Friday, June 29, 2007

Dad's stories

Dad didn't know I was going to post this, but I don't think he'd mind. He's been writing down stories of relatives he remembers, and it's so fun to read. My family and I love to sit and listen to Papa Don tell stories about growing up, people he knew, relatives, etc. Here's his latest:


I didn’t know him that well and when I did begin to be aware of him and who he was, he was well into his forties. He was tall, dark, and a quiet man and was married to Aunt Clarise, and had been ever since any of us could remember. Together they had one son, his nick name was “Tuffy.” Tuffy was not as tall as his dad, but was a strong, muscular, athlete. During World War II he was a tail gunner in one of the “Flying Fortresses.” But, he is not the one about which I wanted to talk. It was Uncle Arthur that is supposed to be the center of attention here. He was my Dad’s half brother. He was the third child of my Grandfather’s first wife. Her name was Mina Aloura and she died shortly after giving birth to Uncle Arthur. That posed only a small problem. The woman who was to become his second wife, and my Grandmother already lived in the house with them. Her name was Maud Echo. So as soon as was deemed socially acceptable, Granddad and Grandmother Ledbetter got married. Why? According to Grandmother she didn’t want anyone to raise Arthur but her. And that was the way it was.
Uncle Arthur reached the age of eighteen years shortly after World War I began. He volunteered and went off to boot camp to train for whatever roll they deemed best for him. It turned out, he was one tough cowboy. He could ride anything with hide and four legs. They set him to breaking and training horses for military use. There was not too many mechanized vehicles at that time. When the Army talked about a Calvary Division, they really meant Calvary, like in horses and mules. The Army bought the raw and even wild stock, because they would be cheaper, and it was Uncle Arthur’s job to see that they were ready for use when the superior officer called.
On one occasion, my Dad got to watch his older brother perform. Some of the stock would give up without much of a fight, but then there were some jug heads that would fight to the bitter end, only giving up after hours of the most physical engagement you can imagine. That happened on the day Dad got to observe his brother “in action.” If my memory serves me correctly, it was a mule he was working with, a large, strong creature that stood quiet and still until his restraints were removed. He would then launch into a low altitude orbit of some of the most intense action you could ever imagine. Dad said Uncle Arthur rode that beast until blood was running out of his nose and ears, and yet he still hung on and maintained his balance on the hurricane deck, as their saddle was called. And like he thought, soon enough, the animal would give in, and Uncle Arthur could pass on another valuable creature to the one who would train him to serve our country.
My point is this, what Uncle Arthur was doing was teaching these dumb animals the true meaning of meekness. The horse or mule just a few minutes before was wild and undisciplined. Now their will was broken, and subjected to the one who would be his master. He was just as strong as before, just as fast as before, only now he had learned “meekness.” That is, the strength of the animal was brought under control so he could serve a useful, practical, and necessary roll in the military. That’s what meekness is and does for you and me. We are still just as strong, intelligent, emotional, and even just as spiritual, only now our strength is under the dominion of our dear Lord. Now we say, not my will but thine be done. Now we are useful for eternal work, we are useful for God’s work.

Don in Georgetown

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


We've been discussing a lot of books around other blogs. I love books. I do. But I also love a good movie. So I'm suggesting compiling a list of all of our favorite movies. I'll list the categories, then give my two favorite movies in that category. You all get to add to the lists. I'm asking you to give me your two top favorite in the categories you choose. You can add to each category if you wish! We may get to know some movies we haven't seen before!

Animated movies: Emperor's New Groove, Bambi

Family movies: Sandlot, My Dog Skip

Action: Airforce One, The Italian Job

Drama: Out of Africa, Steel Magnolias

Suspense: Rear Window, Signs

Romantic Comedy: Return to Me, You've got Mail

Fantasy: Lord of the Rings, Narnia

Movies that would be great if it weren't for the language (thank God for TV Guardian): The Game,

Classics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Princess Bride

Please add anything you think I might be missing....

