Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular East Asian celebration of abundance and togetherness, dating back over 3,000 years to China's Zhou Dynasty. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or "Mooncake Festival", which is just the same as "Mid-Autumn Festival" but with different names.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the solar calendar. This is the ideal time, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest, to celebrate the abundance of the summer's harvest. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar (the other being the Chinese Lunar New Year), and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:
Eating moon cakes outside under the moon
Putting pomelo rinds on one's head
Carrying brightly lit lanterns
Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e
Planting Mid-Autumn trees
Lighting lanterns on towers
Fire Dragon Dances
Photo of a mooncake
Our local FCC (Families with Children from China) will be celebrating the Moon Festival tomorrow. Check back later for pictures of the girls!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
It has been a loooong week! Last Monday I was taking groceries out from the car and
something went wrong with my back that left me unable to do much of anything. I lay
down on the hard floor thinking that might bring relief, but instead got stuck there!
Picture this...my two teenagers trying to get me up off the floor without much success as my pain was unbearable and my 2 toddlers standing over me screaming hysterically because their MaMa was stuck! Many advils, aleves and ice packs later, I was able to start moving slowly but surely until I could get to my chiropractor. By the end of the week, I was feeling almost completely back to normal.
Fast forward to this Monday, a week later (what is it with Monday's?) and I bent over to pick up a toy and couldn't get back up. The pain brought me right to my knees and that was the end of that. I felt as if I was paralyzed. I could not move at all. It was really very scary. The only position I found slight relief was leaning on the breakfast bar. I stood there for the next 6 hours until I could get to my Dr. office. It took me over 30 minutes to get into the car. The Dr. sent me right to the emergency room once she saw me. I spent most of Monday evening there and have spent the week heavily medicated. I have an appointment for an MRI next week. I feel so old! My 2 years olds have been helping me get dressed every day and picking things up for me. How pitiful is that?? A family friend has been helping me quite a bit and driving us to appointments and such since I am unable to drive.
We CAN play really nice together sometimes, we just didn't want anyone to know
Ella's artwork from pre-school
Sophie's certificate of citizenship finally came, so now we can apply for her social security #.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
One day I decided to quit...I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality... I wanted to quit my life.I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I asked, "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"His answer surprised me..."Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?" "Yes", I replied."When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
He said."In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit."
He said."Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Comparedto the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant...But just 6months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.
"He asked me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots". "I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.""Don't compare yourself to others." He said "The bamboo had a different Purpose than the fern.
Yet they both make the forest beautiful.""Your time will come", God said to me. "You will rise high"
"How high should I rise?" I asked."How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return."As high as it can?" I questioned."Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can.
"I left the forest and brought back this story. I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you. Never, Never, Never Give up.
This was sent to me and I wanted to share it with you all!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Mom's Morning Out is a program offered at a local nursery school. It is for 2 year old and they meet once a week for 3 hours. They do not need to be potty trained...big plus for us! Ella's best friend K was signed up for it, so I had signed Ella up to see how she would do. Her and K would be in the same class - another plus. There are 12 kids per class and 3 teachers. Ella turns 3 in November, so will always just miss the cut-offs for school. I felt she was ready for something like this, but if she in anyway was upset about going...I was not going to push it. It is certainly not a necessary, thing...but I hoped something she will enjoy!
So, this morning went well, whew! I purposely took her a little on the late side as I knew there would be a lot of commotion and little kids crying in the beginning. Ella is comfortable with separating from me and seems to understand I will be back, BUT loud noise and chaos upsets her a lot! When we arrived, everyone was in the class room already playing. There were still some crying children, but Ella seemed to be alright with it. K didn't make it the full day as she was very upset and wanted her Mommy. She went home early. I am anxious to see how Ella does next week and what she will say about going back. She told me she had fun today, so that's good!
Here is Ella stuffing Pup into her backpack. Of course he had to come along, but Ella understood he was not allowed out of the backpack while in school!
My backpack is almost bigger than me!
Lunchbox and backpack. I am ready!
Come on, Mom...let's leave already!!
Pup and Ella napping after a busy morning...
Monday, September 17, 2007
Ella and her beloved Pup and her new buddy Milo
I love you Milo.....
But I have to tell you Pup is my #1 love. He has been by my side for the last 18 months...he even traveled across the world to China with me!
A masterpiece in progress......
Ignore Dave's jeans! He had just walked in from work!
Milo helping out as always.....
Be careful Ellie...don't wreck it....
Masterpiece now finished. In case you can;t tell - it's a dog!
