It's Fall Festivus For the Rest of Us

When and how did my sweet little baby girl go from this...

...to this?

(please pardon the interruption for a moment while I express my frustration at myself due to the fact that I brought along my nice new camera and left the memory card stuck in the card reader at home... thus leaving the shutterbug mama with less than satisfactory pictures of our fun fall festival night.)

OK... now that I've got that out of my system.

Thanks to her awesome Aunt Alicia , our Reese Cup was the sweetest little china doll at the party. (and yes, sister, it actually fit her pretty well!) :)

And boy did she get the hang of it quickly. Didn't take her anytime at all to figure out that a."I play a game, (which means I either throw a ball at someone, Daddy pushes me around on a tricycle, or I splash around like a fish in the duck pond for as long as Mama will let me soak myself and anyone within 2 feet of me), b. "I figure out the nice people think I'm funny and cute, so I play it up even more until I'm invited to dig through the big bin of sugar heaven... and yes I know exactly what's in that bin", and c. "I try to eat the candy, paper and all... and when that doesn't work, I drop it in my bag."

Reese got to see and play with all her favorite people tonight. Here's a little video of our fun! :)

A couple of pictures worth special note... I felt my overseas sister needed to know that indeed I did get a couple of buns held together with "chopsticks" (tiny as they may be) out of this head of hair. :)

Needless to say, all that fun wore her right out... she didn't even last the whole three minutes it took us to get home.Happy Fall Festivus, y'all. :)

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far

I'm starting to think that Reese has been watching her Mama...

I found her in her room last night doing this.


Look Out Mr. Obama... Mama's on the Warpath

So tonight Reagan and I made the familiar trip up to my hometown in Ohio to #1. pick up our baby girl from her two week stint with Papaw and Mia and #2. spend Friday night with all of my mom's cousins and their families at the family farm for a fall barn dance.

As I've written about before, my parents live on a busy state route in one of the many po-dunk-ville's that make up the great battleground state of Ohio. Being as it is election time, yards are filled to the max with the little plastic signs promoting their choice for President.

Allow me to pause for a moment and show you something that has become a great conversation piece in our circle of family and friends... the fact that since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the VP choice for John McCain, my mother has more than once been mistaken for the Governor of Alaska. It's just a small resemblance, especially if my mom is wearing her glasses, but a resemblance nonetheless. See for yourself...

Not that my mom needed a look-a-like for her to jump on the McCain-Palin bandwagon (no pun intended) I remember throughout my life her always being one of the first to get involved when an election year rolled around. Beyond attending rallies and things like that, she's been known to collect books, calendars, and anything else she can get her hands on for President's Reagan and the 2nd President Bush. (She's already attended two Palin rallies in this area in the past several weeks.) Raised with strong morals and an even stronger work ethic, firmly believing in a person's right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, (and of course the right to bear arms) my mom is more than proud to call herself a licensed gun-toting all-American woman. This, I'm sure contributes to the fact that, (along with her palin t-shirt) of all the souvenirs she could've chosen at the Palin rallies she went to, she chose this one...

Autographed, of course.

So why should it surprise me that in such a critical time in our nation's history that she would want to shout it out to the state of Ohio her choice for our next President and Vice President?
As a matter of fact, one of the last things she said to me on the phone tonight during our drive up was... "I can't wait for you to see the sign in our yard." I'm thinking... "oh it's one of those cute little pink ones, or maybe it has lipstick on it to match her t-shirt..."

So here Reagan and I come, down the road, past the spaceships, (again... see here) and what should we see several houses before we reach Mom and Dad, but this...

You can see measuring by the tree behind it, that this ain't no 2 foot plastic yard sign. And there aren't one, but two... one on each side of the driveway and in lights no less. "Booooo" I said as we drove by it. "How horrible... why would a person do such a th..."

And then I saw it. The next words out of my mouth went something like this...

"Ohhhhh. Shuuuuuuuut. Uuuuuuuup. They didn't!" Followed by several outbursts of uncontrollable laughter. "Reagan!!! What did she do? (I think I hit him in the arm about then...) Where did they get that thing? No way! No stinkin' way!" And then a little more laughter...

What was no more than the size of a small pin head at first sight grew larger and larger as we pulled into view.

Y'all... this. thing. is. HUGE. I promise. Ten feet tall at least... maybe a little more. And no- that doesn't include the flags on top of it.

