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fff winter buttonIt’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

We had the joy of traveling to China to visit our son and his family for Christmas. This is my first FFF in a month so my blessings this week are compiled from the past few weeks. I’m writing specifically about our Shanghai experiences on my blog, PurpleGrandma.com, so check them out if you are interested in my Impressions of Shanghai series.

Good trip Because of my health issues, traveling can sometimes cause problems. Our trip to China produced only minor issues, both concerning mobility and food sensitivities. I was treated like royalty by family and the wonderful people we met along the way.

Family For me the highlight of our trip was spending time with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. It was a joy to meet the newest member of the family and spend some granny time with him.

New friends Meeting and spending time with the team of teachers my son works with was fabulous. What a wonderful group of dedicated teachers these folks all are!

Cultural experiences Visiting and spending time in a new culture was so interesting! I enjoyed observing and taking pictures of life in Shanghai. Next time I won’t be so skittish about the possibility of being pickpocketed and will carry my camera with me everywhere.

No place like home This week we had some bitterly cold temperatures. A well-insulated warm house is a great blessing on these winter days.

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Newest member of the family

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At Shanghai Disney

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Fruit on a stick

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East meets west – Chinese and English signs

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The Bund

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Family, teachers, and students at Christmas

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A perfectly normal family Christmas picture

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Impressions of Shanghai: It’s not fun to parbreak at Disney

This is the second in a series of posts on my observations of Shanghai from our recent trip to China.

If you were to ask my children two of the things I dislike most they would probably shout in unison, “Noise and crowds!”

You might want to add to that list amusement parks. Most people go to amusement parks (noisy, crowded amusement parks I might add) for the rides. All my life I have had a serious problem with motion sickness so even the thought of riding zippy rides is not appealing to me on any level. And in my mind all amusement park rides ARE zippy rides.

My experiences as a child include (and I will be delicate here and use a wonderful Balderdash word) parbreaking after riding almost any ride. Cedar Point had a log ride that basically soaked you as you splashed down the incline in a dugout, and for some reason I never got sick on that. But beside that one happy memory (Oh yay! A ride that doesn’t make me sick!!) Cedar Point, King’s Mountain, the Lake County Fair, and Conneaut Lake Park all produced unpleasant childhood memories, at least where rides were concerned.

Add to that my tendency to get pounding headaches when walking around in the hot sun and you can perhaps understand why the thought of visiting any amusement park is not on my list of, oh say, the top million things I would like to do.

So when my daughter-in-law excitedly told me there was a now a Shanghai Disney (yawn) and that the family had a season’s pass (that’s nice) and wouldn’t it be so much fun to take the kids to Disney for a memorable day with their grandparents (arrkk…red alert!!) my primary thought was, “Fun! It’s not fun to parbreak at Disney!”

But my husband, who typically has no interest in amusement parks, thought it would be a nice family outing. So I swallowed my objections, loaded my purse with ginger chews, and off we went.

We visited the park on a Thursday in December. The sky was overcast, so no sun, the temperature was chilly, so no heat, and visiting on a week day in the winter meant that while it was busy, it was not crowded or exceptionally noisy.

But the ghost of amusement park rides past still haunted me.

It was with some trepidation I stepped onto the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. “Hey! It’s in water, so maybe it won’t be so bad!” We fought pirates! We survived the Kracken! We found treasure! And best of all, not even a whisper of nausea.

Next we tackled the Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, an interactive ride where we “rangers” use our pulse blasters to shoot at targets to fight the evil Emperor Zurg and save the space aliens’ home. My competitive streak surfaced and I found myself keeping a sharp eye out for the targets and blasting them with great gusto. All too soon the ride was over and I had a respectable score to show for my target shooting. And again, no nausea.

I suddenly realized I was having fun and enjoying myself immensely!

Next we visited the interactive displays at Tron Realm in Tomorrowland where my grandson was absolutely captivated by the driving simulator. The futuristic vehicles and technology were truly amazing. I was even tempted for an instant to line up for the Tron roller coaster ride. It really looked spectacular! But when I saw it plummet down the track and do a 180 roll, I quickly dismissed that thought.

Before the day was over we toured the Enchanted Storybook Castle, threaded our way through the Alice in Wonderland Maze, enjoyed a colorful parade, and watched our son and grandson line up for 45 minutes to enjoy the Jet Pack ride which lasted 80 seconds. The look of utter joy on our grandson’s face while on that ride made the long wait seem insignificant.

Shanghai Disney has done a wonderful job of bringing together east and west to provide an enjoyable family experience. The park is clean, the costumed personnel are friendly and helpful, and the park is much, much more than simply zippy rides.

On our way out we stopped briefly at Starbucks and at the wonderfully imaginative Lego store. It was time to leave and we barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. Would I go back to Shanghai Disney? Absolutely! (But maybe not on a crowded, noisy, hot summer day.)

And best of all? No parbreaking at Disney!

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai Disney

Interactive delight

Interactive delight

This WOULD make me parbreak!

This WOULD make me parbreak!