Thursday, June 21, 2007


One of my students came to class a bit discouraged. He was not doing well in class. He had been trying hard, and things just weren't coming together for him. So there he sat. I knew that today would not be a day of accomplishing a lot. He was tired and discouraged, and just needed to talk. He had a lot on his mind anyway. His class is studying the Purpose Driven Life, and he had begun to ponder some things about his own life. "You know," he said, "my mom is a buddhist. She doesn't like anything about Christ. But since I've been in preschool, she has put me in schools that taught about Jesus. I don't know why she did that." We sat for a few seconds, and I said, "Well, it sounds as if Christ is pursuing you!" More moments passed as he tried to wrap his head around that thought. After a minute or so, his question came to mind. "Why would God choose me, when my whole family is not Christian, and they value education so much. And here I am trying hard and only making C's and D's?" We both sat there for a second. I was having a hard time keeping my composure. He was so confused and he was just laying his heart right out on the table. I smiled at him and said, "Because. It is God's favorite thing! To take those that man considers weak, and show Himself through them, so that all can know what God can do!" I could actually see his paradigm shifting. He sat there thinking, his mind racing. "So, I could be the one to show Christ to my whole family?" I looked at him as seriously as I could. "With Christ in your life, and you with a heart that's willing, I think your family is just the tip of the iceburg."
Our discussion continued until the bell rang, with him thinking out loud about all that could be done. His family, Taiwan, other nations.

I really didn't think anything would be accomplished this day. Shame on me.

San's question today:

"How do babies come out?"

And there are no farms around. None.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Famous people

Now to more frivolous matters. I was talking to my daughter today about famous people I have met. Most were when we lived in California, because I think statistically you're just more likely to run into famous folks there. Some were actors, some were sports figures, but it's still fun to say I've met them. Here they are:

Sports people:

Tommy Lasorta
Steve Yeager
Steve Garvey
(do you see a pattern?)
Tony Orlando (only because he was at the locker room waiting area with us. He's TALL)
Reggie Smith
Bob Barker and his beauties (my aunt was on the show)
Some soap actress (her character was named TINA) while waiting in line for price is right.


Bob Jones
Jerry Falwell

One degree of separation:

My parents met Telly Savalas, Wilt Chamberlain, Johnny Carson

My best friend in California met TONS...Pierce Brosnan, then entire cast of Knott's Landing...she got to go to their cast party. She got to go on "The Natural" set and meet Robert Redford. Those are the ones I can remember.

My best friend in Texas got to tour Europe with Phil Collins and Genesis. How cool is that? She's got some great pictures, a set of drumsticks, and a signed tamborine. :)

So your turn. Who have you met? We'll allow one degree of separation, too. Just because I'm sure there are some good stories out there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gilmore Girls

Every Tuesday night this summer, Em and I head to a friend's house to gather with a bunch of other mothers and daughters to watch the show "Gilmore Girls." I had never heard of the show before, until a friend of mine started talking about it and insisting that I watch it. She even gave me the series to watch, but since it was the end of the school year, I really didn't have time. Now, I am completely hooked. What a good series. So far, it is well written, funny, has a lot of literary and historical references, and it's a great conversation starter with mothers and daughters. Plus there are even cultural things in there as well. (We get a kick out of the Korean family.)

Anyway, it's Tuesday night, and I'm off! If you haven't seen it and you have the chance to rent it, do!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bound for Beauty

*Please don't look further if you are squeamish!*

A few months ago I wrote about bound feet and the amazing women that are becoming a vanishing breed. Recently, a friend emailed me some pictures to ask about the process, and sent me these photos. Most of the women with bound feet are now in their 80's. Once they are gone, living history will move to history books. Here's to keeping their stories alive:

The process started around age 6, but many times earlier. Small feet were seen as attractive, and so, the smaller the better. A good footbinder could reach the goal of 4-6 inches in length. The process involved breaking the bones in the feet so that the feet could be folded as pictured below. (in half, with the toes folded under)

(Excuse the blurred face, but I thought it appropriate.)

Photos by Michael Yamoshita


I've become intrigued with photos lately. I say lately....probably within the last two years. I've been visiting a few photo blogs, and have loved to see how they capture a certain view or moment, and how that view actually gives their picture a story. It allows the imagination to run. Mike, Anna and Carmi are a few that I have studied. Some of their pictures have inspired posts on this blog, and they have been kind enough to allow me the use of their pictures for that purpose. But after studying their craft, I have found the urge to try things out for myself. While I don't have my pictures ready for blog viewing, it is one of my projects for the summer. And while my pictures won't be near the quality of these folks, I'm sure you will see their influence on my new hobby. Hopefully, some will be good enough to inspire some posts for this blog as well. :) Have a look at their sites, though. They have truly mastered their craft. And as I always say, "I love to watch people who are masters at what they do!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Let's see if any of you younguns remember this commercial:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You're Forgiven.

