Afternoon blog therapy


It’s one of those days. It’s absolutely beautiful outside, sunny and blue skies, temperature has finally dropped so that it actually feels like fall here. Those are my favorite kind of days. But for some reason today I have no motivation to do anything. No motivation to go out and enjoy the beautiful weather, no motivation to clean the house that sorely needs cleaning, no motivation to try to figure out what to do with that hunk of meat defrosting in the kitchen. Instead I’m sitting in front of my computer, nursing my second cup of tea for the day, randomly opening useless windows on chrome, and all the while something keeps lifting my gaze to the big window in front of me, the one with five tiny pumpkins on the sill. I look out and see the big tree, full of leaves that are still green and somehow it calms me in my current restless state. Don’t psychologists say that looking at green is good for the brain and for the soul? I thought I’d heard something like that.

Something besides looking at that tree is good for my restless soul. It always hard for me to get started, especially on a blah day such as this one, but I find that when I close the other useless windows and grudgingly open my wordpress window and just start typing, I start to feel the same way I do when I look out at that tree. I feel centered, purposeful, and as I read the words pouring out through my fingertips onto the screen, I finally begin to understand how I feel. I would not call myself a writer by any means, but I have to say tending to this little blog for the last five years has become a therapy for me. Sorry to say, I’ve been neglectful of it these past few months. But today, being one of those days, I needed to come tend it again. I needed to get some words down so that my soul could be at rest.

Now that this post is written and my tea cup is empty, I think I have the motivation to go deal with that hunk of meat in the sink. So if you’re having one of those days…take a few minutes to go back to those simple things that bring you joy. And if that doesn’t work, go stare at something green. :)

Simple Celebrations

Yesterday we had an early celebration for CC’s birthday. My not so little boy will turn 6 tomorrow. For weeks I’ve been hemming and hawing about whether to throw him a birthday party this year, not because he had asked for one, but because for some crazy reason I thought I’d be less of a mother if I didn’t. It seemed like ALL his little friends got birthday parties and I didn’t want him to feel left out. In all honesty though, we are not birthday party people in this house. Things like that tend to get me stressed because I feel like I have to get everything perfect and pinterest-worthy. Kind of like when I tried to bake the fire engine cake when he turned 3…I don’t need to remind you all how that turned out.

So Larry finally put an end to my hemming and hawing and put his foot down and said we would just celebrate CC’s birthday as a family. I complained for all of 5 minutes but was inwardly relieved. I told CC we would go out for dinner for his birthday and he can pick the restaurant. Just as I predicted, he picked Homeroom, a very hipster joint in Oakland touted to have the best Mac and Cheese this side of the bay. So yesterday afternoon, before heading out to Homeroom, we let CC open his one present from us (more on that later) and Face Timed briefly with his grandparents. The place was super crowded, even at 5:45, but we scored a table outside relatively quickly. We ordered two kinds of Mac and Cheese, a side of buttery minty peas and a Limeade for me, and watched my soon to be 6 year old son chow down more calories than he probably ordinarily gets in a week. He was happy as a clam, and I was too, knowing I didn’t have to frost any cakes or fill any goodie bags.

After dinner, the boys of course asked for dessert. Larry, thinking ahead, had printed out a coupon for a free birthday scoop from Ben & Jerry’s for CC. We asked CC in the car what he wanted for dessert and he said ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. Score! Isn’t it great when what your kids ask for is actually the same as what you plan? So we made a stop at B&J and even though we were planning to get Turner his own scoop, CC very graciously said he would share his cone with his little brother. So we walked out with free ice cream and two very happy boys.

When we got home, CC had about half an hour to play with his birthday present before he had to get ready for bed. For his birthday, we got him a box of 125 Zoob building pieces. Recently he’s really been into Legos and can spend hours by himself just building things. So we wanted to get him something similar – open ended creative building toys. The Zoobs are pretty cool, basically ball and socket type pieces you can fit into different configurations. It also comes with guides with instructions of different things you can build. CC got into it right away, and for half an hour we all joined him in building things. Definitely quality family bonding time.

