Monday, March 3, 2014

Lessons of a New Mom - All About Pants

After 1.5 years of mothering, I continue to learn a lesson that I'm sure my mother and many others will testify to -- your hard work may never be appreciated.

I've spent a lot of time making allergy free fresh food for my little girl and have seen it catapulted onto furniture and carpet. I've put ointment and moisturized Maddie multiple times a day to ease her eczema and yet she probably doesn't remember.  Just recently, I have learned this lesson to be all too true. Those precious beautiful pants.

So the story is that my little girl only had cotton pants last year and as the winter months approached, I felt convicted to get her a warmer pair of pants.  To save money and to be ultra resourceful, I decided I wouldn't buy, but I would make this pair of pants.  I've never crocheted pants before, so after months of crocheting, screwing up and redoing and redoing and crocheting, in January 2014, I completed what I consider to be the best pair of pants ever.

They were cute, versatile, easy to coordinate with tops and of course, I spent countless hours making them.  On top of that, I was and am especially proud of the fact that aside from the months of man hours to make them, the whole project cost less than a dollar. I had bought 5 skeins (rolls) of yarn at an estate sale for $1 and the yarn was good stuff!

She really liked them! But now, sadly, perhaps after a wash or maybe after I foolishly bought her two pairs of fleece pants, she refuses to put them on.  So while they aren't being used anymore, here is the memory of her awesome pants.=)  Props again to Winyan SooHoo for giving me inspiration to do this.   To see other masterpieces, check out this post.
Pattern from Little Crochet by Linda Permann 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Amazed. When You Think You Know Your Parents.

At least 60 years separate my grandparents from myself and so in my mind, my grandparents have always been the "old"ones.  I'm starting to realize that aside myself, my parents are getting old too and so I guess part of my blog ought to reference them a bit.  A little about my parents. They're ordinary Chinese hardworking parents. Immigrated from overseas, earned their college degrees in the U.S.  They've worked their jobs in the U.S., raised three awesome girls (wink wink), cared for my grandparents in their home for 30 years or so and so on. They work hard as all Asians do of course, but over the years I've been amazed at how they are so much more than hard work and the American dream of making money.  Behind all of their hard work, they know what life should be really about and have taught my sisters and I that life is more than the cute outfits, nice homes, big shot careers, winning medals, earning that six figure income. It's more than luxury or just being comfortable. And it's more than about ourselves. 

Since last July, my dad has been living with small cell cancer.  Fear, anxiety, pain, uncertainty. Its all been here and there and so really if there is anytime to be thinking about yourself, I would think that it should be allowed and actually completely acceptable at least in this season of his life.  

Just check out #5 in this past Sunday's church bulletin.  Amazed and touched by my dad (Pastor To) and mom and I am blessed to be in the front seat watching how when we are submissive to God, he can use our toughest times to bring his goodness in such beautiful ways. 

No need to always hide away, throw up our hands or give up when you still have life in you.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

This is How I Know What Love is

We learn best from example and the truth is the best lessons I've learned are always from people older than myself.  My big sister coupons, bakes and really is good at giving a good meal to her family and whoever swings by.  I learn how to manage my house well through watching her.  My grandpa, Yeye, he taught me a good amount about discipline.  Before he passed, Monday through Saturday, I watched him an old man, go out for a walk everyday.  He would walk for over an hour daily up until he was 97.  When I don't feel like exercising, I often think about him.

In the last years of my grandpa's life, he was probably grumpier (#1, #2, and #3) than ever.  Physical decline, the feeling of worthlessness, a difficult past all built up in my grandpa.  Though I understood a part of his struggle, his anger still had consequences. It was tough living in a room next to him.  I remember sleeping in bed, tense and holding my breath at times, as I would overhear his frustration about being old, wanting to die, etc.  His words were heavy and because my grandma, Mama, would listen, he often directed his anger at her.  At the time I was a recent college grad and though a wall separated me from my grandpa's frustration, it still affected me emotionally. It really did. So much so, that when my grandparents visited my aunt for a few weeks, I moved my room down to basement after years of living next door.   What really broke my heart was when I could hear my grandma crying.   Sometimes I'd hear it at night in a soft whimper and other times I would be downstairs in the kitchen only to hear my grandpa's anger flare in a second.  A few minutes later, you could hear my grandma crying softly in the bathroom.

