Saturday, January 24, 2015

Where will you be in 5 years

Where will you be in 5 years?  What do you picture yourself doing?  Those are questions that I've gotten in the past.  Before I got married 11 years ago, my goals and plans were very different than what I ever dreamed I would be doing now.

Before I got married my goals were that I would be teaching full time in a elementary school, hopefully I would get married and have children.  I always dreamed that I would be able to live in CT and be close to my friends and family.

In 2002, I packed up my bags and moved to Japan to teach English.  It was very different and almost out of the norm thing for me to do.  I felt that God was calling me to go teach over in Japan.  I went and it turned out to be the most best choice.  I fell in love and got married to my wonderful husband and father to my amazing three kids.  However because of me getting married to John my 5 year plan got pushed out the window and I don't think I ever have had a 5 year plan ever since.

In 2003, John and I got married and packed up my stuff to move out to Fergus Falls, MN so that John could start seminary.  I knew that we wouldn't live in Fergus Falls but it was comforting to know that our base for three years was going to be Fergus Falls.  

2006 was the year that John graduated and we started looking for jobs.  We weren't sure if I was going to find a job teaching or if John would get a call to a church.  So while we waited we went to Grand Forks, ND to try SIL for the summer.  It was a nice time and also a stressful time that summer because we weren't sure what we were going to do.  Our 5 year plan we didn't have.  We didn't even have a 1 year plan.  Thankfully we received a call for John to serve at Zion Lutheran church in Cooperstown, ND.  We had no idea how long we would stay and no five year plan again.  But we started to have our kiddos while we were in North Dakota.  We were so blessed.

2011, we made the decision to move to Taiwan so that John could be an English pastor at Victory church.  This time we knew that we would live in Taiwan for two years.  So I live in two year increments.  We have renewed our contract three times.  So we know for sure that we will live in Taiwan for two more years.  

I can't tell you where we will be in 5 years.  That I have no clue.  I do know that in 5 years though I'm pretty sure that all my kids will be in grade school. N should be in 5th grade, M might be in 3rd grade and H might be in K or 1st grade.    I don't know if I will go back to school to be a teacher or if I will decide to go back to school to take classes more on photography and try to start a career in photography. The nice thing is that I don't need to know where we will be in 5 years.  God knows where we will be in 5 years.  We might still be in Taiwan or we might be back in the US!  I am just going to enjoy the ride that we are on right now.

Do you make 5 year plans?  Do you have goals of where you want to be in 5 years?  What are your goals?  How do you adjust for the unexpected? Do you write those plans down or do you just keep a mental note of where you want to be?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Favorite Quotes

I don't have many favorite quotes.  I've never been the type of person to quote things from books or different people mostly because I'm afraid that I'll butcher it or get it wrong.  There are quotes or signs that I have tagged on pinterest because I think that they speak to me but I wouldn't say that they are my favorite quotes.  They just are things that I have seen and appreciated.

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." -- CS Lewis  

That quote touches my heart and reminds me continuously that I should not judge others or try to make them feel bad.  My job is just to be a friend and share the good news that Jesus saves us from our sins.  I can't do anything to make myself sinless and still continue to sin every day, so I'm thankful that God has forgiven the inexcusable in me!

"The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." -- Dr. Seuss

I love this quote by Dr. Seuss...actually I love a lot of Dr. Seuss' books and could make quotes off of his books.  I've especially started to appreciate these quotes since having kids and trying to help shape and develop their little minds with good books and help develop good imagination.  Realizing that the whole world is in front of us and if we open our minds we can learn a whole lot.

"Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand." -- Stevie Wonder

Music transports me.  Music has the ability to change my mood from some place that might be a grumpy mood to a a place where I am happy and joyful.  I have also learned especially living in foreign countries that music can be beautiful even if you don't understand the words.  The melody, the rhythm all have the ability to transport you to a different world and you can appreciate it for what it is.

"Which of my photographs is my favorite?  The one that I'm going to take tomorrow."  -- Imogen Cunningham

In 2002, my Tante Linda bought be a beautiful camera that started my love affair with photography.  John also pushed my photography further than I thought possible.  He started telling me, you have a digital camera why are you taking just one picture, take as many pictures as you want to and then just download them to your computer.  Beautiful advice from him.  I started to take more pictures and started to try to be selective of what I take pictures of.  It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon...John would drive, we would talk and we would stop so I could take pictures.  Then he got me a DSLR and my addiction for photography and capturing moments increased.  I love it and I am so grateful for photography.  It's my creative outlet and every day I feel that I am improving and growing.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

20 things about me!

