recovering as fast as they could they beat it back to the neighbor's house to report that they had been attacked by a bear. With lantern and shotgun in hand he started out to solve the mystery. The solution was not long in coming. They had run headlong into a 400 pound sow and her piglets who had escaped a neighbor's pen.
Not every evening ended that way. Most were quiet and unspectacular. Mom attended and excelled in school up through the tenth grade. That was one grade short of graduation. They only had eleven grades in those days. Grandpa needed her to work and help support the family which she did for a couple of years. One day she was standing on the east side of the Hillsboro High School when some guys from the local Civil Conservation Corps camp came walking by. One of them happened to be a brash young man by the name of Lloyd Sanford Ledbetter. He broke from his group and asked her if she would like for him to buy her a coke at the local drug store. She consented, and a romance began. Six months later On June the second, 1935, they were standing in front of their parked car in the middle of a dirt road in Blanton, Texas where Dad's brother-in-law performed the marriage ceremony that made them man and wife. They had eloped. Two weeks later her parents found out, and although they didn't like the way it happened they welcomed their new son-in-law into their family. That marriage lasted over 64 years.
When Dad separated from the CC Corps, they moved back to Cleburne, Texas, Dad's home town. With Mom's support the first thing they did was settle into a new church home. After visiting several churches in Cleburne and Ft. Worth, they decided on a small congregation there in Cleburne. It was the Chase Ave. Baptist Church. Their preacher at the time was Rev. Moon Mullins, a long time friend of my Dad's. Bro. J. Vernon McGee followed him, and then came Bro. Loys Vess. Dad and Mom both were saved under his ministry. After Bro. Vess was Bro. George Sullivan. This pastor had the heart of an evangelist and wanted to hold a revival meeting down town. It was when gasoline for cars was rationed. He felt it would allow them to reach more while not being a financial burden on the families. The Deacons informed him that he could do that if he liked, but when the meeting was over, don't come back to Chase Ave.. That was when Calvary Baptist Church of Cleburne was formed. Mom and Dad were charter members.
It was during these years that I came to see my Mom in a new light. One of my cousins had put on a little height and weight and thought he could push mom around. She pushed him away and told him to go fly a kite. He reached out to take hold of her and quick as wink she slipped her arm around his neck and stepped across in front of him and executed a hip roll that would make Hulk Hogan green with envy. He never bothered her again. I can still see the shocked look on his face as he lay on the floor trying to catch his breath.
A short time later Dad was called to preach, and moved from Cleburne to start the Calvary Baptist Church of Belton, Texas. Mom willingly gave up her home, their savings account, her family and kinsfolk to follow Dad in his new venture. One of the ministries she was called on to fulfill was preparing meals for soldier boys stationed at Camp Hood, later it was changed to Fort Hood. Dad dealt in automobiles to help support us in the ministry. Most of the churches funds came from Dad's tithes. My job was to go around to all the cars he had in our yard and wake up any of the soldiers asleep there and invite them in for breakfast. It was not unusual on Saturday's and Sunday's to have as many as five or six soldiers for breakfast. One who really stands out in my mind was one I missed one day. He came in after breakfast was over. Mom never batted an eye. He got breakfast, and as he sat there eating, Mom pressed upon him the Gospel and his need to get saved. He believed what she said, received Christ as his Savior and was baptized that Sunday. Six weeks to the day after he was saved he was shot dead on a battlefield in Korea. He came that close to a Christless eternity.
From Belton, we went to Sherman for nine months. Dad was an associate pastor to Bro. Sullivan, and then on to Gainesville to the Bible and Central Baptist Churches. What was developing in Mom's life was a burden for children. She started out with the young ones, but by the time Dad was pastoring the Central Baptist Church in Gainesville, she had moved up to teach the teens. She was my only youth director until I arrived at Baptist Bible College. There was one time when for a few months Bro. R. D. Wade was my youth director, but it was not long enough for me to be corrupted. Joke! Joke! He felt called to preach and soon headed to south Texas to pastor the church Dad had started. After I left home for College Dad and Mom moved to Sherman where they pastored for 17 years. From that ministry, there were as many as 30 young men and young ladies who went out from her youth department to minister the Word of God, literally around the world.
One of Mom's many talents was to welcome a host of people on a moment's notice. Dad would call her and say, "Mom, the Jones, missionaries to Mexico just pulled into town, can you help them out?" Mom would say, "Send them over, we'll find something to set on the table." And sure enough, by the time they got there, there would be a table full of food. Mom could make a pork-n-bean salad that was to die for. If you lived on a deserted island and that was all you had to eat, you could live off of it. With all the things Mom put into it, it supplied 100% of the minimum daily requirement for all vitamins and minerals, and a few other trace elements.
From Sherman, Mom and Dad moved to California, and after a short stay in Long Beach they moved to Fresno and ministered there for 23 years. From California she moved to Georgetown after Dad passed away. It was my privilege to be her primary caretaker after we lost Dad. When I say that I was the primary caretaker, I really mean Bettye was the primary caretaker. Mom trusted Bettye and would respond to her many times when she wouldn't respond to me. And sometimes when she was feeling ornery, she would do what I said and ignore Bettye. She had to be busy in the Lord's work, so we put her over the older children in Children's church. It was not unusual to see here bringing several children forward in our services to be saved. One of our girls, Jacqueline Mladan told her folks, if you didn't get saved, Mimi would beat the salvation into you. She would correct them right in the services, and out loud if they weren't behaving.
But the time finally came, she just did not have the patience for the ministry anymore, and one day as I was escorting her into the house, she confided in me - "Don, you need to find someone else to teach my class. I can't stand up to teach it any more and I just can't stand sitting down to teach.
Mom was a very simple person.
She lived by two simple rules.
One was, Obey all of God's rules.
The second one was, Obey all of my rules.
And, if there is a question, obey my rules first and then we will work on the others.

