Wednesday, February 27, 2008

R-Rated Orphans

My sister-in-law Carrie, who volunteers at the orphanage in China that we visited, asked me help with the orphan updates this month because she was unexpectedly asked to go to Mongolia for a few days. Every month, the nanny's write a short blurb on the kids that they take care of. These blurbs are in Chinese and are translated into rough English by the students at the orphanage (New Day also has a school to teach young men and women how to read, write, and speak English). The updates are then revised by people like Carrie (or myself, when asked) and are sent to the Americans that sponsor these children to let them know how they are doing. Sometimes the translations from Chinese to English can be a bit interesting, such as this one:

Gideon is a smart kid. He starts to know many things. He plays his heart out in the play room every day. He likes to imitate others. When he is imitating something from TV, he always asks his moms to watch him. He knows when to drink water, wash his face, put lotions on his face and brush his teeth. Sometimes he likes to tap his little butt to say he had shit himself. Sometimes he is very quiet in a corner. He is doing therapy excise quite well every day. He can jump on his one leg with assistance.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Challenge to the Senses

I don't quite know how to promote the video I just watched without people either: 1). rolling their eyes because they think I'm now an active member of PETA and now you have to hide your fur coat from me (you don't, by the way); or 2). blowing it off because it doesn't seem important. But, I challenge everyone to watch this video, whether you think it's goofy or not. You should especially watch it if you think it's goofy because I'm curious to hear your thoughts. If I can watch it, then you can as well!

If you are the competitive sort, then accept my challenge, and leave me a post on what you thought because I found it very eye-opening to say the least: click
here to view the video. I'm curious to know how this affects (or doesn't affect) you. Also, because I found this video on Greg Boyd's website, if you are interested in his thoughts on the subject, please check it out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Brief Glimpse Into the Mind of Man

I found a very short conversation I had with Chris to be quite revealing regarding the nature of man. Yesterday was grocery shopping day and Costco happened to be on the agenda. While perusing the aisles, I glanced over at the beer section and noticed a variety pack of Belgian Beers. Last night while taking a bath I told him I saw something at Costco that he would like and mentioned the Belgian Beer pack. His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. To test the waters, I immediately said, "and, I'm pregnant" (I'm not, by the way, this was only a test). For some reason the same sparkle in his eyes was not forthcoming. I accused him of being more excited about the beer I mentioned than my fake news of being pregnant. About two minutes later, he looked up at me and told me he just now realized what I said...he'd been too busy focusing on that beer to even understand my announcement.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Two Good Reasons to Pray

Two of the little boys that we met while in Beijing are going in for checkups in a couple hours to see when their heart surgeries can be scheduled. Please be lifting these precious little boys up to the Father. Seth has already had one surgery, but this second is very serious, and a little boy died from the same surgery last year. Chris, named after my hubby, is going in to see if he is healthy enough for surgery in the near future.

Seth is the favorite at the orphanage because of his slight build and his endearing smile. He loves to sit on your lap and just be held. He's very weak, though, and can't play quite as intensely as most of the other little boys.

Chris is just an infant, very quiet, with a wrinkly forehead. He looks like a wizened old man. He's such a sweet baby.

While you are praying for their health, please pray for the families that will adopt these sweet boys.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Good Neighbors, Yarn, and a Fresh Chicken Dinner

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: we have the best neighbors. Steve and Monika are so very friendly. Our property has a fence all around it, but we share a little gate to make visiting easy. When their lab, Luna, was alive, she was Trudy's best friend, and they took advantage of that gate all the time going back and forth between houses. Monika loves Trudy, and now the puppy, which is why we feel so bad about being the bad neighbors. Let me explain:

Else is their cat, and she has a tiny little door enabling her to go in and out of their house at leisure. Unfortunately, Sophie can fit through the tiny door as well. And she frequently does. When I can't find her, I usually assume she is in Steve and Monika's house, cleaning up their kitchen floor of any debris.

