Saturday, December 4, 2010

4 hours

Today was Musical Performance Day at the school. The kids and I had decided to go with Brad even before we knew. I was excited to find out the performances were today because I had seen the students working on their songs and skits for a while now.
We got to the school around 9:45 and hung around till it started at 11. The first few songs were solo's and duets. Beautiful worship songs by some very talented students. My heart especially burst as one girl sang of her love for the Father. We have had many conversations talking about whether the Creator is indeed real and in love with her or not. Recently she has proclaimed her love for Him in return, and today as she sang her heart out to him, I felt my heart burst with joy for her.
After these songs it went on to bigger group singing, then onto skits.
Please remember this was all in Cantonese, with a few songs sung in English.
By about 12:30 my kids were telling me of their hunger pains. It is common to not have lunch at a common time at the school so I told them to hang on. They did so good listening and even still able to enjoy the show. By about 2:oo they were pretty much slumped over in their chairs as far as a kid could sit without falling right off. Poor kids. At 2:3o I said they could go out and play. At 3:00 we had a bun.
As we stepped off the sampan from the school, we made a deadline for McD's to put some food into our stomachs. WRONG THING TO DO! Now we felt still hungery but sick.
When will I learn. It doesn't really matter how cheap and fast and maybe even a little teeny tiny bit tasty McD's is, it is disgusting and we always feel sick after eating it. Dumb mummy!

Anyways, it was an interesting day. A good day. I never thought I would be able to sit for 4hrs of something that I understood almost nothing of. But I did, and I enjoyed it. It was fabulous to see the students being creative, talented, and acting like typical crazy teenagers. Reminded me of some crazy skits me and my friends put on in at RJC. We thought it was hilarious, and everyone else just laughed because we were laughing so hard. Well, some people laughed. Anyways, before I digress.....

It was a good day. And today I realized again, I love those students! They have captured my heart. I am glad we are here!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From one qwailo to another

Qwailo - pronounced [kʷɐ̌i lǒu]; sometimes also spelled Gweilo) is a very common Cantonese slang term for foreigners, and has a long history of racially deprecatory use.[1] Nowadays, Gwailo is simply a Cantonese word used to refer to Caucasians.

As I stepped outside a few days ago to check on the weather, two caucasian women were walking by. One looked at me and with a big smile said hello. Thinking that perhaps she was someone I had previously met I stepped out to return the greeting. Walking to my gate, I quickly realized I did not know this women. But often people come hiking on the island are needing a little help with directions so I stepped out to chat.

Immediately she looked at me and asked "Do you actually LIVE here???". With pride I replied that in fact we did live here. The look of shock on her face was almost enough to get me laughing out loud. Her next question was if I actually LIKED it here? Again, with much pride I replied that infact we loved living on our little island. Her look of shock now had me laughing out loud. Incredulously, she took at step closer to look at me and get a better glance at my house. As she peered quizzically at my clothes drying in the sun, she asked "Do you actually go to....CENTRAL" as if it was a foreign destination that most people would know about, but I most likely would not.
note - Central is what the main area of Hong Kong Island is called. This is where our ferries to and from Hong Kong connect. It is a business and banking and shopping hub of Hong Kong. I can not get to or from Hong Kong without going through Central.
I assured her that yes we do go to central, and I informed her that that we go in at least once/twice a week. I reminded her of the ferry that she had to take to get here, and that it is only a 35min fast ferry ride. She obviously had no issues inquiring further into my life, although her friend looked as if she wished she could melt into the sidewalk at this point. As she heard my kids in the house, she asked what school they could possibly be going to. When I informed her that we homeschooled, she was rather horrified and wondered out loud how my children could have any friends at all then!!! ( funny locals in Hong Kong only wonder how my children could possible be getting ANY form of education from home, and foreigners first thing is wondering if my children are being socialized)

I must say, this is up there as one of the funniest conversations I have ever had. I couldn't stop laughing all the way through. Maybe it is the side of me that still enjoys shocking people once in a while, I don't know. I wasn't offended, rather it was the best laugh I have had in a while.

Then today, a chinese/canadian friend of mine remarked that she thought I was chinese as she was approaching me down the path, again hanging my clothes to dry outside on our railing. As I laughed rather heartily at this, she assured me it was a compliment and that from my mannerisms I must have assimilated to island life quite well.

I will definitely take that as a compliment!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Been a long time, Been a long time, Been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely time.....

