Happy Birthday, TJ; 39…Again! On our 35th anniversary, children could not understand how we had been married so long when TJ was only 39!

28 Jun

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Terry pics; school poster; 90th ‘Party; Last days in class; Campus/China scenes

Happy Birthday, TJ; 39…Again!

In the excitement of thinking about our coming celebration of the 40th wedding anniversary July 2, I remembered that the present Terry received on her July 5th birthday in 1971…was me!

We will celebrate her 39th birthday again, this time in China, but very low-key, since it is mixed in with our nation’s birthday on the 4th, as well. We did invite 15 of our students over for a piece of delicious chocolate cake with chocolate icing, from the bakery across from our front gate.

On our 35th anniversary, children couldn’t understand how we had been married that long when TJ was only 39! That’s easy: we got married when she was four!

She IS one amazing woman. The first weekday after her classes ended, she got into her ‘usual 20-minute routine,’ which I have marveled at since our first week of marriage. She works hard for 20 minutes several times a day, getting some of those ‘dirty jobs’ off her perpetual list.

It’s usually something to do with working hard on her knees scrubbing somewhere most people don’t want to think about even going. I call her ‘my little beaver,’ always busy, busy, busy. Her favorite expression during this time? Perpetual maintenance! 🙂

I’m working on transferring some of my POSB and Wisdom books to my kindle, so they can be ready for re-reading these next few months.

We’ve had trouble finding ripe peaches, despite the fact there are peach orchards aplenty in our area. It seems the tradition here is to pick them when they are barely ripe (not at all soft and   sweet). Understandable if they are being shipped far away, maybe…but where are the ripe ones? Watermelon, though, is outstanding…as we have found with apples, grapes, and bananas!

We found out that university students here know what a ‘yard sale’ is…many of the students had displays set up outside their dorms to sale different items from their rooms, which they did not want to take home for the summer. They seemed to have a good business…lots of crowds looking.

We just got back from our first 90-minute trip to the larger grocery store since it became more hot and humid…good to get home, where I told Terry “I plan to stay till the end of the month.” (it was June 22).

I am not sure I should ever get use to young children riding electric scooters with no helmets or belts holding them on, while mom or dad make their way through the hectic traffic. Many times there are two children ‘holding on for dear life.’

We were asked over and over one day last week if we were going to be at the ‘party’ on our campus at 7:30 p.m.? Graduation ceremonies had been taking place for two days, the students were having special class parties, etc., so we thought it was a celebration for the end of our school.

Well-l-l-l-l, we walked down the avenue from our apartment, about 100 yards, and saw the largest crowd we’d seen since coming, and found out very quickly it was a ‘party’ for the 90th anniversary of China’s Communist Party. We stayed long enough to see what it was about and left…wondering if anyone took pictures of the foreigners in attendance. 🙂

We had several students over after lunch today, and I walked out to the front gate with them and went to the bakery to order the chocolate birthday cake for next weekend.

They helped me communicate clearly with the bakery staff, and it will be delivered safely next week. I will report on our birthday party for TJ next weekend, with pictures, of course, as we send out the last newsletter of this semester. We will be busy with language classes after that and likely will have little English to share for a few weeks. 🙂

We received great advice from ‘Mama’ Bass during our MTCC days, about “don’t start something you can’t finish” when working with college-age students. It has served us well here, since we’re beginning what we want to be long-term relationships with our first classes.

We can see weekly times when students will be here studying, cooking, eating, discussions, and watching movies, etc. We plan to set times just for TJ and me, and, of course, we’ll be preparing lesson plans for our next 550+ students in the fall. It is kind of exciting having another group brought into our lives each semester…nice that we don’t have to move to get more interested folks.

Terry has been asked to consider teaching 3-4 primary school-age children English this summer, twice a week for around 90 minutes each session. It is in the early phases, but she is excited for the opportunity to reach out to others in the area. The idea originated from the dean of our English department, who lives above us in the apartment (more info to come as it reveals itself).

Greetings from Terry: Since my schedule is clearer for the summer I am taking on the project of keeping our stairwell swept; a little at a time (perpetual maintenance theory and all that). It will help keep down the dust tracked in. I’m also scrubbing down the tile walls in the bathroom and kitchen.

Gary has been busy having fun with his own chosen projects on the computer with his studies and files.