Last weekend, though, Sophie let her true colors shine through. We had company over for dinner. The dogs kept tracking in mud, so Chris kept the dogs outdoors. When it turned dark, I decided it was time for the dogs to come indoors and called for Trudy (Sophie doesn't come when I call her name, but she follows Trudy around everywhere). Trudy arrived without Sophie. We were all busy eating, so I didn't go looking for her, but soon I heard a voice, and saw Monika outside our kitchen window. Monika's hands were full of yarn, and Sohie was trotting behind her. I said hello to her and she, while trying to collect yarn that appeared to be trailing on the ground said in her cute Swiss accent, "I told Sophie it was time to come home and go to bed." Apparently Steve was supposed to be watching her and the cat while Monika was in her studio out back. They got a hold of her knitting yarn and had it all through the house. Clearly, Sophie had overstayed her welcome. Monika's very easy going about everything, so we laughed as we watched the cat (who had followed her over) and bad Sophie chase after the yarn. I apologized for my mischievous dog, and she went home.
Yesterday morning I gave her a small plant because I felt badly about Sophie. I also closed the gate so that Sophie wouldn't make any more surprise visits. However, Steve and Monika love dogs and ours are no exception--they opened the gate so Trudy and Sophie could come over.

After church, Monika came over to visit. We chatted for quite sometime and then, because I didn't want the dogs being a nuisance, I said we'd keep the gate closed. Monika decided it was time to go home, so I followed her outside to check on the girls. They weren't in our yard. We walked together to her house. I called for Trudy. Trudy met us at the gate. But Sophie was MIA. Monika spotted her over by her chicken coop. Eating something. A chicken! It would appear as though Trudy and Sophie (the little devil), managed to kill one of her birds. Trudy has always been great around Monika's chickens and has helped Monika corral them in her yard when they escape. And never has she attacked one. But, with her new little helper, they managed to get a hold of the smallest one. I'm not too good around dead animals. I yelled at Sophie to come to me. She looked at me, thought I was going to take her meal away, and started carrying it off (it was bigger than she is). So, I picked her up and glanced down at the poor bird. It's eyes were closed, the lower half of it's body stripped of feathers. And, horror of horrors, it's heart was still beating! I could see it's poor little chest moving up and down. I don't know how it could have been alive since I saw that a few portions of it's body had already been sampled. I pointed out it's movement to Monika, apologized over and over, and told her I'd get her another plant. She laughed and said she'd have a whole garden soon. Running next door, with a very disgruntled Sophie in tow, I told Chris he had to go take care of that chicken. A farmer I am not...I asked him if it was still alive if it looked like it was breathing. I've never seen a chicken slaughtered, but I know they keep moving after they die. Chris laughed and said if it's heart was beating, then yes, it was still alive. I was really hoping the chest movements were just nerves. He went next door to make sure it was put out of it's misery.

There really must be something wrong with me: I hate for anything to suffer and the thought of my dogs eating a chicken alive bothers me. But Sophie looked so funny running away from me with her fresh (slightly killed) chicken, I couldn't help but laugh. I've asked our pastor and his wife if they will give us a refund for this dog we purchased from them...or at least pay us to keep her! But, now they categorically deny ever having seen her. I think I understand their reticence.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Guilty As Sin

Do you ever have those moments where you are angry but don't know whether to scream or cry? Well, I have those frequently, usually with the dogs, and for some reason instead of yelling or crying out in frustration...I laugh. It drives Chris crazy that they can do the most annoying, inane things, and when I really want (and probably should) beat them I just giggle. I'm glad he's not home yet, and let me tell you why:

I left for the gym this morning. Before I did I noticed that the couch in our office was dirty and decided to wash the material on the cushions. I had to de-stuff the pillows that make up the back as the couch is cheap and doesn't have real cushions but a bunch of stuffing. I put all this stuffing in garbage bags because I knew I couldn't leave it lying around, the dogs would have it all over in no time. I locked the dogs in the office, as usual when I left. When I came back it had snowed in the room! Stuffing was everywhere. I don't know how they got into the garbage bags--but they did. As well as eating parts of the bottom cushions as well. I really was ready to discipline, but first I had to run for the camera because for some reason, it looked kinda cute. As I took pictures, I scolded, and Sophie ran into the trash bag to hide in a pile of stuffing. Thus endeth the punishment.

