Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Year it has Been!

It is still hard for me to believe that this is the last day of 2009. Chad and I have had an amazing year, it really will be hard to top. I had hoped to write a family letter to include with our Christmas picture card this year, but other things got the better of me. To remember and show what God has done in our life this year I thought I would at least take the time to blog about it. So let the recap of 2009 begin!

Together Chad and I have had a whirlwind of a year. We began the year by going to Tahoe for a long weekend of skiing and hanging out alone. We had a great time despite me taking Chad out on the bunny hill. I found myself wiped out after a few short runs and let him take off to do the more advanced hills. In July we took a road tip to Vegas and took in the sights for a few days. We then headed down to Victorville to visit with his family for a few days. While in the LA area we went to both a Dodger and an Angels game. We hope to be able to visit every ball park in the country, we know this is a goal that will take years. Upon returning from vacation we received a call from our real estate agent saying that if we wanted to buy a house, now is the time to do it. We hopped on the house hunting wagon and 30 or maybe 45 houses later we finally got the news that our bid on one of the houses had been accepted. We moved into out new home on October 17. What a blessing this home is and we are so thankful that God made one of our biggest dreams come true. We have been working non-stop on house projects since move in day, and the projects will continue for years to come. But hey we are enjoying it!

Chad has continued to work hard at In-N-Out. He began the year by being flown down south for his very first kick off dinner. The kick off dinner is a black tie event that In-N-Out throws annually and is usually only attended by first managers and those above first managers. Basically Chad was surrounded by In-N-Out royalty, a dream come true for him. He made his rounds around a couple different stores landing in Gilroy just in time for the busy Christmas shopping season. The biggest news came in October when Chad found out he would be opening the newest San Jose store just after the first of the year. He will still be a second manager but this is a huge opportunity for him to get a leg up in the company. We are thinking a promotion is somewhere in the near future but we are trusting that God is going to allow that to happen when Chad is fully ready for the responsibilities. Chad will celebrate his ten year anniversary with the company this May.

I had a busy year myself. I started my second year as a Kindergarten teacher at Calvary Chapel Christian School. It's a job that definitely keeps me going. I continue to tutor the two children that I have been working with for over two years now. My biggest news of the year came in March when I prayerfully decided to go on a mission trip to China. It had been something I had wanted to do for years and I finally decided to go for it. The trip was more than I could have ever imagined. The Lord worked though me and my teammates as we worked with the children at Shepard's Field, an orphanage that is home to 100 special needs children. I made lots of new friends who are located all around the USA. My heart was broken many times on my trip but I completely fell in love with the country. I want to go back desperately but I am waiting to see what the Lord wants me to do. Upon returning from China I started training for my very first triathlon. I completed my first sprint triathlon in late September which was a huge accomplishment for me. I hope to continue doing more races in 2010 and I hope to get Chad on board. Right after our big move in October, I got Swine Flu and battled that for weeks. I am just now returning to normal and hope that I will not fall ill again for at least another year.

Milo our cat has fit right into our family. In February Chad (dad) built her a kitty condo. I think it is more like a kitty paradise. She was a little distraught over my absence while I was in China and she was very confused when we moved to a new house. It took her about a week to adjust to her new home but she is right at home now. Her favorite things to do are sleep in the front window and cuddle with me or Chad. We are very thankful for such a sweet kitty.

Well that pretty much sums up our year. We are so thankful for the many blessings that the Lord bestowed on us this year. We are very thankful for you all as well. We do not know where we would be without all of our family and friends. We pray that you and your families are well and that you receive a multitude of blessing in the year ahead. God Bless and happy 2010!
-Chad, Vanessa, and Milo

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Remembering an Angle

Six months ago I arrived at SFCV, the orphanage that I would spend the next week at. Although it was dark when we arrived, I was able to see some of the grounds. There was a row of houses lined up perfectly. These were the houses that housed the children. I could see the lights on in the first house, the house known as Samaritans House. This is the house where the sickest children at the orphanage were housed and cared for. Coincidentally the children in this house were among the first that we met the following morning. They were outside with their nannies, some on little toy cars. It is where most of us held our first of many children that we held on that trip. There was Adrian, Tristan, Emily, Margaret, and Tiffany to name a few. Tiffany was one who sat on a toy car. At four years old she was very inquisitive, and very smart. Many of the girls on the team would say things to her in English or Spanish and she would repeat it back perfectly. Looking at Tiffany, you knew she had a very serious condition. Her lips and fingers were very blue. As we found out later children that appeared to be blue usually had a heart condition. I never found out what her heart condition was nor did I think that it was as bad as it really was. One of my teammates informed me that Tiffany went to be with J*sus last week. That was a tough blow and my heart broke. Tiffany was five years old and she never got to have her own home with a mom and a dad. While it is very sad for me to think about, I know that she is now in a much better place. Tiffany is now in the arms of J*sus. No more heart condition, no more pain or hurt. She can run and play freely, something she was not able to do here on this earth.
Yesterday in the mail I received a beautiful gift from fellow teammates John and Allison. It was a Ch*na flag glass ornament. I so so overjoyed to get such a precious treasure. A message was included with the gift and this is what part of it said. "We hope that each time you see it, you will remember to pr*y for those sweet faces that we were able to love on and the countless others that G*d holds in the palm of His hand. May they all one day come to know the love only He can give." I say AMEN to that! While I want to save every child that does not have a parent, I know that I cannot. What I can do is pr*y that they will each come to know of our Fathers great love.
A part of my heart is still in Ch*na and I know it always will be. I wonder when God will bring me back and what that trip will entail. Until I hear what G*d wants me to do next, I will be waiting prayerfully for Him to tell me. Is anyone on board with me?! Think about it!
In Him,

