Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Holiday

We had such a wonderful weekend that I did not want it to end. It was sad that I had to go back to work yesterday. There was a lot that happened in just a few short days, but I want to catch you up in one blog post.

Thanksgiving 2010

For breakfast, I made Jon cinnamon rolls with orange flavored icing. I only had one, but it was yummy.

Each year for Thanksgiving a family from our church has invited us to join them and their family for their holiday meal. This year we decided that it would be fun to try some international food along with the traditional Thanksgiving foods. They asked Jon to make some Chinese food. He never turns down an opportunity to share Chinese food with others. However, the knives need to be really sharp before we can make anything.

Every year we take a family Thanksgiving picture. This is our picture this year.

After we took our picture, Jon got right back to work making Chinese food. We had so many of my favorite dishes. Our house even smelled like Chinese food when we got home that night. Yummy!!

I did not take a lot of pictures at Thanksgiving, but I wanted to make sure I got a picture of Jon enjoying his wonderful food on Thanksgiving day.

Friday Date Night
Last year, I went Black Friday shopping for the very first time. However this year I did not have anyone to go shopping with. You see, Jon had to work Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. The aviation program does not close down for the holidays when they have students who are behind.

I was not able to go shopping, but Jon decided to block out his entire Friday afternoon for me! What a great date day!! He came home with the most beautiful flowers for me.




I know I went overboard on the flower pictures, but they are beautiful!! After Jon came home we went to watch part one of Harry Potter 7. It was so special. I love spending time with Jon.

Decorating Our Tree
Jon and I are leaving for China in 16 days!! As a result, we have been going back and forth about whether or not we would decorate our house for Christmas. This is such a hard subject for me, because I LOVE Christmas!! I like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving and the idea of not decorating was killing me.

My husband, being the amazing man he is, decided that we should decorate our Christmas. So, in order to compromise we decided to put up my small Christmas tree that I normally put in my office.

I really like Christmas lights.

Jon helping me decorate our Christmas tree.

Me hanging ornaments on the tree.

Our Christmas Tree

Us and our tree

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Twas The Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style



'Twas The Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style
By, Author unknown

'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all the fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."
He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eight-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flashback Friday: Jon's Summer Adventure Part II

Like I said last week, this is part two of a flashback series. The first week Jon shared about his trip to Alaska. This week, Jon will share with us about his mission trip to New Orleans, LA.

From Alaska I got on a plane and headed to New Orleans to meet up with some of the men in our Sunday school class. We had decided to go work with Samaritan’s Purse for a week. Samaritan’s Purse has been working down in the New Orleans area trying to help rebuild a community since Hurricane Katrina hit 5 years ago. Our group of 4 guys joined several other groups from different churches. I missed out on the first day because I was flying back from Alaska, but when I got there we hit the ground running.

The first day I was there we ended up nailing the floorboards onto the base of the elevated house. It was so hot and humid, especially having just come from Alaska, where it was in the 50s. I think about half way through the day we go some rain and then the sun came out again making it even warmer. The rest of the week our team was put on a house that needed to be finished up by the end of the next week so a family could move into it. Well at first we thought that we were just going to be patching up a few things and cleaning up. Oh boy! We really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.

Two of the guys ended up taking out a bow in one of the bathroom walls as well as some roof work, while the other guy and I decided we would finish painting. We were told that there was only one color of paint. We finished touching up one room and then went onto the next room, where the lighting was much better. We stopped and said, "Doesn’t this paint look darker than what is on the wall?" Sure enough we had the wrong shade of paint, we asked the Samaritan’s Purse leader if he had a different bucket of paint that was the same color and he said he would go take a look. Thankfully they had one more bucket of the same color of paint that we were able to cover up our mistakes and finish up the rest of the house.

During the week when we were working we had the privilege of meeting the couple that was going to be moving into the house we worked on. Two of the guys on our trip were also able to minister to a guy that stopped by while we were working. They shared their testimony with him and prayed for him.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to listen to the all men’s choir, of Franklin Baptist Church, practice every night. Then the night before we left we were able to go to their concert. The church hosted the people that came to work with Samaritan’s Purse.

