12
Mar
stored in: 2019

(Posted on March 12)

I’ve got another wreath under my belt. This is my third. It all started at Christmas when my DIL asked if I wanted to make a Christmas wreath with her. She bought all the material. We got cuttings from our Christmas tree, watched a few youtube tutorials, and made our first fresh wreath.

This wreath I made today is from cuttings of lavender from my friend Denise’s yard. But I needed more filler, so I cut some branches from our neighbor’s tree that hung over our wall. The thing about wreaths that I like is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It looks nice no matter what, even if it’s a bit uneven. And I like bringing in a bit of the outdoors. A friend commented that I have a lot of plants. I never thought of it that way. My plants are not all nicely displayed. I just pot them and put them on the table. I’ll have to work on display. But I’m too cheap to buy nice pots.

The only problem with wreath making is, I have to forage for more material. I usually take a bit off a plant that I like and see how long it lasts. There are some nice green stuff at church, but they wilt within a day. The foliage have to look decent for at least 3-4 days.

My daughter left for Florida for the Ligonier conference tonight – midnight flight. I am proud of her and grateful to God for giving her a strong desire to know God. I love Bible conferences too, so perhaps she takes after me. But now with everything online, I can still hear the messages, though it’s not the same. But too much knowledge is dangerous.

10
Mar
stored in: 2019

Sometimes weekend doesn’t seem like “weekend” to me. My “weekend” day off is Monday.

But yesterday, Saturday, finally felt like a weekend. I made some paleo nut bars that I’ve been wanting to make. I took a walk to relax. Then my family met up for dinner. We don’t eat out much so going out to eat always feels like a “weekend”, it’s something special. Even though I did a bit of “work” to prepare for Sunday, it didn’t feel demanding.

Today, Sunday, was a fun day too. I didn’t have to teach. I mean, teaching is fun too, but it is a bit of stress with my attention entirely focused. A day of no teaching is sort of a day off. I caught up with people. The Ministry Fair was no stress. I like events where I am not involved in the planning; I can merely show up and do my part. Everything for the Ministry Fair was all set up nicely for me. I didn’t even have to make a sign. I just show up and talk to people, which is my greatest joy and easy for me.

The thing I do miss is worship. I used to attend evening service at another church. But I haven’t done so since my sabbatical. I also have Perspectives class which makes it impossible to go to evening service. It’s also winter where I am not motivated to go out at night.

Perspectives class is my source of learning and edification right now. Today’s lesson was again both convicting and enjoyable. A few quotes that spoke to me:

Don’t let the enemy stop you. Say no to his lies.

Say yes to God, and put one foot in front of the other.

 

06
Mar
stored in: 2019

I love to listen to podcasts. I can multi-task: listen to a sermon while cleaning the bathroom, learn about apologetics while stretching.

Today PT and I recorded a podcast. It’s harder than it sounds. Found so many ways to improve when we listen to ourselves. But I wanted to do this, and got PT into it, because I think it’s a good way to communicate a message. We want to forward the vision of our church so listeners can join in God’s mission for our church. They only hear the vision once a week, how can they really understand it? I’m excited about what God is doing at our church and hope the podcast can help people see that too. And I hope our future podcasts will be better!

So much rain recently, bad for my bones. I have aches and pains, another sign of aging. That’s life; thank God I have hope that one day in heaven all pain and suffering will cease. I’m that much closer to heaven.

06
Mar

We had internet issues at home last night. Posting this from yesterday.

I am reminded once again that God is in control. He is good and he answers prayers.

Prayers are not about getting them answered the way we want, but answers that bring glory to God, and accomplishes His purposes.

Just in brief, so I will remember this later, my dear friend SP’s baby died in utero at 14 weeks, but she did not want to do a D & C as the doctor recommended. She decided to trust God and wait for a natural miscarriage. She held on to the baby in her womb for two weeks. Then God answered in His timing in a miraculous way.

Today, she did end up with a D & C, so where is the answered prayer? Where is the miracle?