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Long, Overdue, Floyd Update

What happened to her?! You may or may not be asking where the heck I went to. Life took over and our laptop went into the shop (again) so it has been hard for me to sit here at the desktop and write a complete blog. However the more time goes on the more I have to write about! I guess I don't have to, but where is the fun in that?!
Well, last time I left you I had just completed my first triathlon and we were gearing up to move out of our tiny condo and into our very first home. Moving date was October 17 and boy what a job that was. We were blessed by many friends and family members who were able to help us on that day. We really couldn't have done it without them. We loaded everything up and in one U-Haul swoop, most of the stuff was out of our condo. It was tough moving an entire household of stuff but well worth it in the end. We are settling in well and working little by little to make it our very own. We love home ownership so far, hopefully we will still feel the same way a year from now! FACT: Chad and I moved into our house on the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Preita earthquake. For those of you who may not be familiar with what I am talking about it was a huge 6.9 earthquake that shook our area in a way that most people had never experienced before. Chad and I were 6 at the time but we were old enough to remember the events of that date. We are prayerfully hoping that if we ever endure another earthquake of such size that the Lord puts a hedge of protection around our home and does not let there be any damage to it or all who live inside. I'm not gonna lie, earthquakes scare the heck out of me.
The move actually threw my back out and I was unable to go to work on the following Monday. I was in immense pain and spent the whole day on my back. I returned to work Tuesday only to come down with a horrible headache on Thursday. Well low and behold each day got progressively worse until Sunday when the body aches were unbearable. To urgent care we went and a simple test later showed I had the dreaded H1N1 virus. lol, yes I got swine flu. I missed an entire week as a result. Returned to work the following Monday which we figured out later was way too early. By Tuesday I had relapsed and each day got worse and worse. Sunday was awful and I called the doctors and my boss. Upon hearing me my boss said there is no way you can come in sounding like that. To make a long story short I had come down with an awful congestion, cough, yuck I don't even know what it was cold and missed ANOTHER full week of work! I have never missed so much work, not even close. And wouldn't you know it now I am fighting a sinus infection. The pain is horrible and the meds they have me on do not seem to be helping me very much. Thanksgiving day was a mess, I was in so much pain I was in tears. There has to be relief soon, although at this point we are starting to wonder if there is something in the house that is making me sick. Oh how I hope that is not the case.
In between all of my illnesses, there have been some exciting events as well. One of my best friends Yasemin is getting married in August and I am a BRIDESMAID!! I have known Yas since 6th grade and am thrilled to be able to be a part of her wedding. We went dress shopping the week after I had Swine and it was a blast. She picked out a gorgeous dress! We get to wear brown dresses which I am absolutely thrilled about! I have always wanted a brown bridesmaid dress.
My other good friend Autumn is having a baby in January. I was lucky enough to be able to throw a baby shower for her. It was my first real big hosting job and while it was a lot of work it was totally worth it at the end. We had a ton of god food, fun games, and good laughs. I cannot wait to meet Micah Reed Lindsey in January.
Chad is doing well also. He got moved to the Gilroy In-N-Out and had a black Friday like no other. A 12 hour shift starting promptly at 5:30am! What a man I tell ya. He has another exciting move coming up in about another month, he will be opening the new San Jose In-N-Out located close to the airport. I am so proud of my Burger man. Next stop, store manage ;)
So now we are preparing for Christmas. I have been trying all day to get Christmas stuff up but I have to stop after a couple minutes and take a rest. This darn headache will not go away! I have had it for 6 weeks now and I am a bit tired of it. I would like to reach out for prayer. I do not know exactly what is going on, but if you could pray for the Lord's healing upon me. I do not want to spend another month sick and out of commission. I appreciate all of your prayers and support.
Chad and I are very blessed, and you are a big part of that!
Hopefully more updates soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Triathlon- The Story

Well yes it has been a full week since the triathlon and I am just now blogging about it. But better late than never right!
We spent the night before the triathlon in Pleasanton. The Smith family, the family I used to work for, graciously opened their house to us for the night. It was perfect because they were less than a mile from the park where the triathlon was to take place. What was even better was that Kaaren has been doing triathlons herself and has weekly swims with a group of people on Friday nights at the lake where I was to swim the next day. She took me out there for a practice run. It was great to get in and used to the water before I was to get in to do the real thing. Kaaren and another friend also did a practice take off where they practice bumping into and hitting me, which they said would happen the next day. It was great to get so many pointers from experienced triathletes :)
The next day started early-5am! Oh I am so not a morning person. We got to the park and got everything set up. Reality started to hit me. What was I doing?! Am I really here preparing to do a triathlon?! We had a lot of time so we walked around for a bit. My father-in-law arrived soon there after. He himself is also an experienced triathlete and so he did a good job of trying to keep me calm and assure me that everything would be OK. Finally the time came and the race was beginning. I was the second to last group to go out so I had some time. I put on my wetsuit and got in the lake to warm up. The water felt good and I was feeling better. My mom arrived while I was in the water. We soon realized that the race had come to an abrupt stop. We first knew something was really wrong when we saw a lifeguard run across the beach with an oxygen tank! That's not good. It became apparent that someone was in trouble. As I heard a bit later a woman had been pulled out of the lake and had no pulse. I still do not know the complete story as to what happened. But it was a scary reality as to what could happen. Regardless I tried to stay calm knowing that thinking about such things would not help me, they could only hinder me. The race was delayed a good 30-45 minutes so I just hung out with Chad, Clyde, and my mom. Finally my time came. I was ready, I had prepared for this for months and I was ready to get started to see how I would do. I made my way pretty close to the front of the group. The horn sounded and we were off. It was chaos and it was hard to get my swim grove with people everywhere and water splashing in my face. I kept going. People were running into me, people were close on my heels, and people were passing me. I just kept going. As I rounded the last buoy I finally got my swim grove. Two breath strokes and I was picking up speed. I hit land and took off running off the beach. I found my family and they were cheering me on. I gave them a positive fist pump to let them know I was doing good. Now onto the bike. I changed quickly into my bike clothes and shoes and off I went. Right away there was a hill I had to get up in order to get out of the park. I was amazed at how quickly I climbed up that hill and out of the park. I was winded, tired, I needed to rehydrate and catch my breath. Finally I caught my breath and peddled hard. The bike portion was my favorite park. It was a a nice ride that took us into some nice parts of Pleasanton. There were people motivating and cheering throughout the course which was good to have. The course was mostly flat except for the initial climb and a small but steep climb that came more towards the end. I reached the end of the ride and my family found me and cheered me on again. What a great positive support I have. It was then a quick transition to the run portion. I took off strong, but soon took it to a walk. I knew the run was going to be the hardest part for me. For one, I am not a runner, and two, it was the final event and I figured exhaustion would start to set in. It was getting hot but I needed to finish. The run was also a lot more difficult because as I soon found out there were lots of hills to climb and then run down. My stomach had started to hurt, I am thinking now that the GU may have done that one, and at one point I thought I was going to loose my breakfast. Whenever doubt set in I kept telling myself no you have worked too hard not to finish this. No matter how long it was going to take, I was going to finish it! I would jog a bit and then walk a bit, jog and then run. Finally the end was in sight. I pushed myself I ran the rest of the way. Right before the finish line I spotted my family again. I did it, I crossed the finish line, I was done! They gave us a medal as you crossed the finish line which was pretty cool. I was a little heartbroken to see that the time on the finish line clock said my finish time was 2 hours and 1 minute. I had so wanted to finish under two hours. But I figured the run had slowed me down, oh well no biggie. My family met me as I was still trying hard to catch my breath. After a calm down and some pictures Clyde suggested we go look at my times. I was nervous to look at them but I am so glad I did. As it turns out they never stopped the clock when there was a delay in the race, I had finished the race in 1:41:22! Way better than I thought I would ever do. I was elated!!! I couldn't believe it! My spirits were lifted way up.
I had a great time doing this event. It showed me that I can work hard, push my body, and complete a goal that I once thought was impossible for me. To add to it I also was able to loose 10 pounds in the process of training for this. That's always an added bonus. I hope to keep training for future triathlons but for now the triathlon season has come to an end. I hope to run some 10k's here soon so as to work on my running. Who thought I would ever be doing this stuff!? I sure as heck never thought I would be doing any of this and having a blast in the process!
Here's a link to my results if you wish to check it out. Vanessa Floyd
A big thank you to everyone who helped me, encouraged me, and were there to support me. It means the world to me :)





Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Kids Say Wednesday

People are always asking me what funny things my kids say. I thought it would be neat to try and give you one each Wednesday and call it What Kids Say Wednesday. However, with the way life goes over here, it may not be every Wednesday!
This story is about a child in the room next door to me. He is a sweet little boy who talks in his own little sweet way. Yesterday his class was doing prayer requests and one of the other boys in the class said "pray for my dad, he got bit by a bee. He is allergic." This other boy then responds, "well my dad got bit by a Cheeto!" "A Cheeto?" said his teacher. "Yes, a cheeto!" Come to find out that what he meant was his dad got bit by a mosquito!!! hahaha! It had me laughing the entire day!
Hope that brought a smile to your dad like it did to mine!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A House Update...She's Pending!!!

