19 March, 2017

When you find a FRIEND on Social Media

Just a short Five-Minute Friday post. On these posts, I follow the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home.  
 
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
  

It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (I'm getting better at revisiting them, too.)

This week's one-word is "Friend". To be honest, this time I didn't read the whole post at Heading Home before writing. I know what I want to say about "friend"!
 
Timer starting...

So often we differentiate our friends from "facebook friends", am I right? I have a new friend since moving to China, who recently opened a facebook account. (Please note, facebook is, technically, blocked in China, but most foreigners know how to get around the block to keep in touch back home.)

This friend is a Chinese national, and since we started having adventures together, I've often wished I could tag him on facebook, to share with my friends back home the fun we have! But until recently, I couldn't.

Could I still share the fun with friends back home? Of course. Could I share pictures? Naturally. And I did. We have a mutual foreign friend who apparently shared my posts with him, because one time when he saw me, he thanked me for naming him "friend". I think it was about a mention I made on facebook.

So now, I can tag him, and he can see instantly what my thoughts were about something we did together, and he can leave his comments, too. It is a new dimension to our friendship, and one I enjoy.

I have also found that some people who I knew in real-life, I came to know better by becoming facebook friends. In some cases, this is a good thing, in some cases, not. How much is too much to share? 

I believe some lines are best left blurry, but when you find a kindred spirit, you cherish them.

Stop timer. 

I'm Going to be Famous!

...Nowhere outside China, probably, and "famous" may be stretching it, but, well...

Setting up the green screen

My first thought was of that kids' show "Blues Clues".

Or maybe like "Dora the Explorer" sans animation. 


 


A couple months ago, I was invited to be the "native speaker" for the online portal of a children's English curriculum here in China. Cool! Invited, by the publishing house. They have a series of books to teach young children the basics of English, and wanted to provide an interactive way for the kids to have a short lesson based on the book, right in their home.

We worked for over a month creating scripts to break down the first unit neatly into concise segments. The scripts had to be perfect, so they could be quickly modified for each successive unit. A couple weeks ago, we recorded a demo. 1 part curriculum, 1 part talking to the kids at home, 1 part talking with my hand-puppet sidekick. Blues Clues it ain't, but it's fun!

There are several series coming up they want me for. It's very exciting! Would I be willing to post audio files into a social media chat room for parents to learn how to help their children with English? You bet!

Would I also read some English storybooks for the publisher? Of course!

I am now a paid actor! (not that any of my American friends will see it, but still!)
My view from where I was sitting.

Woot-woot!

Children across China will be learning English from me... WITHOUT my teaching in a classroom! (I'm still teaching in classrooms for now, but I don't enjoy it and look forward to this better alternative.)

18 February, 2017

Weak? Or strong?

Just a short Five-Minute Friday post. On these posts, I follow the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home.  
 
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
  
It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (I'm getting better at revisiting them, too.)

This week's one-word is "Weak".
 
Timer starting...

My first instinct when I saw this word was my ankle. I don't know what I did - it's not exactly sprained, but... well, that's not really what this "weak" is about, is it?

I have always been a "Strong woman". The opposite of weak. So what can I write?

I have a weakness for good food, and when I pass by a bakery, my willpower is weak. I don't think that's really it either.

When am I weak? What makes me weak?
Lately, every time things go wrong I'm ready to bail. The job situation since our move has been fraught with troubles and disappointments. Just recently, when they started pressing me for my documents to finalize my visa and contract, I balked. I don't love doing what I would be doing with their contract. I have worked with them because I didn't know about other options. Now that I have other options, I don't want this first option anymore. I want to leave that situation. I feel weak and powerless.

I feel like it makes me weak.

Actually, today, I found the strength to call my contact person and explain my hesitation, and guess what? It's okay! She agreed to give me time to think about my options and we will talk in a week.
Ha. In a "week". 
But I feel stronger for opening up. Maybe I'm not as weak as I thought, after all.

10 February, 2017

Hard to Believe I'm Safe! Five Minute Friday

Today I am once again participating in Five-Minute Friday. On these posts, I follow the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home.  
 
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
  

It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (I'm getting better at revisiting them, too.)

This week's one-word is "Safe".
 
Timer starting...



I typically write about these word-prompts as they relate to my life here in Beijing. But as it happens this fits my devotional study. I am reading in the book of Exodus, and recently passed the point where the Israelites were given manna in the desert. They were only allowed to collect enough for each day (except the sabbath). That's it.

They were safe.
God was providing, each and every day.
He promised.

And if they kept too much overnight, it got maggots. Just to PROVE He would provide the next day and they could rely on him. When God's got your back, you are safe, if you rely on him.

As I read this familiar story, I couldn't help but wonder how I would do in that situation. How many bowls of maggoty manna would I find in the morning before I realized my food supply was safer in the hands of the Almighty? 

My guess is, a lot. 
I like to plan. 
I like to know I have my food MORE than the morning that I intend to eat it...and what if I'm hungrier than usual one day? I need extra!

Trust that I am safe? That my food supply is safe? That my income is safe? That all are provided and waiting for me?
Whew. That's a tall order.

Done.