Here are 20 facts about me!  So might just be very generic but they are about me.

1.  I have three beautiful kids!
2.  I love to read and am working hard to pass on that love to my kids.
3.  I am very creative - I love to make craft and I got that love from my mom!
4.  I love photography and I'm trying to improve every day!
5.  I love the idea of traveling but I'm kind of a homebody.
6.  I love to go exploring and I really miss our Monday Adventure that we took before the kids started     school.
7.  I'm not very good expressing my feelings and emotions to others.
8.  I used to only like blue and green colors!  I now like all colors.
9.  My Tante Jewel when I was younger (much younger) gave me a cd for Christmas and I remember      crying horribly because I had never heard of the artist (Harry Connick Jr.)and why would I want to      listen to him sing.  I remember listening to him and I'm pretty sure he is one of my favorite artist        and I'm so thankful to my Tante Jewel for sharing such a great musician.
10. I worked at a daycare for 4 summers during college.
11. My major was Special Education and Elementary Education.
12. My daughter was born in Taiwan but only has an American passport.
13. My goal this year is to read 75 books.
14. Little N is in First Grade - He attends a Chinese school and is home schooled in English.
15. I hate being away from my family!
16. I want to travel to Norway, Australia & New Zealand. (Many other places too)
17. My goal for this year is to go hiking at least once a month as a family.
18. I also hope that I can branch out in our cooking and eat more variety of foods.
19. I am blessed with lots of friends from lots of different countries and am very blessed because of our living in Taiwan.
20. One day I hope to be able to live on the East Coast again.  I like almost consistent four seasons!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blogging is never easy!

So I would like to get back in the habit of blogging and sharing about what's going on in our life but I'm at a stage in life where I just feel busy all the time.  But I'm gonna try to make that change.

Our blog name is Olson Family!  We are the Olson family...this is our family blog and it's about the different things that we experience in our daily life.  It's a family blog about my sweet darling husband, and my three growing children.  We are a little bit different in that we are living overseas in Taiwan.  We are missionaries but we are reaching the English speaking people who live over here.  It's an interesting life and we've been here for almost 4 years.

I never thought that we would ever be in the position that we are right now.  My husband is an English pastor at a Chinese church.  It's a very unique position to be in and we have been blessed beyond all measure.  But both John and I thought we would be missionaries reaching out to people who live in the country and speak the local language.  So some times we still mourn the loss of that idea of working as a missionary to a local people group.  But God has blessed our work with the English ministry more so than either John or I ever expected.  God has blessed the church with a growing children's ministry, a growing church community and a growing small groups.   We have met some lovely and wonderful people through out ministry and living in Taiwan.

Victory English Fellowship (VEF) is a very unique church.  It's a very come and go type church.  It's very different from our previous church in a small town in North Dakota.  Our previous church had kids, youth, not many college age and some middle age and the faithful generation.  At our current church we have kids, youth, lots of college/early career age and middle age and not many in the faithful generation.  We have a lot of people who will attend our church for maybe a couple months or even a couple of years and then their kids either go to college or they return back to their home country.  When we first moved here I would get close to a person and then a month or two later they would move and it would just devastate me because I could invest in their life and then they would leave and cut ties with me and their life in Taiwan.   Gradually I realized that my mind set had to change and God has provided me some very faithful and loving friends whom I have as friends and then I can make friendships with new people who come into the church and just provide encouragement and the church can provide tools for them -- bible studies, fellowship, a place to worship while they are over seas and then when they are at their new place the time that they had at VEF will provide the tools to help them at their current church.  At least that's my prayer that we can touch the people who have attended VEF and they are willing to share the gospel message with others.

John (my husband) is a great guy and is a good pastor.  He is very dedicated and if he sees something that needs to get done he will get it done.  He is learning that he needs to let go of control and let others share their talents and gifts.  He likes to play ultimate frisbee and enjoys going hiking and going on scooter rides in the country.  It's very hard to get out of the city and from people and just escape from nature but John has found many hidden treasures around where we live so that we can at time escape from the hustle and bustle  of living in a city.  I am very blessed to have him in my life.