Okay, so it has not been all that lonely at all, but as soon as I thought of starting this post that song started to play in my head.
I come by it honestly, this habit I have of having a song for everything. My mom ALWAYS had a song for everything. I mean, every moment, every situation, every event, every frustrating moment, and every funny moment, she was SURE to have a song to sing about it. As kids we loved it, as teens we pretended to be embarrassed and hate it, now it is one of our favorite memories of her.

Anyways, it may not have been lonely, but it certainly has been a long time.

The reality is, I just didn't feel like posting. I realize this is bad for business, or viewership. But that is my honest moment. I just had no desire to be here telling you about me.

Then a few days ago, I suddenly thought, hey, I should post something again. That could be fun.
So, here I am.

Summer is slowly fading. It is actually a truly wonderful time in Hong Kong right now. Should you ever decide to visit this part of this world, this is the perfect time to come. The humidity is down just slightly, the days are still warm, but the evenings are beginning to cool off. I am loving it. We are pulling out our winter wear and hanging it outside in the sunlight to get rid of that 'slightly moldy' smell.

We are also preparing for a visit to Canada in just over a weeks time. We are excited about this. We are talking through the myriad of emotions we are sure to go through. All the glorious hello's, and all the tearful good-byes. So important and good, but hard.

Anyways, I think I will stop there for now.

It feels good to be back.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer days are upon us

Summer days are here. Although, blessedly enough it is 'unusually cool' here. So the days have been a beautiful 28, very low humidity, sunny days. Well, we did have rain last week, but it was lovely. Walking to the village under my umbrella reminded me of summer camp and sleeping in a tent on raining nights.

Our schedule for now is learning, lunch, chores, unfinished work, then off to the beach until supper time. Wonderful and lovely. Perfect really.
We decided when the temps and humidity soar, we will adjust our schedule.
Then we will go the eat early breaky, swim, learn, eat lunch, learn, wait for temps to drop, then go back to the beach for the evening. Eating many fruits smoothies and salads. I have found the most delicious chicken salad ever, and we are all hooked!

Today while we were swimming we were suddenly chased from the waters as 10-15 jelly fish of varying sizes creeping up. It was amazing to see them so close up. They were perfectly clear, like many big bowls of clear jelly. In some we could even see the fish inside waiting to be consumed! They allowed themselves to be brought to the beach to the waves, then sailed off on the next current. Mesmerizing.

Nefeshya and Sammy have been swimming as far out as their emotions will let them (it gets deep very quickly), and Ethan is learning to close his mouth when he swims so it doesn't taste like he just swallowed a box of salt! These are amazing days that I am so thank-ful for.
There have been days of late that I have struggled with how to be a homeschooling mom while 'on the field'. How to balance my time and effort. There are so many opportunities to get involved in. Opportunities that are some of my hearts greatest desires. But then, being a homeschooling mom is also one my greatest hearts desire, so I choose to place that first, and ask for wisdom for all opportunities that pass my way right now.
Tonight as I kissed Feshya good-night she said ' Mom - you are the best teacher in the world'. Ahhhh, that was some sweet ointment on my soul. Thank-you daughter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The perfect day

It was sunday, and the plans were only half made. Perfect. Made enough that we knew something would happen, but not every detail was planned. I love those kind of days. They stretch me just a little, but not too much that I can't enjoy the ride.

We walked up the hill for fellowship with friends that are no longer my 'new friends' but just my friends. The fellowship was so sweet. Truly, is there anything better than the enjoy Divine love with others that you love? We prayed for my friends who are returning to the UK. Tears were shed. I have told Dad I am actually not very happy with him for bringing them into my life and then taking them away so quickly again. But my life is incredibly enriched for the moments I have been able to share with them.

The plan was that the wonderful guy to the left was going to take the kids to the beach, and pull in the fishing nets that they had left in overnight to see what they had caught, and us mom's were going to prepare a meal of fish and chips ready to cook and eat on the beach that evening.
They brought us a live catch of small fish, prawns, and crabs to cook. There were a few squeals as we put them into the pot and one tried to jump out. (okay it didn't actually try jumping out, but it did fall to the side and we had to put it back in).

The evening was perfect. Warm enough to enjoy the ocean breeze that cleared the air so we could actually see the lights of Hong Kong. (pollution clouds this view more often than not unfortunately)

The children swam, kayaked, played hide and seek in the dark.
The adults chatted, laughed, went for walks in the moonlight.
I even had my new sundress on. I mean really, it was divine.

