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.

 

 

 

 

17
Jul
stored in: 2019

On Monday we went to eat in LA to celebrate Audrey’s 30th. I can’t believe I have a daughter 30 years old!

I was a mother at 30, and I felt like an adult. Yet it’s an odd feeling that my own daughter is 30 and going to be a mother. No wonder my parents treated me like a child when I was 30. I promise myself I would not treat my adult children like young children.

I don’t like the idea of going to LA – traffic, no parking, homeless encampments…but it is a fun diverse city. I like going in a group, especially if I don’t have to drive. Thank God my husband is a good driver and skillful at parking. But I wouldn’t go there on a date, just the 2 of us.

———–

I believe everyone is creative. Creativity is expressed in different ways.

I’ve gone through many creative seasons of crafts – sewing, rubber stamping, mop dolls, paper making, stitchery, etc. etc. I was never that interested in drawing or painting, mostly crafts.

Maybe they were more like hobbies. I don’t do any of that anymore. Michael’s and Joann’s used to be my favorite stores, now I rarely go.

Now I am into making fresh wreaths and kombucha :)

I successfully brewed my first batch. It tasted great! I invested less than $7 for a fresh SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) from Amazon, followed the instructions on You Brew Kombucha, and waited for the fermentation to happen.

Today I bottled my second batch. Trying different flavors.

I hope to have time this week to make another fresh wreath from eucalyptus. The lavender wreath I made is now dried, but it still looks good because lavender wreaths look good when it’s dried or fresh.

16
Jul
stored in: 2019

Such a big event happened on Saturday and I didn’t blog about it!

For the past month, Amy and I have been planning the baby shower for Audrey! As with all events, we never feel fully prepared. My only responsibilities are the food and party favor.

In the old days I would do some homemade stuff. But now I don’t want that stress. My brain just can’t handle all the steps needed to put it together. I think I have too much in my brain with work that the only creative thing I can handle making kombucha. I’ll write about that next.

Everyone loves Porto’s so I ordered it, had my SIL pick it up. Got some salad from Costco. Infusing 2 water dispensers with lemon/mint, and hibiscus/blueberry brought it up a notch :)

The highlight were the ham and cheese sliders with Pooh and Piglet buns made by my DIL’s friends! So cute you don’t want to eat them.

Amy planned out the decorations, kept it simple, but a clear theme of Pooh and Piglet, year of the pig. Had a friend take pictures. It all turned out great!

Oh the party favors – I got the idea from a friend – a tea leaves bar with 3 different kinds to choose from. Audrey loves tea. Everything from Amazon – easy. Cute Pooh bags from Daiso.

I asked 3 moms to share a verse and advice, then I shared as well. However, I didn’t have a verse! I was focusing on explaining how the gospel applies to parenting that I forgot to share a verse. And I was hoping a bit of the gospel message would open a crack in the unbelievers in attendance. But wow, no Bible verse to point them to…does that reveal something about my heart?

To be honest, lately I’ve slacked off in Bible reading. I still read the Bible but not taking time to truly meditate on it. My attention has been drawn to ministry related books. It really doesn’t make sense to read ministry books to do God’s work when I don’t read THE Book to hear from God himself on how to do His work.

 

14
Jul

I had to intervene in a situation with a preschooler today, right at the time I had to give the children’s sermon. The 1st-3rd graders were waiting for me when I ran back upstairs. I felt very distracted which probably contributed to the kids not being attentive. Usually I am able to get their attention but not today! I also felt very distracted by a girl sitting in the front asking many questions, some not so relevant. It got me off course in my sermon. I’m glad I didn’t record myself!

I thank God that the 4th-5th graders were very attentive though, extra attentive! And I felt very good about the content that I was able to deliver. Praise God that He enabled me so that I didn’t feel totally defeated after that first session.

Long day with Officer’s meeting and STM meeting at my house. So I cut out of Officer’s meeting early. I had time to take my time cooking for dinner for the team. Well, it’s just 2 extra people to cook for since the other 2 members are my husband and daughter.

