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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Western Cultural Dining Etiquette

I've done many searches online to find the rules I want to enforce in my home and teach my kids.  But then I end up with multiple print-outs and have to cut and paste the things I like.  So here's my own compilation for your use if you like.

1.  Don't hold your fork or spoon like a shovel.  I say this repeatedly - probably twice a week - in our home.  Thankfully, my kids are pretty good at it now.  Here is why it bugs me:
   - It makes you look like you're starving and need huge volumes of food to enter your mouth NOW.
   - It makes you look impatient.
   - It forces you to raise a 'wing' (which will appear later in my list).
   - It may be appropriate in other cultures/contexts (think youth group binges of some sort), but not in Western dining situations
   - It typically raises your hand/arm to above your lower lip (another no-no).

Here is my description of holding a spoon like a shovel:  The holding end of the spoon is dug fully into the palm of the hand with thumb going under or alongside the handle.  Fingers are curled over the top to encase the handle.

Proper form?  Handle resting on the side of the pointer finger, clasped with the thumb at about a 45 degree angle.  This way the wrist can lay low and not erect a 'wing'.

2.  Never Touch Your Food with your fingers - exceptions are pizza, fried chicken, garlic bread and muffins (perhaps other exceptions - obvious finger foods).  Your cutlery and utensils are for touching food.  Bread can be held for mopping up stuff.

What happens if you touch food with fingers?  You're tempted to lick them - a big NO-NO (in Western society), at the table.  Again, 'finger lickin' good' really only applies to fried chicken.  If you do accidentally touch your food, or forget this rule, simply wipe your fingers on a napkin.  Refrain from licking fingers at the table.  Licking is a put-off because Americans tend to be germophobic.  Or you may be dining with a person who unknowingly has OCD.  They will register your licks and watch your hand grab the ketchup when you pass it and want only to touch it with a clean napkin.  Spare people the stress.  Don't lick your fingers.

3.  Keep all food on your plate, spoon/fork or entering your mouth.  Don't tuck scraps under your plate, in your lap, hidden in a napkin etc.  Any undesirable food should be left on one side of your plate.  Hiding things makes your host nervous and suspicious.  If you politely put all mushrooms to the side, she will (should) understand that you don't care for mushrooms and not be offended.  (Remember, manners are all about love - and love is not easily offended - nor is it rude - and 'rude' has different meanings in different contexts - hence the cultural slant on this subject matter).

4.  Don't dig through a dish to retrieve your favourite parts.  This looks a lot like greed and selfishness. Others can read your actions and perhaps misunderstand them. "She's trying to get all the croutons because she wants them all for herself and doesn't want others to get them all."  Their interpretation may be wrong, but digging just gives that impression.  If you're with family and they all know your hankering for croutons, simply announce it, 'Oh I love these croutons - I want to get some more - does anyone else want a helping before I start digging?'  This way you've given fair warning and giving others a chance to get their fair due.

5.  Don't raise your elbow into the air.  It should stay fairly close to your body.  If it rises, we call it a 'wing'.  "Look, Mommy's got a wing!" they'll say.  This was a hard one to learn to do as when eating we all naturally want to raise our arms up a bit.  When the wings come down, they're tempted to rest on the table - and someone inevitably will say, "Mommy, mommy, strong and able, get your elbows off the table.  This not a horses stable, but a first-class dining table!"

6.  Don't ask for seconds of anything until the server has at least tucked into her firsts!  Ideally, you'd wait 'til she finished her firsts - but for kids a measure of grace is allowed!

7.  Ask for things to be passed to you - don't reach across your neighbour.  Exceptions are in homes with the 'stretch or starve' rule.  Painful politeness can be just that - painful - exacting.  Use discretion.  In general, don't reach.  If you're next to a toddler who can't pass very well, use some good judgement and break this rule.

8.  If making any comments on the food be very sure they will be heard in a positive light.  "Oh, so this is a cold type of soup" is generally not appropriate if it is served luke-warm.  The comment will them be taken that the soup is not heated to the desired level.  Do not pretend to be subtle to make a point.  "So, you really like your cauliflower very soft, do you.  I always like mine a bit on the crisper side." does not come across as friendly banter.  Complaining in any form (not-so-subtle comments) is most unwelcome.