These are the moments I live for. The moments that nurture and feed my soul.

I am a blessed women.

I will take this weekend, wrap it up, tenderly kiss it, and tuck it away in my treasure box of moments.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

For the one

We had a delightful day today at the school. A friend from Canada has been here visiting for the last few weeks and we have been waiting for a day to bring her to the school to visit and see it all. It is such a gift to be able to share our lives with someone from 'home'. Today was the day! Sunday's are a great day to go because there are no classes, so Brad was able to hang out with us. In the morning there is a service. The students lead this and do worship, then one of the staff share. Usually we spend the day with the brothers because that is where Brad is, how ever today we spent the afternoon with the sisters. (The brothers and sisters are together for classes and assemblies, but separate other than that). We had a delicious lunch (also prepared by the students) and then were able to hang out at the girls dormitory.
I have really connected with one girl in particular. Oh how I love her sweet face! What an amazing honor it is to be invited to be in someones life. To have someone want to share their secrets, happiness, and sadness with you. I felt honored. She has asked me to help her find the path to the Creator. (and oh how he is showing her!!) She is not even sure she believes there is a creator, but is wanting to explore the possibility. All I could think of was 'how fun is this, here I am, a small town prairie girl, helping this beautiful chinese girl find her path of wholeness and destiny'. Really, who would have ever thought.

I have been thinking of the line 'for the one' lately. Am I willing to lay down my life 'for the one'. Perhaps Father would bring me across the world for one, maybe two, maybe a hundred. I don't know. I have hopes and dreams, many of them spirit breathed I believe, but I have not lived that all out yet. But until those things do or do not come to fruition, will I be not only be satisfied with what I might think is small things, but see those as important as He does. How many people did He send in my path, planting seeds, watering seeds, helping me pull weeds, helping me along my journey. There was so many that he brought, too many to count really, and I see him bringing them around me still.

Today, I had a 'for the one' moment. And I tell you, if that is all I do in my time here, it was worth every small sacrifice I had to lay down to get here. Amen.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

broken arms in Hong Kong

Sammy and his broken arm. About 7weeks ago we were visiting some friends, and the kids were outside playing on the playground equipment. Suddenly one of the kids come running saying Sammy has fallen and is really really hurt. When I rushed over, he was laying face down at the bottom of a slide. The first thought that went thru was had he broke his neck as he wasn't moving at all. Slowly body part by body part, we narrowed down the pain factor to his wrist. We got him inside, put some ice on it and tried to determine what we should do. He was settling down well, but we decided to take him in just to get it checked out. I was very thank-ful that the friend we were visiting has a vehicle and could drive us to the hospital. (it feels like a novelty to us know to driven somewhere) I was also very thank-ful to have her there to walk us through our first hospital visit. We got in quickly, and it was determined that he had a fracture on his arm bone (where it connects to the thumb bone at the wrist). We quickly got the finger to armpit plaster cast put on, and got back in time to watch American Idol at her house. ;). She was so kind to drive us to the ferry pier so we didn't have to do the MTR.
So every two weeks since that time we have had to travel to that same hospital to get his arm x-rayed and examined by the orthopedic dr. Travel time to the hospital is about 2 hours from door step to door step. Not really so bad, but tiring after a while. So after the first two visits he was down to a lighter cast that was from finger tips to elbow, and now he has a brace on for the last 4 weeks.
We had to go to the same hospital because our small local hospital does not have an orthopedic Dr. on site, and it was easier to go back there than transfer to a different hospital that might be slightly closer.
As Hong Kong resident we are able to access the local health care system like local residents. The initial visit to the hospital was $100HK ($13CA) and then subsequent visits are $60hk. Not too bad really. Mostly we have had a good experience with our hospital visits. The Dr.'s all speak english, and we have even had two Dr. who studied or lived in Canada! Most staff have some degree of english as well.
Sammy has been such a trooper thu it all. It has been so hard for him living on the island and everyone else going swimming on the hot days except him. I am so proud of him, but we are all looking forward to him getting it off.
He will have to have some physical therapy when the brace comes off, but thank goodness our little local hospital has a fabulous occupational therapy clinic we can go to. 5 minute walk rather than 2hr ferry/mtr trip. And the Koop children sang out 'Hallelujah!!!!!!'

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Tonight as I tucked 2 of my little people into bed, we did what I like to call 'heart checks' - I ask them how their heart is doing. They both answered 50-50, 50% happy and 50%sad, each for different reasons. Then Ethan said to me "But mom it is okay that it is only 50-50 because I trust you". Oh Lord, be-still my heart. What a thing to be told by that precious little soul looking up at me with his big green eyes. What a precious weight to be entrusted with.

