Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Happy birthday to me!

I know I said you probably won’t hear from me until January, but I thought today deserved a post, it being my birthday and all. Now please, no need to plaster my Facebook wall with happy birthday wishes, there’s a reason I purposely didn’t disclose my birthday on my FB profile. And this year of all years, I’d rather not be reminded that I’m not only one year older, but that I’ve officially begun a new decade in my life. Yup, believe it or not, I can no longer consider myself a hip thirtysomething (okay…maybe I was never hip), but starting today, I am officially MIDDLE AGE. That’s right, the big four-oh. I still can’t bring myself to say it, but I guess I can type it…40. Today I’m 40 years old. Yikes!

When I was in college, 40 seemed so far away. At that time, I thought for sure that by the time I turned 40, I’d be married with kids in grade school, have an Asian mom perm, and have life all figured out. How silly I was. I’m far from having life all figured out and I’m definitely not ready to take on an Asian mom perm. In many ways I do feel older and wiser, but I also feel like there’s so much more for me to learn. I guess that’s good because my husband always says the day we get old is the day we stop learning.

I turned 40 today without much fanfare. (As you know, we’re not big birthday celebrators in this house). I woke up, took the kids to school, and proceeded to go to my usual yoga class at the Y. As I was waiting for the class to start, I noticed lots of women gathering around getting ready to go into a cardio dance class. So I thought to myself, “It’s a new year. Why not break out of my routine and comfort zone and try something new?” So I walked into this dance class and stood nervously in the back trying to hide. The instructor was a energetic woman over 60 with a body of a 25 year old, and most of the other women around me were not much younger. Before I knew it, the music started, and I found myself shuffling, sashaying, popping my hips…basically making a complete fool of myself. But it was great, and I loved being in the company of these grey haired grandmas who didn’t care how their hair looked or if their outfits matched. They danced with abandon without any need to check themselves out in the mirror. Maybe middle age won’t be so bad.

So here’s to another decade and to more years of learning. And of course, to more years of Christ growing in me. Spiritually speaking, I think it’s also time to step out of my routine and comfort zone and try something new. The Lord has definitely given me some real experiences of Him in my thirties, but I sense that it’s time to forget the past and stretch forward. Time to go deeper and higher in my experience of Christ and to enjoy the Lord with abandon, not caring for my image or what others think of me. This is what will keep our spirit young no matter what age we are.

b35a36b2d7c3553050c38f13da618222

 

 

Advertisements

Hibernation mode

hibernation

We took the whole Thanksgiving week off last week and just came back from visiting family and friends in SoCal. I’m still recovering. We all ended the trip with some stomach issues, with the exception of Turner. That boy has a tummy of steel; doesn’t seem like anything can suppress his appetite. We had a good time, but I’m glad to be back in my own bed and to have the kids back in school. Hopefully I’ll be back to eating soon too.

It just hit me today that IT’S DECEMBER! It’s hard to believe that in a month 2015 will be over. Crazy, isn’t it? I was recalling my post about my goals for this year and it just made me groan. At some point I will revisit that post and let you all know how I did, but this is the time of year when I lose all motivation to do anything, anything productive, that is. I wish I had the energy for that final sprint, but instead I think I’ll be dragging myself tooth and nail to the finish line.

I so wish I was a bear and could just go into hibernation for this next month. Winter has finally come to Berkeley (meaning the temperatures can go below 60!) and all I want to do is hide under the covers all day and waste my time scrolling through Facebook. Last night I went to bed at 9pm and woke up this morning at 6:30am. 9.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep = pure happiness. Maybe my stomach is telling me that I ate enough last week for me to just sleep this week. That would be so nice…

I’ve decided that for me December will be a season of rest, at least until we make that drive down to SoCal again in three more weeks. Maybe I’ll wake up from my hibernation refreshed and ready to tackle goals for another year. So you all probably won’t hear from me until January. Until then, happy December!

 

Afternoon blog therapy

IMG_2764[1]

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!

IMG_2694[1] IMG_2697[1] IMG_2702[1]

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!

IMG_2589

IMG_2605

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.

photo 1

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.

FRANCOPHONE CHARTER SCHOOL OF OAKLAND

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

Lora Lynn Fanning

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

Here in the Lovely Woods

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

The Art of Simple

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

Tsh Oxenreider

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

tuesday snippets

tuesdays aren't as sneaky as mondays.