Village life

So today we visited a village in the countryside & I got to meet some completely beautiful & strong women. I met a grandma who survived the Khmer rouge regime by hiding in the jungle for 2 yrs. Her husband was the only person to survive in his family during the Khmer Rouge. I met a mom who is 5mnths pregnant, but very scared to deliver bc of the complications from her preceding deliveries & no resources to get medical help w her delivery. I met lots of little people who need toothbrushes bc their teeth are rotting out of their heads from eating the sweet syrup from the palm trees. Finally, I met a single mom of 5 kids whose husband abandoned his family 3 yrs ago. Her sole means to provide for her kids is to sell desserts to her village & surrounding areas. This is an amazing country & the people here never fail to grab my heart

grow charts

Over the summer, i’ve instituted “grow charts” for my kids.  Here’s the general vibe:  each child has their own weekly to-do list they’re supposed to work on everyday.  The plan has been for every box they check, they get 10cents.  At the end of the week, we count up the boxes & they get somewhere between $1-$3 / week for their grow charts.  They’re supposed to save their money every week, after tithing & at the end of each month, we deposit their money in their kids bank by my hair salon.  So far, this has worked pretty well over the summer.  The key to the success of this is consistency on my part. 

Today, i ramped it up a notch.  I circled about 3-5 “tasks” that are required everyday (brush teeth, clean room, etc).  For every circled task that is not completed for each week, i take away 10cents.  So far, i think this is working pretty well.  Its teaching my kids to importance of daily work & discipline, its giving them a constructive incentive to earn money, teaching them the importance of saving money (they compete w each other to see who has the most in the bank) & its teaching them the value of everyone pitching in to help & contribute to our family.  Personally, its helping me to work on being consistent w my kids.  With all of this planning & structure, i don’t really see a downside, especially if i stay consistent. 

Key word: consistent

some random thoughts

my daughter has finally grown into the skirt & jacket my brother bought her 2 years ago – she’s really beautiful & very confident! 

my son, Benji & i did a butt black yesterday.  translation:  we got on an expert ski run by accident & slid down on our butts

David & I had a “walking home together” date.  We discussed his friends, different books he’s read & kicking rocks

Reece & i took Benji skiing yesterday – he let me sleep in the car on the way home.  very peaceful!

Some spiritual thoughts / considerations floating through my mind of late:

  • when i feel cold-blooded, i look for the Son to get warm
  • contentment is internal & not external – so they say
  • God has life for me underneath the frustrations, worries & cares that will change tomorrow
  • doing is a consequence of being
  • I’m made to be w God

I’ve also been thinking about Jesus’ parable related to living a productive life, so i’ll be blogging on that over the next few days.  keep your eyes peeled!

insights on my kids

Watching my kids grow is simply fascinating – full of delight, awe, pleasant surprises & very astounding.  Here are some recent developments:

David – wants to buy a box of girlscout cookies & keep them for awhile & then re-sell them for more than he bought them for.  He COMPLETELY came up w this scheme on his own.  Furthermore, he also has the plan to sell part of the ABC juice (apples, beets & carrots – uber healthy) that we make to mimi (grandma) twice a month to make money.  This entrepeuner thing just surfaced recently.  Needless to say, I’m speechless bc i didn’t even consider thinking this way until at least high school & probably more like post college.  (pawns in chess are ponds)

Isabell:  the long hair is pretty much lost on me, given that i’ve enjoyed short hair & its simplicity for close to 2 decades.  She is growing her hair to cut if off & donate it to locks of love for kids w cancer.  Furthermore, its really cool to watch her confidence grow as she overcomes various insecurities to achieve goals that she has set for her self – selling girlscout cookies has been the recent platform for this personal growth.  I see her thinking, growing & living in the present w great contentment.

Benji:  everything he does has some wiggle (except now as I’m watching him play Reece in chess – take it back, he just went to the bathroom).  Anyways, he’s wonderfully generous & relational, with eyes full of life, creativity & happiness.  And today, we got to ski w Benji & he was simply fantastic.  I love that he watches his older brother to grow, learn & play.  I’m glad he’s a kind person because a mean person with his intelligence would be scarey.

I’m blown away by my kids.

holy cow!

Its been way too long since my last blog!  Recently, we were in the mountains w the fam doing some skiing & the place where we were staying didn’t have internet access – no it wasn’t a log cabin w no running water.  Its good to be back!!  We’ve spent the last 2 weeks w lots of fam activities:

  • took the kids skiing a few times – they can now all handle easy blue runs & here are their skiing profiles (reflects their personalities):  Isabell – Reece says she cruises along;  David – stays close to me & trying his skis out on jumps (I lead because its easier to go fast when you snowboard);  Benji – just fast & more fast.
  • cooking Christmas turkey – it was ok
  • having my friend Laura & her fam stay w us & doing some skiing together
  • I read “Into Thin Air” – true story about the very deadly 1996 Mt Everest expedition w various teams

Of course I’ve been thinking about some things w God & while I don’t have answers to many questions, I have a sense of His presence w me.  So, I hope your holiday season has left you well basted & ready to move into 2009.  May this year be filled w God’s presence in your life more than 2008, in whatever way He choses & may we rest at peace in His choices for us.