If these comments are made, the host needs to exercise grace and not be easily offended.  Please comment on this post with appropriate suggestions for responses to such non-sublety.

9.  If you are a child and want to be excused, wait to ask until after you have asked at least two questions and listened to the responses of others.  These could be as simple as, "What was the best part of your day Mommy?" or, "Who did you play with today, Andrew?"  Learn to engage in the conversation.  Don't be eager to leave the table.  Your presence is a gift to your family/dining companions.  Don't deprive others of the gift of YOU!

10.  Look out for the needs and desires of others.  Do you notice someone with an empty plate?  Ask if you can pass anything to him.  Do you know Caleb always likes relish on his hotdog?  Offer it to him before he has to look.  Begin to anticipate how others are enjoying their meal and seek to fill their glasses before they're empty.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FREE - Giveaway!!! Wine, milk, food, water...

So, here are the details.

Feeling thirsty today?  For something, but not sure what?

Have no money?

You have an invitation - if you truly thirst to receive the water you need, the food you need and even the riches of wine and milk!

The One Who offers you these things - free of charge - asks you to consider a few things as well.

What are you working for?  Day after day, investing yourself, time, energies, efforts - into what?  Does it satisfy?  Does it fill you up?

Sometimes I find I am spinning my wheels - expending energies on useless pursuits.  I am not filling myself with what truly satisfies - I am frittering away time with la-de-da.  Sometimes, I am sure, a little la-de-da is fulfilling and satisfying.  It is when I lose my days, hours and energy to basic fluff nothingness that I realize I am labouring for things that do not satisfy.

But where does satisfaction come from?  How can we be content in life - filled - satisfied - joyful?

By listening to the One Who extends you this invitation - He invites you to eat, drink, listen, grow, rejoice in, learn from and fill Him.  He will fill your soul with the 'richest of fare.'

His water is life-giving water.  It springs eternal from within.  It lasts - forever.  It becomes a well springing up from inside you, never to run dry.  It is better than the purest mineral water available on your high-end grocer's shelves.  It quenches the thirst of the longing soul.

And He offers you these things free - without money and without cost.  He invites you to listen to Him, seek Him while He may be found.

Don't believe me?

This offer has been standing for ages.  It has been available for centuries.  It is a broad, ridiculously generous offer - but so few have availed themselves of it.  Read it for yourself:

Isaiah 55

Invitation to the Thirsty

 “Come, all you who are thirsty, 
    come to the waters; 
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk 
    without money and without cost. 
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy? 
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, 
    and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    hear me, that your soul may live. 
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David. 
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, 
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Seek the Lord while he may be found; 
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
    and the evil man his thoughts. 
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,” 
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, 
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty, 
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy 
    and be led forth in peace; 
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands. 
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown, 
    for an everlasting sign,
    which will not be destroyed.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pics from the Burglary

Here are some of the newspaper clippings from the day after the burglary.  Thought this might help you picture the scene...

How I met Sam - Our Engagement 4

This is how it had worked from Sam's angle:

The previous night he had interrogated the couple who knew us both before we knew each other.  "Do you think this is a bit fast?  Should I wait?  I've called her parents - they've given permission for me to ask Sarah - I'm thinking of asking her tomorrow - We've only known each other for 5 weeks.  Do you think I'm crazy?"  Thankfully, they told him of how quickly they were engaged and married, and how when you feel God leading you, you follow even if it seems a bit odd. I will forever be grateful to them for coming through for me! I'll have to check with Sam if they said some other things I'm forgetting...

He rigged up the email to send me messages throughout the day.  Then he phoned a package delivery company in Hong Kong and set up a meeting time at a nearby train station.  He had a package for them to deliver.  The meeting time was 2 p.m. (or so - can't recall).  Sam had bought the ring the week before (the day before our rooftop date).  He was continuing to trust that God was leading him in this relationship - to pursue this to the altar!

Being the efficient engineer that he is, he arrived at the station a few minutes early.  He waited 'til 2, then started looking for suspicious vehicles that might be the package delivery guys.  He waited, and waited.  He looked at the clock.  No-one was showing up.  Fifteen minutes pass.  Nothing.  Thirty minutes.  Nothing.

Sam started to pray.  "Lord, if you are leading me, let them show up.  If not, I'll take it from You that you want me to wait on this a little longer."  A few more minutes pass.  Nothing.  "Okay, Lord, It's 2:33.  If they're not here by 2:40, I'll take it You want me to wait."

