Friday, November 22, 2013

The Sock Story

"Oh I was just telling my husband your Sock Story!"
That is what I heard tonight as I walked into a friends home.  I was so confused.  "What Sock Story?"
She was so surprised I didn't remember.  She began to retell the story to me until the light went on and I remembered.

She said "tell it to everyone!"

I was so taken back by her excitement and interest that I started the story in the middle and had to start over while telling.... twice!  :/

The story is a wide one but I will start in an easy spot.

I heard on Facebook about 250 students in our school district who are homeless.  Yes, 250 kids who don't have a real home to sleep in every night.  Many reasons why, all very sad.  So the Facebook message said a way to help these kids now is to buy them snacks to eat after school.  Many of these kids are not guaranteed dinner so these snacks are critical.  I was shocked, horrified and moved.  I went to Costco to buy a box of granola bars and some small oranges.

I had a little extra time so I walked slow and wandered.  I saw the boxes of socks near the clothing tables and had a thought...."buy some little girl socks".  I stopped and picked up lots of different packages.  They all had 8 pairs and were cute.  I decided on a package of socks for shoe size 10-4 girl.  I put them in my cart and walked a few steps, looked again at the socks in my cart, picked them up and wanted to buy them but.... Who Are They For?  I decide to put them back since I couldn't clearly answer that question.

I left Costco and dropped off the food at the school district office.  The woman there was wonderful and so thankful for any help large or small.  She told me a story of a boy sleeping in a tent all alone.  Rip my heart out.

I then went to my children's school and met with the family advocate about organizing some Thanksgiving baskets.  She was talking about the needs of the families and why they deserve help this Holiday season.

She then paused.  Looked right at me.
She said "Oh and I just heard about a little girl who needs socks, her mom can't buy her any."

I got all red and kinda sweaty.... I said "Carmen, I was just.holding.socks.her.size."
"Do you believe in God?"  I said , "Well, I do and I knew God was asking me to buy those socks but I didn't because I just couldn't see why or who they were for!"
I told her I would go get the socks for the little girl that same day.  I called my husband to pick up some on his way home and he gladly said yes.  (I love him!)
The store near him didn't have the size readily available so he sat on the ground inside Costco at 7pm going package by package looking for the right size.  One, he found ONE package of girls socks.

So the moral of the story:
You know those little thoughts you have?  You know that Holy Spirit that lives inside you?  Well, he knows stuff, cool stuff and if you listen and obey AMAZING things can fall into place.  I really believe that everyday we have chances to be used by God.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Seattle's Union Gospel Mission

A group of 7, including Takeshi and I went downtown this evening to serve food at the Union Gospel Mission.  This is an amazing place that feeds mostly men 3 meals a day everyday of the week.  When the food runs out, they are done till the next meal.  It was my first time going inside the building.  I have driven by many times and have seen the line of people waiting outside to go in.  We arrived and were greeted by very upbeat, happy people.  They quickly showed us how we could help and what to do.  Takeshi, passed out apples and bananas for almost 2 hours.  I had a wet rag and cleaned tables and cleared away empty trays of food.  

After we finished Takeshi and I had a bit of time to talk and discuss the evening and what we saw, felt and heard....even smelled.  People are hungry.  That is my #1 awareness.  One man needed more water to drink but instead of just getting up to fill his glass he took his whole tray of food with him just to get a drink - he couldn't imagine being away from his plate for even few seconds - he was that hungry.  

As I cleared trays that were empty and dirty from men who had eaten and finished I noticed more than a few times that the plate was still hot on the tray - empty but still hot.  They ate fast.

I watched one person walk to toss out his food - a very full plate into the garbage but another man stopped him and said "Hey!  That looks good I will eat it!'  

Many people said thank you while I wiped the tables and seats.  

I felt....I'm embarrassed to say this.... I felt scared to make eye contact.  I would sometimes say "Hi" but never said how are you?  By the end of the 2 hours I was feeling more comfortable and brave but not nearly how I would like to be, not how Jesus would have been.  It's a starting point for me.  I'm looking forward to going again.  This was a good choice.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Food Stuff

I'm learning to eat healthy.  Ha!
I learned a few years ago about exercise but I did not educate myself very much about food.  I mean, I learned about calories and how fast I could burn them but that's about it.

Fast forward a couple years to current time and we got NETFLIX!  Yeah baby!  Ok, so I'm new and a little excited about what shows I can find on there.  My sister said "Cancel cable and get Netflix!"  So I blame her for all this food learning stuff in the end!  Netflix has documentaries and those are perfect for watching when your husband is gone playing soccer.  So, I watched "Hungry for Change" one night last week and learned so much.  Holy, moly so much!

