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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thank You Jesus

Since Keke was three years old, I started to teach him pray before bedtime by having him choose from 1) Thank you Jesus 2) Sorry Jesus 3) Help me Jesus. I would ask him questions why he made the choice so that I can get a glimsp of his world.  At the beginning, he would always choose Thank you Jesus for his toys such as cars, trains, and puzzles. I would then have him repeat after me when we pray. After about a month of consistently choosing Thank you Jesus, one day he chose Help me Jesus.  A little caught by surprise, I asked him the reason he chose Help me Jesus. He explained it's because He wanted Jesus to help his neighbor whose a baby to walk since her walk was not very stable. When his little hands clasped together with his eyes closed, it came to my realization that the little person in front of me was growing leaps and bounds both physically and cognitively.

After a few months of choosing one item to pray about, he wanted to pray all three Thank you, Sorry and Help me Jesus. This went hand in hand when he was at a phase that he insisted on doing many things on his own. Then after a few months of saying all three prayer contents, all of a sudden he excluded Help me Jesus because apparently he did not need help.  Interestingly, this also went along with his phase of Mr. All Mighty requiring no help from anyone. Everything is "I can do it by myself."

By examining Keke's prayer content, it's eye opening to see his prayers mirror his development. If this is the case, does my prayer resemble my life stage at the moment? Let's see...Well, I'd say that a big portion of my prayer was Help me Jesus. It seems that there are interminable things I need help with and also my friends'.  Instead of giving thanks and honoring Him, at times I feel like God is my secretary, whom I am spying through a window from my boss room to see if He is keeping track of my agenda. The assumption that if He offer help, great. But if He choose not to help for whatever reasons, it's not ideal, but I will try to make the best out of it.  After all, life goes on whether He helps me or not. The lack of dependence and trust make myself the boss of my own life, while the false security and hypocritical reliance mold me into a cardboard prayer life, boxed up and insipid.  In light of this, I challenged myself to focus on Thanksgiving, in all circumstances. I found that the more I give thanks, the shorter my Help me Jesus list becomes.  By giving thanks to God, good and bad, am I able to let go of my control, plans, doubts, uncertainty, hurts and regrets, which are background noise that gets in the way of me seeing God's beauty in adverse situations. In hindsight, the ability to accept the holes of my brokenness allows me to see through God's unique and perfect plan for me everyday.

Thank you Jesus.

Summer's footprints:

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mind Trapped

It's almost 2 am now and I am now writing this entry because I am struggling to fall back asleep. I was waken by Keke around 12:30am because......because..... Well, I had no clue what had happened. I got shook in the bed. The next thing I knew, Keke was standing next to my bed like the statue of liberty, except that he was holding a pillow in his arm.  By the time I coaxed him back to sleep and went to the bathroom, I was wide awake. Meanwhile the snoring factory next to me was fully operational in its midnight shift.  With endless turning and tossing,  my mind drifted into a maze of random playbacks. Thoughts of 'should haves', 'what ifs', 'shouldn't haves' and 'next time I'd better....'  started to emerge covertly.  Finally, after more than an hour of mind games, I decided to call it a night, literally!

So here I am, in front of the computer, hoping to shut down my crazy brain by exhausting it via sleep walking the internet. Or how about some writing?  Is it working? Hmmmm............ , believe it or not, I think it's doing its job........ I am feeling a little tired eyes seems... heavy........
I can hear my
own and
the sound of the clock is getting louder........
tick tOck ....tIck toCk.. tICk tOCK.. TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK

It's time to head to bed.... , try to stay awake and look smart tomorrow (Remember to avoid intelligent conversation that requires more than three verbal exchange). Good night zombie head.

Signing out at 2:55am


Summer's Footprint:

This is exactly how I feel.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Making A Difference

My adventure of life has taken a different toll in the past month and I am enjoying every bit of it.  Since I was 6 years old, my dream was a full time mom and had as many kids as possible. My concept of a mom was more like a teacher standing in front of the students in a classroom, everybody in their best behavior, sitting quietly, and eagerly attending the lesson. As the years pass by, my childhood fantasy of a teacher style mom was long gone, but being a full time mom and having dozen of kids have always been my dream until........I have my own.

