Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We won!

So, on a whim, I entered a contest that a friend was having. I had to write the grossest/funniest story about raising boys. And WE WON! I think we get movie tickets and some food. We're hoping that my sister and her family get to use them on our behalf :). Anyway, I thought I'd post the story. Some of you were there for this story, others were not. It's about our now 5 year old son, Malachi. Those of you who know him, this story will provide no shock and awe.

We were at a conference with several hundred people when my 3 year
old decided that he needed to go to the bathroom. We were eating
lunch at the time and the bathroom was right behind us, so we told
him to go ahead and go there by himself. In my mind "what can happen
between here and there?!" A few minutes later, the president's wife
of the organization that we were with at this conference came to our
friend. She was looking for where the mother of a drenched, naked three year old boy
might be. Our friend kindly thanked her and brought our son to us.
After using the bathroom, He spotted a urinal on the wall. We apparently found getting his pants back on too cumbersome and distracting when spotting a urinal. So, leaving his
pants on the floor, he ducked his head underneath the urinal faucet
and pushed the button....several times. As the water poured onto his
head, he was yelling, "look, I'm taking a shower!!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

The lamb that was to my kids' kindergarten.

So apparently Thursdays are "get live sheep delivered, break their necks, drain their blood in a roadside drain, skin them, and cook them for customers" Day. For the last 2 Thursdays, as I am picking up three of my children from school, I have passed the hog tied, bleating sheep. And then on the way out of school, we pass by the bloody, decapitated mess that is lying right on the street where we pass by.

I know that this is really common in most parts of the world and has been normal life for thousands of years. But honestly, for this city girl, it grosses me out and I want to cry. Seeing their heads half disconnected from their necks and laying lifeless over a drain just makes me want to become a life long vegetarian.

Of course my oldest son thinks it's the coolest thing since sliced bread (which actually isn't that cool by the way.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kesed's 2nd birthday!

Sept. 19th, my baby boy turned 2. I'll give you the brief of what we did and how he's changed.

We always let the birthday person pick the restaraunt. Since he didn't really care and said "yes" to everything I suggested, we went to KFC nearby. Here he is trying to show us that he's 2. Hand and eye coordination has yet to be mastered. Once he figured out what all this birthday stuff was all about, he went around saying "Ha ah ah py BIRthday!" It was a sort of jingle that he composed himself. It was adorable.

Then we headed home to hang with some friends while their parents went out on a little date. We had ice cream sundaes and sang "Happy Birthday". You will notice as the pictures progress, Kesed's clothes seem to regress.

Obviously loving the ice cream. He's such a generous little guy and kept offering his serving to his sister.

He screeched when he opened the gifts, he was so excited! He's in a super cute phase at the moment, where he runs to hug us when he gets disciplined, he kisses all the time, he protects his sisters, sings, dances, and loves to draw.

He's hugging the character from a famous Chinese cartoon. It's funny, because this cartoon's advertisements always have a plop of poop on the words beneath the characters. Ya, I don't know either. My mom and dad gave this to him and he hasn't slept a night without it.

We ate, played, yelled in excitement and had a great 2nd birthday. He even got his first love letter :).

I think this bottom picture summarizes his day and my little guy: "I'M TWO!!!"

Great Books on Various Topics

Looking for a book recommendation?

Check this page out:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Imitate me?!

"Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)

"Join in imitating me"?! Is Paul crazy?! On a daily basis, I think "oh, I hope God can teach and train my kids because I'm a horrible example. Or if I have a rough "China day", I think, "well, I've messed up my witness with them."

I want to be able to say to those around me "imitate me". How in the world can Paul make such a claim? It's because he has confidence in the Holy Spirit.

We have fooled ourselves into believing that not having confidence in ourselves (a good thing), that it also means that we shouldn't have confidence in the Holy Spirit. We don't say that outright, but we treat him as our assistant through life. He depend on him for job interviews, tests, good health and scheduling our future. But when He does something that makes no sense to us on earth, we usually view Him as not good, or not really in charge.

We need to be bold in our proclamation that we are His children. We see people doing that all the time. Last night, we watched the movie "The Contract" with Denzel Washington and John Cusak. In one scene, a rich young man gets assassinated. As the two assassins approach him with some blackmail, the young man's response is "Do you know who my Father is?" (and...then they push him in front of a bus...if you're curious.)

When the world looks at us and accuses us and mocks our faith, our natural response in our minds (in a non-flippant way) should be "but, do you know who my Father is?" But instead, we cower in a corner because of fear or inability. We should be prepared at any time to charge the hill in a steady assurance that God will meet us at the top. Already having slain the enemy. Already having won the battle. Satan has used this world to shake our confidence in the Holy Spirit. He wants us to have a 'moment of hesitation' when we desire to follow Christ boldly. And it's in that 'moment of hesitation' that the flood of questions rise to the surface:

1 What if I don't know the answers?

2. If others only knew what is going on in my mind.

3. Does God really care enough to walk me through this?

4. How will I look to those around me?

5. And we say this subtly in our paralyzed steps of faith: is God really big and sovereign enough to take complete control over this?

