Tonia, Eric & Aiden Arrive! Two university professors, with some time on their hands, receive the perfect gift ‘from afar’

09 Aug

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Family Arrives! Typhoon Muifa; Grandsons; Valentine’s Day; Museum Pics; Politics

Tonia, Eric & Aiden Arrive!

Our family has arrived in China! Hooray!  As we say in the Davenport household: “plenty of adventures.”

Tonia travels more by air than any of our children, usually on weekends to visit friends and family. It almost always involves ‘adventures:’ weather delays, late arrivals, suspense, sleeping in airports, etc.

This trip was mostly about the weather: she left South Florida on this trip to visit us ahead of tropical storm Emily.

She joined Eric and Aiden in Texas and they left California headed toward Shanghai and Muifa, the ninth typhoon to hit China this year and predicted to be one of the strongest in recent time. (No adventure means the travel was safe, relatively comfortable, no luggage lost, and everybody ‘had their sanity about them and were still friends’ when they arrived.)

Eric surprised us with his making the trip; we had been told all along that Wendy was coming…a special thanks to Terry at Northwest for a generous and loving gift to us! They arrived just a little late in Shanghai and had a wait to get our of Wuhan, due to many others who were stranded with weather issues. Eventually, we got them and headed out ‘talking a mile a minute.’

Their arrival became ‘official’ when Tonia began reading and Eric and Aiden played Stratego (see below). A trip covering over 9,000 miles and 30+ hours is never easy, but we are thrilled they are here for nine days. Our family have an on-going contest to see who has spent time in the most states and countries. Wendy and Eric (14 countries) have the lead over Terry (11). Gregory (42) leads in the states contest…Terry and I have 41 we have visited. (see table at right)

Two university professors with some time on their hands received the perfect gift (except for family coming to visit) ‘from afar:’ credit on an Amazon gift card. It enabled us to purchase books for Kindle we’ve wanted to read when we had the time to read them. Terry has especially been wanting to get A Tailor-Made Bride, on the recommendation from my sister, Jennifer and Ah Wing’s – Elizabeth Bernard (40 Years Among the Chinese) by Tom Tune, on sister-in-law Beth’s recommendation.

Richard Paul Evans has two books coming out soon that are on my shopping list, and John Grisham’s newest comes out just after my October 30 birthday (hint, hint) 🙂

The gift was especially meaningful since it came from ‘Uncle Mark’ in San Antonio. If you haven’t considered a Kindle, you might look into it. They are super convenient and wonderful when you have space issues with book storage and travel. It also allows you to convert any of your personal Word documents to Kindle format and load them via USB. I have read eight books this summer that were stored from a variety of sources, including some of my own material….which I can share with you if you send me an email address.

I wondered if my usual ‘cold pattern’ would continue here, and it did. I had my annual summer cold for 8-10 days and then was feeling just fine….am rarely sick, so can’t complain….went from the 3rd grade all through college without any sick days.

Greetings from Terry: I am in the midst of reading Courage  and  Consequence by Karl Rove….Gary read it just after we arrived. It is interesting to me; kind of like reading the TV series West Wing with a Republican slant.

Gary woke Sunday morning with a really bad cold. He is not complaining and doing what he can not to share it. Thankfully the worst of it will be finished before the family comes.

I am listening to my beautiful a cappella music on my mp3 player and missing the Harding Lectureships and the Spiritual Growth Workshop in Orlando. They always have such good classes, keynote speakers and wonderful singing.

Thursday, August 4. Well, the music did it. Today, listening to our favorite music collection we travel with I got so homesick for America I cried. Now I feel better. Even if I had the power to quit and go back right now I wouldn’t choose to. This is right where I want and need to be. But I do so much miss seeing my paintings (beautiful oil paintings my Dad painted), driving and listening to the radio, hearing Spanish spoken, going to the library, eating at The Golden Coral and going for walks in the many pretty neighborhoods. I will be fine. It was just a short lapse.

It reminded me of the time when we students from LCC had been working in Germany for about six weeks. We had taken a side trip to Brussels Belgium. As I remember it we were eating Pizza and listening to English country music and all of a sudden we all got soooo homesick for America most of us started crying.

An interesting quote on the page of my journal today says, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!”  I say, Amen. Wear out not rust out.

Saturday, August 6. This morning we both got a text from one of our students wishing us ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.’ Isn’t that sweet of her to think of us? This is when China celebrates it. It is called Qixi, the Chinese Lovers Day. (There are huge marriage fairs, when  ads are put up in public by both men and women—and their parents—in hopes of finding marriage partners. The picture of the cat in front of a mirror got my attention and brought a smile—Gary).

Today is the big day! Tonia, Wendy and Aiden fly to China. Yahoo! We skyped with them this morning and heard about the typhoon/hurricane that is heading for land around Shanghai, right where they will land Sunday night. Well, our family always seems to travel with adventures. The One we depend upon is powerful enough to handle this and we ask for His care and help. It will probably alter their route and arrival time. —  Love, Terry

 How to deal with stress: Rule #1, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule #2: it’s all small stuff.

During your childhood, do you remember your parents worrying about anything? If so, what did they worry about? Money? Health? House Payment? Crime? Job? Problem children? Weather? Politics?

Do you remember your parents as overworked? Were either of your parents “workaholics?” If so, what impact did their behavior have on your current attitude toward work?

Stress from work and failure – Work holds a central place in the lives of many of us. And we work for many different reasons – mainly to survive. We may also work to give our children or grandchildren a better life. Others of us work primarily to obtain material goods. And ideally, all of us would like to be involved in work that is “meaningful.”

