20
Jan
stored in: 2019

Many years ago I wanted to take Perspectives. But I didn’t want to do the work required.

Now I’m ready. Today’s class was great. Unfortunately I missed the last hour to attend a wedding. And the wedding of Stephanie and Tyler was great too.

A great day overall. Thankful for our church and our friends.

19
Jan
stored in: 2019

I applied a lesson from Proverbs today.

I’ve been reading one chapter of the book of Proverbs a day. On the first of the month, I read Proverbs 1, on the 2nd of the month, I read Proverbs 2, and so on (read a extra chapter on the short months). This is my 4th month reading Proverbs this way. I learned this from Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason.

Themes emerge from Proverbs as I read it again and again – justice, honesty, fairness, foolishness, talking too much (haven’t seen a proverb about not talking enough), laziness.

So that last one…today, I woke up not wanting to go to the Awana conference I had registered for. It’s Saturday, I came back late from Awana last night, I might be coming down with a cold, no one else I know is going…I had many excuses. Did I have valid reasons or was I being lazy? And if it’s laziness, then I am not heeding what the Bible teaches. Then why bother to read Proverbs daily if I am not going to apply its wisdom?

So I got up, got ready and went to the conference. And as always, when we obey God, he blesses us. The conference was great! I enjoyed the workshops, connected with others with passion for Awana, and saw someone I know! I came away with many ideas to improve our Awana. I have to admit, I only half-heartedly asked our Awana leaders to go because I wasn’t sure if it’d be worth it. When the conference comes around next year, I will definitely encourage everyone to go.

Spent a couple hours with Audrey and Danny just sitting around chatting. Hubby put up new drapes from HomeGoods in the family room. I approved of them, so we will return the drapes I bought from Costco, along with several other things I plan on returning.

And now get ready for bed and read Proverbs 19 – my favorite part of the day.

 

It was pouring rain yesterday. Our pool is full, our rain barrel is full, our garden beds are puddling.

But today, I wake up to a perfect cool day with blue skies. And this is why people live in SoCal despite the traffic, the high cost of housing, high taxes, high gasoline prices, etc. etc. etc. A couple, friends my age, are planning their retirement to move out of CA for all those reasons. I don’t know how it would be to start over in unknown territory. But then I said I want to serve God in Taiwan…maybe it’s just a dream and a wish. Only God knows if I can handle it.

In an attempt to keep my new year resolution to exercise, I played basketball in our church gym for 3 minutes! I had the full court to myself. Dribbling up and down the court is tiring! Proud of myself for making a good percentage of baskets hahaha

In Awana tonight:

Speaker has a bag of candy as a skit prop.

Kids: Can we have some of the candy?

Me: I’m sorry, our church has a rule not to give out candy. Some children may have allergies.

Boy: No one ever has allergy to candy!

 

 

17
Jan

A couple more reflections from yesterday:

Nancy C’s MIL has cancer that has metastasized. While she is elderly and ready to be with Jesus, Nancy says she has a good attitude, goes about doing as much as she can, not worrying about her cancer. I told Nancy that in her shoes I would be a basket case. But Nancy reminded me that it’s God’s grace that she has peace. Yes, if it’s God’s will that I suffer, I can have confidence in his promise that his grace is sufficient for me. That has been true of my past and that will be true for my present and for my future. Why do I fear?

Able to pray with Doris C at prayer meeting was a blessing. So blessed to be prayed for by the church.

Mariners Church in Irvine is a great place to do work. People go to Starbucks and other hip coffee or boba places to work, but the best is a church with a cafe. I got a lot done, and will definitely work more often away from the office. Being in a different place opens your mind, it’s hard to explain why that works, but it does. EVFree Fullerton also has a nice work space though their cafe doesn’t serve good food.

Dinner with my son and DIL in Irvine since we were in the area. While it was nice to chat, I find it easier to get personal with young couples at church than with them. Of course it’s a different relationship. But isn’t it ironic that the people you are closest to can’t share personal things? Is it more embarrassing? I don’t know how to analyze this one. I wish I can talk to them about their marriage in a similar way I talk to the couples we mentor who are the same age as them.

