Friday, March 1, 2013

Penner's Spotlight - Michelle Ule - China

Pens on a World Map
Penner’s Spotlight

: Michelle Ule of California
Location: China

I was on my way to speak at a woman's retreat when the phone rang. My brother had an extra ticket and wondered if I'd like to take a work trip China with him, since no one else in his family could go. Would I?

Michelle and her brother at the Great Wall
You bet!

A month later we flew to Shanghai and then traveled to Souzhou where we toured the factory making parts. Fascinating to see the dilligence and work processes of 150 young Chinese women in pink smocks!

After his business was done, we flew to Beijing, landing in the newly opened airport. A car picked us up and we headed to the Great Wall of China, the Mutianyu portion of the wall, not the more popular section to the northwest of Beijing.

On that glorious May day, several months before the opening of the 2008 Olympics, the blue sky stretched forever and we saw very few people. "I've been to China 20 times," my brother said. "I've never seen blue sky here before."

We hiked the long stretches, marveled at the views and thought about Chinese history. The wall undulates atop the hills and it's impossible to draw your eyes away.

Chinese Lion Statue
Prawn King
The best part of the trip, though, was spending a week talking with my brother and watching him in action!

Have you taken a memorable trip with a sibling? Do you have a story about travel in China? Please join the travel discussion below in the comment section.

A New York Times best selling writer, Michelle Ule is a long-time follower of Jesus Christ who lives in northern California. Her debut novella, The Dogtrot Christmas, was published in Barbour Publishing’s A Log Cabin Christmas Collection, September 2011 and appeared on The New York Times best seller list on October 2, 2011. Her debut novel, Bridging Two Hearts, will be published by Barbour/Harlequin’s Heartsong division in February, 2013.

A retired Navy wife, Michelle has a terrific husband, four brilliant children, two perfect daughter-in-laws and four adorable grandchildren. Michelle teaches Bible study to a group of precocious women, counsels women in crisis at a local pregnancy counseling center, and works at a landmark literary agency. In her free time, she travels, writes and reads. A noted genealogist in some of the more obscure corners of the Internet, she’s the author of Pioneer Stock and Travels with Jeanette, along with several other genealogy books and traveler’s tales.

She’s currently writing an inspirational romance about Civil War General John Hunt Morgan and his wife Mattie Ready, and has several contemporary novels in the works or completed. She’s interested in how people live through difficulties with their spiritual life intact, as well as how to live a hope-full life within the context of a hostile society. She’s curious about the why and how, and likes to add an ironic twist to her stories.

For more about Michelle, visit her website, and check out her blog for "traveler's tales" and more.

For more information about Michelle's new release, "Bridging Two Hearts," click here.

Would you like to be featured on "Penner's Spotlight"? Here's how.

I'd love to see a glimpse of your travels. It doesn't matter if you write a few sentences or the full 300 words. It's about sharing part of our journey with each other. For more on what to do for a "Penner's Spotlight," visit the link below:


  1. Seeing the Great Wall of China had to be amazing! That is one of seven man made wonders of the world that I would love to see. I have only seen one so far--Chichen Itza, found in Yucatan, Mexico.

    Great post--thanks for sharing!

  2. That day on the wall was magical. I could not take my eyes off it as we drove through the countryside. You know it's there, you can see it, but somehow it doesn't seem real until you arrive at the base and look up.

    We were there with probably only 20 other people. To think of how many had built it, tried to vanquish it, had visited and looked out the openings caused chills.

    To the north was Mongolia, to the west the blue skies (that day) of the Gobi Desert. Magnificent!

    1. Sounds fantastic, Michelle! I would love to visit the Great Wall! :) Thanks so much for sharing!