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...


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
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


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...

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!"


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...

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...

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.






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


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 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.

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.