Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!



We hope that you all have a very Happy (and safe) Halloween this year!!


God Bless,
Jon and Jen

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Couple's Bowling Night

At Bible study on Monday it was suggested that we all go bowling together. The plan is that we would go Thursday night (Oct. 28). Jon and I were supposed to pick up pizza at Sam's club and bring it by the bowling alley. We would all eat and bowl inside, which sounded perfect at the time.

Jon and I picked up pizza, Dr. Pepper, sweet tea, napkins, paper plate, and cups. We were early, so Jon let us stop at Mardel's, one of my favorite places to go! By the time we got to the bowling alley John and Elise were already there. The four of us began to stroll up to the entrance to the bowling alley. As we got closer and closer we could read the sign that says, "No outside food or drink allowed."

Opps...none of us had called the bowling alley to see if we were even allowed to take food in with us. Slowly we strolled back to our cars. Thankfully, John and Elise invited us to have pizza in their car with them. It was the perfect way to have pizza and catch up on what had gone on throughout the week. When Michael and Becky showed up we were a funny sight, because almost all of us were squeezed inside the car!



We finished our pizza and headed inside. We got our bowling shoes and were assigned our own two alleys. We all searched for the perfect bowling ball and set up our team, boys against girls of course. Let the bowling begin!



























Needless to say the boys beat us every time, but we did our best to give them a run for their money!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Flashback Friday: Our Blog Turns Three



Today's flashback is a celebration!!

Time really does fly when you are having fun. I cannot believe that this Sunday, October 31, 2010, our blog turns three years old. It feels like there is no way it has not been that long. On the other hand I can't believe it has only been three years since we started our blog!

There is so much that has happened in our lives over the last three years. Jon and I have graduated from college, moved, attended weddings, celebrated anniversaries, rejoiced over new life, struggled to persevere when life was hard, and sought to honor the Lord with our lives.

God has done so much in our lives too! He has provided us with an incredible church family, Sunday school class, friends, mentors, jobs, finances, wisdom, strength, courage, and so much more!!

Here are some significant posts to give you an idea of what we have come through in the last several years.


*Reposted picture from our first blog post*


Milestones
Our First Post: Jon and I moved to Texas right after we were married. I had a deep desire to be able to stay connected with people that we love, but now longer live close to. My solution for that was to create a blog that people could visit to keep tabs on us. We know there are people who are not on Facebook and this is for you.

Our One Year Anniversary: Shortly after starting this blog, Jon and I celebrated our one year anniversary. We were able to take a long weekend and spend some time in Houston, TX which was so much fun. The best part is that we were able to watch a Denver Broncos game while we were there!

Jen Graduates: In May 2008 I completed my requirements for graduation. I became the first person to graduate from college, in my immediate family. My friends even gave me a "fake" graduation, because I was unable to fly back to Oregon for the real thing.

Jen Reaches Lifetime: After one year of losing weight I was able to reach Lifetime status with Weight Watchers. I have lost 90 pounds. As a result I started a weight loss blog called, Living a Changed Life, to help other people like myself.

Jon Graduates: After six long years in college, Jon graduated from LeTourneau University with his degree in Aeronautical Science. His family and friends were here in Texas to celebrate such a big occasion with us.

Becoming Uncle Jon and Aunt Jen: On September 17th, 2010, Jon and I became Uncle and Aunt of the most beautiful baby boy...Kenneth Thomas Eccleston.

God Provides
My LeTourneau Job: Shortly after graduating, God provided a job for me at LeTourneau! This was such an answer to prayer, because we had been praying for a job to open up for me on campus for about a year and a half.

Our "New" Car: While Jon was gone in Alaska for a month. God provided a new car for us, because He knew that we would need two cars.


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Choosing Our Halloween Costumes

I enjoy dressing up for Halloween and all that goes along with that. Every year, a few weeks before Halloween, my Mom would take us to the store so that she could buy fabric for our costumes. I have had some great costumes, but that's another story.

On the other hand, Jon did not grow up in a family that celebrated Halloween. There is nothing wrong with this, it just means that when is comes to Halloween it is not on Jon's priority list, like it is on mine.

Weeks before Halloween arrives I begin my search on the internet to find the best couple's costume for us to wear. Last year, we were Salt & Pepper. It was cheesy, but it makes it much easier for Jon to participate if it is kind of corny.



