Favorite Quotes

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  • "I'm so busy.... I don't know if I found a rope... or lost my donkey! - Unknown"
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

This is what we live with

And I say WE...Bob and I, the girls, and Frank. He refuses to do everything that we asked him to do. He quit football. Twice this week, he has run away and hidden in the neighborhood. Tonight he disappeared from 7-9:30pm because he was told to mow the yard. He was hiding in the back of the minivan most of that time, even though he didn't know that I knew that. Not sure what we are going to do with the boy.

When he ran away tonight, Carlie asked me where he was. I told her "He ran away because he was mad." She asked "Well where is he going to live then?" I replied "He'll come back when he gets tired or hungry. And then he'll have to live with the consequences." She looked at me straight faced and said "Who are the Consequences do I know them???" When I looked at her she busted up laughing and goes "Get it?" Yeah, I got it. LOL.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

China - Buddhist Temple

We got to visit a Buddhist Temple in Beijing called the Lama Temple.

Built in 1694, the Lama Temple (or Palace of Peace and Harmony) was the residence of Prince Yin Zhen, a son of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty. After the prince came to the throne, half of the residence was used as an imperial palace and the other half was converted to a lamasery. It is a current functioning monastery where many burn incense to Buddha.

I did not realize it, but there are actually many, many kinds of Buddha. When you enter the temple, you enter the first of five "halls". Each hall has a different type of Buddha. One of the halls has the "Happiness Buddha" which is the smiling Buddha that so many people rub for good luck. The last hall contains a Buddha statue that is 72 feet tall. It is carved out of a single tree trunk of white sandal wood. Before each hall are large containers where incense sticks can be burned. Then people kneel on the benches in front of the hall to Worship. This Buddha is in the Guiness Book of World Records.

I did not know until I visited China that the current Dali Lama is exhiled from The People's Republic of China because of his efforts to seperate Tibet from The Republic of China.

When China became a communist country, Buddhism was highly discouraged because it was considered superstitious in nature. But today, people are allowed to worship freely. We were told several times that now in China there are both more Christians and more Buddhists that Communists.

Yes....look closely...that is a Monk on a cell phone!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Coyote Breath

We were out working on the land this weekend. Papaw was clearing trees from around our water well and he came upon a small patch of Rabbit fur. He just tossed it aside.

We've been trying to explain to the kids what country life will be like. Madi is terrified of bugs. Frank wants a four wheeler. Madi wants a horse. Libby says living in the country is alot of hard work. I am afraid of wasps.

I was working in front of the house later in the day when Carlie comes around the corner with the rabbit fur. She asks "Was this a rabbit?" I said "It WAS. Throw it down...its nasty!!!" She quickly tosses it down on the ground and said "Yeah, it did smell a little like coyote breath. I guess a coyote killed it!!!"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August Quotes

•The older I get the more I realize that most of the "normal" "Happy" people we see in our lives have hidden secrets, unknown tragedies, illness, hurts..pains. And the problems that I have to deal with are really pretty insignificant. - Julie Pool
•In the chest of every single person, big or small, beats the heart of a champion. And in that heart is a purpose that will, if lived, bring something to life no other heart ever has, ever will or ever could. Something the world needs more now than ever before.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Blind Side - Revisited

I posted about this movie when my family went to go see it.


I have a friend in town who shares a remarkably similar story to the one in The Blind Side as well as my own with JB. Her family is struggling right now too with many of the same issues we went through with JB.

It got me to thinking more about the movie The Blind Side. You know it is a great story...and when you watch the movie most people think how awesome and couragous that a rich white woman took a poor black boy into her family. Then used all of her southern spunk to fight for him to have the best. It's true that there are not alot of people out there who would do that....but there are many more than you'll ever know. Because you don't hear about our children...they are the ones who mess up.

What the Touhys' did was an awesome thing. But the TRUE miracle in that story is Michael Oher. Because Big Mike came from a troubled, unhappy situation....and yet was able to ALLOW the Touhys to help him. He appreciated them. THAT is the miracle. Because when you adopt older kids and children out of the Foster Care system....it seldom happens that way.

