Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tim at 41

Some of these pictures were taken yesterday (Sept 23), and some were taken today (Sept 24).



Puzzle Solver





Happy Birthday, my dear.  I love you more than ever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Instruments

Brahms and his new bass

My children are discovering new instruments this year.   Brahms although still taking private lessons for clarinet he is also learning to play bass.  The excitement in his face was hard to describe when he saw his burgundy-red instrument.  He hopes to be able to play for the youth band eventually.

Miriam has been learning to play the drums from a private teacher.  This year she is in band for the first time where she plays percussion instruments.  She owns a bell and a snare drum for  band although she also plays other percussion instruments provided by the school.  Her drum set occupies about a third of her bedroom. 

For the first time today, Shannon went to her piano lessons.  She has a teacher who seems to be "fresh" and full of ideas.  We'll see how everything goes.   She's been playing flute since she was in the elementary grades and still does.  However, her curiosity for other instruments has been awakened.  She's also been very interested in learning the guitar on her own. 

I find it good for children to push themselves to learn something new from time to time.  This improves their self confidence and appreciation of discovery.

"Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance."    -William Wirt

Monday, September 21, 2009

Evacuation Day

September 18th was a very interesting day in El Dorado Hills.  Three schools: Oak Ridge High School; Rolling Hills Middle School; and Silva Valley Elementary School with a total of four thousand students were evacuated due to some "atmospheric pollution".  The chemical that was being used to reseal the Oak Ridge track was so odorous that students who were sensitive were having trouble breathing. 

The different schools were evacuated to different places.  Immediately after the students called their parents and before the schools notified the parents,  roads going to these three destinations were getting clogged with traffic.  As a result the school buses transporting the students from the schools were taking taking a lot more time.  It must have taken about two hours to transport all of Oak Ridge HS students to the church on Green Valley.  Normally it would take only five minutes to travel between the two points.  With the heavy traffic the travel time must have increased to 20 minutes each way.

Shannon and Brahms made good use of their unexpected free time by playing their new PS3 game called Mini Ninjas.  I was glad that Miriam's school was not near Oak Ridge HS.  My would have been more complicated.  My friend Sue and I did not have to cancel our lunch date even with our children home early.   We went to have lunch at Mimi's Cafe and had a good time catching up with each other.

An exciting day it was.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brahms Turns 14

Brahms and his sisters who love him.
My son, Brahms, is fourteen today.  With this milestone, come some changes not just in him but also in our family. There are things that he cannot do anymore and things that he now can do.  My son is no longer a little boy but a little man.  What a blessing to have him.  God has been gracious to give us such a good son.  We pray that he will grow up to be a wise man and win God's favor all his life.
Brahms and his big sister, Shannon

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lunch Dates on Mondays

"Would you like to go out to lunch with me?".   As long as he is working at home,  at around ten on Monday mornings, Tim would always ask me this question.  That means that whatever I'm doing that morning I have to make sure to be ready by 11:30am.  This is one of the many blessing we get through the job that God has given Tim.  He works for Phoenix Technologies which is based in Milpitas but he gets to work from home, most of the time.  I can never thank God enough for allowing him this priviledge.  It is something that we as a family have all learned to enjoy and hope that we will never take for granted.

Top Ten Places To Eat Lunch: 
(Ranked according to the number of times that we've chosen to go to the place)

1. The Emperor's Garden
2. Chantara Thai Cuisine
3. Strings Italian Cafe
4. Costco Food Court
5. Mimi's Cafe
6. La Fiesta Taqueria
7. Pueblo Chico
8. Kusina ni Lewis
9. Opa Greek Restaurant
10. Baja Fresh (now closed)
After lunch we would stop by Vanelli's to get my Vietnamese coffee, or if we're eating in Folsom then another stop before we end our date would be "It's A Grind" to get some coffee.  It's really a simple date but we get to face the other person or sometime sit next to each other and talk about the things that are spinning in our heads.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Time to Change Schedule

This day marks another change in our family schedule.   Awana,  starts today.  It will go on every Sunday from 5:30-7:00 pm until May.  All of us (family) are involved in different ways.  Tim is Sparks Director, Shannon and I are Sparks Leaders, Brahms is a T&T Leader, and Miriam is a T&T-er.  Sundays will be really busy again.  It was really good to be able to relax on Sunday afternoons, however, we enjoy being involved in  Awana as a family.   

With the late Awana schedule, we will need to eat early dinner before we go to church.  We've been used to eating dinner between 6:30 and 7:00 pm but this will not work if we still want to eat together as a family.  There will be a time for us to eat dessert (if available) after we come back home and before we do the family devotions which is at 8:30 pm.  Another thing that we will have to think about is making sure that Brahm's P.E. clothes are ready before Awana.

Blogging to me is like thinking.  Now I realize that there are things that I need to prepare in order for us to adopt the new schedule smoothly.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Lazy Day

I am enjoying a lazy day today.  I've been dealing with a severe sinus congestion during the last three days and now I have decided to rest.  All kids are in school and Tim is out in Santa Nella to meet my in-laws, George and Barbara, for lunch.   There are a lot of things sitting on the counters but I'm deliberately ignoring them.  Brandy, the dog, is here with me so I get to bring her out every once in a while.  I noticed that some of my plants need some water.

I've been thinking about our trip to UC Davis yesterday.  In less than two years, Shannon will be going to college, God willing.  Right now, I can only pray that she will get admitted to a school that will be good for all of us not just her (if there is such a place).  The dorm we toured was nice.  Two students share one room.  They are allowed to have refrigerators and microwave ovens.  Freshmen are required to buy their meal tickets. During later years they have the option to eat anywhere or live anywhere nearby.  Looking at the student housing on campus reminded me of my days in England at the Sibly Hall and Bridges Hall.  These were self-catering halls- meaning we cooked our own food.  Also, we had a cleaner every week, she changed our sheets every other week and scrubbed our pots and pans too.  I had the room to myself, which was very good.  On the other hand, it is also good to have a room mate. 

May God help my daughter as she prepares to go to college and away from home.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Joyful Thought

Back in the Philippines my sister, Rowena, and her husband, Jun, along with their four young children live a very simple life.  He is a rice farmer and she helps make ends meet by working as the Barangay (village or a small district) Secretary and a rice dealer for National Food Administration.   They have very little and yet they are happy.  The kids don't have toys but they seem to be content and not missing anything (or they don't know what they don't have).

 Last year in November Miriam and I got to visit them.  I got the chance to talk to my sister heart to heart , if I may say.  This was the time when I asked her about her spiritual life and what they are doing to teach their kids about this matter.  It was a long and engaged discussion and mentoring.  To make the story short, I recommended that they find a local church where they can join other believers on a regular basis.
As we left the Philippines, I thought that it was important that I continue a close communication with my sister.  It gives her the feeling of belonging to someone (me) since she does not have any close relative now other than her own family.  So Tim and I decided to change or telephone service plan.  Now I can call her any time and still have enough to pay our bills. 
It's been ten months now since we went to the Philippines.  My family is very pleased with the changes that  have taken place in the life of my sister and her family and now even her neighbors.  They are now going to a church.  One day I called her, she was whispering and saying that the service is going on, if I could call her later.  I though that was a very good reason not to talk to her.  Every Saturday, a bible study teacher now  goes to her house and teach the children in their neighborhood.  The enthusiams is spreading beyond their own household. We are thankful to God.  We have been sending them some Sunday school materials and bibles.  Lately, my kids went through their libraries and decided to send their collection of Psalty's CDs and a number of Bible-related DVD. These may be small things here but there they are big-time additions to their resources. 
May the Lord continue to draw us all to Him.