I have just finished reading The Screwtape Letters again and am in the midst of True North. They make very good companion books when read at the same time.

We had two new ones at the discussions this week. One of my classes invited us to their end of year party on the West campus. They had decorated the class room with streamers and balloons, handed out sunflower seeds, candy and bottled water, played a few games and performed skits (one completely in English) and songs. It was fun to see them in action.

I have not heard so many words from them the whole semester. They are clever and fun to be with. I will miss them. You could tell they were very happy we accepted their invitation. This is the class that gave us the photo album. We got to meet their Chinese teacher and share a taxi with her back to our campus when we left. She lives in our building on a different stairwell.

We got up and out early Wednesday morning trying to beat the heat on our way to the computer and grocery stores. The traffic was much heavier at that hour. We saw four traffic policemen at every busy intersection. Something we have not seen before.

It took us a little longer in transit but it was still better than going in the afternoon. All in all it was a productive trip. We were glad that we had gotten back to our apartment in time to get cooled off before our electricity went off that evening. S-o-o-o thankful it came back on before bedtime.

Thursday, June 23rd, we saw many of the graduates in caps and gowns getting their pictures taken on campus as we walked to dinner. Then as we came back things were set up on the badminton court for some kind of performance.

Someone asked us if we were coming to the party at 7:00 (we assumed a graduation celebration). So as we were walking up to the crowd we find out it is the Communist Party 90th Anniversary celebration. Can you believe it? (assumptions get you in trouble.) We visited with a few people explaining our misunderstanding and left.

I love my little kitchen. Making biscuits today I felt like I was playing house. It is just big enough for the basics.

I got to watch Seth and Caleb Taylor for a little while Friday while Lisa got some last minute packing done. I enjoyed reading to them and building a tower with some boxes and styrofoam I had saved for just that purpose. They loaded and moved out Saturday morning.

We are missing our students so we called up six of them and met them for lunch today, then came back to the apartment and visited. Some worked on my jigsaw puzzle. They had never seen one before.

This week I have received two very good gifts. One, Gary helped get my grades onto the spreadsheet on the computer. He was very patient and helpful. Our processing speeds are different so it was truly a gift of love.

Two, when a neighbor offered to put a program on the computer to make it work faster (it works very slow most of the time), right away  we started getting very inappropriate pop up ads. Gary immediately said take off the program.

I am so-o-o glad he didn’t even hesitate. That is what I would expect but I am still very thankful. The “shield” really works. It extinguished another fiery dart. I feel like the little pig that lit a fire under the chimney so the big bad wolf wouldn’t get in.

Believe me, I would rather have these kind of gifts any day. Gary is and always has been a great gift giver of this type and I fall in love with him all over again each time I receive one. — Love, Terry.

A Healthy Self-Esteem

I am thankful that, except for some time as a teenager, I have been ‘comfortable in my own skin.’ It has been helpful in China, where many eyes are constantly on the foreigner.

The acne-inflicted teenager had some tough moments, but athletics and the chance to develop my writing interests as a senior in high school helped me move past much of those self-doubts.

Josh McDowell tells us that “a healthy self-image is seeing yourself as the Father sees you—no more and no less.” That seemed good enough for me!

Others have spoken authoritatively on the subject:

He who is able to love himself is able to love others also; he who has learned to overcome self-contempt has overcome his contempt for others. — Paul Johannes Oskar Tillich.

I am as my Creator made me, and since he is satisfied, so am I. — Minnie Smith.

Building self-esteem is a hard and slow process. But it is not an impossible one. Self-esteem is how you feel about being you, how you feel about being alive. It results from an evaluation of your self-image, how you feel about the way you see yourself. It is influenced by the distance between your self-image and your ideal image.

For example: you can see yourself as being of average intelligence, feel all right about it, and experience high self-esteem. Or you can feel badly about it and experience low self-esteem. You can feel worthy or unworthy, competent or incompetent, significant or insignificant, valuable or worthless, hopeful or hopeless, truthful or deceptive, confident or fearful, withdrawn or sociable, preoccupied or spontaneous.

You may be preoccupied with self, feel unloved, overly sensitive to criticism or open to a healthy interaction with others. Self-esteem has an evaluative element: how do you feel about the way you see yourself?

