Naked Series: Beautifully Broken

I used to pride myself in my brokenness. 
I used to find comfort in the broken.
I often craved it.
I often searched it out. 
I twisted beauty. 
I saw brokenness as beautiful.

But I was fooled.
Brokenness isn't beautiful for brokenness' sake.

Brokenness isn't beautiful.
A humble and contrite heart are.
A humbled heart, in the midst of brokenness, is beautiful, 
Because it undoubtedly means the verge of change. 
That point of the cocoon,
before the butterfly.

That humble point of desperation,
of gasps,
of a running out of oneself, 
of sitting on the bathroom floor,
in tears, 
holding shattered pieces, 
that point, 
where broken pieces lead you to Jesus.
To shouting.
To calling. 
To yearning for more. 
There you are on the verge of change. 

I used to be obsessed with that point. 
That point of being broken on a bathroom floor. 
I thought I'd find more of God there. 

And I did.
But in my obsession with brokenness and hours of sobbing in the shower,
I missed this fundamental truth;

He desires me to be whole.
Fully, abundantly living and whole. 
Tears wiped away. 
It's in that desire that He constantly, 
over and over again,
in this life, 
and by Jesus' death,
by His great love,
takes ashes,
and turns them to beauty. 

He takes ashes and turns them to beauty. 

He picks up all those broken pieces of chaos,
writes a story, 
and turns them into something spectacularly beautiful.

A life redeemed. 


Ra-ri-cious Raclette

That Raricious is supposed to be Scooby Doo's delicious. 
Can you hear it?
A gazillion nights ago now,
our dear German friend, Sascha, 
had us over for some good ole' Swiss Food.
Sascha and one of his sons, Kala. 
Little did I know when he invited us over, that our Texan mouths would be in heaven. 
Sascha fed us to our mouths delight and stomachs full
of delicious melted cheese, meat and veggies. 
This wonder below is a Raclette
and happens to be the next thing on our wish list. 
We will definately be getting one of these,
as it's delicious, versatile,
and the ultimate party tool.
So how does this deliciousness of a meal work?
First, you fill the "spoon" closest to your place at the table with the meats and veggies you like.
Next, you top it with heaps of cheese! 
Then, you stick the spoon into it's slot in the raclette, and let all that goodness melt and cook.
While you are waiting for your cheese to melt, 
the top of the reclette is a great place to grill veggies and skewers of meat. 
Once everything is done cooking you serve it on top of hot potatoes!
Talk about delicious!

Our favorite part about this dinner, besides the mounds of cheese,
was that it takes time.
It's the perfect meal for guests over,
or even after a long day. 
It's great for winding down. 
You can easily enjoy a few glasses of wine and tons of conversations,
all the while making cheesy-goodness. 

We were so cozy after dinner we didn't want to leave the table. 
What else to do at an awesome dinner party, than play cards?! 
We had a great night! Thanks Sascha for introducing us to this awesome meal.
Can you imagine the possibilities with this Raclette?
I'm thinking even having a dessert party with it!
You could put nuts, cocount, candies, fruit, etc. in bowels and have people top it with chocolate! 
To keep with the dessert theme, while the chocolate is down below cooking, 
you could be grilling sliced apples, pears and pineapple. 
Heck, even banananas!

And in case you think the Raclette only encourages unhealthy eating,
Sascha told us it can also cook eggs. 
You could make small omelettes, 
or even do a breakfast taco theme,
and warm the tortillas on top!

Want to buy one of these bad boys?!
Me too!
Here's a few links. 
For $59, this one has a huge grill top!
If you're in China,
check here on Tao Bao! 
It's only 280 yuan!


Didn't you just love the 90's?

You know,
back when we were kids, 
back when I was a kid.