Yes its true, Chad and I are just a mere week away from being home owners!!! But maybe we should back up a bit as it has been quite a few weeks since I updated everyone on the house situation and A LOT has changed. The last time I wrote about the house I told you that we had been picked out of a bunch of offers to have the opportunity to try and buy this beautiful short sale home. I didn't think about it at the time, but the time we would have waited for the outcome of that house could have been months. But the house was all done, small, but all done. A few days after we said yes to that house, out real estate agent called us and said another house we had looked at just had a higher offer fall apart and the sellers agent said if we wanted it, the house was ours. Now I got this call, literally 5 minutes before I was to leave for work. I panicked! I was like I can't make this decision in 5 minutes. This house was big and unlike the other one, needed a lot of cosmetic work. All doable, but I had gotten used to the idea of moving into a home that was completely finished. But this house was quite a bit bigger and gave us both a family room, and living room, something that none of the other houses had to offer. The other drawback was that we would back up to the freeway but we would be at the end of a cul-de-sac (I know I spelled that wrong) and because of both of those factors we would have a 7,000 square foot lot. What this means, we would have one huge back yard! My boss was kind enough to give me an extra 45 minutes to talk and pray it over with Chad. Chad was like lets go for it, I took a little convincing but I soon hopped on board. And with that we started to go into escrow. All seemed to be going well. We had to buy some things here and there to get through some of the inspections. Got through the inspections and an appraisal with flying colors. Everything with the loan was going great and we were expected to have final papers by last Friday. But instead of papers we got news that an out of town appraiser had come in and totally screwed up the appraisal. Now I don't completely understand the situation but we had to put in a rebuttal to the back, and this and that... well let's just say God worked it out so there is no reason to go into all the mumbo jumbo. Plus like I said, I never fully understood the situation to begin with. So here we are, about a week away from closing on our first home! I am so excited. The house is structurally sound which is great, it is all cosmetic stuff that will need to be done over the years notice the lack of grass in the picture above). I love it though, the house is a blank slate ready for us to come in and do what we want to it. It is 1500 square feet and so it has enough room for us to grow into. We will have a garage and our own backyard! (Remind me of all this excitement when I am paying my first mortgage payment in a month please). So the process is almost over and boy am I relieved! I can't wait to be moved into our new home. Our very first home :) Oh how good God is!
Please keep praying for us that all will continue to go well. And of course thank you for your prayers thus far. We can't wait to have you all over to our new casa:)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A New Challenge

Wow, I have not blogged in quite some time. The reason I have not blogged is that I have been so crazy busy! Along with working and packing up to move I have been doing some serious training. Wait did she say training?!?!?! Yes I sure did! This Saturday I will be participating in my first ever triathlon. Now before you say "woah this girl is crazy" I must tell you that it is not an Olympic distance but a sprint distance. That's means I will be doing a 1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike, and 3 mile run. I have been working hard since I returned from China and I think I am ready to do this. My goal for this one is to just finish although I hope I finish this under 2 hours. Last Saturday i did clinic in Santa Cruz which included an ocean swim. For any of you who know me you know that I DO NOT swim in water that you cannot see the bottom of. Even after growing up next to the ocean and spending summers lakeside in Minnesota I have never been comfortable swimming in waters where some type of critter may come up and bite my toes. Swimming in the ocean was a huge feat for me. The waves were 6 to 7 feet high on the morning of our swim and the group before me got totally wiped out but a huge wave. I stayed calm and made it out no problem. We were swimming at Sea Cliff where there is this huge cement boat that is completely falling apart. We basically had to swim around it. It was tough and at one point I had a Sea Lion swim a little ways in front of me. People later said to me "Vanessa you are crazy, there are sharks out there." I honestly wasn't thinking about that or any other animal coming up to bother me. I just wanted to get back to shore and finish. I did in fact finish and after climbing 154 stairs back to the top of the mountain, I was pretty winded. I was glad to get some pointers and practice in before my first real tri. Luckily this triathlon will be in a lake and not the ocean so hopefully it will be a lot easier. I am excited but nervous at the same time. It has been hard to train since I went back to work and I have been extremely exhausted. But I am liking the rewards that I have already seen. After I complete this event on Saturday I have another challenge on my mind that I would like to complete in November. But that's another story for another day!
Please pray for strength and confidence for me. I know that I can do all things through God who gives me strength. I will do this, even if it takes me forever to finish!
As of this second there are only 5 days, 10 hours, 34 minutes, and 28 seconds until stat we go.
Check back in a week for results:)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Praises and Prayers for my JJ Boy...and Kyle too!

As I blogged about in China, there was one boy in particular that stole my heart. He is one of the sweetest boys I have ever met and it saddens me that he doesn't have a home with two loving parents. His name is Jacob-Jai and he has a clubbed foot . The way he walks looks very painful but he runs and plays just like the other children do. In the picture above he was eating the cake we bought for the birthday party themed day. I have never seen a child so excited to eat cake as he was on this day.
I read this week on a blog from the orphanage, that Jacob-Jai will be having surgery to correct his clubbed foot as soon as a hospital bed becomes available. This made me so happy to hear. While his surgery and recovery may take him off of his feet for awhile, my hope is that he will be able to walk normally after he has completely recovered. I learned while I was in China that Kristy Yamaguchi and Troy Aikman were both born with clubbed feet. They had them fixed and they turned out just fine :) Please pray for Jacob-Jai. Pray that a bed and the funds for his surgery will soon become available. Pray for a quick recovery and that his foot heals in a way that will allow him to walk properly. And of course pray that a loving Christian family will fall in love with him as I did and will take him home to his forever home. I would do it myself but I am not old enough :( Here's some more pictures of my sweet boy.