The meeting was encouraging and productive. Every team has been a great team.  Makes my job a pleasure. Always a growing experience for me to lead them.

I haven’t gotten back to reading one book a month since Perspectives. I just finished one, I’ll count this for July.

I got this book from one of the Perspectives speakers who is on staff at Barnabas International to care for those in cross-cultural ministries. After reading this book, I am convinced of the need for people to care for cross-cultural missionaries. A “tender”, a person who watches over the dangerous job of a commercial deep sea diver is analogous to what a member care personnel does for a missionary.

Missionaries are generally spiritually mature, but they are not immune to sin, discouragements, misjudgments, conflicts, marriage problems, etc. They also have cross cultural adjustments that aggravate those issues. On top of that, if they are effective missionaries, which we hope they are, the devil will not leave them alone, a spiritual reality that we don’t take seriously in the West.

The main thing I apply from this book is to pray for our missionaries, and ask God to provide people to care for them. I read this book because I would be open to caring for missionaries, IF God calls me to do that. I don’t think I’m qualified, but that’s a good thing. Moses and Jeremiah did not feel qualified for the job God called them to do. But I think that is something I would be interested in.

12
Jul
stored in: 2019

Mike and I went swimming after dinner.

I think this is the first time we’ve ever done that, just the 2 of us. After 20+ years living here we finally make use of the pool. Unfortunately we are motivated not by fun but for health reasons. It’s good exercise.

I would much rather sit and read.

——–

Yesterday my group of girlfriends and I had lunch, 6 out of our usual 9 gathered at the new Porto’s.

Almost 3 hours together and we were just getting started! I really do love these friends. We can talk about anything. And though we don’t intentionally talk about our walk with God, which I wish we could do more of, it definitely spills out in our convo because Jesus is just a part of us. We grow through life stages together with oneness in Christ. We share the same values though we are all different. We were young moms, and now we are grandmas!

As we get older, we are all pretty steady with our walk with God. But I would like to hear more about what God is teaching them. It’s easier to do that 1-on-1. It’s not that we are not willing, I think we trust each other completely. It’s more about opportunity. When we meet up 3-4 times are year, we barely have enough time to catch up on the basics.

We usually start by giving a rundown on what’s happening at home, with our kids/husband/grandkids. We are now talking about retirement…how life has changed. We inspire each other to be better women.

12
Jul
stored in: 2019

My MIL complained of back pains, so we took her to PT. A week later -

Me: Are you doing the exercises you learned from the PT?

MIL: No, it doesn’t work.

Me: It’s not going to work in a week, it’s not a cure. You have to do them consistently to strengthen your back.

A few months later, she says her back is still hurting.

Me: Are you doing the exercises?

MIL: No, it doesn’t work.

Me: Do you do a little bit each day?

MIL: No, I don’t do them. It doesn’t work.

Me: If you don’t do them, it’s not going to work. Your back is not going to get better by itself.

MIL: It’s old age. Actually, even young people have back pains.

Ok.

Recently I’ve been seeing more clearly how my upbringing and the traits of my parents influence the way I think and act.

My father was very proactive in improving himself. He stopped us from watching TV and told us to go outside – pull weeds, ride our bikes, go play tennis. Watching TV was a waste of time, do something more healthy. He never told us to study more. We all got decent grades.

I got that from my dad. I don’t watch TV, I want to do something productive. The downside is I feel guilty when I relax.

My husband takes after his mom. Like her, he is very responsible, keeps his nose to the grindstone, never complains. But he is lazy about improving himself. He’ll sit and watch TV, much like what his mom does.

I’m proud of him that this week, he’s starting his exercise regiment. He’s had high blood pressure for many years. Recently, it’s been going up even with meds. He still wouldn’t exercise, until this week.

I hope he’ll keep it up. I need to exercise too. But I’m underweight and have low blood pressure. My motivation is to get stronger to go on Taiwan STM in September.

We are all getting old. No one ever gets younger. It’s no reason to stop improving ourselves in body, soul, and spirit. I am only willing to take a small step, but I figure that’s better than nothing.

