18
Aug
stored in: 2019

I was planning to attend worship service today but I didn’t make it.

I ended up talking to people because I needed to and wanted to catch up with them. I’ve been told that you need to take a number to talk to me on Sundays. I’ve literally had people waiting in line to talk to me – I mean not all the time, maybe twice. Fortunately not often, I don’t want people to think of me like that.

I haven’t been to worship for a while. So today after checking in with the children, I started making my way to worship service via the bathroom first. Ended up talking to a mom about an issue, which was good. Then just a few feet from the worship room, I caught up with someone about things, which was good. By that time, I didn’t want to go in after the sermon already started. I might as well talk to other people. Thought I could catch the last part of Children Worship at least, but ended up talking to someone outside the room.

I felt edified by all the conversations. I did not “attend worship service”, but I enjoyed the presence of God in God’s people. I don’t think this should be a regular habit. That would just be socializing. And I do miss just sitting for worship.

I just can’t seem to do that at my own church! Is this just an occupational hazard?

 

Today I was conferred the role of grandma.

Today my granddaughter was born. I have a grandson in heaven who was born last year.

I don’t tell people that I feel somewhat sad.

Sad at the passing of a season of life that had been the best years of my life – it was 31 years ago when I was a new mom. I loved being a mom. Looking at my daughter today as a new mom, I wish I were her. I wish I could be breastfeeding and holding the baby all night.

I know I am glamorizing the experience. The sleepless nights were no fun. Cleaning up vomit several times a day was no fun. Worrying and keeping watch over a sick baby was no fun.

But all that built character! I pushed through doing things myself, with my husband alongside. Maybe I should’ve been smarter to at least hire someone to clean the house. But I wanted to be there to do everything. I tell every new mom to not let a nanny or your mother to take the privilege of 2am feedings. You want those struggles, they bond you with your own flesh and blood. I miss those 2am feedings.

I’ve always wanted to be a “homemaker”, and I was proud of being a stay at home mom.

Today, the baton is officially passed on. Sure, I will always be a mom, I know. But now my daughter is the mom. I’m proud of her. She gave birth without an epidural as I did. We got the whole experience! She will continue to cherish many experiences to come, like 2am feedings that she will miss one day.

I suppose I will also have many experiences to cherish as a grandma. That’s what I’ve been told.

15
Aug

Had a conversation yesterday to explain to someone why we don’t have a certain event anymore.

It’s hard to explain to people why we change things at church.

All the things we did in the past are good. So why change? Why eliminate it?

I’m writing this out so I can clarify in my own mind the vision we are trying to achieve.

The kind of culture we want to build is based on our vision of Biblical, Intergenerational, Missional (BIM).

The kind of culture currently in our church that we want to eliminate is – program focused (plan an event that requires a lot of manpower and they will come), silo mentality (you do your thing with your people, I’ll do mine with my people), and consumer attitude (the thing is good if we like it and benefits us).

Not only does a pathway have to be crafted for the vision to have practical onramps for people to live the vision, but the mindset has to shift to WANT to be on that pathway and the willingness to change the things that contribute to the current culture (“Everything was good before, why are we changing things? How is the new way any better?”).

I don’t even know what it all entails to make this happen. We are working on it one step at a time. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are getting anywhere.

If we evaluate a single program – is it glorifying God and accomplishing something good? – the answer can always be justified to be a yes.

We must ask – is it on the pathway of being BIM? Is it contributing to the mindset of the current culture that needs to change?

We want to replace program focused with programs that are vision and relationship focused; replace silo mentality with collaboration. We are are vision and relationship focused and approach everything with humble collaboration, then the consumer attitude will change.

As I write this, I’m not even sure if my thinking is correct. I think of basic Body life of a church, of the first century church, of what Jesus said how the Body functions and what Church is to be.

Sometimes it seems like church has gotten too complicated. I’m not smart enough.

 

12
Aug
stored in: 2019

8-11-2019 Sunday. Had a rough day giving the children’s message. One of the children with autism was screaming for a long time. I was so distracted I don’t think I gave a good message. I trust God knows and I’ll let it go with that.

We had a very good STM prep with a prayer walk around the market and church. It was very encouraging, we should do more prayer walks. One comment during our debrief – prayer walks is focused on praying missionally, not something we do often when we have our regular daily prayers.

