Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shannon's Graduation

Shannon R. Lewis
Class of 2011
May 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Oakridge High School

Shannon marching with old time classmates Ross and Shawn...

Relatives and friends came to celebrate with us.

With daddy...

With mommy...

Tim and I thank God that our daughter, Shannon, finished one more step in her pursuit of education.    No end is ever an end...instead every end is a beginning.  Her graduation marks the start of her college life. This truth was translated by George, my father-in-law, when he asked me if I was losing a young kid or gaining a new adult child.  We tend to assume that ends are stop signs.  However, they are only markers of change.  As Shannon completed all the finals and AP exams she was, at the same time, working on some details of her preparation for a new life in away from home. 

University of California (Irvine) here she comes...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Countdown Begins Today

Ten days before Shannon's graduation from high school.  Some invitation/announcements to her graduation have been sent.  She has her cap and gown hanging in the guest room.  Her dress had been purchased when I checked her out last Friday - 'Senior Ditch Day".  She still needs to buy a pair of comfortable shoes.  From now on there will be a series of events related to the graduation.  They will have a Senior Picnic/Pool Party this coming Friday and a Senior Dinner Dance on Saturday.  On Sunday our church will give another picnic for the graduates...and then Monday, they will have a Senior Breakfast at Oakridge where they will have a slide show of the graduates.  By the time the graduation comes, they will be all exhausted.  Shannon decided not to attend the overnight party after the graduation ceremony in spite of our prodding.

Planning for the May 27th and the days around it are going on.  Shannon's graduation will bring so many relatives together.  It will be a celebration of a milestone and at the same time a family reunion.  I'm praying that people will have fun just being together. 
So far I am staying calm although earlier this week I felt overwhelmed when Tim announced that he will be preaching this Sunday.  He likes to preach and I support him...but I was hoping that he could help me during the weekend.  Preaching will take up his weekend.  He has been on several business trips most of last month and this month.  Things that I asked him to help me with have been put aside because of his schedule.  So when he told the family of his preaching commitment this week - a week when he is also in Portland for three days, I was not happy.  In my sulking I was reminded of what Ann Voskamp said: fight feelings with feelings.  Unhappiness is the opposite of gratitude.  So I reversed the situation by counting all the things that are going well.   It works and only through the grace of God.  Looking at the positive side of things makes it possible for me to face God with gratitude and shift my focus from the physical to the unseen.  It is God's gift that I have a husband who likes to ponder and speak on the words of God.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Unaccustomed to being all alone all day, I was feeling depressed today.   I'm just spoiled having Tim work at home all the time.  One of my favorite things to do when I am alone is to eat comfort foods (my comfort foods are different from everyone else's comfort foods).  My two kids had pizza and I had - Paksiw na Pata.  I remembered that the last time I had Paksiw na Pata, I had it at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati two years ago.  Then my mind visited memories that are related to the food I was eating.  Then the thought of my mother came to me because she made good Paksiw (she called it patatim).  I used to work away from home and came home only on weekends.  Mother would cook it for me during those weekends.  It is a very pleasant thought. 

But then I remembered the last time I saw her.  She was very ill (from cancer).  Tears came to my mind just thinking about her...

I decided to go outside and fetilize the lawn.  Then I did DDR.  :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Greatest Reward

Today is Mother's Day.  In my family, it is not a celebrated holiday because my husband says that I am not his mother.  That's fine with me.  However, as we were driving back home from church, I asked my kids if they were doing something special for me.  The answer was negative.  My husband came to their rescue and said, no - unless you are willing to go get something from McDonalds.  Well, McDonalds is special in our family because we do not go there on a regular basis.  We eat at the Chinese (Emperor's Garden) or Mexican restaurant (La Fiesta Taqueria) more than we go to McDonalds. Tim and I probably eat more at the Thai Restaurant and the Indian Restaurant (Mylapore) more than we at McDonalds.  It is really special. 

My kids used to do something for me.  They make plans at night, secretly.  They get up early and so I deliberately stay in bed until they come with their creation: a buttered piece of toast with a jar of jam on the side.  They would watch me eat what they prepared for me.  To be able to do something for me made them very happy.  They also made all sorts of projects in school for a Mother's Day present.   I remember when Brahms was in kindergarten - he made a ceramic project. The project was a purple heart-shaped flat ceramic about two and a half inches wide.  In the middle the students were supposed to engrave the word "MOM".   So he carefully wrapped the thing he made and hid it until Mother's Day when he presented it to me.  I opened it and saw this very special gift, on it was the word "WOW".   I was very flattered.  It made me feel very special.  I hugged and thank him for thinking that I am wow.  He said "No, mommy.  The heart  says MOM."  I get it.  I am a wow mom! 
In the car today, Brahms said, Happy Mother's Day, Mommy.  I said thank you.  The greatest present that a mother can have is to see her children grow to be God-loving and people-loving.  That is all I want.  After a stretch of silence - probably contemplation on their part, Brahms spoke again...