We got the boys ready for bed and CC thanked the Lord for his new present. I thanked the Lord for giving us such a simple yet wonderful day. My son will only turn six once. I’m glad I didn’t miss it because I was too busy planning a party he never asked for. When he looks back on his 6th birthday, I hope he’ll remember that we had mac and cheese and ice cream and that his mommy and daddy sat down and built Zoob robots and animals with him. I know that’s what I’ll remember. :)

Happy birthday CC!

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Hello out there blog readers! Are you all still there? Sorry for the long silence, I took the summer off and then the new school year kind of took me by storm. Yesterday was Turner’s first day of preschool and CC is well into his second full week of kindergarten. That means I’ve graduated from being a stay at home mom to being a chauffeur mom. My days now seem to be an endless series of drop-offs and pick-ups. But hey, now I have almost all of 3 hours to myself every morning!

I think the boys and I all welcome having some kind of structured routine back to our days. It was great having them both home with me for the summer, but I think having some time apart now is good for all of us. Now a lot of the time we spend together is in the car. This year Larry and I decided to send CC to a brand new French immersion charter school that just opened in Oakland. It’s about a 25 minute drive from home with no traffic. We prayed a lot and considered a lot, and in the end we felt good about sending him, even though it would require a lot of driving on my part. It was a hard decision, especially since I had gotten used to him taking the school bus to and from school, but I’m glad we did it. Fortunately, both boys are okay with being in the car so much, as long as there’s a good audio book playing and snacks on hand.

When we tell people that CC is going to a French immersion school, many have asked, “Why French?” Both Larry and I have taken multiple language courses in our high school/college years, but sadly neither of us have attained fluency in any of them. We would love for our kids to be bilingual and get an early start on language learning, and since we’ve been lazy about speaking anything except English at home, immersion schooling seemed like the next best option. We can in no way afford any type of private school, so when we heard about this new charter school opening, it seemed like a great opportunity. We had already tried applying for a Mandarin charter school, but the lottery was not in our favor. So French it was. After meeting the great community of staff and parents at this school, we began to feel better about the decision. So when people ask me,”Why French?” my answer is “Why not French?” If my child had the opportunity to learn Swahili at a great tuition-free school, I’d still do it. Besides, you have to admit that hearing a little Chinese boy speaking French is kind of cute. It’s only the second week and already CC is spouting French sentences here and there. He’s gotten really good at saying, “Can I go to the bathroom please?” I guess that’s a pretty good first sentence to learn.

I’ll try to be better about my blogging, maybe in between all the drop-offs and pick-ups. No promises though.

In the meantime, a bientot!



Jesus at the Wedding

Recently I read this delicious little portion of ministry and I’ve been meaning to share it. It’s from a book on prayer and the portion I enjoyed is a commentary on the story in John chapter 2, when the Lord went to the wedding in Cana and changed the water into wine. If you’re not familiar with the story, basically it goes like this – Jesus is invited to a wedding, along with his mother and disciples. While they’re there, the wine runs out and Jesus’ mother comes and tells Him that there is no wine, obviously wanting Him to do something about the situation. His answer to her is “Woman, what do I have in this that concerns you? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) I was always quite puzzled by this reply. To me, it kind of sounded like something a teenager with attitude would say to his mom. Anyways, Mary obviously didn’t get the hint and goes ahead and tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says. He gives them instructions to fill the water pots with water and then to draw some and take it to the master of the feast. Upon drinking it, the master of the feast declares that wine to be better than the previous one.

So here’s the portion I enjoyed:

Marriage is the center of human life, and a wedding feast represents the pleasure of human life. The Lord came to the earth and entered into us in order to become the center of our human life and the pleasure of our human life. He did not come to ignore us or to be unconcerned with our affairs. He came to bear responsibility for our affairs. However, as a prerequisite, we must hand all authority over to Him and give Him full liberty.

