Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peasant Painting Village

One day last week while Ruth was here, we went on an outing with a group of my friends to a peasant painting village outside of Shanghai.  The brightly colored, folksy Chinese paintings are created here, often by several generations of artists in the same family.

Many of the buildings in the village and in the larger neighboring town had the cheerful peasant paintings rendered in a larger scale on the outside of them. 
Can you pick us out in the painting on the building below?  
We fit right into the scene, don't you think?

 Neither Ruth nor I could resist purchasing one of these happy works of art for sale by the artists in the village.  They will be a fun reminder for us both of the great week we shared!  Below we are posing with the artist of the paintings we bought. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monks and Their Laundry

 Many orange garbed monks around Siem Reap~  look how young some of them are.
Not sure why, but the sight of their saffron colored robes hanging to dry struck me funny!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Animals in Siem Reap

Thought my nieces and nephews might enjoy these photos!  These are for you, Meredyth, Maggi, Emma Clare, Naomi, Caden, Alyssa, Sam, Adelaide, Isaac, and little Mira Mae. 
Aren't these monkeys cute?  We stopped by the side of the road to see them one morning on the way to a temple site.  We bought these little pieces of corn on the cob to feed them... they loved it and wanted more and more!  One jumped up on Gwen to get a piece out of her hand, which scared her a little, but it didn't hurt her.  Caleb thought the monkeys were so cute!  He took several little videos of them... maybe he can show them to you at Christmas time. 
Gwen and Madelyn and I got to ride an elephant while we were in Cambodia!  Madelyn and I took our sandals off and rubbed the elephant's rough back with our feet to see what his skin felt like.  While we were on the ride, which went around a small temple, the elephant went off to the edge of the trees several times to get a snack!  He stuck his trunk into all the leaves and pulled on a viney branch.  He kept pulling until he got a long piece off, which he stuffed into his mouth. 
After we came back from the ride around the temple, we were able to feed the elephant some bananas.  Madelyn and Gwen were surprised to find out that the elephant didn't care if the banana was peeled.  He would take it right out of their hand and eat it peel and all! 
Hope you liked the pictures, guys!  I love you, Aunt Lynne

Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday Morning at the Temple

Ruth and I ventured out to a Buddhist temple not far from our house yesterday morning.  It was quite a bee hive of activity when we arrived.  I especially enjoyed the scene above, with the monk instructing the small group of people gathered around him. 
Ruth and I tried to observe the people in their worship rituals as unobtrusively as possible, while still enjoying the ornate temple decorations and taking a few photos.  Below is the Buddha with 1000 hands.
                                  We were amused by the royal blue hair on these Buddahs.

"JESUS~  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. " Acts 4:12

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Postcards, Mister?

Love, love this photo.  The tree, the roots, the stone gate of the temple, and the girl in pink, holding a postcard up to Scott.  We saw many children around the temple areas in Siem Reap selling souvenirs to tourists.  This little one had packs of ten postcards she was selling for a dollar.  She counted to ten to demonstrate how many postcards in a pack... not just in English, but also in Spanish, Chinese, French and several other languages.  We had largely ignored these little peddlers most places we went, but this little bit of a girl caught Scott's attention.  He asked her to name the places pictured on each card, and she knew them all... couldn't resist buying a pack from her.  If you get a postcard from us, this is where we got it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ruth is Here!

My beautiful cousin Ruth arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday evening. Here she is just an hour after getting off the plane... I don't know anyone else who looks this good after 20 hours of travel!
We've had several days together to explore in Shanghai... here are a couple of photos from our outing yesterday, in the local neighborhoods around Yuyuan Garden and then in the garden itself.  So fun!

 Ruth captured this scene yesterday, of a grandma using the traditional Chinese potty training method of holding the baby's legs apart and whistling.  No success this time, but she was pleased we took a photo and wanted to see it after!  Notice the split pants... makes training quite handy!
 We figured we couldn't have gotten this guy's mug so clearly in our photo if we tried!  The building to the left in the photo is a 450+ year old tea house. 
                                                Ruth had to have a China Starbucks photo!

