Friday, September 29, 2006

The BIG NEWS you have been waiting for!

Yippppeeeee!!! It's finally official! The BIG NEWS has entered blogdom- and you can read it HERE.
To put it simply,
Sorry if you thought the big news from home was something about marriage or babies! Ha ha!

Gridblog Friday: The Forgiveness Jazz

Today seemed fit for a baby gridblog on forgiveness, so I'm joining the gridbloggers (go to Wyatt's site for more info)...
The power of forgiveness was alive in our community today. It was real, it was honest, and it was moving. You don't experience this flavor of community in most staff rooms, that is for certain. There is not really a need to describe the situation, simply that forgiveness was sought, and it was granted. Love won, and a community was strengthened.
There is something so raw and human that is revealed when forgiveness is sought. It's a brokenness that doesn't seem to come around too often, but there is something so, so spirit-filled about our brokenness and vulnerability. Today I was reminded of the peace, the acceptance, and the love that comes when we are forgiven.
Our community is knotted more tightly because of grace today. I am thankful, and I am called back to my need for grace, and God's love-driven response. What a life, what a gift.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Fun news of the day- other than the long weekend- is that on my next long weekend at the end of October, I'm going to Singapore to meet my most wonderful friend, Sherri!!!! I got a sweet deal on a flight- roundtrip was $200 including tax! It will be fun to relax in Singapore for a couple days, but I don't care nearly as much about the location as I do the quality chats to come with Sher! I can't wait.

Lovely Long Weekend

It's a good feeling to have a long weekend coming your way! Tomorrow we have a PD day, and Monday is a holiday. Awesome!!! Tonight the management of our school treated us to a night at the Hong Kong Golf Club. Fancy! It was poolside and they served an amazing buffet. Wow!
The highlight of the night for me was meeting the families of the teachers and staff at the school. There are a number of new babies and little cutie petuties in the bunch, and I soaked up having such cute kids in my company for even a short while. I hope I can get to know a few of them. So, here is a tribute to the CAIS buddies!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My Dreamy Day...

Today a childhood dream came true! I am finally complete. I went to Disneyland! What a happy place to wander around for a day! It's a strange thought, actually. Millions of people walk through Disney's gates every year, for an ultra dose of magical happiness. I must say, I had a blast. It's a small park compared to the big daddies in the US, but it didn't matter to me!
I was transported to Grade 3 in seconds. It was dreamy! Zipideedooda, zipididee! Goofy, Donald Duck, The Little Mermaid, and my personal favorite, Woody and Buzz Lightyear! The green plastic soldiers from Toy Story were awesome, too. I dragged my counterparts to the Princess Carousel (Merry Go Round) because it was seriously a highlight ride from Buffalo Days when I was just a young gal. They were skeptical to start, but by the time we hit the front of the line, it was a sprint to the most beautiful horses. Oh, we were pumped princesses! I did it in honor of Laurel and Karlie, actually. Frolicking merrily along on the carousel, I emerged from my dreamlike state to see my friend Lynn casually standing up on her horse!!! Ha!! And I quote, "It just seemed like a good thing to do at the time". HAAA!!! The lovely carousel ride came to a halt and over the loudspeaker we heard, "The ride has come to an unexpected stop. Please remain seated at all times". Ahhh, so funny!!! What a daring Princess!
Space Mountain was thrilling. I'm not a very brave rollercoaster rider. I couldn't help but scream my way through space- this special wheezing, hyperventilating, I want my Mom kind of scream. Phew. And as freaked out as I was, it was really quite fun!
The Lion King show was awesome, too. It was an abridged version of the Broadway show, I think. The music in the Lion King is such a treat to hear live and in color. Oh, can you feel the love tonight?!
The only disappointment was that it closed at 8pm, so I didn't get to go on the Buzz Lightyear Ride. Oh, what a pity. I also missed out on my chance at a picture with one of the Disney legends.
What a magical day.
Yesterday night was lovely too (the weekends have proven to be great in HK). Mary (another teacher friend) and I went over the Island and enjoyed a delightful Indian meal. Oh, Tandoori Chicken- you bring such delight to our tastebuds! After that we picked up some liquid heaven (frappucinos of course) and wandered into a foot massage place. Funny how you end up wandering into places like that. Oh, it was very good. I'll be back for sure. One of the neat parts was that the ladies spoke Mandarin, which I very rarely hear here. I realized how much I miss that dimension of the China experience! It was so fun to listen and attempt at interaction again. I am planning to pick up just a bit of Cantonese and continue on with the Mandarin. I'm looking forward to enrolling in a weekly class soon.
I close with a visual of our Dreamy Day at Disneyland...

