Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tony is here!!

We are excited to announce a new addition to our family!! Our exchange student, Chung-An "Tony" Chen arrived at GSO on Sunday after travelling about 24 hours from Taiwan. Tony is a sweet and smart boy! Because of jet lag, he slept from 3:30 on Sunday afternoon through the night and didn't wake up until the next morning. But he was up and ready and wanting to go enroll in school.

We spent the morning in the guidance office at our local high school, enrolling him and picking his classes. Tony pick two sciences.... Chemistry and Physics... a brave boy. I just pray he doesn't need help with his homework. He says that school is hard and "scary", but he likes it and is adjusting nicely.

We've already played some board games with Tony, including two rounds of "Life". The kids are having a great time playing with him. He brought them some wooden tops from Taiwan which they've had a blast playing with. This weekend we'll take him to Carowinds.. fun times!!

Oh, I did ask him if we were driving him crazy... and he said "a little"... hehe. He has a thirteen year old sister at home and is not used to so much noise and chaos. But I think we're growing on him. :-))

Monday, August 28, 2006

2¢ about Pluto

The discussions around the watercooler seem to be received with apathy or conviction- either way, I feel like throwing in my comments (as usual).

I am thrilled by the decision to remove the classification of Pluto as a planet because it shows a community of scientists who are willing to swallow pride.

75 years worth of pride.

Scientists were experts who knew everything, and we all waited with anticipation to find out what we should think, eat, feel, love, etc.

The decision to 'demote' Pluto demonstrates the idea that science changes; evolves as it were.

Consider the opposite conclusion of astronomers: keeping Pluto a planet so as not to disrupt the textbooks... I shudder at the idea. (I wonder if the textbook lobbyists were hoping for the new classification in hopes of new sales- hmmm).

Ok, well I think my point was made. Now I wait to hear about the next reversal- hopefully Dunkin Donuts will cure obesity. :)


Friday, August 25, 2006

Sleepless Nights = Big Decisions

Well, we did it. We enrolled Sadie in public school on Thursday (the day before school started). The decision did not come lightly. We talked and prayed then talked and prayed some more for weeks at a time. It is a difficult thing.... knowing God's will. It's not always black and white and it's not always easy.

Let me say that I'm dreading talking about this with my die-hard home-school friends. I feel in part a failure. I dread the disappointment in their voices and eyes.

It's not that I CAN'T homeschool her. She is just missing something. She cries everyday for friends to play with. We've prayed that God would give her good friends. She finishes her homeschool work in two hours or less and is miserably bored for the rest of the day. We've prayed that God would give her peace and contentment. But she is still sad.

Now we didn't ask her if she wanted to go to school. John and I just talked and prayed about our struggles with her. Of course I also consented my Mom, who supports our decision and agress with our thoughts on the subject. Then I just started praying that if this is where God wanted her this year, that He would open the doors wide open for us. I prayed that if He wanted her at home that He would close the doors. God has ALWAYS been faithful to this prayer of ours.

So Thursday morning, the day before the first day of school, we went to the school to register her. We walked in, unannounced, bith certificate in hand, and signed her up. It was very easy. Now I've heard stories in the past of other homeschoolers going to register their kids and getting a hard time from the school. The secretary actually smiled and said it was great and that they were glad to have Sadie now. She also had a Bible verse posted on her computer monitor. Also, I thought I was missing a form and told her I'd get it to her later, but she said they didn't need it. Doors were swinging open.

The curriculum coordinator came out and said hello... told us Sadie's teacher's name, and took us for a tour of the school and to see her classroom. Sadie was very excited! Even though I felt sick to my stomach, I felt that this is what we were supposed to be doing. So we left and went shopping for a backpack, lunchbox, supplies, shoes, and clothes. It was an action-packed day.