Things were easy. 
Stress free. 
The toys were awesome 
and the cartoons were good. 
It was the life. 
Rainbow striped gum!
Seriously. So true.
1. DZ Zone slide! And just DZ Zone in general!
2. A new pack of Pokemon cards.. though I wasn't into that. my brothers certainly were!
3. Book Fair handouts! That was my favorite! I'd circle all the things I wanted. 
 4. Bugle Claws. Heck, I still do that!
5. Street sharks!
6. Gum ball character popsicles from the Ice cream Man! My brothers loved these!
1. My brothers totally had that. 
2. Sticky hands. I mean, those are still awesome. 
3. I had one of those! I can't remember what they are called, do you?
4. The Goof Troop! Loved that movie.
5. Hahahaha. 
6. I LOVED AIM. I'm pretty sure I spent one too many weekends
 until the am's chatting on AIM and let's not forget the chat rooms. 
 1. Zap! 
2. Man those chokers were hot, weren't they. 
3. I so wrote S's that way! And thought I was super cool.
4. Kid Pix! Looooved that!
5. What were these called? I can't remember if I had one or not.
6. Haha. man. Those were awesome. I had a couch. You?
1. See through phones. 
2. Shark bites. Yum. I loved the white ones!
3. On Buzz Feed they mentioned having any Kids Cuisine with the brownie. 
It's true. The brownie was the best.
4. Ring Pops. Do they ever go out of style?
5. Gushers. 
6. Squeezeit's! Are those still around?! They were so convenient.
1. Pop Rocks.
2.Whoops. There's gushers again. :) My bad. 
3. Kix with Berries! Does that exist anymore?
4. Bubble Tape. I remember my brother's would stick the entire thing in their mouths.
5. Cheese spread... what were these called?
6. Yummo. Dunkaroos!
I never have really looked back and appreciated the 90's.
I was always ready to grow up,
to leave behind things of the youth.

But looking back over all the goodness of the 90's.
I miss it. 

I mean how could you not with all the awesome loot?
Slip N' Slides.
Field Day. 
Boy bands.
Lisa Frank.
Matching Lunch kits. 
The list goes on and on. 

What do you miss from the 90's?
All pictures from Buzz Feed. 


Destroying Maseratis

This may be old news to you, as it happened over a month ago now, 
but I'll share anyways. :)

In May, a very wealthy Qingdaoren {Qingdao person}, Wang, chose to 
express his dissatisfaction & anger with Maserati 
by having his $423, 000 Maserati Quattroporte destroyed in front of
a Qingdao Auto Show, 
a mere 3 km from our house. 
He's been quoted everywhere as saying, " 'I hope foreign luxury car producers acknowledge clearly that Chinese consumers are entitled to get the service that is commensurate with the brand," Wang told the Qingdao Morning Post, according to Agence France-Presse. "
The victim. 
This is not the actual car but same make and I thought you needed a visual. 
To add to your visual,
it looked terrible after.
I know this, 
because we saw it. 

That's right. We saw it.
To add to the scene, they had the car fenced off, 
on display, along with some other random person's destroyed Lamborghini.
So, we can check it out anytime.

I guess Lamborghini-guy should have come up with the idea first, 
as he didn't get any press for it.
That would be the worst, right? 
All that attention you thought you'd get for smashing up your gajillion dollar Lamborghini,
only to get upstaged by Maserati guy. 
I bet he wishes he would have just kept it or sold it or done anything with it but destroy it. 

Keep in mind, as you watch this video, that these guys were PAID by Wang to destroy his car.

Honestly, I think 
I could have done better than that.
There are  places in the States, 
where people pay to do this to cars, right?
Because it would just be fun and a stress reducer, like punching a punching bag.

But these guys seem zero-enthused to be doing what they are doing. 
Did you see the guy in the blue? 
Where's the aggression?
The fury?
Or even the excitement?
You're smashing in a half million dollar car 
and getting PAID for it!
Give it some uumph.

Also, what are they using? 
Rubber mallets? 
I've seen numerous reports say they were using sledge hammers. 
That's all a sledge hammer can do?

All I really know is this guy, Wang, he was mad. 
And that he has way too much money. 

As I'm sure my blog is on Wang's reading list,
I'd like to address him specifically now.

Dear Wang,
I know you are very angry at Masarati.
My deepest sympathes to you're plight. I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience and stress the dealership has brought you, however, I'd like to humbly suggest

100 Things You Could Do with your Maserati Instead of Destroying It 

1.The most obvious would be to drive it.
But if you're not into that,

I do know the BEST ways to really "stick it" to Maserati,

2. Pay off my student loans.
3. Pay for me and the hubs to go on an around the world vacation 10 times. 
4. Help us adopt a child. Or anyone really.
5. Save/help/feed/educate entire villages, thus reducing the need for adoption in the first place.
6. Pay off my entire families debt. 
7. Sponsor 1000 children a month for 1 year. 
8. Pay for our whole family, extended family and close friends to visit us in China.
9. Buy us a house. :) Nothing fancy.
10. Buy 141, 000 drinks from Starbucks for me. Basically buy me a life time supply. 
{But really, save the world first, then buy me a life time supply of SB.}

I'll be sure to send you my next 10 ideas next week.
Also, Mr. Wang, 
I'd like to submit my name for consideration for the next time you decide to destroy an expensive car and pay someone to do it. 
I've been working out...sooo. I'm legit. 
I won't disappoint you. 
Also, my husband does pull ups & push ups in the morning.
Sooo him, too.

