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Make me a Hannah

Sorry y’all…I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It’s been a long and busy yet lazy summer and I’ve had two boys to entertain and amuse everyday. But that’s all about to change soon because school starts on Wednesday! (Cue in Hallelujah chorus). CC will begin his first year of kindergarten (well, technically Transitional Kindergarten because his birthday’s in October). Whatever they want to call it, the fact is that he’ll be in a school with big kids, I’ll need to pack him a lunch, and he might possibly even be riding the school bus home. I honestly don’t know who’s more excited about it, him or me.

Sending a child, especially my firstborn, off to school is a big deal. There are so many different conflicting emotions involved. I’m excited and proud to see him growing up and moving on to this stage in life, yet scared and nervous because it brings back all my own memories of being in school. What if he gets teased by the other kids like I was for being so small? What if he doesn’t make any friends, or has no one to sit with at lunch? Worse yet, what if he makes the wrong friends and learns the wrong things?

Every time these kinds of fears assail me, I’m reminded of the story of Hannah in the Old Testament. She wanted a child so badly that she bargained with God that if He granted her a son, she would lend him to Jehovah all his days. Little did she know that her prayer for a son was an echo of God’s own need to have a Nazarite who could turn the age. In that time the priesthood under Eli was corrupt and devoid of God’s speaking. But in Samuel, God found someone who would obey His speaking and cooperate with Him to bring the whole nation of Israel out of degradation. If it wasn’t for Hannah’s prayer, that never would have or could have happened.

What reassures me about this story though is that Hannah trusted God enough to allow her son to grow up in the temple with Eli, who, judging by how his own sons turned out, was probably not the best parent or teacher. His sons profaned the priesthood, yet they were probably the patterns Samuel saw growing up. What must have been in Hannah’s motherly heart, to send her young just-weaned son, to be raised in an environment like that? Surely she knew, as all Israel did, the condition of the priests at that time. Yet she also knew that she had made a vow to Jehovah and that Samuel did not belong to her. I can’t imagine how she felt those first few years of Samuel’s life, knowing that she would soon have to send him away. She must have taken every opportunity, even while he was a babe, to instill in him a fear and love for God and to remind him that he was a Nazarite. And she probably prayed for Samuel her whole life. I believe she laid a foundation in him, so that even when he was surrounded by negative patterns, they didn’t affect him, but rather became warnings to him of what not to be. This was probably the same with Moses. He grew up and was educated in the palace of Pharaoh, but he knew he was not Egyptian.

There would be no Samuel or Moses, if not for their moms. I aspire to be like Hannah, to take every opportunity to infuse the knowledge of God into my boys. To trust more in prayer and God’s mercy than my own mothering skills. To not be so afraid of their friends’ influence on them but to make them kids that would have a positive influence on their friends. To make sure they know who they are, even if they have to be educated in an environment that is corrupt and Egyptian.

So as we enter into this new school year, let’s not miss those little opportunities. To use the time while we’re making lunches to pray for our children, to have those little conversations in the minivan before dropping them off at school, to say that little prayer before tucking them in at night. In the end, those little things can really make all the difference.

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Last month my little boy turned two. My little baby, who couldn’t wait to be born and surprised us all by coming almost a month early, is no longer a baby. Waahhh! Now he is a full fledged toddler with his own personality, complete with a quirky sense of humor. Like his older brother, Turner is extremely verbal for his age, and is turning out to be quite a ham. He likes to crack jokes and laugh at himself with a hearty guffaw and it’s impossible for us not to laugh along even though sometimes we have no idea what he’s talking about.

So far God has been merciful to us with this kid. He’s just an all around easy child – good eater, good sleeper, and for the most part a happy-go-lucky boy. Maybe that’s just how second-borns are. So Turner, I know you can’t read this yet, but Mommy is so happy you came along and joined our family. I feel very blessed to be your mama. Thank you for being so flexible and easy on us as parents, at least for the first two years of your life. Thank you for letting mommy still rock you like a baby (or “do rocky baby” as you like to call it) sometimes even though you are now a big two year old boy. Mommy loves you with all of her heart and will always be here to laugh at your jokes.