But then I thought, can I say that to my heavenly father. Do I have the honesty to tell him how my heart is really doing, but then trust him fully no matter what? Do I really? I am not sure. I know I want to, but I am not sure I do.

That is a hard thing to look at honestly and not turn away in shame.

If I allow myself to stand naked before him. Not for a split second, and then run for cover. But to stand - exposed.

I have been talking to my daughter about the joys of being 'known' lately. About how wonderful it can be for someone like your husband, friend, parent to 'know' your quirks and realize they still fully love you. How if you allow yourself to get past the feeling of being exposed and needing to defend yourself, there is a wonderful place of love and acceptance there.

That is what I am longing to know tonight from Abba father. To stand naked before him and relish in the knowledge that here, completely exposed before him, I am loved. Even adored. And remain there until it is more than just a thought or even a realization. But stand there until I can close my eyes, stand with my shoulders relaxed, hand unclenched, and breathe in that deep breath of life and love in his peace that fills my every fibre.

Lord Jesus, help tonight I pray!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I gave up

I had great intentions this week about getting our schedule going for homeschooling, and just life in general. Great intentions, that was what I had. It turned out to be one of those days. We did do some school, not a lot, but enough.
Last night hubby delivered the rest of the our furniture so we actually had a table to work on. It felt rather revolutionary actually.
This afternoon a volunteer work crew came to help clean up the yard. Now when I say 'work crew' you most likely have a mental picture of kids in jeans, t-shirts, and old runners! Well.......lets just say that would be an incorrect image. These kids were dressed to go shopping and impress every person they passed. High heels and all. And the mobile's never left their hands. Literally. Work gloves were handed out, and you would have thought they were handing out worms to be digested. It was very humorous actually. They did manage to pick up a few buckets of rubbish. The girls were very interested in us qweilo's (foriegners with white skin) who live in this big house, and I found a few of them peering into our windows hoping to sight Feshya.

Anyways, It was another adventure here on our island.

I will post pics as soon as I can.

Happy Easter everyone. May you always be Cross-Eyed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


the boys cleaning up the yard (that are is now a wonderful patio area)

Our last walk from the old house to the new

Feshya in her new room

Hello my few followers. It has been a long time. So much happening. So many pages I could fill with all the goings on. Could. But, today it today, and so we will go from here, kinda,

We are in!!! Finally, and as of tomorrow, completely. The last of our furniture will be hauled up the hill on trolley's tomorrow by the brothers. I made them some chocolate cookies. Hopefully that will soften their hearts towards me after doing yet another heavy haul. I really am so thank-ful for their help. I realize they don't really have a choice, but they mostly do it with smiles, and we certainly could not have done this with out them! It is a very interesting adventure to move without vehicles!
We have been in for just over a week now. I laughed the first couple of days as we all kept ending up in our bed hanging out together. It took some time for us to get adjusted to having space to 'stretch out' in. But, now, man oh man, does it feel good. And I mean really really good. I am overwhelmed with how blessed we are to be in this house. I will post pics soon.

Our very first weekend our home was filled with friends. Bethany House is a five minute walk from our house. Some friends from Hong Kong were staying there for the weekend. It was her birthday, so everyone came over for a little party. We had a potluck lunch, worship/prayer, and the beginnings of community together. Beautiful. I cried actually. To have my new home filled with laughter, love, spirit on the very first weekend was truly more than I could have hoped for!

Thanks Dad for the gifts you give!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm sorry

The last item we needed to be able to move into our house was a bed. Of course there are about 5 million places in Hong Kong to buy a bed, but being able to afford the bed was the issue. So we searched and searched the local classifieds for expats. There is always a tonne of stuff for sale on there because of all the people who come here to work for a few years, but then sell things off for cheap when they leave. But, we were having a really hard time finding an appropriate bed for us.
Then, we found one. We were excited. It was only a mattress, but that was fine, we would figure out the frame with time. So we set it all up, Brad left this morning to help p/u the bed.

Then he calls. They found a bed in the school storage for us instead.

That is great!

really, a good thing.

But that meant I had to call the lady who was literally waiting for the delivery truck to p/u the bed.

I had to call and tell her we would not be coming after all!!

