Saturday, December 17, 2011

Joy to the World!

I love the Christmas season for many reasons. Let me tell you why!  I begin listening to Christmas music on November 1st; I know it seems I am totally skipping Thanksgiving, but I feel like the two are somewhat combined. Also, you can only listen to Christmas music for such a short period of the year, so I feel that I better get as much out of it as I can. I absolutely adore Christmas decorations from Christmas trees to Christmas lights covering homes, stockings, ornaments, garland, and I could go on.  I love the Christmas parties, my grandmother’s sugar cookies, good food, the excitement and joy of children, hot chocolate, Christmas movies, etc. I love any excuse to gather my friends and celebrate; any excuse to buy presents for the ones I love. I just love the Christmas season. There are two things I love more than anything about Christmas though. The first is my family. I love our traditions, our get-togethers, the love that feels our homes, and feeling like a child again.  But even more than that, I love the opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas.. . the real Christmas Story.  And living here, talking about Christmas has been a great way of sharing about the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, the Savior, and the King of Kings. We are preparing our students for a Christmas play that will take place next Thursday.  My students will be performing our own version of Rudolph while the other English classes will be performing different Christmas stories, including the story of the Prince of Peace.  At the conclusion of our performance, all of the classes will join together to sing, “What Child is this?”  I must tell you that hearing my precious (or not so precious, depending on the day) children singing this song completely melts my heart. There is something about it, and I have asked Him over and over again, that this truth will penetrate their hearts and that somehow they would understand who it is that they are singing about.  May His light shine brightly as we celebrate His birth!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Beautiful Day!

So, at our school, each semester there is a teacher's field trip. It is a Saturday when all of the teachers go out together to some place that turned out to be pretty cool. I'm not gonna lie though we were not so much looking forward to this outing simply because we have not had a Saturday to ourselves in many, many weeks. However, once we arrived, we thoroughly enjoyed the day! The weather could not have been more perfect and to see so much grass and trees in China was a welcomed treat. I will share some pictures from our day! 

This is the team that we have been incredibly blessed with!

I had thought that I would ride this camel until I got up close. It was a sad, pitiful camel that had a ring through its nose as a leash. Once I got closer, I just couldn't bear to get on the poor animal. It would've been fun though.

We got to shoot bow and arrows. Cody was pretty excited about this and pretty good at it too. He even hit the target while riding a horse! (see below)

I was not nearly as good. I didn't enjoy it either... it hurt my hand!

We enjoyed watching some traditional Chinese dancing... If I had known then, what I know now, I would've watched a little bit closer so that I could have picked up some tips for my big dancing debut!

I so enjoyed taking in the nature around us. It has been some time since I have been able to do that... too many tall buildings!

We climbed this mountain, which doesn't look so bad from the picture, however it was terrible, to enjoy a quick slide down.. I still haven't decided if it was worth it or not.

Thankful for the beautiful creation that He has made and thankful that He speaks to my heart through it. Thankful that He knows better what we need when I thought I needed a day at home, He had a better plan!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Learning to Dance

I am learning more and more just how much I need Him. He is not something that I need occasionally, every other day, or even just daily, I need him every hour, every minute even.  I have been completely exhausted after the last six weeks or so. We flew home for a quick trip to be with my family during the loss of my grandfather. We hurried back after four days to be thrown right back into the rat race here. And just when I thought, ok, I cannot take on anything else. I was told that Cody and I have to DANCE! Dance, of all things, really!  I immediately had visions of us in tutus and ballet shoes and it was NOT a pretty sight! For those of you, who know me well; know how much I do not like dancing.  I mean, I really do not like dancing.  It is probably one of my biggest insecurities.  As a cheerleader in high school, I would do everything I could to find myself in the back of the formation… and now here we are in China sticking out like a sore thumb preparing to dance in front of many, many, many people! AHHHHH!!! So, thankfully, in some regards, we have practice three nights a week cause we all know that we need as much practice as we can get, however, did I mention how tired we are!?  By the way, this is not just any kind of dancing or the kind of dancing I am even accustomed to, this is traditional Chinese dancing, and everything is taught in Chinese.  So, we spend a few hours having no clue what is going on and attempting to dance. I am often seen doing the very thing they were saying not to do because I was just copying what the coach just did. Oh my! It is ok to laugh at the thought of Cody and I dancing… Go ahead, you know you want to! Feel free to lift us up on January 6 as we stand on a stage to dance!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Month in Pictures

Crazy Hat Day!                        

Meeting Jon August... We both took a nice little nap together!

Confession: The Christmas tree has been up for a few weeks already. I know that it is wrong, but we just had to! :)

The Thanksgiving Spread!

We had a lovely thanksgiving dinner at the H's. We invited several co-workers and friends to join us in giving thanks. While it wasn't the same as being home with the fam, it was an absolutely beautiful thanksgiving. After we ate, we all went outside to join in a little football game. Some cheered on the sidelines, while others ran until they could run no more. Then, it was time to head back in for dessert!