We have been stopped in our tracks by self-confidence, self-help and good feelings. When really, it's the Holy Spirit, given to us by the most powerful God of the universe that is in charge and control of our days.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." Philippians 3:12

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are You a Rebel?

ok, holy hip hop propoganda time. Some friends of ours have turned us on to more contemporary Christian rap. Previously, we've thought it cheesy, but wow this recent stuff has some great sounds and lyrics. Our favorite so far is Lecrae. His album Rebel constantly amazes us. Since rap is a bit hard to discern the lyrics at times, it took a few listens to hear all the lines and even now we continue to hear new, creative ways of speaking the truth.

We'll comment on a few songs on the album
"Rebel" is the first song and was inspired by a Mark Driscoll sermon. Driscoll in fact is dubbed into the song. It's so cool what he has to say.
"Don't Waste Your Life" was inspired by Piper's book
"Go Hard" [or Go Home] speaks for itself
"The Bride" is a refreshing and touching look at the church, especially for those who have felt burned by the local church
"Beautiful Feet" is moving in its story and reminders
"I'm a Saint" is full of rich theology with a beat that doesn't leave your head.

His musicality matches well with his lyrics.

If you go to, yo ucan listen to entire songs for free. The old Napster guy worked out something with music labels and advertising money to allow it

Also, you could make a playlist on [which is also free] using Lecrae and get exposure to other artists

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bringing Lecrae to the East Side

Ok, so we've been listening to Lecrae this week. For those of you not yet informed, he's a Christian hip-hop guy with these amazing lyrics. Almost better than the DC Talk song "Love is a verb."

We decided that when people ask us to teach them some English phrases, we're going to teach them some of the lyrics. How great would that be to have all these young Chinese friends using hip hop lingo.

Here's two of our favorites:

"I'm E flat broke!"


"I'm a full court mess."

So here's my challenge: I want you to incorporate one of these two sentences into your daily life. Kim, I expect you to use both of them because that's the kind of performance I can expect from you. And then you can let us know what the reaction is.

We will do a post later on how great his music is. But for now, it's just a challenge, yo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Amazing Ukranian Sand Artist

Take a few minutes to look at this, it's incredible. She just won the Ukranian version of "America's Got Talent".

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Bare Necessities

Apart from Jesus, there are two things that in the last 2 years have radically changed my life for the better. I will preface this with the fact that this will sound like a post from Oprah. But I do feel like there are some practical ways that we can make our lives ready for what the Lord has in store for us in any given moment.

So, here we go:

1. Drink insane amounts of water.

I cannot tell you how much this will change your life. Seriously. Start by drinking about 3 bottles of water in the morning. And then 3 in the afternoon. I know this sounds like a lot, but you need to try it. Give it one week and I promise you will notice a difference in your day. Supposedly, we should take our body weight and divide it in half. That is the amount of ounces you should be drinking in a day. And that's water my friends, not ounces of coffee or coke. Actually, if you drink a cup of coffee, you will have to drink two cups of water to compensate. Ok, so if you weigh 160 pounds, you'll need to drink at least 80 ounces in a day. And if you exercise, it's more. This page can help you figure it out.

This whole drinking water thing has taken away the 2:00 pm desire to crawl into a hole and take a nap. It has changed my attitude with my kids. At night, I actually have energy instead of counting down the minutes to 9:30.

OK, so try it for a week. That's JUST a week and let me know how it goes.

Item #2

Eat till I'm satisfied, not till I'm full.

About a year ago, I realized that food was making me sleepy. Notice the sleepy theme happening? With 5 kids, I've got to maximize energy and attitude. So I tried limiting how much I ate. I don't do diets, I hate them. I don't like the idea of not choosing what I want to eat on a daily basis. So, I don't diet. But I got myself into the habit of eating only when I was hungry and then stopping when I was satisfied. That's hard for me, because I like food. But I started to really hate the feeling of being full. I now no longer like to get up from the dinner table with my stomach feeling stretched. But it takes a lot of self-discipline to stop eating when you discover you are satisfied and no longer hungry. You've got to tell yourself, "I won't die from hunger if I stop now."

I have had so much more energy and felt so much better after changing this aspect of my life. And as an added bonus, I've lost weight. Although that wasn't my intention. If it was, I wouldn't have done it. Remember, I hate diets and that would have felt like a diet.

