31 March 2011

lizards and dandelions

Sweet Sisters.

Pointing out all the neat things we saw on the trail.

Once a week (usually on Wednesdays), I like to take the girls with me on my morning exercise. It's been warming up fast here in the desert so we're typically out the door early and home by 8:30. They love to hike and look for interesting plants and animals along the way. Last week during co-op, I had the kids decorate their own nature journals. To be honest, I forgot all about them until Grace got home today and brought hers downstairs. She said she was going to draw what she saw on our hike this morning.

No shortage of stickers! :)

"Lizard" by Faith.

"Dandelion" by Faith.

And here's one that made my heart smile...

"Mom dandelion" by Grace.

She said she drew me as the dandelion and added herself down below.
Then she said, "But I'm not going to blow you away, mom." :)

29 March 2011

"Grace to-go" bags

Our completed bag.

Ready to fill...

Busy bees.

The little hands (and feet) of Jesus.

Our church is in the midst of another 40 day spiritual growth campaign. This one is called, How to Start Becoming a Good Samaritan. I was excited about this particular journey because ever since we sold our house, I've been sensing that God is trying to grow me in this area. I think I've always felt like I should help the poor, the widows, and the orphans but so often, I become immobile due to the vastness of the problem. Other times, I think those problems lie far, far away and choose to turn a blind eye to what's right in front of me. I'm guilty of staying inside my own little comfortable world and pretending that if I don't actually see the poor and needy, maybe they're not really there.

As I've said before, I think part of my responsibility as a parent is to cultivate a heart and burden for the world within my children. A heart that does something, rather than nothing. A heart that turns beliefs into action. Does that mean I want my daughters to one day go off to distant lands, spread the gospel, and help the poor, sick, and needy? Well, YES... if that's what they're led to do. But more than that, my desire for them is to be "mission-minded", wherever they may be.

One of the small groups at our church created the idea of "Grace to-go" bags. These bags can be handed out to the homeless or anyone who has a need. I thought this was a neat and tangible way to get the girls involved, as well as serve as a reminder to look for opportunities to show God's love around our community. I presented the idea to the girls and they were immediately on board. In fact, they were even happy to use some of their birthday money to help pay for the various items.

After we finished filling the bags yesterday, Grace said with a contented smile, "I'm glad we did this, mom." :)

And wouldn't you know it? God is so GOOD! On the way home from visiting a friend this morning, He gave us our first opportunity to give out a bag, just as we got off the freeway exit.

The girls were so excited to be able to help someone. Then God blessed me with His grace. As we were driving home, my sweet Gracie unexpectedly said, "I'm proud of you, mom." :)

I'm sharing this little idea simply because it was shared with me and it inspired me to do something.

It's never too early (or too late) to spread God's love!

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world." ~Anonymous


"Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them." ~Mother Teresa


"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise." ~Mother Teresa

27 March 2011

The Heritage of Grandparents

Korean barbeque... yummy!

My mouth is watering. :)

Patiently waiting for dinner.

Grace & Hapajee.

Halmoni reading Korean books.

Faith 'reading' Titantic to Hapajee.

On their way to the Street Fair.

We had a busy weekend but one that was full and rich with goodness. My parents came for a quick visit on Saturday afternoon. As we were sitting in the backyard having dinner, I was thinking how special these days are with them. Not only with my parents, but Morgan's as well. Grandparents leave a rich heritage, long after they're gone. And Faith and Grace are at the age now where they'll remember all the little things- and it's the little things that matter the most.

Like how Halmoni & Hapajee always bring us delicious Korean food everytime they come to see us. We don't eat much beef in our house so once in a while, we begin to crave it. And there's no better way to fill up on beef, than Korean bbq! Morgan does his best to "make up" for all the times I didn't cook beef. :)

I'm happy he loves it! It's fun for the girls because we get to eat with chopsticks, grill outside, use lettuce wraps for dinner, and fill up on sticky white rice. Little things, like how my mom reads to them in Korean or asks them if they want to earn money by massaging her feet or back.

The girls will always remember the fact that Grandpa Jerry drinks a glass of milk with his dinner or how his moustache tickles when they give him a kiss. Or how at Grandma's house, they get to pick fruit from their trees, play with rocks on the side patio, or take a ride around the neighborhood on their golf cart.

