Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox!!!

Fan Dancers

Today is officially the first day of Chinese New Year. Happy Year of the Ox! Over the next 15 days, we, and the Chinese people, will be celebrating. For us it means reading and watching more about China, Chinese crafts and decorations, and, of course, eating more Chinese! I LOVE holidays, so this is right up my alley. It is at times like this, however, that I feel especially inadequate to assume that because of me my child will understand anything about his birth country at all. It's kind of like telling someone what's in a recipe, without giving the exact measurements so they can't recreate it and it may end up tasting totally different all together.

Yesterday was our first official Chinese New Year celebration. We went to see a play at the Main Street branch of the library. Except for being a hair long for the children, the show was awesome! There were lots of dancers, singers, and our favorite--Kung Fu! Those of you who have never really seen Kung Fu, you've got to check it out. It was amazing! John use to have a roommate who was a Kung Fu World Champion. It's funny how God prepares you for the future.

We were also delighted to see our first live lion dance. Will was so taken with the drums that it took him quite a while to turn his head to realize there were even dragons.

2 lions fighting

At the end there was Chinese fashion show showcasing original costumes of some of the northeastern people groups of China. Will is from Inner Mongolia, which is pretty much up north in the middle, so some of the costumes were very similar to one we bought him. (We bought it a little big, so maybe you'll see it next year.) Chinese fashion shows are much more choreographed and dance-like than our fashion shows. The highlight of the fashion show was a girl who's headdress looked like it had a reindeer antler.

After dinner we headed to a Chinese restaurant and ate with our friends who have a beautiful little girl from China.

"Big" Will

"Small" Will

There were about 80 of us there with the local Families with Children from China group. We were excited to run into another family we had traveled through China with. It was great to see how much their little girl and grown.

It's tradition to give gifts on Chinese New Year, especially red envelopes filled with money, so I got some red envelopes from a local party store for the kids. I filled them with fake Chinese money, a Chinese New Year pencil, Chinese clothing notepads, and panda stickers.

More Chinese New Year installments to come. Until then, Happy Year of the Ox!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Era

Those who know me well, know that I have never been a big fan of politics. I avoid watching the news because it's depressing. I figure if anything big enough happens that I need to know about, someone will tell me. So it is not so surprising that since Will's nap time had to fall during the presidential inauguration yesterday, we just slept through it, though we did manage to see a few highlights later.

I join many others who will pray for our new president, who definitely has his work cut out for him. I was very happy to hear that Rick Warren prayed for President Obama in Jesus name. I agree that it is exciting to see a new president, one who represents a dream for many, welcomed into office.

At the same time, I think it is extremely sad that President Bush left with his reputation tarnished. I, for one, never want to feel the pressure of being the president of our great nation. He had impossible circumstances to deal with during his entire administration. No matter what decisions he could have made, he would have been wrong in the eyes of many. Check out this eloquent post, Thank You, President Bush, that I found through a link on one of my friend's blogs. Let me finish by saying that I am proud it was President Bush who signed my son's certificate of citizenship and officially welcomed Will to America.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My 2nd Set of Verses

It's amazing what you can accomplish when motivated. For some reason, I have finally, after 14 years, been motivated to memorize scripture. (Now if I can only get motivated in a couple other areas!) I actually memorized both of the verses that I previously listed (John 15:7-8). So I went ahead and picked a couple more verses that I needed to hear--and remember.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (New International Version)

10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

38 and Better Than Ever!

Celebrating with his free Birthday Burger at Round Robin. Much to my delight, though not John's, they also sing to you and bring you a free Sundae!

John celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday, at least as much celebrating as you normally do at 38. I always have grand ideas of making birthdays the most awesome, amazing days ever, something they write movies about, but I always fall short. John doesn't really expect much anyway, but I love him so much and want to make it special for him. Unfortunately, he had a couple ugly things happen that made the day difficult--one that was pretty much over yesterday and one that will probably haunt us a few more weeks or months, if not longer. It is so true that it's much harder to watch someone you love get hurt than it is to be hurt yourself. I hate it that this happened. I hate it that it happened on his birthday. I don't understand why everyone doesn't see how wonderful, amazing, funny, smart, and dedicated my husband is, but I sure do. After 38 years of life, he is better than ever!