The fact that the wine ran out means that something central and crucial was missing at the wedding feast. Since the Lord was there, He was surely interested in the feast. He would not stand by without doing something. Nevertheless, Mary, the Lord’s mother in the flesh, a person who represents us in our way of contacting the Lord, went to the Lord to propose that He do something. She did this with good intentions. In contacting the Lord we must beware that our intentions should not go before His intentions. (The Meaning and Purpose of Prayer, p 41)

First of all, I was encouraged that Jesus was at the wedding. I’m sure He was busy, teaching, preaching and healing people. But He took time out to go to this wedding, to be involved in something so common to human life. He wants to be involved in, is concerned with, and even wants to bear responsibility for all our human affairs. He didn’t skip out and say, “Sorry I have more important things to do, I’m here to carry out God’s will on the earth.” Yes, He’s here to carry out God’s will, but He does that by entering into our situations so that when we realize the “wine” has run out, He’s there to give us the better wine.

Secondly, because He’s concerned and wants to bear responsibility for our affairs, there’s no need for us to direct Him. Like Mary, I’m often quick to direct the Lord when I sense there’s a need in a certain situation. I pray for the Lord to do something and even offer Him proposals and advice on how He should do it. But His response to Mary at that wedding is clear indication that He doesn’t need our proposals or counsel. He knows our need better than we do and He has His timing and His way to meet it. We just need to stop directing, start listening and do whatever He says. If He says to fill the water pots to the brim, then amen, that’s what I’ll do, even though I don’t see how that helps the situation. If we all could learn this lesson when it comes to everything that concerns us – our marriage life, family life, work life, church life – I think there would so many more opportunities for the Lord to change our water into wine.

Capsuling My Wardrobe

I’m sure you all have noticed the term “wardrobe capsules” being thrown around in social media lately. It’s a movement that is quickly gaining momentum. For the uninitiated, it’s basically paring down your wardrobe to a small limited number of versatile items and working with that for a whole season (meaning not shopping). I was skeptical at first. You all know where I stand when it comes to the state of my wardrobe. But I thought I’d give it a try and now…I’m a wardrobe capsule convert.

One post I read advised that you have to begin by taking EVERYTHING out of your closet and then only put back in what you love. So that’s where I started.

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After going through every piece, only one-third of what was in the closet made it back in. I moved some winter coats to the closet in the kids’ room and everything else got put in boxes for Goodwill. Now I had a closet that was two-thirds empty.

Next, I attacked my dresser drawers. Same thing as with the closet, everything got pulled out and was carefully scrutinized. All shirts I wanted to keep got hung up in the closet. I fit all my undergarments, pajamas, and work out clothes in one drawer and pants and shorts in another, freeing up a whole drawer for my husband to use. Now this is what my closet looks like.

 photo 2

I thought that after getting rid of all the stuff I didn’t love, I’d have to go shopping to actually build my capsule. But in the clearing out process, I happily discovered clothes I forgot I’d had, crammed in the back of the closet, buried in the bottom of my drawers. So it was kind of like going shopping in my own closet. Now all the clothes I would actually wear are all out in plain view, which makes getting dressed in the mornings so much easier and faster.

Finally…a fashion trend that has actually made my life easier and that didn’t even cost me a cent. Wish all fashion trends were like that.

March Check-In

Whoa, it’s March? How did that happen? It can’t be possible that we’re already three months into the new year! Back in January I designated March as a time that I would check in with how my flight plan for this new year is coming along. (By the way, thanks to all of you who commented on that post with encouraging words!  It makes me realize that I’m not flying solo!) Anyways, as a way to keep myself accountable, I’ll share with you all how I’m doing so far.

Speak more kindly to my family

This one’s still a work in progress, but I must say that being more conscious of how I speak to my husband and children has made a marked difference in the atmosphere in our home. There has definitely been less yelling on my part. It has also engendered some good conversations between CC and me about how we should speak to one another. Sometimes he’ll remind me to say please or tell me he doesn’t like my tone (oh these kids!). The shouting matches of old have now become more like spirited debates, so that’s a good thing.

Learn how to study the word

So far I’ve been pretty consistent with my two Life-study messages a week. I’ve designated Tuesday and Thursday afternoons when Turner’s napping as my “study time.” I actually really look forward to that one quiet hour when I can sit down with a cup of tea and my Bible. I’ve definitely felt more spiritually supplied this year as a result of these weekly tea times with God.