Having fun with a ball

How Jacob-Jai walks

Saying goodbye to Jacob-Jai

Kyle was another boy I blogged about in China. Kyle and Jacob-Jai actually live in the same house. Kyle was the boy we found in his house upstairs, playing all by himself. Kyle was up there because he had both of his legs in casts. Both of his feet had been clubbed and he has had corrective surgery to fix them. Because both of his feet were clubbed, Kyle has never been able to walk. We just got word that his casts have been taken off. The surgery was a success and he is now wearing braces to keep his feet straight. Please pray for Kyle's feet, may they continue to heal and that he will one day be able to walk. He too is a sweet boy who lit up every time someone would enter the room. I pray that he too will get his forever home very soon.
Sweet Kyle with his leg casts

Thanks for praying for these two sweet little boys. I know God has them in His hands and He is going to take care of them. Perhaps one day Chad and I will be able to help a child with clubbed feet.
In Him,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

House Update

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

So 37 houses and 8 offers later, I think we might have a breakthrough! After loosing 2 houses due to the fact that we did not have 20% down and being outbid on the rest, someone has decided to take a chance on us. Last Saturday we saw a cute house that had been completely redone since 2005. We thought it was very nice and we casually put an offer on it (like we did on quite a few houses). Well on Thursday we got a call saying that the sellers had picked us even though there were many offers that were much higher than ours. So why did they pick us? Well our real estate agent had written a nice letter about us and what we do and included a picture on the front of every offer. Most of the times it didn't make a difference because they were banks looking at the offers and all they want to see are hard numbers. The seller of this house saw our picture and story and said they wanted us to have the house! Isn't that amazing. We took the night to talk and pray about it and the more we thought about it the more we said "this is of God, this is a gift from Him." This is what we have been praying for, for one person to notice us out of many different offers. Some houses we were one of 16 or even 30 offers. I don't know how many offers were put on this house, but I know there were a few that were quite a bit more than ours.
Now comes the tricky part. The house is a short sale and it is standard to order a BPO for the property. What that means is that they must have someone come out and see the house to estimate the value of the house. If the house is valued way over what the offer on the house is, the bank can decline it and say you need to take a higher offer. This is where we really need to pray. Our real estate agent said to me today" get everyone you know and have them pray for you." So I am reaching out the best way I know how. Will you please pray for Chad and myself. Pray that God speaks to everyone that needs to be spoken to. Pray that we get locked into a low interest rate. Pray that there are no difficulties and it is a quick process. Because it is a short sale it could take 60 days to close rather than the standard 30. However we know that our God can do anything. They usually don't order someone for a BPO for 2-3 weeks, in this case it was ordered in a mere day. God knows what we need. Every other house we looked at needed some sort of work. Who is to say that we will have the money to do what we want to it after surrendering a big chunk of our savings to our down payment. God is good and I know he has heard our prayers for the last 16 months. He knows the desires of our hearts and I cannot wait to see if this is what He really has for us. If it isn't, I know it will be hard but that must mean there is something better. Thank you for your prayers. The more people praying the better. And of course if you ever need the favor returned, please let us know!
In Him,
Chad and Vanessa Floyd

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Summer to be Thankful for

Well here I am, the eve of the first day of school. As usual, summer has flown by. A few months ago I had totally intended to work though the summer so as to save money for the purchase of a home. I was shocked to learn that not only would I not be able to work at preschool for the summer, but I was getting the summer off from tutoring as well. I was bummed because I could have saved a lot of money but I trusted that the Lord knew better than I. How thankful I am for the time off. It allowed me to enjoy the summer completely with no stress. Jest relaxation and adventure. Here are a few things I am particularly thankful for.

Number 1- CHINA!!!
Of course! I am sure this one needs no explanation as I have blogged about it all summer. China has changed my life. I still think about it daily. I am so thankful that God gave me the chance to go on such a trip. God taught me how to truly serve with my hands and my heart. I have learned that words are not always needed to serve the Lord which was a good lesson for me to learn. I met some of the most amazing people from around the country and I know they are friendships that are going to last for a long time. The children touched my heart in a way that no one else has before and I hope that one day God will use me to make a huge difference in the life of many orphans. While I desperately desire to go again next year I do not know what this next year will hold. I will trust God and pray earnestly about weather or not I should make the trip again next year. But you better believe that if I do end up going, I am going to be doing some recruiting (Chad, Jenn, others :) )

Number 2- Time with my husband
How thankful I am for time with my husband. As most of you know Chad does not have a normal Saturday and Sunday off. It's hard but we make it work. It was so much fun to spend time with him during the week when he did have days off. We also got to take a fun trip to Vegas and LA which was a blast. This is probably the hardest part about returning back to work, not getting to spend a full two days with my husband. But luckily he is my husband and I get to share the rest of my life with him. I know we have a lot to look forward to.

Number 3- Time with family
This summer I got to spend time with family that I do not see very often. Pretty quickly after I returned from China, me, Chad, and Chad's dad took a trip to Riverbank to visit with some of Chads family. We spent the day at Chad's Uncles house and I was able to meet an Aunt and Uncle of Chads that I had never met before. Combine that with Chad's Grandma, Chad's other Aunt and Uncle, and a few cousins we were able to make a group of 14 Floyd's. It was quite a day. We had a blast watching some ride on dirt bike and others (like myself) rode on the four wheel. It was a great day filled with lots of laughs. Let's just say Floyd's know how to have fun :)
Exactly a week later, my sister came into town with her husband and four kids. We met them over at Santa Cruz and had a great day together. We talked and laughed all day on the beach. I had not seen them since our wedding two years ago and it was nice to catch up and see how life is treating them in Minnesota. Chad did some digging in the sand with my nephews while me, my sister and my niece did some girl talk. We ended the day with a fantastic dinner at Armadillo Willies. I think we all walked away from that day sunburned but with big smiles on our faces. Oh how I wish they lived closer to me.
We also took a trip to Victorville to spend time with Chad's other side of the family. We had a great time with them as well, going to the Angels game and having a BBQ. Both of Chad's cousins have had babies and we got to meet them for the first time. They were lots of fun and we can't wait to see them again, hopefully sooner than later :)

Number 4- Working out
Prior to leaving for China I set a goal to work out more with the intentions of doing a triathlon somewhere in the near future. I joined a gym so I could have pool and treadmill access and have been riding my bike multiple times a week. I am feeling great and have dropped a few pounds. Since I came home from China I have biked 174.5 miles. Today's bike ride was a record one day ride of 16 miles. Some may not think this is huge, but for me it is. My hopes are to try and do a triathlon at the end of September, but we will see how training goes with me working and trying to buy a house. No matter what the outcome is, I am feeling better and doing things I never thought I would do.

Number 5- Time to work on buying a house
Well we are working, with no results yet. As of today we have looked at 31 houses and have thrown down I think 7 offers. We have been denied 2 so far and are awaiting the results of the other ones. We know when the time is right God will make a way for the perfect house. I cant wait to see what the results are.

