Sunday, December 31, 2006

Snow in HK????

I couldn't believe my eyes as we walked to lunch today. It was a bit chilly today. I actually had long sleeves and a fleece jacket on. A bunch of us were going to my favourite dumpling place and as we were about to cross the street I looked to my left and low and behold... there was fluffy white stuff falling from above. Could it be? Was it so? Has the world gone crazy? Is the world ending? Many thoughts went thru my mind but my eyes lit up and I felt all warm and cozy inside.


(Mike always says I'm a drama queen so I tried to make this as dramatic as possible in words. LOL Unfortunately my eyes lit up because I had to smile at HK's effort in making it feel like winter. On the street corners (and I"m not sure why I didn't notice this before) of Whampoa there are Christmas decorations... it's a 'Doggy Christmas' decorations to be exact and hidden behind the dogs was a snow/bubble?/foam? not totally sure what it was... there was a machine blowing out white fluffy stuff. It was great and quite humorous too but I must say... they are creative and try their hardest to make it feel all wintery outside. Gotta love HK!)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Morning

Just some unedited fun photos of how we spent our Christmas morning. It was so wonderful to relax and be a family and to be able to skype with Grandpa/Grandma Rose and Uncle Juan, Aunt Nikki, Shay, Addison and Karly


0ur tree the night before--Izzy opening gifts-Dr. Rose




Hannah---Mike's surprise---(top) tired Izzy laying in her tent--(bottom) our budding artist



Mike finally got his Scrabble---Steeler Fan Izzy---Christmas over the web w/Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Nikki, Uncle Juan, Shay, Addison, and Karly


If you click on the photos they will enlarge for better detail.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Lesson Learned

We were very blessed the three years in Minnesota to be able to spend Christmas with our families. I think that's one of the reasons why Christmas here for the past 2yrs has been so odd. It's not the only reason... there's quite a difference in cultural attitude of the holiday, plus the heat, and some other random things but I think ultimately that's been the biggest reason why I simply could not get into the spirit of Christmas. Don't get me wrong... both years we've had fabulous Christmas' and I've enjoyed them immensely but I definitely struggled to get in the mood. And honestly, I couldn't put my finger on why.

That was until Christmas Day this year. (Better late than never I guess. LOL) I realized that I did all the typical Christmasy things here because I was desperately trying to make it feel like Christmas... not necessarily because I wanted to. Everything was always rushed because I hated being around so many people and I never took the time to enjoy the holiday season the way Hong Kong does... ultimately because it's not what I'm used to and it's not what I wanted. What a terrible attitude to have! How un-missionary like? How selfish!

Christmas is different here in HK... well duh (saying to myself) it's not the big holiday that it is in the states. Children don't get the same type or even amount of gifts (that you would expect in the states anyway), families are not together 24/7, cookies aren't always baked, the standard meal isn't ham, shops don't close, etc... you get the idea. But what's great is that Ocean Park makes snow, as does Disney and they light a huge tree, decorations and lights are every where, there's a Winterfest with the biggest tree ever-santa-nativity scene-wishing trees-etc, if you're lucky (like we were) there is some caroling, etc. There are some really neat things about Christmas in HK and the best is that Mike gets a few extra days off.

So despite the lacking of my Christmas spirit, we did make some of our own traditions this year and on Christmas Day, I vowed to let go of my wants/selfishness and take advantage of Christmas in Hong Kong. We may not live here forever and I want to be able to say... "Christmas in HK was incredible. We were able to do...."

One of the things I really wanted to do this year was forego presents and 'do' something special. But if you know me well enough, you'll know that I can't resist buying gifts for others so we limited our budget (for spacial reasons too) and decided to 'do' something special too. My original idea was go to Disneyland or Ocean Park but then reality hit and neither of us wanted to spend Christmas with a million of our closest friends. So we decided to go hiking.... but then the question of 'where' hit. Where do we go with a toddler who probably will want to walk at some point? So we decided (and this is really funny to me) to visit one of HK's tourist spots... the big buddha.

This trip involved (I like to write these out because it's fun for me to remember what it takes to get there) a cab to the ferry, the Star Ferry, the Lantau Ferry, and then a bus. Total time: about 1hr 15mintues. Not too bad and Isabella was wonderful! The only problem was the last bus ride... Lantau is pretty mountainous with curvy roads and well... my balance issues have returned. I was so sick by the time we actually got to the buddha. But thankfully is passed pretty quickly with fresh air. Yes... FRESH AIR!!! It was so nice!

We walked around the monestary and the temple. I was so saddened to see all the golden buddha's and people bowing down to them and burning incense. It was really quite overwhelming to see so many people (young and old) participating in this. Then we climbed the 268 steps to get an upclose view of the giant buddha. I have to be honest in that I wasn't totally impressed with the area. I don't know if it was ultimately because it was depressing to me or maybe I was still a bit sick... but it's not someplace that I'd desire to go to again. I am glad that I went though. It opened my eyes to how many people really do practice buddhism... I guess to me it was something I always heard about but never believed it really went on because I didn't see people praying/bowing/etc to him. Anyway....

The new cable cars were open so we walked over to the little village and Mike got this great photo of starbucks among this old chinese village (well made to look that way) with buddha in the background. It was really quite humorous to us.

And we never did get to hike. The bus took us straight to buddha (we thought it stopped somewhere else where we'd have a bit of a hike) and by the time we were about to leave it was getting dark and not a wise idea to hike where we planned to. But that was okay... we hopped back on the bus (didn't get nearly as sick this time), hopped on the Lantau ferry, star ferry and cabbed it home. We treated ourselves to Pizza Hut for dinner and enjoyed relaxing together. Who knew that night we'd experience our 2nd earthquake in HK?

It's a bit hard to see but there are multiple buddha's in this picture and everything is designed in gold.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Just a quickie...

For those of you who might be wondering where we've been.... there was an earthquake in Taiwan that knocked out 80% of telecommunications (aka... internet and actually the phone for a bit) in parts of Asia (including HK) for the past two days. (Here's kinda a weird part of this... I woke up in themiddle of the night because it sounded as though someone was trying to break into our window but I thought... that's just not possible... we live on the 10th floor... but I guess it turned out to be the earhtquake) But it seems as though things are back up and running... well I guess that's kinda obvious but anyway...

I also wanted to post a quick prayer request for my dear Izzy. She had an asthma attack last night that left us all up and exhausted today. But PLT we got her into the Dr and back on her meds. I was so disappointed to have to do this afterall she's been off of them since June but it's okay. I'd rather her be healthy. Just please say a quick prayer that she'll be able to rest well tonight and that her coughing will cease. Thanks so much!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Picked up an old book...

So I picked up an old book last week and the cover gets me every time. It states:

'God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be... JUST LIKE JESUS.'

This is such an amazing statement to me. To know that God loves me in all my faults, despite my sins, etc... but He loves me so much that He doesn't want me to continue in those sins or faults... He wants me to draw closer to Him, to become more like Him. It's so inspiring, so encouraging, so motivating... maybe I should scrap this and hang it on my wall. LOL

Just ponder that statement for awhile...

'GOD LOVES YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, BUT HE REFUSES TO LEAVE YOU THAT WAY. HE WANTS YOU TO BE---JUST LIKE JESUS"

I know I am and am praying that God will show me how I need to become more like Him.

Couch to 5K--Week 6/Day 3 and Biggest Loser Update

Wohoo! I made it. I survived my long run and you know what? It was GREAT! I changed up my music this time and listened solely to David Crowder. Their music is so powerful that even in the slow songs... I was motivated to push myself. And yeah... I dropped 3 minutes off my time (still with a few minutes of walking)!!! I was so excited.

10K here I come!


Biggest Loser Update~
I seem to be stuck at a 5lbs loss but the inches are still coming off! Wohoo! I'm at a total of 7inches lost since the end of October! Only a few more weeks left... and the numbers (of people anyway) have dwindled but it's so amazing to see how dedicated these ladies are to living a healthy lifestyle and their numbers show it. We have all sorts of losses from 5lbs to probably close to 30! WTG ladies!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Couldn't pass up a chance...

to show off the most beautiful girl alive! Isn't she just precious!


Baking Together

Well I just had the most enjoyable morning! I invited my new friend (Makiko and son Soda) and Mousumi (and Saytaki) over to bake some Christmas cookies. When I met Makiko, she told me how interested she was in learning how to cook American sweets so I thought what a better way to introduce them to her than making cookies!

When I called her yesterday to confirm her coming over... I was so nervous. Her English is limited and I still struggle with understanding English in so many accents. Anyway... we managed to get out the details straight and I began preparing for what to cook. Originally I wanted to do gingerbread houses but Ikea was out so I decided upon Sugar and the peanut butter with hershey kisses. I figured those were pretty standard American Christmas cookies.

So I spent the morning getting our flat somewhat organized (I don't understand how messy/unorganized it gets so quickly with so few people but anyway...) and then sat down and waited. I invited them to come at 10:30 and Makiko was right on time. Mousumi had to come a bit later but that was okay. It gave Makiko and I a little time to get to know each other a bit better. She loved our pictures hanging on the wall and we chatted about Christmas plans and her other children. She has got to be one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. Very gracious and friendly.

