Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peace

My dear friend's texted prayer this morning, in response to my text to her telling of lost items in the midst of days of packers in our house, my sleepless nights and anxious heart as details of the coming weeks spin through my head~

      "I pray for comfort and peace of mind, for the absence of anxiety, that the lost will be found, for the feeling of being well rested and alert, for a sound mind and a terrific day."

The Lord is good.  The lost has been found, I've had some moments of time in this busy day to reset, Scott is home with me and taking care of so many details, and there IS peace in the midst of chaos.

Thankful for the prayers of the saints, and the God who IS peace that hears them and answers.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Going Out With A Bang

Fireworks come big in China... I arrived home the other day to find these two huge boxes of them in the middle of our living room.  Scott was planning on going out with a bang, he said. 
There was no shortage of guys who showed up for the fun last night when we set them off on a side street near our house.
With the first spent box of fireworks in the foreground, Caleb sets off a long line of firecrackers.  Notice all the debris from the fireworks littering the street!


The noise and smoke were terrific, and the colored sparks flew high in the air and showered down around us.  Great fun!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ladies' Lunch on the Bund

Love these women, love this view!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chicken Dinner

Here's an common scene, even in this very westernized city.  This vendor will slaughter and pluck a duck or chicken for you on the spot.   Any takers?  I walk in the mornings with friends, and we see this guy frequently.  Very fresh meat, Chinese very like.  :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chairs, and Pictures Not Posted

A month or two ago I had the thought that I would like to post a photo per day for our last month in Shanghai.  I would take pictures of all the places that we go throughout the week, and all the typical Shanghai scenes that have become so familiar.  What a nice way to end my five years of on-location China blogging... ha, ha, ha.  Did not happen.  

We are now inside of three weeks until we move.  We've been entertaining both sets of grandparents here for graduation and are loving it.  We've had a steady stream of graduates in and out of our house, staying up til all hours, enjoying their new found freedom.  I have just tonight decided that the detailed insurance inventory for our move is officially finished and Scott is scanning and emailing it to the moving company right now.  Happy to have that off my list.  Lots of end of the year and good-bye gatherings for different friends in the coming days.  Air, Sea and Do Not Pack stickers to apply to all our household goods.  

So I offer this one photo today.  It was taken in a warehouse or rather series of warehouses of furniture and random decorating items that I visited and shopped in with some friends about a month ago.  The photo doesn't show nearly the scope of the stacks and stacks of chairs, literally hundreds of them piled up to the ceiling.  The man pictured climbed deftly up the bamboo ladder into the pile to pull out the chairs we pointed out to him.  It seemed sort of like a house of cards... we were amazed when he made it out without a big crash!  :-)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Caleb's Graduation!

 May 19, 2012.  Just three weeks until we leave Shanghai.  Today we weren't thinking about our move, but rather celebrating Caleb's completion of high school!  When we arrived here, he had just finished 7th grade and was a month shy of his 13th birthday.  We didn't imagine then that we would still be here five years later for graduation. 
 
What a great day it has been, with both sets of grandparents here to celebrate with us.  From Mr. Munson reading from The House At Pooh Corner in the commencement address, to the taget shooting alarm clock Caleb's basketball coach gave him as a graduation gift, to the fun after graduation banquet, it was a day we were reminded over and over again of the special community we have been a part of at Concordia.
 Diploma in hand! 





 So thankful for Grandpa & Grandma and Pa & Nanny's presence with us today!

 Hoag and Liptak guys... we are all leaving Shanghai together in a few weeks.
 Concordia phoenix behind us!

 This morning Gwen came into bed with me for a cuddle.  I was thinking about all the events of the day before us, and realized that her graduation was just ten years away.  That length of time might have sounded like a lot to me back when Caleb was my only little guy, but now that I'm a little older and have seen how the years pass, I know that it's just around the corner.  Can't really believe the time with Caleb as our boy is nearly over.  I love the man he's becoming.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In a Few Days



Caleb was finished with final exams yesterday, so he is feeling pretty free!  Graduation is so close we can all taste it.  :-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Moving Forward

10 days until graduation.  One month until we leave Shanghai.  I have to say, I am getting excited!  Scott is in Chicago this week, loving reconnecting with his colleagues in the office there, and seeing our home that we haven't been in for nearly five years.  In the past I have dreaded the thought of leaving Shanghai, but for now it seems good.  Funny, I remember this feeling from other moves we've made.  While it is sad to leave so many special people behind, the anticipation for the new that is ahead of us is great!