Like.... did you know my favorite cereal in whole world Honey Bunches of Oats Blueberry/Banana does not really have blueberries?  It has clusters of fake suger died blue and some chemical they use in winterizing an RV mixed in it.  Watch the show for all the specific details....  
I had no idea sugar was in so many things, lots of sugar.  I have not been taking very good care of myself or my kids and yes, they will survive but how about I do a little better.

So the next day I set out to change it up.  I bought organic fruit, veggies and dairy products.  I even bought Buck Wheat pancake mix.  Hmmmmmm....  Not sure my thinking on that.  Takeshi called the pancakes "Butt Wheat" so I played with the recipe and added some buttermilk mix to it and the kids ate them!  We've been making smoothies with kale that taste so so.  I'm learning that adding kale means you need to add an extra banana and apple.  :)  The kids are super stars and are eating a plate of veggies and green smoothies.  They are eating plain yogurt and plain cherrios.  They don't cry when I say eat an apple if you are hungry.  Yeah!  I really expected more of a fight but they are troopers!

Today I felt it though.  That low, slow, drained feeling all day.  I told Takeshi I think when I felt this ugggg! in the past I would go eat a granola bar in the kitchen.  A shot of sugar to my system.  Now that I'm choosing a handful of almonds or a banana my body is sad about it.  Sad now, but I hope next week to feel a little stronger and less drained.

On a happy note we are ALL using the toilet regularly for the first time....ever!  Two people, who will remain nameless, have had issues in this area.  I'm happy to say they are all GOOD now!  :)

I'm gonna keep it up!  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Everyday is a Mile.

I feel so beat down today!  Totally tired and easily irritated.  I tried to diagnose myself, probably not the best idea I know.  Thoughts came to me....  maybe I'm getting sick, maybe I need more water, maybe I need to read my Bible, maybe it's PMS.... on and on it went.  So I drank water, I sat and read my Bible for a bit but I still felt down.

My afternoon started out hard with 5 kids at my house.  Judah came to play which was easy but then a neighbor boy came over too and the mixture of kids just wasn't going well.  I ended up (nicely) sending the neighbor boy home.  I felt bad about it since I know his home life is not good.  He enjoys coming to our home and I try to welcome him with kind words.  So that afternoon mishap with sending him home kinda kicked off my "beat down" feeling.  Sometimes you just feel like your feet are dragging!

So what do I do when I can't shake the YUCK?!?  I run!
Running clears my head and it got me praying.  Not every mile I run is beautiful and easy.  Neither is each day I live.  Sometimes I have days I want to stay in my jammies and not see anyone.  God reminded me that life is a long distance race.  Some days (aka miles) will be a piece of cake and some days you will have to fight to keep your head above water.  I remember when I ran my first half marathon seeing a woman limping along about 3 miles from the finish.  She looked like she was in pain and miserable.  She carried on though.

After my run today and being reminded my life is a daily race I felt much better.
My finish line is Heaven's gates.  I get to live another day tomorrow, God willing and I get to work at it again.....to get it right, live right, set a good example for my kids, be a good wife and love those around me like God would love them.
Everyday is mile.  I intend for the next mile to be better than today's.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goodbye Gerald

6/6/12  is the date that our neighbor Gerald passed away at the too young age of 69.
It's been about 1 week now and I've had a lot of thoughts going through my mind.  His passing has had impact on me and the kids and we miss him.

We didn't see Gerald everyday but we knew that we would see him again at some point and that kept us glancing up toward his home while we were outside playing.  He rode a little scooter chair and often while we were outside we'd hear the wheels of his scooter on the rocks..... Gerald was coming.  We'd always say "Hi, how are you?"  or he'd ask us the same question.  Always with an "I'm doing good" answer.
He liked to talk to the boys and Emmi was warming up to him.  About 3 weeks ago he saved the day by getting a Frisbee off our roof with one quick swipe of the rake.  The boys jumped and cheered "Gerald did it!"  He was happy to save the day.  If he rode by on his scooter and the kids noticed from inside they'd bang on the window and yell loudly "Hi Gerald!"  He'd always wave.

Always..... that is what is hard when a neighbor passes away.  The ALWAYS part, it's suddenly not always, now it is never again.  That didn't register in my thinking, you know, how that would feel.  It's been a long time since someone I saw daily died.  This is the first time for my children to think about and feel the pain of death.  Gerald was a part of our daily rhythm.  I didn't realize he was until he just wasn't going to be anymore.  No more scooter, no more waving from our big living room window to him, no more chats outside in the warm sun, no more motorcycle engine (yes, I even miss that).  I miss him and truth be told.... I didn't really know him.  We've lived in this home for 6 years and I have never been inside his home.  Our relationship was made up of moments.  Short conversations about the kids or about the weather.  You might wonder how could I miss someone who I never truly knew?  I guess I feel like I knew him enough to like him.  My kids liked him.  Takeshi and I never minded the motorcycles and the noise.  We will miss Gerald.