Overall this summer I was able to travel much more than I have in the past. God was able to teach me a lot of things as well. Like, trusting in him for finances, peace of mind, and even how I need to trust him more and more. It seems like I learn something and then instead of being able to make progress, God brings me back to the same thing again because I didn’t really learn it in the first place.


Our Team: Steven, Larry, Bob, and me





This is the first deck we worked on.



This is the house that we spent most of our time working on.





This is the backside of the church.



Showers



Cool building



This was sad, because it was a bunch of fortune tellers in front of the big Catholic church (pictured below). It reminded me of China.





I took this for our friend Michelle, because it reminded me of her.



The Super Dome



This was our big seafood platter at Deanes for only $50.00! One of our friend's from Macedonia, our home church, took us out for dinner.



Larry and I are getting ready to dig in. I ate oysters, but Larry would not even try them. :)



The five of us men could not even finish one platter.



The next day after our big seafood dinner, Larry was sleeping on the job.



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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Psalm 9:1



Jon and I want to wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!! We hope that you are blessed by time with family and friends. We pray that you have an opportunity to reflect on that for which you are truly thankful.

God Bless You and Your Family,
Jon & Jen Newsham

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Helping with Kid's Choir

Remember how I told you that Jon and I have a very busy month ahead of us? Well I was not kidding.

For the last several weeks Jon and I have been helping out with kid's choir. Our Sunday school teacher, Ms. Janet and her husband lead kid's choir. Janet mentioned that it would be nice to have some more help, because the kids can get a little crazy. So, after my Bible study, Me, Myself, and Lies ended, Jon ad I decided that we would help out with the Christmas concert the kids are working on.


The kid's choir performance it Sunday, December 12, 2010. This year they will be performing Back to the Manger. If is going to be such a great concert!!

Jon and I have been working hard to learn to music and the hand motions that go along with each song. It is not perfect yet, but we are trying!!

Please pray for us, me especially. I know that God has not called me to children's ministry. However, please pray that I will be able to love on the kids that are in choir. I do not want any of them to feel left out or forgotten about.

We appreciate your prayers while we get ready for the concert!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

China Update: Blessing and Isabella

Two people that we are very excited to meet when we arrive in China are Blessing and Isabella. God has given us a special love for these two people, but first I want you to meet them.


Blessing and Isabella, aren't they beautiful young women!?


Blessing has been living with Jon's parents since she was pregnant with Isabella. It was just two months ago that Blessing had her beautiful baby. Blessing was having blood pressure problems, but is doing much better. She is opening up to Jon's family more and more each day.


Lisa and Isabella


Isabella is now two months old. She is beautiful! She has been growing and is starting to get stronger. She has three holes in her heart and has been approved for heart surgery in December. They are not sure if Blessing is going to allow Isabella to have the surgery because she is afraid. Please pray for wisdom for Blessing.


Isabella


Isabella has another problem that Jon's parents have noticed. They are not sure if she can see. She does seem to have some response to light but she is unable to follow or track.

Several weeks ago I asked Lisa if there was anything that Jon and I could bring to China with us for her. She listed off a few things, before asking if I would be go buy some baby girl clothes for Isabella. Isabella is very small and it has been hard to find her some winter clothes that fit her.

I was so excited to shop for baby girl clothes, because after all pink is my favorite color! Let me tell you something...I have not shopped for any baby girl clothes yet.

Why? Because God provided!!

I asked the ladies in my Sunday school class and Bible study to pray for Blessing and Isabella. I shared with them that I needed to go shopping for baby girl clothes. Almost immediately there was an overwhelming outpouring from these women to give to Blessing and Isabella. I have been humbled by these women and their desire to be involved and give gifts to people they have never met.

About a week ago I received two boxes of baby girl clothes from a woman in my Bible study. I wanted to cry. This woman has had one of her own baby girl's go home to be with Jesus and yet she could not help but love on others less fortunate then herself.

Two whole boxes of clothes for Isabella



God works in mighty ways. I do not always understand what He is doing, but I am thankful that I have been able to be a small part of this blessing for Blessing and Isabella. We have met Blessing and Isabella over Skype and I cannot wait to see them in person!

