Monday, April 27, 2009


She was about three years old, her black hair in little ponytails, her dark eyes cloudy and unseeing. Like the other children, she was dressed in several layers against the cold of the unheated second floor playroom. She moved around just slightly clumsily.

The junior high students in the room gravitated away from her to other toddlers, wanting to be involved in our church's day long service project at this rural orphanage, but unsure of how to handle the blind child.

She had a hat in her hands, kind of a funny pointed hat for playing dress-up games. She passed it from hand to hand, and pushed it against furniture within her reach, manipulating it in a haphazard way.

I also was unsure of how to interact with Lily. I watched her for a few minutes, shy of her. I wished there was another child I could turn to, to distract me from Lily and her blindness, but the junior high students were engaging them all. Only Lily was alone.

Hesitantly I moved toward her. I gently took the hat from her hands and put it on her head. My English words had no meaning to her ears, but I began to talk to her, putting the hat on her head again as soon as she removed it, trying to make a game of it. She seemed pleased, smiling a little, and we played this way for several minutes.

I moved from my crouching position on the floor to sit in a little chair, child-sized. I guided Lily over toward the chair with me. She seemed to have tired of the hat game. Not knowing what to do next, I started to sing to her.

"Jesus loves me, this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak, but He is strong."

I don't know if Lily held my hands first, or if I took her hands, but after I sat down in the little chair and began to sing to her, we found ourselves facing each other and holding hands as I sang. Lily clearly enjoyed the singing. She began to slowly rock my hands back and forth to the music, just a little. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" over and over, and she almost seemed entranced by the sound. She was very still now, aside from the slight rocking, listening carefully. Her head was turned a little to the side, and she had a far away look in her blind eyes. I moved on to some other songs.

"Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Sometime between "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and "Amazing Grace", Lily climbed onto my lap. This was completely unsolicited. She scooted up to me and laid her head right against my chest. She did it so quickly, she was snuggled up to me almost before I knew what was happening. I kept singing, not wanting to startle her or do anything that would break the mood.

The minutes passed, and I heard someone say that our bus would be leaving the orphanage in a few minutes. It was almost time to go. Still I sang. I didn't want to leave Lily. Her warm little body was feeling heavy against me, and I suspected that she had fallen asleep. I sang an old lullaby that my mom used to sing to me, that her mom used to sing to her.

"Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels God will lend thee,
All through the night.
Soft the dreary hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I, my loving vigil keeping,
All through the night."

Finally it really was time to go. Someone else in the room went to find an ayi to take the sleeping Lily from me. The ayi lifted her little body away from me and carried her to a bed in the other room. For some reason, I didn't want to watch this. I didn't want to see if she woke up, disoriented. I hoped she would stay peacefully asleep. I didn't want to see sadness in her blind eyes. I wonder why? Am I a coward? The fact was that I wouldn't be keeping vigil all through the night. I had to go.

The warmth of Lily against me lingered as we walked down the stairs, out the door and to the waiting bus.

I wonder who is keeping vigil over Lily tonight.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25, 2009

I was born on April 25, 1969.

There's no getting around the facts. As of today, I am forty years old.

Wow. Life goes on. :-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Night

It's a rainy Friday evening. Caleb has some friends over who've just finished homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner, the girls are painting in the kitchen, and Seth's on his way out the door for his 6th grade boys' small group. I'm waiting for Scott to make his way home through the Friday night traffic so that he and I can go out for dinner by ourselves... it's been a while since we've had a couple of hours to ourselves and we're looking forward to it.

In the mean time, I've lit the candle in the beautiful handmade candle holder that my niece Meredyth made me for Christmas. The construction paper circle pasted on the bottom says, "I love you."
I'm thinking of you, Meredyth, and loving you, too!
Have a fun weekend.
Love, Aunt Lynne

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brides in the Park

One day while Shann and Sarah were visiting, we went to a new park. I had heard about this park and was thrilled to find that it was wooded and more natural than many of the parks I have been to around Shanghai. It covers a huge area, and in addition to the beautiful natural spaces in the park, there are large amusement park type rides, an archery range, go-carts, a large lake with different boats available to rent, horses, a paint ball range, etc.
The day we visited the park was quite busy, because it happened to be a national holiday. Fortunately it wasn't so busy as to be horribly crowded, but what we did find were many, many brides being photographed. It is customary in Shanghai to have several photo sessions for the bride and groom on days other than the wedding or reception day (the legal wedding and the reception are often held months apart). Wedding receptions have extensive slide shows of professional photos, in different outfits and settings. Apparently this was the park shot day! It was fun to see all their creative poses. Also funny to see were the shoes they were wearing... usually not party shoes, but something suitable for spending the day trekking around the park.Isn't this a fun picture? I'm sure the girl was glad for the rest after a day full of photos.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Concubine's Smile

... is the name of this salad that we ate in a Beijing restaurant. Very beautiful, mostly flower petals and cilantro. It had a yummy sweet dressing on it. Not sure about the name... from what we've learned about concubines in China, they didn't have too much to smile about.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter Pictures

The girls were part of a small group of children who led the motions to several songs that were sung at the children's Easter celebration that was held by our church in the courtyard of a hotel."Your love has captured me..." I love the look in Gwen's eyes in this picture. Reminds me of how God desires all of us to come to Him, trusting completely, like a child."Lord, we lift Your name on high" After the singing, one mom went through the Resurrection Eggs (a dozen plastic Easter eggs with an object inside each one to represent one aspect of the death and resurrection of Jesus) and read the accompanying story to all the kids. Waiting eagerly for the Easter egg hunt to begin! I wasn't sure Seth would want to participate in the hunt, but he did, holding up his t-shirt to collect eggs, in place of a basket. When you're twelve, you can go either way. :-) We colored eggs at our house when we arrived home on Easter Sunday after the children's celebration. We had time to color our eggs and have our own egg hunt and Easter baskets before we went to our regular service in the afternoon.

