Thursday, December 27, 2007

Elijah versus Bear, Round 1

I'm thankful Aimee got this bear for Elijah. It's usually me getting jumped on!

It's time for another Bowman Blog contest. Decipher what Elijah is saying. Comment your best guess and the winner will get the prize. Note that he "peppers the elbow" in between 2 comments. You must decipher both correctly to win the prize. Good luck.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

Merry Christmas from the Shanghai Bowman's. We love you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Party Scoop

We had 19 Chinese nationals join us for a Christmas party on Friday night. Aimee pulled it off in amazing fashion! She is such a trooper and always goes "beyond the call" to try and love others. What a blessing she is to our family and our circle of influence. I'll "captionize" the pictures to help tell the story. Note that they are not in chronological order.

We brought everyone into the family room for the gift exchange. Everyone was instructed to spend somewhere between $4 and $7 on a small gift. We drew numbers and at our turn, could pick a new gift or "steal" from another. They got a big kick out of this activity. We explained the story behind Christmas and gave out "The Dream of the 3 Trees" book after the exchange. That was well-received. Pray that the 19 seeds planted Friday night grow and that Aimee and I might be used to nurture them.

The girls had fun play barbies with Anna. She had a great time too.
Nathan and Florence loaned us their ping pong table. I had some new lighting installed in the garage and we ended up with a slick ping pong room. And for you players out there, an orange ball on a blue table is my new favorite color combination. (We're used to green and white in the US).
Group shot. Aimee and I initially said that we just had WAY too much food. We revised that to be, "We made enough food to bless everyone with a full bag of take home". Literally, they each got a plastic sack with 3-4 small gladwares with pizza rolls, deviled eggs, chinese food, and cookies. You see some of those take home bags in the pic.

This is a bunch that likes to have fun and this night was no exception.

Our kitchen was packed with food. The piles in the foreground are fruit - watermelon, pineapple, apples and banana. These were a big hit. In the background is the area where we housed the catered food (60 BBQ wings, sweet/sour chicken, and beef with oyster sauce). Fried and white rice was also back there along with Aimee's teriyaki chicken. On the right, covered, are Aimee's homemade pizza rolls. They like trying western style food. Although, it's worth noting that the food line offered both forks/spoons and chopsticks. Every one of them went the chopstick route. Trying food is one thing but crazy utencils is entirely different.
We rented 2 round tables and an additional 12 chairs to accomodate everyone. We relocated our family table to squeeze the round table in. This picture is looking "opposite" the previous one. Anna and Elijah were completely at ease with everyone including Anna wanting to sit at a table with my friends.
The second round table was in the front room and had the younger guys from our group. The average age here is probably 23.

Guo Zhixiang (left) is a great friend from work. He and Elijah really hit it off when he joined us for dinner a couple weeks back. They picked up right where they left off. Guo Zhixiang's english name is "Cloud". When I first heard that, I thought it must be "Claude" but he insisted that it really was "Cloud". I've gotten to the point where I can pronounce his Chinese name, which I prefer anyway, so Cloud is a name the kids can use. He helped Elijah finish his meal. I still haven't gotten Maggie's chinese name down. She's the bubbly one of the group.The kids were showered with gifts. Each received 3 to 4. Elijah got 3 RC cars. Anna got 3 new baby dolls. Our friends really delighted in seeing them open these gifts. It was neat to watch.
Aimee's friend Lisa has lived in Shanghai for 7(?) years and has mastered the egg roll. She made a batch for Aimee and Zhao Jianqing fried them up. They were excellent. Wu Yin was impressed that ZJQ was cooking.....can you tell?? ZJQ came home early with me to help us make final party preparations. He helped rearrange tables, cut fruit, and several other small but critical jobs. We were super thankful. He's the guy that helps me figure stuff out in Shanghai. For example, when I need to know where/how to buy an external hard drive for the computer, I call ZJQ. Anna was also the flower girl in his wedding a few months could check the archive for pictures.

The last thing I'll say is that many of these folks wanted to know about the people on our refrigerator. We loved "introducing" them to all of our siblings, parents, and friends. They take a genuine interest in our lives and were really inquisitive about many of you.
It's the "Eve of the Eve". We hope you are enjoying this season. We celebrate the birth when God became a man, in Jesus. And we also remember that the story doesn't end with a birth but with that resurrection.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another prayer request

But first, the amazing news is that Kristi's surgery was a huge success and they found no cancer. Check out the details at the Rogalske blog. Rejoice in a special Christmas gift for their family.

Now for another request. On Friday night, we are hosting a department Christmas party for everyone in my group at work. There will be over 20 Chinese nationals at our house for this shindig. WHOA!

We are renting furniture, borrowing a ping pong table, installing lighting (for the ping pong of course), and making lots of food. I'm working on a kareoke machine. We are having some chinese food and BBQ wings catered in. Everything else is being handled by the resident chef extraordinaire, Aimee. She's making homemade pizza rolls, chicken teriyaki, deviled eggs, and the list goes on. I've got an amazing wife in a million and one different ways.