I hate hate hate hate hate hate having to make calls like that. I am one of those people who half entertains the idea of sending a text message instead!!! I mean, I wouldn't really, but still I thought of about it for that split second. Or two.

But I didn't. I called and apologized as whole heartedly as I possibly could.

The response was.........well, she hung up on me.

I felt horrible.
Maybe we should just buy the bed anyways, I thought. Well, that is silly. But, for a few moments that seemed so much better than having a complete stranger not like me.

Okay, so we have some people pleasing issues to work thru yet. Oh well.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

the most amazing girl I know

Once upon a time a child came into this world. Never before had there been one just like this and never again would there be one exactly the same. The Great Mystery of the Universe created this one special, his very own handy work.

When she was 10 her family moved across the ocean to a crazy strange new land.

She love the new adventure. She saw a beauty in many things that the rest of us would have just passed by. She brought a joy to the journey that would not have been there with out her.

But to go on this journey she had to say good-bye to many loved ones. She had to leave many comforts and familiarities behind. She had to leave everything she had ever known for the unknown.

This was hard.

Very hard.

Most days she smiles, but often under the smile is a sadness of the good-byes and left behinds.

Tonight this dear one cried in my arms. I cried.

Tonight I asked Abba Father to hold her in the deep places where I can not.

Tonight she asked Abby Daddy to heal her heart and bring her joy.

He spoke his words of hope and peace to her in a way I never could have.
He came and held her in the places she didn't know she needed holding. He showed her the truth of in our weakness he is made strong. He painted a picture of his love for her in a way only the artist of all artist could do.

Now I ask for peace and joy for her. I ask for help in trust for me. I choose to lean not on my own understanding, and to hang suspended in him.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Today is warm out side. It says 28, but with the fog, um I mean cloud cover, um I mean pollution, it doens't feel quite that warm.

We were doing school. It was going okay. Not bad, but we were all having a really really difficult time focusing. It was almost lunch time.

I was struck by the need to go for a run. Sometimes the kids play at the beach while I run, so I suggested that maybe we should all get out a bit, and then we would be able to focus better this afternoon.

Well, suddenly the thought of swimming was brought up and a flurry of activity happened while swimming attire was found, I got my running gear on, and BB's chain was found so he could come down to the beach as well.

All right off we go. The kids quickly and happily set off looking for crabs and snails, BB is glad to be getting some attention, and I head off for my run (after stopping a young couple from snapping numerous pictures of the kids playing in the water).

Oh it was sweet. Everyone was happy, everyone was getting some much needed space and fresh air.

Then, suddenly, I remembered.

I had locked us out of the house.

oh man oh man oh man.

And not this is not the first time.

Okay, we got in before we can do it again. Feshya was showing great faith that we would not problems figuring it out.

Once we get home, I find that the ladder has been locked inside the flat that is being renovated below us on the ground floor. So we pondered and pondered and pondered and pondered.
There simply had to be a way to get in. We had even left two windows wide open. I just didn't know how in the world we would get in. (we are on the second floor).

We figure out that if I could lift Ethan up to crawl over to the neighbors balcony (second floor right beside us), he can crawl over the railing, inch along the railing to our open window, and then crawl in the window.
Simple right. We will just call this the class on strategic critical thinking.......yah and Physical Education for the hoisting and crawling and pulling.

So he does it, no problems. We were all a little freaked out that he would fall down once or twice. (I was standing on a chair and holding his feet the entire time).

Brad has nick named Ethan 'x-games' because he is always trying crazy things and seems to have an elastic body that is almost pliable.

So, after we are all inside, Ethan says how everyone needs to be thank-ful that he is x-games because otherwise we would have been locked out forever.

Thank x-games!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

a thought on cultural differences

I have been thinking about culture differences (I guess that is a bit of a given lol).
And I have been thinking about moving out of our room (I guess that is a bit obvious as well hehe)

See, when we tell most people here the amount of space we live in, they really are not shocked, or surprised, or give me the sympathy I am desperately looking for. They just nod and say 'Oh yes'. And sometimes give me the look of wondering why I am complaining. Of course I smile politely, but inside I wanna shake them and try to make them understand how it is to homeschool and live in a one room where the bed is our learning quarters, sleeping quarters, eating quarters, relaxing quarters, etc etc.

But then ahhhhhh,
I must stop and think about those cultural differences.

First, homeschooling is completely and totally foreign to them. They don't even have the reference of 'that weird family down the road'. They just don't know anything about it.

So, how can they understand my frustration. They can't. And that is okay.