I thought it best to just remove Gwen's shirt for egg coloring... skin is easier to wash than clothes!
She found one! Gwen made this cute bunny basket at school.
Checking out the contents of the eggs.
Notice the unusual Easter baskets I used for the boys.... I didn't bring any baskets with us to China, and it turns out that skateboarding helmets work just as well. :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Morning Activities

The Temple of Heaven is situated on a very large park area in the city of Beijing. Many locals buy yearly passes so that they can use the park area regularly. With a mandatory early retirement age in China, there are many older people out and about enjoying the morning together as they engage in various activities. We peeked into their world for a bit as we strolled toward the historic buildings in the Temple of Heaven grounds.

Shann tries to get a picture of what's going on it the middle of this circle of folks.

Shann and Sarah joined right in with this group of dancers!

These Little Piggies

...were at the market. Carrefour, to be exact. They are steamed buns, with red bean paste inside. We bought three of them when Shann and Sarah were visiting, and nibbled one of them. Not so very yummy, so instead of being eaten, these remaining two had their portraits taken, and then were relegated to a spot on the shelf in my kitchen where they still sit, looking cute. They are quite dry and hard now, and about ready for the trash. They must have been a sort of Easter-y product... haven't seen them before.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rapid Improvement

Says Seth, as he bounces a basketball back and forth between his legs, walking through the living and dining room~

"It feels like my hands just grew. They're huge now. Either that or the ball got smaller."

Obviously impressed by his own skill. :-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Great Wall

I intended to do a post of the "best of Beijing" pictures, but there are just so many... so this is a Great Wall only post. :-) We went to a section I had not been on before, Mutianyu. It is a bit farther out of the city, but it was so worth the extra drive time because it was not a bit crowded. The day was a bit hazy, but we could still see lots of the wall, extending in both directions. We had a pretty strenuous climb to get to the wall, but once we were on it, we were able to walk on more gently sloping sections and see quite a bit. The Great Wall never fails to impress! See how few people were on the Wall when we were there... what a treat not to be climbing elbow to elbow with a crowd.

Sarah and I wore our coordinating t-shirts this day... we joked that it would help us "blend in." Not sure if this is possible for us in a country of black haired, black eyed people. :-)

We took this slide down to the bottom after our climb... so fun! Each little car could be individually controlled by a lever, to make your speed up or slow down. It was a pretty long ride, six or seven minutes to the bottom.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

China Sister!

While I was in Beijing with Shann and Sarah last week, I got to hug sweet Kimberly, one of Gwen's China sisters, and her mom, Carol! Carol was part of our adoption group, and the last time she and I were in this spot in Tian'anmen Square, we hadn't met our girls yet. We shared the amazing experience of meeting these children chosen for us just two days later. How funny that we meet again in Beijing! Carol and Kimberly were back in China for a two week vacation, and it just so happened that our trips overlapped. So great to see you two!Here are what our two little pumpkins looked like in December 2005, the last time I was with Carol and Kimberly. This picture was taken right after the girls had their required medical exam before leaving China.Gwen, on the left, and Kimberly on the right.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


As Mr. Wu and I left the airport this afternoon after dropping off Shann and Sarah for their flight back home, he noticed my tears and said, "Your heart, now go to America."

Thanks for making your way to us, you two. I miss you already.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sarah and I

So very glad my sister is here... have I mentioned this? We are loving being with both Shann and Sarah. Can't believe we have only two days left. I'll be posting pictures from their visit for a while, I think! Right now we're having too much fun to spend much time on the computer. :-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wednesday night

Home from Beijing at midnight, Shann, Sarah, Madelyn and I. Sunny skies, ancient architecture, a Great Wall, a wonderful time. Crawling into bed... pictures tomorrow.

Friday, April 03, 2009

First Day with Shann & Sarah

They're here, they're here!

We had a fun, full day with Shann and Sarah... Ji-An Park and Ji-An Buddhist temple, a walk through an old town area with lots of interesting sites and street food, lunch with Scott at City Diner, and a visit to the fabric market to browse around and eventually order a new clown shirt for Shann (I'm not kidding) and a cute green coat for Sarah. We made it home after being out for ten hours, and the two of them promptly each took a couch and were soon snoring. For pictures of our day, hop on over to Sarah's blog. The link, Upturned Faces, is on my sidebar, or you can click here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Before Dinner Snack

I've just posted recently about the amount of food boys eat. Here's a little follow up from this afternoon~

Half of a cream filled donut
2 eggs, scrambled with crumbled bacon
A bowl of leftover homemade chicken and rice soup
Pretzels dipped in Nutella
A small chocolate bar

My Word. Surely the boy must be growing. I exclaimed about all that he was consuming and voiced my hope that he would still be able to eat his dinner an hour from now. He reminded me that he had run a mile at school today, and of course he would be able to eat his dinner.

I remember my mom telling me about a friend of hers who'd had to limit her growing son to drinking only one gallon of milk a day. Only one gallon a day.

My Word.

Flying In A Green Hat

I love the neat effects Caleb applied to this photo of himself!