When Sam relayed this to me, I just about freaked out.

"SEVEN Minutes!?!?!  You gave God SEVEN minutes?  You mean, my entire fate hung in the balance - and you were only willing to wait SEVEN minutes?!"

I had to calm down a bit after that - realizing that our theological premises are vastly different.  

De-Cluttering Idea

I am a messy - in case you didn't know.  I am a magnet for stuff - it sticks to me - I like stuff.  I like the comfort of having it.  The psychological security blanket of knowing I have everything I really don't need.  And this hoarding instinct - this desire to have every gadget or item that might have a possible use has crippled me in many ways.

The junk that surrounds me sucks energy.  It sucks time.  It sucks the life out of a peaceful home.  I want the end of clutter in our home.  But much like weight-loss, careful budgeting and over-committed lives leading to time constraints in every category, this battle will have to be waged one day at a time - little by little, until it is a manageable mess, not a chaotic tornado zone.

I'll let you know if I ever get there - to that place of pleasant minimal disarray that says kids live here but we're not about to end up in the ER over someone's accident tripping over a toy.  But don't hold your breath.  I guess I have noble intentions - my hopes and desires are in the area of orderliness.  Just how to get there seems like tackling Mount Everest when I'm not a mountain climber in the least.  Simplicity of life sounds so appealing - but the road to get there seems like a marathon to one who doesn't run.

So I'm beginning with just one small step.  After the fires in Colorado last month I got to thinking about the devastation of losing stuff in a fire.  I know, because...well, you'll find out when I post more of my story.  But I thought about - what if a fire came and burned through all my stuff - how would I feel?  How would I feel about the stuff?  Would it matter?  So I came up with an idea.  As I go about my de-cluttering I will ask myself the three R's.

If a fire were coming would I RESCUE this item?  If yes, then keep it.

If a fire were coming and I had no time, would I leave it and later REPLACE it?  If yes, then keep it (no point wasting money to declutter - when you find you needed that thing and have to go buy another one).

If no to these two questions then the third R comes into play: Get RID of it.

This is just the beginning of the journey...  I'll let you know how it goes.

How I met Sam - Our Engagement 3

Now let me back up a little.  Sam and I were addicted to email communications.  It was our way to feel connected throughout the long days of waiting to see each other.  Throughout the day I would habitually (okay, obsessively) check email in case he wrote.  At 10 a.m. I received one and replied to it.  At noon he sent another one.  I answered it.  At 2 p.m. he sent another one - but each time he wasn't answering the ones I sent.  But I never noticed this small detail.  He would say things like, 'Only 4 hours 'til I'm off work.'  Or, 'I'll see you six hours from now.'  I was expecting him to arrive around 6 p.m.  Then at 2ish the doorbell rings.  So I know it isn't him.  Turns out it's the crazy Hong Kong police with their dumb award thingy.  Or so I thought...

So I'm standing there still wondering what this huge box is doing in my driveway when another guy swiftly lifts the box upwards to reveal a kneeling policeman with a red rose in his hands.  Wait a minute.  That's not a policeman.  That looks like Sam dressed as one!

I rub my eyes - totally shocked.  He starts talking.  I can't remember what he was saying, "I've thought about how much your friendship means to me.  When I think of the rest of my life it would be unbearable if you weren't a part of it.  I want you to know that I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.  I want you to be my wife.  Will you marry me?"  That was a summary.  I stood there - my head spinning - my heart jumping - a bit confused.

I should probably have listened better.  And answered better.  "Aren't you supposed to be in China?"

Terrible way to respond to a proposal.

Then I kept saying, 'No way.  That's really you?  Really?!  Wow.'

And then, 'Is this really happening?  Sam - how did you get here?  You just wrote me from China!'

Then he says, 'You haven't answered me!'

"YES!  A thousand times, YES!"

And he brings out the ring and slips it on my finger.

Being the techno-luddite (vocab alert: behind the times technologically) that I am, I didn't know one could time emails to be sent at certain intervals.  Very clever Sam.  Next post I tell how he accomplished this feat.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How I met Sam - Our Engagement 2

So this Chinese man hands me a plaque and since I can't dig it out of boxes right now I'll try and remember what it said:

      Presented by
 The Hong Kong Police Department
This is to award you for your brave actions on the night of October 2nd 1999
during which a burglary occurred at this location
blah blah blah...

