Monday, February 27, 2006

Funny story

I'm the lucky one who gets to sleep on the floor when everyone's at my parents house. The kids always win out on beds and once Mommy is here, Kara always wants her to share the bed. No biggie but it made for an interesting evening last night. Isabella had another bad night so my mom brought her out to me to see if I could get her to sleep. I didn't mind this either because it meant I got to snuggle with my baby and this doesn't happen very often.

Anyway.. in the middle of the night, I hear some wimpering. I wake up to pick up Isabella and she's no longer next to me. I sit up to find her and low and behold... she is half way under the couch! It scared me at first but then I just chuckled. I have no idea how she managed to stay asleep as she scooted under it but she did. She has definitely inherited her Daddy's crazy sleeping habits!

Church was wonderful this morning and Pastor Dail asked me to share a bit about our ministry in Hong Kong next week. I agreed and now I'm wishing I hadn't. I get so nervous speaking but thankfully, I only have to talk for 5 minutes. His message was on mercy. How to recognize when we need it, when we've received it, and when others need it. A definition he shared will forever stick with me: Mercy=What we don't get when we do deserve it. Hmmm... made me realize how merciful God has been towards me.

Erin and the girls left this afternoon but will return this Friday. It's been a great few days with family. I feel so blessed to be so loved.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mike would be proud...

Two things: 1.I'm a bargain hunter for sure. I love my market shopping and in the states, I loved my clearance shopping. 2. I love buying gifts for other people and would much rather spend money on someone else than myself.

I say all that to say this... Mike would be so proud of me. I started my training for my half-marathon and discovered that I have runners' knee and will have to take a longer/slower approach as well as working on some other things in order to be successful in this goal. One thing, buying new shoes. I've debated and debated on how much I should spend. Do I really need more expensive shoes? Are they really higher quality? At the airport I found a magazine that discusses this exact question and I came to the conclusion that yes I do need to invest more than what I'd like. So today I hit Dicks sporting goods and bought my first pair of real running shoes and the tears flowed as I handed them the money. LOL I didn't go overboard but did pay more than I would've like to but I know my wonderful husband will be so proud of me for making the right investment.

And I felt very blessed to be able to afford this. I feel like I'm growing up and starting to really care about taking care of myself in so many ways (physically being one of them). I've really changed my eating and exercising habits (and PTL benefited by losing that baby weight plus some) but it's not about how I look. Rather it's about taking care of God's Temple. I want to be around a long time to be used by Him and to watch my daughter grow.

We took Kara to Chuck E Cheese today and how fun it was to watch her run from game to game, racking up the tickets. On the other hand, it was sad to see the selfishness of others trample a little girls excitment as they cut in front, hogged certain games because they offered more tickets, and asked her to hurry up and finish her air hockey game because they wanted to play. What broke my heart even more was that some of these things took place by adults. What has our society come to? It saddens me everyday to see people so focused on things that they miss out on the most exciting/important thing in life... a relationship with God.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


This post may be rather long... it's been a few weeks since I've been able to sit down and write out my thoughts. (sorry Chris... I guess I lost my title of 'most consistent blogger')

First of all... our trip to the states has been awesome and the time is sadly flying by. I'm already at my last stop and I feel that I could've used a few more weeks at each place. MN was awesome. The greeting we received both at the airport and at church on Sunday was more than we imagined. We miss our Nowthen Church family terribly but know that God has us where He wants us and that Danny, Maurice, Bill and Tim are exactly where they should be. Our 'kids' (you will always be our kids) had a potluck dessert night on Sunday and our hearts were warmed by the attendence. Thank you all for making us feel so loved and blessed. There were so many people we didn't get to spend time with that we realized our next visit will have to be much longer. Our prayer is that we can be with you next winter for our little 'furlough.'

Next, I headed off to my in-laws and what a great time we had there. What a special treat to have chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite) waiting for me for Valentines Day by my father-in-law. I was so happy that Isabella got to know Grandpa and Grandma and even Aunt Nikki and Karly. Nikki and Karly came all the way from FL for a long weekend so we could see them. Karly and Isabella had a blast playing together and it was so cute to watch them. Good-byes are always hard for me but we're hoping to see them this summer in HK.

I'm currently at my parents and I got a special surprise on Tuesday night. My sister called and asked if the girls could come on Wed and stay until Sunday and of course I said yes. The more time I have with family the better. So this means that instead of just 4 days with them, I will have over a week and I'll get to see my sister a bit more too. God always knows what we need. To top that off, my niece Kara told me in bed last night that she was about to cry because she was so happy to see me. Talk about feeling loved. It's been so fun to watch her interact with Isabella, she just loves her. Laurel on the other hand is not so sure about Isabella or me but the last time I saw her she was only 7 months (now 14 months) so we're just a bunch of new faces. Isabella has warmed up to Pappy and Grammy and Grammy is giving me much needed rest. I slept through the night for the first time in probably a year.

I have much more to write so I will break this up into a couple of posts but this is just a brief post of what's been going on the past three weeks.

Blessings, blessings, blessings... I sure don't deserve them but I'm so thankful for such a loving God who has decided to bestow them upon me anyway.

