Monday, December 23, 2013

Benicia

You know, we never planned to live in a sea side community in CA. We never even hoped for it. We never even contemplated it. But somehow, Benicia is what God has for us.
The weather is fabulous. We actually get all four seasons as there is a lot of foliage here in northern CA. But at the same time, the temperatures are so mild. We've had more days in the 60's here in December than not yet it still feels like Christmas and winter. How can that be? I don't understand it, but I'm enjoying it.
This is our street. I love trees.
The Lee family is back in CA. I'm curious to see what God has in store for us in 2014. 2013 was the craziest year ever.
I'm so thankful the sun is setting for 2013. And by His grace, I'm starting to look forward to reaping the fruit of what He grew in our character through the trials of 2013 and starting to anticipate how His all wise sovereignty will work itself out in 2014 by bringing us here. I think the healing has truly begun.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Carlsbad Caverns

The other part of our trip with White Sands was Carlsbad Caverns. If you haven't been, you really should. I highly recommend it.
Granted, I LOVE going into caves. And this one was HUGE! It really is a lost city in there. Pictures cannot begin to show what it looks like and feels like in person. Amazing place.
Monster huge stalagmites and stalactites were everywhere in ginormous caverns.
Even though it was hot and sunny outside, it was a cool 50 some degrees way down deep. We were thousands of feet underground.
Matt even got to be part of the tour with Ranger Foz.
The Lee family had a blast.
 We also stopped in Roswell on our way home. Aliens truly are welcome here.
We felt right at home...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like...

the desert?
But doesn't it look like snow? Life has been so crazy I never posted our pictures from our trip to White Sands National Park. It was very, very hot.
Miles and miles of pure white crystal sand. We brought some sleds and treated it like snow.
It was fun to go down the hills in shorts.
But sand has a bit more friction than snow so the sledding wasn't quite as good.
It was amazing to see and the boys and girl had fun as usual. We went camping nearby in the mountains too but I forgot to take pictures of our campsite.
This is the best we got. Emery was a great helper.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Albuquerque Redemption

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shawshank Redemption. I know just about everyone has seen it, but for my parents benefit, it is the story about a man named Andy Dufresne who was unjustly incarcerated for the murder of his wife. As you can imagine, he struggled to survive the miseries of prison life until a combination of providence, moxie and smart thinking, his life in the Shawshank Federal Penitentiary turned around. He was able to use his life in prison for much good to the benefit of many until he offended the powers that be and their grip on power and control. The prison commissioner tried to snuff out any possible independent thinking in Dufresne with tortuous power plays, but in a startling turn of events, Dufresne turned the tables completely, exposing the commissioner as the true criminal of the prison and at the same time, achieving freedom and deliverance for himself. I still remember watching this movie in the theater almost 20 years ago and being stunned by the turn of events. What a great movie!

My life is hardly at all like this movie. But any Shawshank reference is worth using! 2 years ago, I came to Albuquerque with great hopes of what God would do through the exaltation of His glorious greatness, the faithful preaching of His Word and the shepherding of His flock in love. It required some sacrifice just to get there, but in my mind, it was worth it. Unfortunately, things didn't work out so well. In the blink of an eye, I was unemployed with 3 little mouths to feed. Here I was, my hopes dashed; my dreams in dust and ashes; no job, no income and no future. What could I do? How were we going to survive?

I applied for every job I could imagine. Pastoral jobs, ministry related jobs and jobs related to my old secular career.  Whatever I could find, I applied for. I considered youth ministry, even though I am the furthest thing from a youth pastor. I considered church planting, even though I am the second furthest thing from a church planter. I considered everything because the pressure of providing was HUGE. My children were shaken by it all. My wife was broken. And I was a wreck. Nothing was working out, and we were preparing to all move into 1 BR and live with family and starting over - going back to school for me, taking out loans and trying to rebuild our lives.

But one of the paradox's of the Christian life is that in the darkest of nights, the light shines the brightest. Christ proved Himself sovereignly good and gracious and kind over and over again. First, God brought so many people to encourage us. So many old friends encouraged us specifically to stand firm in the faith and affirmed us in the love of Christ. But God also physically brought alongside of us people who truly became our family in Christ here in ABQ. They encouraged us, guided us, served us and provided for us in the kindest of ways for months and months in our greatest moment of need that we will forever remember and rejoice in.