Christmas w kids

Its really good to experience Christmas w kids & I’m discovering this moreso w each year.  I love their questions:

  • why do people celebrate Christmas if they don’t believe in Jesus? – David
  • who has the last birthday of the year in our family? Answer by Isabell:  Jesus
  • are we having birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday?  – Benji
  • what made the men from the East who came to give Jesus presents, “wisemen”? – David
  • what were the shepherds doing in the field at night when the angels came to visit?  Were they staying up late when this happened? – David
  • what are we doing for families that don’t have enough money for Christmas? – Isabell

They’ve asked me LOTS more, but these are just a few off the top of my head.  Kids can really distill things to the most important points – cutting through the fluff.  I love it! 

bellie_kid_ethiopiaIsabell is really excited because she’s in our church’s kid’s Christmas program this weekend as an actor, singer, dancer & cheerleader.  She’s SO EXCITED!!!!!  Benji has his Jr Kindergarten program on Wed – he’s Gabriel.  I think he makes a very fitting Gabriel – announcing w great joy, enthusiasm & volume the birth of Jesus.  I think David kind of prefers the cerebral approach to the season.  Whatever the case, they’re all fabulously unique & I am more than in awe of them & their observations.

thoughts & cough remedies

Ok, here are some things running around in my mind:

  • famI hope Benji did ok staying at mom & dad’s last night
  • I hope David does well on his Mesopotamia & Germ tests today
  • I hope Isabell enjoys her date w Reece tonight – he’s planning what to do.  Any suggestions?
  • maybe we should get a donut at the armenian donut shop, mmmmmm
  • looking forward to lunch w Lacey
  • I hope Shelly & I get to work out this weekend
  • My weekend projects include:  chapel prep, Greek prep & finishing Lord’s Prayer series
  • gotta figure out groceries for next week
  • would like to get my computer back – its been sick for like 2 weeks now 😦
  • slopes are starting to open up for snowboarding!!!!!

Need a little help:  can you pls give me suggestions as to how to get over a cough (chest congestion)?  Would be GREATLY appreciated!

Louisiana – fun times!

I’m sitting in the New Orleans airport w Reece & I’m thanking God for the conference we just attended.  We heard some really great speakers & got to have some great God time, as well as hook up w some long lost friends & make some new friends as well.  Getting out every so often is really refreshing – it can give you a new lease on life!

We’re really looking forward to getting home & being w our kids – I made mom look at all my kid pics on my blackberry during breakfast.  This is one way that I know I miss them! 

God really spoke to me & encouraged me during this time away – some I’ll share a bit later.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • members class in the morning
  • getting into Philippians again
  • working on the Lord’s Prayer:  give us today our daily bread (so excellent!!!!)
  • getting to work off some of the delic food we ate down here
  • putting my kids to bed tonight
  • hearing God
  • worship this weekend!

fun with my kids

Ok, any parent is crazy about their kids & I’m no exception.  So here are a few cute things I’ve observed in the last week:

  • David’s take on Halloween:  why would you celebrate something that’s creepy?
  • Benji’s take on pirates:  a pirate’s best weapon is a lie
  • Isabell’s take on LOUD praise & worship in the car: roll down the windows & let the praise out!

Some jokes:

What do you call a cow w a twitch?  beef jerky

Why can’t you write w a broken pencil?  it’s pointless

What do you get when you cross a snowman & a dog?  frostbite

Just a little fun for your weekend or a nice Mon greeting.  🙂

things I like about my kids

I like lots of things about my kids, but here are a few:

Isabell – I like how she’s a strong person.  What she puts her mind to, she accomplishes.  She’s also very sweet, kind & super smart.  She loves Jesus lots.

David – I like how he’s always thinking & he often looks for ways to help me.  He wrote a worship song the other day & sang it for me – left me speechless.

Benji – he’s always happy and very snuggly.  He also is a source of endless energy – even when he sleeps, he moves alot. 

Here’s something cool too – last weekend, Isabell, David & I cut up 12lbs of strawberries & no one complained – they were happy as clams!  Amazing.

I really like my kids.  They’re fun, insightful, joyful, kind, spiritual, intelligent, strong, fun . . . .  Having kids has been one of the most delightful things in my life.  Having kids is challenging & very fulfilling.  There are moments of definite frustration but also moments of total amazement.