Number 6-Time to rest
I got to sleep...A LOT... it was amazing

Tomorrow is the first day of school. It has been hard to get back in the grove but I am excited. I have a new classroom and it looks fantastic! Probably the best a classroom of mine has ever looked. I have new kids and am looking forward to a new year of teaching them how to read, do math, and love the Lord. Please pray for me as a lot of you know I have a hard time finding the energy that I need everyday. I know that the Lord does give me the strength to get through each day but I am praying for even more energy this year. God is good and I cannot wait to see what he does with me and my new Kindergarten class.
So for now goodbye summer, see you again next year :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Special Couple for a Special Girl

So yes, once again I am taking you back to China with me. This is something I have wanted to blog about for sometime but for various reasons, I have not been able to do so yet. Before I left for China I told you about a very special 19 year old girl named Stacy. While I was in China, I found out Stacy's story. Stacy spent the first few years of her life living with her family. She had a mom, dad, and younger sister. One day she was home with her sister and she was playing with matches. She ended up setting herself on fire and as a result suffered burns to many different parts of her body. After the incident her parents decided they could no longer care for her and gave her up. My heart ached to hear this story. It got harder as the week went on and we spent time with Stacy. She was such a sweet girl and the more time she spent with us, the happier she seemed to be. She went to dinner with us quite a bit and we were able to bless her by doing her nails and even buying her some special gifts. She would proudly show us her beautiful sweaters that she was knitting and posed happily for us with the one she had already finished. She really is a very special girl.
While we were there a couple arrived from Washington. They would be living at the orphanage for one year to serve with their entire hearts. As the week went on at the orphanage, I found out this couples story and how they had come to the decision to serve at the orphanage for a year. J and C (as I will refer to them as) had two sons. A few years back their two sons, J's father, and her nephew went out fishing in the ocean I believe. They never came back. To this day they are still not sure what happened. All they knew was that they had lost two sons, a father and a nephew all in one day. They felt as if they had lost everything that was important to them. They did realize that both of their sons had given their lives to Jesus and so they knew they were same in the arms of the Lord. Last year J and C came to the orphanage with their church and fell in love with Stacy. They wanted to bring her home but because of her age, they were unable to do so. So a year after their first visit to the orphanage they returned to serve for a year and grow closer to Stacy. What an amazing couple. They were so sweet and caring. I cannot imagine loosing so much in a single day such as this dear sweet couple did. But here they are, making a difference for Stacy and the other children at the orphanage. That's faith! We serve a God that gives and takes away. We think certain things in our life will make us happy but nothing will truly satisfy us like Jesus can. What will we do with our lives when we loose thing that we think are important? Will we give up and pout or will we trust in the Lord, knowing that He knows what is best and use it for something positive. J and C have changed a part of me forever and I am so happy that I got to spend time with them. They are very open about their story and I could see that they were truly trusting that God knew what was best for them. I know they will love on Stacy as much as they can over the next 10 months (they have been there for 2 already)! Please pray for them and for Stacy. May the Lord keep all three of them in His hands and bless them in ways they never thought possible. I thank God for allowing me to meet such a Godly couple. I know God is going to use them in ways they never thought possible.
Remember, God ALWAYS knows best. He wastes NOTHING!!!

Emma doing Stacy's nails

Proudly showing off her work

Look at her go!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

This Might Possibly be the Next Big Thing

So as some of you may know, Chad and I have been talking about buying a house for the last 16 months. When we got married two years ago, it was the peak of the real estate market which made it impossible for us to buy a home because this area is so gosh darn expensive! Little did we know that within a few months of us getting married, the market would crash sending home prices way down. So last April we began talking about it and since then we have gone back and forth trying to decide if this was a good decision for us or not. Every time we tried before it seemed as though something would fall through or we would be missing something that we really needed in order to buy. Throughout the months I just kept asking God to help us, guide us, and reserve that special place for us.
Well last Wednesday I got a call from our real estate agent who said that the market is starting to pick up and if we wanted to buy, it would be wise to try and do it now. So after making a few calls, we found that the components that had been missing before were now there. Things were falling into place. We decided that we would give it a try and if it works out then great. If not, we still have our condo which is in a location that we love.
Now our real estate agent is the mother of one of my students from last year. She is a neat Christian lady who is dedicated to getting the best deal for her clients. She has gotten houses for quite a few people at Calvary and I trust her very much. So on Wednesday we went out and did our first round of house hunting. We looked at 12 houses in about 4 hours! There was stuff out there that just completely scared me, and stuff out there that I loved but would need a lot of work. Basically anything we buy will most likely need work, which is OK with me as long as we have the money to put into it. The frustrating part was that a lot of what we saw had multiple offers on it and would most likely be sold for way more than it was listed. How is that really happening?!?! The inventory is low and from the outside looks pretty hopeless. However, I serve a great God who is capable of making ANYTHING happen. We have been praying that God saves the right place for us and gives it to us in the right time. Maybe this won't happen right now, and I trust that God knows exactly what He is doing. I do need to pray for patience, when I get set on something happening, I try and find ways to make it happen. But this needs to be in Gods hands because He knows better than I do.
I would like to ask for prayer for Chad and myself. Pease pray that God does keep that special place for us and that He blocks any other offers that might come in. Please pray for patience for us as we go through this very stressful time of our lives. And please pray that God gives us wisdome to not get in over our heads. I have come to realize that buying a house is a very exciting yet very scary thing. It would just be nice to get in before the market gets up there again. Well I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens!
Thank you for your prayers. I will keep you updated as things begin to happen :)
Chad and Vanessa

This is a scroll that I got in China. It has the bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 on it. I had my sister-in-law Corrin cut the ends off, matte, and frame it. I love how it came out and it will hamg in our bedroom. Someone gave me this verse when I first became a Christian and it has gotten me through a lot of tough times. I trust that God knows my heart, my dreams, and my desires. I know that one day He will open the door for us to own a home.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Because I miss China

As promised a few weeks ago, I am posting the video of Jamison, Greg, and Seth singing Jesus Loves Me. It gets me every time. I hope Jamison is getting along great in his new home. Continue praying for him and his new family. I hope you are blessed by this video.
In Him,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Quest

So in my last post I said there was a reason why Chad and I visited both Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium. We both love going to baseball games and have made a goal to visit every MLB park at some point in our life. So far we have been to ATT Park (The Giants), McAffe Coliseum (The A's), The Metrodome (The Twins), Angel Stadium, and Dodger Stadium. Five down, at least 25 more to go. We know this may be a never ending quest as teams continue to build new ballparks all the time. For example, the Twins will open their brand new stadium next year so we will be making another trip to Minnesota at some point to visit the new park. Of course I never mind going to Minnesota, then I can see my family at the same time! We also decided that we would buy a baseball at each park and write the date that we were at that specific park. We sure are going to have quite a few baseballs as the years go on! Anyway that is our quest, and we cant wait to experience all of the parks in the country (and the one in Canada)!
Let the good times roll!

