We have found simple things to be more difficult; “…stepped on an outdoor store scale and weighed a mere 174 pounds…”

31 Jul

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TJ on Skype; Sunday Assembly; China Scenes…Hot Weather..and Train Wreck Recovery

The temperatures are rising in all of our worlds, it seems. Heat index over 105+ here and similar everywhere we have family in America.

We went to our second Western-style restaurant with our first Chinese family and had a few surprises: first, some air conditioning was present, and also in the taxi home (a pleasant event now that temperatures are over 92 degrees and humidity very high). Second, they do pizza crust very well here, though my sausage pizza also had green peas and corn on it and very little tomato sauce.

Quite healthy, though, and it is working; on the way home I stepped on an outdoor store scale and weighed only a mere 174 pounds, and that was a night-time weight, which is usually a few pounds more than in the morning! I haven’t weighed that little since a sophomore in college when I was hungry at the end of most every day (do not know why I never bought a cafeteria meal ticket so I could get three regular meals a day).:-)

We have found simple things to be more difficult here: bought a plastic toilet seat and installed it, a simple thing with a Home Depot in the neighborhood, but not so easy in China. We were told by several people that a new toilet seat was nearly impossible to find; it took knowing the right person and a taxi ride eight miles away.

I installed on my trusty Dell Vostro 1720 a 60-day trial edition of Office 2010, and like some of the features with Publisher, which I have used for this newsletter since late-March. Have also upgraded to Adobe Professional 7.0 and Excel 2010, which are also part of my weekly use.

I don’t think I have mentioned earlier how many more spam messages are received here than at any time in my life. Every one of them wants me to send information in order to receive a huge financial windfall that is so ridiculous it is amazing that anyone ‘bites  on their ploy.’ Desperation, I suppose, can get hold of anyone as they grasp for something better in their life.

Our 2001 Chrysler Town & Country van being kept in Texas has rusted out, it seems. The brake and power steering lines just could not withstand any longer the rust from winter ice put on the streets during those 60” of annual snow.

It’s the second time a vehicle we bought in the snow-belt of Ohio has rusted away, though both times much of the car was still running OK. We will now need a rental when we return in January-February in order to visit family between California, Texas, and Florida. 🙂

I bought a DVD entitled Ciphers in the Snow on the internet with plans to show to as many teachers and students as possible here in coming semesters (Tonia is bringing it next week when she, Wendy, and Aiden come visit for 10 days). Why is it so special? Read the following review: “When a teenage boy dies unexpectedly, his math teacher is asked to notify his parents and write his obituary. Although he was the boy’s favorite teacher, he hardly knew him. Shy and ostracized, the boy was a “ciper”–an unknown number in a class roll book. As the teacher unravels the mystery of what led to the boy’s death, he commits himself to not letting others suffer the same fate.”

I made provisions to show this to a group of high school teachers several years ago in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and it was well received. It ‘hit me’ the other day that it could be good here, too. Work with teachers and students of all ages who might benefit from this lesson? Order from this site:

I make a point of watching It’s A Wonderful  Life and Mr. Holland’s Opus regularly, to remind me that we do make a difference in others lives, even though we might not always believe it. Tonia is also bringing Opus to me next week 🙂

Greetings from Terry: One of my four young English students has been out for three sessions with the mumps. Another boy joined the class for the first time last week and we had two one-week guests this past week.

We enjoyed a great Sunday PM meeting with ten in attendance, after having 12 last week.

We have previously stated that there is no air-conditioning in stores or restaurants. Well, we have discovered several large stores and nice restaurants that do have AC.

Howard and his wife took us out to dinner at a nice Western-style restaurant; clean, pleasant music, very nice décor, good service and good Chinese and American type food, on the second floor, plus AC turned low enough to make it OK.

Most of the tables were separated by ¾ walls and light curtain which made them into spacious private dining areas, seating was upholstered sofas on both sides of the table. Each table had a button to call the server.

The hot meals, like steak dinners, were served on an iron plate on a wood platter like in America. The person being served was given a large cloth napkin and instructed to hold it up to shield from steam and splatter as the lid was removed from the dish and they poured the very spicy sauce on the steak.

We watched a little of the World Championships in Shanghai online and got to see China’s Ye Shiwen win one of the swimming races. It was exciting. The favored American (and world record holder) was third. — Love, Terry

Dealing With Conflict

Conflict has been experienced by individuals since Adam and Eve. It has been a part of all groups of people.

