Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thoughtful Speech

Today's Mom Time was a farewell for Heyam as she's headed back to Canada this weekend. It was a great time of fellowship but the highlight was praying for her before she left. I've always been open about my faith among these ladies but today was the first time that I stepped up in front of all to do something like this. Very few moms in our group believe in Jesus as their Saviour but it's always been my prayer that they would discover the one true God. I've been racking my brain how to more intentionally incorporate God into our fellowship times and today was a great start. They all responded well and I think this opened the doors to the book that we will study and having more opportunities to pray for them. I love these ladies and feel very blessed to serve them by organizing this group.

We started our time playing the game 2 truths and a lie and it was really fun. We got to know some fun facts about each other. I'm thinking of playing this as an opener each week... it's a much easier and fun way to learn things about everyone all at once.

Here's a few pictures of the ladies....

and this is Heyam and Luna

As we waited for everyone to arrive, Isabella and Isaiah were staring out the window watching a man trim the hedges. Buddy was just entranced by this as you can see....

Just a few more days and then I get to hug my family! I'm very excited about this trip ... excited to see my family and excited to catch up with Adelina. I really miss having them around.

I've been really challenged lately about the things that come out of my mouth... realizing that every word counts... that they can be really encouraging or really hurtful.... and realizing that I have a lot of work to do to improve in that area. I can't change what others say but I can be careful about what I say and I'm thankful to a friend here Dori, who posted this scripture in a note on facebook that challenged me to be more like Christ...

Matthew 12:36, 37 "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. . For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

final check-up

I had my last Dr's appointment for my eyes today... well hopefully for along time. My right eye has totally healed and my left eye just has two spots left! So I was put back on the drops for 10 days and that should be the end of that! I get my new glasses on Tuesday so life is good!

My computer is dying a slow death... the delete button is now no longer working which makes typing extremely hard since my f's and r's don't work either and I have to cut and paste those. Ugh...

So I'm going to sign o f f and see how many people turned the lights o f f for world earth hour.

Friday, March 27, 2009

BesT frIenDS

Isabella and I were talking about friends yesterday and I asked her who was her best friend. I thought she might say her usual 'I don't know' answer but she promptly said, 'Timothy.' Here they are at his birthday party. The only negative thing about them being so close is that they have to be reminded to include others... when others are around. I don't know if that's an age thing or not so I'm working on that with her. I certainly don't want Isabella to grow up unwilling to make new friends or leaving others out.

Mike's at the 7's tonight. It's been a yucky rainy day so I chose to stay home and work on worship for Sunday. It's been a fairly relaxing evening which is good because the next few days... not so much. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is the way.... walk in it.

Lord, I give up my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my time, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever. ~Betty Scott Stam a China Inland Mission worker

Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it"

I like to start and end my day by saying the Lord's Prayer. I don't exactly remember why I started doing this, and sadly when it's the alarm clock that wakes me.. I'm often shocked it's the am already and forget my prayer, but it always helps me to calm down and focus on the Lord before bed. Mornings are not my friend (just ask Mike and sadly Isabella takes after me in that way) but I've been trying really hard to make the am less stressful and more joyful... for myself but also to set an example for Isabella. To teach her that are attitude is a choice and that life is much more pleasant when we choose joy. :) As I was reading this evening, I came across this prayer (by Betty Scott Stam, typed above) that just spoke to me on so many levels. This was her daily prayer and it will become my mine. I know it will be a challenge to give my plans/purposes/desires/etc totally to the Lord as we often think we know what's best for ourselves but I honestly want God's will for my life... even if that means giving up my desires and I will trust that God will give me peace and help me to let go if necessary.

Aside from this prayer, two verses also spoke to me. Psalm 37:4 and Isaiah 30:21. Psalm 37 reminded me that God does care about us and hear us but that I need to delight in Him and His desires will become mine. Isaiah 30 challenged me to go deeper in my walk. I can imagine walking through life hearing God's still, small voice saying... 'This is the way, walk in it.' How awesome to know that He will guide me and I can trust Him completely.

I was disappointed when Mike headed to bed early tonight (though I knew he needed to and that it was good for him) but what a blessing to me it turned out to be. Thank you God for knowing what I needed!

I'm excited to daily commit myself to the Lord, using this prayer. I can already see how God is using it to change my perspectives.

How do you daily commit yourself to God?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One of Those days

I don't really like to write many negative things because I know that whatever complaints I have... they're so minor in comparison to how God has blessed me and what He has done for me but man.... today has been a long day and I'm frustrated and disappointed and well.... sometimes I just don't understand why things happen the way they do. And I just needed to say that out loud.

Tomorrow's a new day and I'm grateful for that! So I'm going to head upstairs (it's pretty darn cool that I can say that!) and read and make a list for the trip.

