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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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


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.

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


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.