However, this year I decided to go all out! I told Jon that because we were something cheesy last year, that this year I wanted a really great costume.

I looked at so many lists and pictures online that I was overwhelmed with all the choices that I had. Should we do Phantom of the Opera? Milk & Cookies? Gone with the Wind? CSI? Doctors? For a perfectionist this can be a very hard decision to make, because I did not want to choose the wrong one.

Then as if it were meant to be I stumble upon the Dirty Dancing Couple’s Costume featuring Johnny and Baby. Instantly, I knew that this was the one I wanted to do, but I did not know how Jon would feel.

I did a lot of research and it turns out that Johnny's costume is really simple! My Jon would only need a black wife beater, black pants, black belt, and black shoes. It turns out that he owns each one of these things so we would not have to pay any money for his costume! (I think this was a big selling point when I proposed this idea to Jon.)

In order to be Baby Frances Houseman, my costume would be a white long sleeve top, rolled up above the arms, and tied in front of the mid riff. Fitted denim shorts, rolled up above the knees, and white sand shoes. I even did research to find out how to do my hair!



After I was finished with all my research and knew what it would take to pull these costumes off, I decided that it would be a good idea to watch Dirty Dancing for inspiration. So, the two of us sat down to watch the movie and about halfway through I ask Jon what he thought about being Johnny and Baby for Halloween.

Almost, immediately he said yes!! I didn't even have to fight with him about it. I married such a wonderful man!!

That is how I chose our costumes this year. We have a Pumpkin Carving Party on Saturday and the church has it's Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct 31, so I will be sure to take pictures and post them as soon as I can!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just The Beginning

For the past six weeks, on Sunday nights, I have been leading a ladies Bible study called, Me, Myself and Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover By, Jennifer Rothschild. We have been meeting at church to talk about our "thought closets" and the lies and/or truths that we tell ourselves on a daily basis.



The six week study had five lessons that we were supposed to complete each week. During out time of Bible study we would watch a twenty to thirty minute video, in which Jennifer would share truth with us. She also shared stories from her own real life experiences and told us how God has been able to transform her thought closet.

This past Sunday, October 24, 2010, was our last week of Bible study. It is always sad to me when something ends. I have gotten to know and cherish the women in my Bible study. I am so excited about all that God has taught us. While watching the final video I was so encouraged to hear Jennifer answer the dread of my heart. I was afraid of this study ending, but Jennifer assured me that this was just the beginning. I am so thankful that God knows my heart and what I need to hear at just the right time.

When I began this study I am sure that my thought closet looked a lot like this picture below.



I wish I could tell you that now my thought closet looks like this!



My thought closet is not a disaster anymore, because I am working on it. It will never be perfect, but this study has given me the tools I need to continue to replace lies with God's truth. I am praying that God will help me to continue to learn to walk in His truth a little more everyday!

I would recommend this study to any woman who has ever said anything negative to yourself. That would be all of us wouldn't it? If you are looking for a good Bible study to do, maybe you should check this out! This is too important to put off!

Monday, October 25, 2010

China Update: Sichuan Province

Jon's family lives in the Sichuan Province of China. This is where we will spend the majority of our time on our upcoming trip. Sichuan is a province in Southwestern China with its capital in Chengdu. Below is some information about Sichuan taken from Operation World.





Geography
Area 426,000 sq.km. A large rice-growing province on the Yangtze River ringed by high mountains. The 'panda province'.

Population 87,681,000; 205 people/sq.km.

Capital Chengdu 5.3m. Other major cities: Suining 1.7m; Neijiang 1.42m; Leshan 1.44m; Zigong 1.3m; Mianyang 1.22m.

Peoples
Han Chinese 95.4%, speaking Putonghua.
Sino-Tibetan 4.6%: 44 peoples, largest:
Tibetan E. Khampa 1.25m, Jiarong(5) 190,000; Rtahu Amdo 79,000, Ergong 49,000.
Yi Nosu(4) 1.83m; Suodi 190,000; Qiang(12) 183,000; Mosuo 30,000; Chrame 39,000; Bai Ma 15,000.
Hmong-Mien 0.8%. Miao(2) 667,000.

Religion
Lamaistic Buddhist 4%. Among Tibetans, Jiarong, Mosuo, Chrame. Animist, polytheist among Nosu, Bai Ma, Qiang, Miao. Christian 1.4%: House churches 0.7%, all Catholics 0.5%, TSPM 0.2%.

