Showing posts from August, 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 w…

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…

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 w…

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 h…

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 h…

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:
BRAVERY AWARD       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 catch…

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 s…

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 discovere…

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 le…

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 mea…

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 …

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.  …

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 toil…

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 contro…