What I've been learning...

I didn't know what to expect when I stepped onto American soil again. I didn't know if I would be happy to be back, sad to realize how far away we live, shocked by the differences, etc. The first thing hit me when I walked into my friends living room and saw the space. A moment of jealousy, shock, disappointment all hit me at once. I had forgotten how big homes are here, how nice large spaces are, and didn't realize how small our flat really was. These feelings continued to deepen as I watched Isabella enjoy the space to crawl around, as I walked into Walmart and saw all the choices (and in one place), and as I was surrounded by family.

Those first few days were hard. I had to really remind myself that God had called us to HK and that we wouldn't be happy anywhere else. It has gotten easier as the days have passed and as I chose to change my attitude. But spending time with my in-laws really made a difference as well. See... my FIL is a Pastor and MIL is very involved in a variety of ministries and we spent a lot of time talking about our ministry in HK. My MIL helped me find a variety of materials to use for Children's Church and she got me really excited about returning and really digging in my heels into this ministry.

My FIL's sermon on Sunday really touched my heart as well. He talked about being lukewarm in our walk with Christ and how God HATES that. He didn't sugar coat anything and it made me think about where I was spiritually. I realized that although I had been 'doing' ministry in HK my heart was not 100% there. I've had one foot there and one foot stuck in self-pity of leaving my family. A real eye-opener... I guess I have some serious talking and confessing to do with God. But it was such a good thing because it got me excited about our return and the possibilities that lie ahead. God did bring us to HK for a purpose but He can't use me if I'm not willing and if I'm not 100% committed why would He want to use me?

So, I will soak up the time I have left but rejoice in our return. Not only to see Mike but to see how God will work in and through me.

One final announcement...

If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I have struggled with my purpose here in HK. I know my job is to care for Isabella and I know I have my Children's ministry as well as my involvement with the youth but I still struggled. I realized that I felt this struggle because I didn't have a 'job' with work hours. Don't know why... I was so excited to quit working and stay home but I felt a void.

Then I got into digital scrapbooking and learned about something called a Creative Team (CT). A CT works (per say) for a Designer in the sense that the CT creates layouts with a designers kits and posts them to different galleries. The idea is to make the kits known in hopes of getting people to buy them. A CT gets paid by receiving the designers kits for free.

Being a part of a CT team sounded like a lot of fun to me. Not only would I get to continue creating my LO's but I would get some awesome kits to do them with and I would in a sense be working for someone. I wish I could explain this more clearly but words are escaping me.

Anyway... I applied to some designers' calls and was accepted by three designers! They are Andrea Burns at TDC, Victoria Feemster at Addicted to Digital, and Julie Howard at Design by Julie. I am so thrilled to be working with these ladies. They are wonderful designers and very sweet ladies to work with. I can't thank them enough for the opportunity to serve as a part of their Creative/Design Team.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

MN here we come!

We are about to walk out the door to catch the airport express subway. Please pray for us!

If you are interested in seeing us please email me and let me know! Minnesotans... please email us your numbers. We can't find our directory.

Those picking us up from the airport.... we have 3 normal size suitcases and one LARGE duffle bag. (And we don't have a carseat)

Okay... we're off!

Love you all and REALLY looking forward to our visit!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Grace=Undeserved Blessings

Grace=undeserved blessings

I felt I was showed a lot of grace this past week and weekend. From my previous posts, you probably can get the idea that I've had a hard time the past month or so. I've always felt confident that God would bring me through everything and that He was in control but I don't feel that I deserve what He has done for me this past week.

First of all, Mike will be travelling back to MN with me. This is a HUGE blessing because I was starting to get really nervous about how I was going to handle Isabella by myself. He will only be there for a few days but the fact that he's willing to make such a quick trip just amazes me. What a great husband I have. And this means that I will only be away from him for 3 weeks instead of 4 which makes me happy too.

Secondly, I got to see a Dragon Dance! I'm pretty confident it was a shortened one but it was a dance nontheless! I can't tell you how excited I was to be able to watch it. After the shock of the loud drums, Isabella was able to enjoy herself too. We just happened to be over in the mall connected to our complex and there was a sign for the dance to start in about an hour so I rushed home, got my camera, and came back.

Thirdly, on our way out the door to the mall, we checked our mail hoping for a package from Mike's parents and there was nothing. They were sending us some Children's Benedryl for Isabella and we were really hoping for a chance to try this on her to see if she takes after her Daddy and gets hyper rather than calmed. So Mike said a quick prayer that we'd still get it today and low and behold... our guard was holding it as we walked in the door!

Dumplings have become one of my favorite foods so I convinced Mike to eat at my fav restaurant one more time before I left and when we walked in we were greeted with "So nice to see you again!" (Can you tell we eat there a lot?) That was such a treat for me and to top it off, they pretty much drooled all over Isabella which allowed us to eat our meal in peace. LOL

Man... the blessings keep going. We tried the benedryl on Isabella when we got home from lunch and I'm happy to report that she doesn't take after Daddy. I laid her down in the crib and by the time I walked out to the living room she was asleep! And she slept over 2hrs! (This may be a bad thing for me to know. LOL)

Forgot to mention that we had dinner with Ed and Sharon (our Sr. Pastor and wife) last night as well. They invited us over knowing that it would be a quick visit because we like to get Isabella to bed early on Saturday nights because Sunday's are such a long day for her. It was a great time of fellowship and food. It's nice to sit back and just talk about life rather than always talking about the needs of the church. And I love watching them play with Isabella too... just warms my heart.