And there was some finer print which in my groggy state I failed to read carefully...

"and this award will demand of you a commitment for life..."

As I was looking this over I noticed the huge box sitting in the driveway.

My first thought was, "Oh great.  I can just imagine a huge, gaudy, gold and red-painted trophy which will have no place to sit but on the balcony in the rain.  Just what I need."

Now all this sounds quite unbelievable, except that a few weeks prior to this my accomplice who knocked the escaping burglar down did receive an official Citizenship Award and recognition from the Hong Kong police for her help in catching the thief.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How I met Sam - Our Engagement

On Saturday, November 13th I woke up anticipating the days events.  It can be very easy for a fast-growing relationship to become all-consuming - to focus all one's energies on it and think and do nothing else.  I knew I could sit around the house all day counting down the hours until Sam would arrive in the evening.  Or I could use the day for other things - things of pleasure, interest or rest - if only to distract myself from the waiting.

There happened to be  a school fair on that day - with craft stalls, games and the like - at my old high school (ShaTin Collge).  I donned a white, flowy, embroidered, peasant-type blouse - feeling very romantic and headed off to the fair.

At the fair I acquired a pretty garland - tiny yellow roses woven around about with green leaf-like twine, with ribbons and delicate touches.  I came home and seeing as it was Saturday with nothing on the agenda, and as I was tired, I decided to take a nap.  The way things had been going, Sam and I would stay up 'til the wee hours each evening he visited, talking.  I was gearing up for more of the same.  The couple who had visited Sam were now returning for another visit - in my parents' absence.

I forget what time it was when I awoke.  The doorbell rang - it was around 2 p.m.  I groggily rolled out of bed and trudged down to the door - a little perturbed that my nap was disturbed.

I opened the door and cameras started flashing at me.  A Chinese delivery man handed me a plaque.  A huge box sat in the driveway.  A delivery van was nearby and a photographer was at the ready.  I suddenly was a bit self-conscious - that I looked so disheveled from my nap - complete with sheet-print embedded on my face.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bring on the Advice

Our kids are fighting a lot these days.

Caleb is happily in the room he shares with Priscilla.  He is listening to his stereo while drawing pictures.  Priscilla and Timo come in and want to listen to their stuff.  They interrupt him.  But it's her room too.  So there's fights and chaos.  Caleb is mad.  He wants to exist and endure family life until he gets out on his own and wants to never get married or have children or a family because it is all such a headache.

I plead with them to get along - to be peacemakers.  I try not to yell.  Then I do - and repent later - and apologize to them.

I give consequences.  I withhold treats.  I reward the good.

I have failed as a mother.

I am doing something wrong.

'Caleb just grabbed the mask from me.  He won't give it to me.'  yells Timo.

What do I do?  Tell me people.

How I met Sam - Our First Dates 13

That week my parents left and life went on as normal - as normal as it can be when twitterpated.

I was falling behind in my class - trying to teach English and focus when all I could think of was Sam.  I had been doing fairly well in this course, but after the burglary and the ensuing roller-coaster I found it very difficult to concentrate on grammar, teaching methods and school work.

Around the time my parents left a couple we knew came for  trip to Hong Kong, then on to China.  This couple had known me since I was about 10 and had also, independent of us, known Sam's family - since he was around 10!!!  They stayed with us a couple days and then decided to stop and visit Sam before heading on to their other visits.  We had some time to chat with them and they were on their way.

I didn't know it at the time, but Sam had been praying about significant life choices - involving me - and had decided to seek their counsel about these major life decisions.  (When I later discovered this, I was aghast - you mean my fate depended on their very brief insights into my life?!  Thankfully, they came through for me).

That Friday evening, Sam took them to the roof of his building and peppered them with questions - don't you think this is too soon?  Would you advise me to wait a while longer?

The next day Sam was planning to meet me at the train station around 5 p.m. after he got off work.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Because I'll Forget part 3

I know I'll forget the way you break into a huge smile when I put Grandma on speaker phone...

The way you like to feel each of my fingers, and fingernails while you fall asleep...

The way you stoutly walk, carefully lifting each chubby leg...

