Another year gone by

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's hard to believe but another year in China has passed us by. I think this year went faster than the first one, in part because I actually knew what to do this year! It's been a great year and now I'm ready to head back to the States for a few weeks of "normalcy".

We will leave China on July 4 and head to Lake Jackson & Houston first. After a week of catching up with friends and celebrating my niece's first birthday, we will head to Lubbock. Since Lubbock is our "base", it is the place where we take care of all our appointments -- dentist, eye doctor, hair stylist, etc. Although all of that is necessary, it doesn't always equate to fun! I'm sure we'll find ways to enjoy ourselves in-between all the appointments and of course, all the shopping! At the end of July Clint will join us and we'll head to San Antonio to visit with his family. I'm sure the 4 1/2 weeks will fly by and before we know it we'll be packing back up and heading off to China once again. I wish we could see everyone while we are home in the States, but it's just not possible this year. Maybe next summer??

As excited as we will be to head home to our own beds, our return to China will be short-lived as we will once again be relocating our family. The company has extended an invitation to Clint to be the technical expert in his field in their latest venture in Germany. Yes, we are moving to Europe for a few years! Although the company would like to have Clint in Germany yesterday, I am hoping to stay in China until December. I'm not sure if that is even a possibility, but we'll see. I am mixed with sorrow and excitement for our latest adventure, but I'm trusting God with wherever He places us and whatever He has planned for us there. Needless to say, our fall will be full of busy-ness!

It may be awhile before I'm able to post again, but I will try to blog when I can over the summer. Hopefully I'll be seeing some of you in person, and for those of you who I can't visit, I'll be in touch soon. Have a wonderful summer and God bless you all.


God Said No

Saturday, June 14, 2008

God answers prayers with Yes, No and Wait. When He answers with a No, it always has a good reason to go with it. Unfortunately for me, when I receive that No, I stop at the No and don't take the time to listen to the reasons behind it. Usually frustration or anger at God builds up within me because I have no understanding of the why behind God's answer.

God, in His goodness, allowed me to receive an email one day that helped me change my perspective on His No answers and the importance of listening and understanding the reasons behind it. Maybe it can help you too.

God Said No

I asked God to take away my habit. God said No; it is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No; his spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience. God said No; patience is a byproduct of tribulations. It isn't granted, it's learned.

I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No; I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No; suffering draws you apart from worldly care and brings you closer to me.

I asked to make my spirit grow. God said, No; you must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. God said, No; I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me. God said...Ahhh, finally you have the idea.

Childhood passions

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In my last post I mentioned that my daughter, Kayley, was a computer whiz. What I failed to mention was that I helped created the computer monster that she is today. When she was little, I wanted to give her every opportunity to learn so I bought computer programs and kid-friendly computer keyboards that would help her in that area. I had no idea she would fall in love with computers at such an early age, and that it would become one of her greatest passions (code word for addiction??). She is so amazing on the computer, able to do things I didn't even know computers could do, and she has other moms calling her for computer advice - seriously!!

So when I walked into our computer/playroom yesterday and saw her with 3 computers in front of her, I knew the monster had completely taken over. It was a Kodak moment I couldn't miss! When I took the picture, it reminded me of another picture I had taken of her years ago when she was just starting out on the computer. I dug through all my photos to find it and attached both pictures for you to see. The pictures are so similar it's almost scary!

Kayley at 2

Kayley at 13

Before you go thinking that we live such an luxurious life here in China that we can afford 3 computers, let me explain. The small white laptop is Kayley's school issued Mac for next year. The tabletop Mac is ours and so is the black laptop. We had to have a PC (the laptop) because our Mac isn't Windows compatible. And since everything computer related these days is Windows compatible (thus explaining why Bill Gates is the richest man on the face of the planet) we have 2 computers. Trust me, neither our lives nor our bank account is that extravagant!

So now that I've shared my family's computer craziness, you may be asking, What's the point of this post? Other than just the basic comedy factor of my daughter's obsession, I was thinking about the childhood dreams and passions that we all may have had at one time.

What was it so long ago that we dreamed of being or doing that we let slip through our fingers as we forged into adulthood? Why did we let it get away -- fear, failure, responsibility? Can we ever get it back or do we think it's too silly or too late in life for us to do? I don't think it's ever too late. Me taking a writing course is proof of that! I think we have to stop seeing the world through adult eyes and gain back that child-like passion and drive that we had when we were little. Or maybe we didn't lose it at all. Maybe we just buried it beneath all the adult responsibilities of life. Whatever the reason might be, I pray that you and I will take the time to really think back to those younger years and the simple joy we had in a youthful activity, and see if we can't recapture some of our passions once again. What would the rest of our lives look like if we lived it with that childhood passion? We would probably say it was the best times of our lives!

I know that for Kayley, her God-given passion for computers has yet to be extinguished. I hope it never will. Maybe she'll be the next Bill Gates or maybe she'll use her computer skills to create amazing scrapbooks for her children. Regardless of what she does, just knowing that she hasn't let the passion within her die is good enough for me.