                              In the garden... one of my favorite places in Shanghai.  :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

He Knows Her Name

Last week we were away for October holiday, and I still have some photos I'd like to post from that trip.  We arrived home Sunday early afternoon with just enough time for me to repack my bag and leave on a very different type of journey, one that I have hoped I would have a chance to make since I began volunteering with Baobei Foundation a year and a half ago.

My journey, with a dear friend who is one of Baobei's Chinese staff, was to take one of the children who has been in our care here in Shanghai to meet her forever family.  This beautiful girl was abandoned at birth because of the sac on her back that marked her as having spina bifida.  Baobei provided for her surgery and follow up care, and she has been in a wonderful, loving foster home here since then.

This precious girl was chosen off a waiting child (also called special needs or special focus) list from an adoption agency in the US.  This was a miracle in itself, as children with spina bifida have quite varied surgery outcomes, and this child has a long road ahead of her physically.  Though she is nearly two years old, her legs are floppy and useless.  There is great hope for her, but it will not be easy.  Despite the odds, she was chosen, even in her weakness.  To become a daughter.  To belong to a family forever.  No longer an orphan.

And so yesterday morning, I found myself in a taxi on the way to the civil affairs office in her birth province, to take her to meet her family.  Scott and I waited in a civil affairs office for Gwen, nearly six years ago.  I have described that experience as being like being in the delivery room giving birth, but with other families "delivering" at the same time.  Nothing like waiting for that first glimpse of your child, the one you've dreamed of and prayed for.  Here I was again, but this time bringing the child rather than waiting for one.

The civil affairs office was a 20 minute drive from the hotel where we had spent the night, so I was busy keeping Little One entertained on the way.  I gave her my iPhone and she happily pressed the button and slid her little finger across the screen to change it.  After a few minutes of button pressing, I decided to put some music on for her and set a kids' album of music I have onto shuffle.  

The song that was randomly selected on the shuffle mode was this one below.  A song that God chose for Little One and I to hear, to remind that it is He that loves and chooses.

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began,
My life was in His hands.

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.

Little One may have been abandoned at birth.  She may have a broken body that will never be perfect by the world's standard.  Her name was about to change...  but her Maker has known her name and has had a plan for her.  From the beginning!  I sat in the taxi listening to the words of this simple song with tears running down my cheeks.  I looked at her beautiful face, and the first moments with Gwen in a civil affairs office six years ago, and the first moments as a family that Little One and her parents were about to experience melted together in my heart.

The next 90 minutes at civil affairs were wonderful.  Parents and children were brought together from worlds apart.  Little One was immediately swallowed up in love and was able to give love in return. 

What a gift, to see again God's greater plan.  To get a glimpse of it.  To stand on the outside and see Him working quiet miracles, one life at a time.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fish Massage

The fish nibble the dead skin off your feet... how do you think it feels?  Seth and the girls tried it at a stand on the street where we had dinner here in Siem Reap last night. 
 Seth tried to listen to his iPod to distract him from the tickling feeling without much success!
 Gwen seemed to have a high tolerance for the nibbling... maybe because she doesn't have much dry skin on her feet to be nibbled.

 There were a number of these places... one advertised "No Pirana".  I guess that's a selling point!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Exploring Ancient Angkor

 This week we are in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for the October holiday.  It's a place I've wanted to see for several years, and I keep pinching myself and thanking the Lord for the gift of having our family here.  These structures were built between 800 and 1200 AD by the Khymer people.  It feels like we are on a movie set for Indiana Jones... so cool.

 Our good camera is being repaired... all photos were taken with a little point and shoot... but with pretty good results!

 This spot actually was used in Tomb Raider... apparently Angelina Jolie ran through the root covered door behind us in the movie!  Gwen and I are wielding our guns.  :-)

 Faces everywhere in the Bayon Temple.

We're heading out this morning for more of this... can't wait!