But before I finish...
I've been trying to make a list every night of 5's... 5 ways I'm thankful, 5 prayers for others, 5 prayers for myself and 5 dreams so I'll post my 5 thankfuls for today here:

1. I'm thankful that my activity at school went well today. I had the two oldest groups and they tend to be the hardest to keep focused during activities.
2. I'm thankful that I connected with a mom during ballet class today. She lives just down the street and her daughter and Izzy get along really well. So I'm hoping that maybe we can set up some playdates and build some friendships out here.
3. I'm thankful that both kids went to bed very easily and that Isabella fell asleep earlier tonight. She has been so exhausted since camp.
4. I'm thankful that we've benefited from people's generosity ... I came home from school today with a bag full of clothes for Isabella.
5. I'm thankful that tomorrow is Thursday and we have nothing planned. It's been a crazy few weeks and I'm looking forward to coming home and staying home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shy, Sensitive Isabella

Yesterday Isabella was invited to her best bud, Timothy's, birthday party. When I asked her what she wanted to get him (I was actually just asking cause I was just curious what she'd say) she said a Superman costume. I thought she'd forget about it but when I asked her again a few days later, she said the same thing. I asked her why she wanted to get him that and she said so that he would have something to wear, instead of princess dresses, when he came over to play. When I asked why superman, she said so that they could match. (she has a supergirl dress) I thought it was so sweet of her to think of him. What a pair these two are. I did however forget my camera so I don't have pictures of them to share.

Today we went to Disney for the afternoon. We had a great time, the weather was perfect, and it wasn't too crowded. We started off with the usual... spaceships, tea cups, it's a small world.... When it was time to see the princesses, Izzy was second in line. Because it wasn't so crowded, we were excited that she would have time to talk to Cinderella and Snow White. She'd been talking about them all day but when they came... she became shy and wouldn't say a thing. So we headed off to see High School Musical and have Mickey waffles. Buddy was the star of the day as many mainlanders stopped to look at his blue eyes. I'm thankful that I've finally learned the balance of letting them have a look but moving on with my day as well. It's a bit tricky now too with Isabella as many do enjoy seeing her.. they ooo and ahh more over Isaiah (being a baby and having blue eyes) and I don't ever want her to feel that he's more special or anything of the like.

So anyway... that was our day. Nice and relaxing and now we're headed up to bed to watch LOST on our big screen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Worship: so many questions

I came home this evening from camp so that I could organize and cook a bit before everyone arrives tomorrow and with just a few minutes to put my feet up, I wanted to write how blessed I've been with all that has taken place in the last 24+ hrs. We've had a small group this year... (a max of about 25) but I think it's really helped them to connect. We had some from Sunday mornings and some from friday nights so they didn't all know each other but they mixed and mingled and participated in what was going on.

The theme was Our Journey with God and Mike had asked several adults to share their journeys with God. So far we heard Pastor Mark, Sarah and David... all with sweet stories on the journey God has taken them. Tomorrow I share... eek I do not like speaking in front of people but my story is to hit a hit on something that I'm quite passionate about so I think I'll be okay. :)

But the thing that touched me the most was their worship. I can remember being their age and not interested in singing or really understanding what worship was all about. Plus I can remember there always being those people in the back who were talking or doing their own thing and it just all felt awkward. And I think all youth groups still struggle with those things but this group showed a lot of respect for what was going on... what the purpose was. They may not have been comfortable to sing and they may not understand totally what worship is all about but they all tried. I don't think there was one who didn't make an effort and that really blew me away. Tonight before I left there was one more 'singing set' and Mike challenged all of us to worship in a way that we felt comfortable... meaning dance, clap, raise hands, kneel, whatever it might be. He reminded those of us that attended the Delirious concert that we don't have to stand straight and look like prunes but this was our time with God. And I couldn't believe what happened after that... the energy that produced... the joy that came upon the students faces. They were dancing, singing louder, clapping... they were praising God in their own special way and it went from quiet whispers to loud, joyful praises.

And it made me think.... I wonder what guests think when they walk into a church and see people standing still, singing quietly, maybe some even with unintentional frowns? Would non-energetic/enthusiastic singing make people question our faith or passion for God? And why do we feel that we have to worship one way in church and another way at a concert? Why can't/aren't we comfortable worshiping in a way that brings us joy and helps us connect to our Creator? What exactly does sincere worship in song look like? Now I know that everyone is different... I wouldn't be someone who dances or jumps up and down (partially because I can't dance and can't jump up and down and stay in one place.. which on a side note is why I don't do it at a concert too... not because I'm boring) but there are other things I've wished I've felt more freedom to do.

Anyway... I'm leading worship next week and this is just me randomly thinking through some things that I've been challenged with.

