21
Jan
stored in: General

01.20.2020

I don’t remember that my husband and I have ever gone to Disneyland just the two of us. We did yesterday, because his office offered free tickets as a reward for a good year.

My husband doesn’t love Disneyland. The times I’ve gone is with my girls. So as I expected, he was ready to leave before I was ready to leave. To be fair, I’m not the most exciting person to go with to Disneyland. I don’t like the thrill rides whereas he would’ve enjoyed those. I’m happy going to Small World and Peter Pan. He fell asleep on those.

I like just walking around and looking at things. We clocked in over 23,5oo steps!

Since it’s a once in a lifetime date (we probably won’t go alone again unless we get free tickets again) we stayed through fireworks. He was glad he did, and I’m thankful he’s always agreeable to do whatever I want to do.

Highlights:

  • Fantasmic. And then we can see the fireworks in the same area without rushing to Main Street. Because it was a bit cold in the evening, the crowd, especially families with children, thinned out. We were able to get a good view.
  • Having lunch with his office people. There were about a dozen of them who came. Got to know them a bit. We were the oldest ones…none of the older agents in his office took the offer for free tickets. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to go to Disneyland for free! I wouldn’t have mind hanging out with the people more, but we lost them after lunch.
  • Using the Disneyland app. The old days of the paper map are gone. It’s much more efficient with the phone. We pre-ordered Mickey beignets and skipped the line. Chose that over Dole whip because it was cold.
  • No lines at Pirates and Small World.
  • Storybook Land!
  • Jungle Cruise at night.

I liked the old Submarine where it felt “real”. Now with Nemo in there, it’s just another cartoon.

The wonder of Disneyland hasn’t been the same ever since Tomorrowland couldn’t keep up with tomorrow. I mean, I have a real self-driving car…the Monorail is no longer cutting edge like it used to be when I went as a child. They need to call Tomorrowland something else. But hopefully not based on a movie.

But I still love the artistry and imagination that went into the design of each ride in each land. The Haunted Mansion still amazes me. I still love Small World and Peter Pan.

The best thing was to know that I can walk 23,500 steps without problems and my husband and I can still be happy at the Happiest Place on Earth.

18
Jan
stored in: 2020

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two days preparing for a 15 minute lesson for Awana.

The topic is Jesus the sacrifice. It can be taught very simply=Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.

But every child has heard it in the same way. I think they’ve tuned it out. To be honest, I know that so well too that it no longer stirs up amazement. Jesus’s sacrifice is much greater than a simple died-on-the-cross.

I want to teach atonement. I want to teach how God came near through the sacrificial system. I tried preparing a 15 minutes message in children’s terms that embodies the richness of sacrifice.

I couldn’t do it.

So I cut it down to this main outline: People try all kinds of ways to please God to forgive them and allow them into heaven. But there is only way that God will accept. There is only one that is sinless and perfect. That is Jesus.

I am satisfied with it. I’ll see how it goes over tonight.

I didn’t sleep well, maybe because I’m thinking about this. You’d think speaking to children is not difficult, but it’s not as easy as it looks. You have to take a big topic and make it understandable. Children’s messages should not be simple and boring. My fear is that my messages are simple and boring.

I am qi deficient – low energy. The remedy is reduce stress with more rest. Eat more fermented products. I need to buy some sauerkraut.

 

 

 

I borrowed this book from Aaron based on his review.

It took a while for me to read through this book. I actually learned a lot, in fact, gained a few life-changing insights. But it was just too heavy to face all my failings of these impossible commands, and having to confess my sins throughout the reading. I appreciate Christ and my salvation more as I see the high standards expected of us. Christ met all these impossible commands, and his righteousness is imputed to me. That’s impossible grace.

The way the author explained the concepts touches the heart and motives. I jotted down some points I want to remember:

God gives us the ability to obey his commands.

Interesting look at Lazarus when Jesus COMMANDED a dead man to come out of the tomb. How does he expect a dead guy to obey that command?? It’s an impossible command! In order for Lazarus to obey Jesus, Jesus would have to enable him, give him the power to obey.

Similarly, when God gives us commands, he also gives us the power to obey them.