We had a great time baking and decorating our cookies and they took notes on everything. It was so fun for me and I really enjoyed getting to know them both better. I learned some interesting cultural things as well as a bit more about their families and Makiko and Mousumi seemed to really hit it off as well. (They hadn't met before today.) We talked about foods of our cultures and they kept asking me how to make this or that. At one point, Mousumi asked if we could do this regularly... even if we didn't always cook something. Uh... yeah! How fun!

I thought we would be done by about 12:30 (guess I should have been more realistic) but we were having fun chatting while Hannah so graciously watched the little ones for us. The only reason why Makiko left was because she had to pick up her son from Kindergarten. When I filled up her tin with cookies she was so excited. I don't honestly know (and I'm not saying this to be sarcastic) if they thought I was going to keep everything or what but they certainly didn't expect to take any home. She just kept repeating how happy her children (she has four total) would be to have these cookies. I gave her a tin and a plate of mine and told her that by giving her a plate would force us to have to get together again. :) She again was so happy and plans to teach me how to make sushi. Mousumi stayed for a bit longer and it was nice to chat a bit more indepth with her. She really wants the 6 of us (us and our hubbies/children) to get together again over Christmas which I think is sweet.

What a blessing this day was for me. I've mentioned this before but I'm always nervous getting together with people for the first time but today was just awesome. It's so cool to see how God is bringing people into my life and I pray that I can be a blessing to them as they are to me. Who knew Christmas cookies could bring people together? LOL

I just want to praise God for these friendships He has given to me over the past few months... and with how I met Makiko.... these are just really special Christmas gifts from the Lord.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Couch to 5K--Week 6

Yeah... so I guess I haven't been good at keeping track. We'll I'm on week 6 day 2 and still pushing. Today and Monday were easy.. but Friday's a long run so we'll see how I feel after that. LOL I did manage to up my time by a minute so I'm pretty excited about that. It's still longer than I want (32 minutes for 3.2miles) but I'm still walking about 9 minutes so it's all good.

I found two very powerful songs that motivate me no matter how much of a slump I fall into... a big THANKS to Mike for the awesome playlist that included these two songs. I loved them to begin with but they are just the perfect running songs!

So yeah... Mike made me these playlists but didn't really want to because he didn't know what would motivate me but I knew he'd 'do the right thing' (he he that was for you mike) and I was right. But out of the like 80 songs he put on there for me he put these two David Crowder Band songs that have not only motivated me to push myself when I get tired but they have me praising God and wanting to throw my arms up in the air and belt out the words. LOL

They are:

Here is our King

From wherever spring arrives
To heal the ground
From wherever searching comes the look itself
A trace of what we’re looking for
So be quiet now and wait

The ocean is growing
The tide is coming in
Here it is

(and here's where my pace picks up like you wouldn't believe...lol)
Here is our king, here is our love
Here is our God Who’s come
To bring us back to him
He is the one, he is Jesus, Jesus

And what was said to the rose
To make it unfold
Was said to me here in my chest
So be quiet now and rest

Majesty, finally
Majesty, finally here

Majesty, finally




And:

O Prise Him

Turn your ear
To Heaven and hear
The noise inside
The sound of angels
The sound of angel¡¯s songs
And all this for a King
We could join and sing
"All to Christ the King!"

How constant
How divine
This song of ours will rise
Oh, how constant
How divine
This love of ours will rise
Will rise...

CHORUS:
O praise Him!
O praise Him!
He is Holy!
He is Holy, yeah!

Turn your gaze
To Heaven and raise
A joyous noise
Oh, the sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a king
Angles join to sing
"All for Christ the King!"

CHORUS [2x]

Oh la la la la la...

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

How infininte and sweet
This love so rescuing
Oh how infinitely sweet
This great love that has redeemed
As one, we sing...

"Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!" [2x]

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

Oh, La la la la la la...

"Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!"

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

Oh I just LOVE these songs. So powerful! I could have a whole playlist of these two repeated over and over again and I would never get tired of them. I thought maybe YouTube would have the videos of these (because they are also incredibly powerful) so I could post a link but no luck so I'll just say this... if you can find them... watch them!

Now back to the couch to rest. hehe

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Need a pick me up?

Thought it was about time to resurrect this...

Just for Fun....

I was checking the weather today and we received this warning.... for all of you MN, OH, and PA readers... I thought you might enjoy it.

COLD WEATHER WARNING

THE COLD WEATHER WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE.

THE HONG KONG OBSERVATORY IS FORECASTING COLD WEATHER IN
HONG KONG DURING THE OVERNIGHT PERIOD AND TOMORROW MORNING.

AS HONG KONG IS BEING AFFECTED BY A COLD WINTER MONSOON,
PEOPLE ARE ADVISED TO PUT ON WARM CLOTHES AND TO AVOID
ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS DUE TO THE COLD WEATHER. YOU MUST
ALSO ENSURE ADEQUATE INDOOR VENTILATION.

(this made me laugh the hardest) IF YOU MUST GO OUT, PLEASE AVOID PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO
WINTRY WINDS.

A Different Kind of Baby

It really doesn't matter how long you've practiced (or not practiced), who was late (or didn't even show up), if lines are forgotten, if they are too shy to actually sing, whatever the case may be... as long as you dress children up in costumes, EVERYONE will enjoy and appreciate the children's program. Our Christmas program was no exception.

Our Christmas play was 'A Different Kind of Baby' and the focus of the play was that Jesus didn't come as the world expected Him too. He wasn't a fancy king dressed in robes and gold and riding on horses... He came as a baby and He was 'so very very very much more.' It was a simple drama with a powerful ending and the children did a fabulous job.

I heard many comments on how well they did but as I previously stated... how they all looked... specially the 2/3yr olds. They were dressed up as sheeps and were just absolutely adorable following our shepherd around the stage waving to their mums and dads.

But I'll also be honest and say that I'm glad it's over. This was a very new experience for me (organizing it) and it was challenging... especially when you don't have your own building. I learned A LOT about a lot (from culture differences, to personality differences, to organizing skills, etc) In fact, I'm going to list some of those lessons in hopes that if I am in charge again next year I can come back here to refresh my memory of things to or not to do.

To do (in no particular order)
1. Dress in the CC room before and return there afterwards
2. Make signs for EVERYTHING from stand up to exit
3. Find a way not to use hand held mics
4. Use motions for songs
5. Practice during SS if necessary
6. Set up CC room as best as possible like hall and do final run throughs for 2 weeks
7. Organize CC and Children's Choir so they flow together
8. Get more help--involved CC teachers
9. Don't expect children to arrive early that day
10. Relax and remember the parents will love it no matter what
11. Give someone else your camera so you can actually get some pictures... :( (I didn't get a single one)
12. Promote in bulletin earlier
13. Either plan or cancel (and announce) Children's Church
14. Overall.. just start earlier

And these are some great people to ask for help... Selana/Matthew (music), Ave/Howard/Map/Bill/Mark (drama), Brian/Sidney (photo/videography)

Now on to VBS. I want to start preparing now so that I have ALL of my ducks in a row before I need to even ask for help. LOL

And to top off the day we had our baptism service and 3 people were baptized! I couldn't belive it though because today was rather cold for Hong Kong and we baptize outside in a pool with freezing water and heaters next to the pool. I felt so bad for those ladies and pray they don't end up sick! LOL

Dover Alliance has their children's program this evening so I'm anxious to share stories with Mom and Dad tomorrow morning.

To summarize briefly what our program was about....

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
~Luke 2:11-14

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Santa?

My two sweethearts in front of a the Cheng's Christmas tree!
One of many attempts at Christmas photos. What a ham we have. Here she is pointing out her belly button.

I've been thinking a lot about this whole 'Santa' thing. We haven't done anything with Isabella well because she's simply too young to understand. In fact she's been playing with one of her Christmas gifts (the box anyway) for the past few days. (there's just no place to store anything) But I've been reading and hearing a lot about how different families incorporate Santa into their Christmas and it got me thinking about what Christians do. So I polled those living in our flat right now and surprisingly got three different answers:

1. Mike--Santa was just a fun idea of Christmas. The focus was more on Jesus' birth although Santa did bring the big gift of the day.
2. Hannah--Santa was of the devil. LOL Just kidding. The focus was definitely on Jesus' birth and they felt that Santa took away from this.
3. Me--Santa was real (well at least until I was about 8 or so...he he) and brought several gifts.

As fun as getting and giving gifts is on Christmas, I definitely want Isabella to grow up understanding the real meaning of this holiday. That's why we make a cake and sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus on Christmas morning and use the advent wreath and readings. But I also want her to enjoy the fun aspects of this holiday including a visit to see Santa or the fun of writing him letters of Christmas wishes. But I just don't think I want her to believe that he is real. I think we can have fun with this idea without taking away from Christ's birth but I would love to hear how you (or if you) incorporate Santa into your holiday without taking away the real meaning of the holiday.

