Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Power of Modeling

Recently, I pulled off the shelf a book we have that helps parents apply particular texts to particular character and life issues that face our children and family.

I read the following verse, "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him." (Ps. 103:13). I immediately thought, "I can't teach this. I'm not compassionate. They've never get this." How my soul ached. I felt debilitated in sharing God's word with them because of my deficiency in character.

This morning I heard a talk based on the following verse: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it" (2 Timothy 3:14)

(An older pict of Malachi)

Can I and we appeal the the hearts of our kids and friends for the sake of the gospel saying, "Remember who you learned this from..." (i.e. me, for one) Paul sometimes say, imitate me. This is a penetrating question not just because it exposed the dark corners of our character but we then have to distinguish the difference between our "moral" example and our Christian example---that is, in what respect is Christ unambiguously and blatantly savored and glorified, not just "God", "church", "bible reading", "heaven", etc.

Last night, some good friends of ours gave us a date. We talk about how often we and others sometimes use the excuse, "But I never had an example for _________; so that's why I can't do this well (in life, marriage, parenting...)"

We have to find out what those areas are that (1) hinder our ability to teach the whole word of God, displaying Christ as our treasure, & (2) may be family bondages for which we have no example to draw from (perhaps, our families rarely spoke about personal matters, never openly celebrated the glories of Christ in conversation, romance between spouses,....)

As you pray for yourself, please pray for us.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Niece!

Carrie's sis gave birth to our first niece yesterday (this is her 3rd, and the other two are boys)!

We are so excited for them. Both mom, dad, brothers and baby are doing great. Her name is Grae Cecile and she was 7 lbs. 8 oz and 20 in. I'll try and get some pics posted in the next few days.

Welcome to the family, Grae. We pray that you will love in humility and gentleness as you grow up. That you would be a woman of wisdom and prayer and total satisfaction in the Lord.

We Love You!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Who says? (Reflections from Single Fatherhood)

Carrie has been gone all week. It’s been my turn at single parenthood. I’ve heard people say in the past things like parenting will make you patient….blah blah blah. Who says? A week alone with all the house duties, homeschooling, my normal responsibilities, I’ve not feeling any more patient. It’s like one of those other half truths….time will heal. (Any one still remember those embarrassing moments from junior high? Yah, my pride still hurts.)  Only the Holy Spirit makes us patient (Galatians 5:22-23).


Rather, kids and time simply show how sinful I (we) am. It’s not a fun process, but necessary. Like the law, it doesn’t save you but at least it shows you your need and how big those blind spots actually are. It’s been a tough week mainly on my heart as I’ve been disgusted with the inner murmurings and anxiety of my heart. My prayer has come from Colossians 1:11…to have “endurance and patience with joy.” This has been a great week of reminding me that I don’t get Jesus…his character is beyond our comprehension. Unless we go through trial or periods of pain and exposure, we’ll never be in such awe as we ought. For that I’m thankful.


For those of you who know me best, you know I am incessantly meditating on two topics: (1) Calvinism (a.k.a. Predestination, Election, Doctrines of Grace, (insert your favorite name)) and (2) parenting. This week has challenged me to reread one of my new favorite parenting books…which I commend to you.


“Sacred Parenting”—not your typical parenting book. It’s about how to take advantage of the process of parenting for the sake of our spiritual growth. I’ve never read anything so right on and clear as this one. I highly recommend it.


(For those who want an exceptional—outstanding—“how to” suggestion, I suggest “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”. Revolutionary among modern books…wonderful application of Scripture without platitudes, generalizations, and psychological babble)





Na, I won't kill you...

So I'm gone this week. And I just read our blog and actually was encouraged by Brad's blog. The fact that he can be at home with all 4 kids by himself and still even fathom another kid, was fun news. We'd actually love to adopt at some point in the future. Who knows?!

So it's been weird being gone. People have said "are you loving being gone and being without kids for a little bit?" And actually, while it's been nice to travel, I feel off kilter. My world is never about JUST me, so now that it is for a week, I'm not sure what to do with myself. And I love being wife, mom, diaper changer, chef. I love that role and I love all the ups and downs my life brings. I will be going back home tomorrow and I'm pumped.