Eight impossible commands were covered:

Love the Lord, always – Similar to loving your spouse, it’s not always a feeling but who we choose to love exclusive of others. What idols and other loves do we need to put to death in order to love God? Col 3:5

Rejoice in the Lord, always – Joy does not belong in the “feeling” bucket; it belongs in the “action” bucket. Jesus died for our joy John 17:13. Habakuk, my favorite book, rejoices in the midst of the worst case scenario Hab 3:17-18. Do I practice defiant joy by faith in the midst of suffering?

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect – God is only one who can make us perfect. He did that through Jesus. Perfection is not a target we aim for but a gift we receive. It’s a standard Jesus has met and welcome us in. Pursue holiness without guilt.

Do not be afraid – Replace fear with a greater fear of God. Lift your eyes beyond the anxiety and see the greatness of God. He is far bigger than anything or anyone that we are afraid of.

Love one another – “Reactive” love is loving something we would naturally love. Active love is loving the unlovely – an impossible command. We love freely because Jesus loved us and we are freed from sin. The more we know who we are in Christ, the more we are free to love. Love takes risk to go outside and across the room. Maximal love is doing more than minimum. This hit home with me because I don’t love maximumly.

Give cheerfully – Everything we have belongs to God. We think of success as accumulating more so we can retire in luxury. That’s what the rich man in Luke 16 thought. His story could’ve ended well if he had given some of his riches away instead of building more barns. I liked the way the author wrote an alternative ending. It made me think what ending I will choose.

Be completely humble – Choose to be in the back of the line. It will free you up from striving. I like this picture as I am that person who tries to get ahead in the queue.

Run away – We will not naturally run away from an attractive sin unless we are attracted to a greater love. Ask God to turn our love from sinning to love him.

Joyless obedience is legalism. Careless disobedience is libertarianism. Joyful obedience is to take God’s commands seriously at the same time delight in God’s grace and forgiveness.

We can obey impossible commands with 4 steps – Admit I can’t, confess I’m sorry, ask God please help, then Let’s go to do it. No excuses.

14
Jan
stored in: 2020

I think I have the best job in the world. The pay is ok, the health benefits are great though, and we have a great staff.

I don’t know if I spoke out of line today at staff meeting. I process externally, and just say what I think. HL is the same, so if we disagree, it may sound bad. But that’s just the way we talk. I wish PT was there today, he can usually give clarity and he understands me. We don’t always agree, but we can agree to disagree.

I am thankful for our staff who challenges me to think differently. Though we may disagree, I respect their views and their final decisions. I didn’t always feel this way with my former church leadership. Maybe I was just less humble then.

I am also thankful for seeing the openness and maturity in our pastors. They admit their faults and where they need to grow. This staff is in some ways a small group for me. We don’t get too personal, but we do share our concerns and our spiritual walk. And having a shared common interest in ministry makes it easier for me to relate to them.

I am in a couple of groups, and I lead these groups. I am not in a group that I don’t lead, except staff meeting.

While I’ve been praying and keeping my eyes open for a mentor/coach for a while now, Pastor A has been in that role to me. Maybe I don’t need another. But maybe I don’t know what I’m missing by not having this type of relationship with a woman.

Maybe I like Pastor A because he’s not over sympathetic as women tend to be. He can just point out the facts, which I appreciate. Like when he told me I shouldn’t think about retirement. I don’t know if a woman would tell me that. I would imagine a woman would be sympathetic and tell me it’s ok to retire. I like people to challenge my thinking because I am sure I’m often wrong.

My husband doesn’t challenge me too often. He’s too nice and he loves me too much. Once in a while he’ll not give in to me, and then I get mad. I’ve been spoiled by him. But if other people point out my sin, I don’t mind it. I may react with defensiveness at a first response. But I do think about it and appreciate the challenge. Everyone should be open to criticism. Isn’t that how we grow?

 

 

13
Jan
stored in: 2020

I would simply go day to day without thinking if not for this blog that forces me to reflect. I’m sitting here struggling to reflect on yesterday!

01.12.2020 Sunday

I took time to talk to people, but it’s always in a hurry. I talked to my usual people at the children’s area, but I wanted to rush off to SS. I enjoyed SS and small group discussion, but I left early to rush back to Children Worship. I talked to Jeff and Man in Children Worship but I needed to rush to preach the message to the children.