I can't accurately describe what it is about a grandparent's love and affection for their grandkids but my hope and prayer is to able to one day.

Unfortunately, both my grandfathers passed away before I was born but I had a special bond with both my grandmothers. I was the apple of their eye. I remember how their faces would light up when they saw me, even well into my late 30's, when the last of my living grandmothers (my beloved Halmoni), went home to be with the Lord. What a joy and blessing it is for my girls to be able to create those special memories with their loving grandparents.

"I will be your God throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you."

~Isaiah 46:4

26 March 2011

Family Co-op Day

LOVE these kids!

Derek helping Levi with the balloon relay.

Trey running with all smiles.

Faith is focused.

Gracie runs to the finish.

Potato sack/trash bag race.

And there they GO!

Gal Pals.

Playing the game Hulabaloo.

Lunch on the back patio.

The guys.

Ivan, our littlest co-oper, at 3 months old.

Saturday was also Family Co-op Day. We look forward to this day, not only because we get to hang out and fellowship together, but also because the dads get to be involved as well. We met at our local park and the guys prepared a few games for the kids. Good job, dads!

Afterwards, we came back to our house and enjoyed a potluck bbq.

A good time with great friends!

The First Tee

So sweet... they always hold hands when they're in a new environment.

Faith getting some instruction.

Putting practice.

Good try, Grace! So close!

The girls had their first golf lesson with The First Tee program today. I suppose we pretty much live in the golf capital of the world so lessons were probably inevitable. The Little Linkster program is very reasonable and runs the entire year on Saturday mornings. We thought this would be a great opportunity for the girls to be introduced to the game, as well as learn some basic skills.

Morgan and I also pre-determined that this activity was going to be a "daddy/daughter thing"- a fun way to spend some quality time with daddy while mommy gets a couple of hours to enjoy for herself. Uh, OK... you don't have to twist my arm. :D

I sure miss golf. Morgan and I used to play as much as possible before the girls came along. I'm looking forward to the day when we can all play as a family!

25 March 2011

So long, facebook...

I decided it was time for a separation. Some have asked, why? Well, there are so many reasons, really. It comes down to the heart. My heart. For the last few years, I suppose there has always been a part of me (deep down), that felt uneasy about the whole concept of facebook and "social networking."

Truth be told, I'm a pretty old-fashioned person. I don't text or have any plans to in the near future. I understand the need and convenience for technology but I prefer a simpler, slower time- where having real relationships with a few people meant so much more than "connecting" with hundreds. I know, I'm sounding "old skool," emphasis on the "old". :)

Sure, I tried to share my faith, spread some love, and encourage others to do the same but ultimately, I came to the conclusion that most people who use facebook (including me), were screaming, "LOOK AT ME!" "LOOK AT WHAT I'M DOING!" "LOOK AT MY CUTE KIDS!" "LOOK AT MY AWESOME FAMILY!" "LOOK WHAT I'M READING, EATING OR MAKING!" "LOOK WHERE I'M GOING AND WHO I'M THERE WITH." In other words, facebook feeds our narcissistic society and no matter how strong and unaffected I think I am, I'm only human. I too, have a need for approval and affirmation. And much like the way I monitor my intake of TV and other forms of media, I'm simply choosing to opt out and guard myself in this area as well.

The aspect of voyeurism- OK, so maybe some of you don't have a need for the world's approval like I do, then perhaps it's the pure voyeuristic side of facebook that keeps you logging on. In some ways, it's like a reality show (which I can't stand). Sadly, in our culture today, we get our kicks from watching other people make fools of themselves. We're also very quick to judge others. Oh, okay... maybe that's just me?

I admit it- facebook was fun. There were some positives. I enjoyed looking at people's pictures and reconnecting with old friends. It also allowed me to stay in touch with family members from around the world. I even talked myself into thinking (and saying), "With facebook, I can now "talk" to my friends everyday and stay in touch throughout the busy week."

There were times when I debated logging off for good but then I would say, "Maybe I could be an encouragement to others and spread some good into the world?" I hope in some small way, I did do that.

