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Posts Tagged ‘new year’

This post is long long overdue, but I thought I’d try to squeeze it in while it’s still 2016. So I said awhile back that I’d post when #3 was born? Well, he’s here! Ezra Timothy Chen arrived on October 24, 2016, four days before his due date. He came out fast and furious, sporting a full head of hair, much like his two older brothers. I’ve been a mother of 3 for all of two months now and so far the transition has been okay. We were only able to survive the first few weeks because of so many dear ones who were there to help. Big shout outs to all the people who brought us food, watched our kids, did school pick ups and drop offs for CC and Turner, and got us enough diapers to last the rest of this year and beyond. Big big shout out especially to my awesome mother-in-law, who stocked our freezer with meals, entertained the boys with science projects and Chinese lessons, and made sure I didn’t have to cook, wash dishes, or do laundry for two and half weeks. If I was too sleep deprived to tell you all a proper thank you at the time, please forgive me. Every act of kindness to us, big or small, was much appreciated and our family of five couldn’t have navigated through these last two months without them. So I’d like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I had hoped to get my act together in time to send you all a nice family photo card, you know, the kind you start getting from people right before Christmas. Every year, when I start receiving those cards in the mail, I tell myself, next year we’ll take a nice family photo and send one back. But every year without fail I forget and before you know it, the year has ended. I was really hoping to get some photo cards printed in time for this year, but we have yet to take a family photo of all 5 of us that I feel is nice enough to print copies of. But then again, who says family photo cards can only be sent out in the month of December? I might still try to get some photo cards out, so don’t be surprised if you receive one from me sometime in March that says, “Happy New Year from the Chens!” (I’m half serious, so if you’d like one, email me your address!)

In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for some pictures from my phone. Larry got me a new iphone for my birthday, so I finally got around to uploading all the pictures from my old phone to the laptop so I would have space on the new phone. The boys and I sat down and looked through all the pictures and videos from this past year and it was fun reliving all those memories. So in lieu of our family photo card for now, please enjoy some of the most recent pictures from my iphone photo dump.

Happy new year from the Chens!

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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.

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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?

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My Flight Plan for 2015

I know it’s a little late for a new year’s post, but here goes anyway.

A few days before the end of the year I was lamenting to Larry in the car how I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything in the past year. Yes, it was a busy year for us and there were plenty of things that we did, but looking back I just didn’t feel like there was much progress or growth with me personally. He reminded me that our growth in life is in the realm of faith and often not that noticeable and that being self-introspective will just lead me down a path to nowhere, which is all very true. So instead of introspecting, I’ve been trying to do more reflecting about 2014. I realized that much of the reason I felt like I didn’t accomplish much was because I hadn’t set clear goals (or I might have set goals but neglected to write them down, so they were forgotten by March).

Larry related to me a story yesterday that he had heard from someone else about two pilots of a commercial airline. They were in the plane, ready to go except for the fact that they had no flight plan. So they decided to take off anyway and wing it (no pun intended) and somehow figure it out when they were in the air. After 20 minutes in the air, they realized how ridiculous that idea was and turned back around to land. That’s kind of how I feel at the beginning of this year. I’ve gotten pretty good at maintenance, making sure fuel is filled and all systems are a go, but I don’t know where I’m going or even where I want to go. So instead of flying around aimlessly for another year just enjoying the ride, I think I’m going to turn around and land. It’s the 5th of January, CC is back in school and Larry is back at work. Turner is playing at a friend’s house. Today seemed like a perfect time for me to take a little pit stop and make myself a flight plan for this coming year.

I won’t share all my goals with you, but I will share some in the hopes that it’ll make me more accountable. Some are personal goals and some are related to our family. For those of you out there who actually read my posts, feel free to check up on me mid-year (or next week!). The more encouragement I can get, the better. Here goes some of my goals for 2015, in no particular order:

Speak more kindly to my family

Ok, confession time. I never thought I would be a yeller, but I am. I would never yell at my kids in public (because I’m too worried about what other people will think of me), but at home, when no one’s around, I yell. And I nag. Now I’m starting to reap the fruit of all that yelling and it’s not pretty. I see how my boys get into each other’s faces when they’re mad, screaming ugly words at one another and the truth starts to hit home. That’s exactly what mama does when she gets angry. Maybe I don’t say ugly words to them, but the tone, the facial expressions, the attitude is ugly. So I’m going to do my best to work on this – to speak kindly, politely, not in anger. I want to model to my kids what it means to “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

Learn how to study the word

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been trying to work my way through the Life-study of the Bible. Last year I finished the Life-study of Genesis and started the Life-study of Exodus. Even though it has been good, I realized most of the time I read it very superficially just to get through without much retention. So this year I want to try slowing down a bit and just read two messages a week. And instead of reading it on my ipad while lying in bed half asleep, I’d like to dedicate some time in my schedule to sit down and really study what I’m reading. Hopefully by doing this, my Truth Tuesday posts will become more consistent.