I had to take care of two girls who were not picked up, and then I rushed to heat up my lunch. I stopped to talk to the ladies of children’s choir, but then I had to cut it short to rush to Karena’s sharing.

I did have one unhurried conversation before I went home. That felt really good. I’m glad I didn’t rush to attend the last part of VBS meeting.

By the time I got home it was almost 3. I rushed to get ready to go visit my granddaughter.

One of my new year resolutions is to practice hospitality. It doesn’t have to be dinner. It would be nice just to meet up with people. I met up with a collegian on Thursday for an unhurried lunch. It was great.

Maybe Sundays will just have to be rushed like that. Awana on Friday nights are not rushed for me. I hope I can make other times to have unhurried conversations.

Me in Children Worship: How many of you have heard of Joseph in the Bible?

New boy: I don’t know anything in the Bible. It’s my first time.

Love how kids just honestly tell you.

Me: Is the life of Joseph recorded in the OT or NT?

Kids: OT

Me: Do you know which book in the OT?

Kids: Matthew?

Me: A book in the OT

Kids: Luke? John?

I bet many adults don’t know either. I need to teach more from the OT.

 

11
Jan
stored in: 2020

We missed going to this Michelin-star restaurant when my cousins were in town in May last year. (We were in Hawaii, not complaining).

Our kids took us there today to celebrate January birthdays. Good times with granddaughters, including changing diapers.

Afterwards we went to Bopomofo, first time. I’m not their target market. I like boba but I don’t love boba. 25% sugar tasted like no sugar. I’m not impressed. I’m spoiled by boba in Taiwan.

It is God’s blessings that my kids are not rebellious, we love to spend time together, they continue to allow me in their lives, they all live in the area within reasonable driving distance, their spouses are comfortable being with us, they are self-sufficient, they are walking with Jesus.

I thank God for giving me what I’ve always wanted.

I waste a lot of time that could be used reading. If I’m serious about reading more this year, I need to stop looking at pictures of my grandbabies haha!

It’s so fun to have packages delivered. What did we do before online shopping?? I’m returning more than what I am keeping from Nordstrom Rack, but I’m sure they still make money on me. I don’t feel bad keeping only one pair of shoes for me and one pair for Amy.

 

11
Jan
stored in: 2020

I’ve said before that I hate getting old. In God’s plan and in his grace, he’s using the one person I struggle with to serve as an example of a person who models aging well.

To age well is to not complain – not complain about aches and pains, and about what could’ve been or could be better, not complain about how things were different and how young people do things wrong.

To age well is to not recant and lament the good ol’ days – no one wants to hear what it was like when you were young and the world was perfect.

To age well is to keep quiet – you may be an old sage, but unsolicited advice is annoying.

To age well is to serve others as best as you can – even with limitations do all you can to bless others.

To age well is to continue to push yourself to serve others – it’s ok to be uncomfortable and tired for a time in order to serve others. It’s worth it.

To age well is to accept the suffering as part of aging – you may not get better, but suffering makes you yearn for Jesus that much more.

To age well is to have a good mental attitude – choose joy, choose laughter, choose to compliment rather than criticize people.

To age well is to not fear death – everyone will face it sooner or later. Don’t stress over the inevitable and uncontrollable.

As they say: It’s not how long you live but how well you live.

I’ve lived relatively long.

I want to live well.

07
Jan
stored in: 2020

In office devo today, PT asked, “Where were you 10 years ago? 20 years ago? 30 years ago?”

He remembered he was in Israel at this exact time 10 years ago.

I don’t remember where I was 10 years ago. I don’t remember what was happening in my life then. I don’t remember the year my daughter or son got married. I remember when I got married.

I remember my children’s birthdays. I probably will not remember my grandchildren’s birthdays.

I don’t remember when we went to Japan or China or Vietnam or Europe or Canada or Mexico or Hawaii. I only know we had a great time!

I think that’s good enough.

I don’t remember when I put my trust in Jesus for the first time. I don’t remember all the people who taught me at church. But I’m sure they contributed to my faith to what it is today.

Kids at church won’t remember me when they grow up. But if they follow Jesus because of something I did, I think that’s good enough.

I put away my sewing machine. I am not motivated to make things unless I have a purpose.