Tomorrow's our Children's Christmas program and I'm both excited and nervous. We haven't had the greatest attendance at our practices so I'm praying everyone will arrive on time for our final run through and that it will go smoothly but you know what... I think any time you dress up little children and put them on stage it'll be cute and the parents will love it. LOL

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hijack Post--Dinner Guest

I had this really long post about a study that I'm a part of but that can wait. Tonight we had a guest over, a friend who has had a really difficult/challenging year and a half. We didn't invite them over to give us the details.. simply to get to know them better and have an enjoyable evening. But in our conversation one thing was shared that just blew me away. And it just wasn't the words that hit me... it was the attitude behind it. I was (and still am) in awe of the faith and trust in God that this person has despite what they've been through and it really challenged me to take a different perspective on the difficulties that I deal with.

They said, 'You know we all go through difficult times and I would have never chosen this to happen but if this had not happened I would have never learned the lessons I have learned over the past year. There's just no way I could imagine that I would have learned these lessons outside of this situation.' And they were grateful for these lessons.

It made me think about how I view challenging situations, how I tend to whine and gripe about them, think nobody else has dealt with something like this, think they're so much worse than what anyone else has to deal with... But in reality, I'm blessed to not have had any serious/major challenges to deal with and the mere things I view as challenging are really little incidents that eventually get dealt with and in some cases could have been prevented by myself to begin with. Perspecitive right? I can get all down and play the 'victim' but what does that ultimately do? Nothing. So why not take the opportunity to learn a lesson and grow for the better? They really challenged me to LOOK for opportunities to grow and learn instead of whine and gripe even in the little challenges and to be grateful that I haven't had any major issues to deal with.

I hope I'm making sense. I know exactly what I want to say but the words are not coming out smoothly. LOL I guess they just helped me to realize that there will be things that God wants us to learn and sometimes the only way for us to learn these lessons is through a challenge/difficult time... (it doesn't always have to be a major incident but those do occur as well) so in all situations I need to be sensitive to God and what He is trying to teach me instead of getting the 'poor me' syndrome. Not only will I gain a better attitude and handle these things easier (well that's the idea anyway...lol) but I won't bring others down and drive people nuts by my complaining.

So anyway... I'm just very thankful for our guest this evening. In the sharing of their heart... they touched another.

5K Training--Wk 5 Day 2

I decided that I'm going to keep track of my training progress online so I don't lose the info. :)

So I don't know what my problem was today but I struggled big time. I got all the running in but I had to make an extra stop to walk. :( I struggled to get my breathing under control and I was so incredibly hot the entire time. And the only extra I did was a few more minutes of walking. I did manage to get in some strength training too but I just didn't feel right. And as I walked home I thought I was going to puke. But now that I've rested a few minutes... I'm starting to feel better so maybe it was just a bad running day. Whatever it was... I think I need to repeat this day before moving on to Day 3 (running 20 minutes straight.)

Random exercise note...
I'm always embarassed after running at the gym because I feel like I'm the only person who sweats. When I'm done my back is wet, my face is red, etc but I never notice anyone else like that. LOL

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A few more Random updates

Well... we are in week 8 of The Biggest Loser Challenge and I was so excited to report yet another pound lost on Monday! Wohoo! That makes a total of 5lbs.. yeah I had a couple of stale weeks but what makes those weeks tolerable is that I also measured myself again and I've lost an additional 3 inches, making a total loss of 5.5 inches! This challenge has been so good for me. I have definitely gained self-control in my eating habits, am choosing healthier foods and drinks and feeling really strong.

I'm also so thankful to Shelly who challenged us to run a 5K and for Laurie who is now my running partner. I'm on week 5 and my knee is feeling great. My pace is picking up and with about 12 minutes of walking... my total time for a 5K has been 33 minutes. (I'm still doing intervals in the training) So I'm pretty excited to see what my time will be when I'm running non-stop. I'm not going to run a 5K though.. I'm running a 10K for the Standard Charter race in March. I can't believe I'm really going to do it but I'm really excited and energized about it. And now that Mike has so graciously made me a running playlist on his iPod, the time goes by so quickly and I'm finally able to listen to some music that doesn't include veggie tales or twinkle twinkle little star. LOL


And as I mentioned two posts ago... Izzy had her Little Gym class today and I was SOO proud of her. She participated in EVERYTHING and barely ran off on her own. She loved lifting and climbing under the parachute and she followed Miss Amy around to catch bubbles on her toes. She even eagerly helped clean up the balls and put her bells away. It's just so neat to see her be comfortable within the group, to try new things, and to follow directions.... and this is only the 3rd class. I definitely think we will be signing her up again for the winter/spring semester. And I'm enjoying the fellow moms I'm meeting. I desperately want to take some pictures but I'll have to wait until Mike can come too. Maybe the week of Christmas.

A little bored?

It's all Mike's fault! Well actually David Crowder's fault but I must admit that it's fun to try and try and well try again. So if you have some free time and your maybe a bit bored... check out Linerider


I've already shared about my morning but I was blessed again this afternoon. Auntie Dorie came to play with Isabella while I finished my Christmas shopping. The first thing she said to me was... 'Will Isabella be okay when you leave?' I said, 'She should be but she may cry for the first few minutes.' But boy was I wrong. Isabella was so excited to see her at the door and immediately began showing her all of her toys, videos, etc.. and apparantly Izzy kept her busy all night. LOL

What a blessing to be able to go out by myself and get some things done. Dorie said that as long as I was back by around 10ish (talk about being generous..she arrived at 5:30) that would be okay so I decided to take a little time to just walk around and enjoy the largest mall in HK. Up by CitySuper there are some really cute shops so I decided to walk around there and low and behold... Auntie Anne's was back! I think (well that's the only time I've seen them) they only come at Christmas time and I had totally forgotten about it so for dinner I had a pretzel and some fresh squeezed lemonade. Yumm! Then I hit Toys R' Us and the bookstore for some shopping. I had my shopping items planned out but once I got in the store it all went out the window so I spent way more time looking around than I anticipated. Oh well... I am very pleased with Isabella's gifts and I hope she will enjoy them as well.

Yeah... I had more to write by it's all escaped me so.... Have a great day!

So cool!

Today started out rough... I did NOT want to get up and am VERY thankful to Mike for getting up with Izzy this morning. I had planned to run but I pushed myself a bit too hard yesterday and my knee was hurting so I didn't want to push again today and when Izzy started to cry after 7 I just didn't want to move.

Anyway... we got dressed and hopped on 8P for our trip to the 'Little Gym.' In line we met a little boy and his mom and on the bus we all sat together in the back seat. We exchanged some basics (ages of kids, names, etc) and then she asked me if I take Isabella to the playground. She said that she goes but there are never any children Soda's (her 2yr old son) age and she's been disappointed. I told her that I go around 10am and that there are usually a few children approx Izzy's age and even if they're not she chases them anyways.

And then the conversation paused and I felt a gentle nudging of... 'Get her number, offer to go to the park with her.' But I'm SOOO terrible at phone contact. I HATE IT! I would rather email, talk to you in person, just not on the phone.... and I hate to be the one to call. But again I felt, 'Grow up... step out of your comfort zone.' And so I asked her, 'Would you like to give me your number and I'll call you when I go to the playground?' The joy on her face was such a blessing to me and so worth the simple question. She thanked me over and over that I would be willing to do that and so she quickly gave me her name and number.

Then we proceeded to talk about a few other basics (where you from, how long have you been here, etc...) and out came the question, 'Do you like Japanese food?' Now I haven't really had a lot of it but what I've had (other than sushi) I've enjoyed and that's what I shared. She then proceeded to tell me how much she loves American sweets and really wants to learn to cook them... so out of nowhere I say, 'Well, you'll just have to come over and we'll bake Christmas cookies.' I couldn't believe that came out of my mouth. I'm SO not this outgoing the first time I meet someone but it just seemed so right. And again, she was so excited that I offered this so she said, 'That would be wonderful. We could have an exchange... I'll teach you how to cook Japanese food if you'll teach me to cook American sweets.'

So in a period of about 7 minutes, I made a new friend. Thanks God! What a special and very sweet blessing. Guess I better get some cookie recipes!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Party Pictures








I'm not really in the mood to write much right now so I decided to post some pictures from our Men for God Christmas Party. They're pretty dark but we were on the roof of this flat overlooking HK. It was gorgeous!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Random Updates


Opening her first Christmas present at our Christmas banquet.

So at our Christmas Banquet a lady read the Christmas story while some children acted it out. At the end we had a birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday' to Jesus a tradition that we Rose's do at home on Christmas morning. Anyway... the church gave out gifts to all the children and this is when I discovered that we are going to have one fun Christmas morning! Isabella and I walked up to get her gift and when we got back to our table she sat on the floor and ripped off the paper. She then immediately gave me the box to open and when I handed her the little doll she hugged and kissed it. She is just a sweetie! She didn't hesitate for a second and it was so fun to watch. I can't wait to see the joy on her face Christmas morning but I guess that means I can't put the gifts under the tree too soon.

