Friday, February 29, 2008

Hudson Taylor & China

I wrote part of this yesterday (Friday) but I am just getting it posted today! This happened Friday afternoon!

Today was the day we have been so excited about. Our family got to share about the life of Hudson Taylor, first missionary to inland China. It was so much fun to learn about his amazing life! What a man of faith!

We shared about his life in a fun way. As we told the kids (17 in attendance) about him the children made a picture book to remember the important facts about his life. Each of the boys wrote a report about the most amazing thing they remembered from his biography that we read together as a read-aloud.

Weston wrote about when he almost died from a small finger prick. The doctors said he would die...but God saved him. Franklin wrote about when he was aboard a ship in the middle of a typhoon. They thought they were doomed...but God saved him. Finally, Mason wrote about when Hudson Taylor was mobbed by a rioting 10,000 angry people. They were set to kill Hudson and his missionary friends...but God saved him. I shared about the fact that his mother and sister were praying for him the moment he accepted Christ! (I thought that was so encouraging for a mother to know!)

Finally we shared that by the time he died, he had over 825 missionaries in China with the mission organization he started. And, I get tears as I type this, over 18,000 people had been baptized into the Christian faith through his witness to the nation! 18,000 people through one man's obedience to the call of Christ! Isn't that amazing?!

After we shared about the life of Hudson Taylor, Kristy Smith shared about a ministry her family has with the orphans of China today. Kristy and her daughters make disposable diaper covers for an orphanage in China. If you look closely around the chalkboard in the pictures you can see photos. These are pictures of orphans in China. Their family prays for these children by name!
After the two lessons, the kids got to go downstairs into Kristy's incredible "Kid-room!" (She has such a fun house!) Kristy gave the children lessons on how to make reusable wipes for the orphanage in China.

All of the children had to cut two 10" x 10" pieces of fabric. (We used baby receiving blankets.) After cutting the fabric, the kids all got to sit at a sewing machine and actually sew the wipe together! The boys wouldn't ever admit it, but they LOVED it! I learned that they are better with a sewing machine than I am! Talk about straight stitches!
Everyone was so excited to know that something they had made would be helping babies on the other side of the world! How awesome is that! Hudson Taylor would be proud that their hearts are being instilled with a love for missions at a young age!

Doesn't Mason look
excited that I am taking his picture sitting at a sewing machine? LOL! Braden made a wipe as well, but he wouldn't pose for the picture. Maybe next time...I am sure we will do this again!

The boys enjoyed all of this so much. On the way home today, they asked me when we could teach about another missionary. How cool is that?! We plan to eat our Chinese meal with chopsticks soon! :)

If you would like to be more informed of the state of China, please check out my friend Becki's BLOG. Becki is a long-lost friend of mine from High Point - we have been blessed to reconnect through blogging! Her family has adopted a precious little girl from China and she has a really cool video about how to be praying for the people of China. With the Olympics being held there in 2008, and the World Expo in 2010, I think we should all be praying for hearts to be open to the Truth of Jesus Christ. Also, please pray for all of the Christians in the country now - may they stay encouraged to share the love of Christ with others!

Healthy Level of Insanity

A friend sent me this e-mail. I sat in my computer chair and nearly wet my pants from laughing so hard. The funniest thing is that I actually can see myself doing some of these things...

20 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice. "Will Nerbil please come to the Customer Service desk of Walmart? Your party is waiting!"

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it 'In'.

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write 'For smuggling diamonds'.

7. Finish all your sentences with 'In Accordance With The Prophecy'.

8. don't use any punctuation or capital letters

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify that your drive-through order is 'To Go'.

12. Sing along at the opera.

13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

14. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

16. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Bottom.

17. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream 'I Won! I Won!'

18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling, "Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!"

19. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the poor economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

20. Next time you go to McDonalds, order a large fries a hamburger a Diet Water and demand a toy (even though you're not getting a happy meal) and pay for it all in Pennies. Demand your change in quarters.

Hey friends, if there are any others you can think of, leave me a comment and tell me what they are! Enjoy your day!

We are headed to McDonalds with a bag full of pennies! "I'll have a diet water please AND I DEMAND A TOY!"

Husband Bashing - Not For Me

Yesterday, I had to stop into the bank for some business. Our local branch knows our entire family since we are there so frequently. And, I have gotten to know many of the tellers through our many conversations at the counter.