How you love it if I clap my hands and when I stop you grab my hands to make me clap again...

How you like crayons - to bite into pieces and chew on them until I fish them out of your mouth - and if you happen upon a bar of soap, it meets the same fate!

I'm sure I'll forget how you are trying to make syllable sounds and often forget to turn your voice on, so you look like a gaping goldfish.

I'll forget how when I take you for a walk in the stroller, you'll twist and turn and peek up at me through the 'sun-roof' window on the canopy.

I will forget the long six weeks of separation anxiety when you wouldn't be parted from me in the Church nursery - and how I held you for those Sunday mornings and tried to let you know I will be here for you.

I'll probably forget your wide open-mouth smiles when I push you in the swing in the back yard.  And how if I set you down on the grass, you'll try and eat it.

But for all these things, as I write them, I won't forget but I'll wonder that these days ever happened, for as you grow the new, changing you will replace the not-talking, not running, not playing with imagination you.  The baby you will leave behind as you grow is easy to forget.  But I'll keep these thoughts to make sure I remember.

How I met Sam - Our first dates 12

The next weekend when he arrived we went out to eat at a greasy-joint Indian place where if you carefully watch you may catch a view of a quick rodent sneaking along behind a gutter that failed to get properly enclosed.  The food was delicious.  (For you Hong Kongers, this was in Chung King Mansions - where only the brave dare to venture).  I never asked Sam, but now I wonder if I didn't impress him with my extreme flexibility in eating ambience.  Because, really, it was not the most romantic place to eat out.  But romance is all in the heart - more than the bells and whistles of exterior candlelight and caviar (yech).  A favourite verse of ours in establishing our home has been 'Better a dry crust with peace than feasting with strife.'  People matter more than food.  And at this point, Sam was mattering very much to me.

I have it on good word that Sam did a little shopping on his own that weekend.

The following evening my Mom had asked if she could cook us a special meal.  I'll never forget it.  The roof of our house was flat, as I've explained before - with a waist-high wall around it.  Perfect for a warm evening dinner for two.  She had it all set up with a fine dining decor - tablecloth, tealight candles lining the wall all around us.  Sparkling grape juice.  Eggplant Parmesan.  A pleasant breeze.  (If you don't like eggplant I'll bet you haven't had it the way my Mom makes it - delicious!)  If anything could have an aphrodesiatic (is that a word?!) effect - this was the clincher!

After enjoying our meal, he took me in his arms and kissed me unapologetically!

Moments later, Mom came and took our picture.  It is still on our fridge to this day.

The following week my parents had need to travel to the U.S. and I realized if he was going to ask their permission to marry me, it would either be before their departure or after their return.

We'd known each other for 4 weeks now.  Sounds like such a short time now.  But at that point the days were endless.

How I met Sam - Our first dates 11

So, on with the story...

After touring his rather elaborate apartment and meeting a few of his work colleagues it was time to head back to Hong Kong - an hour ride to the border and about an hour home from there.  Sam so very kindly decided to accompany me on the ride to the border.  Remember, even though he had talked with my parents about our friendship we still had not had any such relationship defining talk between us.  Things were moving too fast to sit around and define the relationship.  Really.

While we were chauffeured in the nice mercedes mini-van we sat and talked.  At one point in the conversation Sam stopped and mused aloud, 'Well, I think it can be said that Sam Logan finally has a girl.'  That was all he said - I barely caught it.  I didn't know if that meant 'we are an item now.'  I was dying to ask him what he meant.  But I didn't.  Best to just sit tight and enjoy the ride.  Why ruin the enjoyment of friendship with heavy discussions of what term best described us?  I know, I know, that's probably the healthy, ideal, systematic way to do things.  But we weren't following Robert's Rules of Order in establishing mutual liking in male-female relations.

I left him at the border and we entered another week of emailing and anticipating our next visit - a whole week seemed like an eternity.  But through writing we were able to share much about ourselves.  And when we unpack some boxes and I discover the file holding them I'll continue to publish the more public-friendly ones.  Tee hee.  You can in your imagination fill in the gaps.

Stress Relievers for Moms

1.  Jump on the trampoline.  Count to 100.  Take a break.  Jump again.  Repeat as necessary.

2.  Straight jackets for the kids and padded sound-proof rooms.  Not available?  Skip this one.

3.  Movie for the kids.  Take a hot bath.  Read 'Resolutions of a saintly scholar.'  After 5 minutes, switch to lighter reading.