 

16
Jan
stored in: 2019

Do you get that awkwardness when you don’t quite know how to end a meet up with someone?

I met up with PN today, had a great time catching up, and after almost 2 hours, we probably both felt it was time to go. We were in my office, and I thought it might look rude if I stand and open the door, which implies I want her to leave. I didn’t want her to think I’m kicking her out in case she had more to talk about.  Now the Christian thing to do is to close in prayer. I resist that because I felt my heart wasn’t about praying to God but using it as a signal. Does that make sense? Of course it could’ve been both, a true honest prayer and an ending to our time together. But I felt like I would “use” prayer as a show of pious act when all along in our conversation we didn’t mention prayer. Well, I did say one time during our conversation that I’d pray for her about the thing she was talking about. And why don’t we ever pray during conversations and only pray at the end? That bothers me about meetings too. Praying at the end of the meeting signals the end more than truly asking God to act. Why don’t we pray in the middle of meetings and during discussions to ask God to direct us? Why just at the beginning and the end? I have only one friend who prays during talking, and I love praying and talking to her.

I think next time I will signal ending by saying “Is there anything else we haven’t covered?” I usually use that line but today I forgot.

Feeling very full, digestion bothering me a bit. My mostly keto diet is mostly working for me but sometimes I still have problems.

16
Jan

I enjoy our staff meetings because we discuss ideas. Today we spent an inordinate amount of time discussing visitors and elderly parking spaces! While it may not sound very spiritual, and perhaps pastors should have other issues to talk about, I think this kind of discussion opens our minds to the state of our church in general. Are we presenting an easy way for new people to come to church to hear the gospel or is our lack of a seemingly simple thing as signage driving people away? Are we putting effort to care for people in this way? While we are not trying to create a perfect “user experience”, we don’t want to be discouraging to those who may be genuinely seeking God. In the perfect world, it wouldn’t matter if people have to park farther because they’d be so driven by spiritual hunger that they would walk 5 miles in the snow to attend church. Unfortunately that’s not suburban American Christianity.

Thankful for hubby, finished the painting of the family room and cleaned up. Now our couch looks bad…And this is why home improvement is never ending and always goes over budget.

Our rain barrel is full. Myth busted that it never rains in southern California.

[posted on 1/16/2019]

15
Jan
stored in: 2019

I want to keep to my 2019 resolution to post daily to help me reflect. Today is Tuesday and I had to think very hard of what I did Saturday! I guess all I need to know is that it was a good day.

1/12/2019 Saturday

It’s not often that I have a wide open Saturday, so I texted my sister May and see if she’s available. We met up for early dinner at Mamas Lu. It’s dinner for her, but I ate dinner again. It was nice since we don’t do it often. We are pretty close, but the distance is not physical, it’s spiritual.

After that Mike and I shopped for hot pot Sunday dinner. I enjoy planning for a meal. It was fun to be out without specific obligations or responsibilities.

1/13/2019 Sunday

I try to attend Adult worship service once a month. This Sunday I was able  to do that and leave the Children Worship to the devoted volunteers. However, right after I sat down, I got a phone call from one of those volunteers, “Where are the pencils?” LOL I went out to get her the pencils and went back to adult worship.

Dinner was my highlight. Our friends Olu and Deanna came for dinner, we enjoyed a fun evening with hot pot, their first experience with that. We talked freely and able to scheduled for them to do training at our church. I hope to get together with them more. This also motivated me to invite people over more, as was our intention once we finished the floors. Now I have no excuse. Except if it’s a large group, I would rather have a bbq outside because we can’t accommodate that many inside. Looking forward to doing that in the summer.

1/14/2019 Monday

Met up with VW in the morning to prepare her house for sale. I was a real estate agent for 20+ years, and this was one of my favorite part of my job. When I can, I still join my husband in this part of real estate.