What an endeavor and we decided to do it this Friday, on Monday, due to some conflicts with the management staff.

We'll eat, play games and have a gift exchange. We will also share the meaning of Christmas and give each person a gift. A publisher here in China received copyright permission to publish a chinese/english version of "The Dream of the Three Trees". Perhaps you have heard of it. It tells the story of the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Each person will get a copy of the book. We received them today and it is SUPER well done. Since I'm having trouble with picture loading on the blog, I can't show the cover of this chinese/english version. It is changed slightly to align with a traditional Chinese folklore story but the biblical content is the same.

Pray big for the seeds planted on Friday night. I believe that this will be the first time that some of these people have ever heard the name Jesus. It will certainly be the first time hearing the true meaning of Christmas for most, if not all in attendance.

We'll definitely post pictures and the story after the fact. Thanks for checking in.

On a kid note, Elijah picked up a new favorite song at his friend Alexander's house this week. Remember the mid-90s hit "Everybody dance now" by C+C Music Factory? Elijah now walks around the house proclaiming "Everybody dance now!!" Nice.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pray for Kristi


We are still alive, just busy. Kristi Rogalske is in surgery Tuesday morning related to her cancer. They are investigating spots on her liver. Please pray for her healing and the family.

You can get specific requests daily directly from their's linked there on your right.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Anna sings

Sorry for the technical difficulty. Here's another link to the song and dance.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Anna sings

Anna sings in the Christmas program at church. That's her friend Miriam on her left. On her right is a young Mariah Carey (look for her to take it to the next level on the last verse).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sleeping Arrangements

Anna and Elijah have been sleeping in the same bedroom since we returned from the USA with Rachel.

That has worked out really well. Though, I think that is partly attributed to the fact that Elijah still thinks he's participating in one long sleepover party. He still refers to the room as "Anna's room". Not sure when his little lightbulb when come on and he realizes, "Hey, when is Rachel gonna leave my bed?"

The kids have done some interesting things while sharing the same room. They have switched beds on a couple of occasions (Anna goes to the blue, Elijah gets "in touch" with the pink bed) in addition to ending up in the same bed. I'm not sure how the latter one evolved but the end result was still satisfactory.

These pictures were taken with a flash in a dark room. From Elijah's occasional sleep in our bed, we already feel badly for his future wife because he hogs everything and goes on the attack without knowing it. As you’ll see, he's begun the confrontation with Anna. Fortunately for her, I rescued her from the imminent danger.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Turkey wrap

From Noel's sight,

I found this quote from Abraham Lincoln regarding Thanksgiving-

"…I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union."

- President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863

Our family has so much to be thankful for. God has been good as we "adventure" with Him here in Shanghai. On a lighter note, I was especially thankful that a friend smuggled (??-I'm still not clear what the rules are related to importing frozen birds) 2 frozen turkeys into China on a return trip from the USA. What a pleasant surprise that was. Those 2 turkeys added to a Chinese turkey equated to lots of bird meat for the 12 adults and 18 kids, all associated with our small group from church.

Ryan worked through the holiday but the weekend was relaxing for all.

Pictures are from the Thanksgiving feast. The x-ray is of another small group friend, Nathan's hand. He joined myself and 6 friends from work for some basketball Saturday morning. He left the court with a severely dislocated finger. After some pain killers and a strong pull from the ER doctor, he is back in the saddle again.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Da Ming Mountain Range

It's a very famous, if not the most famous, mountain range in China. It took a 5 hour busride, 1 way to get there.

The range is found in Guangxi province, which you can learn more about here.

We did an awful lot of hiking. The main peak is 1764m tall. For reference, the 3rd tallest peak in the Smoky Mountains is 2010 meters tall. The scenery was great considering I've been living in one of the largest urban jungles on the entire planet. It was great to get out and away from the congestion.

It was equally good to spend time with colleagues. Many of them are new hires in the last 6 months that I haven't really gotten to know. I think for some of them, they are just delighted to have pictures with a real, live, breathing American. If one person asked for a picture in a scenic spot, 3 or 4 of them wanted pictures with me too. Strange.

Beware, there are 2 pictures that were “photoshop’d” by Zhao Jianqing. See if you can find them.

Look for the one with me "laying" in the bottom of a ravine. I'm levitating in the other one.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

6 in one hand, 1/2 dozen in the other.

This is code for the timing associated with our return to the USA. Can you decrypt it?
And the units are months, not years, minutes, days, or fortnights.

We have decided to over-stay our commitment to JCI here in Shanghai, China. We acknowledge the mixed emotions for you all in this update. Would you continue to pray for our next 6 months here in China? We believe that God has built a lot of bridges here that connect us to others, both expats and the Chinese nationals. We look forward to how those "bridges" help our relationships grow in new and exciting ways.