A friend who was very involved in children ministry at church once jokingly said "I love children as long as they are not mine." The epiphany of mixed feelings became apparent once I was a parent myself.  I love my children as much as a mother can love a child, truth be told though there were times that my two monkeys brought out a side of me that I never realized before.  It feels like a live furnace burning from my back, traveling from my spine to the neck in lightning speed, then all the way up to the tip of my head. As a result, voice started to raise and things were said in a way that was not meant to be, to both children and my husband.  Rather than fretting over the discouraging voice played in my head, I retreated to prayer mode in top gear. My prayer was that instead of restraining my tongue or do what was "right", just change my heart to become more like Jesus and be submissive to wherever God leads me to. If it's God's timing, I pray that He will provide me with a part time job so that I can balance my life out a bit, yet I can still provide for my kids.  I used to be a behavioral analyst working with children with disability and autism before I had Keke, so I went back to my familiar field only this time I prefer not to be involved with the administrative responsibilities such as meetings, data analysis and report writings. My passion is working with children directly and I found great joy seeing the child succeeds even in the smallest ways. With this in mind, I applied for a part time school 1:1 aide and my thanks to God I got a job offer and started working since March. Turned out the child I support was the child I worked with 7 years ago and now he is 10 years old. He is still very medically involved and attends school for only 3 hours a day all the while I only need a few hours of work, so we are a great match and works out perfectly. I praise God for his wonderful arrangement and is excited for the change of directions it has taken place. The child I work with is non-verbal and there is no way he can tell me that he remembers me, but I hope this is not a wishful thinking if I believe he does.

So that's my schedule now, I drop off Kylie at a daycare few days a week as Vincent has weekdays off and  he takes care of Kylie in the morning. Then my mother hat is back on at noon when I pick Keke up from school after work.  In comparison, the few hours I work is much easier and relaxing than the split mind chores I engage at home. It's definitely a new adjustment for me after being a full time mom for more than three years, but for now, I am just glad that my job allows me to interact with people higher than 3 feet.

Summer's Footprint:

Before I step into school every day,  I tell myself it would be a fine day if I can make a difference in the life of the child I work with.  This week is teacher appreciation week and I received flowers from the parents of the child I support and a key chain from school that says "You make a difference, every day."

It's a fine day indeed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


When Keke was born, he was only a little more than 4 pounds because he was three weeks early and I had HELLP syndrome. Luckily all his organs were fully developed at birth except that there was little to no fat on his body. Therefore he had a hard time keeping his body temperature.  The picture of Keke's stick figure laying naked inside a box under a heated lamp was still vivid in my mind. I was also instructed to be "skin to skin" with him frequently at the hospital. Basically to put his naked body on my bare chest so that he can learn to regulate his body temperature using mine. At discharge, the pediatrician required us to bring Keke in every week for the first month to make sure he was gaining weight steadily.  After much worries, feeding and God's blessings, the result paid off in spade. Keke's weight rapidly excel from 2%tile to 50%tile in 4 months. It's like blowing up a human balloon in front of my eyes. At Keke's last physical check up, unlike the first 3 years of age which the baby's size can double in the first 6 months, the pediatrician told us his growth will start to slow down tremendously from now on.  For some reason, this is a new idea to me, that people grow in a certain rate at certain time and 3 years old is one of the marks.

Human physiology and genetics fascinate me. Although Keke was born as a stick figure, his head was average in size because the body automatically preserved his brain at all cost. According to research, the human brain develops in a particular order at certain age. Specifically, the frontal lobe of the human brain is not fully connected to the rest of the brain until mid 20s, and this accounted for the lack of judgement and risk taking behavior in the adolescence years. To make matter worse, children and adolescent's brains are born to be easily excitable to the environment because that's how children learn in a rapid pace. The downside to that is they respond too quickly and without the capability of connecting their actions to the consequence. Believing Keke as the reincarnated dare devil with a mixture of curious George, I have already tasted a glimpse of his teenage years since he was mobil. With Keke's unpredictable adrenaline rush, creative ways to somehow get himself in trouble, and his motto "I do it!", it's my personal achievement if Keke is still in one piece when he turns 18. I can totally see him sky diving, jumping off the cliff wearing nothing but his underwear and will not be surprised if he is featured in those extreme sports channel one day. To prepare me for Keke's treacherous years to come, "What is he thinking?" is not the right question to ask. Instead, remember to work on "What is he NOT thinking?"

Summer's Footprint:

Can you find the judgement gland?

The Teen Brain: It's Just Not Grown Up Yet

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

November was a busy and hectic month.  Our whole family went to Hong Kong for almost three weeks and came back half alive. The pace in Hong Kong was much faster than the U.S, there was no time to waste or idle. “Wait a minute” seemed too long for so many. What about “Wait a second?” Probably not. “Wait half second?” Time’s up!  As a mom, I had zero jetlag because my body was trained to sleep anytime, anywhere.  But adjusting to two young children’s 13 hours time difference was brutal.  Finally after two weeks, routine schedule found its place and Old Mac Donald was back on track in the car.

Kylie started a home daycare a few weeks ago because it’s time to expand her vocabulary in addition to the over generalized “mama”. On the way Keke and I drove to pick up Kylie, he asked why Kylie couldn’t be at the same class with him. I answered it was because Kylie was little and it’s better to stay in a small school.  “When will Kylie grow up?” Keke asked.  That caught me speechless for a moment. I just mumbled some nonsense explanations all the while  thinking to myself: Kylie is growing everyday, but so are you. You simply cannot wait for your sister to grow up and be at the same age.  Unlike time zone difference, the two years and four days difference between the two of you can never be adjusted. Son, you are the only big brother Kylie has in this world, treat her well and DON’T sit on her like a pony, for goodness sake.