Yes, most people here live in very small quarters. Even with children and grandparents and a helper in one house. But, the kids are gone for school many hours a day, then they often have tutoring after hours. If they are lucky they live close to a school, but many kids spend a long time traveling to and from school (much like myself as a youngster growing up on the prairies). The evenings you are always seeing the kids running around outside, playing basketball, hanging out. If at home, you mostly see them, doing homework or maybe watching TV. Quiet sit down activities.
So, they don't spend a lot of time in the house.
So how can they understand my slippery slope of insanity of living a life of a homeschooling family here.

Please do not read this as a 'my life is better than theirs and they just don't understand'. That is not were I am going with this at all!!! Just giving you yet another glimpse into the mind of Cristal. Please come again!

a sneek peek if you want to

today was a mix bag. Rainy outside. Wet inside with moisture dripping into pools at the bottom. Clean clothing run to hubby doing a 2 nighter. Picked up more groceries than I could enjoy carrying home. A dog that got loose right in front of the bakery (crisis was averted). Many coughs, sniffly runny noses, soar throats. Wet dog smell. Mosquito bites galore. Attempting to do school. Then the jack-hammering began. And it stayed. All day long. In the suite below us. Kinda gave up at that point. Tried to coast the rest of the way. Did have a successful teaching time. Did watch a movie. Did make a good super. Did have some laughs. Wiped a few tears. Many hugs. And always as many kisses as my kids will allow me to shower on them in the midst of our grumpiness.

Synopsis : Cristal and the children are becoming ever more desperate to get out of our one room and into the house!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Does he come with the shoes?

Ethan was in need of some new shoes. I won't use this space to complain about the recently bought crocs that he managed to quickly wear out......oh oops, guess I just did.
Went to a local shoe store to try some on. The store was very neat and clean. That wasn't my deciding factor for going in, but I was impressed once we were inside. Ethan picked out the 'coolest' shoes he could see and the lady went to the back to find his size. Barefoot he tried them on, took the necessary lap around the store to make sure they fit well.

As he sat down to take them off I did one last look around to see if any were one sale.
When I turned back to Ethan I noticed a large cockroach running across the floor. Disgusted but not surprised, I watched it crawl into some corner.

As I tell the sales lady we will take the shoes, Ethan ever so casually says to me

'Um mom, I think a cockroach just crawled out of the runner when I took them off'

Okay, what do you say to that. EWWWWWWW! That is disgusting. I would have screamed had I just watched a large ucky icky gross thing crawl out of a shoe that I just had on my foot, and barefoot non the less (Ethan did not have any socks on when he tried on the runners).

But, he was kinda okay with it, so I had to go with the flow.
"Oh yes honey, I noticed the little guy crawl into the corner. That is kinda weird hey" was my official casual sounding response tho.

But come on', that is DISGUSTING!!!! I hate those creepy crawlers.

We have had almost no cockroaches in our place, and I am fully aware of that being God's grace to me. I know there is NO WAY I could have handled my kids sleeping on the floor these 5 going on 6 months if there were cockroaches in the house. Not that they don't climb up all surfaces. I know, but the floor is still a vulnerable place.

ICK ICK ICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Do Over

That is what I wish I could call today.

A Do Over.

As a mom, as a homeschooling mom, I was pretty much a flop today. Some day's we don't do a lot with official homeschooling and that is okay. Today, it wasn't okay.

We had to go and get laundry and some groceries and desperately needed to clean the house. Morning gone. Okay fine, we will start after lunch. But then......well, one thing lead to another, then I needed to kick the kids out of our room to spin off some energy, then it was supper, and blah blah blah.

Now here is the 'lets keep it real' description.
I let the craziness of living in our room get to me today. I let my sadness of not having family and friends close get to me. And in letting those things get to me I mean closed into myself and justified it by saying 'I really needed some space from everyone including my kids'.
Result, the day ended with more yelling and frustration than love and kindness. Instead of hugs at the end of a day, the hugs could only come after mommy confessed my failings to my children, wiped away a few tears. As I said to them how I let me frustration and sadness rule my day and my attitudes, Sammy says "I know exactly how you feel mom", and I knew he did. Then came the hugs of reconciliation.

That is one sweet hug. And I am overwhelming thank full for it. Wish there wasn't a reason for it, but oh my goodness gracious, I am so thank full for it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Funny how life is so the same, but oh so different. I wake up and have coffee and breakfast while the kids gather themselves for the day. We get ready to do school most days, the same. We eat lunch, the same. We try to keep the house clean, the same. We love cookies and fruit, the same. We learn, the kids fight, they make up, we laugh, we love, all the same.