By waiting, the doctor changed his heart. As a doctor who performs abortions, SP’s doctor initially told her she cannot see the baby, “the fetus” is only “tissues”. But upon SP’s insistence to wait so she can deliver her baby whole, and be given the chance to hold and kiss the baby she named Uriah, the doctor said today he will try to take the “baby” out whole. He said BABY. An abortion doctor said a 14 week old in the womb is a BABY. That is a miracle. His change is a miracle. He took the baby out all intact except for a tear of one arm which he tried to reattach. And God answered SP’s prayer to see hold and kiss Uriah. And not only that, I believe He is doing something in the heart of that doctor.

I am praying that this doctor will not be able to rest. I pray that God give him dreams and show Himself to this doctor as a God who forgives repentant sinners, but will not let evil doers go unpunished.

04
Mar
stored in: 2019

I listened to a coaching podcast advising people to take small steps towards a goal. The feeling of a small win would encourage us to keep moving forward. The example of the host was to exercise. Instead of getting discouraged and mad at herself that she’s not exercising, she started with just setting her running shoes out every morning. That was doable and it felt good. Then she got up half an hour earlier every morning. Another pat on the back. Pretty soon, since she was up anyway, she started putting the shoes on and going outside.. Six months later she ran a half-marathon!

So my first step today towards cleaning up my home office: I got out an empty box, to be used to put stuff that I don’t want.Then I took an old Uno Attack game, emptied the old batteries, and put it in the giveaway pile.  I’m happy I did that. Whenever I look at my messy office I don’t know what to do. Now I can just take a step at a time. Cleaning up and dealing with details is not my thing. But I want to simplify my life of clutter, so I must take steps forward. I even threw away some photos today that do not spark joy. So instead of being disgusted at myself for not cleaning up the office, I pat myself on the back for taking a step.

My husband got what he wanted from Costco today – ice cream bars. I got what I wanted – crispy coconut rolls. I know, there’s sugar in it that I’ve cut out of my diet, but these are worth it.

03
Mar

In Children’s Worship today:
Me: Jesus knew he would one day go back to heaven. He needed to choose disciples who would continue to do his work. What kind of person should he choose?
3rd grade boy: Me!

Perspectives class was great. The speaker did a first person of Hudson Taylor, my hero. Went out to dinner with the group afterwards. I went strictly for the company and definitely not for the food because I would never choose to go to Souplantation. I eat keto and there’s nothing I can eat there. I will probably suffer some digestive symptoms tomorrow. Fortunately I had a big shabu shabu lunch with a good amount of meat.

A parent asked me to have lunch with her today to give her advice for her teenage daughter. Throughout the lunch I was praying for wisdom. I don’t want to give my own opinions and I don’t want to give bad advice. I thank God that more than once in our conversation, I felt God gave me the words to say.

Just got an email from a Sunday School teacher with a problem I need to solve before next Sunday! I’m not going to think about it and get rest tomorrow my day off.

01
Mar

A well-meaning young lady at church asked me with all sincerity, “Do you work everyday? What do you do all day?”

Before I started working full time in ministry, I had the same thought about what pastors do. Yes, I know it takes a long time to prepare a sermon, and then what?

Now I know, there’s so much to do I don’t have enough time. And often it’s not the amount of time, it’s the thinking and that takes endless amount of time. And my mind doesn’t stop when I leave the church.

This week, I hardly had time to prepare my sermon for the children. It’s not something I can just sit and whip up. It takes thought and care. Phone calls and texting, visits to people, meetings, talking to people to work out schedules, planning for next steps, coordinating, developing and implementing ways to be more effective in children’s ministry. It’s the kind of work that you can’t just finish. There’s always more to do. It’s a creative process that is ongoing. Everything is based on relationships and connections. I suppose there are people who are more efficient doing what I do. I’m not that person.

Yeah, I don’t even know how to explain what I do all day. Preparing for the sermon is only a small part.

I left Awana early because I have an early meeting tomorrow. And I want to do my Perspectives reading.

26
Feb

An ultrasound did not detect the heartbeat of the baby.