Thank you for your time.


A Little of Life Lately

This is how hot it is lately. 
The other day, during my class party, 
a girl brought truffles, 
and being the sweet wife I am ;) and knowing Zachary LOVEs chocolate, 
I wanted to save him one.
While waiting for him to come to my class, 
his truffle melted in my hand! 

With it being so hot I am so grateful we have all this delicious and refreshing fruit to enjoy this summer!
Any of these small bites, refrigerated, 
are the perfect summer treat. 
 1. In China, you can sleep anywhere. Anywhere. No joke.
2. Check this out?! This is some Chinese medicine trick. Basically you pinch your self or get pinched in a certain spot repeatedly until red marks appear. Our student and his mom both had similiar marks on the front of their necks and told us it was because they were sick.
This picture is of another student with three stars down his back. Crazy, right?!
3. I've been so sick the past week. It seems like I'm always sick lately. I'm just ready for rest, I think!
4. Justin, our student and China baby, chowing down on chicken feet.
 1. A stuffed sea turtle, you know the endangered one, at a grocery store pharmacy. 
2. Fresh sweet potato chips! Delicious. We buy them from the store for $1.50 a bag.
3. A good Chinese host always makes sure the table is completely full when their guests are finish eating. The parents of one of my classes through the teachers a big dinner at a local banquet hall.
4. Included in the dinner was 5 hours of speeches in Chinese and this soup. Something I will NEVER try, though it's quite famous. It's full of red peppers, duck blood, spam, pig large and small intestines. 
1. So thankful for friends that encourage me towards the Lord. 
2. Z and I tried this awesome cafe the other day, Cafe Bachata. We had mango daquiri's in their court yard that had dim lighting, greenery, stones and a small waterfall. It was so relaxing.
3. Z and I at Cafe Bachata. Terrible IPhone pic!
4. It's quite foggy these days! You can't even see past floor 16 on our building. 
What's new in your life lately? 
Love you reader. 
I read the The Brayn of Chalayn blog, and she always says, "reader," and I just really like it. 
I think it's quirky and cute. 
So expect to be called reader a little more often around these parts. :) 


Class Parties

The past few weeks my classes have been celebrating a job well done with class parties. 
Each class has a gum ball machine picture on the chalk board, with 70 white gum balls on it. 
 If all the students are good, at the end of class every day I color in 3 gum balls.
The students LOVE this system!
After class, 2-3 students come running to the front of the classroom each day, marker in hand, eager for me to color in their 3 gum balls for the day. 
It's great because
if they start getting out of hand or too noisy all I have to do is reach towards their gum ball machine,
acting like I'm going to erase a gum ball, 
and they quickly get quiet. 
For the party, each student brings snacks for their table and we put on a fun movie on the projector. 
Some classes go crazy and bring bags full of food. 
**these are all IPhone pics, sorry not the best!**
Last week was Dragon Boat Festival. 
So one girl brought zong zi,
a triangle rice cake, wrapped in banana leaves, and filled with meat, fruit or jelly.
It is tradition to eat and give zong zi during the Dragon Boat Festival.
The story behind zong zi is very interesting. 
Maybe I'll tell you about it next year. :) #lazymuch
Check out the variety. 
Not only do the kids bring tons of candy and the "normal" stuff Western kids would bring but they also bring things that are very common to Asia.
Like packaged chicken feet (the third picture), squid and sea weed.
Check out the boy who somehow suckered his mom into going to KFC for his snacks in the second picture! 
I love the fourth picture. 
Sea weed and a ping pong paddle. So cliche. :) 
 Poor guy.
Jason forgot to bring his snacks, so other students 
lovingly gave him some and pieces of chips. 
Kids every where love fun suckers!
Very grinchy. 
He's eating an unfrozen coca cola popsicle type thing. 
The liquid is inside a pouch, you freeze it, and bite it out. 
They're quite tasty. 

Hope you're having a great and Sunny Tuesday! 
It's rainy and muggy here!


Please Get Out of Our Bed

Aren't spider bites just the worst?? 