Prayer Requests
1. Sichuan had the lowest Christian percentage of the Han-majority provinces until recently. The Catholics arrived in 1696 and LMS and CIM in 1868/81, but there had been no major breakthrough until a recent significant growth in the house churches. Pray that the spiritual mountains that ring this province might be breached, and millions turn to Christ.

2. Chengdu with over 5m people is a key city for the whole of western China, but there are officially only two large TSPM churches and 3,000 Protestant Christians. There may be a further 50,000 house church believers. There is a large number of ethnic minority groups in the city – especially Tibetans. Pray for this needy city and those seeking to reach it.

3. Ethnic minorities indigenous to Sichuan total 4m in 44 peoples, but 33 of them have no Christians and no known outreach to them. Of the 11 among whom there are some Christians, only the Chuan Miao and Shengzha Nosu have over 1% Christians. Intercede for:

a) The major groups with no witness; the Qiang cluster of peoples, the Tibetan groups, Suodi, Mosuo, Enshi Miao, etc. Many of these peoples, though related, speak mutually unintelligible languages.

b) The Nosu who are a particular challenge. They are a proud people that once dominated their area and enslaved the Han Chinese. They were only finally subdued by the central government in 1953. They are known for their violence, war-making, intimidation and polytheism. The JESUS film has had some impact, and there are 12,000 Christians in the largest of the 4 Nosu peoples. Pray for this spiritual stronghold to be breached.

c) The small Christian groups among them to become strong, effective witnesses.

d) Ethnic minorities in Yunnan and elsewhere with large Christian communities to become missionaries to these peoples.

e) Bible translators. The Bible is available for the Khampa and Amdo Tibetans, and there are portions of Scripture for the Chuan Miao and Shengzha Nosu, but no other group has anything of God's Word.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback Friday: First Impressions



I found this picture and asked Jon if he would write today's flashback post for us. Enjoy!!

This picture was taken in Spring of 2000. We all wore these bright yellow shirts when we moved to China. The purpose of the yellow shirts were so that my parents could make sure we all stayed together and no one got lost.

The first thing you notice about China when you step off the plane are the smells, signs around the airport not in English, and how filthy it is. The next thing would be the number of people. They were all staring at us because we were each a 老外 lao wai (foreign devil).

It was funny, because we ended up sitting out in front of the airport for about 2 hours. We had landed early and were waiting to be picked up. There were some Chinese people that stayed and stared at us the whole time, especially with our 28 pieces of luggage or more!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Texas State Fair

As promised here are pictures from our trip to the Texas State Fair. We went with our friends, Bryan, Tabitha, and their son Wyatt.

The five of us had such a fun time! I posted a bunch of pictures and I think they speak for themselves. I hope you all had a great weekend too!


Jon and I ready to go to the fair! We walked down to Bryan and Tabitha's house early Saturday morning. We wanted to be able to get on the road and beat any traffic as we went into the city.



We made it in great time and actually arrived before the big crowds got there! We were thankful that we did not have to park a mile away.



Welcome to the Texas State Fair!!


We were able to attend a demonstration to watch how to milk a cow. This was not the old-fashioned way that my Dad did when he was living on a Dairy farm. From the looks of it, things have come a long ways.



Here's the milk, straight from the cow!



Big Tex, who was very large.



Me, Tabitha, and sleeping Wyatt. He needed a nap, but just wanted to be held. Poor guy was a little overwhelmed with all the people around us.



Jon and Bryan



Wyatt loves the water, so Jon took him over to the fountain to get wet.



A VERY, BIG, Ferris Wheel. I've heard that it is the largest in the Northern Hemisphere.



Bryan and Tabitha on the Ferris Wheel.



Jon, Wyatt, and I on the Ferris Wheel.



The Dallas Skyline. The view from the top of the Ferris wheel was amazing. It was so much fun.



Jon and Wyatt, just taking in the view. This was Wyatt's first fair ride!



Yes I ate some fair food. We ate some Funnel Cake Fries and a bite of the Fried Smores Poptart. Honestly, the smell of fried food was completely overwhelming and at times disgusting. We all shared these treats and they were good, but I would have been fine without them. My how things change.



The Funnel Cake Fries



On our way home we stopped at Chipotle, which was so much better than eating at the fair!

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