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The prompt for this week is…

Release

GO

For the majority of my 30+ years I’ve had long hair. The only times I can remember when it has been shorter than shoulder length was probably before the age of 6 when I had a typical bowl Asian haircut. And I only remember that because of the pictures I’ve seen. In college I think I tried a bob slightly above the shoulders, but I don’t have good memories of that haircut because at that time it was accompanied by bangs, glasses, and braces. College is definitely not a time I’d like to go back to in terms of the looks department. I’m so glad Facebook and Instagram weren’t invented then and I will seriously unfriend anyone who will dare to scan and post any of those old photos now. (Just kidding, I won’t unfriend you, but I will vehemently deny it if you try to tag me).

My long hair has always been a security for me. At times when I wasn’t that happy with the image I saw in the mirror, I could at least still regard my flowing locks somewhat vainly. Doesn’t the Bible itself say that long hair is the glory of the woman? But since the birth of my second son, those flowing locks have been more of a drag than a glory to me, literally. It was becoming cumbersome to wash, to style, to tie up and I envied women who could effortlessly pull their hair up into a loose bun and have it stay and look good. For me it just never worked…unless I employed like 100 bobby pins and maybe a can of hairspray.

So I decided, enough was enough. I made an appointment at the salon and prepared my husband for what was to come. On the appointed day I told my hairstylist (whom I’d only gone to once before), “I need a change. Chop it, please.” She checked with me a few times just to make sure I meant it and then set to work. My head immediately felt lighter as I watched the black locks fall to the ground. It was such a release for me! I felt like I left my old tired mama self on the floor of that salon and skipped out of there lighter, freer, and a happier me. That is definitely not my usual after haircut experience. 

I know it’s not a big thing, you might even consider it somewhat superficial, but I’m glad I took the risk to change something about myself that I didn’t like. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and take the plunge. For this summer season, I’m happy at least that I won’t be spending hours in exasperation wrestling with pins and ponytail holders in front of the mirror. I’m glad that weight is literally off my shoulders, even way above my shoulders. Happy summer!

STOP

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The prompt for this week is…

Hands

GO

I look down at my hands typing on the keyboard and notice how dry and worn they look. Product of washing dishes without gloves and being too lazy to apply lotion, because really why bother when I have to wash my hands every 15 minutes? These hands that are constantly wiping down tables, counters, little faces and little bums, handling food and sticky messes, folding laundry and papers for crafts…these hands that do so much in a day and need constant washing.

These hands that carry the weight of babies and my own heavy head at the end of a long day. These hands that are constantly responding to the cry of “Mommy, help!” These hands that wipe away tears of others and many times of my own. These hands that absorb the smell of garlic and baby skin and dish detergent. Thank You Lord, for giving me these hands and may You use them as Your own. Remind me to take care of them because so much depends on them. Okay, time to go put on some lotion.

STOP

A couple of weeks ago I got to visit my family back East and of course as I expected, my mother made comments about me being too skinny. It wasn’t the first thing she said when she saw me, but I could tell she was holding it in as she sized me up with her eyes. It finally came out on the last day as we were saying goodbye – she gave me the gentle admonition in Chinese “tai shou bu hao” (translation: too skinny, no good).

I was ready for it so it didn’t bother me too much. My in-laws had made the same observation the last time we visited them. They all seem concerned that my apparent loss of weight means that I’m not eating enough, that I’m too tired and run-down. Okay yes, sometimes lunch for me consists of toddler leftovers and yes, my energy could use a boost on most days. And yes, sometimes I’m so focused on feeding the boys that I forget to feed myself. But I think I’m doing a pretty good job of eating three square meals a day in addition to snacks in between and sometimes late night desserts. I’ve just been cursed with fast metabolism which I’m sure will eventually catch up with me sooner or later.