Secondly, God delivered me from this precarious situation with a job (not in pastoral ministry). But God didn't just give me a job, He gave me a great job that has a great career path. Somehow I received the favor of men out of the blue from people I never met. And in a whirlwind of events, I got a job, got an offer on our house and moved to CA, all in about a month. It's been a crazy time - packing, starting a new job, finding a place to live, finding a new church, unpacking - so much hasn't settled in for me yet. I can't really fathom the gracious, yet startling turn of events. And while I am still haunted by cruel memories, I am hopeful that one day, I will be like Joseph and able to say that "God has caused me to forget my troubles" in this new start on life.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 John 2:15-16

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Isn't this verse just amazing? Not only does Christ take our sin, but we become the righteousness of God in Christ. We become righteous, perfect, holy. There is no mention of being better, trying harder, doing good or anything about us. It's all Christ's righteousness.
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It is my prayer and hope that the boys and girl see themselves as perfectly righteous, not pretty good, not better than him or her, not so bad, but perfectly righteous...in Christ and only in Christ.
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Isn't this such the challenge? Do not love the world nor the things in the world. It is such a challenge to teach our children and even more of a challenge to be an example. Thank God we are righteous in Christ.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 2

So in just 2 days, the boys and girl have worn out Gabe. He is wiped out!
The peppy little puppy (or just older than a puppy, teenager?) is spent every night. I take him on 2 walks a day - morning and evening. We also run for some of that walking. But why is he so tired out? We've only worked on 1 command so far - Sit. It always works when I have a treat in my hands. He's just like a kid.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gabe

Guess what the cat dragged in to the house yesterday? No, we don't have a cat. But now we have a dog.
After years of begging, we thought the boys and girl are now ready for a dog. They might be ready, but I don't think Sandy is! Poor mom is constantly worried about what the dog might do - does he need to go outside?! Is he going to make a mess?! What's he doing?!
We don't officially own him but are fostering him for now. If all goes well, we might decide to keep him or he might get adopted by someone else. Who knows? But for the first 28 hours together, he's the perfect dog for us.
He doesn't bark. He has small bursts of energy and then is very mellow. He doesn't shed much at all. He barely eats. And he takes care of his business outside. The boys and girl can't get enough of him! They want to play with him, walk him, feed him and just generally be with him all day long. When we left the house for just a little bit, Matt said, "I MISS Gabe!"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

School's in session

The 2013-2014 school year has begun in the Lee household. My diligent wife has started up yesterday, and the boys and girl are locked in!
Andrew is starting 6th grade and the academic rigor is going to increase greatly this year. We've got to get him ready for HS, and the Ivy League! Ha! Spoken like a true Korean American.
Our subjects are partly computer based, partly audio and even some video which include Bible, Math, English, Art, Anatomy, World History and Korean. Matt's in 3rd grade and his favorite subject is Korean. I asked him how Sandy is doing as his teacher. His reply? "She's strict!"
Emery is in 2nd grade and loves Korean too. Andrew loves history still. I am really glad that we are homeschooling this year. Sandy is doing and will do a fabulous job teaching them. The boys and girl grow closer together being in school together. As I write, they have been singing and playing air instruments to praise music and Christmas carols for the last 2 hours! And I want to cherish all the time we have together while they are young. Everyone tells me that this time flies by, and I want to enjoy it as a family as much as possible before it's gone.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy birthday Emery!

I am super late on posting this. Emery's birthday was July 11. Again, I forgot to go to 7-11 on her birthday. But at least we celebrated her birthday on time.
This was the first time that we celebrated her birthday with her grandparents and her cousins since she was 1! So it was a very fun and special birthday for her.
We decided to go for it and celebrate in the pool.
Even Auntie Mary joined in the fun - fully clothed!
There was lots of wrestling, you know, regular girl stuff.
Well, there was tons of Princess Sofia gifts. We're doing our best to keep you employed Carole!
And all her favorite food - CA rolls and white kimchee! It doesn't get any better than this, this side of heaven for a 7 year-old girl. Happy birthday to my beautiful Emery!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer basketball


The boys both played summer basketball for the first time ever. We finished up the season in style. Andrew had an excellent season and was looking like a real basketball player! I think he's ready for competitive play. In the last game, he was finally matched up with someone his height and who was fairly athletic. Yet he managed to score 12 points with plenty of good defense and other solid play too. His team went 6-0 on the season. I think this season did a lot for his confidence. This was probably the first time that he was one of the best players in the league.
In Matt's first season, he started to get the hang of things by the end. He was less intimidated and more comfortable. He managed to score 4 points today, but I missed filming both shots! I recorded every other shot he attempted. Oh well.
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Imagine this shot going in, that's what it looked like when he scored.
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Or this shot.
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Or this one. Do you get the idea?
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Just in case you don't think Matt can score, here he is making a lay-up before the game. He really can score points.
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But this is Matt's calling card - tenacious D. Here he is shutting down the other team's best player. Well, at least he forced him into a double dribble turnover by sheer force of will. Don't you love his focused look? :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The new 'do