4.  Play Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Minor, Opus 23. No. 5.  Play the loud parts really loud.  Can't play piano?  You Tube it and blast it for all to hear.

5.  Gardening.  Make sure kids are secure and safe first.

6.  Cleaning.  Scrubbing and laundry are the best.

7.  Declutter - especially things that are in your way that you ask yourself, 'Why is this here?  I'm getting rid of it.' when you come across it.

8.  Coffee.  Ritalin.  (For you or your kids).

9.  Go for a walk.  Kids in tow or left at home if someone responsible is there for them.  Rules for walks?  No whining, stress, or dragging heels allowed.

10.  Lock yourself in the bathroom.  Plug your ears.  Pray silently or aloud.

11.  Individual interviews/prayer time with each kid.

12.  Gather together as a family and ask kids to pray for you because the stress is getting to you.  God surely listens to the requests of the little ones.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thou Mighty to Save

Just after writing my previous post on all the family events, I sat down to play the piano.  Other than jumping on a trampoline, there is no therapy quite like the piano and an old hymnal or two.  Here are some of the choice gleanings I stumbled upon tonight - read and wonder why you (or I) don't peruse old hymnals more often. (Side note: I used to lay in bed with stacks of hymnals beside my bed and peruse them before bed).

Thou Mighty to Save ................. Fanny Crosby

O Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, Who gavest Thy life for me,
No room in my heart for pleasures That have not their trust in Thee;
Earth has no abiding city, - Not here is my place of rest, -
I seek for a brighter country, A home with the pure and blest.

The world like a dream will vanish, The hope like the years decay,
Its beauties like dewy blossoms Will wither and pass away;
But Thou wilt abide unchanging, My sure defense wilt be;
O Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, I'm trusting alone in Thee.

O what are the toils and labours, the crosses that now I bear,
Compared with the crown immortal Laid up for my soul to wear?
'Twill matter to me but little What conflicts I have passed,
If after the strife is ended, I rest at Thy feet at last.

And oh, when my course is finished, And victor's palm I wave, To Thee will I give the glory, 
O Thou who art mighty to save,
To Thee will I give the glory...
O Thou Who art mighty to save.

My Anchor Holds ......................... Frank C. Huston
(musical notation reads: 'With a positive joy')

We all are fellow sailors, Upon the sea of life;
For some, the ship rides bravely, For some 'tis storm and strife.
But I have found a haven, Where love my bark enfolds,
And tho' fierce winds be blowing - My anchor holds.

Tho' angry winds be blowing, And wild the stormy sea,
I'm safe within the harbour, No harm can come to me.
With Jesus as my refuge, His love my soul enfolds,
And whatsoe'er befall me, My anchor holds.

My anchor holds, My anchor holds!  In Jesus there is refuge, His love enfolds,
my anchor holds, My anchor holds, Tho' fierce the storms around me, My anchor holds.

Family News

So, on the home front we have a house that seemed to have sold, but then didn't.  We have school beginning in a couple weeks - 4 kids in 4 different schools (if you count home as school).  We have Sam leaving this week for an assist-a-friend running an M.K. school in another country (email me with questions: - for 10 days.  Mother-in-law leaves for a week to visit a friend in Canada.  And I will be at home trying to not yell at the kids.  (I need to revisit some of the Anger in Parenting issues I've written on previously).  Of course I won't yell at the kids.  Really.  I won't.  Because two weeks ago Sam set up the trampoline and when I need a breather I just go out there and jump 100 times.  It usually does the trick.

  The buyer for our house fell through on trying to get their loan - and we lost 6 prime weeks of selling time.  It could be aggravating, frustrating or disappointing - and is on some level.  But I keep saying, 'God is in control.  He has His reasons for this and I will trust He knows what He's doing.'  In the mean-time this means for us that we continue to live strapped financially since we pay rent + house payment.  It is easy to begin down a path to worry.  But God keeps providing for us and meeting our day to day needs.  I often tell myself, 'Give us this DAY our daily bread.  Not next week's, next month's or beyond.'  Trust, trust, trust - it sounds so simple, but to actually do it each day requires faith, faith, faith.

So there we have it.  Our latest news.