8-12-2019 Monday. Din Tai Fung (I’ve forgotten how expensive it is), Huntington Library (cleaner air from all the greenery).

I don’t often have to drive alone when I go more than about 5 miles. Any ventures more than that I usually have company ie my husband or carpool with a friend. Today I drove to Pasadena by myself to spend a few hours with my daughter.

I understand now why my mom used to say it’s too much trouble to go places. I am at that age now when I do feel that, even a 30 mile drive to Pasadena wasn’t a big hassle, but it was a notch over nothing. Going to Taiwan is a couple more notches over nothing.

But it was worth it.

Aaron gave me this book a while back. It’s been on the stack by my bed. Finally finished reading it. This is my August read, one book a month.

I really liked the first chapter explaining what true worship means. Then when it got to the details, it was too much detail. The last chapter reminded me of what I’m living for – eternity with Christ, worshipping him unhindered. I feel excited, I’m ready to go there now!

Most books drag in the middle, as this one did. I am a slow reader, so getting through the middle of the book was a challenge, but I learned a lot.

One takeaway: If it is true that everything we have, we received from God, then our ability to worship comes from God. We have to learn to receive from God. It’s not by our own efforts to worship.

10
Aug

8-5-19 Monday. Still hate the LA traffic, visiting Audrey. Almost the same distance to Irvine to visit Elliot, but much more pleasant for me, suburban living in Irvine is more my comfort. Audrey is so close yet so far.

8-6-19 Tuesday. I’m an external processor and I like being in meetings with others like me who can talk things out and talk fast. How long do you have to wait for internal processors to express their opinions? I really want to know your thoughts, but can you please just spit it out faster? I should be used to this since everyone in my family are internal processors. But I know their heart and pretty much know what they would say. They also feel more free to express themselves. In a church setting, I guess the internal processors are more careful and take longer to internally process.

8-7-19 Wednesday. My physical therapy appointment today showed a lot of progress on my right gluts. My legs are much better now. I asked my PT to teach me to walk properly because more than one person has said I walk funny. His diagnoses is I don’t swing my arms. My back is stiff and not moving my hips thus not distributing my weight. If you see me walking with exaggerated swinging arms, you’ll know I’m doing what my PT told me to do. Audrey’s date due, no baby yet.

8-8-19 Thursday. Productive day – prepared my sermon for Sunday, connected with someone to solve a problem. Building relationships with people is the first and most important step in ministry. And the most satisfying. Didn’t swim today. I have UTI symptoms.

8-9-19 Friday. My last free Friday before Awana starts next Friday. Got stuff ready for Sunday. Set up a couple of brief meet ups on Sunday with new volunteers. Hope I don’t forget to be there as I did last week. I wrote myself a note. I didn’t feel well, went to sleep at 9:30pm.

8-10-19 Saturday. Went line dancing at church, it was fun, mostly for exercising and meeting new people. I have no rhythm, but I don’t feel too bad. Some of those ladies have been going to 2-3 classes per week for the last 6 years! They know all the moves. Great exercise physically and mentally for seniors, like me. The teacher is almost 80, she looks great! Got my hair cut after line dancing, in preparation for Taiwan STM. Barn door installation almost… almost…so close…but not done. The handle is defective and one part is put on the wrong way.

God answered a prayer, not a life and death prayer, but God is gracious to his children when we ask even little things. We bought the barn door handle a couple of months ago. To get ready for the installation today, we tried to find that handle. We looked for 2 days, covering all likely and unlikely places where we would store it.

I asked my husband, “Do you believe God can help us find it if He wanted to? Should we pray?” So we prayed. We looked.

We still couldn’t find it as of this morning when the installer came.

Then lo and behold, my husband looked again and found it at the last minute!

Hahaha, so funny the way God answered that prayer. And the handle is defective, haha. Maybe that’s why God didn’t want it to find it. Now we will have to buy another one anyway. So funny.

I don’t usually like to pray for trivial things. Makes me feel like a spoiled kid asking a transcendent God for a small thing. If I can’t find it, I’ll just have to buy another.

Yet, not asking means I am living life on my own, apart from my heavenly father. I would my earthly father to help me find a lost item, why don’t I ask my heavenly Father?

