Monthly Archives: July 2012

happy weather, happy girl

Today was packed from top to bottom, in the best possible way. Investing in the community here has brought us so much joy. People are so diverse, aren’t they? Each one adds something new and unique to the whole of the group.

We had bright blue skies with plump sprinkles of cloud here and there. The view of the mountain was perfect and beautiful. You could see the snow on the tippy-top. No fog to blur the view today! Thank you L-rd for bringing heavy rain last night. We’ve enjoyed the bright clear day that resulted. So cheery!

Oz and I hope all is well back home. We love each of you and want you to know that we are thoroughly enjoying our summer here and do think of you often. I wish I could sit down with each of you and lavish you with details of each day, each emotion, each new smell, taste and experience. A fun part of that conversation for me would be to include the details of what has now become familiar. The emotions, smells, tastes and experiences that I’m used to now. All the things that we know as normal. However, I don’t imagine that would be as interesting in reality as it is in my mind. And I suppose that is one reason that we are keeping this blog…so you can sit down with this site at whichever time is convenient for you and be filled in on all those new & normal things.

With that considered, sorry for the short and somewhat vague entries the past week-ish. My wordiness will perhaps find its way out of it’s hiding place and back to my fingertips soon.

Tomorrow Today is Monday.

(Already?!)

Happy Monday, friends.

Mrs. B e e

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In no particular order

So thankful for these things today

Late night/early morning singing session till someone falls asleep first

Morning Refreshment in the W o r d

E-notes from so many friends

Favorite pens and not leaving the house without them

learning new card games

Duo Duo, the pup we may sneak back to the States

Lunch dates with new friends

Live music at a cafe {I miss the melodies of SD}

A Chinese man playing Spanish guitar {right?!}

Our VPN

Our dumpling dinner together

The gorgeous sky with fluffy clouds

Little Chinese babies…need I say more?

Wannabe ‘Tart Deco’ Nail polish color

The song “Amazing One” by Rocky Green ❤ Love you friend.

Conversations about Love.

My husband. I find new reasons to be thankful for him everyday.

It feels better to fall asleep remembering all the reasons today was a great day. And it really was. I’m excited for tomorrow, but first I am going to spend quite a few hours sleeping soundly next to my Oz.

What are you thankful for today? I’d love to know.

-Bee

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Goal for Today

 

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“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will worry about its own things.

Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

matthew 6:34

 

 

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Between Yesterday and Today

Its 0:01 on my clock. The day has hardly unfolded. Today holds a loose agenda and I’m sure we’ll fill the empty time slots with dining, playing cards, walking around old town, reading or Skyping. Perhaps all of the above.

However, my mind hasn’t yet crossed over to the actual today. I still lag in yesterday, which still feels like today. We slice time into days and minutes and seconds, but our minds have never really cared to figure out when you stop thinking about today – or yesterday – and begin thinking about tomorrow, which is today. I guess I’m rambling about this because its late (or early, depending on which day you’re thinking in) and I wish I was tired enough to fall asleep. I still haven’t reflected on all that has happened today (I will stubbornly remain in this day until I notify you otherwise).

We had a good one. Started the morning with a podcast from APC, semi-pathetic time together in our Pr@yers for my Marriage book…I say pathetic not because we don’t like each other, but maybe more so because its difficult for me to genuinely participate in such a manicured book with topics so general that they wouldn’t even offend anybody. Also perhaps because today I didn’t discipline myself to not just go through the motions. When I really take to heart what the mini devos say previous to the pr@yers and discuss them with Oz, we both end up a little more transformed than we were in the minutes previous. Interesting.

After that we ventured out for lunch, which consisted of an egg tartlet thing for Oz and a French macaroon for me (dessert > lunch) then ate some Bao zi dumplings and noodles at our favorite Chicken Noodle Shop.

They know us now.

We’re so local.

And so obsessed with their noodle dishes.

We ran into a neighbor who is from Spain and the three of us waltzed around town for a bit window-shopping and Boba-tea-drinking. We made it back home in time to meet up with our friends, J & L, started a vicious game of Hearts, chatted about pinched nerves and Tiger Balm (shout out to Momma Bee!) and met up with another couple and their two kiddies for an early dinner.