Finally we started painting the family room. Hopefully we will finish soon so we can put up new black-out drapes. Lots of touch ups needed because our unsteady hands paint go the line a lot. :P

With the rain and cold weather, my husband and I haven’t been able to do our usual after dinner walk. So we “walk” and talk by stepping up and down on the one entry step. Do that for 15-20 minutes and it’s a good work out.

12
Jan

When I think of Awana nights, I am reluctant because I have to rush dinner (I eat slow) to get to church early. But once I’m there, I love it. By the end of the evening, I am so energized and don’t want to leave.

Tonight, a parent asked how her son is doing. She is concerned for his spiritual growth. She takes him with her to BSF, just started in Awana, very regular in coming to SS and worship. I wish more parents have her concern. Her 4th grade son is a typical active boy, complains he has to sit too long. I don’t blame him for saying that. Mom says he likes their previous church because they always have snacks and spend a lot of time eating. We don’t serve any snacks…

In the morning, the mommy and me fellowship was encouraging. Had good conversation with ML and LM, insight into their needs and how to pray for them. Young moms have struggles, but good kind of struggle. It doesn’t seem good at the time, I’ve been there. Parenting is a significant tool God uses to shape and sanctify us. How else would we be tested in our unconditional and sacrificial love? Parenting is the only thing in life that we willingly submit ourselves to and can’t get out of, and God will not make it easy so that we can grow through it. I am convinced that he can’t grow us any other way. Anything other means we would just quit when the going gets hard. That’s me. But I couldn’t stop being a parent.

Slept at midnight, too much energy after Awana, so this is posted on Saturday 1/12/2019.

 

 

10
Jan
stored in: 2019

I felt like I didn’t “accomplish” anything today, but DW reminded me of the meaningful conversations I had, and those are ministry.

PC gave me an update on her daughter whom I’ve been praying for. PTL He is at work though prayer is not completely answered, yet.

HB shared about her situation and now I know how to pray and encourage her more. Her struggles are similar to mine and I can relate.

I asked JG to help me with a project.

DW and I talked about how we can better support the young married couples.

Enjoyed starting Amy on her Konmarie. I don’t have the guts to do drastic decluttering, yet, but I promise I will. I want to start with my books and papers, but Konmarie says to start with clothes and I don’t need to declutter clothes, at least I don’t think I do…I think I’m pretty good at not accumulating clothes and only keeping what sparks joy. But then again, my closet is busting at the seams.

Didn’t keep my appointment to read today. I want to finish a book by next week.

Renewing my drivers license means a trip to the dreaded DMV.

I arrived at 10am for my 10:20am appointment. I left at 11:18am. At least I found a parking space without circling around.

Words of advice: make an appointment, get there early, make sure you read the instructions on the website and follow everything to a T, bring all your documents, they don’t take credit card, have your confirmation number ready, wait patiently, be nice to the workers because I can tell they are trying their best, but it’s a tedious job. It’s not their fault, it’s our law-makers who built this bureaucracy. Everyone there looks unhappy except for the lady taking the picture. She said hi to me with a big smile. Maybe that’s the only station where customers are happy because it means they are almost done and outa there.

Met David and Helen, missionaries in Nairobi, Kenya for the last 6 years. They are second career missionaries, David was an aerospace engineer, Helen was a med tech. They went when their daughters were 14 and 9. I am inspired by people who are willing to take a risk and go in obedience to God.

 

09
Jan
stored in: 2019

January 8, 2019 Tuesday

Mike had small group, so Amy and I took advantage of my birthday free meal at Ikea. One meatball entree and almond cake. And a free cup of tea as an Ikea member. Amy paid for her own meatball meal. Also had $15 off our purchase, of which we only spent about $9. Still made out, no complaints.

Stimulating discussion at staff meeting about planning out the future of the church. Our senior pastor uses words like strategic planning and envisioning, but really it means the same as making a plan to make mature believers to reach the world.  I’m on board with that. I’m working on a plan to make disciples in the children ministry.