Children come to you emotionally battered, angry, with low self-esteem. They have been taught that they are not lovable. They don't love themselves, therefore they believe that no one else can really love them either. They are unable to trust. And without trust and vulnerability, there can be no love.

Even when you've had a child years and years, you often fight these same battles. I've seen it in both my boys. I see it in my friend's son who is making poor choices right now. When they stand on the brink of success, they are suddenly afraid...because if they succeed, then there are more expecations placed on them. And they don't have the self confidence to carry those expecations. So right on the cusp of doing great things in their lives, they will unconsciously sabotage it.

And some children need to test your love over and over and over again. They need to show their dirtiest, ugliest self to you periodically to see if you'll still love them....no matter how badly they act.

Then you throw in genetic dispositions towards violence and mental illness, the neglect they've lived with, the lack of morals they've been exposed to, the drugs and alcohol they were exposed to in the womb. And the door is open for hosts of other issues to develop.....even if you've had them since they were little.

THAT is the reality of adopting older children. They fight the love and hard work you shower on them every step of the way. I'm not saying that to discourage people from adopting older children...but rather to give a pat on the back to those who have but didn't end up with NFL Football stars.

Last night I told my friend "When I came out of the movie "The Blind Side" I came out bawling.....but not because it was such a beautiful story (which it was). I came out bawling because "My" Big Mike...was not a star in the NFL, but rather a young man struggling with drug addiction, who is on parole...and if he messes up one more time will go to the pen. It's harder to love the JBs and Js of the world, than the Big Mikes....because I think Big Mike appreciated what he had." And THAT is the miracle.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

China - Taxi Rides

We had two interesting Taxi rides while we were in Shanghai. The car taxis there are everywhere....like you'd see in New York City. They are smallish cars, and one person can ride up front, and it is a law that only three can ride in the back. So four all together...wouldn't you know that there are five of us!! Some taxi drivers would let five squeeze in, especially if you gave them a few extra RMB. We left one area, and there was the young Chinese couple we are with, Libby, me and my Dad. We wait in a long line for a taxi. We finally get in one and squeeze in. The taxi driver starts yelling at us in Chinese. Are Chinese friend responds back. We can't tell exactly what's going on, but it appears that he doesn't want to take five of us. Our Chinese friend kept trying to explain that one of us was a child and shouldn't count. And the taxi driver took off....so I thought it was resolved. But he pulled up to a police officer in the middle of a busy road. More rapid Chinese is spoken back and forth. The policeman looks us all over. Then nods his head. The taxi driver screams at us and we all get out of the taxi in the middle of the busy road. Apparently he'd insisted that the law said only four. When we wouldn't get out he'd driven to a Policeman. The Policeman had told the driver that he didn't care do what he wanted...and he threw us out! So we had to find another cab!!

Most of the cab rides were very reasonable. They charged 8-14 RMB for most places we wanted to go...which is about $1 - $2 in American. My Dad, Frank and I went in search of a trumpet for him. We were told that there were many music shops on Jinx Ling Road. So we had a cab drop us off and walked down the road a ways. We found a great trumpet for Frank. By the time we were done it started to rain. We tried to wave down a taxi, but no one would stop. Finally this guy on a three wheeled ancient motorbike pulls up. It has a little covered seat on the back of it. He indicates we should get in. Frank sits up front with the driver and Papaw and I sit in back facing backwards. It kept us dry. We came across a large group of people cross the street in a cross walk, and this guy just plowed through the middle of them without slowing down. When we got to the hotel, my Dad asked him how much it cost. The man said "50". My Dad goes "Oh, no way too much....15". The old man says "No, raining...50!!!" So we paid him 50. It was worth it to stay dry. LOL.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School

The first week of school is probably by far, the most difficult week I have in a typical year. And this one didn’t let me down. In fact, it started out the day BEFORE the first day of school. Bob is doing two a day practices. He was supposed to get the kids up and get them dressed before he left for practice, because Granny had said she was coming to get the early and take them out to our new trailer to work on getting it cleaned up. He was so excited about his first practice that he forgot. I didn’t want them to be in bed when Granny got there, so I had to get them up and get them dressed before I left. I had told Mom that Frank had a meds appointment in Wichita at 3pm and that the three girls had their “meet the teacher” night at 5pm. So she was going to have the girls back at our main house at 4pm so they’d have time to clean up.