The rest of our evening was…in all honesty, lazy. I browsed Pinterest and Youtubed new songs while Oz played more card games on the iPad. (Hearts is kind of our new thing. The reference to the game may appear frequently on this here blog.) By late evening we came back to reality (Ope! There goes gravity.) and ventured out to the good ol’ Gu Chong for some bing qi ling, aka: ice cream aka: our other [semi-] new thing.

I’d like to say we skipped-to-our-lous like darlings over to KFC (our bing qi ling dealer), but we both were a bit…irritable. Lets say we were having some flesh moments. No one is at their best when they operate from such a hostile place. And it was all to inconvenient that we had to wait in the front of the line for 15 minutes to even order our cones (plus the fries I couldn’t resist). Neither of us was letting go of our previous irritations. In fact, I myself had forgotten about the specifics of what had been so on my nerves for the moment but used the attitude from it to build more attitude for the new issue we now faced at KFC.

I think now, in the odd hour between yesterday and today, its clear that whenever I’m demanding my rights and coppin’ a ‘tude because I’m not the center of the world, I notice that every time I am in that state, in that moment I actually see myself working my way through the following steps:

First off, I’m age five.

I stomp my feet with a pout that starts deep in my brow.

I see I am not getting sympathy from anybody, so I stiffly cross my arms.

Pout still in full force.

I make no direct eye contact with those I love, but peer over at them when I know they aren’t looking at me.

I shift the weight of my head with my neck like I’m even bothered that no one is moving it for me.

I kind of move on when they finally hand over my ice cream. Gee, what took so long.

Now, I don’t think I actually am doing this in my 24-year-old body, but I think the image of me in my head is a way G0d is saying,

 

Seriously Bee? You are being ridiculous. Let me guide you.

And with what sounds like a faint voice, I’m provoked to think upon what better decisions in my mindset and thought-process I could have made if I hadn’t given in so easily to my flesh. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

First, I would have put my husband first.

I could have been compassionate to someone’s needs other than my own.

I would have recognized the opportunity to relinquish my rights – something I desire!

I would have stopped and been grateful for His grace.

For His discipline.

I would have asked Him how to respond.

I would have listened.

I would have surrendered my mind and heart so He could clear out my judgmental and selfish thoughts to make room for life-giving thoughts and patience.

I would have perhaps encouraged the KFC employees who were working their tails off.

I would have had a more sincere apology when I finally came around to one.

I know the list goes on. I am not writing this as an invitation to my pity-party. But I am reflecting on the situation. And in hindsight, I think Chr!st could have been more glorified. And that is what I want more of.

To glorify Him in everything.

To stop and take every thought captive.

To respond with love, patience, humility and kindness, even if  I can think of every reason not too.

I want to actively relinquish my rights. Not just talk about it.

I am grateful for the annoying image of me as a grumpy five year old when I give in to my flesh. Its almost comical how intimately the Father knows us and knows what will speak to us. I do not want to reflect such selfishness, immaturity and pride. No, on the contrary, I want to reflect Chr!st. I want to grow in being quick to listen, quick to obey, quick to forgive, quick to love and quick to encourage. I have such a long way to go. The deeper I venture into this process the more I realize my need for Father’s healing touch and grace. Thankfully, there is no obstacle too complex or too big for Him.

No wonder He has new mercy for us everyday. He knew we’d need it.

In moving forward,today has arrived (actual today). I drench myself in His showers of new mercy and thank Him for a new day. Another breath of life.

I have an incredible husband, an amazing adventure in front of us, wonderful new friends to invest in.

It is a whole new day to creatively worship Him.

There has never been life more abundant.

It is finally passed my bedtime.

The L0rd is my Shepard,

Bee

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Adventures in Pictures

Boating

When we drove the boat. On the lake. Near the mountains. Together.

:: Nanjing, Jiangsu, China ::

When we watched Yunnan minorities dance and sing and hold hands.

:: Kunming, Yunnan, China ::

When he climbed the stairs and I watched from below.

:: Kunming, Yunnan, China ::

Shawn, bringing us to a Hot Pot dinner.

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

When you gatta go, you gatta go.

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

When we saw her dance as a peacock.

:: Kunming, Yunnan, China ::

When he learned Baizu Hua and made a new friend.

