Begin 33rd year working for the Father; no regrets, no matter what ‘surprises’ we’ve experienced

13 May

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Brinson’s pirate; steamed bread/dumplings; colleagues; spring arrives; city gates; another trip to orphanage

“I love my crazy job” is on office mug as constant reminder over the years, though it’s in California storage …..something of a metaphor of life/situation right now

I celebrated the beginning of my 33rd year of working full-time for the Father on May 13. No regrets, no matter what ‘ups and downs’ we’ve experienced. We have always put our life into His hands! “I love my crazy job” is on a mug as a constant reminder over the years, though I haven’t seen it because it’s been in California storage since the first of April, 2010…..something of a metaphor of our life and situation right now. 🙂

We participated in a class project “from a distance” with our oldest grandson, Brinson. To begin, he sent us by mail a man he’d drawn and colored, but it still has not arrived…it’s been over three weeks. So he started again, drawing another one and sending by email attachment this time…we printed it on our dysfunctional new printer (a long story) and cut it out.

Our assignment? Hold it in front of some architecture unique  in your area and take a picture, and send to him ASAP…which he was then able to present to his teacher and classmates as part of their learning experience.

Terry and I were both humbled through the avenue of an English teacher’s staff meeting and competition. We were asked to come provide support for one of the two presenters, with no prior warning that they would also want us to evaluate their efforts in the area of pronunciation, grammar, etc. I was able to comment on their overall effort, but little else.

One of the presentations was equipping students on the practice of dating, and specific ways to respond to dating opportunities. One area was blind dates; after making some general comments (mentioned earlier), I did mention that I personally had one particular experience on a blind date, and “had to cover my eyes” after the introduction of the young lady. They did not “get it” (and, of course, it was a joke). No laughs or even smiles. We have been warned that our humor is often lacking. One of our discussion members did tell Terry the next day on the teacher’s bus that I was humorous, so at least he ‘got it.’ 🙂

One more comment on the speeches from my Speaking Skills students: they have a good value system in place regarding money and love. As mentioned earlier, several students spoke on “Love is more important in marriage than money” and others on the topic “Money is not the key to happiness.” They also spoke in positive terms about the reality that “living in the city compared to the country offered more opportunities to help them take care of their families.”

Some may remember that some of the Davenport family are big Cubs fans…always hopeful for “next season.” I made the statement that “just watch…I’ll go to China and the Cubs will win the World Series, and I’ll miss it.”  Well, so much for that dream! I am leading the fantasy baseball league I’m in with Eric and Gregory and friends from Ohio and Florida for the first time since 2001, though I doubt it will continue! 🙂

Greetings from Terry: Ahh… Some citrus trees are blooming on campus. It reminds me of living in Phoenix; a good memory.

We have enjoyed the break of no classes Monday or Tuesday of this week (May 2nd &3rd) due to the May Day Holiday. My time was spent sleeping later, doing some cleaning and hand sewing, preparing lessons, studying and meditating on my favorite book, reading a book and writing a book.

That’s right. Sunday night I had an interesting and detailed dream. So I wrote it down and decided to try to make it into a children’s book. Gary is doing the technical part on the computer. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The other day I heard what sounded like someone practicing classical piano coming from one of the apartments in the next building. It was very beautiful.

Last night Dean Catherine gave us several loquats; small oval fruit, about 2” long. peach to light orange in color, smooth and soft skin. They were very delicious. They tasted like a cross between a peach and a mango but different. I’m saving the seeds for Mother. I know she can get them to grow.

Today I actually saw honeysuckle blooming next to the roses and a new purple flower I have never seen before. Large trumpets of amaryllis have also bloomed this weekend. Lily pads are beginning to spread out on the pond. I followed a thin, smart looking brown and white bird for a while trying to get a picture of him but he just wouldn’t cooperate. Maybe I will catch him later. I did so enjoy my walk. It was warm but my small umbrella provided a comfortable shade. Father’s handiwork is so beautiful.

Well, the little children’s book is finished and the first copy in black and white is ordered. Color was too expensive. It was a fun experience. We started to print it in English, Spanish and Chinese all in one cover but Google Translate did not give a good smooth translation so we stuck to English and Spanish. Now back to life as before.