This morning Sadie popped out of bed bright and early in anticipation of the day. She said "I can't wait to meet some friends!". So we packed her up and dropped her off in her classroom. She found her desk and was thrilled about her school books. The teacher had crayons out so they could draw a picture and write some sentences about something they enjoyed this summer. We got her started on her assignment and said goodbye. I gave her a hug and kiss and she didn't look up from her desk... but stayed focused on her paper. I knew she was trying hard not to cry. So was I.

After we left the classroom I waited a moment and poked my head back in the door to take one more look at my baby. Just then, she came running out calling "mommy!". She gave me a hug and ran back to her desk. Well I about lost it. I didn't say a word until we were back in the van for fear I would burst out into tears.

I can't wait to go and get her. It's been such a long day! I hope she loves it; but part of me hopes she begs to stay home. That would be easy. I don't know how to describe it; I just feel like this is what God is asking me to do right now. Maybe it's dealing with my control issues... having to trust Him with her all day.

Does this mean that she'll go to public school forever? No. I'm just going to wait on God to see what and where He wants us next. I guess He's got a job for us to do. So I look forward with expectant anticipation as to what that is.

I hope all my homeschool friends will understand that we're trying to follow God; whether they agree with it or not. And I just hope that they will support our decision and love us anyway. I'm sure they will though. What's not to love??

Now I wait and pray for my baby at school; just like I'm waiting and praying for my baby in China. Waiting is hard. God is working on me.

Oh and on a side note: I'm getting another big baby from Taiwan next week! Tony is coming to live with us as an exchange student! We're so excited to meet him and learn about Eastern culture! We'll post pictures and such when he gets here. I'm sure you will all make him feel loved and welcomed.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Lilly and Jake spend a week at Merriwood Christian Camp with the church kids last week and had a blast!! Since we gave Lilly a surprise room make-over while she was at Girl Scout camp in June, we decided to keep up the tradition and give Jake his own surprise room make-over while he was gone.

John did an exceptional job painting the murals for the skateboard-themed room! I forgot how talented he was!! We also used skateboards from Toys R' Us as shelves.

All in all it turned out great and only cost $12 for a gallon of paint at Walmart, $15 for the mural paints, $20 for the two skateboards, and $3 for the shelf brackets!! Gotta love a no-frills make-over!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Saga of the Sentra

For those of you who don't know the beginning of the story, I would encourage you to ask me about my history with my car. Word of caution though, you may want to pack a lunch as the tale takes some time to unravel!

For those who know the beginning, here is the middle:

The other day I was preparing to visit a customer and looked on my desk at my mobile phone. I hesitated for a moment and decided that I did not need to take it with me (don't ask me why I even had to think about taking 2 seconds to put the 4 ounce useful tool into my pocket). I grabbed my keys and hopped into my beautiful 1999 Nissan Sentra and drove off to my meeting. After the successful visit, I returned to my glorious Japanese crafted chariot and drove off into the wind! Windows down, breeze against my face, engine running oh so quiet.

Wait, too quiet! Uh oh. It's not quiet, it quit!

Ok, this part you really have to trust me - it is all true.

With a smile on my face and no foul words to be muttered, I gathered my belongings, including the registration, and started walking (remember how I decided to leave my phone on my desk?).

Within 2 minutes, a minivan with a handicap pass hanging from the rear view mirror pulled off the road in front of me. As I approached I discerned that there was only one occupant in the vehicle- a 320 pound female. She was as friendly as a beam of sunshine on a cloudy day! So, realizing that God sent me a rescuer (is that a word?) I thanked Him and hopped in. Side note: it turned out that she worked in an office building right behind where I worked and I knew her boss!

Safe and sound in my office, I called Kirsten and shared the news- she was not thrilled; about the car or the idea of me getting into a van with a strange woman. Go figure.

Being frugal (read: cheap) I thought of who in my network would have access to a tow dolly and be able to recommend a trustworthy mechanic (oxymoron?).