So I take Frank to his appointment. The doctor decided to completely change every one of Frank’s meds…right in time for school to start the next day. That sounds like a GREAT idea…change all his meds on the first day of school. So I go by the pharmacy to get his new meds and they are out of stock. So I drive home with Frank, and it’s after 4pm after I get there. There is no sign of Granny and the girls. I call her cell phone and get no answer. I figure that if I drive out to the property they’ll be on their way in and I’ll miss them. So I wait ‘til 5pm and finally head out there. Granny had worked hard all day (the trailer looked GREAT by the way) and had forgotten about meet the teacher. So I rush the girls home to get their school supplies. They are in play clothes, swim suites and covered in paint, and we don’t have time to change. So I take them to “meet” their teachers….look out school…here comes the Pooligans.

After that we went back out to the land to swim in the pool and I started a bon fire. We roasted marshmallows. They wanted to spend the night and didn’t want to leave. I explained they had to get up early and go to school the next day. I was finally able to drag them home, get everyone bathed and in bed. We get lunches made, backpacks and instruments ready. By now its 9:30pm. Bob came in a few minutes later from football practice. He walks in the door and says “Juuulie” and I can tell by the tone of his voice that something isn’t good. He said “I just ran over someone’s cat…..and it’s dead.” So we walked back up the street and there is the poor dead kitty. We don’t know who it belongs to so we start knocking on doors. We finally locate the right neighbor. The cat belongs to his two little boys. We apologize profusely, and their Dad is really nice about it.

So we go home and go to bed. Then Day TWO begins…..

Libby is so excited about starting school that she got up at 4AM. By the time the rest of us get up and start getting ready she is so grouchy and hateful that no one can stand to be around her. She jerks open the fridge door so hard that it hits the back of Carlie’s heel and draws blood. So Carlie comes to me in the bathroom crying. I get her taken care of. Then Madi had this plastic stick shaped toy that makes noises. Carlie had it, and Libby was trying to reach over her head and take it away from her. Carlie let go of it, and it pops back and cracks Libby on the head. This makes her furious so she whacks MADI across the back with it…never did understand why she whacked Madi and not Carlie. So Madi comes in my bathroom bawling and has a big red welt across her back. So Bob takes the toy away from Libby and whacks her across the legs with it several times to see how SHE likes being hit with it…and now Libby is bawling too.

Frank now goes to Junior High which is in a different town. It’s on my way to work so we decide that I will drop him by school on my way. At 7am, Carlie is ready to go to school and insists that we take her RIGHT THEN. We try to explain to her that she isn’t supposed to be at school until 7:50am, and they only let us take them up there at 7:30am as a favor to Bob because he’s a teacher. But she throws an awful fit that she wants to go right then. So she’s sitting in my bathroom bawling. Then I ask her why she’s crying….and she says her eyes are hurting. I tell her that her eyes are hurting because she’s CRYING. Ugh.

So I’m trying to get a befuddled Frank and all his stuff in the minivan to leave…and I’m already running late. He starts crying because he’s nervous about his first day of Jr. High and he can’t find all his stuff. So we get in the minivan, and I realize I haven’t given him his new medicine. Did I mention that it was raining??? I dash back up the steps to the house and hang my toe on the first step, land on the side of my ankle on the second step and ROLL across the wet porch. So I get up, go in the house….errrr limp into the house….change my clothes and get his medicine.

I get to work, and my beloved Blackberry (Crackberry) is not on my hip where it’s supposed to be. I don’t know if I left it at home or if it flew into the bushes when I fell up the porch.

Awwwww….those good old days of school.