May this year be your best yet! Good things are coming. I love you, John!

John examining his new guitar quilt. Somehow he was surprised, even though I wouldn't let him go in the basement (where I sew) and Will has walked around pointing at the microwave constantly yelling, "Sew!" the last couple weeks.

As you can see, only the top is finished. I'll post more pics when it's in its completed state--very soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My First Verse

I finally chose my first verse to memorize. (Better late than never.) I'm posting for a little accountability. Technically, this is 2 verses, so with my late start, I'll still have 2 memorized by the end of January.

John 15:7-8 NIV
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wishing You a Risky 2009

Baby New Year 2009

I thought about posting the best of 2008, but I do that practically every time I blog. Will was obviously the '08 highlight! So instead, I decided I need to share some thoughts on '09.

I am particularly excited about the upcoming year. I'm so glad Will is going to be here from the start of it, but I think it's more than that. The first sermon of the year at church, about faith, reiterated a lot of what I've been thinking...

1. Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. (John Wimber) If God is as big and powerful as we claim He is, isn't He going to want us to do some big (aka risky) things?
2. On the surface faith makes no sense. Why doesn't faith make sense to most people? Because faith is being certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
3. If I am a follower of Christ, I should be defined by my faith, which (back to #1) is spelled R-I-S-K. Therefore, I should be doing some risky things this year, that would seem crazy to most people.

What specifically am I talking about? First, let's look at the history books. The most recent example and closest to our hearts is that God asked us, 2 ordinary people who operate on an extremely average income, to undertake a very expensive adoption. When we stepped out on faith, God provided the money. We brought our little boy home and to date are not any deeper in debt for doing so. We believe that God asked those same 2 ordinary people, operating on that same average income, to cut that income in half and have one of us stay at home with our child, at the very least for a year. "Couponing" and being thrifty has almost become a hobby. The bills have all been paid on time thus far.

Back to 2009, I've never been a prophet. But there are some things I'm pretty sure I should work on this year, some riskier than others...
1. Potty Training--Will was able to hold it all day instead of going in a bag for the doctor. As soon as I took off the bag, he looked at me and said, "Mommy. Pee pee." Then he went in his diaper. Just one of many signs he's ready. Risks: more laundry, dirty floors, germs
2. Eating More Vegetables--I came up with a new word for what I am, meatitarian. I'm looking for yummy ways to fix veggies without tons of butter, sauce, and cheese. If you've got any good recipes, send them my way. Risks: grumpiness, going hungry
3. Play More--I'm great at fitting in some playing while I get my tasks done, but I have a hard time sitting still for prolonged, focussed play. I don't want my children to remember me as the mom who always had something else to do. Risks: Not getting as much "other stuff" done
4. Build our Photography Business--It's something we both love. God has sent photography jobs our way several times over the last few years when we weren't even looking. It seems that now is the time to press forward with that endeavor. We should have a website up very soon. If you know anyone who wants pictures, please send them our way! Risks: failure, getting out of the comfort zone, lots of time
5. Scripture Memory--I've been convicted of this since my freshman year of college (14 years ago!!!) and never really committed. Since I'm a huge Beth Moore fan and she's issuing a challenge on her blog, I've decided to jump in and finally do it. You can pick your own scripture to mememorize, which is important to me. I've never been able to focus on something just because it was meaningful to someone else. Check it out! Risks: time, God asking me to use that scripture when I selfishly don't want to (there's that comfort zone thing again!)
6. TBA--To Be Announced. But rest assured there is more, a lot more. The most meaningful of all, but there is a season for everything, and I just don't think it's the season to share quite yet. Besides, I have to give you a reason to keep coming back for more!