Now c'mon... you're either laughing, or your mouth is gaping open, but you know you wish you would've thought of it first. And only my mom. Don't get me wrong... my dad is all about him some conversative moral leadership... mom's just always had a little bigger mouth than he has is all. :) (Unless it's at one of my brother's soccer games... but that'd be a different post now, wouldn't it?)

You'd have to know this Christian comedian Mark Lowry sketch I grew up listening to to really understand the meaning of what I was thinking as we stepped out of the car to see this sign, the yellow made of sturdy metal holding the wooden sign up with chains. All I could think was "GET IT MAMA!!!!!!" I immediately walked into her room and said "You told me you couldn't wait for me to see your yard sign... you didn't tell me it was ten feet tall and BULLETPROOF!"

Turns out that the Obama supporter down the street took these metal pieces in to my brother in laws tool shop to have 'em welded together, but never implied what they were for. When my brother-in-law's boss saw that Obama sign pieced together between those pieces he'd welded, he was pretty ticked off. Turns out he went right back to that metal shop and built him up a nice little bigger-and-better and parked it right in my parents front yard for all to see... including any undecided astronauts currently working on the space station.

So there you have it, oh great Buckeye State... vote for who you may... if I were you though, I'd make sure my Mama wasn't looking over your shoulder when you cast your ballot.

Consider yourself warned.


Question of the day... well my day anyway.

Q: What do you call it when you come home from a trip, jump in your tub for a nice hot soak, wash your hair, decide you're just too tired for anything else so you go to sleep on it wet, and then wake up to remember your hair dryer exploded when you tried to plug it in at the Asianese hotel?!?

A: Hat day...

Who's Next???

You know, I never have considered myself racist or above or better than those that I might consider less fortunate than myself... I still don't, let's just clear that up right now... after reading this book however, I think oblivious may be a good word for what I discovered about myself as my plane hovered somewhere over the Pacific last Saturday.

God used this read to overhaul the way I would see the teachers and children that I would be blessed to spend my time with in the days that would follow. Instead of just seeing a people lost in complete ignorance... devoid of the knowledge that there is Savior that loves them... who were ignorant to my "better" way of life... living a life that was forced on them by Communism and poverty... instead of just seeing them as sad, poor little people that needed my big wonderful American-ness to come in and save their day... to do them a favor by donating my time for the week... I saw that each of them, the teachers especially, had a history... a childhood... a life that they were living, most of them a spouse that they were loving, a person they were trying to be a friend to, and a future they were trying to provide for their families... just like me. I began to understand that I wasn't taking the message of Jesus to them just because they were pitiful and less fortunate and needed His help to make it through their difficult lives. They were just like me. A husband or a wife, mother or a father, living the same kind of life, facing the same kind of issues... just like me. Human, sinful, and in need of a Savior. That's it. Oh, our lives may be exponentially different in the houses we live in, our means of transportation, the food that we eat and the clothes that we wear. None of that really matters when you look at them through the eyes of Jesus, though. That's sounds like such a cliche I know, but it is a huge reality to me right now. Puts us all on the same lost, in need of a Savior playing field. Before I only pitied them because of their place in this world... as if I had something to offer in my own rite. Now I view these people, one woman in particular, as an intellegent, compassionate people, full of goals and dreams and the energy and ability to accomplish them. They're missing out on the most important thing, though. Not due to their rejection... they just have never heard of Him.

So here's the book... you can watch a video about it here. I watched it after I read it and think it will spoil part of the story if you watch it before you read. You can suit yourself though... you should know that in parts I bawled my eyes out. Sobbed, actually. Consider yourself warned. Thanks to Melissa and that little contest of hers. Let me know who wants it next. I'll put your names in a hat and send it on down the road!


Working My Way Back to You, Babe...

Hey Reese Cup... Guess what?!?
We spent all of yesterday and will spend today with Aunt Alicia, Uncle Rob, Hannah, and Hudson and had sooooooooo much fun.

A long trip still awaits us, but the first leg begins tonight around 8:00 and we are ready to kiss your sweet little face again!

We love you bunches and can't wait to get you back. See you in four airplane rides!