Make plans to travel

As Larry and I reviewed the past year, both of us agreed that our trip to the east coast was one of the most memorable things for 2014. So this year we’d like to make time for another family adventure, maybe this time not just across the country, but across the ocean. It has long been our dream to go to Europe together. Any tips on traveling in Europe with small children would be much appreciated.

Start a regular neighborhood children’s meeting in our home

I’ve been considering this and praying about this for awhile and I feel like this year I just need to go ahead and try it. I realized that outside of the two hours on Sunday morning, my kids don’t really get much directed moral education. We have so many meetings in our home – prayer meetings, Bible studies, small group meetings – this year, I’d like my kids to have a meeting that’s just for them and that they can invite their friends to. I’m not sure what we’ll do in this time, probably just some simple Bible stories, lessons on character, singing, and crafts. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Speak the gospel to at least one person

I’m setting the bar pretty low on this one because it’s something that’s always been a struggle for me. I so want preaching the gospel to be a normal part of my daily life and not an arduous, burdensome, insurmountable thing. I know there’s a particular joy in flowing the Lord out to people and I don’t want to miss out on that joy this year.

These are just some of my goals for this year. Even if the flight plan needs to be altered here and there as we go along, at least I feel like I kind of know where I’m going.

What are some of your goals for 2015? Whatever your flight plan for this year is, happy flying!

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Happy new year, my friends! Sorry I’ve been pretty silent on this blog in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been down in So Cal staying with Larry’s parents and I just got lazy. But now we’re back home and I’m slowly starting to ease back into the swing of things, which I hope will mean that you’ll hear from me at least twice a week again.

So a few things from our recent winter vacay…

  • We attended the semi-annual training, a week long Bible conference, this time covering Genesis chapters 12-24. It was awesome and faith infusing. I hope to share some highlights with you in next week’s Truth Tuesday post.

 

  • We explored some more museums in LA, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum. CC loved both and could not stop talking about saber tooth cats, mastodons and of course dinosaurs. The charge for admission is the same at both museums, but the Natural History museum is waaayyy bigger and in my opinion, more bang for the buck. You can get a combo ticket that gets you into both (and you don’t have to go to both on the same day, just within two weeks time), which is probably what we should have done.

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  • So you know how I often complain about CC’s eating…or more like his not eating? My mother in law suggested that we take him to see her Chinese doctor, who’s a combination of a chiropractor and a chi gung master. I’m usually pretty skeptical about these kind of things, but I thought, “Hey, if it doesn’t hurt, why not?” So she made an appointment for him and we all went along. The guy put CC on the massage table, showed us how part of his spine was not aligned (which I couldn’t really see), gave him some gentle adjustments, did some special massages on his back and hands which were supposed to stimulate his appetite and told us he was cured. We were instructed to do those same massages on him once a week. For the next few days CC ate like a ravenous wolf, all without any prompting. I’m not saying I’m a believer now, but I’d happily do little finger dances and pinches up his spine once a week if it means there will be less battles at the dinner table.

 

  • On our winter break I started this book with CC – Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I picked up a copy at Barnes and Nobles before we left for So Cal. My background and training is in teaching ESL, but surprisingly enough, I’ve never had any experience or exposure to teaching phonics. This book is broken down into 100 short lessons and you’re supposed to do one a day. The great thing is that it actually scripts out everything you’re supposed to say to the child word for word, so anyone can use it, even if you have no background in teaching. It really is amazing. Each lesson only takes us about 10 minutes and by Lesson 7, CC was already sounding out three letter words all by himself. I totally wished I had started this with him earlier.

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  • We had a pretty uneventful New Year’s Eve. While Larry’s parents went out to party, we had dinner at a mediocre Japanese restaurant, came home to do laundry and pack, and then put the kids to bed. Larry and I did however each spend some time to pray personally and then together to freshly consecrate ourselves and our family to the Lord. For us, it was the best way to end the year. I was in bed and asleep by 11. 🙂

Hope you all had a wonderful end to 2013, whatever that means for you, and I’m excited and looking forward to a new year which I hope will be full of more pearls of wisdom to share with you all!

 

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