Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010

Dear Family and Friends:

It is Christmas Eve and we are in Alabama visiting with my parents, Bob & Becky, and two sisters, April and Lorrie, and their families once again. As it is every year, the time leading up to this blessed holiday is always very busy as our lives revolve around school calendars which demand many tasks be completed before we are able to celebrate the season. Hence, my apologies for a belated Christmas greeting. It has been a busy year for all of us as I will briefly narrate.

May, 2010. Our eldest daughter Sarah graduated from Norman North High School, earning scholastic honors and achievement for her hard work and effort. She is now a freshman at the University of Oklahoma studying International Relations and planning to go to law school.

Summer, 2010, Taiwan. Since the previous summer Sarah went by herself to Taiwan, we decided that this summer she was to stay home and work while the rest of us headed east. In addition to visiting family in friends in Taiwan, I gave lectures at Fu Jen University where I had previously taught. This was followed by a trip to Singapore for a conference, and then onto Kunming, China where I taught students from the University of Oklahoma on an inaugural 4-week study abroad program. Robbie accompanied us for the first part of the trip to Taiwan and then returned home on his 16th birthday. Robbie is now a Junior at Norman North High School.

Summer, 2010, China. Donna and Pearl joined me, a colleague, and 8 OU students for a memorable 4 weeks in China. We stayed on the campus of Yunnan University in Kunming, the city of eternal spring. Pearl, now a 7-year-old first grader, was the star of the group as she made friends with the university students as we took trips with them to such scenic places as Xishuangbanna in the south and Lijiang in the north. It was a memorable time and I plan to lead another group back to China summer, 2011 (regrettably without family

this time).

We are blessed to have had so many opportunities in 2010 and look forward to another exciting year. May you enjoy this time when we celebrate the birth of a savior who brings us hope for blessings and peace.


Todd, Donna, Sarah, Robbie, and Pearl

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

End of Semester is Near

As 2010 draws to a close I must admit that I have not been a very good blogger this year. The time when I probably had the most time and incentive to post was while I was in China this past summer. Yet alas, the Chinese censors blocked access to this blog. Then upon returning home life was less interesting and busier. Well here's hoping that I do better in 2011.

Some musings: I'm one of those who according to the pollsters is in the minority on our government's fiscal irresponsibility. All the tax cuts should expire! Close the loopholes! And cut spending where feasible (ag supports, defense). At the same time we need to invest for the future by spending more on education, energy transformation, and infrastructure. It is disheartening to see the poor state of education in this country, to see crumbling roads and bridges, and to not see the high speed rail network, subway lines, the growth that I see across China and Taiwan. Perhaps we need to suspend democracy for a time and let a benevolent dictator, who is not beholden to special interests and the whims of a near sighted populace to run things for awhile. Perhaps Plato was right to design a Republic run by philosopher-kings. The smooth talk of Alcibiades that persuaded the Athenians to invade Sicily led to their ruin and defeat at the hands of the Spartans. Will this country look upon wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a 21st century Sicilian fiasco?

On the other hand, I would not want to live in a place like China where rulers are unelected. Sure they maybe more efficient. But then they may be replaced by crazy tyrants, like Mao, or Kim Jung-il.