Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sun Moon Lake

Last weekend we went on our annual anniversary getaway.  This year we decided to check out Sun Moon Lake.  We stayed at a cute bed and breakfast.

I loved the giant "waterfall" bathtub in our room:

But the best part about our accommodations was that a delicious breakfast was included each morning on the top floor, overlooking the lake.  A great way to start the day!

Over the weekend, we did a lot of exploring.  Here are some highlights...

...walking around a butterfly garden...

...enjoying some aboriginal dancing...

...Kalan even got to join in, thanks to an aboriginal friend we made...hehe...

...a gondola ride overlooking the lake...

...a boat ride around the lake...

...hiking and enjoying the views...

...exploring a temple...

...and, of course, finding lots of time to sit and talk and simply be.

We are so thankful for this time to celebrate God's faithfulness over the past two years of our marriage!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anniversary Surprise

Yesterday was our two-year wedding anniversary.

When I got home from work, Kalan blindfolded me and led me out onto our rooftop.

There, set overlooking the twinkling city lights, was a four-course French meal set for two.  We enjoyed salad, aspergus a la hollandaise, poulet a la diable, and chocolate mousse.

I was blown away...not only by Kalan's thoughtfulness but by all the effort I know he put into making such a meal in our mini-Asian kitchen.  (Hand-beating heavy cream with a fork for thirty minutes to make whipped cream is truly a labor of love!)  What a guy.

I'm so thankful for the past two years of marriage, and looking forward to many more to come!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Menu Mania

Recently I've been trying to get better at menu planning.
To help motivate me, I made a dry-erase chart I can write on each week.

It was easy to make--I just put paper between two hard pieces of plastic 
(a glass photo frame would work well, but I couldn't find one).  

Already this weekly chore is more fun.  :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Reflection on Foster Parenting

Below is an article I recently wrote for an orphanage publication. My husband and I became weekend foster parents almost one year ago. I love working with orphans and got connected with the Garden of Mercy as a weekly volunteer when I first came to Taipei. After some time there, the foundation asked if I wanted to become a weekend foster parent. My husband and I are Christians and believe that God loves us and has adopted us into His family. With that background, we took the leap to invite someone without a family into our home so we could share that same love.

 That someone was Bing Bing, and taking care of him has transformed us. For one, my husband can now change a diaper in 8.0 seconds, which isn’t too bad for someone who had never changed a diaper 14 months ago. We also learned that the sunrise still happens on Saturday morning (we’d never been up that early to check), and that you don’t need eight hours of sleep to function at work on a Monday, (contrary to popular opinion.)

 I never learned to love feeding a screaming baby at 4:00 am, but I did learn to love that baby at 4:00 am. I have never had to give up so much of myself for someone, and I feel like in losing some of myself, I found a little bit of myself. It’s not some mystical experience. There was just something special about loving someone enough to sacrifice for them. Then, I found that made me love Bing Bing even more.

The best part of being a weekend foster parent was the added joy. Kids are funny. Period. They make you funny too. Sometimes we would get stressed out when he would try to eat the curtains or jump off the couch face-first. Then we stopped taking ourselves too seriously and laughed at the little things with him. My husband switched from reading Plato to “The Hungry Caterpillar” on the weekends. I admitted that spitting food on the floor was entertaining--although I refrained from trying it myself.

Bing Bing’s company overshadows any tiredness or hindrances we experience. Hiking shorter trails doesn’t matter because Bing Bing wants to touch (and eat) every stick and blade of grass. We always have to pack baby stuff for him when we go out, but Bing Bing tells us (in baby babble) everything he thinks about where we are going. Bath-time is a wrestling match, but wrestling usually turns into a tickle fight.

It will be a heartbreaking experience to say good-bye to Bing Bing when the time comes--a new law in Taiwan makes it almost impossible for us to adopt him since we are foreigners. Nonetheless, we are thankful for the opportunity to love him and give of ourselves to him. God loved us even though we couldn’t give anything back and so we were able to love Bing Bing in the same way. I know that all three of our lives are richer because of our time together.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weekday Mornings

I've been working on a biblical counseling certificate for the past year with CCEF. In an effort to finish before baby arrives, I took 12 credits this month...which has been a challenge for me. But the home stretch is here...finals are this week and then I will be back to a more manageable 6 credits. Even though it's been busy, I've still loved every minute of being a student again.