Apparently my father-in-law has the same problem. He’s been trying to gain weight for years and has tried all kinds of things. His latest diet scheme is to eat lots of good quality dark chocolate as a high calorie snack. Larry was down in So Cal last weekend and guess what he brought back from his parents? Yup, that’s right, bars and bars of dark chocolate for me so I can gain some weight. I don’t know if it’ll work, but out of respect for them, I guess I should just bite the bullet and give it a try? I guess I can live with comments about me being too skinny if it means I can indulge in free dark chocolate. :)

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We just got back from our epic summer family adventure to the East Coast and what an adventure it was! We hit three cities, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, in nine days relying on a single umbrella stroller, an ergo, and public transportation. The last time we were out on the East Coast was more than two years ago when CC could still fly for free. I was determined that we make it out there again before Turner’s second birthday in June. We had a long list of people to see so each day we set off to visit friends and every night we were in a different home enjoying food and fellowship around the table while the kids caroused happily with new found playmates. Some days we were so busy getting from place to place, catching trains and buses, that Larry and I felt like we were competing in Amazing Race, only with kids. (By the way, I think that would be a great idea for a show – Amazing Race, Parents with Kids Edition – I would totally watch it). We managed to fit in a little bit of sight seeing, but we didn’t stress out about having to see everything, and in all honesty the kids were usually more happy to just stop at a local playground or run around someone’s back yard than walking the Freedom Trail or seeing the Statue of Liberty.

 

Swan boat ride!

Swan boat ride!

Playing baseball in the park

Playing baseball in the park

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Taking the T to Amtrak

We took the Amtrak from Boston to New York where my whole family lives and introduced Turner to his brood of cousins. I have two siblings who each have four children, ranging from 19 years old to 8 years old. It was a challenge, to say the least, to do things with a group of 10 children and 8 adults and there was a lot of chaos and noise, but it helped that there were so many extra people to take care of and entertain the kids. It was so heart warming to see all the older cousins take a genuine interest in our boys. Being with the cousins was by far CC’s favorite part of the whole trip and probably what he will miss the most.

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Our clan

 

Waiting for our flight

Waiting for our flight

Normally when we get home from vacations, I’m exhausted and happy to be home. But this time coming home was a little bit bittersweet knowing that it will probably be a while before we’ll be able to see our family and friends on the East Coast again. Instead of being exhausted, I feel like this trip has refreshed me in so many ways. Now I’m a firm believer that families should take every opportunity to travel, especially with young kids. There’s something so healthy and beneficial about seeing and being with people from another part of the country or the world. It’s also a precious time to bond as a family; CC and Turner spent a lot of time fighting, but also played together in ways we haven’t seen them do at home before. The biggest reason for us not traveling more is the expense, but now I think it’s worth it to scrounge and save to give our kids and ourselves this valuable experience.

What is your experience of traveling with small kids in tow?

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The prompt for this week is…

Grateful

GO

Sometimes in the midst of my messy noisy life, it’s easy to forget that I have so much to be grateful for. It’s so much easier to focus on and complain about the little imperfections I have to live with – yet another marker stain on the couch, toys that refuse to stay tidy in their spots, little boys who can’t get along, a four-year-old’s constant non-stop whining. These little things cloud my brain and even though I’m always telling my boys the importance of saying thank you, I know with my sharp words and short temper I’m modeling to them someone who’s not very thankful or grateful.

So I’m so grateful for this week’s word, grateful for the reminder that for me to raise grateful children, I need to be a grateful mother. Today I will exercise to give thanks to my heavenly Father instead of using my energy to inwardly whine non-stop about all the trivial things. Thank you Lord, for providing for all our needs, marker stained couch and all. Thank you Lord, for healthy happy children, even though they bicker and whine and drive me up the wall. Thank you Lord, for the most understanding husband who after you, bears the brunt of all my complaining and whining. Thank you Lord, for friends and sisters I can not only commiserate with, but also pray with. Thank you most of all, for your daily unending supply of grace. Thank you for your life in me that can make me a thankful person. Amen and amen.

STOP

 

The Art of Simple

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

Lisa-Jo Baker

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

Daily ramblings of a stay at home mom aspiring to live Christ

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