This is the second time this year I accompanied a mom to an ultrasound. The first one was joyous with results we hoped for. This one was not what we hoped for. We cried, yet, there’s hope. I sensed the parent’s peace. We know our babies are in heaven with Jesus, right now, praising God.

Read Psalm 139 as a baby singing this psalm -

For You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand, I awake, and I am still with You.

God’s Word brought peace, and even a bit of joy with the assurance that we will be praising God together with our babies in heaven.

24
Feb
stored in: 2019

If I was not a Christian, I would miss out on the life of the church. The church is a big part of a Christian’s life. Church should not be the only thing in a Christian’s life, but it is a big part. Church may look different in different cultures, but the love and unity would be the same.

I am blessed to be a part of our church community where we experience love and unity, This is especially evident in our young married couples group where we serve as mentors. The couples are so loving, open, and fun. They mentor me as much as I mentor them. We met today and it was very encouraging.

We only got 45 minutes of Perspectives class today because we had to leave for the group. I want to read my homework, but my mind is full. I think taking a shower and having some quiet time with God would be a good way to end this joyful day of Sabbath.

 

Uttering a few words of prayer doesn’t seem like much. Even if it was heartfelt, passionate, deep, long – whatever “good” prayer looks like, do those words make a difference?

The obvious answer from any devoted Christian is yes. But why? How do words I say translate into changes in real life?

Logically speaking, prayer doesn’t make much sense. It may make us feel better, it may relief some stress, etc. but it doesn’t make sense that saying some words to God can do anything in the material world.

I read this in Truth78 today and it made sense:

Bottom line—prayer matters! . . . It matters because God is pleased to accomplish His unstoppable purposes through the prayers of His people. 

In a mysterious way, God himself provided a way in which He would use our words said to him to accomplish his purposes.

If you were to ask someone for a favor, especially someone in high authority, you would be wise to prepare a nice speech. But with prayer to the Creator of heaven and earth, it matters not how you say it, who it’s said by, all ages, all language, any form – amazing how prayer works!

We take it too lightly.

18
Feb

ughhh, the floral wire I bought was cheaper at Michaels and I wouldn’t have had to wait for it to be shipped! I love both Amazon and Michaels, but now I love Michaels more. Especially because they gave me a $5 off coupon, which I used today.

Went kumquat picking with Elliot and Nancy, and then dinner. Good time hanging out and talking. Learned about Andrew Yang and Milton Friedman from Elliot.

The day is too short. I want to read my Perspectives.

17
Feb
stored in: 2019

I’m not good with details. I don’t like to plan things. I used to do ok with it, but now I get stressed out planning things.

But I want to invite people to my house, I want to be hospitable because the Bible says so. It’s a way invite people in to build relationship and a better environment for conversation than a restaurant.

I invited a few people over for dinner after Perspectives class tonight. I decided dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, my house doesn’t have to be perfect, my plates and cups don’t have to match. That’s just pride for me if those externals look great. I don’t want my deficiency in details hinder me from exercising hospitality.

We had great sharing, telling each other what God has done and is doing in our lives. And that’s all that matters.

I was able to attend worship service today and left it to the very wonderful volunteers to run Children Worship. It is still hard for me to focus because I’m looking around to see who is there, who I need to talk to, thinking about what I need to do after. I’m working on getting back to the heart of worship – it’s all about Jesus.

16
Feb
stored in: 2019

I feel accomplished today.

I made a wreath that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Walked up the street to a corner house with a cypress bush I’ve been eyeing. In broad daylight I cut some branches. It’s a big bush, on a corner slope, I’m sure no one cares. Crafting the wreath was fun, I enjoyed working on it while listening to a Family Life podcast on marriage with Crawford Loritts.

I decided I should do more things that spark joy in my life.

Why does this world have to operate on “no pain no gain”? Why can’t it be true that “cheesecake is really good for you”?

Most of my problems are because I don’t exercise. I haven’t done anything to fulfill my new year resolution to exercise. I put that resolution down every year, and nothing motivates me. I don’t like any of the options open to me, because they all take effort. My sister says if I pay for gym membership I’ll go to get my money’s worth…but it didn’t work. I can go play badminton at church on Thursdays which I enjoy, but I enjoy staying at home to read more. And it doesn’t help that my husband doesn’t want to exercise either. And he needs to, he has high blood pressure.