This is a new class beginning this past week-end. Miss Li(the instructor) just came here over summer to the US to live. She taught children for 20 or more years while living in China and is now teaching local children about Chinese language/culture. There are 6 girls in Ella's class...all around the same age. They will meet once a week for 4 weeks and then off for 4 weeks and so on. Ella had lots of fun!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
For my fellow cathedral builders... I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,
the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the
phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't
you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on
the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my
head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more:
Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm
not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask,
"What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is
the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Pick me up right around
5:30, please."I was certain that these were the hands that once held
books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated
summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut
butter, never to be seen again. She's going . she's going . she's
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return
of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous
trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I
was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down
at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was
clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was
afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling
pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped
package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great
cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me
until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the
greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great
cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave
their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made
great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their
building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit
the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving
a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the
man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam
that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the
workman replied, "Because God sees."
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I
see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you
does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no
cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.
You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what
it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my
own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn
pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great
builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will
never see finished, to work on something that their name will never
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could
ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing
to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't
want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for
Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade
pies, and then she hand- bastes a turkey for three hours and presses
all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or
a monument to myself.
I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything
more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there." As
mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will
marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has
been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Ryan had his first Cross Country meet on Thursday and came in first place out of 70 plus kids!! Go Ry!!!! That perseverance he has had since birth is shining through in positive ways. When he was a toddler and he gave persistence a whole new meaning and me a lot of gray hair, some people would tell me that this would be a great thing when he gets older. I see that is now what is happening. Whew!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The Local Mom's Club that I belong to organized a car seat inspection for all interested. I found out one of our car seat's has been recalled! I find in interesting that all of the toy recalls have been broadcast widely, but I have heard nothing of this recall.The police officer said it has been recalled in the last week or two. The other car seat, which is actually the same one, purchased more recently was fine. Dave had tethered the seat to the wrong place and they were both not in tight enough...so I was glad we went!
Note: Carseats involved are Cosco, Eddie Bauer and one other(?) Manufacture dates of 03 through 05. But not all models are involved. I called the company earlier and they are sending me a repair kit for the harness. I asked them why it has not been all over the news. Their answer...: "it is all over Canada, but we are still working on getting the word out over here in the U.S.???
Monday, September 10, 2007
New Every Morning
“His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB).
You may have done something last week or last month that you're not particularly happy about, but the good news is you don't have to carry that around with you. That's part of what the Scripture means when it says that God's mercies are new every morning. God's mercy and forgiveness are available to you each and every day. His compassions never fail. That means that as soon as you call on Him and repent and change your ways, God pours out His compassion and forgiveness. Simply open your heart and receive it. You can have a new beginning every single day! Do you feel like there's something between you and God right now? Take a moment and call on His faithfulness. Call on His mercy. Ask for His forgiveness. Don't waste another moment in the past. Let Him refresh and restore your soul right now. Praise Him and thank Him for the work He is doing in your life and enjoy a fresh new beginning today!
A Prayer for Today
God, I don't want to go through another day dragging the weight of the past. Thank You for opening the door of that prison and setting me free. Help me to claim and enjoy Your new mercies each day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
The little boy's shirt I came in...
that traveled all through China with me
A few of you have asked about "the shirt". The shirt that Sophie came to us in while in China and the shirt she never once let go of for our 2 weeks in China. That shirt! We allow her to have it for nap and bed times only and she is content with that. It gets washed regularly. It looks filthy as the stains are set in.
Ella's potty...all alone
Smiling with my diaper!
Sorry, I am behind in my blogging. We spent the week trying to push the idea of using the potty, instead of changing all of those diapers. Ella has never, ever done anything in the potty. She has sat on it many times, but doesn't seem to have the idea of how to do what she is supposed to do. As a matter of fact...a few times she sat on her little potty seat and asked me to show her how. Sorry, sweetie...that I can not do. As much time as she spends with me in the restroom...if that is not enough, well.... She is definitely physically ready as she can hold her bladder for hours on end and she now tells me right after she has done something in her diaper. BUT...I don't think she is quite ready emotionally. This past week was proof of that.
Sophie automatically does something as soon as you sit her on a potty. They tie the kids to potty seats in orphanages from when they are little babies. I can't say all orphanages do this, but I know many do and I know Sophie's definitely does. They will train them to go at certain times and sometimes to a particular sound. The kids sometimes are tied to the potty chairs for hours a day.
So with that...we took the diapers off this week. Where we have ended for now....Ella is not ready and asked to have her diaper back. Sophie is doing quite well during the day and wearing big girl pants. I thought Ella might be jealous with Sophie getting a treat and praise whenever she uses the potty...but no. She is happy to have her diapers back!