Last week I took Isabella for a free trial class at the Little Gym. I was a bit nervous about this because at our last free trail she couldn't sit still for a second and the circle time was a nightmere for me. But I was reassured by the teacher that it's okay if she doesn't sit still. In fact, they encouraged me to just let her roam around. They told me to get involved in the activities and eventually if she saw how much fun I was having, she would come back. I wasn't convinced but during circle time at the end of class she would run off then come back. Isabella had a blast trying all the equipment and just loved the balance beam. One of the instructors even commented on how impressed they were with her beam skills. LOL I loved the enviroment and I loved the teachers so Mike and I made a sacrifice (used some of our Christmas money... lol) and signed her up for the last 6 weeks of the semester. I think this will be really good for her in so many ways. To run off some energy, to socialize with children her age, and maybe even learn a bit more on how to listen and sit still. :) Hey, a mom can hope right? After the class we had lunch and walked around the TST promenade for a bit and then headed home. Her classes will be on Wed mornings and I'm really excited about the 'Mommy and Izzy' time. Plus if she naps like she did that day, I'll always appreciate 3hrs to myself. LOL

Well.. since this is an Izzy post I'll just add a few more things. Her vocubulary has extended to 'uh-oh' and 'quack.' LOL It's so fun to throw out animal names and watch her figure out what sound goes with them. She may not be able to say much but she sure knows her animals. :) She has become addicted to blueberries and cheese but will only eat them if I put them in her special bowl. Her addiction to Maisy the mouse is a bit crazy so I've been trying to get her outside as much as possible. She could watch this cantonese video all day long if I let her. It's so funny to me because it's such a basic cartoon but oh well... we pray it is helping her learn catonese. lol

Okay... it's late and I need to get up and run in the morning before our crazy day. We have a make-up class at 11:30 and then our Christmas party in the evening. Should be fun!

Angels are Dancing!!!

I just have to Priase the Lord for His miraculous works! I feel like I should go into a lot of detail but I just want to shout out the news! My dear friend Adelina and her mother both accepted Christ into their lives this past Sunday! I can't even begin to express my joy because I know how much joy, peace, purpose this decision brings to a person's life and I'm thrilled to be able to share in this with them. They were not the only ones to receive Christ that night so can you imagine the party that went on in Heaven!!!!

Now that I've got that off my chest I want to share something else that was on my heart on Monday morning. You see, I didn't know they accepted Christ until Tuesday afternoon. We had our Christmas Banquet on Sunday night and Pastor Ed shared a little about becoming a part of the family of God and asked for people to fill out a little card if they had asked Jesus to enter their lives. Adelina and her mom replied yes and Mike called from the office with such joy in his voice to let me know. But until that moment, I was questioning something.

I've always been a big believer of relationship evangelism. This meaning that I develop relationships with people because I love them and want to get to know them better and through our relationship, I share about my faith. For me, it's never a one time deal and I don't walk away from them if they're not interested. This is what caused me to become a Christ-follower and I believe that this is how God's gifted me. I've also realized how sensitive I become to non-Christians and pushing my faith on them. I can remember people pushing not so much the relationship with Christ but rather attending church, etc... and it pushed me away from God rather than drawing me closer so I'm always a bit nervous about what I say and how I say it so that I'm not turning anyone away from God.

So anyway... Pastor Ed shared his message and in it he stated something like, 'God is drawing you to Himself. Whether it's by the friends who invited you here, or etc....' and I panicked. Not because I don't believe in what he said but because I didn't want my friends to think the only reason I brought them to this dinner was to get them to accept Christ or attend church. I love them, no matter what religion, and although I would love for them to experience a life with Christ, that's not the only reason I spend time with them. And I really wanted them to know that and I wanted them to see that church isn't a bad, unenjoyable thing. Sometimes 'church' gets such a bad rap and it's important to me that people understand church is not what it's often made out to be.

And I digress....

So Monday morning came and Hannah and I took Isabella to Victoria Park and I decided to pick her brain. I started questioning whether or not it's necessary (not sure if that's the appropriate word... I can't seem to think of a better one) to present the gospel at all church functions. Do we feel that as Christians or even Staff at a church that we need to present the gospel because we have a captive audience and if so is that right? Do Pastor's ever feel pressured into sharing the gospel in situations like this and it become an unnatural thing?

I'm still dwelling over this. I started thinking about this because Mousumi and Pardo came to mind. They are not believers, don't really attend church anywhere, and will tell you they are not religious. I didn't want them to feel pushed into church or christianity and as I said before, I didn't want them to feel that was the only reason I invited them. I wanted them to see that church can be fun, that there are some great people within our church, etc... I started thinking, 'Is there ever a time where we should allow people to see church as fun, relaxed, and godly without presenting the gospel?"

Like I said, I'm still dwelling over this because I don't know how I feel. My first response on Monday was... yes. People need to see that we are not pushing people into Christianity. Most expect churches to do that so why not show them we can love them and have an enjoyable time without pushing God on them. But then Tuesday came and Mike shared this amazing news of Adelina and Wanda (and several others) and I second guessed myself. Why would it be a bad thing if people are coming to Christ? And if non-Christians came they would probably expect a gospel presentation so if they were totally against hearing one... they don't have to accept the invite.

So my conclusion is this..... ??? I'm still thinking. I guess my biggest fear is that it's not a God thing. I would hate to see someone feel pressured into sharing the gospel because they have a captive audience and turn people away because it wasn't God's timing. But is there really ever a 'wrong time' for sharing the gospel? Ai yi yi

Anyone have thoughts?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ho ma fan

I just found 15 comments that didn't get posted because I had some weird settings. Most of these comments were from last May!!! And Mom Rose... your's was one of them! LOL I can't believe it but it was so fun to read all the comments about Isabella's birthday pics and Mrs. Miles... if you still read this I'm off to check out your blog! I wasn't ignoring you at all.. just had no idea you posted. :) Too funny.

Anyway...
We're all sick here in the Rose household. Mike's feeling a bit better but this bronchitis just doesn't want to go away. Isabella started to get sick on Sunday and it hit full-fledged on Tuesday but she's in good spirits... just coughing a bit. I'm not too terribly bad but the sore throat and stuffiness has taken my energy. So we haven't done much of anything exciting for the last few days. This Saturday is our Men for God Christmas party and I'm really looking forward to that but hoping we all feel pretty good by then.

It's so hard to believe it's the Christmas season... I mean HK is decorated like crazy but the warmth just steals the mood. So I've been blaring the Christmas music and wearing any long sleeves or pants when I can... even if it causes me to sweat just a bit. LOL I haven't even begun Christmas shopping because there's absolutely no where to store it but I'm making lists and hoping to get some things next week. I'm waiting for Hannah to move back in with us (temporarily) to make Christmas cookies and our TV finally came back so now we can watch some Christmas Movies. Wohoo.....

Well... off to bed in hopes that I will feel better in the morning. Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Darn Internet!

Izzy decorating the tree.
Daniel handing Mike his birthday gift from the youthgroup. These guys are just too fun to watch!

We've been having such internet issues over the past month and a half and it's been incredibly frustrating. I hate not having regular connection between friends and family but I'll be thankful that this morning it's working pretty well. So I will share one of the about 6 blog posts I've typed up in TextEdit and maybe a picture. LOL

I'll begin with yet another cool story that we've experienced over the past few weeks on how AWESOME our God truly is and how He does hear our prayers.

On Tuesday I got a phone call from Mousumi asking us to meet her at the playroom. I have to be honest, I didn't really want to go. It had nothing to do with them, I've just been very exhausted this week and just didn't feel like doing anything. But it's been awhile since I've seen her so I decided to go. Praise the Lord that I did! We discussed quite a few random things and then I decided to ask her about their Christmas traditions. She proceeded to tell me that when she was in University, there were some Missionaries who used to put on what I'm assuming (based on how she described it) a dinner/banquet in which they told the story of Jesus' birth and had a birthday cake to celebrate. She kept talking about this cake and how much she missed it and then she shared how she missed having those Christmas traditions a part of her life. She said her parents were too rigid to allow them but that the first Christmas without them, both she and her husband missed this 'Christmas Cake.' Now I don't honestly know what she meant by missing this Christmas cake. Was it the actual cake or hearing the Christmas story? I'm not sure but I took advantage of this opportunity.

I invited her family to our Christmas banquet this Sunday night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but I honestly thought they would not be interested in 'Christmas' after past comments. But she never answered. I had to let Dorie know by Wed morning and it was now Tuesday night about 8:30pm and I had heard nothing. While at my Love and Respect Bible study, I asked for prayer for this family. I asked that God would give me wisdom on how to meet this 'Christmas Cake' desire. We prayed and then I walked home.

About 2 minutes after walking inside, I received a text from her. Yes, they would like to join our Christmas banquet!!!! What an answer to prayer and what's so cool is knowing that we had literally just prayed for this. How awesome is that!

So Mousumi, Pardo, and Saytaki will join Adelina, Nick, Kayla, Adelina's Mom and Mike and I for our Christmas banquet at church where not only will they have a great dinner and some fun games, they'll get to hear the wonderful story of Christ's birth. How exciting!

At another time I'll have to share how wonderful the evening was.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Something else...

Like I've said in previous posts... there has been a lot of things that have happened so posts for the next few days may be totally random. That being said...

