Have you noticed? The BIG story locally: STORM WATCH 2008. Yes, it's raining here in Southern California. It is all that seemed to happen here locally yesterday. News report after news report depicted some poor soul in a raincoat and an umbrella standing near a puddle, each one stating details of water falling from the sky. Observing story after story I noticed a difference in the day's newscasts and I began to wonder...hadn't there been anyone murdered? no drive by shootings? convenience store robberies? high speed police chases? nothing???
Then I wondered some more: Maybe the rain was unifying. Maybe everyone puts down their burdens and comes together in peace and harmony due to the rain. Maybe the Native Americans were on to something with their rain dances. Perhaps they were used for more than desiring rain for their crops. Maybe something as simple as rain is all we need to put an end to crime.
But then I became skeptical. Maybe it's just easier to set up a camera on the corner outside the news station than it is to drive to all the murders, shootings, and robberies while it's raining. And if that's not cynical enough, just watch how people drive. Rain seems to make no difference in the number of idiot drivers out there.
Here is one of my favorite shots from our trip to China. While walking through an old farming village in Nanchang, through gestures I asked this family if I could take their picture. They happily agreed. The family positioned themselves just inside the doorway to their very small living quarters. The boys in China truly are treated like royalty. Keep in mind this was a very poor area. This photograph captures a portion of what I observed as seemingly typical: the boys dressed in the best clothes; the center of attention; allowed to do whatever they want without correction. They seemed so proud of their boy. We can't help but think that our daughter was born in such a village.
Several months ago I made a rather feeble attempt to find out who visits my blog. (Thank you to my four respondents.) Of course most bloggers like to receive comments (hint hint!!!) but since I keep telling myself that I write this blog just to write, get my thoughts out, document, etc., I didn't press the issue. Having tried to put my curiosity behind me, I recently received some indirect verbal responses to my search. I had many pleasant opportunities to get together with people over the 3-week Christmas break. On more than one occasion I was encouraged by what many of you had to say. When I shared some information or a story, some of you said, "Oh ya, I read that on your blog." And others expressed how much you enjoy the pictures I post. And quite a few of you commented on my weight loss post and mentioned how it encouraged you. When I went fishing for comments or commenters, little happened. So I was pleasantly surprised and greatly encouraged by your kind words...especially since I was not seeking them. I'm glad that my writing: a) is coherent enough to keep your attention; b) is interesting enough to keep you coming back; and c) is able to encourage some of you. Hearing from you blessed me for which I offer a heartfelt "Thank You" for your kind words.
I've admitted a few times too many in here about getting teary eyed about certain things. So with no admission of anything of the sort (I have my reputation to maintain...ha ha), I wanted to share a song that, from the first listen, had quite an impact on me. The song is Finally Home by MercyMe. Julianne was surprised because she knows I rarely "hear" the lyrics for some time; she knows I tend listen to the instrumentation above all. But like I said, not this time. As I read in a review, the song is a follow up to I Can Only Imagine written after the passing of singer Bart Millard's father. Posted below are the lyrics followed by a short sample video of the song. Read, listen, and take it in.
Finally Home by MercyMe
I’m gonna wrap my arms around my daddy’s neck And tell him that I’ve missed him. And tell him all about the man that I became And hope that it pleased him
There’s so much I want to say There’s so much I want you to know
When I finally make it home When I finally make it home
Then I’ll gaze upon the throne of the King Frozen in my steps And all the questions that I swore I would ask Words just won’t come yet
So amazed at what I’ve seen So much more than this old mind can hold
And the sweetest sound my ears have yet to hear Voices of the angels
We had the privilege of spending several days with some wonderful friends in Texas. We had a great visit. Since they had moved to Texas while we were in China getting Lily, this was their first opportunity to meet her (all except Marcos who got to meet her on a brief visit back to California.) Lily did really well with the traveling, the late hours, the extended time in her not-so-comfortable car seat, and just being out of her element. Our friend's children did wonderfully with Lily and treated her incredibly well.
While in Texas we got to spend time with other friends as well. On New Year's Eve we got to visit with Robin and Travis, a couple that was in our travel group to China. They traveled with their son Samuel to get their daughter, Lucy. It was a wonderful reunion. They are such a wonderful family. I wish we planned more time to spend with them.
We were able to ring in the new year with more friends from back home. Manny and Julie invited all of us to their home to celebrate the new year. I could not believe Lily stayed up until midnight. She was having a blast with all the kids. Once again, all the kids were absolutely wonderful with her.Outside of spending time with Marcos, Angela, and the kids, I had three things on my list of things-to-do-in-Texas:
Buy Lily and myself a pair of cowboy boots (Julianne already has a few pairs)
Lily and I got the boots and we got to see Robin and Travis so I figured two outta three ain't bad! I planned on getting myself black boots but ended up with these instead.Lily got an adorable pair of pink boots.Here are some shots from our trip: