Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The dawn of a new day

We give the boys and girl various chores they are required to perform as part of our family. But we also let the kids work out in the yard on special projects for their own money. We want them to learn the value of work, the responsibility of money and the joy of giving to God.The other day, they asked if they could use their own money to buy themselves happy meals. No cooking and paying for yourself? SURE!Andrew even offered to pay for Sandy and me! We held back from ordering the double quarter pounder with cheese super sized.It's been special to see the kids get excited about giving their money to missionaries or to buy gifts for each other on their birthdays. Now, we get to partake as the boys and girl start spending money on meals for us too!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cucumbers

How big can cucumbers grow?Apparently, pretty big. The one on the left is a normal picking cucumber. The one on the right is a cucumber on steroids.They snuck up on me and grew like gangbusters in the last few days. Today was our first harvest of the summer. Oi kimchee (a Korean cucumber dish) for all!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Professional

The other day, Matt decided to wear a tie. But instead of wearing one of my old ties, he decided to make his own. So he very meticulously folded a kleenex and taped it onto his shirt. When I asked him why he wanted to wear a tie, Matt answered, "Because I'm a professional" as if it was totally obvious.And of course, little sister wanted a tie just like big brother.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#14 - A Game Plan for Life

I got this book for Father's Day last Sunday and somehow, I finished it by Tue. I had a couple of sleepless nights and the book was a short and easy read. But I think I've turned into a bit of bookworm nerd somehow since moving to Kansas.
The book was a lot of fun to read. It focuses on the idea that everyone should be mentored and at the same time mentor others. It has a lot of great stories and quotes from Wooden. It focuses on 7 mentors in his life and 7 people who consider him a mentor. Here are a few quotes:
  • A large part of using time efficiently is creating a clear sense of expectations...players tend to work harder throughout practice when they know what is expected of them, because they know what is expected of them, because they know what they are supposed to be doing and what the reason is behind it. In this manner, organization can be a way to create not just efficiency but also motivation.
  • Athletes play better when they feel connected to their team. An organized classroom, practice, or office can be one of the first steps toward developing this bond. A well-ordered atmosphere with clear goals can establish a positive dynamic that is hard to shake.
  • His organization didn't make him less personable or more removed; it just made me feel that my time was valued and my effort served a purpose.
  • Never mistake activity for achievement!
  • Be quick without hurrying
  • Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
  • The worst things you can do for the ones you love are the things they could and should do for themselves
  • Discipline yourself and others won't have to
Wooden seemed to be an amazing man in many ways. Being an organizational guy, I loved his organizational efficiency. He applied these principles to a basketball team. I am trying to apply them to a church. And I loved that he did it for a greater purpose and not as an end in and of itself. Too many organized people seem to strive after it for selfish aims of control. He appeared to be a man of great integrity.

The late John Wooden recently passed away and I sure hope he is in glory with Jesus right now. He talked about having faith in Jesus in the book, but the one thing that didn't sit well with me is how he thought that anyone could believe whatever they wanted. He felt that he needed to respect everyone's beliefs and that he shouldn't try to tell others about his beliefs.

Since Jesus commanded His followers to "preach the Gospel to all nations" and that He alone was "the way, the truth and the life," it seems hard to reconcile what Wooden wrote with what the Bible says. However, I am interested in reading more of Wooden, especially about his famous Pyramid of Success, as this was the first book of his I have ever read.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

First off, Happy Father's Day to my dad and to my father in law! To both our dads, we thank God for you and know that God knew exactly what kind of a dad would be best for us and that was YOU! Praise God for his wisdom!
We had a small celebration here at our house honoring Peter. I let Peter decide on tonight's menu and he chose steak,(the kids and I had chicken) potato salad, and creamed spinach. In addition I roasted beets and put a dressing on them and grilled up squash and peppers with the steaks knowing that he really likes a lot of veggies on his plate and grilled ones are some of his favorite. The kids set the table in our patio room since dad really likes it out there and we had a good time eating. I asked the kids a series of questions that each got to answer about their dad and we got a few fun answers.
Q: What does daddy do at work?
A: (from Matt) "He gives out hugs." Turns out he was confused as to what we were asking.
A: (from Andrew) "He plays the guitar whenever he has free time."
A: (from Ems) "I don't know. He's works on the computer."
Q: When you grow up what thing about dad do you want to emulate?
A: (From Andrew) "I want to be a pastor! The same kind as dad, an equipping pastor." Why? "Because you get to be in charge of VBS and Awana!" You know, all the fun stuff. :)
Q: What is your favorite thing about your dad?
A: (from all) "He's silly and he plays with us!"
Eventually we sat down for dessert and gave him his gifts. The kids have been doing yard work for a half hour each morning that the weather and schedule permits, (and believe me, I WORK them!) and earning money to save up for a father's day present. In the end Peter got a book by, the recently deceased, Coach John Wooden of UCLA. The picture was a gift from Matthew for Peter. He worked for about 2 days drawing that picture (there's more on the back), taking care of every meticulous detail.
Peter is gone right now and doesn't know that I am blogging but I have to say that Peter has got to be one of the most amazing dads around. I knew he would be a good father when I met, dated and married him. I had seen him with children (he was a children's pastor when we met and I also saw how great he was with his niece and nephew as infants) so I had an inkling of how good a father he might be but he has exceeded my own expectations. Exceeded them by A LOT! Like everything else in his life he puts in 110% of his effort into fatherhood. I praise God for what a wonderful father Peter is to our children and thank Him for that regularly. Our children are incredibly blessed to have him as their daddy. Happy Father's Day honey!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Toy Story 3

Andrew wanted to go see Toy Story 3 for his birthday. It just opened this weekend. I was surprised that he was willing to wait 2 weeks after his birthday to go see it. This was his first movie in an actual movie theater...the only movie theater in town...the good old Flint Hills 8.His reaction immediately after the movie, "That was the BEST MOVIE EVER!" But then when he got home and mom asked how it was, he says, "pretty good." I think he's almost ready to be a teenage boy.
UPDATE: The reason we waited so long to take Andrew to the theater is because he gets super scared with any scenes of peril. Toy Story 3 is rated G so I thought he was safe as he's been acting much braver here at home with videos. But just now, he came out of bed, incoherent and scared to death from having nightmares about Toy Story 3. Poor guy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

How sweet it is

My beloved Lakers whom I have been following since I was about 7 years-old, just won the 2010 NBA championship last night over our NBA arch-enemy, the Celtics. Over my lifetime, the Lakers have won 10 championships now - wow!Last night, I had praise practice at church so I ended up coming home at about 9:30pm. I felt confident that the Lakers would win, but I was emotionally prepared for a loss or so I thought. When I came home, Sandy did not immediately tell me the score. That made me nervous. I checked the score online, only to find out we were losing by 6! And had only scored 36 points by half-time (For you non-basketball fans, that's an insanely low number)! Though the deficit was small, panic was setting in.

Since we don't have any tv reception, I listened to the game on the radio. The 3rd quarter started, and the Lakers went down by 13. I was in shock. But as the Lakers started their come back and eventually won the game, I am now more amused that I was probably the only person in the USA who was listening to this game on the radio!

This morning, the first thing Andrew did was ask who won. I wondered what his reaction would be so I had Sandy videotape me telling him the dramatic second half. He was stoked but nothing worth filming. Oh well. We casually talked about the game over breakfast when Emery, very nonchalantly, said, "Dad, didn't you say the Lakers were an idol to you?"

I have been working at simply liking the Lakers (and all sports for that matter) as an amusing hobby that won't take much time or dictate my emotions for many years now. A couple of months ago over a game, I had a moment of despair and confessed my sin to Andrew and warned him about following my poor example. Apparently, Emery was listening! The Holy Spirit speaks from the mouths of babes!

Tonight, I went over to a friend's house who recorded the games on their DVR. He told me that something had happened to the recording and that it only recorded the second half - no problem, the first half didn't sound like it was worth watching. I took the boys over and we sat down and started watching. I was looking forward to seeing what I had only heard about the night before. The game started in the middle of the 3rd quarter, right when the Lakers started making their comeback - perfect! Then as the Lakers were about to take the lead and finish them off with 4 minutes left in the game - kaput! Recording ended! I guess the Lord loves me too much to let me get too excited about these games. No big deal. It's just a game...right?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swimming

The boys and girl started swimming lessons this week. Emery has been exploding with excitement to start her very first swimming lessons.
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She can't stop smiling.Matt has been happiest out of the water.
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Andrew is honing his skills. I can't believe he is diving!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#13 - George Muller of Bristol

George Muller lived from 1805 to 1898 in Bristol, England. He started off as a pastor but became renowned for his care of orphans. Over his 60 some years of caring for orphans, he built 5 very large orphan homes, cared for over 10,000 orphans, opened 7 schools which taught over 81,000 children and opened 12 home Sunday schools which also taught over 32,000 kids.




The total cost of all this ministry was estimated to be about 1.5 million pounds or about 7.5 million dollars. Remember this is money from the 1800's. Counting inflation, how many billions and/or trillions of dollar is that?

3 things stand out from this biography. First, George Muller was a man of prayer. He prayed regularly, earnestly, devotedly, amazingly. He completely entrusted his life and the lives of these thousands of orphans that were daily in his care to the Lord through prayer. He relied completely on donations for supplying the needs of the orphans - no endowment, no savings, no trust funds, no goverment subsidies...just God's provision through prayer - truly the best source of them all.



  • Powerlessness always means prayerlessness. It is not necessary for us to be sinlessly perfect, or to be raised to a special dignity of privilege and endowment, in order to wield this wondrous weapon of power with God; but it is necessary that we be men and women of prayer - habitual, believing, importunate prayer.

Second, Muller was a man of God's Word. Mr. Muller had read the Bible through from end to end nearly 200 times! During the last 20 years of his life (from 73 to 93 years-old), he read it through 4-5 times a year! Isn't that amazing?!



  • ...we should instinctively and habitually turn to the Bible...how few, even among believers, appreciate the privilege of access to the great Author of the universe through His Word!

  • The most intimate knowledge of God is possible on one condition - that we search His Holy Scripturesm prayerfully and habitually, and translate what we there find, into obedience.

  • Blessed are they who have thus learned to use the key which gives free access, not only to the King's treasuries, but to the King Himself!

Currently, I am reading through the Bible in a year. But this biography has inspired me to read it through twice next year. That's about 6-7 chapters a day which amounts to around 20 minutes. Surely, I can discipline myself to do that to gain intimate access to the King Himself!


Lastly, Muller had a complete dependence on the Lord for the finances of the orphans. He NEVER asked anyone for money. He never let financial needs be known to people. He always just prayed to God to supply the needs of the orphans. And when people gave money (unless it was completely anonymous), he would talk to the giver to make sure that the giving was done with the right heart attitude and that there was no impure motives or the possibility that the giver would later regret giving. Otherwise, he would simply refuse the gift. He was also incredibly frugal for himself and gave away much to the Lord's work.



  • God estimates what we give by what we keep, for it is possible to bestow large sums and yet reserve so much larger amounts that no self-denial is possible. Such giving to the Lord costs us nothing.

  • An anonymous giver wrote: 'It was my idea that when a man had sufficient for his own wants, he ought then to supply the wants of others, and consequently I never had sufficient. I now clearly see that God expects us to give of what we have and not of what we have not, and to leave the rest to Him.'

  • [Muller in secret also gave tremendously to the orphans himself including]...a total of 81,490 pounds...This is a record of personal gifts to which we know no parallel. It reminds us of the career of John Wesley, whose simplicity and frugality of habits enabled him not only to limit his own expenditure to a very small sum, but whose Christian liberality and unselfishness prompted him to give all that he could thus save to purely benevolent objects.

  • While he had but 30 pounds a year, he lived on 28 and gave away 40 shillings. Receiving twice as much the next year, he still kept his living expenses down to the 28 pounds and had 32 to bestow to the needy; and when the third year his income rose to 90 pounds, he spent no more than before and gave away 62. The fourth year brought 120, and he disbursed still but the same for his own needs, having 92 to spare...'My aim never was, how much could I obtain, but rather how much I could give.'

Who does that these days? Randy Alcorn does. He's the first person I had ever heard do that. Now I know that he's not the first person to ever do that.


George Muller lived an incredible life by God's marvelous grace. Here are some more choice gems:



  • 'Let him deny himself and take up his cross.' Self denial is not cutting off an indulgence here and there, but laying the axe at the root of the tree of self, of which all indulgences are only greater or smaller branches. Self-righteousness and self-trust, self-seeking and self-pleasing, self-will, self-defence, self-glory - these are a few of the myriad branches of that deeply rooted tree. And what if one or more of these be cut off, if such lopping off of some few branches only throws back into others the self-life to develop more vigorously in them?

  • And what is cross-breaing? We speak of our 'crosses' - but the word of God never uses that word in the plural, for there is but one cross - the cross on which the self-life is crucified, the cross of voluntary self-renunciation.
  • Self-denial is not so much an impoverishment as a postponement: we make a sacrifice of present good for the sake of a future greater good.

And let me end with this last quote from Muller which is his prayer at the funeral of his first wife: Beloved brethren and sisters in Christ, I ask you to join with me in hearty praise and thanksgiving to my precious Lord for His lovingkindness in having taken my darling, beloved wife out of the pain and suffernig which she has endured, into His own presence; and as I rejoice in everything that is for her happiness, so I now rejoice as I realize how far happier she is, beholding her Lord whom she lvoed so well, than in any joy she has known or could know here. I ask you also to pray that the Lord will so enable me to have fellowship in her joy that my bereaved heart may be occuppied with her blessedness instead of my unspeakable loss.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Holy beets!

One of our most enjoyable hobbies is gardening. Sandy and I love to do it. And we love it even more when it comes time to harvest and God blesses our labor with some seriously sweet reaping.Last year we planted a few beets...literally. We had a nice though tiny little crop. This year, we went after it and got a good bunch!We've had a lot of rain recently. When we get a good rain, the plants grow like they're on steroids. We got about 2 inches of rain yesterday and what seemed like 2 more today. Our zucchini, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers are on fire!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wichita!

We decided to head to the big(ger) city today. It's not actually the BIG city around here. We found this place called the Museum of World Treasures. It had a very eclectic mix of random things including Egyptian artifacts like mummies, Buddhas, war memorabilia from WWI, WWII, Civil, Revolutionary, Korean and Vietnam, some wild west stuff, a few sports items, a Presidential exhibit, and even some pop culture stuff too. It was a strange mix.
They had a bunch of dinosaur fossils too. There were some really cool ones of fish that were around 20 feet long found here in Kansas. It was a good opportunity to talk to the boys and girl about how the Flood created all of these fossils in all sorts of places that don't normally have ocean water like Kansas!They also had an exhibit about artifacts from the time of Christ. They had a spear point that could have been the type used to pierce Christ's side, a type of nail that could have been used in crucifixions, dice that could have been used by soldiers to cast lots for Christ's clothes, and silver coins from that time like the 30 that Judas received to betray Jesus. They also had the Bible references listed by each item.We ended the day with a contest - who could have the messiest mouth?Matt won...he usually does.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Arkansas

After finishing a very exciting and yet very exhausting week of VBS, our friends, the Lawsons, rolled into town at about 3:30am. George had just graduated from The Master's Seminary and their family took a little cross country tour of Yosemite, Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore before stopping off here.
We've been friends for about 10 years since our Maryland days, and it's very encouraging to see them persevere through 10 years of Bible college and now seminary to be heading off to his first FT ministry position at the Bible Church of Little Rock. We are so very happy for them!We all went out to lunch for Chinese after which Andrew explains that he's 100% American, 50% Korean and 2% Spanish because he speaks a little bit of Spanish!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

VBS

Lately, our lives have been consumed with our church's vacation Bible school (VBS). It's been a ton of fun, but since I'm in charge of 80 some workers and 130+ kids registered with around 100 showing up every night, I haven't had much time for more frequent blogging. :)The kids have loved every minute of the many activities including drawing (Matt is really into drawing lately), snacks (Emery is still really into snacks, especially sweets),
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singing,
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and LOTS of running!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Camps

Last year, we tried some pee wee pre-T-ball with Matt. It wasn't even T-ball yet. Let's just say, he wasn't quite ready to leave that well worn spot, clutching the side of my leg. So this year, we did some home baseball camp with mom. He is LOVING it.First, he has a proper warm up.Then, they practice batting.
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They even work on throwing accuracy. The thing Matt was most excited about was...his cleats! He is so excited about his cleats, he wants to wear them everywhere. He keeps trying to put them on quietly and sneak into the car without us noticing whenever we go out!Meanwhile, Andrew went to basketball camp. He had to play the kid behind him 1 on 1...I felt bad for the other kid!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Tomorrow is Andrew's 8th birthday. We celebrated it today since tomorrow is church and the first night of VBS.It was a family birthday celebration this year. We have decided to let only one child a year have a party with friends. This was Matt's year.We let Andrew pick his birthday meal. Guess what he picked? How did you know?! I guess every 8 year-old in Kansas wants California rolls too.
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Does Emery have any idea why everyone's so excited? I doubt it. And Matt is being super over protective of his brother's stuff. He didn't want Emery to even touch the Lego set. It happens all day to poor Emzy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What a day!

Where didn't we go today!? First, we dropped off Andrew at basketball camp, then went to the bookstore, the music store, the pet store, picked up a desk for Matt, went to look at mattresses, picked Andrew back up, then eventually bought a mattress. And we did this all before lunch!We got a sweet deal on Matt's "new" desk - $15. It's literally an old school desk. Now he can work away right next to his brother. I think he's pretty excited about that idea.And we capped off our busy day with a dip in the pool since it did hit 90+ today.
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Warning - turn your volume down! Emery really LOVES swimming. And when she gets excited, she tends to get pretty loud.
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Matt on the other hand, was not excited to go swimming. Well, he was excited but didn't want to actually be on his own. Notice he had a ring tube, arm floaties, floaties built into his swimsuit, the water was so shallow he could actually stand on his own, and he didn't want to let go of me. Guess who's going to have a great time at swim lessons this summer?! But eventually he did calm down and had fun swimming on his own...with the 3 floaties.
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And lastly, our daredevil son. He just flew down that slide and made a huge splash! Or at least it seemed that way to him!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

1 Timothy 4:7-8 and Ephesians 4:28

For some reason it's been hard to spend enough time on our verses lately. I think it may be the great weather. We're outside grilling or playing or gardening in the evenings now. But we're still making some time to work on verses.
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Andrew just finished 1 Timothy 4:7-8. We're working on growing his discipline and self-control.
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Matt has stayed clean with no stealing after his first offense.
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And our repeat offender / felon has also managed to stay clean after her series of break ins of the candy jar...so far.