“We’ll hear the echoes of laughter and feel the essence of their presence for long time as we smile with moist eyes”

01 Sep

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New teachers, energetic students, China scenes

16 Classes and 750+ Students

Let the fun begin! We have our schedules for the fall semester and will have some 750+ students weekly; we’re excited for the many opportunities to teach English and sow Good News seed.

Terry and I will each teach eight classes, from 8:00-11:40 a.m. four days a week, with a three-day weekend. Each class is two sessions of 50-minutes with a five minute break…and a 30 minute break between the 8:00 and 10:05 class.

Terry is teaching freshman Pronunciation and English and using the book she helped edit and we recorded for Dr. Yang last semester. The freshmen have orientation for three weeks, so she will not begin until September 19, which was an unexpected nice surprise.

I began teaching August 30 seven classes of sophomore Oral English and one class of junior Developing Listening and Speaking Skills. (I guess that means I will need to become a better listener, huh?) 🙂

We will also again host 60-100 students weekly at a Thursday 7:00-8:15 p.m. English Corner, where the students circle around us and ask personal questions about our lives, America, love, romance, marriage and parenting. They also want to know “why, what and how” as it relates to our China experiences. We enjoy their inquisitive minds and enthusiasm, and cannot let their questions come across as nosy or impolite…they are just interested in ‘foreigners.’

I was getting a bit anxious about the new semester until it hit me….six of my eight classes are students Terry had last year….if she can handle them, I think I can, too. 🙂 I have met about 90 of TJ’s students from last year, when they visited in our apartment last semester. Some of these were the first to show an interest in our Relationship discussions.

We just learned today that our junior students will have 34 50-minute class sessions weekly this semester! We will have some time on the weekends to be with them, but they will be very busy. Our sophomores have Monday-Thursday mandatory 7:00-9:30 p.m. study hall sessions in addition to their daily classes, so we’ll try to make good use of Friday-Sundays.

Terry has a Chinese name! Here she is now being called Rén’ài (仁爱 )…phonetically is sounds like Jen eye, which means “kind person” or “one who loves people.” 🙂

Some have asked what new books I have discovered for my kindle? James L. Rubart’s Rooms and Book of Days and Richard Paul Evans’ new series Mickey Vey. I heartily recommend any books these two have written. I have read George W. Bush and Karl Rove books this summer and plan to get Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney’s books when published. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, Evans and John Grisham have new books coming out soon.

We made our 3rd visit ever with family to Wal-Mart here, and it took over 10 minutes to find the way to the exit. Poor signage…everything in both English and Chinese so that was not the reason. All we could do was…laugh about it.

I have come to realize that it is to my advantage in China “to shop like a man,” which cannot be changed, even if wanted. I walk into a store, find what is wanted and pay for the item, after they show me on a calculator the price. No need for questions or extra words….do not need to know as much Mandarin. 🙂 We have both committed to learning new words weekly from our students so we can continue progress made during the summer.

For many years, in our conversation B.C. would mean Before Children, when talking about events of our early married years (such as, Terry and I used to play tennis together, BC). I found myself thinking Before China today for the first time, signifying stories and circumstances in our life prior to arrival in China.

Terry worked during the summer to do a map of our campus…frustrated that there was nothing we could show the new students who come to their “new home.” (see right) We’ve printed some and handed them out to those who seem lost’.’

With all the democracy marches around the world, this item August 22 on the front page of the China Daily caught my attention: “China respects the choice of Libyan people, hopes the situation returns to normal soon and its people live a normal life.” Also on this day, temperatures (both high and low) in the 70’s…do not expect it to last but it was nice.

I do not think I want to ever consider it normal that parents allow their preschool children to ‘squat’ on the sidewalk in public, and leave what is left behind for others to clean up….saw it twice last week It is not frequent, but it is a part of China….the split-pants do make it easier, I have to admit.

I shed tears today when news reached China that Pat Summit was dealing with early onset dementia. It felt like a member of the family was dealing with the disease, for some reason. Her determination and work-ethic will serve her well. (I covered Vol assistant coach Holly Warlick’s track and basketball exploits at Bearden High many years ago…she was quite an athlete.)

As one report said, “Medical experts say that depending on the progression of the disease, she could work for a few more seasons. Several added that simply by continuing to show up, Summitt would demonstrate what is possible, changing attitudes about an illness that afflicts more than five million of her countrymen — including 200,000 who, like Summitt, are diagnosed before age 65. Not unlike what she did for women’s basketball.

“She’s our John Wooden. … I played for the woman.     She’s as tough as nails. People think I’m tough,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics playing for Summitt. “I’m a pussycat compared to Pat Summitt … Pat Summitt will fight. Pat Summitt will be on a crusade to help people with dementia. Pat said it best,” she added. “It won’t be a pity party.” (Amen!)