Hubert H Humphry Metrodome

The Coliseum

ATT Park

Dodger Stadium

Angel Stdium

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back from Vacation

Hello all!
Well it has been well over a week since my last update, and for good reason. Chad and I took our vacation last week. This year we opted for a smaller, more cost effective vacation. We drove to Las Vegas and spent three fun filled days there and then we made our way to Victorville to visit family and catch a few ball games. We had a great week together. Its funny because when you think of Las Vegas I know a lot of people think about gambling, drinking, and clubbing. Chad and I do none of these so we went to Vegas to soak in everything else. We had our anniversary dinner on top of The Startosphere at a restraunt called The Top of the World. It was amazing. You had a view of the whole city. The tables actually moved around so by the end of dinner we had roated around the entire building. The view of the strip was spectacular! The food was amazing and because it was our anniversary we got a free dessert. From there we walked the rest of the strip all the way back to our hotel The Luxor. We got caught in a thunder strom, but the rain felt great! Other things we did in Vegas were see The Titanic exhibit, The Ferrari/ Masarrati exhibit, saw the Cirque de Solie show KA, and visited the In-Out-Burger right off the strip. In-N-Out was complete with company store so we didnt leave without dropping a few bucks on some shirts and Christmas ornaments :) Other than that we walked the strip and visited the shops and hotels. There is so much to do there and I was sad to leave without seeing the lions in MGM or tasting the cokes from around the world in the coke store. Oh well, I guess we will have to go back one of these days!
After Vegas we made our drive to Victorville to visit with Chad's family. Both of his cousins have had babies, both of whom we had never met before. It was good to see everyone because we havent seen most of them since our wedding two years ago! The babies were fun and we didn't escape without a few suggestions about moving down there. Chad and I went to a Dodger game on Friday and then on Saturday most of the family joined us at the Angels game. It was cool because the Angels were playing the Twins, unfortuntally the Twins lost but we had a great time. We did visit these two ballparks for a reason, I will blog about that later.
We had a great week but we were both ready to get home and see our Milo girl. She was happy to see us too as she chewed us out the entire night for leaving her. I told her we wouldnt do that again for quite awhile.
Now I'm home and dreading the fact that I have to go back to work in two weeks. UG summer is just not long enough. Oh well I guess I'm lucky to have this time off at all.
Well thats all for now, I should be able to blog more this week. Take care!
<3 Vanessa

Anniversary dinner- Top of the World

Us at the Belliago

Chad at the Vegas In-N-Out

Me with Sammy and Jackson

Friday, July 17, 2009

We are Weak but HE is Strong

I know I have shared with a lot of you that one of my favorite things about the orphanage was listening tot he children singing Jesus Loves Me. I have not told you about the way that a special boy named Grady sings it. Grady is in the picture above. He is 14 and has Scoliosis. As a result he walks with crutches, but he does not let them slow him down. What is special about the way that Grady sings Jesus Love Me is that when he sings the part "we are weak but he is strong," he throws down his crutches and puts his arms in the muscle man position. This boy knows he is weak by himself yet knows he has strength in Jesus. It is probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I wish I had a video of him doing it, but I do not. I was able to get video from one of my other teammates that shows two younger girls singing it as well as Jamison and Gregg singing while on the swings. I am so glad this was captured on video. I am going to post the one of the girls singing and save the other one for a different day. Please pray for Grady. He does not have much time left to be adopted. Anyone who adopts this sweet boy will be blessed immensely.

*Sigh* I miss China very much! I hope you were blessed by this video.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today Chad and I got married. I really can't believe that i am saying we have been married for that long, it hasn't felt like two years at all!
We spent most of the day in San Francisco. They have recently redone The Academy of Science Museum so we took a drive on over to Golden Gate Park and had a look. It was pretty neat. They have a dome inside which houses a mini rain forest. It was cool to see some interesting creatures from the rain forest, however, I was not too keen on the butterflies that were flying all around you once you reached the top floor! We saw an albino alligator named Claude, some South African penguins, and felt what an electric eels prey feels right before it is eater (a weird shock). After the museum we made our way to China Town. I think I was way more excited about this than my husband was, but he did it for me which meant a lot. Basically we walked around and checked out all of the shops. Things were a little more expensive here than they were in China, just a little bit. Luckily I have had a recent shopping spree in China so there was no need to buy anything. Just a little browsing.
The original plans were supposed to include us going the The Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco, but we found ourselves wiped out after walking through China Town. We decided to go back to San Jose and eat at The Cheesecake Factory by our house. So after a short detour to our house for a short nap, we had a delicious dinner followed by some awesome dessert. It was a fun day spent together.
So what really has changed since we got married? Well not a whole lot. We still live in our cozy little condo, which has accumulated more stuff than we had two years ago. We got Milo the cat in November making her our first baby. The same queen bed that we have been sleeping in for the past two years seems to have gotten smaller. But most importantly we have grown to love each other more than the day we married. It really is a deeper love, one that only grows stronger each day.
We both said that our honeymoon by by far the best thing we have ever done together. It might take a lot to top a vacation alone in The Bahamas. But we have enjoyed other trips to Mexico, Hawaii, and Tahoe to name a few. We talk often about buying a house, having kids, and job situation but we know that when God wants something to happen, it will. Praise the Lord for making plans for us that are far better than the ones we have planned for ourselves. Of course after this China trip, adoption is really on my mind but we will have to wait and see where God takes us on that road.
For right now we are just waiting to see what does come next. It will be fun to see what God does in our lives over the next year. So I guess there is only one thing left to say.......BRING ON YEAR 3!

Vanessa and Chad :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Praises From the Orphanage- Jamison is Going Home!!!

We received some fantastic news from the orphanage. Jamison is on his way to his forever home! Jamison first caught my attention on our first day at Philip Hayden for a couple of reasons. For starters he was one of the oldest, and two, he had suffered some very obvious burns. Later on that day as we played with the children on the playground, Jamison swung high on a swing while belting out "Jesus Love Me" in English. He was the first child I heard sing the song in the orphanage and I was taken aback. Coming to China I did not expect to hear children singing Jesus Love me and in English no less! His teacher said to me "Jamison loves to sing, in both Chinese and English." What an amazing boy! I wasn't sure if he had the ability to see but he was so carefree, happy, and singing praises to the Lord. Can I have that attitude please!?
Later I found out Jamison's story. Jamison had a home at one time with a mother and a father. His father was a welder until one day there was an explosion. The explosion killed his father and landed him in the hospital with sever burns, mostly to his face. His mother abandoned him in the hospital because she felt she could not care for him. I cannot imagine going through what Jamison has gone through, yet he is joyful and loves life!
While at the orphanage we were told that Jamison would soon be going home. He was being adopted into a family where the father is a firefighter!!! Not only that the family has three boys who are all younger than him so he will be a big brother. Usually China does not let a family adopt an older child if they have younger children, but in this case there was an exception! What a blessing! This family who looks fires in the face on a regular basis take in a boy who endured a horrible fiery accident! God is SO GOOD!!!
Jamison left the orphanage on Sunday morning so they could return to his home orphanage so his adoption could be finalized! But he did not leave without a farewell party. At the party Jamison took center stage and sang "Take me Home" and then proceeded to play on the electric guitar "Jesus Loves Me", a concert that he put together for his new mom. During the party the other older boys at the orphanage took turns hugging him and said goodbye.
Please join me in praying for Jamison as his adoption is finalized and he leaves China for his forever home. Jamison is a very special boy and his new family is so lucky to now have him as their son!
Now if that isn't proof of God's almighty power and awesome plan, I don't know what is!
To Him be the glory forever and ever!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Beautiful Video