:: Dali, Yunnan, China ::

When she stood in the very exact middle.

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

A simple, but profound request.

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

When he had no idea we thought he was cute.

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

The time we had pom juice in a glass room on the other lake.

:: Dali, Yunnan, China ::

The tofu salad that convinced me I like fresh tofu.

:: Dali, Yunnan, China ::

When we freezed our toes off! But loved it.

:: Dali, Yunnan, China ::

When we braved the frigid waters on our hike.

:: Dali, Yunnan, China ::

When we visited Summer Palace

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

When we watched boats on the lake at the Summer Palace

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

When we were famous celebs

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

Buddies.

:: Beijing, Beijing, China ::

The day we enjoyed the lake. A different lake.

:: Nanjing, Jiangsu, China ::

The day we rode to the top of the mountain.

:: Nanjing, Jiangsu, China ::

Enjoying being together.

:: Everyday, Every city, Forever ::

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A Couple Days to Recover

To recap my last few days in a way that would satisfy my need to include every single detail of emotion would mean that this post would require your attention for an amount of time no one in their right mind should be willing to dedicate.  With that said, I am going to try to jot down the things that really stick out to me…and I’ll just have to be okay with leaving out some details. You’re welcome, in advance.

I will start by saying that it has taken me a couple of days to move on from the fact that after over an hour of writing out the perfect blog post, I mindlessly closed out of the tab without saving it. If you’ve ever been proud of a post only to lose it, you understand the depth of my ache after realizing what I had ruined. Maybe I’m still a bit peeved. Healing is a process, right? Right.

Officially moving on…A few days ago I had to confess (after it was brought to my attention) that I – a (for the most part) easy-going traveler with a somewhat wide range of experience with other countries – was experiencing culture shock. After over a month in this country without having faced this I was convinced I had escaped my chance of ever having it. That probably played into my denial of it. However, I must say that after a day of crying, insecurity and an overwhelming sense of feeling lost and confused (to name a few), it was probably the best thing that could of happened to me. In an extreme nutshell, it brought me to my end. A very much needed and humbling end. Father knew exactly where I was and what I needed too. Immediately after recognizing that anything ‘foreign’ felt so insulting to me, Papa sent a lovely woman our way. She is originally from Michigan and has lived here for over fifteen years. I’m not talking living in a city in China that has been so westernized you feel like you’re actually in Chinatown, Los Angeles. I’m talking living in a village hours away from electricity and running water. Where they don’t speak Mandarin as their first language, but rather their own minority dialect. The girl is hardcore. Its funny because other foreigners (white or non-Chinese people living in China) say that she has been here so long she is now more Chinese than she is American.

Anyway, she ate lunch with us and was cuing me in on some cultural differences that I should know about before I make any offensive mistakes. Mind you, this conversation is taking place right after I tell Oz about how I am feeling and really anything that is honest can and will make me cry.

Eggshells.

She has no idea how fragile the eggshells she’s walking on are.

The G0d-send of a question came out after about ten minutes of our chat.

“So, why are you here in Lij1ang?”

I could feel the tears ready to relocate to the outside of my lids so I quickly diverted the answering to my husband.

Didn’t work.

“I know he can answer, that’s why I specifically asked you, Bee.”

This is the point where I know she is here for a reason, eating lunch with us. Father doesn’t let us suffer in isolation. He sends us community. Even when it’s the last thing we want. He knows when we need to ache with someone else. He knows when we need comfort in a tangible form through someone who has been in our shoes. (In these moments, He is comfort manifested through someone else.) He is faithful in that way. I think its funny (well, not actually funny) that when we are so caught up in our very real heartaches, all that is clear to us is how badly we hurt and how far from ease we are when really, those can be the times where we experience the deepest kind of soothing and place of refuge. I think that to the intensity that our pain is, He matches with a custom-made peace. Perfectly.

Naturally, I broke down. And she let me. Her hand on the side of my face was the permission I needed to be human. I am so grateful for the freedom I felt in that moment. I knew that outburst of raw emotion was my first step towards the maturity and healing that this process would lead me to. It didn’t take away the confusion or aching, not quite yet. But I sensed His presence with me and He is so good at what He does. As I think of it now I’m brought to tears again. Not of sorrow, but of pure thankfulness. And of relief, too. I can feel Him again, even now, with a hug that says I am never leaving you.