Knee-How! :)

Day two of English teaching is over... let me just tell you this is a different trip than any I have ever taken. I'm enjoying myself, don't get me wrong. And I'll do it again in a heartbeat. My brain is just in a different place than usual when you do something like this. Most of the time it's (pardon my code) EE, EE, EE... Make sense? Ask two questions... get results by the end of your trip. Let's see if I can explain... for one thing it's hard for me to even sit here and think straight while I type because my brain is straight up tired from having to think so hard of simple words that the teachers can understand... and I haaave toooooooo taaaaalk soooooo sloooooooow. (Please forgive me if my "L"'s still sound like "R"'s when I get home. If you hear me say "famery" instead of "family" I'd appreciate your patience as I detox. :) )

I don't know... like I was saying, most trips have an end in sight... by the end of your week or ten days or whatever... Take a group and build the building. Go run the children's program for 5 days. Hit the streets and win 'em over. Get as many as you can and connect them with your local contact for follow up. This isn't like that, and it isn't going to be like that... all of the "spiritual highs" that come with many things like this aren't here for me. It really feels more like just getting up and going to work everyday. The burden is no less- don't get me wrong. The burden is incredible when you see it with your own eyes and experience the gravity of having something you want to say soooo badly that you can't even remotely communicate. There is a big story unfolding though that Father is writing and in the recent days has just begun penciling our parts onto the pages of it.
It seems more like I just started a new book... an exciting one with lots of intriguing clues and insights into the coming pages. Except the pages haven't been written yet. A new page begins every time Reagan's phone/alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and invites us to put our ink to the paper. And it's incredible the way new characters are being added everyday. A new person with lots of influence in the area of education over this area of the country walks in and wants to begin relationships with us and more importantly the company we're representing. In two trips we haven't had to search for one person or hardly break a sweat to find the doors that Father is swinging wide open. They're coming to us! Teachers and education officials are coming from many places around the county to sit in on our classes and learn from us. News cameras were there today... yep- we're gonna be on asianese tv... :) Thank you for those of you who are holding us up... please don't stop! He is hearing you!

Here are a few pictures of us working hard! :)

Lots of pictures are being uploaded to a photobucket account. You can see them here... It's not supposed to be a private album, but if it comes up asking for a password I think "picture" will work.

1/2 a day ahead, but a day behind... :)

Here is what would've been my post upon arrival... no web access where we're staying, so I typed it up on my computer and saved it for when I could post it... :)

Oh, the sounds… the smells… the tastes… the exhaustion… the jet lag…

All sense of time is lost at this point. Oh, I know that it's 5:45 am here Tuesday morning, and that it's 4:45 pm at my house Monday evening… but how long exactly have I been gone? Did I really just travel for 36 hours in order to reach this place? I mean…. How does anyone that wasn't just born here even find it? Our flight left around 11:30am Saturday October 11 in Nashville, going through Minneapolis (2 hours or so) en route to Tokyo (approximately 12 hours) them straight onto GZ (another 3 or 4 hours) where my head finally found a pillow it liked for 5 hours or so, then leaving GZ (where they let me keep my oversized Listerine but took my tiny little shampoo?!?!?!?) We hopped one more flight to NN where we finally met R & A. Didn’t stop there though… a nice little man was hired to drive us and our luggage around for lunch and then to the bus stop where we boarded the last leg of our trip for a 2 hour bus ride that would eventually drop us here for 4 days or so… Nngmng.

So here we are… nice little room. Amazingly clean room, actually. Although somehow the Asianese have completely missed the concept of a mattress and box spring and just sleep on the box spring. I keep telling myself it beats the floor, but I’m not altogether sure that there’s much of a difference. And one of those notorious Asian bathrooms where the toilet and the shower and sink are just all one big room. I’ve always heard about those and wanted to be able to use one. And hey- it’s a toilet. A real one. No squatty-pottying for this girl… (thank you Jesus for that… no really. Thanks. A lot.)

Reese- I miss you girl. Your mama misses you like crazy. She wanted to cry for you last night. I thought a good night’s sleep would help wear that off. Not so much though. I still wanted to cry for you this morning, so I did. Just a little… but it felt a lot better. I know you’re having a blast with Papaw, Mia, Aunt D, Uncle Jeff, Eden Grace, Daniel, Aunt Shi-Shi, Uncle Michael-Babe, Uncle Ry, Grandma, Pappy, Mammy, and all of our other crazy Ohio family.

I woke up this morning to a rooster crowing… since it also appears the Asianese sleep Lucy and Ricky style, I climbed into Reagan’s bed for a few minutes of cuddling and continued to awaken to the horrible sound of what was probably my lunch or dinner being tortured. This hog squawked and grunted until… well until it just didn’t squawk or grunt anymore. We’ll see if pork is on the menu tonight.