So I got home tonight to a message in my facebook inbox. Teura, my teammate from China, had a friend of hers make this video. It's beautiful and it makes me want to go back to China so bad. Oh how I miss the kids and my teammates. I wonder if Chad would be open to being missionaries in China! Enjoy the video, it had me sobbing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Comes Next and Being Like Lingling

Lol, so obviously I haven't done a great job blogging since I got home. As I said in my first blog post I am not great at sitting down and just writing away, when I'm at home at least. It has been about 10 days since I got home and I am still not acclimated to the time change! I find myself up until 3 or 4 in the morning and then sleep well into the early afternoon. part of the reason is because I really have no where to be. I think if I were getting up to go to work everyday it might be a different story. Oh well, hopefully this will all be fixed by the time we go on vacation in two weeks.
It has been hard being home. For quite a few months I prepared for this trip with great anticipation. Every single detail of my trip was amazing from my teammates, my roommate situation, the children, the country, and the way my view of life was changed. I spent a week loving on children who have no parents, no place to call their own. Suddenly I'm home and it has left me with a lot of questions. The big question is, what comes next? Do Chad and I continue to work on buying a house? Do we start to have children? What should my next step be in regards to my heart for orphans, particularly the orphans of China? Do I make other big changes in my life? Each of those questions lead to more questions in themselves. Obviously I know what I need to do, I need to be patient and wait on the Lord. That's so much easier to say than do especially when you find yourself awake in the middle of the night. I miss the kids so much. I posted a lot of pictures on my facebook and have been trading comments with my teammates. They are experiencing the same emotions that I am. It helps to not be the only one feeling this way.
The team has created a saying to help us through each day. It is "Be Like Lingling." Lingling was an orphan that we met at the orphanage and she is one special girl who will turn 17 in October. Here is her story which I copied from the Philip Hayden Journal.

During the National Day holiday in 2005, our resident physician, Dr. Bill Moody, was walking to the office when he saw a little girl at the entrance to Langfang Children’s Village (LCV). He said, “Hi” to her, and she followed him through the gate. As she held his hand and walked to the office, he didn’t think anything was unusual until she didn’t leave. He then realized that she was alone. Dr. Moody called Christina Li and PHF founder Tim Baker for help. It became increasingly clear that the little girl was intellectually impaired and that she had been abandoned.

As we’ve always done when a child has been abandoned at our gate, we first called the local police. While waiting for them to arrive, we learned that her name was Lingling, and she was eleven years old. When the police arrived, they questioned her further. She told them that she was from a place called Dikou in Langfang, and even told us her father’s name. The police were hopeful to find her family based on this information, but it was late. They asked us if we would keep her until the girl’s family could be located.
Knowing we had no extra room in our children’s homes, Tim called his co-laborer Risa Tramel. He prayed that if Risa would agree to take Lingling into her home, then he would know Lingling had been brought here for a reason. As soon as Risa arrived, she took one look at Lingling and said yes. Lingling spent her first night at the Tramel’s house where they cooked for her, helped her take a bath and gave her clean, warm clothes to wear. She seemed quite content to be there, exploring and asking about everything she found. She also repeated nearly everything said to her.
The next day the police returned and brought Lingling’s father, who was from a village called Caoci in the Wuqing district of Tianjin. It’s about 15 km from LCV. He claimed that she had wandered away from home by herself then said he wasn’t even Lingling’s real father. She had been found by his mother-in-law abandoned on a train when she was very little. He told us that his mother-in-law had cared for Lingling all these years and was known as “Grandma.” Her “grandma” now feels that she is too old to take good care of Lingling anymore; Lingling had wandered away from home a number of times.
Her foster father asked the police if they knew of someone who could take care of Lingling and asked PHF, after seeing how well-treated she had been, if they could take care of her. Tim said they’d be happy to help if the foster father thought it was best, but a legal way to give custody to PHF would have to be found first.
It was decided the foster father would take her home until the proper paperwork could be found and completed. Two days later, with all the paper work finished, Lingling moved to our children’s village in Langfang; she would stay there until our first home, House of Blessings, was opened at Shepherd’s Field Children’s village.
She is happy. As big sister in House of Blessings, she loves doting on the little kids, occasionally bossing them around. As younger sister to Stacey and Wendy, she loves following them around and asking all the time what they are doing. She attended preschool, but she was recently graduated through kindergarten to a classroom of same-aged children at Little Lambs. She is thriving and takes full advantage of the space, spending hours on the playground each week. When an assortment of puppies and kittens were abandoned at Shepherd’s Field, Lingling was quick to participate in caring for them, making sure they are fed and cuddled.
Lingling’s situation is unique to the work of PHF. Unlike most of the children in our village, she will require a lifetime commitment of care. We are privileged to be in a position to provide that.

Lingling has a mental delay and as a result doesn't have the ability to let things get to her. Nothing bothers her, she never lets the pressure of daily life get to her. How nice would that be to not have ANYTHING bother you ever! While most of us do not have a mental delay like Lingling we can strive to live a life like her. The team has encouraged each other to be like Lingling which seems to keep us going on some days. On our last night there Lingling gave me a big hug and a kiss, what a sweet girl. Even though Linling will spend her whole life at the orphanage she is going to live each day in a happy carefree way. Who doesn't want to live a life like that? So remember when you are having a bad day or it's hard to get going in the morning just try to be like Lingling :)
I hope to write more stories and feelings soon! I will keep you posted!
May you days be blessed with joy and happiness!

Lingling hanging out in our room

Lingling with Peaches the puppy

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm Home

Well I made it home, safe and sound. The flight was good and went pretty quickly. I was so happy to get to San Francisco and see Chad. He was there with roses in hand for me, what a great husband I have! As expected I crashed within the hour of me getting home. I have been doing a lot of sleeping and I am sure that will continue for the next few days. Luckily I have a good 7 weeks to recover before I go back to work.
Saying goodbye to my teammates was really hard. We became pretty close during our 11 day trip. They are all very special people that will always be important to me. I came home from the airport to realize that today (Sunday) would be filled with MORE goodbyes. As some of you know our church has been preparing for a pastoral change. Two years ago our church, Los Gatos Christian Church, merged with South Valley Christian Church to become Venture Christian Church. Both senior pastors stayed on board for two years until a new senior pastor could be found. Well Chip Ingram will now be our senior pastor effective this Wednesday. Today was the last day for Pastor Galen and Pastor Dave. Both have played a big part in my walk with Jesus. Pastor Dave was the first pastor I came to know after I was saved at South Valley. Pastor Galen was there to greet us with open arms as we changed churches two and a half years ago. Both of these men are amazing examples of Christ and their sermons have helped me grow spiritually. We said goodbye to them today and we had a great service celebrating their many years of work in the church. It was hard because I am very excited to see was Chip will do in our church, but I will miss both of our former pastors very much. Pastor Dave will stay in San Jose but Pastor Galen will move to Colorado. I was very excited to hear that Galen's heart is find a ministry that worked with helping the hurting. This includes the widowed, the handicapped, and the orphaned! When I said goodbye to him I said I know exactly where your heart is because that is where my heart is also. I can't wait to hear what God does with him and his wife. Perhaps God will use me in a similar way. I would love that!
I miss China very much. A part of my heart was left there and I know that part will always stay there. I can't wait to go back!!! Anyone on board to go back with me?!
Thank you for praying for my safe return. I love you all very much!