03 February, 2017

The Alphabet Soup of Life

Caution: This is extremely random and disjointed. Not my proudest writing moment. But I needed it.

I know, I know. I just posted... literally today. But that one links up to the Five Minute Friday Challenge, and this is just me.

I actually have a question for the few of you who may see this.

It dawned on me last night that the A to Z Challenge is coming soon. Last year I participated and SURVIVED to the END! (I guess that's an achievement, since I get to wear the badge on my blog.) Last year I was prepared. Last year I knew my theme and had selected most of the daily topics in advance, even dropped in some writing prompts to make it easy on me.

While doing last year's challenge, I found out I have a heart problem.
Well, not precisely. But I will.
Specifically, I'm "high risk for a cardiovascular event." 

It freaked me out because I am one of the healthiest people I know. So I started researching heart health. I found so much material - good and bad - that with A to Z fresh in my mind, I thought I could do 2017 A to Z on all these crazy findings. Debunk some myths.

Now, that seems kinda tame and lame.
Shortly after 2016 A to Z we decided to move to Beijing. I've learned a lot through that process and our few months here, too. I'm still learning. So now I'm thinking that China might be a more interesting topic. 

But I'm no travel blog. I'm just me, being me in a new location. 
Besides, I did travel-type stuff last year.

Maybe I should just take my ESL 3rd-graders answers in the "I'm Going to Grandma's House" game. That's A to Z, but pretty basic.

So my question to you, you fortunate few, is actually a challenge to help me resolve my internal debate!

During the A to Z challenge, would you rather read about heart health or China or ESL answers? That is, which would be better on this blog (there's already a lot of China here, but I guess repetition is okay)? Or should I be a non-themed theme? I don't know if I could do that... I could create a theme that changes daily: "Mondays are XYZ, Tuesdays are #qT, Wedne..." That could be fun...


SO MANY IDEAS!
I don't know why I'm concerned about this. I guess I'm just used to being prepared.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I actually intended to do a short post about death today, but got distracted. So here it is:

My godfather died recently. 

My godparents divorced decades ago, and my godmother is the blood relative, so I hadn't seen my godfather since Jr. High. Until a couple years ago, on a trip out west, we were visiting the right town and he came to dinner. I'm glad I have that. I'm glad I got to see he hadn't changed much, was still getting around, still had all his faculties, his sense of humor, good relationships with my cousins, etc.

So I have no real sense of grief. He's been gone from my life for years, came back for an hour or so, and that's it. Only now he's gone for good. So I feel I ought to throw some words out to the cosmos, but I don't want to clutter up horrible facebook and glean so many condolences when my cousins really should be the condoled ones. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

No condolences needed, but I am curious if anyone has an opinion about A to Z. Or a completely different suggestion.

Breathing for Five Minutes

Today I am participating in Five-Minute Friday (back from a holiday hiatus). On these posts, I am following the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
 
It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (Now if only I would make the time to revisit more often during the week.)

This week's one-word is "Breathe".
 
Timer starting...

 
I do a lot of yoga. A big part of that is focusing on your breath. So I've learned a thing or two.

I also meditate, and focusing on your breath is the best way to clear your mind. "Breathe in...breathe out..." doesn't really count as a thought, and focusing there helps random thoughts to pass on through instead of lingering.

Oddly, I don't hear a lot of talk about meditation among my Christian friends and family - maybe without the "Prayer and" before it, "meditation" sounds too Eastern, too Buddhist or Hindu or Eastern. I look at meditation as the oft-forgotten side of prayer.

If prayer is a conversation with God, why do we do all the talking? A few years ago, I realized that, when I meditate: when I breathe, sit still, and quiet my inner voice, I can listen more freely to God's part of our conversation. 

We are blessed to serve a God who wants to be an integral part of our daily lives. He listens, yes, and He will guide, if we just stop, breathe, and hear Him.

Stop Timer.

26 January, 2017

Five Minutes of Control

Today I am participating in Five-Minute Friday (back from a holiday hiatus). On these posts, I am following the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home

If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
 

It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week.
(Now if only I would make the time to revisit more often during the week.)
 
This week's one-word is "Control".
 
Timer starting...

I don't think I'm a "control freak"  but I am a planner. I make lists of what needs to be done, delegate if possible, get things done in advance as much as I can, and try to make things go smoothly. When I married a "pantster" - my word for someone who flies by the seat of their pants - we had to find compromise.

We love our road trips. We travel well together. So... if we are taking a trip for him, or to visit his friends, he makes whatever plans need made. If it is for me, or to visit my peeps, I determine what needs to be set in stone.

Our greatest example was a trip we took to one of my friends' wedding out in Utah. We wanted to make an adventure of it, so planned a week-long trip, flying into and out of Denver and renting a car. My trip - My timeline. I controlled ordering airplane tickets, renting a car, dates we stayed with my aunt, hotel reservations in Moab. Timeline?
Be at the airport by XXX time.
Be at hotel in Moab by XXX.
Be back at my aunt's house for supper on XX/XX/XX.

It worked beautifully. Between then, we visited a friend of his, stopped at whatever sites he decided on each day, and even made a mutual decision to stay one extra night in Moab before heading back.

Sometimes, relinquishing control can help you find adventures you might have missed!

...end timer.