I joined a challenge about 4 weeks ago. It's called 'The Biggest Loser--Digi Style.' It's very similar to the tv show in that our goal is to lose the most weight possible with challenges along the way. My first motive to join this challenge was to lose about 10 lbs. I reached my original goal last Feb but then really slacked in my eating habits and put a few of those pounds back on which is another reason why I joined. I wanted to learn how to eat healthier for the rest of my life... not just for a season.

And I must say this challenge has been amazing for me! I have developed so much self control in my eating habits, an even deeper love and appreciation for exercise, and a desire to push myself into trying something new and working harder. The ladies that are a part of this group are amazing... so friendly, so informative, so encouraging and they give me a push when I need it. It's so great!

I'm proud to report that on our 3rd weigh-in I was down 3lbs which is a healthy way to lose (1 to 2lbs a week) but more importantly (for me anyway... I have to keep working to lose weight for my team but I'm more interested in this) I've lost 2.5 inches! I feel so great, so energized. Yes mornings are still not my friend but it's SO much easier to get up these days, my skin looks healthier, I don't feel guilty about what I eat or eating to much, I rarely feel 'gross' (yes I still have my bad days... lol) and I feel so strong and more confident. It's amazing what taking care of your body will do for you! I haven't gone on any 'diet,' I've just learned portion control and what's high/low in calories.

I'm thrilled at the success I've had so far and so proud of my team (we were the lead 'Losers' and exercise challenge winners this week) and excited that I know I can raise Isabella to lead a healthy lifestyle.

On top of this challenge... one of the ladies decided she was going to start the Couch to 5K running program with a goal to run a 5K sometime next year and invited anyone to join her. I've ALWAYS wanted to run a marathon and it was my goal this year to prepare for the HK Marathon in March but as I began my training my knees couldn't handle it and I gave up. But I am determined (because I don't think there's anything really wrong with my knees, just runners knee, which can be dealt with on my own) to run a marathon before I die so I decided to take her up on her challenge. I know that I can run 5K but I want to be able to run again that same week so I'm hoping that maybe this slower approach will allow me to strengthen my knees and get me running on a regular basis. This is an 8 week program but I'm praying that at the 4 week mark, I can step it up and prepare for a 10K that is a part of the Hong Kong Marathon. (side note... Mike is going to train for the 1/2 marathon so it'd be awesome to at least be running at the same time for part of it) I'm happy to report that I was successful in completing the training for day one with no issues (praying that I don't feel it tomorrow... lol) and am axious for my next day.

I've just been really amazed at how watching what I eat and exercising regularly has really increased my energy level, changed my attitude, given me confidence, etc... you always read about how this (proper diet and exercise) can make you feel better but it's hard to belive it when it requires such effort. But anyway...

GO RED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE

As one of the youth put it.... 'Enjoy your last year of youth!' Yes... Mike turned 29 today and Isabella wanted him to know what she loves about him so she wrote up this list and painted a picture to go with it.

The top 29 reasons why I LOVE my Daddy!

1 He makes me smile
2 He teaches me what is right and wrong
3 He prays with me
4 He reads to me
5 He takes me to the park
6 He lets me play with his phone
7 He takes me on walks
8 He buys me cool toys
9 He loves me enough to discipline me
10 He makes me giggle really loudly
11 He snuggles with me
12 He carries me when I want to be carried
13 He gives great hugs
14 He lets me play with his shoes
15 He loves my friends
16 He helps me brush my teeth
17 He changes my dirty diapers
18 He helps me get ready for bed
19 He plays football with me
20 He teaches me new words
21 He picks me up and gives kisses and hugs when I've fallen down
22 He encourages me to try new things
23 He's not afraid to let me explore
24 He pushes me high on the swings
25 He laughs with me
26 He spends time talking with and listening to me
27 He teaches me about God
28 He misses me when he's away from me
29 He loves God and it shows in all he does


My daddy is the best! I love him with all of my heart, my mind, my soul and my strength and will always love and respect him for who God has created him to be.

Have the HAPPIEST of Birthdays!


Speaking of Izzy... she's still not feeling well so I think it's off to the Dr's tomorrow. I'm really struggling to figure out if it's just her growing and getting teeth or if she's sick. She has no other symptoms other than a fever but since this is day 2, I better have her checked.


On to our day...
We partially celebrated Mike's birthday... we'll top it off with some hiking in a few days but our babysitter is in Thailand right now so it had to wait. :) I made blueberry muffins and got some apple juice (doesn't sound like much but he really likes it and these are more expensive items here in HK so it's always a treat) and had breakfast waiting for him to wake up.

We were blessed with the chance to Skype with Mom and Dad Rose and talk over the phone with Nikki and Juan. Skype is a wonderful thing and it was so fun to actually 'see' Mom and Dad. Must admit though... does make you a little homesick.

After that we all got dressed and took a walk to get some lights for our tree and ended up eating lunch at the outdoor restaurant at the hotel right next to us. Their food is just fabulous and the atmosphere can't be beat looking out over the harbour. It was especially nice today as there was a breeze and it was cooler outside.

We came home and Mike and Isabella took nap while I ran to the gym. By the time I got back and they woke up... it was almost time to meet Dan and Geeta for dinner. We went to our Malaysian restaurant and yum yum yum... good as always and then we hit Krispy Kreme for dessert or his special 'cake.'

I really enjoyed the day and I hope Mike did as well. I just really wanted him to know how much he is loved and it was an added blessing to have Dan and Geeta be able to join in on the celebration.

Two little fun things that happened (not related to Mike's birthday) were that Mike figured out how to play VCD's on my computer so that Isabella can watch her Cantonese Maisy the Mouse video. This is a huge blessing to me so that I can actually shower or do dishes. And Mike figured out how to watch American tv on his computer so that he was able to watch the OSU game (WOHOO GO OSU!) and if we can time it right we could watch anything else that's on. It's just nice to know that it's available.

So anyway... that was our day. It was great... loved the family time, loved being with friends, loved watching my daughter run around the Christmas decorations in the mall and then stopping to pose for a picture. Just a great day all around. Hope yours is the same!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Craziness

What another crazy Sunday morning. At least at this point, I've come to expect it and don't get upset or too stressed when things don't go as planned. I was so proud of myself... last night I had everything ready to go, just needed to grab it and go. I even made a list of things that needed to be done in the morning (as far as set-ups go) so that I would have something to cross off and say at the end... 'I'm totally ready.' But obviously... things didn't go as planned and I found myself running around to find people, make copies... and though it wasn't too big of deal (things always have a working themselves out) I did miss the smile on Mike's face when he walked into Sunday School and realized we were celebrating his birthday. But I'm lucky enough to see his beautiful smile any day of the week so I guess I can't complain too much.

So yeah... Mike turns the big 29 tomorrow and we felt it was only right to let him know how much we all appreciate him and his ministry. Hannah made a delicious cake, David and I brought some snacks, and we played some get to know you games. The kids even went together to get him an iTunes gift card to go with last years gift. I know he'll be going nuts over trying to decide which songs to download. We wanted him to know how special he is to all of us and that he is making an impact on all of our lives whether we realize it or not. Ministry is hard because we often don't see immediate (or sometimes we never) see the results because teenagers don't tend to even notice or understand the influence or impact that someone has on their lives until they are much older. (Just ask Mel and Sue from my youthgroup days) And sometimes as an outsider, I can see things that Mike can't and I just really wanted him to know his ministry is appreciated.

Mike was invited to watch some golf so Hannah, Becky and I had dumplings at my favourite restaurant. This sounds awful but I was blessed to have a very peaceful meal because my dear sweety, Isabella, wasn't feeling the greatest and slept through the meal. Turns out she had a fever and slept most of the afternoon (yet another blessing because I joined her). I'm not sure if it's the molars coming in or what but I gave her some meds and after her nap she did have a bit more energy. I decided to wait and see how she is doing in the morning before taking her to the Dr's. They seem to just load her up on meds everytime we go and sometimes it just drives me bonkers.

Another little treat we received today.... Pastor Ed and Sharon were blessed by a family in the church offering to supply them with a full Thanksgiving meal and so they invited us to join them. How lucky are we to have 2 meals? It's a really neat story of how God works and I'm really looking forward to the fellowship.

Our children's Christmas Program is in the works and I'm so excited about it. It includes some drama and singing and today I had the opportunity to work with the actors. Let me just tell you... I had a blast and really enjoyed the chance to get to know these children a bit better. I feel I will have a better idea on how to organize Children's Church once I understand the children better so I'm blessed to be able to be a part of this Christmas Program. I managed to convince 3 boys to act and my Angels all knew their lines. Next week we really focus on the drama and I'm really looking forward to watching the children shine as they share the story of Christ's birth.

REWIND:
I never fully shared about my week while Mike was in the states so I'm briefly going to write about our Costume Party. I am so glad that it worked out. Everyone that I expected was able to come... Adelina and Kayla, Mousumi and Saytaki, Lisa an Sophia, and Isabella and I. It was the first time that all of us got together and the first time I was able to meet Lisa. We hit it off easily and were blessed to have Adelina's helper (Artelina... too funny that they rhyme) watch the children so we could chat. Lisa is from the states and moved to HK about the same time as us so it was fun to talk about what we've learned by moving here, what we miss, how to adjust, etc... We all talked about getting together again, taking the children to the big library, so I guess I need to get working on the organization again. Seems like I'll be the co-ordinator of this stuff which is totally fine for me. Just gotta do something before Adelina returns to Canada for Christmas.