This is one of my new shirts that I bought at the orphanage. On the front it says I Served in a Five Star Country and on the back it has James 1:27 in Chinese. I wore it home. At the Beijing airport a woman was reading it. She asked "are you Christian?" I said "yes I am." Under her breath she murmured "me too" while pointing to herself and nodding yes. She then showed her young son to show him that we were Christians just like her and her family. This was such a great example of how there are people who love the Lord in China but they have to keep it a secret. How blessed we are to live in a country where we can worship the Lord without fear of persecution.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Time to Leave

Well the my last night in China has arrived. This post might be a little vague as it is almost 1am and I am getting up around 6 to say goodbye to Natalie and her kids. Our last full day in China was jammed packed with activities. We visited the Summer palace, a pearl store, the Forbidden City, had a peeking duck dinner,and went to a Chinese flying acrobatic show. We ran out of time to go to Taniman Square. I was a little disappointed about that because it is something you see so often on TV and in history books. Oh well, something to do next time. The Forbidden city was amazing. It was HUGE! The detail on the buildings was stunning.Apparently it took 14 years to build and was made out of the finest materials. Let's just say the Emperor sure did have a cool crib! The Chinese acrobatic show was awesome too. They made this show for the Beijing Olympics last year. It reminded me a lot of Cirque du Soleil. It was a great way to end the trip. And yes we did have duck for dinner. How did I feel about it you ask, well lets just say i would have been better off had I not known what it was. lol, it was cool to try something different though. After we returned from our busy day a bunch of us got massages in our room. It was the best massage I have ever had and it only cost me $23 including tip! I couldn't pass it up, where in the U.S. can you get an hour massage for $23?! I rest my case!
I had a great time today despite being extremely tired. I spent a lot of time thinking about the orphanage though. I miss the kids. I miss their smiles, their laughs, and their hugs. Tonight we had a closing team meeting. We were warned that we might have a hard time going home because people at home have not been through what we have been through in the last 10 days. While I can not wait to see my husband, I am a little nervous to go home. On top of being exhausted, I know that life will be there to greet me when I get home. We were encouraged to email our teammates and ask for prayer from them if we find that we are having a hard time when we get home. I hope that after a few days of sleep, prayer, and time with Chad that I will be ready to go onto what God has planned for me next. Natalie also had us write a letter to ourselves or to God that she will mail to us in the next 6-9 months. The point was to paint a picture of what we have seen and experienced during our time here. She says that after we get back to real life it can be easy to forget what we saw here and the letter will help remind us of what we did and saw during our time at the orphanage. That should be a neat thing to read. I wrote a letter to God and while I asked him a lot of questions. I told him I would always trust him even if I didn't understand. I can't wait to see what He has planned next for me and my heart for orphans! God is so good!
Please pray for me and I return home and get back to real life. I do get into San Francisco at 8:40 am Saturday morning but I am not guaranteeing that I will be up to talking on that day. I am very tired and just need some time to sleep, pray, think, and be with my husband. I have missed him so much and I can't wait to see him again.
I hope this entry didn't sound to melancholy, it's just hard to say goodbye to people I have grown quite close to. I have had a great time here in China and I am so thankful for this joyful life changing experience. I am going to continue to blog about China for awhile as I have many more stories and thoughts that I want to share with you. Thanks for reading my blog while I have been away, I hope you were blessed by it. I know so many of you are praying for me and for that I thank you. You are all in my heart. I better get to bed now!
See you soon!

The Summer Palace, Dragon Lady lived here

The Forbidden City

Duck anyone?!

Chinese acrobatic show

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodbyes and Teary Eyes

Well today was the day. It was time to say goodbye to the kids at the orphanage. We spent the morning handing out party bags from yesterdays birthday theme. I was very sad to say goodbye to my Jacob-Jai. After that I spent a few moments holding a few of the babies including the new baby that arrived yesterday. I was sad and teary eyed through most of it, but the worst was yet to come. Stacy had become quite close to us and you could tell she really enjoyed the time she got to spend with us. She was at the inn to say her goodbyes and she started to cry. I completely lost it. We were all hugging her and crying. We told her how much she meant to us and that we would keep in touch but that isn't the same as having us there. She stayed the whole time we were leaving and waved as we were pulling out of the driveway. the worst was when our team leaders 7 year old daughter started wailing saying "I'm going to miss Stacy, I'm going to miss Stacy." UG so heartbreaking!!! I wish I knew how long Stacy stood there or how she felt after we left. What must that be like to have people come in and show you how special you are and then a few days later have them leave you. There is a very special couple staying there that want to take good care of Stacy and I know that they were there to help comfort her. I will have to tell you that story later, its pretty amazing.
We then got on the bus and went for another McDonald's meal. we were then on our way to check into our hotel. Our hotel is VERY nice. The beds are super hard but no biggie. We then went and did a tour of an old village which was neat. We even got to go into one of the houses and visit with the family. There house was very tiny but it worked. It made me think about how little you really need in order to survive. We then went to a tea house and learned the traditional way to prepare Chinese team. It was neat because they prepared five different kinds of tea for us and it was cool to learn how they prepare their tea. After tea we went and did some shopping at the Pearl Market. At first I was not too crazy about it because they are very aggressive with their "deal making". But after awhile I settled down and while I didn't get the best deals I got quite a bit of stuff for a fair amount of money. In facts I probably went a little overboard. I am going to have some explaining to do when I get home. We finished up the day with some good old Tex Mex again followed by Haagen Daaz for dessert. It was good to have different food today, my stomach wasn't as grumpy.
Tomorrow is my last full day here in China. I have had such a great time with this team. It is like I have been on a trip with people I have known for years. On Saturday will come more goodbyes and will probably include more tears. I can't believe what an amazing thing God has put together with this team. He knew every person that was going to be on this trip and He has made it so we work so well together. How am I going to say goodbye to people I have pretty much lived with for 10 days? But now I have friends spread out all over the United States and that is something very special. I remember how sad I was when I didn't get chosen for the other trip, but this was so much better. God is good and faithful all the time. he has shown me that He can plan things far better than I can ever plan for myself. I am ready to go home and see Chad and Milo. Apparently Milo is very upset int he morning as all she does is go MEOW MEOW MEOW. I told Chad she is wondering where I am.
Well I better get off so I can go spend some more time with my new friends. We are having girl time in me and Ana's room tonight! Should be some good times! I will be on tomorrow and tell you about my last day here in China :(
Hope all is well back home!

The Team in Front of PHF

Stacy Saying Goodbye

Riding Through China