Don in Georgetown

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mimi


My grandmother, Mimi, passed away yesterday. In honor of her, I am reposted this, which was written earlier this year. While we can't attend the funeral, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the Ledbetters in the next few days.


"You know you lost that pearl ring I gave you, don't you?"

Mimi gave me a real pearl ring when I was 10. 10!! I kept it for a long time, probably longer than many 10 year old girls. I also didn't know it was a real pearl ring until after I lost it, and she asked to see it. Once she found out I lost the pearl ring, she never let me forget it. No matter where I tried to steer the conversation,it always came back to that blasted pearl ring.

But that was Mimi. (We didn't call her grandma. One, because we didn't want a smack on the behind and two, she didn't like it. Said it made her feel old.) She was direct and to the point. She didn't take much off of anyone. She raised seven kids, six of which are serving in a ministry somewhere. Her discipline is legendary. Dad speaks of the time he hid from her so as not to get a spanking, only to be drawn out from under the bed by a passing fire truck. Said he didn't sit comfortably for a week. My aunt speaks of church: Papa preaching hell-fire and brimstone, Mimi with her brood sitting along side her in the pew (three on one side and three on the other), and a switch in her hand. According to my aunt, if one spoke, they all got the switch.

Mimi took down a cousin once because he challenged her. My dad was old enough to remember it. The cousin walked up to her in her kitchen and said, "Yeah, I could take you," to which she promptly put him in a headlock, rolled him across her hip to the floor, then turned to finish making her biscuits. He never tried that again.

That toughness served Mimi well in Sunday School. She taught Junior High for as long as I can remember, and the kids LOVED her. They also called her Mimi, and she saw each of them as part of her extended family. She taught that class well into her 80's.

In recent years, Mimi had been slipping a bit: Not remembering who people were, forgetting to put her teeth in, but she never missed church. She was there every time the doors opened. And if there was a mix up as to who picked her up, she was on the phone making sure somebody did!

One Sunday, while I was visiting, a missionary was in the pulpit, and looked over and saw Mimi. With tears in his eyes, he told her how proud he was of her and her late husband's ministry, how there are scores of people going to heaven as a result of their faithfulness. He ended it all with a tearful thank you, and said he was so happy to see her there on this Sunday. She leaned over to me and said with a not so quiet voice, "Well, I'm here every Sunday!" That's Mimi.

Mimi had a stroke two weeks ago, and we're all sad. Her feistiness isn't as pronounced as it was. She still recognizes some people, but this strong, vibrant woman now has to have others feed her and clothe her. It's heartbreaking to see, but it also speaks to the will and determination of a woman from her time. Our family has many Mimi stories to pass down to our kids. I sure wish I had that pearl ring to pass down, too!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hmmmm. What can we say about Big Dad,

on this, his 43rd birthday?


He's an adventurer

Who takes the time to fill our house with beautiful things.