Other than going out to cut the cypress branches, I was home all day. Spent an inordinate amount of time reading about different essential oils! If it wasn’t for the invention of the internet, I’d probably go outside more.

 

15
Feb
stored in: 2019

Another great Awana night. What makes it good are the volunteers. They not only get the job done, but does it with enthusiasm, joy, going the extra mile. And the true test of a dedicated volunteer is that they would do it again, and again and this team does! I am blessed to be a part of this team.

Worked at home today, but it’s not comfortable because the dining table and chair is not ergonomically set up for working on my laptop. I like my office at church with a big window.

 

 

 

14
Feb
stored in: 2019

I’ve not heard of this term of being “woke” or “wokeness” until I read this. Very well written. It makes me want to cry.

I’ve been feeling “off” the last couple days. Yesterday, I couldn’t remember my routine for going to prayer meeting – something I go to every Wednesday. What time do I normally leave the house? Where do I usually park? Where did I put my gloves? Where are my keys? I pride myself on remembering people, names and details. Right now I feel like my brain is mush. I remember things but it’s like a fog. It’s not that I don’t remember anything, it’s a strange feeling I don’t know how to describe. Then I worried that I have a stroke or a blood clot or something…which then the worrying makes me anxious…and the anxiety makes me unable to think…and I worry that I can’t think…it’s a vicious cycle. Thank God for sleep. Now I know why God created our need and ability to sleep. His mercies are new every morning. Each day is a new day. I don’t have to continue to worry. I can sleep and rest, and refocus my trust in the God of the universe.

On the positive note, I bought some floral wire on Amazon, it’ll be delivered tomorrow. I’m excited to make a wreath. Watched some how-to videos on YouTube. I need something creative to do. I think I’ll go to Michael’s for fun. Have not been there for a while, afraid that I would spend money on a project that I won’t finish. I’ve been too serious lately, too much thinking…I wonder if I would be relaxed if I was retired. But I love my job and I would volunteer anyway. But a volunteer can always punt it to the children’s director…which is me right now…

A big part of my digestion problem is anxiety. I noticed that my acid reflux has been ok until yesterday when I got worried about my brain. So silly. Need to spend time with God instead of online shopping on Amazon and Nordstrom Rack! And I don’t even like shopping, but that’s not really shopping, is it?

Heavy rain today. So don’t tell me to take short showers because of drought.

13
Feb
stored in: 2019

From yesterday, 2/13/2019

It was my turn to share in staff devo today. I shared about what I learned in Perspectives about prayer as an act of spiritual violence. Prayer pushes back the spirit of darkness and the devil’s work on earth.

I felt a bit hypocritical talking about prayer because I am not one of those who prays for a couple hours a day. My hero is George Mueller who is known for his prayer life. I shared about prayer not because I’m good at it. It was a lesson in Perspectives that spoke to me because I was convicted of my own weakness in prayer.

Staff meeting today was another interesting one. I’m thankful for the open honest discussion.

I always have high expectations that I’d get a lot of things done on Mondays. It’s my day off, I can clean the shower, clean the garage, clean the dresser, do some yard work..and I usually do none of those things…

Instead we go to Costco  to buy stuff instead of cleaning out stuff. When my husband goes to Costco by himself, he gets out with less than $50 of purchases. When we go together, it’s always over $100, he says it must be me that’s buying stuff. It’s true. I don’t like shopping but Costco is not really shopping, is it? It’s practical items, always useful or edible.

The weather was perfect after the rain, but other than walking in and out of Costco, I didn’t take advantage of the day. At the end of Mondays, I always feel I should’ve made better use of the day when it’s wide open to do whatever I want. Time is my life. Every minute that passes is getting me closer to death with less time to do the things I want to do…I’ve been thinking a lot like this since my birthday. A friend said we need to KonMari our time. Don’t do the things that are not important, focus on what is worth our time. Cleaning house is one of those things that’s not important.