Brahms:  "Do you think that you are being rewarded?" 
Me:  "What do you think?  Do you think you are rewarding me?
Brahms:   "The rewarded is the best judge of her reward.  Are you being rewarded by your children?"
Me:  "I think that I am getting the reward that I want from my children.  However, there is a lot of room for doing more."
Shannon:  "So you mean we have not arrived?"
Me:  "No.  You are on the right path but you need to keep on getting better at it.  Loving God and loving others...those are the rewards I want from you."  
Shannon/Brahms/Miriam:  Awwwww!?! 

Indeed, if my kids will grow up fearfully loving God and excelling in unconditionally loving people within their sphere of influence then I will be able to say that I have been generously rewarded as a mother.

Friday, May 6, 2011

American River

The American River

Sometimes I wonder how the American River got its name.  Of all the rivers in the country, how come this river was named American River?  Could it be because gold was first discovered by James Marshall on this river?  The promise of more gold  brought people from all over the world to California to pursue the "American (River) Dream" known as the Gold Rush.  But I really do not know the origin of the river's name.

First Bridge

There are trails on both sides of the river - biking, hiking and even horse-riding trails.  Every once in a while Tim and I would shift from our normal "home-to-coffee shop walks" to driving to Old Folsom and then walking along the river.  Miriam was on vacation last week so we brought her with us. 

Second Bridge

Third Bridge


Monday, May 2, 2011

Girls Play Date

Children no matter how tall they are will always be youthful at heart.  Emily is Miriam's classmate and friend.  She is tall and Miriam is short, comparatively speaking.  Sometimes I could not help but imagine that Emily likes to do things that are more mature in nature just because she is taller than me.  I have to constantly remind myself that she is young just like Miriam.   

During this past two-week-Spring-break, Miriam and Emily got together twice.  During the first week we all went to see the movie "Rio". It was a girls date.  Linda (her mom), Emily, and Julia (sister) joined us  (Shannon, Miriam and I) afterwards to go to McDonalds for some food.  

Then we arranged to have Emily and Miriam play at home.  It is very delightful to have them play together because they like to laugh.  I was in the kitchen when they played PS3 games and I found out that Miriam behaves differently when she's with her other friends - Erich and Will.   She is controlled and feeling-in-charge when she is with the boys. However, when she was with Emily she is more care-free and relaxed.  Whatever the reason maybe - I guess it has something to do with gender difference in maturity level. :) 

The two girls made chocolate chip cookies.  As soon as they put the cookies in the oven, they grabbed the spatula and the paddle and started licking them.  I admire their self-control.  Obviously as they were dropping the dough onto the baking sheet they were already making plans as to who gets what utensil to lick. 

They had a great time together.  Unfortunately, Emily had to go to her piano lessons.  They only had a little bit of time to play with Miriam's dollhouse.

A Virtue in Action

We hear people losing their phones all the time; once a phone is lost, it is gone forever...Well, not quite. 

Today Shannon came home and told me of a story that happened today at school.  She found an iPhone in the restroom.  The phone was sitting on the toilet paper dispenser.  She took the phone and asked those students outside the restroom if they left an iPhone. When nobody claimed to have lost one, she brought the phone to the office and told the secretary where she found it.   Shannon was amazed to see the secretary's reaction - "You are very honest!" she said.  Shannon thought that this was the only right thing thing to do. Obviously not so many students hand in a found iPhone these days.  Instead they would replace the SIM card with theirs and voila!  They have a new iPhone. 

While Shannon was eating lunch, Megan Ong, one of her friends, mentioned that Ming, another friend, lost her iPhone.  So Shannon told her of the one that she handed in to the office.  Megan looked for Ming to tell her about it.  In the meantime during seventh period (a free time for Shannon) Megan instructs Shannon to go see Ming.  Ming was very grateful - she gave Shannon a 20 dollar bill.  Considering that Shannon charges $10/hour for tutoring, she was very happy to receive $20 just for finding her iPhone.

Mothers like me are filled with joy when we see our children apply the virtues that we worked and prayed hard to develop in them.