Long story short- I was doing my bible study this week and I began to feel convicted. We're studying James and it specifically addressed the topics of submission, resistance, judging, boasting and obedience. I began to pray and asked God to give me wisdom in this area. Then I read an article by Jim Daly re: Howard Stern's Admission. In the interview (given to Rolling Stone magazine), Stern admitted to being addicted to the approval of other people. Furthermore, Daly writes about a chapter in Dr. Tim Keller’s book, Counterfeit Gods. Keller reflected on this rising culture of competition, as well as our chronic and seemingly insatiable appetite for approval and applause. In my opinion, facebook is certainly the perfect breeding ground for just that.

It not only takes time and focus away from God (and from our families) but it also provides a medium for that innate desire in all of us- to be known, heard, acknowledged and maybe, even loved. However, in our desires for worldly "fame" and being "liked," it inevitably takes the spotlight off God and puts it on ME instead. By following every one's status updates, negative influences like discontent, materialism, comparison, and judgment slowly and unknowingly seep into our lives and become the norm.

Here's what it came down to for me...

I'm not going to pretend anymore that I'm strong enough to teeter-totter with one foot in the world and one foot out. My God is my only master and my goal in life is to serve Him wholeheartedly. My desire is to think less about myself and more about my Lord and Savior. If left to my own, life would be all about me- a path I've already been down before. For me, facebook gave me a sense of false security as well as a desire for fame and approval. I honestly believe that's the catch. The lure that keeps everyone coming back for more. Jesus shed His blood on the cross so that I could be free from any bondage. God says His grace is sufficient and I am worthy and loved because I am His. To prove it, He sent His holy and blameless Son to die for me. Therefore, my worth, contentment and devotion lies in Christ alone. Matthew 6:24 says,
"No one can serve two masters."

Come on? Do I honestly think I'll be missing out on something just because I'm not on facebook? Noooooo! In fact, I know God has a full and abundant life planned for me, if only I would change my focus and get on board.

I do, however, hope to continue to blog and write. In these last few months, there have been various topics I've been wanting to write about but due to lack of time, I just can't seem to get my thoughts together. Ultimately, my reflections and photos are for my family. This blog serves as a small glimpse and memory of our lives, in which friends and family are welcome to share.

So, will I ever go back? I don't know. We'll see where the Lord leads me but for right now, I'm done. And it feels good.

In order to reach me, you can email, snail-mail, or simply pick up the phone.
I would love to hear from you!

22 March 2011

Happy 5th Birthday!

Our beautiful daughters.

with lovely smiles!

Simple party decorations.

Spring inspired cupcakes {before}...

... {after}.

Snack time during co-op.

Final touches on the bloomin' cupcakes.

5, Really??

The gang's all here!

Playing the egg relay game.

Jacob, Viv, and Levi.

Lunch is served!

Singing "Happy Birthday!"

Make a wish!

Party festivities.

Gotta love Levi's frosting stache. :)

The Fam.

Jacob with his cool shirt {and black teeth}. :)

Trey.

Books, books, and more books... We love it!

Paint a birdfeeder with bird seed.

Awesome globe.

Razor scooters!

Wee!

Scooters- they bring out the kid in all of us. :)

Funny thing about this silly picture- Faith, the director, told us exactly how she wanted us to pose.

And finally, their long awaited dirt cup!

A couple of months ago, we asked the girls what they would like to do for their 5th birthday and here is what they said...

1. have a party with their friends
2. share a cupcake
3. dinner at Tony Roma's
4. a dirt cup for dessert

Since their actual birthday fell on a Tuesday this year and I was scheduled to teach co-op that morning anyway, a party could be easily arranged. We finished school a little early and invited a few more of the girls' friends to join us for a small party.

We enjoyed a game, lunch, cupcakes, and presents. The girls had a GREAT time!

As far as dinner goes, Tuesday also happens to be KIDS EAT FREE NIGHT at Tony Roma's so daddy was happy to treat us to a feast of ribs (which by the way, the girls absolutely love).

The topper to this special day? The dirt cup dessert that comes with the kids meal. I have to admit- it is pretty darn delicious!

Happy 5th Birthday to our precious daughters!

Your spirits and smiles light up the world!

Thanking God for our friends, family, and all He has blessed us with.

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