I am learning how to try to say no and slow down.  It's very easy to keep saying yes to the many opportunities that come around your way and soon your are knee deep in stressful situations of your own making and you need to slowly but gradually take a step back and just get back to a happy medium where you are busy with opportunities but not too busy.  I'll probably talk more about me later.

N is my oldest!  He is 7 years old and is amazing!  He goes to a Chinese school for 1st grade.  He has learn to read and write in Mandarin Chinese.  (I have yet to be able to do that -- I understand just a little bit!) So N will come up to me when the shop keepers are talking to me and say what they are telling me so I can understand.  He is making some good friends and is able to play and hang out with them it's amazing. He also is dealing with his demanding schedule.  He goes to Chinese school from 7:50 - 12:40 (and then one day a week he goes to school till 3:50) and then we pick him up and I start to homeschool him in English.  At this point it's a very edited curriculum - we do bible, history, read alouds, then we work on his reading and writing.  He amazes me because 21 weeks ago he wasn't able to read and we struggled greatly with even getting him to take the time to work with me to read and he is just blossoming both in English and Chinese.  I am so proud of him.  We usually work for 45 minutes on homeschooling before he has to leave to go to an afterschool program so that he can get help with his Chinese homework.  Then we pick him up and we finish the rest of his homeschooling work that we didn't finish.

M is my middle son!  He is 5 years old and is also amazing!  He goes to a Chinese kindergarten.  He's been there for two years.  We drop him off at 8 am and then we pick him up between 1:45 and 2 pm.  He is amazing in that he is able to speak in both English and is able to speak and understand in Chinese.  He is my curious one.   He wants to know how things work and is very much a peace keeper.  He is amazing at sharing and loves to play with others.  He notices and cares about others when others might not!  It's fun to watch him.

H is my youngest and the only girl!  She was born here in Taiwan.  (She doesn't have dual citizenship - just american!)  She is three years old (just turned 3 two days ago and I am mourning just a little bit how big she is doesn't seem possible that she is already three years old)  and has just made our world completely different.  Instead of just trains, cars, legos we have now added dolls, dress up and pretend play.  My boys are great with their sister and she has all of us wrapped around her finger.  She stays home with me and understands some chinese and can speak a few words but once she goes to school (not sure if it will be this coming year or the year after) she will pick up the language pretty quick.

This is our family and this is our little corner over the internet where we share about our life and our adventures.  Thanks for finding us and do you have any questions for us?  Anything you want us to share more about?
Photo credit: Front Row Photo

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Little H

Three years ago today we woke up early in the morning to contractions.  We got up called up our friend Kris and she came rushing over to watch our boys while we went to the hospital.  I thought it would be quick like Little M's birth.  We walked over to the hospital (it was faster and easier to walk from our apartment to the hospital then it was to get in our car, find a parking spot and walk in.) and we had to go in through the emergency room.  The staff was confused as to why we were there and wondered what was wrong with us. We finally made it understood that our daughter was to be born and that I was in labor that day.  I texted everyone after I got checked in and settled into the hospital bed.  Some things I was not expecting to happen when I got checked in occurred but nothing horrible.  So we settled in and figured that we wouldn't be waiting long.  But we did wait a while.  They stuck me on a hospital bed and put me with a monitor to see how contractions went.  Well I wanted to sit up to keep the contractions going but they didn't like that and just wanted me laying down.   So my labor was probably delayed some because of that.  Gradually the nurses wanted to speed up the progress so they pushed my stomach some to force some pressure and get the labor to start going and then they also did some manipulation so that my body would be at a 10 so that I could push her out.  Let's just leave it at that -- it was a little painful and was very different from my two other birthing experiences.
My darling little H was born and I got to hold her while I waited for my room before she was rushed off to the nursery.  We were given this traditional soup that you had to drink right after you delivered the baby -- it was this black soup that was salty but had lots of ginger in it and had an egg in it.  I couldn't eat the egg but drank the soup. Finally went to my room and the nurses proceed to show John how to take care of me.  Show how to change bandages, where to put the bedding and then asked if we had brought various items that we didn't realize we had to bring.  So I had John quick go buy some of the supplies and then later on I went downstairs to 7 eleven to buy some other supplies.  The nurses and doctors just came in to check that I was doing okay and really only came in maybe 2 to 3 times a day.  I was roommates with a Chinese woman who I'm assuming had a c-section.  All I know is that every time she moved she was in pain and she just moaned in her sleep.  Her husband slept in the room with us and so at night there was a chorus of snores and moans of pains that I slept to.  But then every three hours I would be awaken by a phone call saying that I would have to go to the nursery to nurse my baby.  The nurses were very upset that John didn't stay with me because I didn't have any one to take care of me and get stuff for me.  That's not part of what the nurses do here in Taiwan. They just make sure things are okay and then they give you your medications.  They would always ask where my husband was and who was going to wash and check my bandages and get my clothes.  I took care of my bandages and my clothes.  John and many wonderful people from church took care of bring food for both the guys and me.  I was so blessed and so thankful.

