"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai! 新年快樂

A belated Happy Chinese New Year to all! We took the little Asian kiddos to have their pictures taken this past weekend wearing their traditional Chinese outfits. They looked soooooooooo cute! Everywhere we went, people oooohhhed and ahhhed, and of course, asked if they were twins. (Don't fret about AJ not being in the pics, his birthday is coming up next month and his photo shoot is already scheduled!)

Unfortunately, our FCC group is very inactive and has only one event a year, a Chinese New Year party. It was held in January and we were not able to attend. I am so looking forward to moving to an area where these little ones can partake in celebratory events surrounding their heritage. Not being a naturalized American myself, I know the importance of staying connected to your roots and we try hard to allow Kai and Anna Grace the opportunity to do so.

So, without further ado, here are the studio pictures of our two Asian sweethearts and some of the hometaken pictures. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The 40 day journey

Lent is upon us and I think daily about Christ's sacrifice for us. Each and every time that I meditate about all of the pain, both physical and emotional, that he suffered for us, it blows me away, and many times, brings me to my knees pleading for him to mold me. And since we are created in His image, for Him to make me more like He is so that other's may see the Jesus in me, through my thoughts, my words and my actions.

We live in a world where society has taught us to live for ourselves. We are number one and we need to take care of number one, first and foremost. Yet, if it feels so good to do a good deed for someone, no matter how small or how large, why do we have such a hard time doing so?

I know that many times, I use the cop-out excuse that I am so tired and that I can't do anything with 3 toddlers, blah...blah...blah. That's crap! If it was something I really wanted to do, I'd do it, kids or not. So, I am committing myself to being a kinder person, especially to strangers.

I wanted to share a really neat story that I heard this past week. I went to a local prayer conference where several prayer groups in the area gather together and have a night of praise and worship followed by testimonies and fellowship. One of the hosts was speaking about a new practice that he and his wife have incorporated into their lives, due to the kindness of another.

G. and L. went to dinner at a local restaurant. As they waited for their waitress, they heard two gentlemen in the booth behind them talking. All of a sudden a waitress comes up to them and says, "Thank you so very much for your prayers! They have been answered!" Both G & L perked their ears intently, but could not hear much else. So, they went back to their own conversation. Their waitress came and they ordered their drinks.

Again, while they were waiting, they overhead another waitress go back to the 2 men seated behind them, this time to bring their meal. L. noticed that one of the men looked up at the waitress and said, "We're going to pray now. Is there anything that we can pray for you for?" L. was pretty surprised to say the least, that someone would ask a stranger if they needed prayer. But, both she and G. were truly surprised when the waitress said, "Would you? Oh my gosh, I have had a horrible week! My two children are really sick and I haven't been able to come to work. Today I was told that if I didn't come in, I would lose my job, but I didn't have anyone to leave them with. It's just been horrible and I need this job so badly." The other man at the booth said, "Of course we will pray for you and your children." The waitress then responded with, "Do you mind if I join you?"

As G. was telling his story to all of us, my mind was spinning thinking, "How easy it is to offer someone something so very powerful, which takes no effort or costs us anything. Why can't I do that?"

G. continued on saying that since that day that he and L. shared in this experience, they have always made it a habit to ask whoever is serving them if they are in need of prayer. He went on to say that we would be surprised at how very often a smile comes across their server's face proceeded by a prayer request.

Scott and I always pray before meals, whether at home or at a restaurant. Our children, AJ included, now fold their litttle hands together or reach out to hold hands with whoever is sitting by their side, when we announce "It's time to say grace."

That night (we have not been out to eat since I heard this a few days ago) I came home excitedly and told Scott all about it, and we both agreed that we would begin this practice and continue it starting with our next meal out. That will be Valentine's Day. And truly, when I think about it, what's the worst that can happen, that someone say, "That's ok." So, be it. It plants a seed and we are given the opportunity to share the Good News with someone who may not know Christ. Matthew 5:16 - "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Lent has always been a very special time for me and one that I look forward to because, although it can happen anytime of the year, it is always a time that allows me to self-examine my motives, my actions, and my inner self in living this life we have been given. It gives me the chance to come clean with myself about all the things that I need to change in me and also, through prayer, gives me even more graces in the qualities that I feel God has blessed me with. We can do all the right things, but if we’re not doing them out of a heart for the Lord their significance is meaningless. "All of man’s ways seem innocent to him but motives are weighed by the Lord." - Proverbs 16:2

My main job in life is to be a good wife and a good mother. I don't think I have to tell too many of you how difficult it is to be both at once, especially with 6 children and three of them toddlers. I always feel like I am spreading myself too thin and when I try to be the perfect Mom or the perfect wife, I either burn out quickly or always end up with the feeling that I am falling short in one area or another. This usually occurs when I try to compare myself to someone else. "All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you." - Song of Songs 4:7

This forty day journey till Easter is a rollercoaster of emotions. But, in the end, while we rejoice in the miracle that our Lord, who died for us, has risen, I always feel renewed and complete. I have been reborn and am ready to share in the fact that I am indeed a child of God. His dying on the cross allows me to believe that whatever shortcomings I have, whatever flaws I cannot seem to change won't affect his steady love for me. He loves me, as he loves you, unconditionally and endlessly. He knows everything about us, including our struggles in our daily lives. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23

I pray that I can share in kind deeds with others daily during this time and that everything I do honors our Lord and Savior. May I always turn every blessing into praise.

"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." - Psalm 34:1

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm it!

First, a quick thank you for your comments and emails about my new blog look. It was tough getting a picture of all of us where we weren't all wearing t-shirts. This was taken at my Dad's birthday/wedding dinner, and I love how the picture turned out.

Now onto why "I'm it!" Yes, friends. I've been tagged by my bloggie friend, Keisha over at The Walker Household.

The rules are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So that said, here are seven weird or strange facts about me:

1) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smell of Vicks VaporRub. So much so that Santa always stuffs a large bottle or two in my stocking every year.

2) I cannot fall asleep at night unless I am rubbing my hubby's head. (You asked for weird, right?) Oh! And there HAS to be a nightlight on!

3) Scott thinks I was a hound dog in my previous life because of my olfactory sense, because I can smell sneezes....and it smells pretty nasty! YUCK!

4) One of my favorite meals (especially when it's made by my Mom) is pigs' feet! YUMMY! (Oxtail stew runs a pretty close second!)

5) I am absolutely obsessed about not wearing sneakers without socks, nor have any of my children ever put on sneakers without socks....TOTALLY GROSSSSSSSS!

6) I don't eat any cereals (hot or cold), but the 2 or 3 times in my life that I have eaten cold cereals, (i.e. Frosted Flakes) I would never, ever have considered putting milk in it.

7) I am considered the Scrabble Queen at home and no one ever wants to play with me because I always win. :)

There ya go! Seven things you probably did not know about me. The seven people I am tagging:

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