Last night I attended a program at school about sending your child to college.  I'll admit I shed some tears, thinking about the moment of good-bye in the dorm room.  I'm so thankful that after we have the major move back to the US, we'll still have the weeks of summer with Caleb.  He is leaving Shanghai ahead of us, since graduation is several weeks before the other kids finish school, and I think saying good-bye to him in the Shanghai airport might be harder for me than leaving him at college will be.  It will be him leaving the life we've known here for good... guess I can't quite get it into words.

Lots of excitement over the next couple weeks, with grandparents arriving and all the festivities of graduation and end of the year programs.  Hanging on for the adventure!  And somewhere in there I will finish the darn insurance inventory for our move- ha!  :-)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Outside the Orphanage

I've posted previously about the local orphanage that I visit weekly with a group of women.  I took this picture there this morning.  Do you see what is hanging from the circular drying rack?  It is several panels cut from plastic packaging from disposable diapers.  The orphanage uses disposables only when they have them donated, and the rest of the time they use cloths or small towels as diapers and the plastic packaging from disposables is wrapped over the cloth and tied around the baby's middle to provide a waterproof covering.  The plastic panels are then washed and reused many times. 

I'm not sure if I am just getting used to the poor conditions at this orphanage, or if it isn't as bad as I thought initially.  I've been pleased to note the workers (2-3 in a room of 25 or so special needs kids) interacting playfully with kids here and there.  These children can smile and laugh.  They are fed.  There are many volunteers that come through and give these little ones small doses of love and attention.  Yes, they are still orphans.  The chances of their circumstances changing are low.  But as a wise person noted to me, these are "the ones the Lord loves the most."  I know He sees them. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Gathering

A beautiful day in Shanghai... enjoyed a walk in Fuxing Park with my friend Tammy.  Loved this group of ladies we spotted sitting together on a bench in the park.  Wonder what their day held?  Where had they come from?  Had they come together?  What are they talking about?  Where would they go after they left the park?  Fun to imagine.  :-)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Senior Prom

Hurray!  I figured out my photo loading/storing issues, so now I can post photos again and finish this China blogging stint strong. 

We've passed another milestone on the way to Caleb's graduation from high school.  Prom was last Saturday, and it seems like a good time was had by all.  I haven't put all these pictures in much of an order, but you can see the one above was at the beginning of the evening, when Caleb's friend Anthony was de-linting his jacket for him and Seth serenades.  :-)

Below, a group of kids went to take photos at the Bund, with Shanghai's famous skyline as the background.  That's the real thing- love it!
A big group of kids also posed for photos at one girl's house.  Lots of parents came to take pictures there.  Here are Scott and Heather's dad capturing the next photo down...
 Caleb is second from the left in the back row of guys, with his friend Heather in front and left of him.
 Zack, Ben and Caleb... basketball buddies and great friends.



 Yep, Caleb has officially beat Scott in height!
 
Prom may not be the most important rite of passage, but it's a thing in your life you look back on, and now is in the "look back" category for Caleb.  Our guy is counting the days until graduation, and there are not many left!  Now it is time to study for finals.  :-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Technical Difficulties

Yes, I have been a poor blogger recently.  Been struggling to get photos loaded... turns out that after nearly seven years of blogging, I have reached the one gig limit on free photo storage.  I need to purchase more space... or call this thing quits.  Figuring that out now.

In the mean time, it seems I have not yet reached the limit on videos, so I'll give you a little ditty Seth played the other day.  :-)

Improv

video
I'm loving listening to the improv in our living room.  :-)  Make sure to turn your volume up!