My friend Lorin makes things to donate and give to friends. That is her ministry. It gives her pleasure. But I don’t find satisfaction in making things to give to people who already have a lot of things.

Maybe if I sell things I make and give the proceeds to missionaries, maybe it’ll motivate me. But I would think my time can be better spent praying for them. And I can still give them money I already have!

Crafts must be done for its own pleasure. I must love using my skills for crafts for the glory of God alone. I must believe that God will take pleasure when He sees me doing crafts. I must be somehow be rejuvenated to live for God when I do crafts. No other purpose will be big enough for me to put in the effort and time.

 

 

05
Jan
stored in: 2020

01.04.2020

Senior pastor reminded us change is inevitable. Some people will be uncomfortable and grieve the past. I am thankful for him and the forward thinking. Changes make me feel alive.

But there are some things that cannot be changed easily – altar flowers; Sunday lunch. It’s these seemingly minor things that people hold on to with sentiments of the good ol’ days.

01.05.2020

Relaxed after church with one of my favorite activities – browsing at Goodwill.

So many nice dishes and knick knacks that people are willing to give up. If they can give them up, I can too! I have to declutter some more. I don’t want to hold on to the good ol’ days.

Spent some time talking to a 3rd grader who splits his time between his divorced parents.

Boy: “My stepmom forces me to read the Bible.”

Me: “How does she force you?”

Boy: “If I don’t read the Bible, I don’t get to eat.”

Boy: “I like my new school. It’s really strict.”

Me: “Why do you like it strict?

Boy: “Because no one can bully you.”

Everyone has a God-given sense of justice. It was a good lead for me to talk to him about God’s grace when we fail.

I like kids who misbehave at church. They have parents who care and know enough to bring them to church. And they have a general sense of their sin because they know they get in trouble. It’s easy to show them God’s love. They are smart and have guts to challenge the system. They force me think about better ways to do ministry. How is the gospel applied? How does God’s Word come alive for them?

 

 

04
Jan

01.03.2020

“Nancy, why are the Christmas decorations still up??” I was horrified!

Nancy immediately got on the phone to alert the appropriate people. Faithful volunteers are being mobilized to take down the decorations before Sunday. I hope it gets done.

Last Sunday I heard someone commented on why the decorations are still up past Christmas. But people expect them to be up through the end of the year, so it was ok. But it would be unforgivable if they were still there this Sunday!

It’s a different story at home. I like to keep decorations up as long as possible. It’s always a sad day when we take things down. I wait till the last day the city allows for trash pick up of trees. Unfortunately it’s this Monday, so we will take down the tree on Sunday. The living room will look bare. It will look sad.

I keep the Christmas cards up as long as possible until my hubby says it’s time. “It’s March, can I take down the cards now??” I reluctantly agree.

—-

Awana highlight:

Becky: I haven’t changed a diaper for a long time!

Me: I haven’t either!

I took the challenge and changed the poopie diaper of a 2-year-old. No new technology in diaper changing.

 

 

 

 

02
Jan
stored in: 2020

2020 is off to a good start -

I had dinner with my brother’s family. Getting together with my sibs was on my list of things to do in 2020. I hesitated because I really don’t like going out to eat, but I don’t want my digestion problems to hinder me from relational opportunities. I won’t die.

I took out my sewing machine to try this. It was on my list to make time to do crafts.

Now I’m going to read, which is also on my list.

31
Dec
stored in: 2019

I reread some of my 2019 posts. Here are a few things I want to carry to 2020:

Practice hospitality – be intentional by scheduling people for dinner. This includes my own siblings whom I don’t make intentional efforts to see.

Arrow prayers – when something happens at church ie a disruptive child, pray immediately first before reacting with a solution.

Listen to my husband – when he has an idea, I should just go with it.

Perspectives Class – reread some of the material.

Reading – aim to read more than one book a month. Be more resourceful with using my time to do this.

Creativity – make time for crafts. Don’t waste time in the evenings.

Blog post – aim to post daily.

This blog is helpful to force me to reflect and it’s helpful to read my 2019 posts today. I see how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned, challenges I’ve overcome.

I am journaling other thoughts today as a way to prepare for 2020.