A person with good self-esteem has a sense of self-worth, yet recognizes his/her limitations. Such a person is not conceited but rather is glad to be themselves. They accept themselves and others but are desirous of correcting their own shortcomings.

They are problem-centered, not self-centered: they appreciate the simple things of life, are ethical, able to discriminate between means and ends; they get along in their culture yet resist enculturation and have a genuine desire to help the human race.

Self-esteem can be classified into two divisions: basic self-esteem and functional self-esteem. Basic self-esteem is established in childhood, is hard but not impossible to change; whereas functional self-esteem is derived from daily experiences and changes more readily.

To build self-esteem, you need to know its roots. Parents probably have the greatest influence on self-esteem. Positive reinforcement and acceptance teaches children to value themselves.

Healthy self-esteem in MEN is thought to be derived to some extent from vocations, intelligence, wealth, achievements, education, positions of power, and competition.

FEMALE self-esteem results more from the achievement of goals, self and body image, education, money, everyday concerns, and family relationships.

Both sexes are usually affected by their view of how they are evaluated by significant others in their lives.

Self-esteem in children — Family strengths are so important that they can often overcome social rejection. For this to happen, parents must have definite values, a clear idea of what they perceive as appropriate behavior, and be able and willing to present and enforce their beliefs that self-esteem is highly influenced by personal beliefs about who we are.

We are worthwhile because of our creator. If we are worthwhile, then we have good reason to have good self-esteem. Our self-esteem is not a selfish sort of thing but is rooted in our Creator. He made us worthwhile!

Guidelines for parents in developing self-esteem

Try to improve your own mental health. In dealing with your children, you teach more by what you are than by what you say. Ask yourself such questions: Since I am accepted, why can’t I accept myself? Since I forgive others, why can’t I forgive myself? Am I easy to be around? Perhaps there is something in me that is worthwhile.

If you are married, establish a healthy marriage. Unhealthy marriages develop unhealthy patterns of interaction in your home which affect your children. If your family ‘health’ us not the very best, get some help in making it so. It isn’t a sign of weakness to see your own faults and to try to overcome them…rather, it’s a sign of maturity and strength! Weak people try to avoid such reality.

Provide for your family’s needs: physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual.

Spend much time with your family. You as a parent are often not only busy but tired and need rest yourself. Your children must be a priority, especially while they are young. Eat as many meals as possible (that means sitting down together at one place and talking, sharing, caring…and no food fights…eating everything on the plate isn’t really that important, is it?). No distractions should normally be allowed, such as watching TV or listening to music!

Teach them proper values. Children will pick up your values; if they see your emphasis for money and prestige, they will value those things, too. What is important to you will be important to them, unless they are eventually taught by someone is a role model position that counteracts your actions.

Let your children be children. Focus upon strengths rather than weaknesses. Be realistic, but recognize strengths. Morris Rosenberg in Society and the Adolescent Self-Image found that high self-esteem children tend to have mothers who are satisfied with average or below average performance. This may appear to go against the grain, but pushing our children to hard is more harmful.

The key: don’t create unrealistic expectations for them. We should help them overcome setbacks and compete in honest ways. We should provide encouragement and support in all efforts they choose…but keep first things first in all things!

Discipline your children with love. Set certain limits and enforce them but don’t over-do it. Be HIGH in love and standards.

Some other items? Encourage achievement in school: motivate, help, maximize his/her potential, yet accept them for that they are and not for what you wish them to be.

Try to avoid over-protection and dependence. Explain changes that will occur at puberty. Forgive them.

Don’t be partial to one child over another. Realize they are different! Learn to show affection. Help them to belong.

They are important to you…make certain they clearly see and understand that, by your words and actions.

Help them to develop a strong faith in God, the source of our true value.

Adolescents need attention and they will find a way to get it. It IS easier to get negative attention than positive attention: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Teens often ask “why not” to get you as a parent to change your mind. They really are not wanting to know. They are just wanting you to acquiesce. You as a parent have a right to say “no” because you are “uncomfortable saying yes.”

Adult self-esteem

Accept personal responsibility for your own low self-esteem. Our past and the present influence you, but you are a creative factor in the formation of your own thoughts, actions, and feelings. If you do not take such responsibility, you will never change. You can choose to perceive the past differently!

Restructure your thinking. You are what you think about. You can choose to have a good day, every day, all day. It happens during those first few minutes when you awake each morning.

