Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cultivating a Heart of Kindness: Patient & Gentleness Series #11

I was staying up one night reading Kara Tippets’ book: Big Love: the practice of loving beyond your limits. It's one of those books that I will read again and again. You can get your own copy HERE.
Below is my take away from the book:

Kindness is part of our new identity as Christians, part of fruit of the Spirit.
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Kindness involves sacrifice, putting someone else above yourself. 
Kindness means noticing someone else and recognizing his/her needs
It means seeing the value in every person we meet.”
Let’s evaluate how we live our life; Is it characterized by kindness? 
In what areas of your life do you struggle with kindness: In the rush morning, when you are tired?

The challenge to live in kindness was not a simple one
 If love is kind, can we disagree with kindness?
Can we not get our way, not be right; can we be tired or sick— all with kindness?
Could we let go of  the need to be right, the need to win a fight, the subtle cold edges I carried?
If God expects kindness from us, then He will supply the grace to live in that kindness.

What if we try so hard but still have moments when we blew it?
We then had the joy of repentance. The gift of humbly admitting where we had failed, and asking God to help change our heart, and ask the person we had offended to forgive us.

If our goal in life is to never be wrong, to win, to always be on top, we will find ourselves lonely
Putting aside the need to be right, approved, and together, and living in community needy and broken has given us great freedom to live in the freedom of knowing and enjoying Jesus!

Everyone is looking for grace, love, and care; when anger breaks these connections.
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:8-9

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the LORD has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-14
How can you put on this kind of love today?
How can you press into Jesus and ask him to help you grow deeper in an area you are struggling? Jesus, would you grow my heart in every direction that is bound together in love.

Having a teachable heart is the very essence of loving with kindness.

The heart of being able to love big is being loved. Jesus loves you that big.
Each day is a gift. Live each moment knowing, even your unseen movement towards love and away from unkindness, matters.  Love BIG. You will never regret time spent loving beyond your own ability to love. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 movies we enjoyed lately

After the kids born, we rarely watch movies. Now, that the boys are sleeping on their own room. We finally can have a Friday night movie date at the comfort of our home.

There are reasons I don't like going to movie theater and 20/20 confirmed that my reasons are valid. 

Here are our 5 movies we enjoyed lately and thanks to Amazon Prime, we got to watch most of them for FREE.

Do you have any recommendation for other good and uplifting movies to watch?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bathroom Remodel: The Final Reveal

Finally, it's time to reveal the bathroom after the remodel. It's not 100% done since we are planning to add shelves on top of the toilet and an artwork somewhere but those will come later. We are very thankful to have a fully functioning bathroom.  Come on in!

I will put the link of the source on this post as well starting with this faucet from Home Depot.

We found the large mirror at HomeGoods. We are super happy with this find because its large size makes our small bathroom looks bigger plus $30 was not a bad price for such a good quality product.

The vanity came in one piece from Costco.

The bidet was from ebay. The paper holder, and hand towel ring were from Amazon

We opted for standing shower instead of bath tub to make it easier for our parents to use when they come to visit.

The glass door, porcelain tiles,

shower tiles wall,

and shower tiles floor were from local stores. {check out yelp to find stores with good reviews}

The shower valve was from Amazon 

The combo Handheld Shower and Showehead was also from Amazon

The ceiling exhaust bath fan with light was from Home Depot

This double tower bar was also from Home Depot 

Our contractor suggested to buy TOTO toilet so we got this one  and the toilet seat from Home Depot. He was right. I don't know if it's the design but I rarely have to clean the toilet now. Before, I have to clean it every 2 days otherwise it stinks.

a small basket for the kids to put their books:

Another thing we got for the bathroom is this OXO wiper, which is a must since we have a glass door.

That's it. Hope you enjoy the tour as much as we enjoy our new bathroom. :)

Disclosure: this post contain affiliate links

You may also like:
The Bathroom Before
How to plan a bathroom renovation
Bathroom Renovation Pictures

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bathroom Renovation Pictures

You have seen  the before picture of our bathroom. We thought we could live with it for a few months before renovate but the leaking toilet and shower, big hole in the vanity, small mirror,and the layout really didn't work for us and made us decide to renovate a week after we moved in.
We didn't regret our decision to move in first before doing the renovation because having to live with it for a week giving us a better idea on designing the space that will work best for us.

Day 1: Demolition

We requested the contractor to switch the placement of toilet and vanity that way when either one of us is using the toilet other can still get in and use the sink or shower. We only have one bathroom remember so we have to consider this kind of thing. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Because He Lives

This weekend, we're celebrating Jesus and what He has done for us.
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Happy Easter, everyone! May you experience His love, grace, and mercy.

We recorded this video 6 years ago when The Satriya kids were here and Max was still a baby

and the second video 3 years ago when Wes was still a baby. 
I guess we need to make the updated version real soon. 

Because He Lives
God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
"Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. That is the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Do not neglect doing good and sharing for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cancer, fire, and lesson learned

A few days after my friend passed away, Kara Tippetts, who is well known through her blog: Mundane Faithfulness also went home to Jesus.  

I don't know about you but I know so many people whose life is touched by cancer: my kids' pediatrician, my father in law, my mom' sister, my uncle, a boy in my Sunday School class, an 18 months of daughter of a pastor, a pastor wife, two friends of mine, my friend Liza, bloggers: Michele Cushatt and Rachel Meek.