I've also realized lately that the students that are now graduating from college, could have been kids I baby sat. I'm starting to really feel the chasm between me and single people. I love single people, but I'm just so far removed from their world.

That's it for now. I'll be home tomorrow. Oh ya, if you think of us, pray for my sis. She's due with baby #3 any day now!!!

ps: as I write this, I'm eating carrot cake and drinking a caffe latte, so life's not too bad!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Carrie's Going to Kill Me for this Blog



With that said….we are baby name lovers. As you all know…our kids don’t have “normal” names. In fact, if we did somehow have a kid, it would be a curse to name him or her “John” or “Mary”. (For those of you who just said to your self, “somehow?”, yes, we both know how it happensJ)


Anyway, we’ve thought of a girl’s name that would fit our family if we had another one (Did I say we’re not planning on another one?) We can’t share it because we love it and don’t want it stolen just in case we’re surprised. However, boy names are tough to be creative on while still fitting our apparent criteria for kids’ names.


We’ve always named our kids (1) to spur spiritual conversation and (2) as prayers for their lives. Consequently, they’ve all been Biblical in some way. In our kids’ names, we have English, Hebrew, Greek, and Chinese represented).


Any suggested boy names?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Last Week and Graduation

We made it!! My wonderful husband came home last night and we all survived to see him come home. Here's a few pictures from our time. Here's an American friend reading to Selah and Malachi. There aren't many Americans in our city of 2.5 million, so the ones we know we treasure dearly. She and her husband have become good friends and are a really great source of encouragement to us. She came over one night to help me through was I affectionately call "Melt Down Hour". That would refer to the 5-7 pm time in our home. That seems to be the hardest period of time in our home. We're all too tired to function well.

Here's Kesed and his friend. She is so cute. And I'm not sure why, but I always feel like pictures of Chinese babies need to be in black and white. Her mom told me that there's a saying in China that is common among parents and it's basically "I don't need an umbrella, I've got my head." She sings it to her often, especially when our kids hang out because her head is so much bigger than Keseds.

Here's a good friend of ours! She LOVES kids and is not at all intimidated by 4! That's a rare find here. She's really a treasure to our family. Malachi took the second picture!

And here's Selah's graduation (we had this in the 24 hours that Brad was at home). So now she's officially a 2nd grader!!! We are really proud of her. She is reading chapter books and remains so curious about everything. She's really into history at the moment. Her heart for serving our family and sharing good news with others is phenomenal. We love you, Selah!

There's a one month old dog that lives in our apartment complex and our kids have fallen in love. They and several other kids have been playing with the sweet puppy every afternoon. "Maybe a few years from now" has been my response :).

Monday, April 14, 2008

single mom-take 2

So it's the second round of Brad being gone. Every time he's gone, my respect for single mom increases tenfold. The news around our house is that Selah graduated 1st grade and started 2nd grade this week! She's so excited and so am I. I'll do a graduation post as soon as I have some time to shower and breathe.

It's actually been a wonderful time with the kids. God's really been pretty incredible in giving me help. We've had tons of people come over and help out with things. And it brought me to discover the cure for singlemomness:



and Paper Plates.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Simple Pleasures Time

To try and counteract my frustration blog of a few days ago, today I came up with some 'Simple Pleasures' I get to have by living here. It's good timing, because my husband is gone this week and returns for 24 hours and leaves for a few more days, so trying to stay positive is a good thing. Actually, my time with the kids has been great. Ok, ok, I'll call this one 'Simple Pleasures of the Motherland':

1. Buying strawberries that were literally picked that morning. And then paying $2 for 2 pounds.

2. Watching my kids play outside with friends.

3. Listening to my kids build boats out of yogurt boxes because their toy supply is limited. Their creativity has been a blessing to watch.

4. Eating vegetables at almost every meal.

5. Having the store ladies tell me I'm too skinny. :) I think they expect me to be huge because of the 4 kid thing.

6. Buying food, socks, plungers, and blankets, all from street vendors.

7. Flying kites in the Spring time.

8. Surprising people when they discover I can speak Chinese. Sometimes I wait to reveal this information so that I can eavesdrop.