People who are down on themselves tend to make many thinking mistakes:

They over generalize. From one mistake, they conclude that they can’t do anything right.

They eternalize. From one failure, they conclude that they will never do anything right.

They personalize. They are too absorbed with themselves. They inappropriately apply comments and criticism from others to themselves: “They are all talking about me.” They blame themselves too much: “Others had nothing to do with it, circumstances had nothing to do with it, I caused it all. I am completely to blame.”

They catastrophize. What they do is the worst thing that has ever been done: If you only knew what I did, you would not want me in your group or to be your friend.”

They filter. Many positive things may have happened to them, yet they do not see them. They filter them out. Their whole world is thus negative.

They neutralize. If they see positive things in their lives, they negate them: “He doesn’t really like me. He just needed a date.” “My husband doesn’t really like me, he just wants a woman. Any woman.” We can make anyone look bad by filtering out his/her good points or by concentrating on his/her bad points.

They absolutize. Everything becomes a must. “People must like me, life must be easy, and I must be competent. If not, I am worthless and life is not worth living.” We must make a distinction between desire and demand: It would be nice if everyone liked me, but it is not necessary. Persons with low self-esteem often jump to conclusions without adequate evidence.

They dictomize. Everything is either black or white: there is no gray. Such persons are often very perfectionist. Their way is always the right way about everything. Their opinions are always the truth.

They self destruct. They set up negative self-fulfilling prophecies: “No one likes me.” So when a person does like them, they are suspicious and uncomfortable, which causes them to send out negative signals, which causes the other person to “back off.”

When they back off, the person says to himself or herself: “I was right. No one likes me.” It seems impossible for a person with low self-esteem to feel loved.

Love is something you do

We listened to a Bruce McLarty lesson on Love, with the electricity off in the apartment on a hot day for the second time. He quoted the words of Clint Black’s song, which we’d never heard before:

“I remember well the day we wed. I can see that picture in my head. I still believe the words we said. Forever will ring true. Love is certain, love is kind. Love is yours and love is mine. But it isn’t something that we find, It’s something that we do.

It’s holding tight, lettin’ go. It’s flying high and laying low. Let your strongest feelings show, and your weakness, too. It’s a little and a lot to ask. An endless and a welcome task. Love isn’t something that we have, it’s something that we do.

We help to make each other all that we can be. Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently. The way we work together is what sets our love apart. So closely that you can’t tell where I end and where you start. It gives me heart remembering how we started with a simple vow. There’s so much to look back on now, Still it feels brand-new. We’re on a road that has no end And each day we begin again. Love’s not just something that we’re in. It’s something that we do.

We help to make each other all that we can be Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently. The way we work together is what sets our love apart So closely that you can’t tell where I end and where you start. Love is wide, love is long. Love is deep and love is strong. Love is why I love this song. And I hope you love it too.

I remember well the day we wed I can see that picture in my head. Love isn’t just those words we said. It’s something that we do. There’s no request too big or small. We give ourselves, we give our all Love isn’t someplace that we fall. It’s something that we do. Amen!

Points for Party to ponder: A recent Ministry of Education survey shows that almost 80 percent of college students are willing to join the Communist Party of China (CPC). This will be a tremendous boost for the CPC, preparing to celebrate its 90th anniversary on July 1.The survey, which covered 25,000 students in 140 institutions of higher education, was conducted professionally and should reflect the true state of mind on college campuses today.

The study, 20th of its kind and published early this month, reveals very high approval ratings for major national achievements attributable to the CPC and an unusual optimism about what it will deliver. Nothing could have made a better birthday gift for the Party. With an overwhelming majority of the country’s young elites on its side, the world’s largest political party can rest assured of its impact on younger members of society.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Jingzhou


One response to “Happy Birthday, TJ; 39…Again! On our 35th anniversary, children could not understand how we had been married so long when TJ was only 39!

  1. Roy & Mary McKinney

    June 28, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Hi, Gary & Terry,

    Our birthdays are the 4th and 5th of July! Roy’s is the 4th and mine is the 5th. Roy received a wonderful birthday present on his 28th birthday–it was our second child, Karyn’s birth that year! Then Krista was born on the 15th of July. July is like Christmas for us!

    Happy Birthday, Terry from all us McKinneys!



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