Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter Celebration

What a wonderful Easter we had here....


Three of our kiddos headed to the sunrise service at the beach.  We then met for breakfast at our church.  


We were then all able to attend the early service together.  


After a yummy lunch, we headed home for our traditional egg hunt.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Bright Lights

Oh, what a wonderful night it was....Kiara's Bright Light group had an evening out to paint ceramics.

It was Sara's first time.  Rebecca joined us.  All three girls were excited to get together with the other girls.

Each girl chose a piece to paint.  We spent the evening chatting, getting to know one another and creating.  It was such a nice evening.

The girls in the group did something special for Sara.  Each one wrote a note of welcome to her.  I think I saw a tear in her eye.  It was a special time.

Miss Dawn and her girls made a treat to share too.  We shared them on the steps of the ceramic shop before heading out for the night.



We can't wait for the next meeting to see the girls again and pick up our treasures from our evening out.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Glimpses

A few glimpses of Jason at the International Alert Academy.....


These are from R-night...when Rules and Regulations are given.






Friday, March 24, 2017

Home....and a New Challenge

Yes,  after a day that starts at 4 am in China and included 16 hours on a plane, a lay over and lots of long lines we arrived home about 4:30 in the USA to our excited family!  We then ventured to dinner on the way home before we all moved onto the next adventure but...

We are HOME!

What a sweet word!

With just a few hours under our belt...we woke again at 3:30 to get this guy on his way.  He flew out this morning to arrive in Texas.  He is headed for an adventure of his own...

He is spending the next 9 weeks at the International Alert Academy.  He will be challenged on many levels.  He is excited and we all believe he is ready.

But....boy, oh, boy...we sure will miss him!

Prayers for our boy...taking on a new challenge!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Turning Our Hearts Towards Home

Yesterday....we slept in way further than I dreamed possible.  We woke up to the maid banging on our door and ringing the doorbell at 9:30.  She left, we showered and didn't get moving out the door until 10:45.  We skipped the breakfast thing and went for lunch.

We met with our group at 2 for a day of sight seeing.

We went to the 6 Banyon tree Temple.  It was at a Buddhist temple that was 1400 years.  The history part was pretty amazing.  This temple now leans so much no one is allowed to climb it.  We learned about how the people are always looking for a new Buddha.  They make statues of the men they think are the newest Buddha and worship that person.  

We saw pictures of deceased relatives which each family member pays about 8000 yen a year for them to be prayed for through the year.  The walls were lined with photos.  

One family saw someone rolling rocks looking for answers to their life problems.

This religion encompasses about 80% of the Chinese population.

We then traveled to a museum for those with the last name of Chang.  After asking many questions and hearing the guide, we understand that anyone with that last name comes here every so many years to participate in worshiping their ancestors.  This is another common practice here.

But inside the building were amazing displays of the craftsmanship of people on China...we saw ivory carving, porcelain, and wood carving.  

We also saw furniture that was about 100 years old that was set up in rooms as it would appear in a house at that time.  It actually looked very similar to the room we saw in Beijing when we met the Cricket Man.

We met a young woman whose family have been artists for generations.  They paint the inside of beads, glass jars, and any novelty along those lines.  She spoke very good English and shared her family history.  I loved learning about her family!

We then headed to a local park. It was on a lake.  There were lots of people playing games, socializing and there were three bands playing music.  It was quite festive.  

We enjoyed listening to the music and watching several groups of people playing this game.  They had a weighted flat piece with a feather on it.  They kicked it off their shoes, bounced it off their heads and enjoyed every minute of it.  The only rule we saw was...no hands.  It was amazing to watch them play.


Today is our last full day here.  We pick up our Visas around 11:45 today.  We will get things packed up.  We have to be checked out and ready to fly by 5:30 am tomorrow morning.

In the last few days...everyone has been turning their hearts towards home.  Sara and Jacob have been asking to go home for awhile.  Jacob has been asking since we got him.  They are so ready for family.

Our prayers have been for God to knit our hearts together.  We have seen that happening in small steps...these two newest Lowman's are pretty amazing.  We can't wait for all of us to be together again!

Praising the Lord for what He has done!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Weekend

Catching up from the weekend ...

On Friday morning we had medical appointments.  The kids saw doctors, received a few shots and were given a clean bill of health to enter the US.


We had some down time over the weekend...it was much needed.

We also had a lot of rain over the weekend...after all it is spring.  I have loved seeing all the flowers in bloom, the new growth on the plants in the parks and some species I have no clue as to what they are....it has made for some challenging situations.

On Saturday morning, we tried the pool out during a short break of no rain.  The water was 68 and the air was around 70.  It sounds warm but it wasn't.  We went in but didn't last long.  Sara has 'southern blood' and froze the whole time.  Jacob had a blast and was way more confident in the water than I expected.

We went on a river cruise on Saturday evening.  Despite the rain, the lights along the river were still spectacular.  The employees handed out rain ponchos that lasted for most of the trip.  It let us go on the 3rd floor to take beautiful pictures in the rain.  



When we returned to our room...we used the hair dryer to dry our shoes out, hung up our sopping wet jackets and headed to bed.

Sunday was a shopping day.  We were taken to the island.  About 200 years ago, Europeans settled the island and it looks a bit like Savannah to me.  Beautiful buildings, shops and rod iron.  What makes it uniquely beautiful and lots of fun are statues of people and children randomly all over the area.  


We left the island for a bit to visit a market.  Our guide took us because he said you will only find things like this in China.  Most things were dried for sale...flowers for tea, giant mushrooms, sea horses, fish stomach or gills or whatever part you wanted in tall bags for sale in bulk.  Some were a bit on the crazy side.  The locals make teas or soups out of these because they believe they are healing.


Some things like these scorpions were still very much alive!
Yesterday, we were up early and headed to the US Consulate for our paperwork review, interviews for us and our children... all in order to obtain our visa.  It was a lot of waiting around but we passed this part and are now waiting on our visas.  This is the last big hurdle in this long process.  They should arrive on Wednesday.  We leave bright and early Thursday morning for the long flights home.

In the afternoon, we headed to the Safari Park.  It is the largest in all of China.  We saw pandas, huge snakes, koalas, bears, diving tigers and were able to feed the giraffes.  I saw animals I had never seen close up before.  

My personal favorite were the pandas.  China has the only triplets born in captivity and proudly shows them in the Safari.  We were able to watch them for a bit and take photos.


I also loved watching the kids feed the giraffes.  It was something you don't get to do everyday!



We had a long day.  The kids even fells asleep on the bus...a first!  We all stumbled into the hotel and ventured out after a bit to find some dinner.  We ended up at a Burger King I just found around the corner.  We all agreed we were too tired to sit through a longer meal.  We all are heading to bed soon after this day.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Princess Diaries

What happens when mom is in China, dad is home moving mattresses up and down stairs, and dad has watch Princess Diaries one too many times?
Mattress slide (verses surfing).





Well, no emergency room visits, lots of laughter and fun.