But as I walk into town to get my groceries for the day, I hear the sound of mah jong being played from an empty window. This is a familiar sound that is never far away, and I often peer into an half opened door way to a game being played in a tiny living room and the laughter and singsong of cantonese spilling out onto the street. Not the same. We pass the temple and smell the freshly lit incense and have another discussion of why people worship a dead god with the kids. Not the same. We chase the wild dogs away from following us. Not the same. We see the many many small shrines on people's front steps with incense and fruit offerings. Not the same. We pass people who's faces have become familiar but we have no ability to say anything beyond 'jo shan' (good morning). Not the same. We pass the fisherman bringing in the fresh catch to be sold to the stalls we walk past every day. Not the same. I carry my groceries home in a red pull cart like most other people. Not the same.

Some days like today I am struck by how the 'not the same' as becoming the same. I love that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a dog, a door, and bugs

Nope, not bugs that crawl on the ground, (thank goodness!!!!) but tummy bugs, runny nose bugs, cough bugs, those ones. We have had our share. Everyone says how long it can take to get used to the new place in terms of health, and that sure is true. It seems we always have someone down with something. Sometimes not too serious, other times spending a few days in bed. On the days that we spend in bed, our little place feels even littler and that leads me to the next thing.

The door. Our door. A door for the house. The front door has been ordered. It should be delivered in about 2 weeks. Then Brad just has to build the frame for it, and we should be able to move in. Sometime before then, the cook top should be installed. I was hoping for a gas cooktop, but it looks like I will be getting a electric one. Trust me, I am completely thank-ful for what ever it is. Brad will be getting the security bars installed (not a sign of a bad neighborhood, but the normal thing), putting in the doors, I will be making an Ikea run this week to purchase window coverings, and then walla........we should be able to move in.
Yes I say 'should' because at this point I hold all deadlines for moving in VERY loosely!

And lastly, the dog. Our BB. He is sweet and kind and lovely and has us all wrapped around his little paw already. And I like thinking of us as 'a family with a dog'. Not sure why, but it just feels good. And just to let you know, we will also have another pet soon. Well, actually about 3. No, actually, about 6. You will just have to stayed tuned for more details to come.

And again, please remember to pray for our sweet little friend Sarah who is bravely battling leukemia. You can follow her story here and please if you can, donate to them as well. The costs are quickly accumulating. Even simple things like the daily cost of hospital parking, meals, toll booths, gas, let alone the cost of hospital bills all add up very very quickly, and the last thing they need during this time is to be under financial stress. Reading the blog brings tears to my eyes about how brave Sarah is and all that they face daily on this journey!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


May I introduce to you Sarah.

She is a wonderful special girl that we have grown to love in our short time here in Hong Kong.

Last week she was diagnosed with B Acute Leukemia.

Literally, last week monday she had a fever and flu symptoms, this Monday she started her first intensive chemo treatment.

They were going to try and go home to the US for treatment, but the Dr.'s advised against it. So they are here for the first 5 weeks intensive treatment, then they will re-evaluate from there.

If you are the praying kind, please remember to lift up this family!

Here is the link to their blog where you can get a glimpse into this journey they are on.

My children have been greatly affected by this, and we have daily discussions on how life is for Sarah and what she is all going through. We have had many opportunities to come alongside this family, and will do all we can to help in the future.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

We have discovered that our dog has a bit of an obsession with bread. We new the old owners gave him bread for a treat, but......well, just read on.

As I have said there are many bakeries in town, and so it is very common to see people carrying small white or red plastic bags that are carrying fresh baking (or fish from the market....but anyways). We have learned quickly that we need to keep BB very close when we walk thru town so he isn't sniffing everyone's bags.

Yesterday as me and the kids sat at the beach having a bun, BB literally jumped and snatched a whole bun out of my hand before I even knew what was happening.

Today, I gave the kids some change to get a pineapple bun (it doesn't have pineapple in it, and doesn't even taste like pineapple....but again anyways) while I ran in to get some groceries. Suddenly Sam runs in to tell me that BB snatched Feshya's bun out of her hands.

I gave Feshya money to go and get another one, and low and behold,when she was about 3/4 thru, once again, BB snatched that freshly baked goodness right outta her hand.

This time she was not only mad, but extremely sad that this dog that she has lavished her love upon so freely would be so mean to her.