The children loved all the candy they got and it was so cute to see them all dressed up in costumes. Izzy was a puppy, Saytaki was Spiderman, Kayla was a cat and Sophia an angel. Unfortunately, Sophia (who is just a few months older than Izzy) slept through the party but I've been told she's just as active as Isabella so I must get those two girls together to play.

Well... it's late and we have a fun day planned for tomorrow. Decorating the tree and dinner at our Malayasian restaurant plus a special dessert treat for Mike. :)

Hope your Sunday is as special as ours was!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

the HOLIDAYS are HERE

Gosh.... I've been wanting to blog for forever now but haven't made it a priority and now I'm so far behind. There have been some amazing, amazingly challenging, sweet, exciting things that have happened over the past few weeks that I hope I don't forget them all while writing. I'm going to start with a simple post about yesterday and today and just work my way backwards over the next few days.

Last night was our annual Youthgroup Thanksgiving and it was wonderful! I really geared myself up for this being actual 'Thanksgiving' because Mike will be working the day of and we have no plans for a turkey dinner on Thursday. I do hope to find some cranberries, figure out how to make my moms stuffing without a turkey and enjoy some of the basics but anyway... We had a great turnout and it was so fun to be in the home of the Enns' just relaxing, watching movies, jumping on the trampoline, chit chatting with everyone. The Enns have been so welcoming to the youthgroup and their home is just perfect for all of us to get together that we are just so thankful for them. Lori made a delicious turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie and the youth brought the extras and how could I forget the amazing mashed potatoes that my dear hubby made. I haven't had those since last Thanksgiving! It wasn't quite what Americans have to eat... no green bean cassarole (thank goodness) or sweet potatoes (and we didn't eat all day long and watch football) but it was still a party in my mouth and I savored the sweet taste and smells of fall. (Since it's still by no means fall here... well maybe a little.. I don't sweat the second I walk outside. LOL)

We made the students share why they were thankful and it was neat to hear all they had to say. I was really blessed to hear some of the students say, 'I'm so thankful that we have a youth pastor... a really cool youth pastor.' Mike sure is a great guy and I agree that they are blessed to have him in their life.

But what was fun to realize today was that I geared myself up so much that I was totally ready to decorate for Christmas today. For as long as I can remember, we've always decorated the Friday (or at least that weekend) after Thanksgiving so today just felt like that Friday. Mike and I decided to invest in a small tree (last year we used our little 2ft tree) and it fits perfectly in our flat. It's not decorated yet but it is up and screaming for some lovin. It was a blessing because all last week while Mike was gone I was hunting for trees and the cheapest I could find was 1499 HK dollars... not what I wanted to pay. Today Mike found a great deal on a nice tree that folds up small enough to fit under our bed. And we were able to get the tree and some ornaments for less than what we intended to pay for the tree itself. It was such a bummer to have to sell all of the awesome Christmas decorations that we had before moving but I must admit it was fun to pick out some new things and go with a whole new look for a tree. We picked out some very pretty gold (yeah.. I can't belive it myself who would have ever thought I would have gold in my place? lol) and red (of course my favourite) bulbs as well as some ribbons and a big ribbon/bow for our tree top. Now... to find a few minutes when all of us are at home to put it all together. Maybe on Monday... but I can't wait. I was getting so blue about it not feeling like the holidays and this little blessing of a tree just made my day. Thanks God!

Oh and we let Izzy pick out her first ornament and of course she picked the noisy snowman made out of a bell.

Funny story because I don't want to forget this... We ran to P&S this morning to pick up some groceries and toilet paper. Toilet paper here is wrapped in plastic with a handle so you don't need an extra bag to carry it. Anyway... Mike and I had bags we were carrying and Isabella decided she wanted to help too so she grabbed the toilet paper and walked probably 1/2 of the way home with it. Everyone just stopped and smiled at her. We tried to take it away and she would just scream. Then she tried to carry the tree but obviously it was too heavy so Daddy bent over and they both carried it. If only I had my camera.

One more thing I don't want to forget... Isabella is becoming quite famous here. LOL We walked out of P&S which is at the total opposite end of our complex and a man stopped and said, 'Well hello Isabella.' Crazy... I didn't even recognize him but he obviously met her before and remembered her name. Then later tonight we walked outside to the park and the real estate agents (they kinda line the streets here) yelled, 'Isabella.. Isabella.' I couldn't believe they remembered her name. But who could forget a precious little girl like her? :)

Okay... we're rehearing for our Christmas program tomorrow so I better rest up and prepare myself for crazy morning.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

For me...

I want to make sure I get this past week down in writing so I'm going to make a time-line and come back to edit the cool things that happened.

Tuesday--Mike leaves for CA, Costume Party at the Park
Wednesday--Playroom with Saytaki, Park
Thursday--Hannah comes over... can't remember what else
Friday--Kowloon Walled City Park and Market
Saturday--the insanity begins... Toys R Us, walk home from TST
Sunday--Church, Lunch with Hannah
Monday--Exploring Hung Hom with Hannah, Dinner with Hannah and Geeta
Tuesday--Dinner with Adelina, her Mom, and Kayla, tv breaks
Wednesday--Izzy falls three times, big goose-egg on head, I lose it (lol), Daddy comes home
Thursday--Lock myself out of the flat, Dr's appt's,

Okay... that's my week in a nut shell... I'll be back to edit later.

First rats, then snakes.... and all about love

Our purity retreat was over a week ago now... actually two weekends ago but I'm just now getting the chance to write out some thoughts. It was a great retreat. I enjoyed myself so much more this year but I think that's partly due to being more comfortable here (we'd only been here about 2 months last year), I'm more comfortable with the students, Isabella seemed easier to care for and the camp was just fabulous... didn't have to worry about any 2inch roaches!

Anyway... as for the conference itself I was really impressed with this year. Not that I didn't like last year but I felt it was more focused on thinking and discussion rather than teaching and I noticed a difference in the involvement of the students... well at least the girls. At each session they opened up, shared their hearts, their questions, their frustrations and took time to really think about what was being said. They often repeated some common phrases (like Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) or were being silly about how they would treat a guy (oh just punch him) but we stopped them and made them think about how serious the stuff we were talking about was and it was neat to watch thier faces and hear the tones in their voices change as they understood our hearts and that we were only trying to help.

We discussed things such as how to treat men right, finding our significance in Christ alone, and the famous session... dating. It wouldn't be right of me to go into the things these girls shared or even the more specifics of what we taught but I was amazed all weekend to hear the girls talking about what they were learning and to see the lights go off as they finally understood something.

I have to admit though... the best session was the 'Swap' where Mike and Tim joined us ladies for a time of question/answer. These guys were halarious but very truthful and I think the girls' eyes were opened up to some very interesting male perspectives. As always a big discussion was based on clothing and how a Godly girl should dress. This is always a touchy subject for girls but it was unbelievable to hear from the guys perspective and I think the girls began to understand why we shouldn't wear certain things.

There was a comment after the conference that struck me big time and is something that I will always carry with me (personally and for future 'clothing' discussions) was that if a guy can put his hand up and block the majority of your clothing (on the top half) than it's very easy and very tempting for him to picture you nude. We know that guys are visual but this statement heped me to understand how big of a deal this is for them and it was a huge reminder that we need not only to protect ourselves, we need to help our guys not to be tempted. This was another comment.... 'Well why should I change because a guy can't control himself?' God tells us not to cause our brothers to stumble. And if that's not a good enough reason... do you want someone looking at you in that way?

The majority of the students were new this year and after the conference I was a bit bummed because I felt that there was so much valuable information discussed that even if someone had attended before... they would have benefited. So I guess my prayer for next year is that everyone would return plus we would get new people. Purity doesn't seem to be as important these days and I think it's important for all students to understand the benefits of living a pure and godly life.




And on a very side note.... during free time I was chatting with Geeta and Shamala when I noticed something slivering across my foot (why always me????) but again I ignored it until Shamala said, 'Don't panic.' Me:"What? What is it?' After it has slivered passed us... Shamal: "It was a snake. I don't think it was poisonous." Uh... I sure hope not.

And Izzy was awesome! I bought her a stroller for her doll and she played with it all weekend long. That's all she wanted to do was push her puppy around. Unfortunately, she is still enthrolled with steps so in an attempt to take the stroller down the steps, she fell and got her first big bump on the head. No worries though... she was as good as new after a good nap only to do it again in a week.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No denim allowed

Fun (albeit not so fun at all at the time) story about our day yesterday....