30
Dec

Me in Children Worship: Tax collectors cheat people to get rich.

1st grader: What does rich mean?

With children you can’t assume anything.

Two boys fighting to sit on the same chair: I was here first!

Me: You work it out yourselves. Do what is nice, not what you want.

Both boys immediately got off the chair and sat somewhere else.

That was easier than I expected…

What to do: One of the boys have been using the F word. I know he has a difficult home life, so this type of acting out is typical. How should I apply Biblical counseling and the gospel with him, and not just behavior management? Good practice for upcoming training for children volunteers, and SS for adults that I will be teaching.

An impromptu visit to my son, I didn’t bring food as I usually would.

What’s for dinner? His church had a rotation to bring him food for the next few Sundays to help them adjust to having a baby. The assigned family brought plenty, and we got to enjoy L&L type of Hawaiian food with them!

I’ve often brought food to couples who had babies or who had surgery, etc. but have not been the recipient since I had a baby. And that was a long time ago! Now I remember what a blessing it is to receive surprise dinner. How can anyone do life without a church family?

 

 

 

 

I was attracted to this used book at Goodwill because our church has been focusing on disciple-making. The style of this book is from my generation, printed in 1988. It looks like a book I might’ve read a long time ago, but I don’t think I did.

No matter when the book is written, the basic concepts of discipleship are the same because what the Bible says about discipleship hasn’t changed. However, the way the material is organized makes a difference in how it’s applied in the reader’s current context.

The tone and feel of the books is a bit dated. But it explains many concepts of what is now called Biblical counseling (we didn’t call it that in the 80′s) and evangelism. The chapter on Imparting the Basics lacked a basic concept of obedience. The basics according to the author are prayer, witnessing, fellowship, and reading the Bible – the usual spiritual disciplines. However, it didn’t say anything about obeying with joy.

That was my experience when I first followed Jesus. I was told to do these 4 things as a discipline. My time with God was very legalistic and guilt-driven.

My favorite chapters are Conviction & Perspective, and Choosing a Life Objective. I’ll have to read those chapters again.

Reading discipleship books helps me understand how to teach and disciple children. We tend to teach children to obey, focusing on behavior only. Conviction and perspectives, and life objective need to be taught to children. The way the author laid it out will help me train others to teach children better.

 

26
Dec
stored in: 2019

Me in Children Worship on Christmas Sunday: What would we NOT have if Jesus wasn’t born?

Funny answer, 1st grader: Food?

Thoughtful answer, 5th grader: Easter

Can be the right answer, 4th grader: Life

Unexpected answer, 5th grader: Holy Spirit

Expected answer, 4th grader: Heaven

It was a fun Christmas Sunday. Lesson learned: Do not play group games with children outside without a microphone.

 

 

18
Dec
stored in: 2019

We sold my Prius today. It was only 6 years old. That may seem like an old car to some people. But we generally drive our car to well over 100,000 miles, and then give the car away.

It was a bit sad to see my car go, but at least it’s going to a pastor who is going to benefit from it. The Prius has served us well.

Our perspective is now changing as we get older. I want a safe car to drive. So we are waiting for our Tesla. We ordered before PT and my brother and both of them already got their cars.

We are not early adopters as my son is (He got his Tesla 3 when it first came out), but we eventually sign on. And then now we have to wait because everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.

We also never lease a car. It seems like a waste to pay rent and not own anything at the end of 3 years. Well, last year, we leased a car for our daughter. It felt very uncomfortable. But it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.

The thing I like the least about Christmas is getting presents for my family, namely my own kids! I like the part of making a little thing to give to people. Last year it was Ayurvedic tea. This year is Emeril’s Essence.

 

But for my kids, it has to be specific and personal. It has to be just what they want because Santa always knows what they want. That’s the way it’s been when they were young, and there continues to be an expectation. It’s stressing me out because Santa doesn’t know anymore. Santa doesn’t go shopping except on Amazon.

 

11
Dec

I read a post where the author threw away all her journals. A reader commented that doing that would make her feel like a part of herself is gone. There’d be nothing to show that she was alive. Without memorabilia from elementary school, it would seem like that part of her life never existed.

As I’m cleaning out the garage and finding my children’s childhood schoolwork, toys, scribbles, notes, etc., it does validate me that I was once a mother to 3 small children. Those were good times.