My guard soon dropped and I was more open to receiving her advice. The practical and the spiritual. She reminded me that He speaks to us every single day. He knew Oz and I would be here. He knew that that day I was going to be a downright mess. He knew what I needed and He knew what He was doing.

I think in all of this I am learning how much I need to depend on Him. I really wanted to depend on Oz that day. I demanded impossible things from him. But he wasn’t supposed to be my absolute rock that day. J e s u s was. In my moment of absolute weakness and desperation, J e s u s is my only solid foundation. He is steady through trials. He is constant during change. He is familiar in the midst of foreignness. And now I am (still) learning that when I run to Him, he directs me through my maze of confusion and leads me perfectly to victory.

I would not change that day for anything. Since then, my connections with people are more exciting. I am not scared to make mistakes while speaking this complex language. I am getting more out of my experiences and I am more open to new things. I am seeing people more like the Father does and I know that He is growing in me a genuine love for these people and this experience that could not have ever existed in me while pride and judgment where my filters through which I understood my surroundings.

This is a day-by-day kind of deal. I have itsy-bitsy moments where I have to refocus my attitude. “Take every thought captive” is a biggy right now. It is such perfect design that everything I read and come across intertwines with what Pops is teaching me. Even in marriage. Oz and I are learning how to more authentically walk in love towards each other. I must say he is doing quite the swell job – I am inspired and challenged by him daily and am so blessed by how much I see Father moving in his heart. It deepens my  own hunger for transformation in my life. We have been reading a book on communication and have been really enjoying our evenings when we read it together. My favorite part though is when I notice us applying what we’re learning in our outings together. Whoa, this stuff actually works! There has been a renewed and even deeper-than-ever-before connection of laughter, enjoyment and support for each other. Interesting, when I stop nit-picking (mom, you know I hate strongly-dislike that phrase!) at what I wish was different about our marriage (we can all find something, I’m sure) and instead focus on what the L0rd has called me to be, and how excited He is to lead us into that kind of maturity and healthiness, the relationships (Oz + Bee & J.C. + Bee) become so much more fulfilling and fruitful. Shocking, right?

What a concept.

Anyway, there are 4 billion things going on in my head that I’d love to sit down with you and chat about, but I think I’ll give it a rest for now.

Wait! A bit of a recap from today – it was a good day.

We went to our friends’ house (who right now are out of town) to do laundry, and their key didn’t work! Soooo, we ended up hanging out with their neighbor and stayed at her house the entire afternoon and well into the nighttime. She made us Pu’Er Cha (tea) and we had a great afternoon together. We ate dinner there with her friends (Oz and I helped fold the dumplings – so fun) and then enjoyed more cha together. She has a cinnamon colored poodle that actually redeemed the breed for us. That pup is such a babe and super sweet. It was a wonderful day to soak up language and develop new friendships. I’m pretty sure it was the better plan to get locked out of our friends’ house today. {However, we still need to pick up our laundry and figure out how our friends will get back into their house when they get home…but what would China be without a little bit of ma fan? (Ah, that’s a good one to know…’ma fan’ means troublesome, or inconvenience – along those lines. I may be throwing that one around quite a bit.)}

I hope this ramble was more cohesive than I feel it was. Thank you for your continued pr@yers and love. We adore getting emails from you so don’t be shy!

ImageOur new Home Sweet Home.

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Happy belated 4th of July!

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The restaurant with my favorite dessert.

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My favorite dessert.

{Xi Mi Lu}

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Ke Le – the poodle-redeeming pup.

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Lij1ang Old Town during traffic hour.

 

 

Happy mid-July to you all,

Bee

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Our Summer Address

Hey Everyone,

Since we’ve moved into the room that we’ll be in for the remainder of the summer we finally have an address! We’d love to receive mail from you, however, be warned that it may take up to 3 weeks to arrive! Many times it will arrive much sooner, but it’s still good to be cautious.

We’ve set the address up here so that you can print it out and stick it to something, ie. An envelope or box. But in the case that you need to write it out, don’t worry if it looks a bit messy. The most important part of writing Chinese is that all the lines are there and that they are roughly proportionate to what you see typed. Think of it like drawing.