During my visit yesterday, a customer commented on how much one of the tellers smiled. I turned to the lady and told her the teller was smiling because she was a newlywed. (Yes, I get all the personal details while I am in there! She had gotten married in September!)

After my comment, the teller helping me quickly commented, "Well, she won't be smiling much longer once she sees the true side of her husband. Will she?"

It was as if to say, her marriage is doomed to fail. Her husband can't be what she sees in him now. She's made the choice for a lifetime of misery by getting married. Well, shame on you, my bank-teller-friend!

Wanting to "nip it in the bud" I replied, "I've been married nearly 13 years and I am still in love!" (That is the TRUTH my friends!)

The lady-customer who made the original comment said, "I'm with you, girl! (She was a negro lady as defined by her speech.) My man's been dead for several years and I'll never be the same. Thirteen years and still in love - that's the way it oughtta be!"

"Yes, it is the way it should be. I'm sorry for your loss." I replied.

I wanted to turn to my unhappy, nonsmiling teller-friend and say, "See there, young lady!" But, I didn't...although I did think it! I sweetly smiled at my teller, took my receipt out of her hands, turned on my heel, and headed out the door.

Marriage is what you make it to be. It does require work and effort. Yet, it is a beautiful relational masterpiece when both people strive to make it that way. Reid and I have had our hard times. Difficult, trying, faith-building times. However, during those times we were always committed to each other.

I am thankful for my husband. I choose to look for the good in him - and it is always easy to find! I must choose to look for the "good" and not the "bad."

Many years ago, I made a conscious decision to never speak poorly of my husband in a group of people. I had sat in on many conversations with groups of women who found it easy to complain about their husbands' faults - every area, every situation, every personality trait, everything... I wanted no part of it. It made my stomach turn to hear how they talked about their husbands.

I know sometimes we need to turn to friends in confidence for wise counsel for healthy marriages. I believe that is needed, and sharing about difficulties in marriage need to have a safe place. (I had a conversation with a friend about this very thing yesterday when I returned home from the bank!)

Turning to a friend is very different than sharing with a group of people you may barely know. You are not broadcasting your husband's failures, your husband's faults, and your own unhappiness. You are seeking answers and help. You are not jumping on a bandwagon to make your husband out to be worse than someone else's. "Well, my life is harder than yours because my husband..."

Ladies, let's edify our husbands. They deserve it! They need it! It is a way to show respect to them even when they know nothing of it.

God sees. It is Him, I am made to honor and glorify with my life! Choosing to honor my husband is an opportunity to glorify God! I am thankful for the husband God has given me. Very thankful! I want to share that with others - God's goodness in my life!

So, whether I am at the bank, with a group of friends, or just with our boys, I will choose to build Reid up - not tear him down.

Yes, after nearly thirteen years of marriage, I am still in love...and still smiling! :)

"Therefore, we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him." 2 Cor. 5:9

Mason's NOT A Good Big Brother

Yesterday, Franklin and Braden were playing at a neighbor's house. Braden came back home, but he was alone. I was a bit surprised b/c I had specifically told Franklin that Braden was his responsibility.

So, I asked Braden if Franklin came home with him. Braden replied, "Franklin walked me home and then went back to play."

I was so pleased with the choice my fine son had made to really take care of his younger brother! I told Braden, "Franklin was being a good big brother wasn't he?"

Braden sweetly nodded his head.

Mason had heard this entire conversation from his seat on the couch. He turned to Braden and said, "Braden, am I a good big brother?"

Braden very forcefully made his point by stating loudly, "NO!"

"Why not?" I asked, concerned about what might be happening without my knowledge.

Braden truthfully answered, "Because Mason is always pulling my thumb out of my mouth!"

Now honestly, what is a big brother to do? Frankly, in my book that makes him a good big brother also! Braden, PLEASE stop sucking your thumb!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Braden Needs A Pan

After the boys played in the snow yesterday, Braden was so tired and whiny. While Braden was crying, Mason remarked, "Braden, you need a pan...spelled backwards!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I just received this greatly anticipated e-mail about five minutes ago. Here is what it said:

"Hi Mom and Dad, I hope you're doing fine. Just to let you know that my daywent well, I have passed my citizenship test as of today, but I did not get to do the ceremony part today due to the less number of people interviewed today. As a result of that, they have scheduled the ceremony to wednesday of march, 5th @ 1.00 pm. I would like to take this time to thank each and everyone for your prayers, support and encouragement, I have the wisdom that I need to pass this test due to your prayers. I hope and pray that the boys will feel much better so that they can effectively resume to their normal activities."