 

 

11
Jul
stored in: 2019

Overheard: “He’s really immature.”

Response: “Everyone is immature.”

It is true that everyone is immature in one degree or another.

Thinking back to 5 years ago, I was really immature in certain areas. Even to last year, I can think of ways where I’m more mature today.

And I’m immature today compare to next year when hopefully I will have matured in some areas.

So to say someone is immature as a negative trait is not quite right, as if everyone else has arrived. In fact, we are all immature.

——

I was very encouraged by Pastor A yesterday. I told him I felt stressed about an upcoming children’s event, that attendance may be low and results not as expected. As the senior pastor, my supervisor, what would he say?

He said, well, then just take it as a learning experience. You’ve done all you can.

No pressure to meet the numbers, no pressure to produce. He understands that I’ve done my part and trust my work ethic to do my best. That’s all he expects. The rest is up to God.

His answer assured me that if anyone complained about this or about me, he has my back.

It is this type of gracious atmosphere that keeps me at my work. It is this trust among our staff and ultimate dependence on God that I’m grateful for.

This is a sign of growing maturity.

 

09
Jul
stored in: 2019

When you’re young, the best thing about Disneyland are the rides.

At my age, the best thing about Disneyland is spending time with the people you go with.

And some of the rides.

I enjoyed almost 14 hours at Disneyland with my 2 daughters and SIL. We walked (clocked in over 24,000 steps!), talked, took in all the sights and sounds of the magic. The one thing that I had to do was watch Frozen, and it did not disappoint. I miss Aladdin though because it’s a better story than Frozen. But Frozen was very well done.

We stayed for fireworks so it was a long day. I didn’t know if I would last that long. I’ve been having pains in my leg and was afraid it would bother me. But thank God I was fine. God is so good, reassuring me with this that I’ll be ok going to Taiwan STM.

There’s nothing better than spending a big chunk of time together with people you love. There’s no better way to go deep. It could be anywhere, but Disneyland is not a bad place to go to spend that chunk of time.

07
Jul
stored in: 2019

I went into the pool today, for exercise, by myself.

I hardly ever do that, but I was inspired by the 5 kids who came yesterday with their parents and had so much fun swimming. I realized what a gift it is that I have a pool, and I should use it. I needed to wash my hair anyway, I might as well get some exercise and get my hair wet.

I asked my MIL to call me after 20 minutes, to force myself to stay at least that long lest I am tempted to get out after 5 minutes.  I enjoyed the quiet time by myself and the 20 minutes didn’t seem like a long time. I got some exercise.

Honestly I would much rather sit and read for 20 minutes instead of going in the pool. But forcing myself to do something out of the ordinary challenges me mentally to push against my natural inclinations. It opens up my mind.

When I was in college, I would take a different way to class just so I don’t fall into a boring routine. A different route allowed me to open my mind to new sights. Now I take the same way to church because it’s the fastest, and the other streets are closed for construction. Once the construction is done, then there are more options.

On the other hand, there is the theory that wearing the same clothes everyday, like what Steve Jobs does, frees up the clutter of decision making in order to have more capacity in your brain to make more important decisions. This may be why I can’t make important decisions. I am making too many small decisions such as deciding which route to take to church instead of the default everyday.

 

06
Jul
stored in: 2019

PT said I looked somber at the deacon’s meeting this morning. I was alert, but perhaps I felt a bit like a cloudy day. Not tired, but not bright. How do you describe that kind of mood?

Another fun gathering in our backyard with Awana core team. While we had fun chatting, there were no deep conversations. When we were with the young married couples, the conversation was more intentional about life, there was more depth where I felt I got to know them. Tonight was socializing, but not where I felt we had good conversations. I have known this group longer, we could’ve shared deeper. But somehow I didn’t know how to take it there whereas with the young couples it was easier.

This is why I like to hang out with young adults. I think they know how to talk deeper, spiritual life. I learn a lot from them. I wonder if others think this way about young adults vs older adults.

It was great seeing young kids enjoying our pool. I’m so happy we have a house and pool to have gatherings.