We were blessed with an inviation by a man in our church, Albert. Mike to gold and Isabella and I to hang out at the pool. But this wasn't just an oridinary invite... it was to the Hong Kong Golf Club... the ultra elite club of Hong Kong. Expensive meals, clothing requirements, you get the idea. Albert picks us up and suggests to Mike that he may want to change from his 'cargo' shorts into pants and so he runs upstairs. We pick up Tom (our guest speaker at church) and his family and head on our way to Fanling. Albert drops us off and tells us to head into the restaurant while he parks the car. No big deal... We walk into the restaurant and the man looks at me, points to me and says... 'No denim. Go put trousers on.' What? I didn't bring anything else with me! No I enter panic mode... I have to have something else on and the only place to buy something is the pro shop... and at the Hong Kong Golf Club... nothing is cheap! I was almost in tears of both embarrassement and fear of how much money I was about to spend. I looked for the cheapest thing possible and I still paid more than I have ever paid for a skirt in my life! But I also have to admit that it was the most comfortable skirt I have ever owned. It was the kind with the shorts underneath... why aren't all skirts made that way! I loved it. So sheepishly I walk back into the restaurant to find out that Tom was also told to 'tuck in his shirt' and that they checked Rob out to make sure his shirt was tucked in as well. It made me feel a little better. lol

So despite this event... we had a fabulous day. The weather was warm and the day just gorgeous. We spent time in the pool, chatted with a woman from England, played in the children's room, had a snack with Barbara, and Isabella even took a nap. I was so blessed by Alberts offer... days can get so repetitive for me (going to the same parks, stores, etc) and I loved the opportunity to hand out at a new place with lots of space for Izzy to run.

Isabella either played really hard or she's hitting a growth spurt because she slept until 9:30 this morning! I could hardly believe it. We had a rather lazy day today... the only attempt we made to get outside ended after Isabella had a moment and our stroller fell into the fountain. LOL

Well... I'm still working through my thoughts for my session at our retreat this weekend. I'm so nervous but excited about the chance to be involved. I'm speaking on how to treat Boys right so if anyone wants to share some ideas... I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Full of excitement

Mike's busy watching Battlestar Galactica so I'm taking this opportunity to blog. (hehehe.... I love you!)

So anyway... today has been a crazy day for sure! Wow... I arrived at church a little before 9 but didn't sit down for the service until about 10:20 and it starts at 9:30! I was pleasantly surprised that Mike had taken the DVD player upstairs for Childrens Church but sad to learn that our carpet for the little ones had been taken... (who in the world would take a carpet?) So I pull out the toys and organize things a bit and learn that our CD's are missing as well. :( So I head down to Children's Church a bit discouraged to set things up for Matt and leave some info for him. No big deal... Everything's set and I have some time left so I go downstairs and look again for the CD's. No luck. I go back up to the hall, find Izzy and take her up to nursery and then run again upstairs to let Tracy know we have no CD's. She was very flexible and understanding but she also let me know that the offerring box was missing so I make another trip downstairs to look for the box. No luck. I do find a little bag that will work just fine though so I head back upstairs to catch a bit of the music to find out that one of our children is in the wrong classroom so I head up to the nursery to get him and take him up to the 2/3 room... and I forgot the little bag. lol I come back down for about 3 minutes before the children are dismissed for CC and I walk up with them to give Matt a few more details. I get up there to learn he needs a cd player so I run back down, grab the cd player and run back upstairs. Whew... I'm sweating and tired and I think I got in all my required exercise for the day. LOL Finally I'm able to go down to the hall and enjoy the service and I'm so glad that I was able to attend the adult service this morning.

Pastor Ed's brother spoke this morning and he grabbed my attention immediately. He talked about how Devotion to God never guarantees bliss. That we often find ourselves experiencing demands that seem impossible to meet but how awesome is our God... He's here to meet our demands. He shared several amazing stories of how 'a little of something and God' allowed for some amazing things to happen... people making decisions to follow God, churches being established, etc... and it was so encouraging. I had to laugh though... he was talking about compassion and was about to tell us an illustration and went hunting in his Bible for the exact story and couldn't find it. After a few seconds he stopped and looked at us and said... 'Okay that was a test... some of you were thinking -I can't believe he wasn't prepared enough.- and others -were wanting to do anything they could to help me find my paper-. If you were thinking the latter... you were showing compassion... if you were thinking the first... maybe you need to work on compassion. It just really caught my attention and made me laugh to think about all the different thoughts running through the congregations mind. LOL I thought his presentation of the sermon was just fantastic too... his powerpoint was really powerful. It was simple but it really stuck out to me.

Sunday School was really fun too. I tried something new and all of us walked away understanding the first 6 chapters of Daniel a bit more and how we can apply the three major characteristics (Integrity, Wisdom, Courage) of these chapters in our own lives right now. I love taking the time (even if it means silence for a few minutes) to really think about how what the Bible says applies to us know. It's easy to understand the basics, it's easy to pull out themes, etc.. but it's not easy to think about what does this mean for me now... and not so much the typical SS answers (have more faith, be like Christ, Jesus... lol) but real answers like... when someone says something (like I want to take my child to the zoo to learn about the animals... since we came from them anyway) that I disagree with.. say so or don't shy away from the fact that I love God and am here in HK to share His love with others. And it was great to hear the girls open up and be honest about areas that they need to have more integrity, wisdom or courage. These girls rock! I just love'em.

Then we were blessed with an invitation from Betty to join her and Pastor Tom and family for dinner at our most favorite resturant ever! We had amazing food and enjoyed the fellowship as well. We came home about 3:30ish and all (well Mike tried anyway) took a 2hr nap! It was wonderful. Then we ran a few errands... gotta love the prices of toothbrushes here! The cool ones are about $1 US dollar!

Mike had a brief conference call about our Love Actually Retreat this weekend and while he chatted, I started reading Seeker Small Groups. Since moving, I've had a passion for starting a book/Bible study among the non-Christian moms in our area. It's been a slow process but over the past few months I've developed a few good relationships and am axious to reach out even more. This book just really motivated me to be more intentional in meeting people and got me thinking about a 'seekers group.' There are some amazing stories of how God worked and saved lives and I feel like a passion of mine has just been re-lit. I feel like I've been stuck in a rut lately but just the little I've read so far has put a spark, a glimmer of hope and excitement back into my (what seems stale) heart.

So first things first... meeting more ladies so I'm definitely going ahead with the Costume party on the 31st. I can think of about 6 ladies so far to invite and I'm hoping that they will bring some friends of their own. It would be so wonderful to connect with all of them and begin to build some more friendships and who knows what God will do. It's so exciting for me to think about! That's why I'm here in Hong Kong... that's why I'm here on earth... to share the love of Christ and introduce others to Him. Nothing makes me feel more fulfilled that when I'm doing what I know I'm here to do.

Now off do a bit more reading....

Have a wonderful Sunday! May you find yourself drawing closer to Him!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mice in the Cinema....

How in the world did I forget to post about my movie adventure with Hannah on Wednesday night? Okay... so Dorie was sweet enough to give us two discounted movie tickets and Hannah and I decide to be brave. Not only did we chose a Canto movie (with English subtitles of course) we went to the cinema in Whampoa. Now the last time Mike and I went there... a few seats were not duct taped together... they were package taped together. LOL But it's close by and that's where we could use the tickets.

So anyway... the movie starts and literally within just a few minutes I think to myself.... "I'm about to waste the next 99 minutes of my life." Never a good start. So I open my tortilla chips and cheese (I haven't seen these anywhere but in the cinema so every time we go I have to get them. lol) and munch away. All of a sudden a feel something soft slide by my foot. No it couldn't be, I thought to myself as I raised my feet and paniced as I realized that my purse may have been open. I totally blew it off... convinced myself that I was dreaming and focused on the movie. And then it happened.. I heard a little crackling noise and I look to my right where I had placed my half eaten chips and there it was .... a round, furry MOUSE/or rat.. I'm not totally sure what it was but eww! So I tell Hannah to move her legs because I'm moving and she's like... you're not serious... that didn't just happen. She didn't believe me but I didn't care.. I was not staying in that seat. Then about a minute later she leans over and says... 'I just heard it. How in the world did you stay so calm?' I think I was just so stunned that I didn't know what to do other than move. LOL So what an evening! Mike will never have to convince me to see a movie somewhere other than Whampoa. LOL

That's my fun story of the day!

Today on the other hand was rather discouraging. Nothing like knowing your child is unhappy but having NO IDEA how to fix it. She slept in until 8:30 so I was convinced we were going to have a great day. But nothing went our way... all of our plans fell thru and probably a good thing because Izzy fussed all day. She cried almost the whole way to meet Mike for lunch... and pretty much the whole way home. So I put her down for a nap that didn't last very long. So I took her outside to the park and all she wanted was to be carried so we walked back over to the church to pick up Mike's computer (mine's still in the shop and I feel so disconnected from the world) and she fussed some more. We came home and I tried to get her to eat something. After screaming for about 15 minutes she finally ate some fish and then I immediately put her in the tub for a bath. It just broke my heart all day. And I was blah too... I think it was a mix of it still being so hot and stuffy and still being disappointed that my trip was cancelled. I dunno... it was just a very long day.

So instead of moping around I'm gonna read my new Radiant magazine. Have a great day!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Busy or Lazy?

I've been told by numerous people that I need to blog so here it goes... LOL you asked for it!

