Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Window

I have a window in my kitchen. It has always made me happy.

On clear days, I marvel about how far I can see. On dreary days, the fog is so thick I can't see the next building. When I'm cooking too many things and the kitchen gets thick with heat and steam, I can open the window and feel a cool breeze. When I don't leave the apartment for days at a time, it may be all I see of the outside.

Best of all, through that window I can hear the children laughing. Below it merges three apartment complexes, and the lives of young children. Their laughter and shouts rise on the wind and enter my apartment making me smile as I prepare dinner, pick up dishes, or bake. Lizbeth sits on the floor by the fridge with her magnets and I wonder of the days ahead when she will be laughing and running and playing with her friends.

This week my window makes me sad. There is no laughter, no shouts, no cries of delight. This week, when I look out my window, I see a place where a child lost their life. The grave of so many innocent hopes and dreams and childish pursuits. This week my window is silent.

I have hope. I know that one day soon I will hear the laughter again. One day soon I will look out my window and marvel again at the beauty of my city. One day soon...but that day is not today.

Our God is still big, and our God is still good.

***Our dear student and friend went home to be with the Lord yesterday. Please be in Prayer for his family and all of us grieving.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Some things that break my heart

Seeing a child's bike that will never again be ridden by its owner.
Watching my dearest friends, grown men, cry.
Hearing the heroic tale of a mother who performed CPR on her dying son until the ambulance could arrive.
Listening to my close friends ask if there was more they could do.
Picturing a boy beside his best friend who will never wake up.

This weekend we are heartbroken, but still know that our God is big, and our God is good. It seems He is choosing to take Home a fifth grade boy, our student, our friend, our neighbor, after he went into a coma following a significant fall through a skylight into a parking garage. We are trusting Him to know the bigger picture, and to care for us as we weep for the one we love and those he is leaving behind. Please be in prayer for our entire community here.

**Edited to Add: Please be aware he is still on life support as final decisions are being made. We are still praying for a miracle despite being against all odds. Please join us in this earnest prayer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Retreat

Part of the reason I've been so behind posting is because I've been at two retreats. Last weekend we had our company Women's retreat in Tianjin, and this weekend there was a smaller one here in Qingdao. I know it sounds funny to do both, but the first was so wonderful and relaxing, I was excited to do some more soul searching at the more serious one this weekend.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera to both. Lizbeth and I had a great time catching up with our friends from other cities, despite her terrible cold. However, Emily from Tianjin posted a few, so I thought I would include the link. Click here to view pics of Little Maddy and Lizbeth together!

Even more unfortunately, Lizbeth had a terrible cold (though she had plenty of energy and loved all the people) so this is as close as we let them get.

We also were able to spend an afternoon with our dear friends the Smiths and catch up with them. Everyone's kids are growing so fast! I wish we all lived closer and we could get together more than once or twice a year...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Always a Downside

As many of you know, we have a Chinese helper (yes, sort of like a maid). Now before you get excited, remember that you have a car (prob at least one), can speak your native tongue when shopping, and unblocked internet. :-) I'm not saying one way is better than another, just that they are different.

We love our "Ayi". She adores Lizbeth, even comes early so she can play with her more, is a great cook, and truly has a servant heart.

But there are always downsides. For instance:

Where is my black t-shirt? Did I leave it in America, or did she put it in Nathan's clothes, or did she put it in one of the FOUR places she puts my t-shirts? (Still haven't found it...)

Why doesn't she understand that these toys go here, and those ones there? (Because I haven't told her...)

Why did she WASH my leather hat? (I guess they don't understand that leather shouldn't get wet? And I did leave it on the floor...)

The latest event involves the pressure cooker. Last week I had the great idea to make refried beans. Well, I can't figure out why, but my chinese pressure cooker doesn't work that great. I have to double or even triple the time, and last time (even though I added additional water after checking to find them not done) it completely burnt them. So, I gave up, put the pot in the sink, and waited for Ayi to wash it.

I returned home that afternoon (Wed) and saw that she had washed all the dishes and placed the pressure cooker on the back of the stove. Thinking that she just didn't know where I store it (I've only had it since Christmas and used it a few times) I left it there.

Now on to Sunday. I returned home in the afternoon to find Nathan with all the windows open. When I commented, he said the house had "stank" when he came home. Sewer lines in China often stink from the sinks, so I didn't think much about it. Later we were cooking and I needed the back burner. When I lifted the pot, a retched stench was emitted and I realized that the beans had never been cleaned...and now were beyond moldy. Ew.

Now I have to clean it myself, and talk to her about why she didn't clean it last week. Fun.

I am not complaining at all. Well, maybe just a little. But I also realize, most of our issues come from my lack of communication, and her non-english ability. I know I should tell her when I don't like something, but my non confrontational personality cringes at having to tell someone they did something wrong. Especially someone as loving and caring, who will feel awful if she realizes she ruined something (such as my hat). I guess every good thing has its downsides.

Over all, we are incredibly blessed. She is wonderful and Lizbeth adores her (of course, so do we!) The smile Lizbeth gives every time she opens the front door is worth every hard part. Of course, almost never having to wash dishes does a bit too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lizbeth Sings a Song

video

Today Lizbeth found Daddy's guitar and started playing it. I picked up the camera just in time to catch this short clip. Unfortunately, the SD card was not in the camera, so this is about all it would record. Who's the cutest baby ever?

And by the way, Joanne, Lizbeth is a tough contender for World's Greatest Baby. I have it on good authority.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just Another Day

So my husband is working until 8:30ish, the baby was just diagnosed bronchitis, there's a leak in my kitchen they can't fix until tomorrow, and bacon just "popped" into my eyeball. Yes, directly in. Should I be concerned that it doesn't actually hurt?

I'm consoling myself with breakfast for dinner. Bacon, eggs, and pancakes. With lots and lots of syrup.