In my previous church, people always asked to have gatherings here because they knew we are that kind of people who would open our home. It took 7 years at this church for me to feel like I’m a part of this church where people would come to our house, and for people to ask to have gatherings here.

Tomorrow Amy’s small group is meeting here.

04
Jul
stored in: 2019

I usually choose fun over responsibility. Today I chose responsibility. Now I am slightly regretting.

I don’t usually regret choosing the fun option. I don’t want to miss out on something that will never come this way again. However, the fun today could come again, so I chose to stay home to support my husband to get ready for guests. I still have regrets.

Had a open conversation yesterday with the guys about struggles of a pastor. On the surface, the work of a pastor doesn’t seem like much. But the emotional struggles are real. Time management is not straightforward when it comes to giving time for people. Relationships, the basis of pastoral work, are all consuming. That’s not the case in other jobs. As a pastor you cannot do your job without caring for people. Caring for people is emotional work. Burn out is real.

Like Elijah,  it is God who ultimately cares for the caregiver. The hard part is to keep our eyes on Someone we cannot see or feel. So the church is the Body of Christ, embodying Christ to give sight when walking by faith is hard. We are important to each other.

 

02
Jul
stored in: 2019

There was more personal sharing at staff meeting than usual. I appreciated hearing what God has been showing the staff. We all agree that church has become too busy. Where is the heart of worship and praise of God? Are people more excited about doing things “for God” more than enjoying God? Is there depth of spiritual life? Are we concern for personal holiness? Do people come to meet God or to meet people?

We want to critically examine what we do – cut the dross and maintain or add only things that contribute to disciple-making. We’ve said this before and have done a bit of it. But the culture, the mindset has not changed. But I am at least encouraged by the conversation. I will look at where Children Ministry can streamline and be more effective. Building a strong base of volunteers who have depth of spiritual life is the life blood of CM. If the volunteers are shallow, the children will grow up with shallow faith. We don’t need dynamic leaders and teachers, we need leaders and teachers with deep abiding love for Jesus.

And that is my challenge – to live it, teach it, exemplify it, and lead with it. I need to set it as an expectation for my volunteers to grow a deep walk with God.

 

30
Jun
stored in: 2019

Talked to parents of 2 special needs kids, one through a translator and our JOG coordinator, the other speaks English.

Neither are Christians, they just know that church is a “good” place for their kids. They think of church as a social environment with good people to help their children socialize.

I am glad Christians still have a good reputation among unbelievers. But I made a point to tell the parents that the teachers are all volunteers, not professionals, here to teach their children about God. That allows the parents to attend worship service to learn about God.

The parents of one of them said while they are Mandarin speaking (heavy accent though no problem communicating with me) they prefer attending the English service. The Chinese Bible is very hard to understand. The dad said, the Bible is different from ordinary English (which I agree); the Chinese Bible is even harder than that.

The parent of the other special needs child asked if there was a fee for her child to come to Sunday School.

I don’t remember what it’s like to go to church for the first time and know nothing about church. Maybe a little like when I visited a mosque.

 

29
Jun
stored in: 2019

We had a lot of struggles re-doing our backyard.

My husband and I disagreed a lot. I just want to get it done ASAP while he was taking forever planning it out, getting estimates, etc etc. I say, just do it!

The only thing I wanted was to have a clean open space to have a BBQ and have people over. We are not fancy, we don’t have a big budget for hardscape, we kept it really simple. I haven’t put in any plants. But now we have a table and seating area. That’s all I need.

We’ve been having people over. Tonight we have a few young couples that we mentor. The international students are coming July 4 and Awana Core Team will be here next week.

I love to have people over, but nowadays, I am a bit stressed by the excitement. Actually it’s not much. I rotate a few menu items, nothing fancy. I pray that God will give me strength and for his glory.

On the list before the summer is over are my neighbors, friends with kids, another group of young couples, English staff.

Oh, I’m also excited we got our windows cleaned! Including window screens, inside and out. I can’t believe how everything is so clear now! We haven’t cleaned them in more than 10 years. Totally worth the $220.