Day 3 (or is it 4?) of my travels will commence with my first day of teaching… and I’m up, waiting for my turn in the shower. And it is early…class starts at 7:50am. We have to report to our hotel lobby at 6:50 am. Someone forgot to tell the headmaster of this school that when I teach piano, it doesn’t ever start before 1pm. Yeah, he missed that memo completely. Nevertheless, here we go….


We Made It!

Took us three days to get to where we were going... but we're here!

A more interesting post will follow soon... probably tomorrow. Just wanted to let you know that we're all safe and sound and the first day has been great.


T Minus 2 Days...

Someone made the comment to me upon receiving the news of my pregnancy with Reese...

"Hope you've gotten everything in that you wanted to do in life... 'cause those days are over now!"

Well dude, I don't know what world you live in... but you must not have a Mia. Or much ambition.

Not that I'm feeling terribly ambitious these days. Saturday is the day I board the plane for my second trip to this precious land. And while I am excited, yes... and expecting to watch in awe what God's gonna do with us and how He's gonna use me to communicate to a bunch of people that will understand about as much as I am saying to them as I understand Reese's jabber, yes... I'm still on a bit of a roller coaster with it all. As a matter of fact my heart kinda sinks when I think about leaving her for two weeks. I'm not afraid she won't be taken care of... good grief. She's gonna have a BLAST and won't even miss me. I'm the one that's gonna miss hearing her sing when she wakes up in the morning, and hear her jibber jabber as she "reads" to me from her carseat, watching her play with her cousin... I'm just gonna straight up miss her. Some people look forward to a break from their kids... and while one day I'm sure I'll fall into that category, I'm not there quite yet. I count myself extra blessed to be able to stay home with her and spend my days with her. I love everything about being her Mama.

Let me just tell you how much God has revealed himself to me in the past 5 days in what I believe to be an effort to calm my jitters and just remind me that He is acutely aware of silly little unstable emotional me and that He cares how I feel. See, my sister in law commented a couple years back about having to leave her kids to do things like this, and how God spoke to her saying "I love them more than you do... they're mine. I've given them to you- not the other way around. You've gotta trust me with them." Let me just tell you the minute I heard her say that, I was like "ooh God, you are so gonna use that on me someday!" Well, the day has come, y'all... :)

So Sunday, my mind had been a whirlwind of emotions all morning already knowing that this was the week I had to leave her... I was down to only seven days. (Can you believe how much we work ourselves up over stuff?!? And a week ahead of time!) And in the middle of a 5th grade Sunday school lesson on Abraham and Isaac, I read this in Genesis 22:15-18...

"Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

OH the peace that flooded my heart in that moment! I know that was written to Abraham, but had there been the audible voice of God I couldn't have heard Him speak to me any more clearly. And y'all don't even know the times God has used the life of Abraham to speak truth into my life... it was during a quiet time years ago while studying Abram that I realized God was calling me to leave home and move here in the first place. That's another post though...

So I'm suprised I don't have that passage in Genesis completely memorized by now, because Satan has made my nerves flare up multiple times during each day of this week, and each day I go back to the promise I received on Sunday.

The grass needs mowed after the rain we got this week, and I am on borrowed nap time as it is, so I don't have the chance to get into my Bible Study this morning... I do ask you girls to pray, though. Pray, pray, pray, like your kids begging you for candy in the Publix check out lane. The Lord spoke to me so much about how powerful the prayers of His children are, and if anything is going to be accomplished in this land, with such language barriers and government opposition, it will only be through the miraculous hand of our powerful God.

See y'all in a couple weeks!


Dear Nana

Dear Nana,

This is Reese. I wanted to write and thank you for my new coat. It is sooooooo pretty, and sooooo fuzzy and warm. I got to wear it for the first time tonight when Daddy and Mama took me to the corn maze with all the 5th and 6th graders. Mama is still looking for a hat, but not all the stores are carrying them yet. Mama thinks that just because it's October it's time for fall clothes, coats, and hats... even after 5 years she doesn't realize that just because it's time for those in Ohio doesn't mean it's time for them here. :)

Here are some pictures of me in my new coat... though I wasn't in a very smiley mood tonight. Mama said it looks like it was made for me- and she loves it too! Thank you again for it. I love you and can't wait to see you again!

Love, Reese Cup

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