Prayer is about relationship, a daily encounter with God our Father, our Friend, our Savior.

 

04
Aug
stored in: 2019

I was too ambitious. I stacked a lot of meetings today. Forgot to go to one of them. Postponed the last one.

Today was promotion Sunday, so lots of questions of where kids go, one child with special needs had a melt-down.

While these situations may or may not demand my personal attention, I feel responsible for all of them. So I felt distracted and forget things.

I was suppose to give an brief orientation to 2 young adults helping with Mandarin translation. I totally forgot. But it was fine, the other teachers handled it.

The good thing is, I attended to couple of first time visitors. One just moved from Fresno to Chino Hills. One from China who just came to US after 2 years in the Philippines.

Awana meeting, then literally ran down to meet up with missionaries, took them to attend Mission Board meeting to update their ministry. They are our partners for our Taiwan STM, in town today. It was great that the rest of the team got to meet them. I ate my lunch at 2pm during the MB meeting. I noticed Gabe was eating too.

I planned on our team doing a prayer walk after this, but everyone was tired, and it was hot…so we will postpone to next week.

All is well. The world doesn’t fall apart when things don’t go exactly right. PTL!

04
Aug

Yesterday’s children’s outreach:

Good: Pioneering a children’s event at Ybarra instead of at church

Not so good: The AC wasn’t working until after lunch. Even I, who barely sweat in Taiwan humidity, was getting moist.

Good: No one complained. And when the AC finally came on, we really appreciated it.

Not so good: The speakers rushed to get here immediately coming off the airplane, after a vacation in Hawaii.

Good: They made it!

Not so good: They were late!

Good: Adeline did a fabulous job leading games and reading a story to fill in until they got here.

Not so good: By the time the teaching began, it seemed like the day was already over! We already played games, had snacks, and heard a missionary story.

Good: The speakers had energy, the kids were responsive.

Not so good: It was a long day, no matter how fun it is. It was hard to maintain the mental engagement.

Good: All the helpers were great. Feedback was they wanted more time in small group with the kids.

Not so good: A parent just emailed me that her daughter got hurt and she wasn’t told.

Good: I don’t know how I will reply yet, but I can trust God to smooth things out. He will have the victory.

Good: I enjoyed the whole day. Was able to relax and talk to other “older” helpers while most of the running around was done by the youth and younger people.

Good: Had a couple bites of Costco cheese pizza which I never eat. It was so good!

Good: Got some roast duck from the chinese retreat dinner.

Good: I had enough energy and the desire to go back to church to hang out with the preschool team for a short time after dinner. The preschoolers were having so much fun.

Good: Thankful I live less than 10 minutes from church so I can go back and forth.

Good: Went to sleep relatively early at 10:45pm.

 

 

01
Aug
stored in: 2019

I had lunch with someone who will be going to college. I’ve known her since 5th grade and I wanted to have an “adult” meet up before she starts school. Seeing her excitement for what’s ahead made me appreciate my own journey through the years of college.

God has been so faithful to me, steering me towards Him. It would’ve been so easy for me to fall away. I could’ve been easily tempted to follow the world. But God gave me fear – fear of God and the judgement to come is a good thing. I did not dare stray too far. By the grace of God I am walking with him.

Hurt my achilles tendon by over extending and over stretching. That doesn’t pay to exercise!

I promised I will not be defined by my age, my aches and pains. So I am going to approach Saturday’s children outreach with the joy of anticipation of a fantastic event!

01
Aug
stored in: 2019

I am thankful for the priority our staff puts on personal spiritual life. On the 5th Tuesday of the month we are told to take a spiritual retreat day.

I spent half my day at home reading and half my day at my favorite retreat place – Mariners church in Irvine. There is hardly anyone there on a weekday, but a few people to keep it from feeling deserted.

I am inspired by my daughter to keep my brain active by memorizing verses, starting with John 14. You can’t go wrong memorizing the words of Jesus. And it’s a little easier because I already know parts of it.

So far I am really enjoying the process, taking the time to read it over and over, forcing me to meditate on the meaning. I decided I am not going to pressure myself to get every single word in the right order. In the past I gave up memorizing because I got tired of getting every single article in the right place.  This time I will not keep going back to get it exactly right. A few words wrong here and there is acceptable margin of error.