Wow. Has it been 3 weeks since I last blogged? I have had trouble finding the motivation. Sorry parents and Sandy's parents. Emery just got a new haircut today.
She's been begging for a haircut for a while now. She's been starting up a lot of different things lately that I need to record on the blog. Here's just one for now - sewing.
After Sandy's mom taught her to sew on our last trip to CA, she's been busy with needle and thread.
Ta-dah! She made herself a purse.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Psalm 1 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

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After all our travels and all our transitions this year, we have finally started to get back into our family disciplines with the memory verses. I must admit that I have not done a good job in having the boys and girl be disciplined with their verses so far in 2013. This is Matt and Emery's first Bible passage of the year! Sad spiritual leader I am.
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Psalm 1 is so rich and practical, isn't it?
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Andrew is 11 and puberty is just around the corner. I think it may actually be starting to get here to tell you the truth. Andrew and I are going on our father son Passport 2 Purity this weekend. It's time to make that manly commitment to purity!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Estes Park

The last stop on our family trip in June was Estes Park, CO, right next to Rocky Mountain National Park. We stayed at the YMCA. I must say, it was FABULOUS!
Beautiful forests, gorgeous snow capped mountains, green grass and a rushing river all cried out, testifying to the grandeur of God. It dpesn't hurt that we're starved for all of these things here in NM.
We did some literal rock climbing.
Some hiking.

Some more hiking.
And even more hiking. Although I loved it, the boys and girl were a bit tired out at the end.
Andrew practiced getting as close to the river as possible without falling in. Actually, he did fall in. Never mind.
Emz had to keep looking cute for mom's 1000 pictures by the river photo shoot. Fortunately, looking cute comes pretty naturally for her.
And to top things off, we ended every night with a fire and roasted marshmallows back at the cabin. Can't go wrong with that!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer basketball


We decided to put the boys in summer basketball this year. This is Matt's first time playing basketball.
He's all ready to get in the game. This league requires the kids to wear mouth guards.
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Matt is still trying to figure out how the game works. But he's doing great so far.
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I love Matt's tenacity. He always does his best and goes after it even when he's blocked.
Andrew's the old pro, almost literally. He looks to be the oldest and tallest kid on his team, maybe all the teams. He's played in leagues for years now, and he knows how it works. That last sentence is so weird in describing my just turned 11 year-old.
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He's using his height to his advantage and was a monster inside. I think he had about 10 blocks like this.
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While he had a bunch of lay-ups like this, I think he scored about 28 points, I was more proud of him for trying to include his teammates and trying to help them score. He did a great job showing some humility and teamwork.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Promotions

This week, the boys and girl got promoted!...to new chores. Actually, they are very excited about it. I have been working hard to train these boys to be young men who like to work hard. So far so good.
Matt started loading the dishwasher. So far he's stoked about the new responsibility.
He's very focused and very diligent about it.
Andrew is washing pots and pans and whatever else doesn't go in the dishwasher. He too loves his new job, but for a far different motivation. He's happy he doesn't have to load the dishwasher any more. We'll keep working on that one...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mount Rushmore & Crazy Horse

For the first time in our lives, we went to South Dakota. I was surprised at how beautiful it was. I think we went at the one of the best times of year in June, but the rolling hills, the beautiful green grass, the forests and the mountains all made the Badlands and the Black Hills absolutely stunning. I highly recommend a visit if you've never been there.
Mount Rushmore was super cool. We all really loved it including the boys and girl.
They had a nice hiking trail which brought you right under the Presidents.
They also had a nice walkway leading up to Mount Rushmore, very Presidential. I think one of the strongest reasons why Emery liked Mount Rushmore is sitting in her hand, ice cream. If you ever want your kids to love history, buy them ice cream at every monument.
We also went to see the Crazy Horse Monument. We had never really heard of that until we got there, but it was also pretty impressive. The statue to the left is what the monument in the background is supposed to look like one day...I think it might get there in about 2113 at the rate they're going unfortunately.
They started in 1948 and haven't gotten too far. This is how it's supposed to look someday.
It is ginormous and privately funded though. I think they said Mount Rushmore can fit in just the head of Crazy Horse.
The 3rd leg of our trip was some great family time. We enjoyed some history and God's creation too.