9. Breaking the stereotypes of what they think of as 'American'.

10. Hosting these 4 sweet girls everyday during their rest from school. And occasionally a random grandma and her grandkid.

Many days are hard, but I wouldn't trade anything (ok, maybe there are a few things :) ). He is Good.

Monday, April 07, 2008

kid pics

These are some pictures I took this weekend. There are a couple of things I like to pretend to be. One of those is a photographer. The other is a rock star. Actually, my sister is an AMAZING photographer. That link thingy is to a few of her pictures. I'm really proud of her.

But here's some pictures of the kiddos. I realize my boys got overrun by girl pictures this time. Sorry boys.

We had a little graduation ceremony for Malachi on Saturday. He's officially done with Kindergarten and movin' on up to 1st grade. He called it his "gladuation party"

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I just want...

I know that God is good. I know that He has His hands in our lives. I can see Him vividly displayed right now in our time here. But there are sometimes that the "I wants," seem to take over my thought life. It started last night as I was reading some blogs of some friends. They are making cute crafts, buying cute curtains and dressing their kids in cute clothing. I went to bed longing for something fun and cute. This is a really shallow post, but my thoughts nonetheless. Many think that people living overseas shouldn't struggle with this kind of stuff. For us, it is the very fact that we live overseas that has exposed this junk. I digress. Here's a list of
"I wants," that I have been collecting in my mind since my blog reading episode last night.


To have a picnic with my family without 15 other people standing around us criticizing our parenting.

To allow my kids to run through grass.

My kids clothes to be clean, which never happens here.

To see my new niece before she's 5. And to see my other nephews and my other friends' babies/kids outside of a picture.

Hot water to wash my dishes and take a shower in.

A week to go by where nothing breaks in our apt.

To call up family and tell them come over to watch a football game. Not pingpong.

To call up friends and have them come over to eat chips and queso. Yes, the processed cheese that clogs your colon.

To sit and have a conversation in English at Starbucks. And not drinking this Nescafe stuff that is 51% sugar, 40% creamer and other junk and 9% coffee.

Walk on the streets not fearing spit, poop, pee and various other bodily fluids that decorate our streets.

To eat pizza that doesn't use ketchup for the sauce and corn, shrimp and hot dogs for the toppings.

To be invited to dinner by someone because they like us and not because they want us to teach them English.

People to stay in line and not cut in front of me, so that I don't have to throw elbows at grandmothers.

To watch my kids play soccer on the weekends and eat those orange halves at half-time and drink juices boxes and the end.

I just want to be normal....just for one day.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I Love Charlie!

This video is a MUST see. Click on Charlie for some funny stuff.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008


In the past year, we’ve found ourselves talking a lot with people about devotional times, “quiet times”. John Piper’s “When I Don’t Desire God” has radically challenged and shaped us in this area. Whether overseas or not, this can be a challenge for people to maintain, but the reason it’s a struggle sometimes is the same for us as it is for others…essentially, we all are too easily satisfied…we don’t hunger for God enough. We’re content with living each day without God’s presence and conversing with him. We direct these words to ourselves as much as anyone. We’d rather sleep in, or watch a movie the night before, or hang out, or whatever else. The battle for the morning is won the night before.


A few ideas have hit us in the past months or weeks. First of all, if we to move from California to New York, we would adjust our “time zone” so that what is normal for a New Yorker is pre-dawn for a Californian. Can’t we too do this with out time wit the Lord? Simply moving our whole “day”, going to bed before other people, would work wonders. Second, as we have found ourselves wanting more time, complaining we have no time for prayer or study, we have been reminded of fasting. We all eat, but we could use that time to pray and meditate on the Word instead. The only question is, what are we more hungry for?


A simple thought hit us the other day, which answers many immediate questions about prayer and fasting: We pray for the same reason we fast. We don’t fast for the same reason we don’t pray.


John Wesley is quite blunt when he wrote, “The man who never fasts is no more in the way to heaven than the man who never prays.”

C.S. Lewis pierces our hearts with the truth, “It is impossible to accept Christianity for the sake of finding comfort….”



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