As 2014 rolls, my two hot monkeys will continue to blast my mind. Although it's no end in sight, there is only one 2014 and before I know it, 2015, 2025 and 2035 will be around the corner. So I might as well just buckle up, take the wheel and launch this fantastic ride of 2014. Happy New Year!

Summer's Footprint:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Moo Moo Everywhere

Wednesday is a midweek I look forward to because it’s Vincent’s day off. Keke goes to school half day in the morning while Vincent takes care of Kylie at home so that I can attend a woman bible study class every week. As a full time mom, it’s a few precious hours that I can fully dive into and savor the word of God without distractions.

Today is a gloomy and rainy day. The smell of rain is what I long for and it wakes my senses up.  After the bible study, I stopped by a coffee shop to relish the sight of rain with a hot pumpkin spice latte at the window. Gardening is also my mental getaway, so I picked up a few pots of flowers to top off my lovely morning.   On the way home, I found a concert loaded in my car, which had no chance to air for more than a year because my songs of choice were closely related to Old Mac Donald and Wheels on the Bus since Keke was born. With vengeance, I blasted the speakers, opened the moon roof and sang my lungs out.   

Routine provides a harbor of comfort and stability, but at some point, it drifts into a mind of inertia. Much like a treadmill, the same calculated actions and thought pattern running steadily and endlessly.  So with this, I see taking care of Kylie and Keke becomes a job to fulfill, a way to get by.  The manifested symptoms include, but certainly not limited to, a drastic decrease of patience and exaggerated grumbling. The feeling of being unappreciated is prevalent and a silent bomb is ticking. Before I put up the sign “BEWARE OF BITTER WIFE”, the establishment of No-Kid Zone, whether it’s 20 minutes or a few hours a day, is crucial to rejuvenate my mind to reflect, regroup and reprioritize.

For me, the No-Kid Zone usually takes place when everyone is asleep at night or very early in the morning, and the luxurious Wednesday morning. Until then, the background music of my treadmill mind will sound like “Old Mac Donald had a farm, EIEIO, and on this farm he had a cow, EIEIO, with a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here moo, there moo, everywhere moo moo”

Yup, I can feel it, moo moo everywhere.

Summer's Footprint

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pearl Making

A lot of times, I have many strange thoughts.  For some reasons bewildered to me, the concept of death is as real as my own shadow. “Who is going to die first? Vincent or me?” “Who is going to handle better after one of us die?”  "What will my own funeral look like?” Graveyard is not my type. I would rather have my children scattered my ashes in Grand Canyon to remind them that human is so insignificant compare to the awestruck wonders of nature and the creator of universe. 

The wedding vow is a little blurry to me, I have to admit.   Memories of the wedding day are not so durable. However, I can still recall the feelings like yesterday when Vincent first held my hand in a mall. My heart beat so fast that zero gravity was not too hard to imagine.  The same racing heart could also caught in the moment and led to rampageous actions such as storming out of the room and driving 90 miles per hour when we argued. Fortunately, I just did it once and realized I have too much to lose in engaging in this type of actions. Every couple has their ups and downs and we are no exceptions. But what will happen one day if I find myself waking up with no one sleeping beside me? Like getting married and having a honeymoon, dying and being left behind are one of the stages we will go through down the road. It is just part of the marriage deal.  To die is easy, but to live meaningfully is the toughest part for the loved one who is left behind. After much contemplation, I told Vincent that it’s my hope that he dies before me because I can survive better if I am left behind. Of course, assumption is a freelancer of the mind until it is smashed by the unrelenting reality.

In the movies, the characters always wait till their last breath and utter their shivering words of “I…. love….. you……” I am not going to wait till my last breath?! Are you kidding me? On a more practical level, writing makes it easily assessable so that my husband (H) can read it whenever he feels disheartened, thinking what did he get himself into, when things are not up to par, or simply, whenever he pleases. 

Dear Mr. H,

The bible says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” I try to think what does one flesh mean. Is it two people being duct taped together for the rest of the life? That would be so hopeless- hopeless to be bound together due to reasons other than love and commitment. Then I remember the process of pearl making:  
“The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. It's kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster's natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.”
Mr. H, I feel like I am the foreign substance in your life. No doubt, I did a fairly good job in irritating and annoying you (and vice versa) through the years. However, your endless layers of patience and understanding gradually transform me to a pearl. Can’t say that I become perfect (actually I never attempt to become one), but definitely a better person. Thank you for your shell of anchor, which allows me to shine bravely in your heart.
I love you.

Truly yours,

Summer’s Footprint:
“Oh Sweet Lorraine”-The story of a love song written by a 96 years old man whose wife recently passed away. Enjoy.