Defeating the evil Emperor Zurg

Defeating the evil Emperor Zurg

A day at Disney Shanghai

A day at Shanghai Disney

Parade

Parade

The utter joy

Utter joy

Lego meets Disney

Lego Snow White

Goodbye, Shanghai Disney

Goodbye, Shanghai Disney

A note about accessibility: Because of my mobility limitations we rented a wheelchair and my family took turns pushing me around the park. Disney Shanghai is very handicap friendly. The park’s Guidemap clearly indicates which areas are wheelchair accessible.

Details on Shanghai Disney taken from https://www.shanghaidisneyresort.com/en/

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FFF fall leaves 2

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I have missed a few weeks now due to some very full Fridays in August. But some exceptional blessings occurred since I last posted so I will include them today.

1. A beautiful new grandson. Our newest grandson, James Perseverance, was born in Shanghai last month. The family is prospering and ready to begin a new semester soon.

The Grandchildren2. A beautiful new car The same day God gave us a new grandson, He also gave us a new car. We have been praying a long time for God to provide this need. Not only is the car new to us, it is brand new, a gift from God through one of His servants. This car is easy for me to get in and out of, a huge answer to prayer with my mobility issues. It is also smarter than we are. Much smarter! For the foreseeable future, date night is spending time together pouring over the car manual trying to learn a thing or two!

3.A beautiful reunion We enjoyed a visit with one of the first deacons from our original church plant in Calgary. God directed his family to New Brunswick long ago but he was here last month to bring his daughter to Foundation Baptist College for the one-year Bible program. It was wonderful to catch up and enjoy sweet fellowship again.

 

20160820_2025314. A beautiful garden Shorter days and significantly cooler weather are harbingers of seasonal change. Folks here seem to think winter will come early. We’ll see. Until that first frost, I am enjoying my garden. The peppermint and spearmint did particularly well this year and have taken over about half of my herb planter. We did successfully grow yellow crook necked squash, and have the promise of more with dozens of blossoms still on the plant….should the weather remain warm. Well, I need to keep an eye on the weather to make sure I bring in all those fragrant herbs at the just the right time to dry and use over the winter.

IMG_23845. A beautiful new place to meet Sunday mornings at our church have been cramped lately. Not only is it tight in the auditorium, we are squeezed out of nursery and Sunday School space as well. We’ve added eight new babies this year and three more due in the early months of next year. A nice problem to have, isn’t it? One of our members is a realtor with many connections in the city. While searching for places for us to rent he was made aware of the Portuguese Cultural Center. After several conversations with the group, this large building was offered to our church for Sunday mornings at a very reasonable rent. Our first service will be held there this Sunday.

Here are some more pictures from this summer

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prairie grasses

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hello, buffalo!

Sunflower and bees

Sunflower and honey

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purple and blue

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canola dream

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peaceful place

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beautiful solitude

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FFF tulips

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Borrowing grandkids – My own grandchildren live in China for most of the year so I always enjoy “borrowing” grandkids from church people and my daughters’ friends. This week I had a visit from Hadrian, Aurelia, and Ophelia and their mom. I got to chat with the older two who shared some fun things going on in their pre-school lives. On Monday Henry, Charlotte and their parents joined us at the fire pit after supper, and yesterday I visited my daughter who is babysitting for Sydney, Brice, Heidi and Blake. My daughter introduced me as her mother, and I was amused as the two older pre-schoolers whispered to each other that I did NOT look like a mother, but a grandmother!

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2. Planting seeds – I’m itching to get my garden planted, but last night’s frost reminded me that it’s still too early. I have some seeds ready to plant and am planning which veggies to put in this year.

3. Getting around – No ice, no snow, and warmer weather mean it’s easier to get around and be active. I’m so very grateful for that!

4. New grandson on the way – Speaking of grandchildren….Our family in China will be adding a new little boy to the family in August. They might possibly be here for the birth, but right now we are praying that things can be worked out for that to happen.

5. GF chicken nuggets – I’ve tried a couple of the President’s Choice brand gluten free foods, including some chicken nuggets made with whole chunks of white meat, and have been happy with them. It’s nice to have something safe and tasty to fall back on when my schedule does not permit cooking.

Here are some pictures I took this week near home. I will be glad when things start blooming here! Hope your week held many blessings.

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FFF daisies

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I stepped away from writing for several months for personal reasons. Today I want to resume the FFF and share some blessings from the past few weeks.

1. One of our daughters was married on February 27. It was a beautiful wedding with a peacock colours theme. We love our new son-in-law and are enjoying getting to better know his wonderful family. (Thanks, Nicole VandeKamp for this picture of the entire wedding party!)

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2. Our son, who lives and teaches in China, was able to come for the month of February (during the Chinese New Year break) and stay with us to help prepare for the wedding. His wife stayed behind for some intensive language study, but the kids got to come with their dad. Normally the whole family stays with us for a few weeks every summer so it was a special treat to have them with us in winter. Though we had unusually warm weather this entire winter, there was still some snow for the kids to enjoy. They loved playing in the snow!