Every three hours you would get the call that you were supposed to go down to the nursery to nurse and you would go in, wash your hands and they would hand you your baby and you would nurse for as long as you wanted and then you would hand your baby back over to the nurses and they would take the babies.  It was the strangest experience sitting down in a charge with a bunch of other nursing mother -- no one covered up and most of the new mommies struggling to figure out the right pose to put their child in so that they could nurse their child.  It was a very awkward experience because you aren't sure where to look and no one talks to other people it's about being quiet, getting the nursing done and then leaving again.  I was usually one of the last ones to leave after nursing even though had long since finished nursing Little H and we were just trying to get to know one another.  It was also very strange because John never ever got to hold Hadassah.  He could look at her from the window at the nursery but wasn't allowed to hold her.  I took him into the nursery grabbed my baby one time and after John had washed up handed her to him.  The nurses in the nursery were very upset and we just pulled the foreigner card not knowing better that it wasn't allowed.  After that we were told that John couldn't come into the nursery till Little H was checked out of the hospital.

 It was a slightly lonely experience because John was at home watching the boys and also working. I had my roommate who had control of the TV and would flip the tv like a pro...almost as good as my dad. She would flip around and she found an English program (there are not many of those channels) and I thought she was being nice and letting me watch something but lasted a minute then she flipped to something else.  I was thankful for my ipad because I was able to chat with my family and friends to keep my self occupied.  I couldn't handle being separated from my family and I wasn't liking the fact that Little H and I weren't able to bond and get to know each other so I asked my doctor if I could check out early.  Normally it's a 3 day hospital stay for a vaginal delivery and a 10 day hospital day if a c-section delivery.  I think I only stayed 2 nights...thankfully my mom came the night that I got home and we were just able to be cosy and get to know one another.  That is your birth story  Little H.  There would be things I might change about my birth story but I am so happy and thrilled that you are a part of our family.  We love you my darling little girl!

Happy birthday my sweet darling Little H.  We have come so far in just 3 short years.  I can't wait to see what happens this coming year.  I love you so much.
The day of your baptism - January 2012

 Your first birthday - January 2013
 Your second birthday - January 2014
 Happy 3rd birthday my darling H!  We love you!!

This is Little H's bible verse for the year.  We will trace the kids hands on a piece of paper and their bible verse will be put on their hands and get laminated and we will pray over these bible verses for our kids over the coming year.  This is the verse we are focusing on for Little H.

Little H, mommy and daddy's hope and prayer is that you will grow up to be a godly and wise woman one day.  We pray every day that God would give us the tools to raise both you and your brothers to love the Lord with your whole heart.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January Memory Verse

So I'm starting off strong on my blog with my memory verses and we will see if we can keep the trend going strong.  The memory verses make it on my whiteboard every month but didn't always make it onto my blog.   January is the month that my sweet little girl was born.  So this memory verse is actually going to be the one that we put on her hand prints that we draw and cut out for 2015.

This bible verse is an extremely hard one to follow through on. I have a hard time showing love to others.  There are times when I want to deny my love for others because I don't feel like I am getting love or honor that I deserve.  But when I make a conscious effort to be show my love and honor to others, then I am less likely to feel like I am not be respected because I know that God is watching my actions and is showering me with His love.  Sure there are still days that I struggle with not feeling positive but God takes me by the hand and shows me how much he loved me!  He loved me enough to send His son to save me from my sins and so that He could have a relationship with me.

How do you show love to others?
How do you show that you honor others above yourself?

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Welcome to our blog! We try to keep this current for family and friends. We moved to Taiwan in February 2011 and are trying to keep in contact with loved ones through this blog. We love comments and will respond back if you have questions or comments!! Thanks for checking us out!!


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