Character quotes I've found interesting

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

Men show their characters in nothing more clearly than in what they think laughable.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.
Elmer G. Letterman

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Helen Keller (1880 - 1968) This one actually means more when you know who said it!

I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. I think: Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it. Be kind.
Richard Greenberg amen!
(Do I really know anyone who agrees with every single thing I do? Of course not. It's OK to disagree. There is something freeing about open discourse, don't you think?)

Good Food

Carmi posed a question about how we go about remembering places we've been. I had to think about that a bit. While we haven't intentionally made this a habit, it has become one nonetheless. We tend to take pictures of the things we like and some of our favorite things from our favorite places (much of which is food). Looking at the pictures causes us to recall many of the smells, textures, sounds and sights of our favorite place. It's worked well for our family. When my kids see a picture of a food they like, they immediately start describing it and talking about it: our favorite food places, stories that accompany the eating of that certain food, etc. While we miss whatever the picture represents, it is good to relive some of those moments. Below are a few of our favorite foods and places, as bad as they might seem. :)

This is one of our favorite meals. Hot peppers and pork, baked soy beans, Fried(in hot pepper batter) pork ribs (chopped into bitesize pieces!) And of course a big steaming bowl of rice.

The next two pictures my kids just drool over. This picture is of a bowl of noodles from our good friend, Doris. She knew exactly how each of us liked our noodles. Tim liked extra hot peppers in his. She would give him an extra spoonful just to see if he would finish it. He always did.

This is a dish we would buy in the market. 25 cents per bowl. It has green onions, cilantro, crushed nuts, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar... all on the big noodles. Mmmmm good.

The door on the right was our front door. My dad made the screen door when he came to visit. People would walk in off the street and stand and open and close our screen door. When I went back to visit, I saw quite a few screen doors in town! Dad started a trend. The open door on the left was the kitchen.

This was my kitchen. It also had a fire pit in the floor. We would build campfires and make s'mores. :) We would also BBQ there. Any time someone came to visit, we would ask them to bring a bottle of KC Masterpiece. It was a pretty good deal. :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jane Austen quiz:


Thanks for the fun quiz! Here's my results for which Jane Austen character I am:

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Starbucks announcement

I just want to bring it to everyone's attention that for a limited time, your local Starbucks in Taiwan is now offering the Red Bean Frappuccino. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The PK's life

I'm a PK. That means Preacher's Kid. That's who I am. It's who my father was as well. And his father. I think it's why I had it a bit easier than other PK's. I didn't rebel when I reached my teens, because I didn't need to. I was a preacher's kid.

PK's have a reputation. It can be said much of it is deserved. It can also be said that DK's (deacon's kids) don't receive half the credit they should. It takes two, if you know what I mean. (Well, on second thought, it doesn't, but it does if you want your mischief to be organized and effective in any way, shape or form.)

So here's the thing. PK's have the reputation of being trouble, and in my case it was true. But in retrospect, I think this had less to do with trying to get into trouble (except in those organized, effective circumstances) and more to do with just feeling at home at church. While for some, the building holds an atmosphere of reverence, for me it was a great place for hide and seek or tag.

See, being a PK meant being at church on weekdays and Saturdays or hanging around after church. It also meant staying after and entertaining ourselves during "quick" or urgent counseling sessions. It was never something I hated. I enjoyed being there. It really was a home away from home.

Where trouble began was when that playfulness translated itself to the actual church service. This was something my friends didn't seem to understand. It just didn't sound as bad when they got in trouble in church. Once, when I was a little too involved in gabbing with a friend, I heard a voice from the pulpit say, "I know two girls who are going to be in big trouble if they don't settle down!" How ominous is that?

I used to sit behind a bald guy in church and pretend the light reflecting off of his head was the sun. We used to make faces at babies to get them to cry. Or hand them keys to play with. The poor parent didn't know what to do. If they took the keys away, they would cry, if they didn't, well, they were jingling keys in a quiet church.