I hope this helps all those who are feeling so rundown and exhausted. It really has changed my world.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Why consistency KILLS legalism in children

Anyone who talks to us about parenting will hear us say at some point, "The hardest part of parenting is not disciplining your children; it's disciplining yourself!" Being consistent in routine, rules, and enforcing standards is fatiguing. The objection against it may be, "You'll exasperate your kids" or "You'll breed legalists". However, I would argue that the number of rules is not the issue; it's the consistency and manner that is the issue. Consistent enforcement of rules will actually FREE our kids.

If God is our standard, we parents could not make up as many rules as we see in Scripture. For every person and circumstance "Love your neighbor" could have infinite applications, all of which would be sins NOT to do if faced with them. The Old Testament law was not easy to keep up with. In other words, God had and HAS a lot of so-called "rules" but no one can say God is trying to make legalists. "Legalism" refers to our trying to secure approval via obeying rules. We make our kids legalists when they think our love for them is conditioned on their compliance; instead, obedience should be the response of love and trust.

By contrast, when we are consistent, kids know what to expect; when we are inconsistent, kids face unpredictable circumstances; parents must repeat themselves even more, thus increasing the number of disciplinary moments. Think about some of our most common "rules": don't hit other people, don't litter, don't cross the street without an adult, etc... Do these rules exasperate our kids? No, because it is the established, clear standard of behaviour. These boundaries become like gravity. It's just life. There's no guessing.

Parents, support one another. Be consistent. If there is imbalance between parents or in enforcement, kids may villainize one parent or feel exasperated.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Our good friend Brian came to visit us last week. Have we mentioned that we love visitors? Because, we do. He was only here for about 36 hours, but it was so encouraging and refreshing to spend time with him. It was great to hear updates about this family and swap parenting tips and scriptural insights.

Here's he and Brad philosophizing in the park. What is it about parks that make humans want to philosophize.

Any park that has water to splash in is a hit with the clan.

One of the only full family pictures we have so far. We don't even try to get everyone to smile and look good in the picture. We just aim for getting everyone in the same viewfinder and the same time. If that is accomplished, the picture is a success in our book.

Here's Kesed and his future wife, DY. Yes, she's a tad older than she is and yes, it's an arranged marriage. We figure if she'll wait about 16 years, we're willing to let him marry young.

It was DY's birthday so, we did a pile of "Snickers cookies cake". Believe you me, it's a way better option than Chinese cakes. Chinese birthdays are funny because they have two birthdays. One is the lunar calendar birthday that changes dates every year. So when you ask them what date their birthday is, they always pause and have to figure it out. They also do ages different and you are 1 when you are born. So asking how old they are can also be a sticky question. Anyway, this was her REAL birthday (as in, the actual date that she was born). We had a blast with both Brian and DY. We're going to try and convince him to come back again soon and bring his wife and kids along next time :).

First Day of School-Kesed edition

I feel like I'm going to need a label post titled "first day of school (as in kindergarten school)". It seems like we have had lots of 'first day of schools' over the last few years. But today is Kesed's first day. Here he is looking scholarly and pensive.

We told him that he was going to school today, but I'm not sure he knew what was going on. But Dad got some love out of the deal.

This picture is a bit blurry because Kesed is running into his classroom. He was really excited to get started this morning.

Here's Kesed telling Charis how it goes.

And then Charis telling Kesed how it goes.

It was a good first day. No stitches. We'll see how the rest of the week goes. When he sees that this is an 'everyday' thing, he might change his excitement level. Selah started school today too, but we forgot to take pictures. We'll have to get those later. She loved it too. Although I spent 30 minutes paying the school fee and finding her classroom while being followed by 60 plus elementary school students. Sanctification my friends, sanctification.

Encouragement to Parents -- Train up a child?

Many parents meditate on Psalm 22:6, which most translations write as "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Unfortunately this verse and translation has causes much angst and misled many parents. It's actually a mistranslation that began from the Jerome's Vulgate (the first Latin translation of the Bible). Traditions pushes this translation into newer translations.

The difference in translations makes a world of difference for parents who falsely believe a so-called “promise” only to get discouraged. Rather, the verse is an ironic warning NOT to do.

The Hebrew construction is common enough that we can easily see how it should be translated; NO WHERE is it ever translated "the way he should..." [I can't type Hebrew into blogspot]. It's consistently a possessive pronoun, "...according to his way"

The Hebrew should be rendered "according to his way". Proverbs is full of such ironic warnings. If we are not consistent and give in the the child's sinful desires and childish inclinations, they will not depart from this path their whole life. We can all agree to this wisdom.

The way one commentary puts it is:
In the book of Proverbs there are only two ways that a person can go, the way of the wise or righteousness, and the way of the fool. One takes training, and the other does not. Ralbag, in fact, offered a satirical interpretation: "Train a child according to his evil inclinations (let him have his will) and he will continue in his evil way throughout life" (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 234).
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