 This morning I woke up with not one but two in my arm.
Not in my arm, on.
Now that would be something really bad, right?

Now this IS the worst, waking up with spider bites, that is. 
Because that means some eight leg monster was crawling through your bed with out your consent. AND not only has he been crawling through your bed but he crawled on you!
This picture has nothing to do with this post. 
But I figured I'd get zero clicks if I posted tons of spider pictures on here. 
I know. I'm a marketing genius.

Spider bites leave so many questions.
What kind of spider was it?!
A big one? A small one?
A poisonous one?
Was it a brown recluse and in a week or two I'll have a gaping hole in my arm?? 

It's bad when you have two bites. 
Because that means that bugger took one bite, like what he tasted, so he had another.

If he liked it, does that mean he's hiding out somewhere waiting for his stomach to digest what he got, neigh, stole, and eager for his next opportunity to chomp? 
Which brings you to your next spider bite question.

Do they eat what they bite??
Do they have a taste for human flesh?
If not, why the heck bite me, dude? I was just sleeping. Non threatening. Just chilling out.

OR, did he bite me because I was a giant, sleeping threat,
and he wanted to weaken my offenses while he could?

With spider bites you almost never see the perpetrator.
 If any of you have actually seen a spider bite you I will give you an over the top gasp of shock. 

And let's not even talk about if the spiders a she.
 I've been comfortably leaving it as a he through this post but, okay, let's go there. 
She spiders lay like a gazillions eggs, right? I mean hello?! Where's her lair?! If its anywhere near our bed, I'm moving. And right when those babies hatch, what do you think they'll want?
 That's right, food. Or flesh! 

Also, the thing about spider bites is that the more you think about them the more you start itching everywhere, convinced that spiders are crawling on you about to bite. 
Like right now, I have an imaginary spider on my stomach, behind my ear and somewhere in my hair. 

Ah! Spiders in your hair. That might actually be the worst. It's like a jungle in there! If you have alot of hair, like me, you've probably had multiple episodes where someone noticed a spider or bug crawling on the outside of your hair.
Not because you have bad hygiene or something, on the contrary you could have just done your hair beautifully for an hour, when the said spider/bug was seen in your hair.
Again, not because of bad hygiene 
but because your hair is like a giant net.
Exhibit A. Possible spider jungle.
Also, where the heck am I looking in this pic? It weirds me out. 
So, someone points out they see a spider or bug in your hair, usually the back where you can't see and are helpless, and so, you start shrieking telling them to get it out.
Or it's in the front and you do the lean thing to keep it as far away from your face as possible
and to be able to keep your eye on it.
So your gracious friend attempts to get it out.
There are two friends in this category, the ones that swats, or the saints,
 the ones that meticulously grab it out.
Either one, they're life savers. 
It's a really good day when it falls out, on to the ground and you get to look it in the eyes and smash it. 
But it's the worst when you hear that phrase,
"I think it's out."
What do you mean, 'you think?!!!??!?'
Could it not have burrowed itself in to the shelter of your hair and is now not on the outside, but has really entered the jungle that is your hair, ready to be lost all up in there, for ever. 
That's enough to make me shave my head. 

Well anyways the hubs just walked in with Starbucks so I gotta go 
Here's cheers to no spider bites for you tonight. 
Happy sleeping! 

**As a side note, I asked Zachary who he thought the most attractive male actor is and he said, "Richard Geere" or "Vin Diesel." So, the first picture was approved by him.**


Wholly Yours

I was spending time with Jesus today 
Asking so many questions.

What are we doing here?
What does our future look like?
When should we have kids?
Should Zachary start seminary this year?
 How many hours should he take? 
Should we have a vacation?
When should we start the adoption process? 
Now? Next year? Later? 
And then, this song came on, my favorite Pandora Station, the Shawn McDonald station.
And all my questions, 
were answered. 
In Jesus.
In His name. 
And there was peace. 
I was drawn to praise Him!
Nothing else matters but Him.
He is everything.
He is our life. 
He is our God. 
And He is so holy. 
And I trust Him with all of these questions. 
And I find myself, once again, 
surrendering everything.
Every question.
Every fear. 
Giving all.
Laying all down.
Saying, "I am wholly yours, God."
Our life.
Our family.
Our future. 
Our resources.
 Our gifts. 
They're Yours'.
Wholly Yours.