Picture posting attempt

Monday, June 09, 2008

Despite the fact that I have a daughter who is a computer whiz, I know nothing about computers. I'm lucky just to be able to get on and surf the Internet, type a lesson, or write an email. Computers just aren't my thing.

But there comes a time when we have to try and change old ways of thinking or doing things, and today is that day for me. I have decided to attempt adding pictures to my blog and this posting is my trial run. I'm praying it works!

According to the blog instructions I simply click on the add photo link, choose a picture from my computer, decide on a page layout, and then upload the picture to my blog. If that is all that needs to be done, there should be a photo of my family at Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia somewhere on this post. I will have to keep practicing until I can be as skilled as my other friends and their blog posts!

With patience and perseverance I may just get this picture posting down. Let's just hope I don't go overboard on you.

"Change comes only with willful movement. Impact follows on the heels of action." - Bill Hybels, Descending into Greatness


Saturday, June 07, 2008

"Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination." - Fitzhugh Dodson

I came across this quote when I was cleaning out my office the other day. It made me think about some of the goals I had set for myself and how well I was doing to accomplish them. As the clock continues to tick on my life, I know that I can't wait forever to try to reach my goals. I believe with all my heart that these are not just goals I came up with off the top of my head, but that they were born out of passions that God placed within me. I don't want to look at the end of my life and have regrets, or constantly say "I wish I would've...". I want to live, dream, and reach my goals while I'm still living! Don't you?

I know that too many of us think that there will be plenty of time later to do all the things that we dream of doing. But the more I read God's Word and the more I move, the more I realize that time is short and none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. With God's help, I want to dream big and accomplish much.

I thought I'd share my goals list with you today (see list below). I hope you will enjoy reading over it. When you read my list you may see that being a good wife, mother, friend, etc. are not on the there. That's because I know that those are the things God has called me to be; my list is things I hope to do or see.

My goals
1. Swim with dolphins
2. Travel around the world
3. Go on a hot air balloon ride
4. Have a Sisterchick adventure (based on books by Robin Jones Gunn)--anyone want to join me??
5. Attend each of the major tennis tournaments (Australian, French, Wimbeledon,US Open)
6. Go whale watching
7. Attend one of Kay Arthur's Precept teaching trips (Israel, Rome, Greece)
8. Write books/stories that people can enjoy
9. Teach/speak God's Word to others

I have been blessed to have already accomplished some of the things on my list. I am still hoping to reach them all! I remember after my hot air balloon ride in Australia Clint asked me what I would do when I crossed everything off my list. I told him, "Make a new one!"

I hope that you are making goals and actively trying to reach them NOW. If you haven't made a list (and no, this isn't a bucket list!), I encourage you to start thinking about making one. I think it is not only good for us, but good for our children as well. I want to be an example to my children to dream and realize their goals. What better way to teach them to go for their goals and dreams than for you to show them doing it?

Hoping all your dreams come true.....

Being still

Monday, June 02, 2008

As I laid on the cot in the doctor's office, receiving my bi-weekly acupuncture treatment for my knee, I had to be very still. Any movement on my part would cause the already prickly needles to send waves of pain shooting through my body. It was at that moment when Psalm 46:10 came to my mind, "Be still and know that I am God."

By nature I am not a still person. I have to be busy, so that verse always seemed to puzzle me as I wasn't sure how to define still. Thanks to my acupuncture treatments, I am beginning to understand. Then I came across this short piece that helped my understanding even more. It's called the "Isolation Chamber".

There is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of waiting. It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities -- simply inactivity. During these times, God is calling us aside to fashion something new in us. It is an isolation chamber designed to call us to deeper roots of prayer and faith. It is not a comfortable place, especially for a task-driven busy person. Our nature cries out, "You must do something," while God is saying, "Be still and know that I am God." You know the signs that you have been brought into this chamber when He has removed many things from your life and you can't seem to change anything. Perhaps you are unemployed. Perhaps you are laid up with an illness. Most religious people live a very planned and orchestrated life where they know almost everything that will happen. But for people in whom God is performing a deeper work, He brings them into a time of quietness that seems almost eerie. They cannot say what God is doing. They just know that He is doing a work that cannot be explained to themselves or to others. Has God brought you to a place of being still? Be still and know that He really is God. When this happens, the chamber will open soon after.

For many reasons, I can honestly say that I feel like I am living in the isolation chamber, and have been for quite some time. There are many things that God is teaching me that I don't think I could learn without this stillness in my life. I don't like it one bit, but I know that it has its purpose. Lately my life seems to be out of my control and I find frustration lurking at every corner. God is clearly asking me to dig deeper within myself to see things I wouldn't have taken the time to see otherwise. The comfort in all this, however, is that it is only for a season. Eventually the chamber will open, and when it does I think I will walk with the Lord as never before because I was willing to be still and know that He really is God, acupuncture treatments and all.