[posted 1/9/2019]

07
Jan
stored in: 2019

Almost always on Monday my day off my husband and I go to Costco, for fun. We almost always don’t get out with less than $100 worth of stuff. Today was no exception. But almost always I return something, taking advantage of their generous return policy. But they make enough money off me, so I don’t feel bad at all.

Started the day with a Skype call with Odyssey in Taiwan. We met him this past October during our Short Term Mission. He loves reading Jane Austen, and now reading Agatha Christie, both are my favorite authors. So excited to talk to him, and hope to talk to him again. His wife and children are Christians but he’s not, yet. We pray often for his salvation.

I visit my friend DI about once or twice a year. We can talk for hours! I’ve known her for almost 20 years when she was one of my first customers from my real estate website. I helped her purchase her house and have been friends since. Twenty years ago was when real estate websites first came into being, and I did relatively well with it, considering I didn’t, and still don’t know much technology. I consider my most successful sale is to DI because she has become a good friend. Most of my customers do become my friends, but DI and I have a special connection over the years. I am thankful for her.

I am quite impressed with the customer service of Bath Bath & Beyond. We opened our ornament organizer, and decided to return it because it didn’t fit our ornaments. But we didn’t know how to fold it back into the original package. They refunded my open box with no questions asked.  I wasted a rehearsed a speech to argue with the store manager :)

Thankful today for my husband for doing the hard work of cleaning up all the Christmas decorations, taking out the tree, etc. The tree is still so green and beautiful, another excellent purchase from Costco.

Thankful for a day to do whatever I want, which included laundry that I’ve been wanting to wash.

07
Jan
stored in: 2019

I am very thankful for VW, a faithful and loving children ministry servant who comes at 8:30am to pray with me to start off the day. She’s been leading the preschool ministry for at least 20 years, before she was married and had kids herself! I wasn’t even interested in children ministry until I had my own kids!

Serendipitous conversations with F who said she wants to help in Awana! I don’t usually talk to her nor did I ask if she wants to help. God provides people to do His work, I have no doubt. Then I ran into MW whose mother just passed away. She remembered that I was praying for her parents and we had a nice chat. I didn’t go to the funeral because I don’t like funerals. I can’t handle the sadness of lost. Her son B used to be in my department as a 5th grader, now in 11th grade. Time flies as they say, and it’s true.

Had a good time with the children in Children Worship. I do love to preach the Sunday message, because there is so much in God’s Word that I want to share with them. I now know why pastors love to preach to their own congregation and is protective of their pulpit. I will miss the 5th graders when they move up to Youth. I think I say that about every 5th grade class.

(posted on Monday 1/7/2019)

 

This the first book I finished in 2019, following my new year resolution. I am counting audio books, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this on Audible, free download.

I like Oscar Wilde’s writing, they are amusing, entertaining, and deep. How do you get to be a writer like that? But of course that’s what makes him so well-known. His works must have been considered quite appalling in his day although sadly, marital affairs and such are nothing to us now.

I am now downloading to listen to King’s Solomon’s Mine which is a classic I have not read.

Once a month the pastors have a Saturday 8am meeting with the Deacons of our church. It’s the only day where I have to be at church that early. But I cannot complain since I know most people have to be at work at that time or even earlier, daily. And I only live 10 minutes from church, 7 minutes if all the signals are in my favor. I enjoy the sharing with these men, always interesting to hear their perspective of church and their family. I appreciate each one for their commitment and perseverance in the faith.

In the afternoon I went with my daughter to return some online purchases. We love buying online, free shipping with free return in the store. The Orange outlet had both American Eagle and Nordstrom Rack to return our purchases. And of course we had to stop by Goodwill, both to drop off and shop. Didn’t find any treasures this time. The rain added some excitement.

Couldn’t sleep, which is rare for me. As I laid there, I felt the weight of my sin from the day, and am once again grateful to God for giving me another day today, His mercies are new every morning.

(Posted one day late for Saturday, 1/5/2019)

 

 

This book had a big influence on me in shaping my philosophy of ministry. I read this in November, and I can’t believe I didn’t blog it here, so I can remember it.