An excessive workload, an unreasonable boss, monotonous work, and job insecurity are just a few of the stresses faced in the workplace. The flipside of work stress is experienced by the workaholic. The workaholic thrives on work and often experiences stress when he/she is away from work. Workaholism also directly affects other areas of a person’s life.

The issue is one of balance: too little work or meaningless work destroys our sense of worth…too much work or overly-demanding work destroys our bodies and psyches. Both extremes cause stress.

Stress from failure – Our society rewards success and punishes failure. There is great pressure to make it, do it right, to be together. We love winners; we shun losers. As a result, we grow up with a deep need to succeed. From little league baseball to grades in school to competition for places on sports teams and to get into the best colleges the message is the same: making it is what life is all about. Not surprisingly, stress is connected with avoiding failure.

All of us have failed at sometime or another. Failure really isn’t fun. But if we fear failure, we can be immobilized and kept from trying anything that involves a degree of risk.

We can learn much through failure. Often failure is a prerequisite to success. The stories of successful people invariably tell us that they have failed once or more times before they became successful. Abraham Lincoln considered himself to be a failure in the eyes of his contemporaries. Thomas Edison failed repeatedly before he hit his first incandescent bulb. Winston Churchill helps to give us a perspective on failure when he said: “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Stress from conflict – Life would be so much easier without conflict. Nations war with nations and people die and are maimed. Conflict in the workplace creates ulcers and unemployment. Interpersonal conflict can end friendships and marriages. Conflict between parents and children can create runaways and sleepless nights.

Conflicts hurts. Conflict undermines our whole world. Conflict dulls our life, brings physical disorders, psychological stress, emotional anguish, and behavorial problems. In other words, conflicts brings great stress. We must deal with a conflict if we are to be healthy people.

Stress from loss – It is nearly impossible to go through life without experiencing at least one major loss. Some people lose their health; others lost money and security; still others lose their freedom or self-respect. But perhaps the most painful loss of all is to lose a loved one – a child, a friend, a spouse, or a parent. Loss can produce some of the most intense stress we can experience.

Stress from burnout – Over the past several decades, the word “burnout” has come into common usage. Most simply defined, burnout is the state of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion. And in contemporary society, burnout has reached almost epidemic proportions. It is most evident in people in the so-called helping professions-nurses, social workers, teachers, doctors, ministers, etc. Out none of us are immune from the debilitating effects of burnout.

We see athletes and coaches burnout from the wear-and-tear of intense competition. We see parents burnout from the constant pressures of having to provide for their families. You can surely provide your own examples.

Slippery slops of burnout

Stage 1 – High energy, high enthusiasm, high idealism.

Stage 2 – less energy, less enthusiasm, less idealism.

Stage 3 – chronic exhaustion, diffused physical symptoms, irritability, depression, resentfulness.

Stage 4 – obsession with own problems, apathy, immobilization, career/life threatening.

Steps to set into place

1. Take charge and do what needs to be done. The more others are out of control, the more you need to be in control. The more you are out of control, the more you need to ask others to take over.

2. Acknowledge loss and allow yourself to grieve through it.

3. Don’t pay attention to simple answers that do not help. People usually mean well but sometimes say the wrong thing.

4. Restructure your life and family. Make adjustments for persons no longer there.

5. Don’t blame yourself for things you can’t help.

6. Do what you can and leave the rest to God.

7. Allow others to help.

8. Work toward a healthy attitude in your home.

9. Keep a list of persons to call in times of crisis.

10. Assemble with others weekly. God still loves you and you need your spiritual family.

Burnout Assessment Exercise

Instructions: Indicate how frequently you experience each of the following statements. Use the scale below to rate each statement.

0 almost never 1 = infrequently 2 = frequently 3 = almost always

_____ I am irritable with others (family, co-workers, etc.)

_____ I feel emotionally drained by my work

_____ I have difficulty falling asleep at night

_____ I lack motivation in my work

_____ I am disillusioned with my work (including housework)

_____ I think, “Why don’t people leave me alone?”

_____ I treat people more impersonally than I would like

_____ I wake up tired and have difficulty lacing another day

_____ I consider myself a failure

_____ I am bothered by stress-related ailments (such as indigestion, headaches, etc).

_____ I feel like I am at the end of my rope

_____ I feel trapped in my work

_____ I feel exhausted at the end of the workday

_____ I feel people make a lot of demands on me

_____ I feel unfulfilled and am dissatisfied with my life

_____ Total

Total your score.

A score of 0-15 indicates that you are probably not experiencing burnout.

A score of 18-30 indicates that you are probably experiencing moderate burnout (and should do something about it).

A score of 31-45 indicates that you are probably experiencing severe burnout (and definitely should do something about it).

Stress Test—Circle those events you have experienced within the past 12 months. Total your score. If you score more than 150 points, you are probably living under a whole lot of stress.

EVENT                  STRESS POINTS

Death of spouse 100

Divorce              73

Marital separation            65

Jail term, Death of family member     63

Personal injury or illness            53

Marriage                    50

Loss of job, Retirement            47

Marital reconciliation            45

Health problem            44

Pregnancy            40

Sex difficulties            39

Gain of new family member            39

Business readjustment            39

Change in financial state            38

Death of a close friend            37

Change in line of work            36

Arguments with spouse            35

Large mortgage taken out    31

Foreclosure on mortgage/loan    30

Change in work, trouble with in-laws 29

Son/daughter leaving home             29

Major achievement             28

Spouse starting/stopping work     26

Change in living conditions             25

Revision of personal habits             24

Trouble with boss             23

Change in work hours             20

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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Jingzhou


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