Monday, August 16, 2010

China - Shanghai

Shanghai is a very interesting city. Probably the most memorable thing for me about Shanghai is the driving. There do not seem to be many traffic rules. I mean there are police men, stop signs, traffics lights, cross walks, traffic lanes....it just seems like most people ignore them!!! People drive on sidewalks, down the middle between two lanes of traffic. If they want to go somewhere in a car, they just go and assume that all other cars and pedestrians will get out of their way. Amazingly there seem to be very few accidents.

Since China re-opened to other countries during the 80s, it has become a very Westernized city. It's still a very old city, but it does not seem to have the history that Beijing has. Even when my parents last visited Shanghai two years ago, it was a very polluted city. But the younger generation in their 20s and early 30s are becoming very interested in ridding their cities and country of pollution. And even two years has made a big difference. The government hires many people to pick up trash in their big cities. This is a "trash boat" that goes along the River Bund. The operator scoops up trash with a net and puts it in the bottom of his boat. This picture is looking down on the boat from our hotel.

There are no "houses" in Shanghai. Everyone lives in an apartment, townhouse or condo. Most families of 2 or 3 live in 300-900 sq ft of living space. There isn't room for washers and driers. And I never once saw a Laundromat. So after people wash their clothes, they hang them out of the window to dry. Sometimes on lines and sometimes on long poles sticking out of windows. It isn't unusual at all to see undies floating about you in the breeze.

Shanghai has many of the same restaurants and shops that the US has. There are McDonalds and KFCs all over the place. They even have a Barbie store and Hooters.

Many American products are available. Its odd to see products we use every day with Chinese Labels. One thing China DOESN'T have is Diet Pepsi. They have Pepsi and Coke Zero which they call Pepsi Light. I really, really missed my Diet Pepsi. We got this can of Pepsi out of a vending machine. My kids didn't know how to open it!!! Show's my age that I remember when all pop cans opened this way.

This McDonalds is four stories tall!!

Shopping is always great fun in Shanghai. We got Ipod Itouches for $75. Designer purses for $25. Pearls at an awesome price. Crocs for $2 a pair. Brand new BlueRay DVDs for 50 cents to $2 per movie.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

China - Tian An Men Square

In chinese "men" means gate. Ironically Tian 'anmen means "Gate of Heavenly Peace" The Square is named after the gate which is on the north end of the square. It was a humid and foggy day when we visited and the buildings are mostly gray with some red on them. There was nothing particularly beautiful about the square its self. But looking at all that space its hard to wrap your arms around exactly how large it is. It covers a hundred acres of pavement. During the Spring Festival in China up to a million people crowd into the Square. It is the largest public square in the world, at the exact geographic center of Beijing and is the center of the Chinese Government.

I was a little surprised that our tour guide did not mention what Americans refer to as the "Tian 'anmen Square Massacre". It happened in 1989, the year I graduated from High School. University Students were protesting in Tian 'anmen Square. Soldiers came in with machine guns and tanks to disperse them. It's unknown how many died. Accounts vary from 10,000 to 241.

Above is the gate on the South end of the Square. It is called Zheng yang men or Qian men. Beijing was once surrounded by a city wall and a moat. This gate is one of two remaining gates of the old city wall. The rest of the wall was destroyed when a subway was laid in Beijing

Monument to the People's Heroes

The kids and I on the square in front of the National Museum

Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. This building occupies the center of the square. Mao united all of China under The People's Republic of China in 1948. His body is embalmed and lies on view in the building. People stand in lines for hours daily to see his body. His picture his hung on Tian an men Gate. The same portrait is replaced once a year so that the color remains fresh.

Tian 'anmen Gate. It seperates the North end of the Square from the Forbidden City.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

China Trip and Buying Land

I haven't posted in a while. We've had a very busy summer. Granny and Papaw allowed Frank, Libby and I to tag along on their vacation to China. We just got back on Sunday. Bob and I have also been working on purchasing ten acres of land a few minutes north of our current home. It has a 1500 sq ft trailer house on it. The plan is to purchase the land, sell our current home, and then build on the land.

I'm going to start a series of posts about our trip to China. It was awesome.

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