I called Mike and after listening to my situation replied with encouraging words: "sorry, can't think of anyone". We continue to talk and I remembered that Mike's Dad has a hobby of buying junk cars, dragging them home, and rebuilding them. Mike said he would call and find out if his Dad had a tow dolly and call me back- in the midst of the conversation it turned out that Mike trusts a local mechanic for his cars- so the moral of this bitty ditty is to never trust the first thing that come's out of a Pastor's mouth. :^)

Turns out that Mike's Dad, Byron, had a dolly, and would be avialable to help my that afternoon! We towed my broken down jalopy to the mechanic and after thanking Byron 15 times, he dropped my off at my house.

The next morning I get a call from "Hoss", the mechanic, and he tells me that the distributor went bad, so he fixed it. My mind immediately recalled the mechanic in National Lampoon's Vacation and expected the worst. After a deep breath I asked in my best southern twang "What's that gunna set me back, ya reccun?" Hoss told me that including tax and labor the charge was only $498.

Now, for those of you who shudder ar the price of a distributor and installation, let me tell you that 2 years ago, the same distributor went bad (that would be the first part of the story I was telling you about) and cost me $600. So I figured that $500 every 2 years to keep my method of motion in motion was a better deal than what monthly payments for a new car would be.

So now my luxurious Sentra and I are back together, and enjoying each other's company.

I hope this relationship lasts a long, long time!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Flatland- Chapter 1

I recently heard of this book while listening to Rob Bell. I picked it up on eBay for a few dollars, and was very excited to start reading it. Edwin Abbott wrote this book in the late 1800s so I thought I would easily become lost in period specific terminology- I was pleasantly incorrect!

The chapters, as well as the book is rather short, so that will allow for a short review :^)

Chapter 1:

The Author does a great job introducing two key factors to the story: The perspective of the storyteller, and the reason for the book. The story is told by an inhabitant of Flatland to the reader in "Space". There are only 2 dimensions in Flatland, like a pencil drawing.
An example is given that the Flatlanders see a circle, triangle, etc one way, and we, in space, see it another way. Imagine placing a penny on a table. View the penny from above and what shape will you have? A circle. Move your perspective downward and the penny takes the shape of an oval. Keep going until you are looking at the penny from a perfect horizontal stance (the way a Flatlander would) and the penny is just a line.

Imagine! everything in Flatland is viewed as either a line, or a dot.

I am fascinated by the story, and look forward to sharing more tomorrow.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

A RollerCoaster of A Week

Yes, it has been one rollercoaster of a week! We made it through the yard sale. The garage is just about put back together, with the exception of a few large items that we need to do something with.

On Monday and Tuesday I fervently cleaned the house for our first homestudy visit (for the adoption). Our social worker was very nice and pleasant and made us feel at ease. And of course she never looked around the house..... but at least it was clean!!

On Wednesday we took care of Nick and Syd for the day and all the children combined successfully played with EVERY SINGLE TOY that we own. Not only did they play with them, but they put them all over my nice clean house.... where they still are now. But they were relatively well behaved and fun so....whatever. On Wednesday night we went to our new church building (Hooray!) and helped to paint and move stuff.

So today is Thursday.... I've been watching more kids all day today, my laundry is piling up, we leave to go visit my sweet sister tomorrow (Hooray!), I haven't started packing yet, I have a bazillion errands to run, we won't be back until Sunday night, and the older kids need to be at camp on Monday morning. So if I haven't even packed for tomorrow yet, what are the chances they'll be packed for camp??? UUGH. Oh, and I need to finish making a bracelet to deliver by this evening.

All this and we got some disappointing news on the adoption front. You can read more about that on OUR CHINA ADOPTION. So yes, it's been a rollercoaster of a week with emotions all over the place. But, I'm looking forward to seeing my baby sister, who has always been such a joy to me from the day she was born, maybe get my hair done (she's a hairdresser.... woo hoo!), have a good cry, and have some much needed R&R. ~K