Monday, November 30, 2015

Celebrate Diversity

Today as I opened Facebook and scrolled down the news feed, I got this strange feeling of amazement at the diversity of life.  The small circle where I belong is a classic example of this.  In this sphere are my friends who are made up of people I met during the different stages of my life. There are also groups that I follow – some of them I do because they are what my friends like to promote – but most of them are groups I’d like to be identified with because they are related to what I am doing at the present time or to an experience in a previous time of my life.   Each one of them represents something different. 

Diverse World.  Here’s a glimpse of what I saw on my news feed – which made me smile:
  1. Art professor posting about Art work
  2. My niece praising God for passing her physicians license exam
  3. Missionary friends eating Ethiopian food
  4. My former dorm mate advertising a job opportunity in the college she works at
  5. Self-taught artist showing her new finished work
  6. A young niece getting her selfie to send her parents
  7. Pastor challenging Christians to choose their priorities in this world
  8. Former pastor announcing a Badminton tournament
  9. Pastor’s wife announcing a new Women’s bible study
  10. Friend in Canada showing off a growing dahlia (mine is about to fade away)
  11. People greeting people on their birthdays
  12. Cousins in the Philippines sharing articles about the corrupt government
  13. People eating at restaurants
  14. Ladies cooking food
  15. Friends posting pictures of their dogs
  16. People meeting friends
  17. Grandparents showing pictures of their grandchildren
  18. One sister showing picture of her not-so- little-anymore sister
  19. Former coworkers at the Department of Agriculture posting pictures as they attend conferences
  20. Pastor asking about Siri
  21. People showing images at their job
  22. Person in love and in a relationship now missing the simple days
  23. Friend sharing important points from a Sunday sermon
  24. Friends from Natomas showing a caterpillar eating precious plants

Be You and Be Enough.  There you see a diverse world.  We’re all different people making up one community.  We are part of a community that is made up of different talents and gifts and different levels of energy.   The problem arises when some of us want to be like another member.  Our culture promotes imitation.  Find those who are labeled with superlative adjectives, choose the one you want to apply to yourself and then copy.  The problem is – physical characteristic don’t translate verbatim when transferred to another because there is an underlying unique character in each of us that determines the outcome.  And we try and try again, sometimes draining us of peace, to be like someone else.  Don’t stress.  We were meant to be different.  And it is so freeing to know that we were meant to be different.  In this case to be different means to be who I am and be enough

Strobe Lights Hide Things.  The next time envy and discontent creep at you remember someone is dreaming to have your life.  Maybe your friends seem to be eating all their meals in fine restaurants overlooking the ocean, or they seem to be traveling all over the world and they never seem to go home ever; your rich friend buying yet another house or car; your old acquaintances now showing pictures of themselves in a sophisticated-pouty look holding the most expensive purse you’ve ever seen and it makes you wonder what happened to you.  Think again.  They are not showing you everything. Maybe you have that same effect to that friend. The media is a stage where we present ourselves - to be seen.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, it is only a stage of strobe lights.  We get to show only what we want to show and hide things we’d rather not show.  And if you are the one watching these shows, you are only seeing snap shots, which are a representation of a split-second in the life of a person.  The show is properly managed so that the lights turn on only during the seemingly good times. Therefore, don’t let yourself be shaken by the skin of a tomato (sorry for the Helenism there).  

In the end, there is only one person we should all strive to impress, and that is the author of diversity - God.  You are his workmanship and everything around you is as they are because he allowed them to be.  

Be proud to be your own original self.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Prenuptial Counseling

Today, Tim is doing the second  prenuptial counseling session for Josh and Malia.  I think there will be one more meeting before their wedding which is on December 18th.  This is different from all the other couples he married in the past because we knew Josh from when he was a very young boy. His parents are our friends and shared many memories with them when we lived in the Bay Area. That's right, children of some of our friends are now getting married which means that our turn  to see our children plan to get married is not far from now.  We are getting old. Old enough to see young kids grow to adulthood and now stepping into married life.  It is very exciting!  