I didn't get to say Good-bye to him.  I was sad about that, but after thinking it over I am at peace with it.  I saw him about 1 week before he died and he looked like his normal self.  That is a good way to remember him.  I wanted to pray with him, tell him that Jesus loved him and was excited to greet him.  I wondered if he knew how much God loved him.  I hope when I arrive at heaven's gates our sweet neighbor Gerald will greet me there.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome 2012!




What?!?! Where did January go?
Thanksgiving led to Christmas, which led to New Years, which led to 2, no 3 family birthdays, which led to Disneyland and now......... now it's February tomorrow. I'm sitting here shaking my head. It's all going too fast.

Kai, Noah and Emmi are doing wonderful! Growing healthy, happy and full of energy! We recently went to Disneyland and had the time of our lives together! Takeshi's kind boss took us and organized many unforgettable family memories. The kids were given autograph books for each "cast member" or character to sign. That was a highlight for sure! They were able to get 15 autographs complete with photos. Kai, Noah and Emmi loved it! Kai got to be apart of a Star Wars Jedi School and fight the mighty Darth Vader.... Exciting for sure! Noah rode his favorite Buzz Light Year ride from the movie Toy Story and was thrilled! Miss Emmi met favorite princess, Cinderella and shared secrets with her. It was a dream trip and we look forward to going again someday. Oh and the weather..... the weather was perfect, especially since home had over a foot of snow and freezing temps.

Kai has started a weekend soccer class with Takeshi as the coach. Kai is the smallest on the team but with dad by his side he's doing wonderful. He is not aggressive but his is great at controlling the ball. He's so tired after each game but so proud. Takeshi has about 8 boys on his team and is an encouraging coach.

Noah has started Tae Kwondo along with his cousin Judah. Noah is overflowing with excitement about this new adventure and looks forward to getting his first "beginners" belt Wednesday if he can master counting to 8 in Korean and saying the greeting to his Master. Either way, Noah is having fun and loves all the kicking and punching aloud on the mats.

Emmi is busy as always. She keeps me on my toes more then the boys ever did. Just Sunday at my parents home she closed herself inside the upstairs bathroom and got into the band aid box and was sticking them all over her legs. :) I love her energy and her passion to get what she wants. I just hope as her mom I can help her to point all the energy into good and worthy things. My sister recently sent me a blog post she follows. It reminded her of Emmi and I have to agree. It was encouraging to me. Here is the site: http://lysaterkeurst.com/2012/01/i-dont-want-to-raise-a-good-child/

Takeshi and I are happy and healthy. 2012 is looking to be a big year for Takeshi. He has signed up to go to Honduras with his father along with a group from our church to build 2 homes for 2 different families. He also has signed up for a FULL marathon in June. I'm proud and humbled by all the goals he has set for himself this year. God is at work in our lives in a new way and each family member feels it. We are thankful for so much!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Lessons

I've been thinking about this blog post for a few days. The growing and learning lessons just keep coming lately for our whole family! Takeshi and I have had new challenges with Kai at school and although we have jumped in with both feet, the lessons keep coming..... for us....adults.

Up 'till now our parenting has mostly been like this.... say please and thank you, take your foot off the table, don't lie, obey right away, clean your room, don't push your brother/sister! Kind of simple parenting now that I think about it. Kai has now come upon a lot more heart and attitude issues that Takeshi and I have had to talk him through. The strange and awesome thing is.... God has been talking with us about the same issues as adults - I guess they are life lessons.

Takeshi and I have been working with Kai on being a good listener to his friends and asking them questions about things that interest them. Kai wore one of his Lil' Kickers shirts to school and came home telling me about how he told all his classmates that his daddy works here! He was happy to share about playing soccer with his daddy! It was the perfect moment to say "Kai did you ask your friends what they like to do with their daddy?" "No" Kai said. I know he's only 7, and these are social life lessons we all get to learn..... people love to talk and don't always listen readily. So that night over dinner we did a funny role play between Noah and Kai. Noah talked about his school and Kai was a good listener then Noah asked Kai about his school and listened to Kai answer. Oh goodness! Such a simple idea but we all need to practice this I'm learning!

God is talking to me through my children!!!! I SOOOOO need to listen better, be a better friend and ask more questions showing I care about what my friends care about! This is just one lesson, there have been a handful that I've been sifting through this last week.

I see in Kai, myself, and my struggles. Kai loves to appear to have it all figured out. I'm the same. I don't have it all together. I asked myself.... when was the last time I told anyone besides Takeshi that I had a bad day? Showing honest vulnerability is hard for me with friends. Now, I see we are raising children to carry on those same characteristics. My eyes were opened to how showing my emotions and challenges more can actually bring me closer to friends! Wow!

Just a few thoughts.... :)