Greetings from Terry: We have truly been blessed with the visit of our Tonia, Eric and grandson Aiden.  Their visit came at just the right time to give us a good boost. We had looked forward to seeing Wendy and then at the last she and Eric swapped places. It was a fun surprise even while missing Wendy. We will hear the echoes of their laughter and feel the essence of their presence for a long time as we smile with moist eyes. They got to meet a few of our dear friends and experience life in China as we know it.

Wednesday we got up at 2:45AM,  left  the  apartment at 3:20AM, walked to the center of campus to meet Keven and the van to take them to the Wuhan airport to fly back to the states. Being quiet to not disturb the neighbors, we commented to each other this is how it would have been like for those in the past trying to escape a dangerous situation; except we would have carried the luggage instead of pulling it behind us. We visited and slept off and on during the two and a half hour trip.

It was so good to Skype with them Thursday morning   and see that they had made it safely to San Antonio without any “adventures”. From beginning to end, the trip  was just over 41 hours long.

Our #2 Good and Cheap restaurant has now reopened so we went there for lunch and let our kitchen stay as cool as possible.

One of our students called and came by for a visit bringing fresh bought biscuits and cookies. She borrowed three of our movie DVDs, which will help her pass the time till her classmates start arriving sometime next week.

I have finished reading A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer. It was so good and uplifting; I miss the characters.

Many of the students are beginning to return to campus and I can’t wait to meet the new students I have been yarping for all summer. The freshmen will have two weeks of orientation so my classes won’t start till the third week. We are both looking forward to the semester.

Wednesday, we got to take one of my returning students to lunch. Later that day we bought two badminton racquets and a birdie with real feathers. We played with three of my students in the evening and met a new student. It was fun. Didn’t pull any muscles and weren’t at all sore the next day, of which I am very thankful. One of the students gave us a small bag of raw Chinese chestnuts; “Hao chi”/ good to eat.

The other day as we walked to the park with Keven I noticed a two foot path on the sidewalk that had a different textured pattern than the rest of the cement. Keven said it was to aid the blind. I think that is great.

As Gary and I went out for an evening walk on campus I was again struck with the realization of just how “family friendly” this campus is. All ages and stages are out for fresh air and exercise.

They are not a bit self-conscious as they exercise (singularly or in a group), dance, play badminton (with or without a net), visit, practice their oral speaking exercises aloud, walk around the track (forwards or backwards) and let their children play together to spend their energy before returning to their apartment for the evening. It gives one such a since of community. Thank you to the One who makes it possible for us to be here and witness it.

We watched a short video called Ciphers in the Snow. It is so very good. All teachers should watch it.

I have just finished reading Radical: Taking Back Your Faith by David Platt. Very good, challenging, many benefits to reading it.

This week I also finished reading our Favorite Book again. Each time through I learn more and more and see things never noticed before. That is because each time I am older and have added more experiences to my life. It fits every age and stage. The plan is so wise.

To be honest, practicing my Mandarin pronunciation and sentence drills is not fun but I sure like it when I remember how to say a complete sentence correctly. It’s like working out to prepare for any physical challenge. The hard work pays off. Each time I practice I think about logging my 10,000 hours like in the book Outliers.  — Love, Terry

Quick Thinking – Humor It was his first day on the job. He was a new clerk in the green goods department of a super market. A lady came up to him and said she wanted to buy half of a head of lettuce. He tried to dissuade her from that goal, but she persisted.

Finally he said, “I’ll have to go back and talk to the manager.” He went to the rear of the store to talk to the manager, not noticing that the woman was walking right behind him.

When he got into the back of the store, he said to the manager, “There’s some stupid old bag out there who wants to buy half a head of lettuce. What should I tell her?” Seeing the horrified look on the face of the manager, he turned about and, seeing the woman, added, “And this nice lady wants to buy the other half of the head of lettuce. Will it be all right?”

Considerably relieved, the manager said, “That would be fine.”

Later in the day, he congratulated the boy on his quick thinking. He then asked, “Where are you from, son?” The boy said, “I’m from Toronto, Canada, the home of beautiful hockey players and ugly women.”

The manager looked at him and said, “My wife is from Toronto.”

The boy said, “Oh, what team did she play for?”

I especially like the statement that reminds us that “the best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.”

The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. Therefore, the meaning is that a great forest is set on fire by only a little spark of fire. So it is with the tongue. The tongue is a fire that can set a whole forest of lives and relationships on fire, consuming and destroying all that lies in its path. It is a world of iniquity; it can cause what seems to be a world of sin and destruction when it is set ablaze.