How easy it is to forget this. How easy it is to fear for me. 
How easy it is for me to start scrambling and trying to make my own plans, 
and then He so graciously gives me days like this,
that draw me home. 
That lead me back to the foot of the cross.
Where everything aligns.
Where everything falls into place. 
Where I am whole.
Where peace invades all those questions 
and consumes my being. 

Now, hours later, I'm left thankful and hungry for more of Him.


Instant Reactions

What are your Instant Reactions 
(IR's-I'm coining this abbreviation. Abbreviation coined. Feel free to use it.) 
to some of the pins on your P interest wall? 

Here are some of mine. 
1. via Dwight and Angela's animal, hybrid offspring and How can I get this framed to hang somewhere on our wall? <instant pick-me-up! 
2. via I wish we had a lawn and then I'd have Zachary mow it like that. Shirtless. 
3. via Yes, please. When's the next excuse to throw a party?
4. via  My birthday morning dream. Yummo. Boo. Gluten!
5. via I never quite understood nail art. 
6. via  What is the obsession with wasi tape? How do you even spell wasi tape? 
7. via California!!!!!!!! California!!!!!!!! Here we come!!!!
8.via Tara's sparkle from the Bachelor. Don't loose your sparkle. 

Collage up your Pinterest wall 
and share your IR's! 
I'd love to see them! 
Leave me the link!
Next up, I'm gonna IR all those hot ladies on my side bar's blog posts. 
I mean their blog posts not my side bar's blog posts. 

Happy Tuesday! 

Oh! P.S. Zachary's Responses
& our barista friend's 
1. Angela's dream cat.
2. Allergies.
4. Too much sugar!
5. Not applicable.
6. "What is that?" Me: "Wasi tape." "I don't know what to say."
7. I always wanted a car like that.
8. Tinker bell.

And Daniel, our Chinese barista friend's, IR's.
1. funny
2. Tired
3. Drunk. Or maybe, Romantic.
4. Delicious and fat.
5. ugly. Crazy.
6. Amazing. Me:"Why amazing?" Him: "Because, I don't know what it is. So, I say amazing."
7. Beach. Swimming.
8. "What's mean?" as in, "What does that mean?" in Chinglish. :) 


Red Dresses & Congratulations Punch

Last Friday, I was invited to a Chinese wedding dinner of the art teacher at our school.
Never having gone to a Chinese wedding related anything I for sure had to go! 
As is custom, the bride wore red! Red is one of the most popular colors here in China! I can see why! Against her ivory skin and black hair, she looks awesome! 
In Chinese culture, there are tons of wedding festivities. 
These two had already had two weddings, one in his home town and one in hers, as well as other wedding dinners. 
This dinner was a "thanks" dinner especially for their current and previous coworkers. 
They had 6 rooms, one for each job they've had. 3 rooms full of his previous & current colleagues and 3 for hers. 
Teachers at our school.
In our office only 2 of us decided to go because as is also custom, you must bring a red envelope. 
And in China a red envelope equals money. 
The standard for a single person is about 200 yuan. 
But of course the better job you have, the closer you are to the couple, etc. 
the expected amount goes up.
Red envelopes are given for most major holidays and events. 
Ka Ching!
There was a box at the entrance, where the bride and groom stood, greeting guests. 
The red envelope I slipped into the box felt like our "ticket" to get in.
Dinner was great, of course. 
We had tons of Chinese dishes to pick from on the lazy susan in the middle of the table. 
Supposedly a famous Qingdao dish. A gelled something. 
Beef and hot peppers.
More goodness.
The bride and groom stayed on their feet the whole night, going from room to room, given toasts and being toast. {ya? being toast? Being toasted?? }
They probably were "toasted" from all the drinks they had to drink in the process! 
Every time they entered we all had to stand to receive and give toasts. 
The girls made a "Congratulations Punch" for the groom made of beer, wasabi, oil, and any kind of juices they could get off the plates of food. 
Deciding wether or not he should drink it with a spoon.
Being a true man he gang be'd {bottoms up!} the whole thing. 
The group of us from Grand School!
Catherine came as my date, instead of Zachary, who was a bum and didn't want to go.
Can you spot her?? 

We had a good time at our first Chinese Wedding dinner! 

Oh, I forgot! 
When we got there in Chinese everyone has to say,
"Have a baby quickly!" 
Like as a blessing or a well wish. 
This is the customary thing to say to a married couple in China.

Can you imagine?!
If people said that to me on our wedding day I would have freaked! 

I love finding all of these fun cultural differences!

Have an awesome weekend! 
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