—-

So thankful for the team serving together on Saturday’s children’s outreach. Their attention to detail is beyond my imagination.

I’ve planned many VBSs in my lifetime. I was younger, more energy, had more bandwidth to attend to the details. But even then, I didn’t do that well with details. I always did the big picture planning. Now I just hate too much detail; makes me confused and anxious, leading to poor decision making.

I am true to my ENFP MB type – “Under great stress, ENFPs may become overwhelmed by detail and lose their normal perspective and sense of options.”

But I get the job done, all by God’s grace. And isn’t that just how life is? In our weakness He is strong.

 

30
Jul

This sauce is good with Mexican or Mediterranean inspired dishes.

Here are the ingredients. Blend it all together till smooth. It’s a thin sauce to be drizzled over the meat or veggies (think shredded cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes).

Greek yogurt, plain, I use full fat yogurt

Garlic – to taste

Green onion – as much as you want

Cilantro – more the better, I love cilantro

Lime juice about 1-2 tablespoons to taste

Salt, as needed, I didn’t need it

 

30
Jul
stored in: 2019

In an effort to daily post about my day in 2019, seems like posting a day behind is becoming the pattern.

So yesterday, we went to eat Malaysian food in Anaheim – got a Groupon for it. Amy also has Mondays off work. Usually she has her own plans, but she had no plans and joined us.

I’ve been on the lookout for suitable for Monday outings on my day off. I don’t think I’ll do that Malaysian restaurant again – too spicy for me. My default outing would be Huntington Library since I have an annual pass.

Making use of Amy’s annual pass parking at Disneyland, we went to Downtown Disney after lunch. Even just being in the parking lot of Disney was magical haha! I remember the tram ride used to have a recorded message with Disney music background, saying the perfunctory “keep safe, enjoy your stay, etc.” I liked it, but this tram ride was silent. New security check system was efficient but a sad commentary of the state of things nowadays. In the ol’ days…security checks at amusement parks was unheard of.

Came home, went swimming, watched half of Christopher Robin on Nexflix over dinner. I made a pretty good shrimp “taco” dish for dinner – without the shell, with a yogurt lime sauce. I would make it again.

 

29
Jul

After much deliberation for the last several weeks, I decided to go to the young adult retreat for one day.

Funny thing is, I carpooled with Jedda; four years ago we carpooled to the women’s retreat to the same place. And on the way back, I drove Joyce home, which was what I did at the women’s retreat as well. I guess it was meant to be.

“Why are you here?” I was asked more than once. It was a genuine question, not implying that I was unwelcome. I’m not a young adult, nor am I the group’s official mentor.

I went for 2 reasons. I want to get away and listen to the speaker, whom I heard was good. When I was on Sabbatical last year, I really enjoyed attending worship at various churches. I just want to sit under some good preaching at this retreat.

I also wanted to get to know the young people. I was the teacher/leader of the young adults in my former church. I still keep in touch with many of them. I miss being with that age. My children are now in that age range, so by getting to know other young adults, I can understand my own children more.

I found that unless I had a role there, ie counselor, or mentor, or teacher, people will not automatically come to talk to me. They go up to talk to the speaker, because he had a role, they know what he is there for.  Even the young adults who know me didn’t come talk to me when they see me by myself, with the exception of maybe 4 people. It didn’t hurt my feelings, just an observation.

I had no hesitation making conversation with people. In fact, I talked to a young man I know is a PT and got some free advice :) We don’t know each other well, so it was good to be there to hear what he’s doing now. At the same time, it seemed pointless to catch up, because I probably won’t interact with him again.

One of the girls asked me for some advice. I got to know her more.

Overall, I have no regrets of going. I probably would’ve regretted if I didn’t go. I always choose the fun option, afraid that I would miss out on something good.

I enjoyed the preaching too. I appreciated his way of engaging with young adults. His applications are not relevant to me, but the Word of God is always relevant. It’s always good to grow deeper in our understanding of our identity in Christ and how that affects us daily. When I reread my notes today, it made sense.

This retreat gave me a shared experience with the young adults, and with my daughter. It’s a springboard to further connections, hopefully build on those relationships.