I look forward to coming home everyday to read my Perspectives homework. There is such a satisfaction in finishing the reading for the week, and gaining so much insight about the Great Commission in ways I have not thought of. And I thought I knew the Great Commission.

At church today:

Me talking to a 2nd grade boy: I’m not punishing you, I just want to help you worship God, and i think you can focus on God better if you didn’t sit next to your friend M. Where would you like to sit so you can focus on God? Would you like to sit with another friend?

Boy: I think it’s ok if a teacher sits between me and M.

I’m so impress with his maturity to come up with a good solution. And he was indeed very attentive during worship.

This is what keeps me in children ministry. There is great satisfaction of seeing children grow in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man.

I don’t normally fall asleep during lectures, but today in Perspective class, I drifted off here and there…it was no fault of the speaker. He was excellent! But the room was warm, the lights dim, his voice was mellow, it was 2 in the afternoon, the chair were soft…despite his jokes to keep us awake, I couldn’t help nodding off. I am really enjoying the class, really I am. Very challenged by it.

Rarely do we go to Downtown LA. And even more rare going there at night, but tonight after Perspectives we went to the Otium in DTLA for a friend’s birthday celebration. I’ve known him and his wife for over 40 years. There were 12 of us and I didn’t make the connection of how he chose the guest list until the end…we were all in their wedding party! I was his wife’s maid of honor 35 years ago! It was great to see old friends. To be honest, I do not make much effort in keeping in touch. As I get older and meet more people, there are just too many people to keep up with! But this friend is precious, every time meet up, it’s as if no time has past. I am blessed to have such a friend.

Thank you God, for the rainbow this morning as I arrived at church, reminding me that beauty and creativity come from you and perfected in you.

To celebrate my big birthday, my family surprised me with afternoon tea at the Huntington Library.

It was hard to settle on a date when everyone is available. Today I had extended deacons meeting in the morning, got out at 12:30, ate In n Out and drove out to Huntington Library. We stayed till closing at 5pm. We had lots of laughter and conversations. i asked for the gluten free option for the tea, it wasn’t great. Overall I gave the food 3/5. Not the greatest, but the company was 12/10.

With my family I can be totally myself. I thank God everyday that my kids are doing well, we love each other, enjoy spending time together, exemplify Christ in love and forgiveness of one another. I have to say, they do have to forgive me of a lot. I thought I was a pretty good mom, but as I look back, my shortcomings become apparent. By God’s mercy alone, my kids are doing well walking with God, and they still love me.

After the tea, I was still hungry for dinner. My usual choice of quick comfort food is dumplings or won ton soup. It took us 3 stops before we got to eat. First, Arcadia mall to get dumplings at Din Tai Fung, but the parking lot was crazy full. So we left and went to our 2nd stop, Sam Woo, Rowland Heights, but the parking lot was even worst. Settled back to the Noodle by church which I usually wouldn’t choose to go. Not because I don’t like the food, I love the food. I eat for the experience and since I always go there with the pastors (they like Chinese food), it was not a new experience. But I have to admit, the won ton soup hits the spot.

Thank you God for a great day. Though I was feeling anxious about the deacons meeting, and not knowing the plans for the day, I had to let go, and just take each moment. I am learning not to expect control, not try to plan everything. I’ve only been this way since starting working at church because I feel so responsible in my position on staff. Yet, it should be that working at church in ministry, I can trust God to take of His business. And this I am learning to trust God, for everything in my life. My whole life is His business.

07
Feb
stored in: 2019

It was a privilege to lead the caring team to visit Muiha today. I am on the “bench” and only asked to lead if none of the other pastors can go :) What a joy to see God’s faithful care on this family. When I asked for one word character of God that you experience, Muiha said – peace! For the devo, I told the story in 1Kings 22, the death of Ahab. It’s hilarious. Ahab is such a comical evil king. God has a great sense of humor.

I wanted to visit a friend who just had a baby, but she was too tired to see people after C-section.

Submitted my Perspectives homework, instead of waiting till Saturday night! That’s because we spent most of the day Monday reading.