The introduction starts off with recounting the story of two nice young adults who were raised in the church, both of them identify themselves as Christians, and they are living good moral lives as adults, but have simply stopped showing interest in the Christian life. This story, and countless similar stories that I personally know, causes me to weep. What am I doing as a full time Christian staff whose main job is to make disciples of Jesus, if what I’m doing is not actually making disciples of Jesus?

This book gave me a lot of insight into the nature of salvation, God’s sovereign work, and my role in influencing children in God’s plan.

I got a download of this for free from Crossway, but I wouldn’t mind spending money on it.

 

03
Jan

At my church where I work, we have an indoor basketball gym. As part of my new year resolution to exercise, I was thinking I’ll take breaks throughout the day to shoot some baskets, by myself with hopefully no one watching. I wore my tennis shoes today for that purpose. But there were people in there all day today.

I finished preparing for my message for children worship and did some visioning for the year. Thankful for my friend DW to chat with once in a while.

Oh, also got a slight pay increase :) Thankful for a generous church to give us a little increase once a year.

I’m going to read my new book now, given to me by Pastor HL. I love starting a new book but if it doesn’t hold my interest, it’ll take forever for me to finish it.

A big part of my work is talking to people, mostly about good things, which is why I love my job. We talk about God and life which is what we are all about.

Today, I am thankful for heart conversations with Sharon W and PT.

However, I feel a little under the weather. Not sick but feel tired and susceptible to catching something. I’m not used to going out in temperatures in the 40′s, so I will have to miss prayer meeting, the first one of 2019 where we are dedicating ourselves to the Lord for the year. While I can pray and do that myself, it’s not the same as with the church body. Thankful for the church praying for me.

 

My new year resolutions, if I make any, tend to be the same each year. I guess I just want to keep working on those same habits that has not yet been firmly established as a habit.

So for 2019, these are some things I want to work on:

1. Micro blog everyday about my day. I can only remember major events of 2018, there is so much more I wish I remember. I tried to Instagram daily but that doesn’t work for me. I might try that again too. A daily habit of blogging a little about my day forces me to reflect, especially about things that I can be grateful for. My desire is to read this at the end of 2019 and see God’s hand in my life, instead of forgetting his kindness to me.

2. Be a servant without expecting anything in return. I know in my head this is how we are to live, but my old nature keeps looking for some reciprocal. I don’t mean I want acknowledgement or payment. But in the back of my mind I expect people to be nice to me if I am nice to them. That’s just how life should be, isn’t it? But it’s not always like that, and I need to look to Christ, that he serves me even when I continue to sin.

3. Continue to read a book a month. I was not consistent last year, so I need to make sure I complete one book a month. I have a lot of books I want to read, and I’m a really slow reader.

4. Exercise. This continues to be a challenge. I need to find something I can do regularly, something I enjoy. I am experiencing more aches and pains as I get older, but it’s not to late for me to get in shape.

Here’s my first micro post of 2019.

 

Our tradition is to watch the Rose Parade. I grew up in Pasadena where we went out to Colorado Blvd. every January 1st. I even stayed overnight on the street with my friends one year. If you’ve never done it, I recommend doing it once while you’re young.

So we watched it this morning on KTLA website. Unfortunately, the float depicting the railroad and Chinese American history broke down at the beginning, never got to see it.

Went to see Aquaman as a gift to my husband – it’s not my choice of movie, but I’m ok with superhero movies. I don’t like movies in general. However, I know I need an outlet to be entertained so I don’t take life nor myself too seriously, so I think I may go to the movies more, the family friendly ones only.

Made a quick dinner of chicken stew with carrots, potatoes, and onions. I must say it was pretty good.

Very grateful for time spent with my daughter and son in law at the movies, for an easy day, for good health, for my siblings, and my niece’s engagement today.

Now time to get ready for bed and restart daily reading of Proverbs, Proverbs 1 on the 1st of the  month.