A fire can begin with just a small spark, but it can grow to destroy a city. A fire reportedly started in the O’Leary barn in Chicago at 8:30 P.M., October 8, 1871; and because that fire spread, over 100,000 people were left homeless, 17,500 buildings were destroyed, and 300 people died. It cost the city over 400 million.

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife”

The tongue is the only creature that cannot be tamed. Men have tamed every kind of creature there is: some beasts, birds, serpents, and some creatures of the sea. The Father will help us with the tongue!

It’s a paradox of marriage that the strongest ones are those in which partners are simultaneously able to change to accommodate one another in some areas, and able to live with unchangeability in others.

On the whole each spouse has made a separate peace with the imperfect other.

When the heart’s wrong, there can’t be peace. Selfishness is a gangrene, eating at the very vitals.

Sin is a cancer, poisoning the blood. Peace is the rhythm of our wills with  His love. Disobedience breaks the music. Failure to keep in touch makes discord. The notes jar and grate. The peace can’t get in. He made peace by his blood. We get it only by keeping in full touch with him.

Peacemaking is an action that springs out of an attitude.

If there is light in the soul, There will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, There will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, There will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world.

I saw a Peanuts cartoon with Lucy saying to Charlie Brown, “I hate everything. I hate everybody. I hate the whole wide world!” Charlie says, “But I thought you had inner peace.” Lucy replies, “I do have inner peace. But I still have outer obnoxiousness”

We live in a world that spends a great amount of time in conflict. Regrettably, we often find ourselves worshipping in places where peace doesn’t reign.

Peace means right relationships between man and man. So what James is saying is this, “We are all trying to reap the harvest which a good life brings. But the seeds which bring the rich harvest can never flourish in
any atmosphere other than one of right relationships between man and man. And the only people who can sow these seeds and reap the reward are those whose life work it has been to produce such right relationships.”

That is to say, nothing good can ever grow in an atmosphere where men are at variance with one another.

A group where there is bitterness and strife is a barren soil in which the seeds of righteousness can never grow and out of which no reward can ever come.

There is a kind of person who is undoubtedly clever, with acute brain and skillful tongue; but his effect, nevertheless, in any committee, in any church, in any group, is to cause trouble and to disturb personal relationships. It is sobering thing to remember that the wisdom he possesses is devilish rather than divine.

If your lips you would keep from slips, Five things observe with care: To whom you speak; of whom you speak; And how, and when, and where.

Ways to control our tongues:

  • Never say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to his face.
  • Never say anything about someone unless he/she is there to respond. Refuse to listen to someone else’s gossip.
  • Initiate positive statements about people whom you’re discussing.
  • Remember, the tongue “is a fire.”

China News: A judicial interpretation of China’s Marriage Law regarding the settlement of property disputes upon divorce came into effect on Saturday, triggering hot discussion among Chinese netizens.

Real estate was before regarded as the shared property of a married couple even if it was given by the parents of one party. But according to the new interpretation issued by China’s Supreme People’s Court, a house bought by parents will go to their child instead of being split between the couple in case of a divorce. And if the parents of both partners have paid jointly for the property, the two sides should negotiate on how to divide the ownership.

As people become richer and more materialistic, having one’s own flat has become a major criterion when choosing a spouse. Most people find it risky and unacceptable to tie the knot without a flat, which is jokingly called a “naked marriage”. Will the new interpretation change marriage values? Isn’t it unfair to women in the event of divorce? Will it result in an increase in divorce rates?

The new judicial explanation of the Marriage Law is a caution to all girls: don’t set your heart on marrying a boy who owns a car and a house any longer. Once you get divorced, you will get nothing. Even if you add your name under the registration of the house after marriage, it cannot deny your husband’s sole ownership of it. Therefore, it is securer to find a husband without any car or house and make down and mortgage payments together with him.

China looks ready to launch a small space lab into orbit, space policy experts report, perhaps as soon as this month. The 8.5-ton Tiangong I space lab, the next step in China’s manned space program, follows three successful launches of Chinese astronauts, or Taikonauts, into orbit in the last decade.

Smaller than NASA’s 85-ton Skylab, launched in 1973, Tiangong I will be unmanned when it launches. The lab will mostly serve as a test-bed for as many as two manned docking missions in its two-year lifetime, says space analyst Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. “It is a logical move in developing manned space capabilities.”

Learning the intricacies of docking one space vehicle with another in space is key for a nation planning long missions, so that vehicles have a way to transfer moon explorers, for example, from a lunar orbiter and return vehicle to a lander. The space lab could also serve as a platform for space medicine and micro-gravity experiments similar to the International Space Station.

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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Jingzhou


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