Once, my friend brought a handful of poprocks in church with her. Her hand started sweating, the poprocks started popping, and we were reduced to a giggling mess.
Sometimes we would laugh so hard, the entire pew would shake. Then, of course, that made us laugh harder. And everything is funnier when you aren't allowed to laugh. Think of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry put a Tweetie Pez dispenser on Elaine's lap during a piano concert. It's like that.

It was usually after times like these that I was restricted to the front row, piano side, because my mom played the piano. She could semi keep and eye on me. Then there were the times when more serious punishment was needed. Some strategies were developed during those times. Like not talking on the way home from church. It reminded the parents that we were there.

I used to wear shorts under my dress so I could play tag after church with my friends. I wore those along with my red tennis shoes. Did mom really think I wouldn't run? I got a spanking once for playing hide and seek and hiding in the baptistry. It was a great hiding place. It took my parents a LONG time to find me. Of course, when I heard the tone of their voices, there was no way I was going to come out saying "Ollie, Ollie oxen freeee."

Yeah. PK's don't have it the easiest. But we have a good time. And we tend to see church a little bit differently than the average person. Overall, I'd say it's a good life.

*The Eclectic Life contest*

Faces and Hands

Anna, over at her site, was able to capture two of my favorite subjects in a picture: faces and hands. She was riding a bus in London and captured an old Sikh man she met along the way. The pictures are stunning...please go take a look.

I mentioned on her blog that I like to see pictures of faces and hands, and promised to post a few of my favorites. Old people are a particularly favorite subject, because the lines in their faces show so much character. I really don't think I'm going to be the kind of person who nips and tucks wrinkles. They speak so much about a person's life, and in the end, they will tell my story, I think.

Hands show a lot about a person as well. While I admire pretty hands, the ones that capture my attention are the ones that tell a story. The hands with the tattoos (above) are interesting because they tell which village this person belongs to. If she were ever taken captive, anyone who rescued her would know where she belonged. The smaller hands are of particular interest to me. They are worn and shabby, with years of hard labor represented in them. The kicker is that they belong to a 10 year old girl.

Monday, June 04, 2007


My friend and I had a conversation about keys today, and it seemed a blog-worthy conversation. She's finishing out her life here in Taiwan, and is heading to an exciting new adventure to work on her Master's in Scotland. Let me just say, because it has nothing to do with our conversation, that she will be missed. She has the character to leave a place better off than when she came, deserved or not. You have to admire that.

Anyway, about our conversation. She commented that she now has one key to her name, and that is to her house in the states. All other keys have been dispensed: scooter key, apartment key, classroom key, desk key...all are gone. It's a strange feeling, being keyless. I remember when we came overseas the first time. I had a really hard time with being keyless, and it surprised me. It wasn't the keys themselves...they were bulky and bothersome. It's the ownership they represent. The responsibility. So when you are suddenly keyless, there is a sense of letting go. It is transition in it's most basic form, at least for me. It's the moment that hits me: I'm moving on. No key to open the front door of the house. No key to lift the trunk to put groceries in the car. No key to open the classroom door or set up my desk for the day.

Funny how something so small can represent so much. I had about a day of pondering about my keys, then I was given an amazing sense of freedom. Freedom from stuff. It's fun knowing you can do much more when not encumbered by earthly things. Don't get me wrong...things are great. But once you're keyless, you begin to see how much time and energy is spent caring for stuff, and what a small amount of time is spent on the things that matter. In the end, stuff will just be passed around to loved ones. The influence and impressions we leave on our loved ones mean much more.

So this post is for my keyless friend, Sabrina, and her new freedom as she travels abroad. She came, she saw, she transformed, and she moved on.


Sunday, June 03, 2007


I've got something to say about keys. I can't blog about it now, but I just wanted to remind myself.:)

Thoughts on Worship

Anyone can worship, and look like they are worshiping. True worship takes place outside of church, in our daily lives and work. Honoring God in our daily lives is where true worship begins. Call it the rubber meeting the road. Those moments in time when we make our choices....choices that enable us to honor God and his Word as He works in our lives, or choices to do otherwise for other reasons; The recognition that our lives are testimony to how other's see Christ. It is this life lived that enables us to come to church and pour our hearts into worship: singing, learning, listening.

Worship is more than just an hour or so of singing each week.