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The Ultimate Gift

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"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Watching some cartoons on kids' TV with my children one lazy afternoon, I was dismayed to find how twisted our values have gone. A music video was shown of a song "Chintzy" with a couple of famous cartoon characters portraying some gift-giving. A notorious friend was having his birthday and his friend gave him a personal gift, a picture of them together when they were young, framed, and obviously, well-kept and treasured. And the birthday celebrator's reaction? A song that goes along these lines... A picture framed, chintzy! A sweater you made, chintzy! Give me a Ferrari, a trip to Hawaii and throw in a million bucks!

Hands On (and More) Part 2

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Gifts "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17). The joy of working with our hands in service and the privilege of enjoying the fruits of our labors comes only from our Creator.
But what if you don't know what your gift is?
Growing up, I thought I knew what I was going to be and where I was going. But having gone through so many detours and u-turns, I had become very confused. God, though, has been very patient with me.

Hands On Part 1

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Craft-y I've never been crafty with my hands as my younger sister is. She is utterly awesome that she has made a business out of it. (Check out some of her work below or visit her website www.estherspalace.com. No apologies as I am just so proud of her.)
I wish I am as skillful as her but I haven't quite mastered the use of my hands or explored the wonders it can do.
Actually, I have done some exploration back in high school. We had to do a sewing project for our Home Ec class, but being one who can't construct anything out of nothing, much less a mass of threads and pieces of cloth, I pressured my mom into teaching me how to sew together an apron. (Uh-huh, pretty ambitious. An apron! Should have set my sights on a handkerchief and passed it on as a table napkin.)

Snow

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It's winter here in Russia. Snow is everywhere.

The family was out up in the mountains with friends for some barbecue in the snow. We dressed up pretty warmly to avoid the cold and to really enjoy the moment. We are appreciative of the scene outside. It looked pure, undefiled, soft and WHITE.

Very white. I wondered then how snow happens to get so white.

Far From Perfect

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I'm not so sure why I'm writing about that Proverbs 31 woman.  You know, that Mrs. Perfect who has a spotless home, impeccable taste, boundless energy and talent, poised, and sweet as honey? I am just so far from being like her, that the more I read about her, the more sure I am that if I get to meet her, really meet her in person, I would most likely be reduced to two inches tall (or should I say short? or shorter? I mean, I am already short!).

Trusting God with Life's Adventures

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It has been awhile since my last post. There has been a lot to do for me and my family. We have moved  to another temporary home. In Russia. With our present moving, we are not immune to a lot of excitement and decisions to make. Decisions on where to move or whether we will move, when to move, how to move, and what to move. There was a lot of stress and it has to be managed or there will be no thriving, only suffering.

Well, life constitutes change and transitions.

Mirror

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I looked at myself in the mirror and I was aghast to see that I have become heavier, wider and stouter since that morning. Hmm... I turned sideways and I can see that my belly seemed to be bulging more than it used to and, wow! my behind... it was sagging down to my knees. (Maybe an exaggeration, but really, it looked like it was really hanging that loose!) So I sucked in my belly and stood straighter but it wasn't helping my image in the mirror a bit.

Ultimate Loving

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I was weak. I had a fit. Basically, I was complaining that I was tired of having to take care of three kids, help them with their homework, cook and feed them when I get home from work while my husband has to stay home. It was one of those mommy-things wherein the day's stress at work, the children's inexhaustible energy, the seemingly never-ending rituals of tucking them to bed, and some paranoid thoughts created a combustion that, well, I wasn't able to handle. Or maybe it's just me. I was tired and couldn't help but let other people (well, there was only my husband) know in a really, really huge way how I felt. Oh yeah, a pretty childish enormous way. I wasn't able to 'let go' when I should have let it all go and should have breathed in, breathed out. I shoulda, woulda, coulda... But it was too late.

Waiting on the Ultimate Parent

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Oh, to be patient! It would solve most of my life's problems. I would be the best mom that ever walked on this earth, the sweetest wife that mankind has ever known, scores of people will be my friend and will stay to be my friend.

Patience is a virtue that is needed, oh, so needed by everybody in this world. Sadly, however, I lack it. I often find myself saying to my kids and students, "Be careful." Then in the next breath I would say, "Hurry up!" Worst, I kept stopping myself from automatically demanding several times a day "Hurry up", when I just said, "Go slowly" or "Write slowly". I really sound like that familiar sentiment, "Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!" I am an oxymoron personified.

I was four months pregnant and living with my family on the fourth floor of a building. Whenever my 19-month old son and I would go out, I had to carry him down flights of stairs on my hip supported by one arm while the…

Progress Report

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It's that time of the month. No, I'm not PMS-ing. Nor am I having the actual monthly visit. I am writing progress reports. I don't really look forward to this activity, but as a teacher, this is expected from me.  My students (and their parents) need to know how they are doing and how their skills are improving.

So here I am rating one student Excellent in speaking, while rating the other student Needs Improvement.

Learning from the Ultimate Parent

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"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

Since becoming a parent, I have been in awe of the power that parents have over their children. The power to make them or break them, to fashion them into society's best or cursed,  and to affect their lives and the way they live them. That, I would say, is a power akin to playing God. This power gives us the audacity to wield control and to determine the destiny of a human being. That, would make any person nervous and question his abilities and qualifications.

Who, in this world, is qualified to to be a parent? Who has the academic qualifications, the experience, the skills to parent?

Toddler Time is...

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So, I have a toddler. My third, actually. Though kids are their cutest during this time, it's also the time when they wreak havoc the most. So let me define toddler time to get some sense out of it... and hope that I get some lighthearted time out of, phew! stress-inducing moments and some wisdom too.

Toddler time is...

A Pilgrim's Dream

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I dream of a beautiful home. A place that I can have for myself. A place where I can run to for shelter and warmth. A place where I can be at ease and be myself. A place where I can freely love, laugh, sing and cry. A place where I can proudly show to others, invite them in, hoping that they find the satisfaction that I have found. I long for this place, this home. 
Maybe you do too?