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3. As wonderful and joyous as weddings are, wedding planning, preparation, and participation are exhausting! This past week we were able to get away for a few days to our friend’s cabin a couple of hours south of us. It’s in the middle of a large farming area where just about all that’s available nearby is peace and quiet. Exactly what we needed! My dear husband sacrificed some of his time to drive me around so I could get some photos of rural Alberta.

01 Mountain view near Sundre - Copy

02 Mountain view near Sundre 3-16

05 Torrington area fence 2

06 Torrington area fence line

10 Torrington 3-16

09 Torrington abandon

12 Near Three Hills

08 Near Olds 2 (2)

07 Torrington community hall

11 West of Torrington

04 Torrington ice fog 3-1603 Near Olds 2

14 Torrington sunset 3-7-16 2

13 Torrington sunset 3-7-16

15 Torrington sunset 3-8-16

4. Because of my arthritis and fibromyalgia, ice is my enemy. Winters in central Alberta tend to be very icy. We have thoroughly enjoyed extraordinarily warm weather this winter, reminiscent of the welcomed Chinooks we so appreciated while living in Calgary. Today it’s 10 C (about 50 F) and ice everywhere is melting furiously. Yay to banished ice!

5. Our youngest daughter has completed her current phase of education and returned to us last month after her studies in China. It’s fun to have her home for a while. We are looking forward to seeing how God leads and provides for her and for each of our other children in future days.

It seems too early, but I have been reminded that we need to turn our clocks ahead this Saturday night. I don’t want to be late for church!!

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FFF daisies

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Lots of travel! We have been traveling a great deal during July and August. Some of this has been in the States to visit churches that have partnered with us in ministry for almost thirty years. It was a great blessing to spend time with people from each congregation.

2. Surrogate grandma One of the benefits of being ‘of a certain age’ is that you can act as a surrogate grandmother to kids whose biological grandparents live far away. When we told God we would serve Him wherever He wanted us, it ended up being far from either of our families. Many people became aunties, uncles, and grandparents to our kids in their growing up days. In July I got to be Grandma to Madison and her brothers. Loved every minute of it!

3. A dying wish granted Our schedule has been so intense and busy we talked about moving our Calgary meeting from July to September, but we felt compelled to keep the July date. Just before we left to drive down, we learned a former church member was in hospice and would soon be with the Lord. He very much wanted to see my husband so that their relationship would be in perfect harmony before this dear brother went to be with the Lord. Many hugs were shared and many tears shed at that short but powerful meeting. Three days later this brother went to be with the Lord. God is sovereign and granted the dying wish of one of His own. We are humbled and blessed by His leading!

4. Goodbye old tree We had to take down a big, old tree from the back yard because it was diseased. *sniff* I love those old trees, the shade they provide, and the bit of privacy they offer. Now most of the back yard is open and sunny and…..as my husband reminds me, we have new possibilities for the space. Guess it does all depend on how you look at things!

5. Children and grandchildren Our own grandchildren (along with my son and his wife!) arrived for their annual visit from their home in Shanghai, China. What wonderful times we have been experiencing together! We try to make it to the Canadian Rockies during their visits. Though this summer smoke from forest fires has cast a hazy fog over the beautiful scenery, we have thoroughly enjoyed visiting familiar and favorite venues and introducing these places to our grandchildren.

Paul

Paul

8-28-15 Canmore (220)

Chloe

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FFF daisies

Friday’s Fave Five is hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story and encourages us to put in writing five blessings from the week.

1. I have not posted for several weeks. Why? So I could spend as much time as possible with these two!  We had a wonderful summer. I was feeling much better than I did last summer, and was able to be more interactive with my grandchildren. Since next summer should be post hip replacement, maybe I can even be more active with them!

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2. My herb garden is winding down. It brought me lots of pleasure thus summer, though not quite like I expected.  It was an herb and vegetable garden, but the zucchini corporate takeover took out my kale, and a mighty wind storm took out my zucchini it all its golden glory (I planted yellow zucchini.)  The entire crown of the plant with its broad, bristly leaves and five golden fingers of zucchini-to-be ended up on the deck.  The plant never recovered. I planted ten peas and only two came up and my green beans elbowed the zucchini for sunlight before the demise of the squash.  Next year my husband is making me a second planter so I have veggies in one and herbs in the other!

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3. I am grateful for the wonderful privilege of having all five of my children together in one place for a few weeks each summer.  Our house was loud and messy, full of comings and goings, laughter and tears, discussions and debates.  We do Christmas in July (well…August this year) complete with holiday dishes, decorations, Christmas crackers (and the antics that go along with the hats and prizes), and Christmas readings. The China-based part of the family has left us until next year.DSC09573

4. Watching college football with my husband is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s that time of year and he is actually able to take a day off each week (well, most weeks) after years of having a too-heavy workload to do this.  I have one thing to say about college football:  Go Buckeyes!!

5. No word yet on my surgery date.  My first hip replacement was 8 years ago this December.  I am praying that I can have this one done before the snow comes since ice and snow hinder my mobility and make walking around on crutches or with a walker a little more tricky. Good news:  I am much more mobile this time than I was before the last surgery.  I’m very grateful for that!

 

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