 

 

25
Jul
stored in: 2019

I went outside for less than 5 minutes and got 4 bug bites! This is in my backyard, not a jungle! This hot humid weather is no fun. It’s expected in Asia but I am not ready for this in SoCal

Praise God He gave me inspiration for my sermons today. I am giving a promotion message to the preschoolers and one to the elementary children on Sunday.

Children messages are short, so it is not as hard to prep as an adult message. But the thought behind it is the same. I also think about how the message would edify the adult helpers there.

I am glad I don’t have to preach to adults regularly as our pastors do. It would take so much thought that I wouldn’t be able to split my mind to plan other things for children ministry. I can do more detail planning than the pastors do because of that.

People don’t know what pastors do. They think that even if they spend 20 hours a week in sermon prep, they would still have a good 20-30 hours for running the church, so they expect more production. It all sounds good on paper. But the mind cannot engage so quickly from this to that when it is relational and dynamic.

Sermon prep is a creative process that takes up your brain space. As a lay leader at my previous church, I used to teach adult SS every Sunday. I thought sermon prep was basically the same, so my pastor should be able to do a lot more with all the extra time he has. But now I see how it really is, I experience it, and I give a lot of credit to our pastors.

I especially commend the solo pastor of a small church who preaches every week, each sermon being judged if it’s “good” or not. And then he has to love and care for the people who don’t understand why he is not more productive. It’s hard to explain on paper in terms of hours you work. It’s hard to explain until you experience it first hand. It is definitely a calling, not a job.

I would like to teach adults and youth once in a while for a change of pace. It’s good practice, same as I think it’s good for pastors to preach to children once in a while.

Enjoyed my monthly massage today. Then I felt too relaxed to swim, afraid I might drown! So I did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

About a month ago I bought a used elliptical for $50. I figured if we don’t use it, I’ll give it away and $50 wouldn’t hurt much. I would say we already got our money’s worth though. My husband is finally exercising (40 minutes a day) and I do at least 15 minutes a day, hopefully my cholesterol will go down.

23
Jul
stored in: 2019

I hear about people having to deal with various personalities in the workplace. We have a variety of personalities, perspectives and opinions among the staff. I’ve come to appreciate each one though I have more affinity towards certain types. I thank God that in a church environment, there is a good amount of grace and forgiveness.

It’s funny that at staff meeting we had to talk for more than 15 minutes about whether or not to continue sending out birthday cards. I suppose a small thing like this can have wider implications. It’s small changes like this that shows that things are changing.

I’ve been given more birthday cards to write recently and it does take a lot of time. I pray for the person, and try to write something personal on each one. It’s probably not time well-spent considering pastors can be doing other things with that 1/2 hour of time.

Rick Warren said none of his friends who started the church with him stayed as the church got big. He couldn’t be the small church pastor they wanted him to be – he couldn’t give them time or attention they were used to getting. Birthday cards reminded me of that. Growth brings changes. I like changes.

One of the weakness of our church is not releasing the laxity more. For example, these birthday cards. They should be written by the people who are caring for the person, ie their small group leader or SS teachers. Then , there’ll be no need for a card to come from the pastors. More ministries should be given into the hands of the people. Writing cards is just an example.

Swam by myself today for 20 minutes. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body. Tomorrow is prayer meeting and I won’t be able to swim.

Took Mike to cut eucalyptus for me to make a wreath. He’s such a good husband :)

 

 

22
Jul
stored in: 2019

My day off started with our usual Costco run, Billy’s egg farm. My husband got Haagen Dazs ice cream bars (on sale), and I got parmesan cheese crisps (on sale) as our treats to ourselves for the month.

Quiet afternoon, then a quick run to TJ Max for fun, swam just because I feel guilty having a perfectly warm pool right here with no one using it. Tried to eat dinner outside, but it was too warm even at 7pm, the bugs were starting to bite. We moved back indoors, turned on the AC…ah, such is the suburban life!

I thank God for this season of my life where it’s relatively easy. It hasn’t always been this way. We’ve had our share of struggles. I hope I’ve matured to be able to handle difficulties that may come ahead, especially with aging.

My worst fear is if my husband dies before I do! But God knows what I can handle, and what he can handle.