He teaches our kids about honoring their loved ones.

He doesn't let little things

get in the way

of taking the Gospel

to those who need to hear.

He teaches our boys

how to be

boys.

And lets our girl be a lady.

He's a good friend.

He will go to extremes

to follow with drive and passion

the path of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Because it is what he's been called to do.

T, you're loved! We are so proud of you. Thanks for being such a wonderful husband, father, friend, son.... We love you very much.

Blessings on your 43rd birthday!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Moaning Meme

Shelly over at This Eclectic Life has tagged me with a Moaning Meme (click the link to see the origins of this meme at Freelance Cynic). While she tagged me as someone she thinks would be irritated at being tagged, I have to say this one caught my fancy. (Shelly thinks I'm too nice to rant. I told her my kids would get a kick out of that.) Before I get started, though, I want to tell you about what Shelly is up to. If you notice the "Share a Square" icon on the left of my site, that is from Shelly. It's a project she started in order to help the kids of Camp Sanguinity. Camp Sanguinity is a camp for kids with cancer and blood diseases. Every year, the campers are given comfort quilts to help them through their various treatments. This year, Shelly had the wonderful idea of making this a community project by gathering donated crochet shares, and then enlisted a local crochet club to put them together to make aphgans to give to the kids next year when they attend camp again. The fun thing is that she included her blogging community as well. So, here in Taiwan, a few people are busy making squares to send in for the project. I've sent a few already to make it on the first few aphgans. SO....any of you who crochet and would like to get in on this project...please click here and you will find instructions on how to make the squares. She still needs 5500 squares, so join in and have some fun with your girlfriends! Besides that, you need to check out her Story Telling skills. She has some videos you can watch. She's REALLY good!

OK. On to the meme.

List 5 people that will be irritated by being tagged: Let's just say my entire blogroll. If you want to participate, let me know so I can see what you have to moan about though!

List 4 things that should go into room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth.
-Cars with huge speakers that thump music instead of listen to it.
-Those plastic security things on CD's and tapes. You end up just wanting to throw the whole thing out!
-Mosquitoes. Really.
-Those little kid squeaky shoes. Whoever thought of that does not have kids at home.

List 3 things that people do that make me want to shake them violently.
-Act fake. Wear masks. I just want to tell them they are OK the way they are.
-Brag and put others down. I don't like arrogance in any form. I just want to tell them to get real!
-Drive like a maniac. If it just involved them I'd be OK, but someone else's stupidity can cause a lot of damage to others.

List 2 things I find myself moaning about:
-Hmmm. I can't think off hand. I'll have to add later

What 1 thing do the above answers tell me about myself.
-Little things get to me. I need to loosen up and let my hair down! ha!

Thanks for the tag, Shelly! I'll be sending more squares soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More pictures of Kenting


We had to stop to get this picture. The sea was just beautiful this day.

The structure on the right is called a "pillbox." It was built by the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan. My husband has been in this one, and he was struck by how much a person could see while inside.

This was some fun I had with the macro setting. My daughter caught glimpse of this little starfish on the seahorse exhibit. I have a ton of pictures of the seahorses, because they are just fascinating, but this was too cute.

A man-made barrier to help prevent erosion.

Barrier closeup.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Finally. Some photos

I promised earlier some of my best tries at Anna/Carmi/Mike-type photos. While I don't have a fancy camera (I just have a Canon point and shoot), I'm still having some fun. We just returned from a trip around the island (which is a whole other story!) but I thought I'd post some pictures from the trip. We enjoyed just playing around with the camera:


Nixon Rock

The boys were fascinated by the Baluga Whales

My new toe ring. I know you all were just waiting to see that! But I love it.

Starbucks. They've got me, hook, line and sinker.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

To the beach

My sister-in-law and niece are here from the states. We are so happy to have them here. I've known Kay since 4th grade. I thought she looked like Kate Jackson when I first met her. We have been friends all this time. She's the sister I never had and a best friend to boot. I love the fact that we always just pick up where we left off. She feels comfortable enough to help herself to a snack at my house and I feel comfortable enough to allow her to do dishes. Our kids are the same way with each other. It's great fun.

So we're off for a few days of adventure. I intend to show them some great sites in Taiwan. First stop, Kenting. The Hawaii of Asia. Kay loves the beach, so the beach it is.

Old friends. What do you do to foster those relationships?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

San likes girls



San has always liked girls. When he was little, he gravitated to them. He's even had a little following of girlfriends of many ages.