I'll share more about camp on another day. Hope you have a great Sat!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sushi Making

I've only tried sushi a handful (if that) of times and I've not been impressed. I'm just not a raw fish kinda gal nor can I really even handle the sight of the little fish eggs. But I do like learning new things and I'm willing to give foods another chance when made by natives of that particular culture. We've been asking the moms to teach us different things that they are gifted at and so far we've learned how to make beaded rings. This week was sushi making.

I was excited to learn for Mike's sake as he really enjoys it, plus I thought it would be a fun new cultural experience. Junko was our teacher and she did a fabulous job. She had all the supplies ready and she taught us how to put it together and roll it up. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be and I did give it another taste. It wasn't as bad as I remembered it being but it still wasn't something that I kept eating... as I did the cranberry bread that we also had at the party. :)

We made up a new roster of moms and we currently have 15 active moms in the group! That's so exciting to me! We've found a book that we are going to study called 'Discovering the Joy of Parenting'... a book translated into both English and Japanese. We'll be starting within the next few weeks and I'm really excited about the opportunities this book study will allow for. 


Isabella's cough has been bothering her again (weather changes) and I think it's actually getting to her this time around. Tonight at dinner, she started crying (I thought it was because there was debate on what she would eat for dinner) but when I asked her what was wrong she just kept saying, 'my cough is back... it's not getting better.' It just broke my heart. So if you think of her, please say a prayer for God's healing.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

6 Months

I can't believe my baby is 6 months already! Here's a few pictures that I took today. He was a bit more serious... so not many of his adorable smile but still cute.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mommy/Daughter Date





I had today off and I really wanted to take advantage of the day. I was looking forward to sleeping in a bit, spending the morning with Isaiah, going for a run, getting Isabella off the bus and taking her to Disney. But beginning on Tues, big storms were being forecasted. I thought I'd just wait until today and see what happened.

My Mom had asked me to get some HK Disneyland umbrellas for my nieces and with rainy season upon us (yes Mike you can do your 'I told you so' dance but it is March) we wanted to get Isabella one her size so even though it was a bit sprinkly, I thought it would be a fun surprise to go. I figured we'd go, get the umbrellas, see the princesses, jump in some puddles and head home.

But when we got to the last stop before switching to the Disney train, I heard a large boom and splash. I looked out the window to see very dark clouds, trees swaying like crazy... the storm had hit. We got off and I wondered what we should do but I thought... well we're here and we're here to buy umbrellas so lets just have some fun. (Thankfully, I was smart enough to remove our long sleeves so we'd have something to change into once we got soaked.) So we made a run for it and by the time we got into the park we were drenched. Poor Izzy was so cold. But we picked out our umbrellas and went into the bathroom to change.

In the time it took us to change, the rain stopped and we had about 45 min of warmth. We rode the Cinderella carousel and then headed off to meet the princesses. Belle passed by and grabbed Isabella's hand and asked her to come take a photo with her. Then we met Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and finally Snow White. By then it was raining a bit heavier so we went into one of the stores to look for a birthday present. Once we finished, it was back to pouring so I suggested to Izzy that we head home and she agreed.

We ran from building to building trying not to get totally soaked and once we were out of the park, the rain stopped again. So I took some picks of her with her new 'Izzy sized, princess' umbrella and we headed to Kowloon station where Mike so generously offered to pick us up. We waited at Starbucks for Mike and had hot drinks since I was freezing.

But despite the weather, we did have a great time. Isabella wasn't totally shy (as she has been lately) with the princesses so it was fun to watch her interact with them and it was a blast watching her pick out a gift for her friend.

We came home and watched American Idol. :) The kids are in bed and I'm just planning my day for tomorrow.

and because he's so cute


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Getting Mobile

Isaiah is officially on the move... army style. At dinner, we let him play on the floor while we eat since he doesn't like to be downstairs on his own, I put him down and his computer in front of him (apparently too far away) and instantly he was off like lightning. It was super cute. I put him down this evening to get it on video and he just cried and cried. He was a bit too hungry to care about toys. But I did eventually get it so be on the lookout.

Isabella did great at ballet today. I reminded her to listen to Miss Tina and copy what she does. Don't know if that made a difference but she did much better this week... less watching herself in the mirror. She's still a bit shy in the group and I really feel that part of the reason is because it's all westerners and she's not used to that but who knows.

I'm still trying to get my glasses. But I can see a bit better with my current ones so life is good. The kids are healthy again though Isabella was exhausted today... in bed and asleep by 7:07! Mike seems more life-like though I know he's still struggling but it's always good to see him smile and laugh.

I've got the next two days off and of course it's to rain both days! yuck but oh well... I'm trying to be creative in what I do. I'm actually scrapping tonight which is really fun. I've also decided to try a 21 day challenge to make a habit of exercising. I haven't done much since my half-marathon and I'm feeling sluggish and yucky but I can't seem to motivate myself. So we'll see what happens.

okay... mike's home and i'm ready for sleep.