Some conflict can be prevented, and some is unhealthy. The fact remains, though, that conflict is inherent in meeting personal and group needs. When conflict emerges as a result of growth (personal or group) or in an attempt to grow, it is natural and potentially healthy for the individual and the group. Thus, growth-oriented conflict, if managed properly, is hopeful, and is a sign of spirituality.

Some conflicts can be prevented if the individuals involved genuinely accept the fact that personal and group conflict is inevitable. Failure on the part of the group to accept this fact will contribute to unnecessary conflict.

This deception influences members to use denial as a defense mechanism to keep them from facing conflict when it emerges. Conflict is dynamic; therefore, the longer it is avoided in continuing relationships, the more it grows.

Some conflicts can be prevented if the group has planned realistically and adequately for conflict resolution or management once it emerges. In many congregations there are no plans, much less realistic and adequate ones, for resolving or managing conflict.

I have heard leaders say for years such ridiculous things as “We should just get along.” No one with average intelligence would dare think, much less say, that a surgeon should wait until he has a patient to study how to do surgery. Yet, in some leaderships, there are no adequate plans for dealing with conflict once it emerges.

Some conflicts can be prevented if the group members accept that when conflict emerges, it does not necessarily mean that the persons involved are guilty of sin or that they will sin by confronting it.

Group leaders and members need to perceive clearly that conflict is inherent in being both an individual and a member of a group. Conflict in and of itself is not sinful. The ones who are in conflict may sin by the way they respond to each other verbally or nonverbally, but conflict in itself is not sinful.

If individuals think they will sin by confronting conflict, they most likely will tend to deny the conflict or try to avoid the issues. Obviously, group members can sin through the way they respond to conflict, but confronting it per se is not sinful. It is the way in which the conflict is confronted, not the confrontation itself, which may be sinful.

Some conflicts can be prevented if the group members have realistic expectations of themselves. Many conflicts emerge because the group members have expectations of themselves which just are not realistic.

Some of their expectations are as follows:

  • We should like each other all the time and never dislike one another.
  • We should always smile and be in a good mood.
  • We should always be joyful and never sad.
  • We should always be in agreement with each other and never disagree with one another – especially the leaders.
  • We should always be on the mountain peak and never in the valley of the mountain, or we should always be up and never down.
  • We should always count our assets (blessings) and never our liabilities (problems or conflicts).
  • We should be idealistic, not realistic.

These and other types of unrealistic expectations create unnecessary conflict.

Some conflicts can be prevented if the leaders and the group members set realistic and achievable goals for themselves. They must then focus on the process of achieving them instead of focusing on the goals themselves.

Conflict within the group may arise from a failure to set goals, or it may result from the setting of unrealistic goals. Also, conflict may emerge as a result of focusing only on the goals instead of on the means to achieve them.

And let’s just put one other thing “on the table:” some conflicts can be prevented if each member learns how to mind his own business.

There are some conflicts which are unhealthy.

1. A conflict is unhealthy if it is the result of the members accusing, blaming and ridiculing each other, or if they take this approach in trying to resolve an otherwise healthy conflict.

2. A conflict is unhealthy if it results from trivia and not substance. In any group there will be conflict at times over trivia, but unless the group matures to a level where trivia is given up and their conflict is over substance, their conflict will be unhealthy. Another way of expressing the same concept is that group members must grow to the point where they differentiate their opinions from matters of faith.

3. A conflict is unhealthy if the members are arguing about words and engaging in godless chatter to avoid the deeper intrapersonal and interpersonal components of their conflict.

4. A conflict is unhealthy if the members do not process their pain (fear, anger, embarrassment, guilt, etc.) of growth and conflict resolution. Emotional pain is inherent in growing or resolving conflicts; therefore, a conflict which otherwise should be healthy becomes unhealthy if the pain is not processed.

5. A conflict is unhealthy if the group members are not willing to listen to each other. Even a healthy conflict becomes unhealthy if those who are in conflict with each other are not willing to listen to one another.

6. A conflict is unhealthy if some of the group members attempt to deal with it outside the relationship in which the conflict originated. This is a principle which leaders find very frightening; therefore, few percentagewise believe it or comply with it. However, the scriptures are very clear regarding this principle. We must involve only those who are part of the issue, and not gather around us others “to engage in a pity party” on our behalf. — Gary

From America and USA Today (we see this daily): Census data released last month found that 3.1 million children in the USA were living without a parent present in the household in 2009. Of those, 59% lived with grandparents.