674100云南省丽江市古城区
高山植物研究所花样学校
**put our names here**
#13269560426
(CHINA)

We love and miss you and hope you are all well..

Oz and Bee

No Big Deal

No Big Deal

Random photographers in China found this guy and a couple of White people and decided they would make a great photo together.

Updates to come later tonight. But I make no promises.

Love always,
Bee

Lessons

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Beij1ng, and now Nanj1ng, have already given us an overwhelming amount to write about, particularly in the area of processing and praying. Given the nature of our goals, it’s unsurprising that there’ve been many fun as well as challenging times.

            We’ve been blessed with a few answers to pra yer since our arrival. Firstly, my bag (with our toiletries inside!) arrived in perfect shape (thank you for your pra yers)! Secondly, we’ve been unexpectedly upgraded to private rooms at two different hostels for a discounted rate as well as given a private place to stay at a friend’s house for a few days. He is so good to us He even cares about those simple everyday things… like where we sleep! These answers to pra yer have come as a confirmation of our call to be here this summer and give us just one more thing to thank Him for. Likewise, Je sus has been using this time to refine me as a man, husband, and believer just as we’ve been pra ying. I’ve found even more that being refined is not an easy process. These first ten or so days have revealed a few particular areas I think He wants to focus on with me: abiding in Him, obeying His word, and giving grace/love.

His blessings of these private rooms have given us special opportunity to be intentional about learning to abide in Him through spending our mornings in His word and listening to His voice without disruption. Though at times it’s been a struggle to make that time, I’ve begun to recognize this practice as being absolutely vital to living the way that He has called me to live. I’m learning that much of the reason I’ve found having a righteous, healthy attitude such a difficult task at times has been because of my lack of abiding. How awesome that His infinite power to overcome our sin nature is right there waiting to sustain us, and how sad that we (I) so often fail to partake in it.  And how awesome still that He loves us without wavering even while we continually choose to live out the destructive patterns we choose instead of Him. He has been beckoning me softly yet persistently to find my strength in him through abiding. Please be pra ying that both Bee and I can root ourselves in the Truth by truly establishing this foundational practice in our lives and marriage.

The second thing I’ve been feeling continually challenged by is my lack of obedience to the Word in certain areas, specifically in the areas of sharing, loving, and giving. I’ve frequently felt the tug of the Spirit to share with or encourage someone (sometimes a random person) and either been too cowardly or not convicted-feeling enough to act on it. It’s the same in the areas of loving and giving. When I see someone in need and feel that tug, I often find myself conflicted about how to respond. Lies run through my mind such as “Well, I can’t just go around helping everyone!” and “They probably don’t even want my help” which, regardless of their (in)validity, only serve to dissuade me from following what the Spirit is leading me to do. Honestly, I think I’ve come to understand that I often place a higher value on comfort than I do on obedience! How miserably self-centered! Psalm 51 must have been written with me in mind. Thank the Lord that He is persistent in teaching me to overcome this. I want to follow the Lord with my whole being and in everything.

Giving grace and love has been another subject that seems to be getting brought up a bit relentlessly. Through this book I’ve been reading, “Repenting of Religion” by Gregory A. Boyd, He has really begun to open my eyes about the/a root cause of many problems I’ve got, including the abiding and obedience issues I mentioned above. The Lord assigns to me (and to all people) unsurpassable worth (completely apart from our “good” or “bad” actions) and proved it through sacrificing His son’s life for me even though I still dishonor Him. I have been forgiven so much and assigned such undeserved worth, yet, like the man whose huge debt was taken away, I so often refuse to forgive others. Instead, I judge them for how they measure up to my understanding of good and evil. But I am not the judge! He is calling me (us) to love outrageously and set aside all judgment. We are to lay down our ‘rights’ and treat each other, as well as others, with the same grace that He gives us (which is inexhaustible). When I treat people as less than having unsurpassable worth, I have forgotten what I have been forgiven of.

            These lessons haven’t been easy, and are not near completion. On the contrary, refinement takes time, discipline, and pra yer (which i could use a lot of). But we are determined to grow in our likeness to Him. Please use this entry to bring further insight into how you can pra y for Bee and I during our time here. Thanks so much! we appreciate your love and support.

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