I have to go now...I have a whole room filled with couch stuffing and two bottom cushions to repair before Chris gets home.

To My Wife:

I have never known how I found so much grace in the sight of the Lord. He has blessed my life completely and has given freely. I wrote a version of this letter to my wife a little more than three years ago and now as Valentines Day and our anniversary approach, I want her to know that I love her all the more everyday.

For some background, Jane and I first met the summer before the fourth grade when she was introduced to me by a friend as Jane McKean. Our friend thought it rhymed; it did. It also embarrassed Jane so bad she couldn’t look at me for days and left not saying a word. The amazing thing for me is that I can remember what that moment felt like to this day. That name sounded right and made my heart leap.

Not a moment passed from that time, until we were married when I did not know that she was the woman God intended to be my wife. (Ask my mother...she knew too.) Our families stayed friends after Jane moved, and from time to time we would take a trip to visit them. Without fail Jane would meet me at the door and make some off-handed comment and there we were again. It felt like I was home. We still do this everyday. When it came time to leave, I would find a corner in the back of my families suburban, put my sunglasses on, and cry most of the way home.

As time passed, and the distance between us began to seem insurmountable, I couldn’t see how even the Lord could find a way through. Even if He did, could she see past all the distance that our lives had placed between us?

As it were, I could never see my life without her. It seems as though a bad dream now, however, thinking on those years brings back many of the feelings of longing that would consume me at the thought of her. The good news is that the Lord saw fit and Jane chose me. I will praise the Lord all my days and do all I can to show this woman the kind of Love that He has shown me. That is the only kind of love that is worthy of her. In my eyes, she is the loveliest of God’s creatures and if He rests after a good creation, I know he must be sitting back enjoying this one.

To my wife:

Song of Solomon 2:10-14
…Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For, behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone:

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.;

The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!'

O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is beautiful.

Jane, my darling, the past three years have been a dream fulfilled for me. Every new moment with you is a new blessing to me and this is only the beginning for us. I want you to know how much I value you. I want to thank you for loving me, for believing in me when I have not been able to, and for continually putting my needs above your own. Most of all, I want to thank you for loving me in spite of me.

Jane, remember when we were dating I told you that I had learned what it was to adore someone for the first time…I still adore you, but that now seems pallid in comparison to how I feel for you. If I only had the words I could tell you. I don’t and a lifetime of showing may not be enough, but I am going to try as long as you let me.

I love you,
Your Hubbin’

Thursday, February 7, 2008

For All You Prayers Out There

A member of my family received some bad news at a doctor's visit yesterday. Please lift this man up in your prayers as he's having a difficult time retaining hope in this situation. I don't feel the freedom to say who this person is or what medical condition, but God knows, and He is the great Comforter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Cute Little Nephew

This is Grizzly Keagy...he's the newest addition to my brother and sister-in-law's household (David & Christine are pictured above the puppy in case you were wondering who those folks are). Unfortunately, Grizzles lives in Dallas and therefore, I haven't got to meet him yet. In fact, I don't get to see his parents often enough either.

For those of you that don't know, I moved with David to Dallas in June, 2003. We lived in the Village which is basically a few city blocks of apartments in the middle of Dallas that are primarily occupied by twenty-somethings. Needless to say, we had some fun times. Our upstairs neighbors just happened to be two cute girls, one of whom is now my sister-in-law. Christine admits she thought David was pretty handsome, but thought he had a live-in girlfriend (me). All four of us hung out regularly and both Christine and Tracey (the other cute girl) became two of my closest friends. We went to Arkansas for football games...where I learned how to scream "pig suey"; we wrote "beef cake" with David's birthday cake icing in his shower; we cooked each other dinner; invaded each others apartments, went on road trips together...and then I suppose David decided he'd had enough of being friends with Christine and decided to make it more permanent.

It was hard to leave our friends behind when we moved here, but most especially David and Christine. And, then they went and got a puppy to make it even more irresistible. I'm hoping this post will encourage them to take a trip to come see us. So what if you have a new job, David...let them know how indispensable you are by taking some time off!