Life has been crazy over the past few weeks... lots of emotions, sickness, fun times, blessings galore, etc. If I go into detail about everything you'll be reading for days so I'll do my best to sum everything up.

I have been terribly discouraged and at the same time extrememly encouraged and sometimes both in the same day! LOL I have been discouraged about the 2/3 ministry over the past few weeks... I couldn't recruit any help, we had to switch rooms again, when I taught it was like mass chaos, etc... I just wanted to quit. At the same time, Mike was stressed out about the older Children's Church ministry... the organization, the materials, teachers, etc... To me... I thought the older kids were in great hands, had so much potential, and just needed a bit of re-grouping after the step down of the Children's Coordinator. My mind began racing with ideas but I felt like my hands were tied with the younger kids and I didn't want to take on more than I could handle.

So I began thinking and praying and pretty soon... I came up with what I thought would be a great answer to prayer for all of us. I would ask one of my current teachers to step up and take over coordinating the little ones and I would move up into the role of the older children. PTL she agreed! So I thought... whew all taken care of. I should've known better than that.

I met with Map on Sunday to go over a few things and WOW... I was so encouraged by our 5 minute talk! See our children's ministries all kinda run on their own. Everybody does their own thing and it doesn't really seem to flow very well... a lot of repetition between ministries. Anyway... she and I talked about how we wanted to sit down with everyone and get everyone on the same page and make these ministries flow and be more effective! So not only is she going to help me organize the little children... she's going to work alongside me to kinda re-vamp the children's ministries so that it's more effective in teaching our children about God and drawing them closer to Him. I am SO pumped about what's going to happen. She's also going to do a mini-seminar in 'storytelling to little children' that I think will benefit so many of our current teachers... including me. There's so much more to write but this is it in a nutshell... and the best thing is that this will lighten Mike's load so he can focus on some other areas that he's feels a bit stronger and more confident in!


I've been teaching the Sr. High girls Sunday School class and again I was discouraged. We've had some good discussion but I was beginning to question why I was trying to teach them the Bible (like an overview of the books) when they didn't seem very interested in it. I felt like maybe I should focus more on topics that related to them now and so a few times we would pick out something specific (in the book we were discussing) and focus on that but they knew all the right answers. That's not what I was looking for... I wanted honesty, discussion, I wanted them to know I'll love them no matter what and I wanted to help them to love God more. And then we hit Isaiah and BAM... they totally opened up. We discussed why they struggle reading the Bible, why they have a hard time trusting God, why going to a Christian school can put a damper on the Bible, etc... it was amazing. I was so blessed by their honesty. I challenged them in a few ways and I'm anxious to hear how their week was. My only prayer is that they'll continue to be honest and willing to discover God in new ways.


I spent a week sick... sinus infection. Nothing major but I was really uncomfortable and tired... things you never want to be as a SAHM. I managed to get out one day with Adelina and Kalya and that was wonderful but poor Isabella. I'm sure she's very thankful that I'm feeling better. LOL


As I already mentioned, we spent a day with Adelina and Kalya exploring a new park. It was a beautiful park with lots of playgrounds and the girls just had a blast climbing everywhere. The bus ride was about 45 minutes long and it was great because it gave us tons of time to chat. This was the first time that I felt we really went beyond surface level conversation and it was wonderful! We decided to try and explore at least once every 2 weeks so I'm looking forward to spending more time with them.


We had Scott over for dinner twice and that was fun... he even let me try a new recipe out on him. He and Mike are so funny because they're mac-oholics and they can talk all night about computers. Reminds me of his conversations with Dave in AL. :) Scotts a youth intern with our friends Tim and Cindy.

Speaking of Tim and Cindy... they're little girl turned 1! I can hardly belive it... I remember visiting her in the hospital and now the girls just smile and giggle when they see each other. Agh... it will be so fun to watch them grow together.

We've had dinner with Dan and Geeta as well. Dan came over one night while Geeta was away and before he left, I told Isabella... 'Now go give Uncle Dan a kiss.' I couldn't believe my eyes as she walked right up to him and puckered up! I think it totally caught him off gaurd too! Precious... we had dinner with them both tonight and Isabella gave them both tons of kisses. Too cute... she even passed on Daddy holding her so Uncle Dan would.

Today we went to the playroom with Shateki and Mousumi. It was fun there were a lot of little kids running around so while Isabella did her share of running and screaming, she did a lot of observing too. We hadn't seem them in a couple of weeks so it was good to connect again.

As I mentioned in my previous post... Isabella refuses to keep her shoes on when outside so I decided to try a trick. They have these squeaky shoes here and she loves them. Mike and I refused to buy them but I needed to try something. So I bought these precious chinese style (they look like the CHinese dresses) squeaky shoes... only to have them break one day after wearing them. Grr... I'm actually thinking of taking them back (don't normally do this at a market) but since it's only been a day.. I'm hoping they'll remember me.

I've decided to try and organize a little 'costume' party for the little kids I know.. in hopes of getting all these mom's I've met together and maybe meeting for a playdate every couple of weeks. I'm actually pretty excited about this opportunity and am just praying for how to oppropriately go about this. It's actually quite a blessing in itself because my trip to the states has been cancelled. The quote on ticket price didn't include Isabella and her cost just makes the ticket a little out of price range. I'm totally bummed as I had just spent the day planning all the things I wanted to do with Isabella there but it's okay. Hopefully in Jan or Feb I can go. Instead I will focus on the cool things I can do here in hopefully cool weather. I'm considering a trip to Disney, the beach, a couple of parks, etc... we'll be creative while Daddy's at his conference.

Well... this is totally random in how I posted things. Sorry if it's confusing I just had to get some thoughts down. I'm not even going to spell check... too tired. lol

Have a blessed Thursday!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Radomness

We had a wonderful day at Stanley as a family on Tuesday. We ate at one of our favorite places for lunch and ran into Jo (a very outgoing, friendly girl from another youth group) again... same girl we ran into at the same place the last time we were at Stanely with Mike's parents. LOL And then we did a bit of shopping. I picked up a few things for Isabella as the cooler weather should (I'm praying really hard about this) be approaching, Mike actually found a pair of shorts, and I found a pair of JCrew jeans for less than $10! Some things like that are hard to pass up knowing how much you pay for them in the states. LOL The best purchase was a bag that I found. I don't know what it is about it but I fell in love with it the second I saw it but couldn't justify the price. (I'm all about deals and honestly probably don't buy much of anything that isn't on sale... at least for myself) So I just drooled over it while we shopped. Before we left, I went over to the shop and asked the lady for a discount and surprisingly (they don't really bargain much at Stanely) she gave me one... enough for me to feel okay buying it. I was so excited and it has turned out to be wonderful! It's big enough to carry all of Izzy's things and my things and look a big stylish (versus my little backpack). I'm just tickled pink that I got it and have carried it everywhere already... even if I didn't need to. :)

I called Hannah on Wed and asked if she wanted to come with me to get my ear pierced. I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now and since Brett knows of a cheap place I decided to go for it. Piercing (at least ears) is really cheap here... less than $2 an ear and since I just wanted a stud in the top part of my ear it was hard to pass up. I had a piercing there before but my mom made me take it out because of my Ear Dr. telling us a story about a surgery he had done on a teen who didn't care for theirs. Anyway... I feel responsible enough (lol) to take care of it and watch for infection. Plus it was just a random, fun evening for Hannah and I to share... especially as we searched for both the store and a hair salon. (wink wink Hannah) I must admit though... the piercing set-up was so funny to me. It wasn't anything like a piercing store in the states. Here the lady pulled out the gun, a step stool, and said... "Have a seat." You never would have known you could get pierced there unless someone told you. (And yes it is safe.)

I kept Isabella busy yesterday. We went to the indoor playroom where she ran like crazy again. Although she did rest for a few minutes as she insisted on keeping her shoes on. (not allowed to have shoes in the room) Then we stopped at the park on our way home where she insisted on taking her shoes off! This girl is confusing! LOL I put her down for a nap and got a phone call from Adelina saying she was across the street at the park so Izzy got up and we played their for a bit. It was great to see them and hear about their trip to Shanghai. In the evening, we had Ebennezers with Hannah and Geeta. Afterwards Mike, Isabella and I walked along the TST promenade for a bit. We went into this section of the mall that had all these huge sales and as I was walking along the toy section and girl came right up to Isabella and took her out of the stroller! When things like this happen... I'm just stunned and don't do anything because I just can't believe it happened.

Today was Mid-Autumn Festival and to be perfectly honest... I got all my days confused and totally forgot about it! I planned on taking Isabella out with her lantern and eat dinner under the moon but I forgot. :( I was so bummed when I heard all the little kids outside but didn't have the heart to wake her. We had another busy day... went to HK park with Cindy and Lillian and she was just exhausted. She fell asleep in my arms... I will ALWAYS cherish those moments!

Mike brought me the most incredible treat home from work.... LOST! We had fun watching it together and trying to figure out what was going to happen this season. The comment about 'the next 2 weeks won't be very pleasant' has us wondering if that's going to be the entire season. lol

Well... that's quite an update on not a whole lot. LOL Off to bed~