Grandparents step in when parents are out of the picture due to substance abuse, physical or mental illness, financial problems, incarceration, death, and more recently, military deployment and the recession.

These grandparents, many of whom had planned for travel or more “me” time, are instead navigating the terrible twos, school, sports and the vast cultural and technological changes (think Lady Gaga and texting) that have occurred since their own children were young. As a result of this growth, there’s considerable new research about this demographic, sometimes referred to as “skip generation” households or “grandfamilies.”

“I wanted to be Grandma. You know, the kids come over and you treat them special and then you turn them home to their mother or father,” says Joyce Sylvia, 69, of Providence. “That’s what I had planned.”

An analysis released last fall by the Pew Research Center found that grandparents who are primary caregivers of grandchildren are relatively young: 67% are under 60 and 13% are under 45, says the 2009 data.

“I’m nowhere near as young and energetic as I was when I was raising my own children,” says Diane Bergt, 48, of Lacey, Wash., the mother of eight. “Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with two toddlers.”

“Some people say ‘Your grandchildren are so blessed.’ No, it’s me. I’m the one who is blessed,” Bergt says.

Interesting News From China—Since 2003, 72 billionaires in the Chinese mainland have died an unnatural death, the Changchun-based New Culture News reported.

The paper reached such a conclusion after conducting a survey of the public reports of billionaires’ deaths over the past eight years.

Among the 72 billionaires, 15 were murdered, 17 committed suicide, seven died from accidents, 14 were executed according to the law and 19 died from diseases.

There were approximately 60,000 people with 100 million yuan in the Chinese mainland at the end of 2010.

Entire Apple Stores Being Faked in China –  At first, it looks like a sleek Apple store. Sales assistants in blue T-shirts with the company’s logo chat to customers. Signs advertising the iPad 2 hang from the white walls. Outside, the famous logo sits next to the words “Apple Store.” And that’s the clue it’s fake.

China, long known for producing counterfeit consumer gadgets, software and brand name clothing, has reached a new piracy milestone — fake Apple stores.

An American who lives in Kunming in southern Yunnan province said Thursday that she and her husband stumbled on three shops masquerading as bona fide Apple stores in the city a few days ago. She took photos and posted them on her BirdAbroad blog.

The three stores are not among the authorized resellers listed on Apple Inc.’s website. The maker of the iPhone and other hit gadgets has four company stores in China — two in Beijing and two in Shanghai — and various official resellers. Apple’s Beijing office declined to comment.

The proliferation of the fake stores underlines the slow progress that China’s government is making in countering a culture of a rampant piracy and widespread production of bogus goods that is a major irritant in relations with trading partners.

China’s Commerce Minister promised American executives earlier this year that the latest in a string of crackdowns on product piracy would deliver lasting results.

The 27-year-old blogger, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the set-up of the stores was so convincing that the employees themselves seemed to believe they worked for Apple.


Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Jingzhou


2 responses to “We have found simple things to be more difficult; “…stepped on an outdoor store scale and weighed a mere 174 pounds…”

  1. Lynn

    August 2, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I love hearing from you guys! Gary, are you sure you’re not losing too much weight? Well, maybe I should ask Terry….lol!


  2. Eleanor Francis

    August 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    At the mentionof the new toilet seat, I could not help but recall that almost everything sold here is made in China. Including my new toilet seat. It came from Home Depot. I wonder why you could not find one when they are so prominent here. Don’t those people stock their own products? Just a comment. It is substandard. cannot get it to stay still. I can feel the porcelain on my thigh. Must rescrew it everytime I sit down. Never had a seat that did that before. We had toilet seats that lasted so long that I was grown and gone and my parents never to my knowledge have to change it. Now the reason I had to change mine was that the part that holds it in place at the top had a plastic rod that broke. The seat looked like new. Had only been there about two years and broke where I could not glue or push it back together. I suspect the one that is there now will soon need replacing because as it keeps moving. Just purchased it this winter and my husband’s son installed it.

    Needed the encouragement from the sermonette because of challenges I face in this relationship almost daily. Thanks for your support. Also, I enjoyed the view of China through your eyes. Eleanor



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