In this picture, we were at the Science Museum in Singapore and San was three. We had lost sight of him, and we were expecting him to be with his brothers. They were busy running around trying out the exhibits, which included pushing, turning and lifting things. These were all right up his alley. We had those natural moments of temporary panic, until we finally spotted him sitting with these girls from a school tour group. They hardly even notice he's there, as the are busy eating their Mickey D's, but he doesn't seem to mind. He's happy sitting there with his Blue's Clues shoes, next to a bunch of girls.

Once I was walking him to school, and every high school girl we passed called him by name and said hello. Finally I said, "San, do you like girls?" "Yes," he said. "I like big girls."

Advice anyone?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Roadblock


*Click for the bigger picture* Photo by Big Dad

It's hard to see, but if you look on the rock at the right of the picture you can see people sitting there. It gives the picture some perspective.



Living in China is always an adventure. We learned very quickly to be prepared for just about anything. This is particularly true when traveling. While we might have embarked on a trip to the land-o-plenty (LiJiang), planning on a 7 hour bus ride, it at times would turn into much more. Road blocks were plentiful, as well as landslides (our bus driver would speed up to get ahead of them!) and flat tires or transmission repairs were the norm. We tended to sit at the front of the bus, as you were less likely to get pecked by chickens, and the locals didn't travel well. Sometimes we would hand out dramamine, if we had enough on hand.

On one occasion I was making this trip, and we had a road block similar to the one pictured above. It's hard to tell from the picture, but we were up pretty high, and there are no guardrails to keep folks from driving off the road. Passing on these roads was always scary, and I think there were occasions in which our guardian angels were pinching drivers to keep them alert or holding up bus wheels as they ventured too far on the edge. On this particular trip, there was a large backhoe that was clearing the road of these large boulders and putting them on a flatbed truck. I had no camera, and could kick myself for not getting a picture of what followed.

The backhoe needed to turn around, so it hooked it's claw on a small man-made curb and backed to the edge of the road. It's back half hung precariously off of the cliff at a 45 degree angle, and at first I thought this was the norm for them. These road workers are able to do amazing things. That was not the case, however. I began to notice a frenzy of activity. People began running places, voices were raised, and I soon realized that this driver was in trouble. It dawned on me that the life of the man was reliant on this little curb, and taking into account the weight of the backhoe, I began to get nervous. I watched the driver closely, expecting him to jump at any time. He didn't. He sat firmly in his seat. He never even made an attempt to get out of the way. He was committed to the job. Never mind that a drop of a few thousand feet was a possibility.

Eventually, the flatbed truck pulled under the backhoe, it used that little curb to pull itself up, and disaster was averted. As soon as the backhoe was safely on the road, it continued with the job at hand, and soon we were on our way.

My thought is this: There are so many people in the world who work and are committed to doing a good job. They don't seek the spotlight, nor do they feel comfortable in that position. They just want to do a job and do it well. They are committed for that reason. They are in all types of jobs and classes. They are people of character, and can be counted on to see through whatever is asked of them. In contrast, many times there are those who are visible, who get a lot of credit, but are not willing to work for it. They take credit for other's work, and for whatever reason seek the praise for the work of others. They enjoy the spotlight, but don't enjoy the character that the behind the scenes person possesses: the follow through, the commitment, the attitude of "I said I would do it. I will see it through". They too are in all types of jobs and classes.

I always wonder if the latter person would do their work if there was no recognition. I think that would be a true test to their motives. As for this man, his motives, his character and his commitment were clear. I have no idea if he sat by the fire that night and discussed the day's events. I have the feeling that it was forgotten the next day, and became just another story in the life of a road worker. All I know is we were quickly on our way, because this worker did his job. It amazes me still to this day. Sometimes the world puts us to shame.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dad's Blog

Hey all! Head on over to Hillcountry Wit and Wisdom and read some of my dad's stories. Dad's a preacher and has been as long as I've been alive, and longer. He's got some great family stories, and stories that have transpired along the way in his ministry. Some great life applications as well. He's new to the blogworld, so any good words you can send his way would be great.

Dad, you're in the blogroll now!

Love you!

Friday, July 06, 2007

A great cup of Joe




I've got a new favorite cup of coffee. Made at home (much cheaper). General Foods International Coffee, French Vanilla, with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

It's goooooood.