Make plans to travel

Larry and I had big plans to go to Europe in May, but after talking it over we’ve decided that trip might have to wait until the summer of next year. So I’ll be putting that in my flight plan for 2016. That doesn’t mean we won’t be doing any traveling this year though. In a few weeks our family will be embarking on a grand road trip to Phoenix, AZ with a whole bunch of college students. And this summer my in-laws are spoiling the boys (and us) with a Disney cruise to Alaska! We’ll leave from Vancouver, so the new passports we got for the boys for our Europe trip will come in handy after all.

Start a regular neighborhood children’s meeting in our home

This one has been the most challenging item for me this year, but also the one I feel like God has blessed the most so far. I started a time with my boys once a week on Wednesday afternoons. We sing some songs, I’ll tell a short Bible story or character lesson, and then a simple craft. A friend o f mine started coming with her toddler son, and even though he was a little young to understand everything, it was nice to have more people come. CC started asking me why more kids didn’t come and so I started to pray with him at night about it. We’d pray for the Lord to bring his friends (and for his mom to have the boldness to invite them). After a couple months of it just being the three boys, I started to get a little discouraged, but a sister who had already established a meeting like this in her home just encouraged me to keep going. Two weeks ago I happened to bump into the mom of one of CC’s classmates when I went to pick him up at school and she and her son and baby daughter ended up all coming over to our place for an impromptu play date. We talked over tea and I told her about this weekly time I have with the kids and asked if her son would like to come and she said yes! So for the last two weeks I’ve been picking CC and his friend up at school and bringing them back here to have our children’s meeting. I still need a lot of help in learning how to get rowdy boys to sing and listen, but at least they all seem to enjoy the time. My faith was strengthened when I prayed with my son last night and he said, “Thank you Lord for answering our prayer and bringing Jakob to children’s meeting!”


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Speak the gospel to at least one person

This hasn’t quite happened yet…but I’m learning to just speak to people. The other day I struck up a conversation with a woman behind me in line at the grocery store, who also happened to be a stay-at-home mom. I ended up giving her a ride home because she didn’t have a car and we found out we had a lot in common. Anyways, I’m learning to step out of my shell and open my mouth more. Although I haven’t spoken the gospel ‘per se’ to anyone yet, I feel like there has definitely been opportunities when I’ve been able to speak my enjoyment of the Lord to others. The year is far from over, so I’ll still be praying for this.

How’s your flight plan for this year going so far?

Come, Go, Come


I recently came across this awesome portion in my random times of ministry reading –

The entire New Testament involves these two words: come and go. The New Testament involves coming, and it also involves going. To come is to receive grace, and to go is to impart grace into people. By our coming and going, we will eventually express a desire to the Lord. We will say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 2:20). Therefore, the second “come” is connected to the Lord’s coming again. Hence, the entire New Testament is concerning these three words: come, go, and come…May the Lord strengthen both our coming and our going. If we daily come to the Lord in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, we will surely go and testify to people. The issue of such coming and going is that we desire and yearn for the Lord to come back. (The Age of The One New Man, Witness Lee, pp. 56-57)

I love how this passage summarizes so simply the essence of the New Testament and of our Christian life. Our Christian life should just involve these three actions – we come to the Lord, we go to people, and then we yearn for the Lord to come. So simple, yet if we’re faithful to live a life like this, it will be one filled with joy, meaning, and purpose. The Lord has been touching me lately to step out of my comfort zone and to go visit people I normally don’t see on a regular basis. People that I haven’t seen in the church meetings in a while, new people that I’ve met at the church meetings, other stay at home moms that I might not know so well, basically anyone that the Lord would put in my heart. Often the Lord will bring a person to my mind, and yes, while I’m faithful to mention these ones in prayer when that happens, sometimes the Lord will nudge me to go a step farther…text them to see how they’re doing, invite them over for tea, or just drop by for a visit. I usually am not that good in obeying those nudges, but the more I come to the Lord, the more I’m learning to be one with Him in His sending. And when I do obey, the supply of life just flows and my joy is truly made full.

May you all have a blessed week of comings and goings! Come to the Lord continually to receive grace and go with that grace to whomever the Lord would send you. If we would all do this, I believe there would be the corporate cry within us all of “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Francophone Charter School of Oakland

French Immersion Education for All

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