Her response just about had me rolling down the alley way.

Thru tears she says to me

"BB is the devil mom, he is the devil!!!!"

The did make their peace a few minutes later. But, I was still laughing!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our new addition

May I please introduce you to our newest family member BB.

We have never lived in a place that allowed dogs before. When we found out that we would be living in a house with a yard here in HK, we promised Feshya that she could finally get a dog. She has pined for one for so very long.
About a month ago we heard of a couple here on the island that were moving to HK and were looking for a new home for their Golden Retriever. I had hoped that we would be in the house by then, but as we all know, that hasn't exactly work out.
So yesterday was the day that we picked him up, the picture above is taken just before we took him home.
I think it is obvious to see Feshya's pure excitement. She has literally dreamed of this day for years.

Our first days have been a bit of an adventure. The plan was to leave him outside for night, and then bring him to the new house during the day to run around. The yard is completely fenced in so it is perfect.

Well, it decided to rain all day. There is no place to tie him up with shelter where we are currently. And with it rainy, we couldn't go and spend the day at the new place in the yard. Sooooo, BB ended up spending half the day inside our current one room house! A few walks to town tired him out enough that he was pretty mellow and stayed in the corner without too much coaxing.

The house is a bit smellier (you know, that lovely wet dog smell).

But I really don't think I have the words to share the sweetness of our day. I saw my little girls heart grow, and heal. BB got more love and hugs and kisses and care than he even knew what to do with.

It was good!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow...

So cliche I know, but as I sit here in the quiet house, the kidlets are asleep, dishes are done, and jammies are on, I am listening to "over the rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. What lovely song. This is one song I can put on repeat and just melt into it. Beautifully simplistic.

But the rainbow. That is what I remembered today. The promise. The hope. Brad was at the house the other day, feeling frustrated over 'house issues'. Then he looked out and there was a rainbow. So simple. Such an easy thing to passively admire. But as he looked at the colorful display, he was reminded of the promise.


I think that shall be my word this year.


My promise of being here in Asia is a large part, yet a small part.

He breathed things into my being, and so often I doubt if they are still there, or if I am an able carrier of heavenly things. But then I see a rainbow and am reminded of who made the promise.

Too often as of late I have wanted to have it all together. Have it all figured. Then I feel like a failure when it isn't.

Do you ever feel like that? Do you whisper to the night of how you feel alone? I know I do.

The kids and I have been listening to Chronicles of Narnia lately, we finished The Magician's Nephew. Pure splendidness!!!
Today I listened of the simple taxi horse Strawberry becoming a winged horse in Narnia. That is Aslan's way. To take something so simple, and make it glorious.

Today I was reminded of that. I am simple, and cracked, and all together not put together.

Tonight I feel him roar over me, shattering the lies that have come and tried to make place.
He is reminding me!
Calling me!
Pulling me in!
Releasing me out!
Reminding me to trust!
Whispering of the promise in the deep places!

Ahhhhh, I think I shall go and rest there.


Friday, January 1, 2010

The same.....yet oh so different

As you know we lived in Shanghai 5 yrs ago. What an incredible thrill ride that was! Crazy, but so fun, and short. 6 months (hubby 7 months).

We are going into our 5th month here. It has flown by. But it has a completely different feeling knowing that last time I was starting to think of returning home, and now, I feel like I have barely begun to settle.
That is a good thing, because we know this time it is longer term. It makes so much sense that our feeling of being settled has really just begun. I know that once we move into our other house that the feeling of being settled will hugely increase. I am desperate for that.
I have been struggling with getting enough homeschooling done. My mind has been busy fighting off feelings of failing. When I look at the logistics of schooling in our room here, I understand why it is more of a 'bare bones' than a full on learning experience, but still. The voices can be so ugly, and laced with truth.
Shanghai was just so easy really. And this time it is harder.

I have been pondering this.

I have been crying out to the One who sent us here. When my mind is so busy, it becomes difficult to hear his voice. But I need to hear his voice so desperately. I need his direction, because left on my own, my way becomes confused quickly.
The kids and I discuss His call for us to come here. We talk about holding onto that. Not because being here is our salvation, but because the Voice that called us, is our only firm footing in this life. Without hearing his voice I am lost. That is a sure thing.
So tonight, I am crying out to him to help find my rest in him and him alone. I know that when I am at rest in Who HE is, than all my other questions are answered.

Too be content in nothing by the sweetness of His love!