Pastor Jackson says, he asks God for he and his wife to die together since they don’t have kids to take care of the surviving spouse. But that would only happen under tragic circumstances such as a car or plane crash. That would be sad, but would be an answer to his prayer. Morbid thoughts.

 

 

 

 

21
Jul
stored in: 2019

I can’t talk loud over the kids anymore.

Since I’ve been having LPR, my voice has been weak. The symptom of my greatest concern about having LPR is a burning sensation in my throat. It affects my vocal cords and potentially damage them permanently.

Today, the kids were loud, which I’m ok with. Of course kids are loud.

But I can’t yell loud enough to get their attention. Now my throat hurts from trying.

I also realized my sin of trying to solve the noise issue my way by talking louder. Instead of shooting up “arrow prayers”, I use my own solutions. I’m sure God could’ve quieted the kids if I asked Him.

In fact, I’ve not been looking to God in my times of need. In big things, yes. But I live the “regular” course of life pretty much dependent on myself.

I thank God for revealing this to me today. I am asking God to help me to grow in this way. I think this will greatly help in relieving stress that I’ve been feeling.

Getting back to the heart of worship, it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Jesus…

It’s hard for me to truly worship at our church. My mind is on things I need to do, people I need to talk to, people I should catch up with… And I’m thinking how we can improve this or that during the worship…Announcements should be faster…they can improve the lighting…too much stuff on stage…why haven’t they moved the piano, it’s too close to the edge…

When I worship at another church, I can usually relax. But yesterday, I couldn’t. I was looking at things that our church can copy from them – offering receptacles, baskets with welcome brochures, gifts for new comers, prayer room for those who need prayer after service.

I had to close my eyes and consciously focus on worshipping God. I have to intentionally focus on the words we were singing instead of on the lighting and sound and what the musicians were wearing. I force myself to pay attention to the words of the Bible instead of the pastor’s smooth delivery style.

I need to go attend evening service more as I used to before Perspectives. It’s where I re-center. It takes me away from being a “professional Christian”.

After church, we went to the most popular Asian center in Irvine. Parking is worst than Rowland Heights. We were really lucky to get a space right when someone pulled out.

We ate at Pepper Lunch, got an order of sui mai from Tim Ho Wan, a custard tart at 85. We decided we should do a food tour of Rowland Heights. We have a lot of good food so close to us.

It was a fun date.

In the morning we went to Ontario Mills for the Skechers sale. That was fun too.

It’s not too often that I have a whole Saturday free.

 

I love reading these “Christian Heroes” biographies for children.

Cameron Townsend is the founder of Wycliff Bible Translators. In the old days, missionaries get through many harsh conditions to unreached people groups. Travel was not as easy as it is now.

Nowadays, missionaries can go back home fairly easily if needed. I admired the Christian heroes of the past who were willing to suffer for Christ. Americans now, especially speaking for myself, do not have that “grit”.

The book does not emphasize all the difficulties, which I’m sure were many. But I guess being the wimp that I am, that’s what I think of when I read about Townsend’s traveling on trains, riding on mules, taking 2 weeks through the jungle to get to the village…I can’t even imagine what that’s like! How do you go to the bathroom??

I did not realize that Wycliff Bible Translators did more than translate the Bible. When they live with the people to learn their language, they are there to help the village improve its living conditions, ie clean water, medical help, etc.

Townsend had vision for God’s work till the day he died. He continued to travel into his 80′s. It was a bit easier by then, the 1970′s. But going to India, Soviet Union, Philipines, Nepal, all over the world, for a man his age is not easy even today. Again, that’s a reflection of my weakness when I think about his life.

Therefore, I am inspired once again, not to let age define me.

One time, Townsend had second thoughts about sending two single women into the jungle. But one of the women replied, “Don’t you trust God to take care of us?”

Yes, God will take care of us.

18
Jul
stored in: 2019

It was hard to go swimming by myself for the first time . It was a lot easier today.

It takes a few times of anything to overcome the resistance. Then it becomes easier. I did not hesitate at the edge of the pool as I did the first time. It helped that the water was nice and warm. I got a good 20 minutes of exercise. It didn’t seem long.

Got some work done at the office, ready for Sunday. Tomorrow I will work on long term stuff. Thankful again for Denise for reminding me of admin stuff that I need to keep track of.