So many... too many, Lord. As I sat down in the church during my friend's memorial, I opened the Bible to Ecclesiastes 7:2 
"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;  the living should take this to heart."

Solomon was right. At the end, we all will die and come face to face with our Creator. We've got to be ready. Jesus said the greatest commandments were to, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’... And the second is... ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

As I watched Kara's videos on youtube and read her blog posts, I saw how someone live up those two commantments. She remained faithful and trusting the Lord to the end.

Now regarding the fire...
My mom sent me a text about a week ago to let me know that her childhood home, the place where she grew up and where we went to visit grandma every week was burned to the ground. Thankfully, two of my uncles and their families who were living there were able to get out safely, which by itself is a miracle and grace. 

Please join me as we pray for healing, strength, peace, and joy for my uncles and aunties and their family as they began the process of cleaning, sorting, restoring, and building their business and home. 

The cancer and fire were a great reminder that life is fragile. We never know what will happen tomorrow. My uncle shared that as soon as he woke up and learned that the house was on fire, he made sure everyone was out. He even forgot his glasses and his false teeth. Our house, possessions, money are not the most important things in life, the people that God place in our life are and our time with them are limited. Lord, help us to live and love well.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Capitola Beach

A family friend had been telling us about Capitola Beach but we didn't get chance to check it out until last year.

Wes was excited but scare of the wave and cold water.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Random Post on Motherhood

I just got the news that a friend of mine from homeschooling group passed away due to breast cancer; living behind her husband and 3 young sons. Two of them are at Max and Wes' age. Her second son, who is the same age as Max, is one of Max's best friends.

I told Max the news with tears in my eyes. He's sad too. He said, "It's good that she is no longer suffering and is now in Heaven, ma, but she is still young. How come she died?"
Please lift up the family in your prayers and pray for discernment, wisdom, and love as our community walks with her family during this difficult time.

Today is my mom's birthday. I cannot imagine growing up without her. I didn't realized how blessed I am to have such a creative, fun, sensitive and loving mom until I have children. She works all day but once she got home, she always available for cuddling, listening, and story telling.

A college student interviewed me the other day for her report about raising kids in the States. One of the questions she asked was, "What is one thing you do for your children that only you as their mom can do?"
I thought for a while then answered, "Honestly, I think everything I do, can be done by someone else."

But then I think of my mom... I remembered on second grade I cried because she didn't go to dentist appointment with me when I was having a painful filling done. Once she got home, she gave me a hug and apologized. That's the only time I remembered she wasn't present when I need her.

I thought of the day I gave birth and recovering from childbirth. There was no body else on earth I rather have by my side (beside my dear husband of course) but her. The things that she does as mother maybe replaceable but the comfort, love, and joy that she brings cannot.

One more story before I am closing this post. I was just seven years old then, from first grade moving on to second grade.  Back then, teachers wrote on a notebook to communicate with the parents {mostly giving bad report or concern}. As long as the notebook still has blank space, the students kept the same notebook all the way through six grade.

I received one bad report on first grade and I remember kept staring at the note before putting it in my bag. I didn't like the fact that my new teacher at 2nd grade would learn and label me just from that note without getting to know me.

 My mom, being a sensitive wonderful mom, asked, "Do you want me to make it disappear?"
"You can? how?" I asked.
Then she took the book from my hands and ripped that one page. "Don't let one mistake stop you from growing. You learned from your mistakes and move on. Don't let that holding you back."
 The notebook remained blank until I graduated from elementary.

 What she said reminded me of what Eli said to Punchinelo in the book: You Are Special {click on the link to read the story}
"Why don't the stickers stay on her?"

The maker spoke softly: "Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The sticker only stick if you let them"


"The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers."

Happy Birthday, mom. Thank you for your sacrifical love to our family.
Giving God thanks for you and praying for you daily,
Blessed to be yours

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Effective Morning Routine: Patience & Gentleness Series #10

"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways." Proverbs 14:8a

A few weeks ago, I heard a podcast about the important of early morning routine and how it impact our productivity. I already had a morning routine before but since listening to the podcast I added some practices that Hal Elrod suggested such as waking up 30 minutes earlier than I normally would and doing 10 minutes exercise. 

It makes such a big difference. Instead of waking up grumpy and in the rush, I am waking up ready to face the day and much calmer through out the day because I have plenty of time to do what need to be done.

You can listen to the podcast titled: Productivity and the Early Morning Routine.

My Morning Routine {ideally speaking, sometimes thing happened like I blogged a little bit late the night before and the kids wake up earlier than normal, so I adjust accordingly}:
  1. Set alarm and wake up 30 minutes earlier than I am supposed to.
  2. 10 minutes Yoga or stretching exercise 
  3. Prayer, Bible Reading
  4. Planning and Journaling
  5. Waking up the kids, Breakfast while listening to worship song on Pandora
  6. Morning devotion & reading time with the kids 
"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Benjamin Franklin

Related Posts:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Camping at Mendocino & How we turn our van into "tent"

Last August, our family went to Mendocino for our annual family camping trip.

After about 3.5 hours on the road we're finally arrived at Mendocino Campground.

Aaaah.... the trees, fresh air, scenery, quietness... the reasons why we go camping every year.