Yet, it brought a lot of sadness that those days will never return. It also brought me anxiety, that I could’ve-should’ve. In hindsight, I could’ve-should’ve done more to shield them from pain, bullying, disappointments. If I had known then what I know now, I would’ve done things differently with my kids.

In my head I know that’s not how life works. It’s a journey of one step at a time. You don’t know what you don’t know at the time.

But in my heart, I wished I could’ve been smarter, more sensitive, more godly, more prayerful, more everything. I suppose that’s how every parent feels.

How I thank God for the gospel of redemption! I thank God that all my children, despite all my shortcomings, are saved and walking with Jesus. He is all they need, not me. I rest in the truth that He will redeem all things. Redemption is His main business. Glory to God!

I am ready to let go of the past. I don’t need the validation of my life in the past.

I am looking forward to my future. I want write a book, impact the families at our church, disciple younger people, and see where and what God allows me to do.

11
Dec

I like preaching to the children. Preparing and preaching the message is probably my main source of feeding from God’s Word. The process of delivering the message and seeing the children’s reaction builds my love for them. It gives me hope of what God’s Word can do. I understand why pastors like to preach. It’s not the public speaking we like. It’s the growth we get to experience in loving God’s Word and the people.

I also love the children’s innocent questions. In Sunday’s message about David’s sin with Bathsheba -1st grader: “What does tempted mean?” Good question. After I explained that it was wrong for David to take Bathsheba to his house because she is already married to someone else: 3rd grader: “Is it wrong to have someone to your house? Can’t they be friends?” That was a fun one to teach…

My voice was getting tired, so I left church without hanging around as I usually do.

We went to visit our granddaughter in Irvine, made a Christmas wreath with my DIL. We did this last year, maybe it’ll be a tradition for us.

 

05
Dec
stored in: 2019

I’ve been holed up at home for the last 3 days in an effort to recover from my cough. Indeed I’ve gotten better, no longer feeling the tickle, the breathlessness, or the coughing fits. Voice is still hoarse.

I’ve enjoyed being at home without having to be totally in bed. It was nice taking it easy, didn’t do anything strenuous. I’m glad it was not a busy week at church. However, I did not exercise at all, not even stretching, and I’m feeling it.

There isn’t usually anything very time sensitive for my work except if I’m speaking or leading a meeting. Most of my work is behind the scenes and ongoing. It’s like the road work being done on Grand Avenue. You can set artificial deadlines to get done, but if you don’t meet the deadline, people can still drive on Grand. But when it’s done, everyone’s life is better.

Right now I’m working on training material for meetings next year, laying out the schedule for Worship Teams. I also want to put together a birthday package for families. Recruiting is ongoing based on relationships, so it’s not anything that has a specific deadline. Sending emails and texts to people to keep in touch and follow up can be done at home. I’m very thankful that I don’t have many stressful deadlines to meet.

The part of my job that I hate and feel very incompetent is organizing forms. I think I’ve said this before, and it still continues to plague me. It’s ongoing and hangs over my head. Yet this is a very important part of safety procedures for the department. I am praying for God to bring me the right person to organize things into a digital, searchable, accessible system. I am very sure there are people who actually love to do this kind of thing. I need to set a deadline to find this person.

I wanted to read more, but ended up surfing pinterest when I’m resting. I would normally feel guilty but since I’m sick, I can allow myself to be unproductive.

Bought our Christmas tree from Costco today. That’s been our tradition now. In the past, we go to Home Depot and look through every tree to pick one. At Costco there is no choice. Life moves on.

03
Dec
stored in: 2019

Even if I only have sniffles or a slight cough, I cannot go see my granddaughters. So today I’m staying home from work to get well. Praying that I get completely well quickly. Coughs tend to linger.

I basically rested from talking.

I was able to clean up my bedroom shelf a bit, which caused more sniffles because of the dust! I intended to be more brutal in decluttering, but there are just some things I can’t let go of yet…the Hello Kitty tin tea container I got from the Taiwan airport a few years ago…Also found a useful monocular that we can take to the next musical, whenever that would be.

My hubby has been very productive in cleaning the garage, so I am pushed to do my part.