Finally... another super cool treat.... we get to watch the Superbowl and not just any superbowl but we get to watch the STEELERS in a Superbowl. I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am yet also bummed that I can't be in PA to watch it with the other Steeler fans. We'll be up at 7am with some friends coming over to cheer them on (okay don't know who they're cheering for but at least we'll be cheering for them). However, instead of the traditional chips and soda we'll have eggs, muffins, fruit, and OJ. GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well... it's going to be an early morning so I'm off.

PS. I've made a few new scrapbooking pages in the past several days so take a minute to check out 'My Gallery' (look to the left) and see some different pictures.

Friday, February 03, 2006


"Oh very wealthy."

This comment haunted me all yesterday evening and today. We were out looking for a taylor to hem some of my pants and a Chinese man offered to help us find a store. He took us to the directory of this 'mini' mall to show us where it was and then asked us where we lived. We said, "Hoy yat ho yuen" and he replied, "Oh very wealthy." We answered... "oh no, not wealthy," thanked him, and headed off to the store. I was stunned... what do you say to a comment like that? We are by no means wealthy but we are blessed by a wonderful God. I'm still not sure exactly what to think about this. It makes me question our ability to minister to the population of HK that is middle class. It also makes me question if the color of our skin make us appear unapproachable because it seems most westerners are quite wealthy. It also made me aware that not everyone in HK is well off. I'm sure that sounds like a dumb statement but when you are a part of a wealthy congregation and most of your contacts are not hurting financially you can forget that not everyone lives that way. I am thankful for this brief conversation because it opened my eyes and got my brain thinking.

We met some MN friends for coffee at Starbucks today. It really is a small world. When we first moved to MN, there was a hired man doing our sound and his name was Ed. Mike had contact with him but I don't recall ever meeting him. Anyway... his wife Joelle grew up in HK and they were back visiting so they got our contact info and asked to see us. It was so much fun to chat about MN life versus HK life and just get to know them a little. It's funny how you end up spending time with people (sometimes even complete strangers) because you have one little thing in common. We didn't really know Ed and Joelle before today but we still met up, there are women here I've met simply because we all have children, some people we've just clicked with because we're from North America. Funny how being across the world and away from families ties people together.

Here are the answers to my tag...
What were you doing 10 years ago? 1996 I was 16, a junior in High School, and a workaholic. LOL My life was band and Chick-fil-a.

What were you doing 1 year ago? Realizing that a move to Hong Kong was very possible and trying to deal with that as well as preparing for the arrival of Isabella.

Five snacks you enjoy: Cheese and crackers, saltines, pretzels, ice cream, M&M's

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics: Theme song to Fresh Prince, a few Praise and numerous Children's songs LOL

Five bad habits: not replacing the toilet paper, using lots of dishes throughout one day, having 'the drawer', staying up later than I should, won't talk on the phone

Five things you like doing: playing the piano, doing TaeBo, getting a pedicure/facial, being with family, laughing

Five things you would never wear, buy or get again: tapered pants, tube top, itchy clothes, nike running shoes, any Tom Cruise movie made after 1995

Five favorite toys: piano, my camera, Powerbook G4, dvd player, toaster :)

Above is a layout I made the other day using MandaBeans Persimmon kit and NJR's Shmootzy Frames. This has got to be one of my favorite pictures of Isabella. She was about 5 months old and giggling up a storm. Everyone at church called her a little doll and I couldn't agree more. I love the dress and matching hat and her smile just topped it off. Love her to pieces!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Good food & fellowship

God always has a way of lifting you up when you're down and yesterday was one of those days. My previous post was about how I can get lonely at times and in the middle of the day, yesterday, we got a call from some friends who asked us over for dinner. We've been trying to get together since Christmas so we were excited to and I left their flat last night full of joy. We had a great dinner, chili.. one of my favorites, and the fellowship was sweet. I love it when our friends interact/play with Isabella because it makes me feel like she has Aunts/Uncles here and isn't missing out on that type of family love. She had a blast playing with them, giggling up a storm at 'peek-a-boo', and staying up until 11:30pm. I was introduced to two logic puzzle games and was hooked! Now.. I'm off to find one of them. LOL And Mike drooled over their new iSight for Mac. ha ha Anyway... it was a great night. Thanks Baker's for having us over.

I thought I was going to have the chance to see the dragon dance but Isabella took a late nap and by the time I got out there, the dragons were just making their way around the complex doing something in the doorways. (Still figuring out exactly the purpose behind it but I'm sure it has something to do with prosperity and wealth.) It was still cool to see and I got a few pictures.

So life was back to normal today... back to the busyness of HK. Will I ever get used to this?