This week a student gave me a gift box of jasmine tea from her home town. It smells so-o-o-o beautiful and tastes good, too. I wonder if it makes my blood sweeter. I got my first three mosquito bites of the season all in a 20 minute span three days after starting to drink the tea. 🙂

Our next door neighbor is in the process of totally redoing his apartment. What sounds like a sledge hammer and a small jackhammer are coming from our adjoining wall at all hours of the day starting at 7:00 AM.  It really makes us thankful for the “xiuxi” they observe from 12:00- 2:00. (like the siesta) Today I was thankful for my MP3 player to drown out the noise during my day off  from teaching. The Neil Diamond song I listened to was “It’s A Beautiful Noise”.  So apropos. Love, Terry

We received the following email the day after Colton’s first birthday. While it is absolutely true that the first birthday is for the adults, pictures secure the memories and the children get to enjoy it later! Those of you who are close enough to spend special time with your grandchildren/children, don’t let the time get away. We’re already looking forward to spending quality time with our three grandsons and five children next January.

Six weeks and the semester ends. 🙂

WHAT  IS A GRANDPARENT? (Taken from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds)

Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own. They like other people’s.

Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them. They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.

When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.

They don’t say, ‘Hurry up.’ Grandparents don’t have to be smart. They have to answer questions like ‘Why isn’t God married?’ and ‘How come dogs chase cats?’

When they read to us, they don’t skip. They don’t mind if we ask for the same story over again.

Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television because they are the only grownups who like to spend time with us..

They know we should have snack time before bed time, and they say prayers with us and kiss us even when we’ve acted bad.

Grandpa is the smartest man in earth! He teaches me good things, but I don’t get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

A six-year old was asked where his grandma lived. “Oh, she lives at the airport, and  when we want her, we just go get her. Then when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.”

Experiencing Joy…Happiness is a feeling. Joy is an attitude. A posture. A position. A place.

It says in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those words are the preamble to the American dream. But more than 235 years later, the innocent, hopeful intentions of our founding fathers have become blind and dangerous compulsions.

We all know we can’t buy happiness, and we are often surprised by what brings us happiness and frustrated by what we believe should make us happy.

It has been suggested that we are becoming a nation of men and women who, in the quest for happiness, all too often fall short of achieving any kind of inner peace. Instead of life’s journey being an exhilarating adventure into the unknown, for many of us it is a compulsive and tiring trek, an exhausting journey where the next stop for replenishment never seems to arrive.

George Santayana: “A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in an imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.”

“Many apparently successful people feel that their success is under-served and that one day people will unmark them for the frauds they are. For all the outward trappings of success, they feel hollow inside. They can never rest and enjoy their accomplishments. They need one new success after another. They need constant reassurance from the people around them to still the voice inside them that keeps saying, “If other people knew you the way I know you, they would know what a phony you are.”.

Happiness is not about having what we  want…but wanting what we have! In many ways, happiness is within us waiting to be discovered.

I was told recently of a view of happiness:  An Englishman, a Frenchman and a Russian were discussing happiness. “Happiness,” said the Englishman, “Is when you return home tired after work and find your slippers warming by the fire.”

“You English have no romance,” said the Frenchman. “Happiness is having dinner with a beautiful woman at a fine restaurant.”

“You are both wrong,” said the Russian.  “True happiness is when you are at home in bed and at 4 a.m. hear a hammering at the door and there stand the secret police, who say to you, ‘Ivan Ivanovitch, you are under arrest,’ and you say, ‘Sorry, Ivan Ivanovitch lives next door.'”

Statistics show that despite conflicts, married people are generally happier, live longer, and contribute more to society than those who remain single or leave a spouse.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s personal experiences certainly proved correct the statement that “the cross of Christ destroyed the equation religion equals happiness.”

Can this statement be said of you? Now that I know Christ, I’m happier when I’m sad than I was before when I was glad.”

One of my favorite stories about a person with a grumpy personality begins with a man going into the doctor’s office. As he walked in, he was met by the receptionist. He told her that he had a sore on his chin that he wanted the doctor to examine.

She said to him, “Down the hall, first door to the right, & take off your clothes.” “But ma’am,” he said, “it’s just a sore on my chin. I don’t think all that is necessary.” She repeated, “Down the hall, first door to the right, & take off your clothes.” “But ma’am,” he said. “Down the hall, first door to the right, & take off your clothes.”

So he went down the hall, took the first door to the right, walked in & saw another man already sitting there in his boxer shorts, shivering. He said to him, “Boy, that receptionist is really something, isn’t she? I just have a little sore on my chin & she told me to come down here, go through this door & take off my clothes.” The man in the boxer shorts said, “You think that’s bad? I’m the UPS delivery man.”

Dr. James J. Walsh said, “Few people realize that their health actually varies due to this factor.  Happy individuals recover from disease much more quickly than sad, complaining patients; and statistics show that those who laugh live longer.”

True joy allows us to live with this motto: Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is  the best day of my life, ever! There were times when I wondered if I would make it to today; but I did! And because I did I’m going to celebrate! Today, I’m going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I have had so far: the accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the hardships because they have served to make me stronger.  — Gary

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Jingzhou


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