Monday, September 23, 2013

Let's play a game

I am really starting to think about what life will be like once I am back in America. The biggest problem:


So here is the game. Everyone leave a comment about what you think I should do with my life in my repatriation. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The end is near...

Over the past few months I've been battling with a decision over the future. Whenever people would ask about my plans for staying in China, I'd always respond with, "I don't have a plan. I'm here until it is time to go." But now, I have a plan...sort of.

Ever since my last trip home, I've really been struggling on when to go. At first I thought I would be home for good by Christmas time. But, upon returning, I took more time to pray about it and seek God for the right answer. I still don't have an official one other than the time is coming. It will be sometime between December and May 3. That is the day my visa expires and I do not plan to renew it. I'm coming home on December 18 for the holidays and I am in a wedding in Florida in the end of January. I'm still waiting to know if that is permanent or if I will return for my final few months in China. This isn't a decision that has come easy, but I feel the Lord is lining things up so that it can be a smooth transition for the Guest Relations department at SFCV.

Last week I had to do the hardest part: tell Tim and Tina. Pam already knew because I broke down to her when I first came back from the States. Waiting so long to tell them was hard. I felt like I was living a lie every time we talked and the anxiety was really getting to me. I'll be honest, it sucked. I didn't want to let them down, but I knew that it wasn't. Of course we were all a little emotional in the meeting, we are more than coworkers or even friends, we are family. I made a promise that China is not off the table for the future, and it is not. It has been a huge part of my life, of my growth, and of my heart. I can't see a future that does not involve it in one way or another.

So now, this is the part that I don't like, but have to say. Moving is expensive. My flights alone for just visiting home in the last year have me in serious debt. I really hate asking for money, but it seems to be something I can't do without. I guess a better way to ask this is to say, please pray for the Lord's provision in this transitional period. I pray that whatever job I take on next year will allow me to pay off my debts quickly so I can begin saving for the future (that hopefully involves adopting Chinese babies).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Precious Patrick

This is Patrick or as most would call him here Wu Yumin. Over the past few weeks, we have formed a friendship. For obvious reasons communication is not a big part of it, but there is something sweet about sitting in silence. I have been observing him as he interacts with Sheldon. Sheldon can be...spirited. But Patrick has a patience with him that others don't. Part of it is circumstances, they are the boys closest in age in their house therefore they tend to play together, but part of it is Patrick's character. Often when I am in the house, Sheldon is jumping around pretending he is Ultraman, but Patrick will come sit next to me, hold my hand, and protect me from any flying stuffed animals that have been defeated by Ultraman.
Recently, I lost our dog Benji. I took my eyes off of him and we think he may have wandered out the gate. We made "lost dog" flyers to post around the area. When Patrick heard about this, he took my hand and asked me if my dog ran away. With a sad look I responded with a nod of the head. Then, in one of the most precious moments I've had here, he told me he was going to find him and give him to me. Of course I did not understand every word of the conversation, but I understood enough of it and the hand gestures filled in the rest.
Patrick is by far one of the sweetest 10-year-olds I have ever had the privilege to know.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Celebrating America in China

Just a couple weeks ago was a holiday that is special to us in America. It is a holiday that represents our freedom and our independence, something that we so often take for granted because it is something that we rarely take the time to consider. I have now celebrated that holiday three consecutive times in China. I love this country, but I am proud to be an American. I am proud to wear my nations colors and celebrate the freedom that so many men and women have died to protect. I am proud to live in a country where we have choices, where we are not censored (well, sort of). And though sometimes I think people should not post everything they are thinking, I am proud to live in a country that allows us to speak freely on social media sites. And though I am not currently living there, America is my home and I am proud of that. God gave us a great nation and I am proud to celebrate it even from the other side of the world.
beginning of a delicious meal

goofy times with Adrian

watermelon seed spitting contest


ultimate frisbee before fireworks

best firework show in town

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Crossover on CCTV-9 (my 15 seconds of fame)

Last year Tim Baker did an interview on CCTV-9's English show called Crossover. The producers felt there was more to be said and when Tim is talking there is always more to be said. After visiting us at Shepherd's Field, they decided to film two more segments.

In January they returned. The day began with a tour of Shepherd's Field. The cameras followed Tim from house to school to clinic to therapy. After that, we all gathered in our makeshift studio to finish the show. It was wonderful. Tim and the host sat in front of the cameras while the rest of us served as the audience. We all had our chance to say a few words and we were even able to FaceTime Pam Baker and a couple of the adoptive families. The whole experience was great. It was definitely something that doesn't happen everyday, but something extremely special.
Here are the links to the two new segments:

Crossover - Shepherd's Field part 1
Crossover - Shepherd's Field part 2

As well as a few photos from the day of filming:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Eating the Winter Away

Back in December some of us started running together. It seemed to be going pretty well until the snow came. It isn't normal for this area to see as much snow as it has, but this year we have had plenty of white days. In a location frequented by snow, the roads are taken care of with plows, salt, etc. But here, in our little neck of the woods, the middle of nowhere, the roads are impossible after snow. They don't get plowed or salted. They get icy. You can't run on ice. You can fall on ice (I have pictures of the bruises to prove it), but you can not run on ice. But the lack of running is not the full reason I can't drop any excess pounds. This is the reason:

Posting all those photos made me hungry! This country really knows how to make great food! However, as soon as the weather improves just a bit more, I want to get back out there. Who wants to join?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Power of Prayer

This week is a holiday week. Not just any holiday, it is Spring Festival...Chinese New Year. This is bigger than Christmas around here. Most shops and restaurants are closed for the entire week. All of our Chinese staff (other than the nannies) are off for the week as well. That hasn't left much work for us to do either, but today we had a guest, a friend from a year ago who came back to visit. We enjoyed a great lunch at the only restaurant still open this week. After that, we came back to Shepherd's Field to spend time with the kids. At the end, we went to the Vocational Center to show our friend the progress. He was here just over a year ago. At that time, we went back and prayed over the building which wasn't much more than a single story. Today it stands four stories tall with hopes of being completed and open before the end of the year. It was special to stand on the roof with him once again and pray over the building. We thanked God for all that He has provided and prayed for His continued provision.

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things."   Matthew 6:31-32

View from the top of the fourth floor of the Vocational Center

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sisters are the best friends

When I was home in November, my sister got engaged to her long time boyfriend. I am over the moon excited for these two. In my life, I've never known another person like my sister. For all the years of fighting and wanting to kill each other, we are now blessed with a friendship that I could not replace. She is beautiful, funny, sincere, honest, the list goes on... She has the incredible gift of caring for others above herself. I have seen her selflessly give her time and energy to help our family time after time. What sticks in my mind most is the way she has cared for my grandparents. First she was always there to help out with our grandpa before he passed. Now, even in her insanely busy life, she is always willing to help with our grandma. I know what that means to my aunts who care for her full time at home. My sister is not one to waste her gifts. She knows Who they come from and she is not one to waste His blessings either. She seeks the Lord each day and encourages those around her, not only with word, but with action.

David Lim is probably the luckiest man in the world to be marrying such woman as Danielle. He is something special, too. I am so excited to welcome him to the family as my brother. I look forward to many years of happiness for these two who will begin their new life together on June 2, 2013. I know it is a love built around God which is the most beautiful love there is.

Before I returned to China, my sister had asked me to be in her wedding, but yesterday morning I woke up to the "official" invitation:
"And when the roosters are crowing and the cows are doing circles in the pasture!... DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!" Be one of my Ducks?