After we received two boxes of clothes, I asked Jon how we were going to fit all of this in our suitcase. He said that we would make it work. He knows how much this means to me to bring all these clothes to them. We can already see God using these things to change my heart, imagine what He will do the lives of Blessing and Isabella through these gifts. I can only imagine.

Please remember Blessing and Isabella and keep them in your prayers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: Dad's Table

This is my Dad. I am not trying to make fun of him by posting this silly picture. He is always being silly and trying to make me laugh. This is his very normal and true goofy self.


My flashback today has nothing to do with the people in these pictures and everything to do with the table in these pictures.



It is such a beautiful table, isn't it? My Dad made it himself. I think that makes it even more special.

Dad made this table in 1996. Dad had been working on his table for a long time. It really was a family project, because during the evenings that he worked on it he would have all of us kids take turns sanding the wood. It takes a very long time to sand an entire table by hand.

In November 1996, my Mom offered to host Thanksgiving at our house. Dad's entire family was coming to spend time with us. There were going to be a lot of people and Dad wanted the table ready so that we could use it for our Thanksgiving meal. He worked so hard to get the table ready in time for Thanksgiving.

It was finally finished by Thanksgiving morning. Now all that was left to do was bring the table up from the garage and into the dining room. My Grandpa got to our house early and was going to help my Dad move his solid oak table. I say "solid oak", so that you will understand that this table is heavy.

My Dad and Grandpa slowly moved the table from the garage out around the back of the house. Their plan was to bring it through the french doors in the dining room. There was only one problem...the table was too big to fit through the door!

All of us kids were inside laughing at the sight on my Dad and Grandpa trying to fit this table through a door that was obviously too small. The solution: Dad and Grandpa decided to remove the french doors to get the table inside.

Finally after a while they were able to remove the doors and bring the table into the house!!

This is probably one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. To this day, it still makes me laugh.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Only....


until we leave for China!!

I cannot believe that we only have to wait one more month until we get to leave. I know that this next month is going to fly by. There is a lot on our calendar over the next four weeks.

We not only have our regular weekly scheduled appointments, like my Weight Watchers meeting, Bible study, Kid's Choir practice, and work.

However, on top of all that we have some big events ahead of us. Such as...
- Thanksgiving
- Sunday school Christmas Party
- LeTourneau Graduation
- Kid's Choir Concert
- Packing

Wow what a fun month this is going to be! I am so thankful that God lets us take one thing at a time, because as I look at all of this I begin to get overwhelmed.

We will continue to keep you updated throughout all of this.

Monday, November 15, 2010

China Update: Learning the Language



As Jon and I have been preparing for our trip to China we have been trying to learn the language. Whenever you travel to another country it is important to look at what language they speak in that country, because not everyone speaks English. The official language of the People's Republic of China is Standard Mandarin also known as Mandarin Chinese. The number of first language speakers of Mandarin is about 885 million. Total speakers is about 1,365,053,177.

To read more about Mandarin Chinese, please check it out at Wikipedia.

I want you to understand a few things. When I say, "learn" here is what I mean. Jon took four years of college level Mandarin when he lived in Chendgu, China. He can speak, read, and write Mandarin. It is a little rusty, because he has not lived in China for several years. However, when he is with his family he can quickly slide back into Mandarin and have a conversation with someone. So for Jon learn is not the right word, it is more like practice for him.

The opposite is true so me. I know English and that's about it. When I say that I need to learn Mandarin I mean it. I do not speak it or understand it very well. I try to learn what I can from Jon. I am grateful to have such a patient teacher. I am able to sing "Happy Birthday" and say I love you in Mandarin!

It gets really confusing when Jon teaches me the word for chopstick and Eva teaches me a different word for chopstick. The reason for this is that Jon speaks Chinese Mandarin, whereas Eva's Mandarin is more Sichuanese. Sichuanese Mandarin is s a branch of Southwestern Mandarin, spoken mainly in Sichuan.

Mandarin is an extremely challenging language to learn, because it is a tonal language. I have the utmost respect for my husband and his family, because they have been able to learn this language. It is a beautiful language to listen to. I do not always understand what they are saying, but I love to hear them talk in Mandarin.

If you are interested in learning Chinese there are some great books out there. Jon really likes the language books that Lonely Planet publishes.

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