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography by Katherine Spink

Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

Instant Gratification Courtesy of Itunes:
Soul Tsunami by Leonard Sweet
O by Damien Rice
Flaming Red by Patty Griffin

Friday, September 15, 2006

Book orders, bad internet service and a great weekend on the way

Just a friendly random title for you, to be matched by a friendly random blog entry! It has been a pretty good week here in Hong Kong. There is this very engaging story regarding my internet installation experience, but I'm going to skip that because it's wearisome and there are more fun things to talk about. For example, this week I got a baby oven, a microwave, and even a beautiful pan for banana bread! Now how FUN is that?! So I baked cookies and, of course, in honor of Miss Banana Bread herself (Shannon B.), a fruity fun loaf of banana bread. Also in the fun department, my Grandma called me on my cel phone on Sunday morning. It sounded crystal clear and it was so good to hear her voice again.
Apparently we had an earthquake yesterday. People say it shook buildings. It was only 3.5- and I never felt a thing, but it was good to be on the first floor during that time rather than the 32nd. It is raining a lot here, actually we had a "T1 warning" (typhoon warning) on Wednesday. I was soaked when I arrived at school, and I realized an umbrella is not useful during this kind of weather. Things blow sideways. It is also very polluted right now, which I don't enjoy very much. Take in a big breath of fresh air for me, put it in a bag and send it to me okay?! I could use some fresh air!
In the not so clever part of the blog, we move on to my very poor morning habits. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. Yesterday I had an unfortunate classic moment- you know, one of those, "ooops, I meant to hit the snooze button but I hit the off button". Emphasize the OOPS. I woke up at 7:35am and staff devotions begin at 7:45. I don't remember those ten precious minutes. Everything happened at 16x the normal speed of morning routine. It was actually extremely impressive. Yes, I made it. What an adventure, what a rush (not highly recommended)!
On the teaching side of things, we are settling in to a routine in the classroom. Do you remember Scholastic book orders? I used to LOVE book orders when I was in school. The usual choice was an epic Berenstain Bears book. I love the Berenstain Bears. They taught me all about junk food, messy rooms, baseball, and even being spoiled! Yes, siblings, you have Mama and Papa Bear to thank for my very good behavior. :)
Anyway, it felt special to be the teacher doing the ordering. I'm a teacher! :) I'm pretty pumped about this (the teaching part mostly, though Scholastic is cool too). I'm really excited about learning and becoming a better teacher. There are SO MANY things to get better at! But the possibilities are exciting, and I am enjoying the process of setting out some goals for myself. My favorite part of the week was starting up my writing program. I love teaching writing, though I think it is quite challenging.
Anyway, I have one student who will always be the one to say (after sitting there for a few minutes), "Miss McMillan (in his lispy voice), I don't know what to write. I have no ideas". Hmmmm. So then we will have a brainstorming conversation and maybe we will get somewhere, or maybe not. This happens frequently...."I have nothing to write". This week they were writing "personal memoirs" (half of them wrote about trips to Disneyland). My buddy went from having "nothing to write", to the next day, bringing back four pages of writing, and he just couldn't stop talking about every little part of his trip to he'd come up to my desk and tell me ALL about it. :) It was sweet though. I dig those moments as a teacher....the "LOOK! You did it! You're totally capable!" moments.
The parents of my students have been so good. This week I had three notes of encouragement- "We are praying for you". That's a pretty neat thing.
This weekend has the potential for fun. Two birthday dinners and one beach party. Sounds good, hey?
Oh, and the other fun thing this week was some exciting news from, fun, fun!!! But I'll let that person go ahead and blog it!!!
Have a good weekend, Canada!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Inspiration Day