I believe Josh and Malia will make a good couple...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Without Shannon

We did the normal things to do - cook Turkey and all the trimmings - the only difference was that Shannon was not there.  It was a relatively quiet day considering how loud the house would have been has Shannon been here.  Nonetheless, the house was still noisy with a lot of conversations, laughter and games.  

As a result of Shannon's absence, Miriam officially took over the making of our traditional Herbed Rolls.  She did a great job - the bread was yummy and it reminded us of a Lewis special occasion. Brahms made all the pies and he made the Pumpkin Pie from scratch.  He's nailed pie-making! 

 It was difficult to make plans for the rest of the family when one is out there and will not be a part of the celebrations.  To make myself feel better, I suggested a menu for Shannon - along with the shopping list to go with it which included the links on which item to buy and where to buy them. I was very relieved when she decided to go with it.   Once a helicopter mom, always a helicopter mom.  :)

As a family, we have a lot to be thankful for everyday. God has always been good to us.  In the end Thanksgiving Day is the day to recount all what we have and to acknowledge the source and the grace that lies behind them.  Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of peace that we can enjoy and not a lamentation over a longing that cannot be satisfied at the moment.

Thanksgiving Day 2015:  Cold and Sunny 

           And so Thanksgiving 2015 went by...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

1.   ORHS Marching Band in Folsom.  The awesome Oak Ridge Marching Band joined the parade in Folsom.  Of course the families of those in the band were also there.  Even visiting family members were there.  Brahms who was off from work and school for the day decided to come home but guess where he spent a good proportion of his time?  The good thing was that he got to look like a good community member, he was with us and had the chance to meet Miriam's drum-line friends.

2.  Rise of Nations.   Miriam has been busy with band and school that she does not have time to  play video games.  Since it was a holiday and he brother was here, they played some.  I remember when Shannon and Brahms were in high school, they always tried to finish their homework early so that they could play some games.  But Miriam hardly ever have free time.  I think the other reason is that she does not have anybody to play with.  Oh the joys

3.  Ukulele.  Whenever Brahms comes home they seem to always find time to sing together.  It's not the serious singing but more like the comical style.  The last time he was home they wrote a song about her learning to play the ukulele.  If they were not laughing I would have thought that it was a real song.  Wait, it is a real song - an original song!  :)

4.  Jamming. Whenever two or tree of my kids are together, the house sounds very happy and noisy.  The noise come from different mediums - laughter, silly singing accompanied by some instruments, joking, story-telling, computer games, video games, board games, eating, washing dishes and depending on the time of the day, snoring :)  This time there was a lot of jamming.  They went on and on until it was time for brother to go back to Davis.

And that is how the day went in this house.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Breaking Barriers for Friends

James, Jane, Mary, Max, Virgie, Vicky, Tim, Tin-tin, Helen, Verma, Marites, and Beng (behind the Camera).

After so many months of not been able to have people over, due to work schedule, thank God, I did it this time.  I am hoping that my mind will work with me so that this will be the beginning of many more gatherings with friends in our house.

A layer of our cover is peeled off every time we get together.

People put on many layers of masks because we are not sure of the people around us.  Self protection and preservation from each other is a natural human behavior.  But when they get together, a layer of their covers come undone.  Subconsciously, we reveal a little bit of ourselves but there is a lot about us that we keep hidden.  Only through repeated exposure of ourselves to the same people do we let loose of our vulnerability.  This may sound dangerous but it is the very way to have peace with everyone - and ultimately to have people we can trust.  For as long as we keep ourselves disguised, there remains a turmoil within us.

As a host I am not always sure that my guests will approve of my house and the food I serve.  But my guests are so good at easing this problem by eating what I serve and also bringing food to share.  That way, they also subject themselves to the same vulnerable position as the host.  Like I said earlier, a layer of our cover is peeled off every time we get together.

Tim teaches the kids to play Pit. 
When we get together, we chance an arm for the sake of friendship.  :)