I'm so proud of you Mathiang. I can't believe it is official! YAHOO! WHOOPEE! I can not believe you are finally truly stepping into citizenship of the United States of America. We would love to come for the ceremony if possible! I am so thankful for your pursuit and faithful endurance to make this dream a reality for you.

It is hard to believe you stepped onto American soil eight years ago, and now you are becoming a citizen. Oh, I am so proud! I only wish I was there to give you a HUGE hug, and yell and scream because of all the excitement I feel for you! You have done it!

Stepping Into Art with our Cousins

When Margaret, Jane McKenzie and Ella came to Knoxville, we decided to spend the day in downtown Knoxville. We started at the Knoxville Museum of Art. I wasn't sure they would enjoy it, but surprisingly I think the kids all LOVED it. The museum has an area for children to do lots of things related to art. On the walls of this area are replicas of paintings in the museum. The children can dress up like the subject of the painting and "step into the picture." They had a good time doing this!

After posing in the painting, the kids sat down to draw at the drawing tables stationed around the room. They created some beautiful pictures for our walls at home. :) Margaret headed home with lots of rolled up butcher paper! :)

The Children's Area also had an ENORMOUS LIGHT BRIGHT! Everyone created cool things on the board. Jane McKenzie made a red and blue circle..."That's interesting" I thought. Then, Margaret remarked, "Wow! Jane McKenzie you did a great job making the Korean flag!" Obviously, my expertise is not with worldwide flags. Embarrassing! However, Franklin created a nice replica of our own American flag. :)

After the museum, we headed to a Knoxville restaurant that holds many happy memories and serves delicious food...Calhoun's on the River. The last time I was in this restaurant with Margaret was for our Rehearsal Dinner in 1995! (On our way to the museum we also passed the place where Reid and I had our wedding reception - The Foundry. It was a day full of history for me!) Margaret blessed our family and treated us to lunch! It was a terrific day exploring all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Knoxville! Can't wait to do it again soon! Ya'll come back now, ya hear?!?


As we enjoyed our day in downtown Knoxville, the kids posed for these fun shots! I LOVE this picture of them all together! standing inthe order of their births - they are really growing up!

Our boys LOVE Jane McKenzie and Ella! We always have such a great time together! What a blessing to be part of such a wonderful family! You guys ROCK! We love you!

Showing the Halls Kanoxville's Masterpiece

Margaret, Jane McKenzie, and Ella came for a visit a few weeks ago, and we really wanted to spend the day seeing significant sights in Knoxville. There are not many, but... ALL area tour guides know that if you are showing someone around Knoxville, there is one thing that is an ABSOLUTE MUST-SEE!

Knoxville's famous Sunsphere from the 1982 World's Fair. It is an ENORMOUS sky-scraper that reaches into the sky. I think it must be about 5 stories tall! (No, I am not kidding!) Some have said it resembles a "disco-ball in the sky." (Yes, I agree!)

After parking in a tow-away zone, I raced up the elevator to meet everyone at the top. (Actually, I inched up the elevator b/c it travels the speed of elevators from 1982! Yes, really!)

When I got to the top, Margaret was laughing hysterically. The entire perimeter of the Sunsphere is windows so you can see the skyline of Knoxville. However, none of the kids would leave the interior wall b/c you can feel the Sunsphere sway a bit as the wind blows. (Remember it was built in 1982!) The kids seemed scared to death that the big ball might topple over if their weight did not stay in the center! Too funny! Margaret and the girls got a little daring and let me snap a picture in front of the windows! You are SOOOOO BRAVE! (Sorry the picture is so dark!)

We laughed as we walked all the way around the top of the ball. I think the stroll took about 4 minutes! It was fun to travel to the top of the greatest sight in Knoxville with the Halls! Now they can tell all their friends about the cool disco ball in the sky!

Just to show you that I know the history of our great city, I should tell you that I traveled to the top of the Sunsphere the year it was built. Our family had Season Passes to the 1982 World's Fair. How neat to be doing something with my children that I did as a child!