This week I'm jumping on the "gridblog" bandwagon (two days late). Sir John begged the question, "What inspires you?" I feel obliged to answer such a question given it's reflective nature. Anyone who claims to be a past or present Education student should be at complete ease in the "reflective" zone. Four years of reflecting, reflecting on our reflections and then reflecting on the process and significance of reflecting. So Leah, Tara, Dad? Let's get those reflective juices flowing!
Yesterday morning I had it all planned out and I was going to tell you that music is the inspiration of my days. Last night changed the plan, and now I'm two days late for the gridblog, but I feel more inspired than I've felt in a long time.
It's kind of weird how my ordinary evening unfolded last night. I can't even really explain it now, but by the time I went to bed, I was fired up. Kind of like a sum total of feelings and thoughts exploding like excited fireworks.
Things have been go-go-go since arriving in Hong Kong, and I was enjoying some time to just sit and think without any agenda. I started reading the autobiography of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa inspires me, completely. I've only read the preface and the first chapter, but wow- talk about a woman on a mission of love. Such drive, such passion, such compassion. One of the things that struck me was that she was so much about action. I sure like to talk. This woman brought real love to action; she lived with such purpose.
I have become content asking questions, wondering, tossing things around, but not really getting to the action part. I often say it's freeing to ask questions, but in a way it feels a bit comfy and safe because I'm still pondering. Pursuing greater understanding of God and the world he made, and mistaking that for actually serving Him and loving Him. Where's the heart change? I don't want to miss out on the point of life, and full and new life because I was consumed by everything I couldn't figure out. Mother Teresa's life was so driven for the cause of God- to giving all of herself to the Lord, to every person that she met. Even a piece of the devotion she had would transform my heart. Today the preacher spoke of the invitation to character transformation that Peter writes of (Jay, you'd like this guy!). It excites me when I start to think about the possibilities of who you and I can become. The spiritual journey is one of hope.
The first chapter in the autobiography ends by explaining the day that Mother Teresa decided to leave the convents she was teaching at in Kolkata, and go to live among the poor. Every year, dating back to 1946, the Missionaries of Charity (her organization) celebrate September 10 as "Inspiration Day". I had to smile as I looked at my watch, striking 12AM on September 10, 2006, 60 years later. I wondered if someone was nudging me towards action.
Inspiration Day- pass it on.

I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you?your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:1-11

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We learn to believe by believing.
We learn to love by loving.
The practice of acting on a certain thing, even (or especially) when feeling is absent, embodies the entire "how" of growth.
-Eugenia Price

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fast weekend

I can't believe it's Sunday night already!!! Yikes! The weekend ran away on me. That's not very nice! Though it was a fast one, it was pretty fun.
On Friday night, my friend Mary and I went to a pool party at the Yacht Club, sponsored by the church I have been attending to. The best part was the view surrounding the pool- so as you were swimming, everywhere you looked you saw neon lights and was kind of like the pool was dropped in the middle of it all.
Yesterday I cleaned up my house and spent the last half of the day devoted to exploring an area called "Tsim Sha Tsui". Yeah, try and pronounce that one! Among the interesting places in this area, I was happy to find a great outlet store, a new monster Adidas store (new tennis shoes, Heather!) and a big music store. Oh, and an amazing dessert shop that has this incredible dessert called "mango sago". Anything with mango = tastebud heaven, but this stuff is just glorious. Mmmm, mango sago.
Today after church I went to the "visitors lunch". It was a good chance to meet some of the staff of the church and feel more connected. It's a much bigger group- about 1200- a much larger family than I'm used to! It's called Evangelical Community Church.
I put up just a few pics of my house and my classroom, so you can see them on my flickr page if you're interested.
Well, Sunday night is the prime time for planning, so I'd better turn my attention that direction. I hope your weekend was great! Have a really good week, friends!