Our family would often try to do what we could to protect my grandma from Yeye's anger.  When Yeye had a stroke, we moved him to an assisted living as he no longer was able to walk up the two flights of stairs to his room.  We strongly encouraged Mama to consider staying at home with my sister's family and myself so she wouldn't be the only one victim to Yeye's anger.  I vividly remember hearing that, Mama, with no hesitation and in a genuine manner, told us that until her husband died, she would stay with him.  And so, when Yeye moved to the assisted living, she did too.  Though there were no hearts flying, no romantic songs, no good feelings, this is how I know what love is.

Perhaps the moment that sticks with me the most was the day before my grandpa passed.  I had gone to visit my grandparents at the assisted living and Yeye was unusually weak. He could not get up on his own.  Upon entering the room, I remember seeing Mama facing Yeye, at under 5 feet, trying to pull my grandpa up.  She was 97! With his arms holding hers, he was able to sit up.  She held a cup out for him so he could vomit and since she had no other hands, she used her head to prop his head up.  Another time during that visit, she helped Yeye up again, her head again propping his, and she again held a cup, this time so he could pee into it since he was too weak to make it to the bathroom.  My initial reaction was disgust, but I quickly was humbled realizing my grandma's determination to care for her husband.  In his last days, she wanted to help her husband keep his dignity. Nothing pretty, no diamonds or flowers. And not even a happily ever after.  I just saw true love that day and dedication from a wife to her dying husband.  Till death do us part, by example and by far one of the best lessons I've learned thus far.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My New Career in Styling and Why I Love Old Things

I sure am no fashion stylist, but I was pretty proud of my outfit today.  When my grandpa, Yeye, left this earth three years ago and we started clearing out his belongings, I am so glad I held onto some of the things that reminded me of him the most.  Here's my outfit in a bit of a blur:

Today's "new" accessory
Aside from black boots, the two key accessories that made today's outfit were my grandpa's scarf and belt.  I was happy to find (after three years of owning it) that the scarf is actually 100% cashmere and super soft and warm!  The belt though a little raggedy happens to be one of my favorite belts and is the authentic leather.  How'd I fit my grandpa's belt? Well.... first of all, he was pretty trim all along. Secondly, he left behind his belt hole puncher (pretty nifty!) which allowed me to add extra holes.  And so, though Yeye is no longer with us, I love that his fashion sense carries on.  Now tell me fashionistas, how'd I do?? 
SCARVES have been in for quite a while! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Messy Hair with Compassion

I still hate blowdrying my hair and I'll admit that I rarely comb it.  Throughout the years many people have told me that their cute hair really only takes "5 minutes".   Perhaps with some training and major discipline, good hair is possible.  On the days I do comb, its funny because many people notice.  Today I half straightened my hair and my 3-year-old nephew told me, "I like your new haircut!"
Nonmessy on Christmas! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Finding a Good Church

Yesterday, I found a good church. And if you ever have gone church-hunting you know how hard that is.   I attended the prayer meeting on New Year's and aside from praying for our church, our missionaries/world and for each other, a special time was set aside to pray for our pastor and another leader within our church.  Though prior to my dad's cancer, less than 50 people usually attended to prayer meeting, each month, many more than 50 have come.  Last night, more people kept filling the room.  As maybe about 100+ people laid hands on Dad, I felt blessed to be part of this church.  A good church in my opinion is one that is true to God's word and seeks to honor and glorify God in everything.  A good church is grounded in God's truths and seeks to love one another.

Dad also shared the devotion last night from Daniel 6:10.

"Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."

The main point of the verse was not that God got Daniel out of the lion's den, but that Daniel had been praying already before the lion's den, before the trouble.  Dad pointed out that so many times we begin praying fervently when the bad things happen, relationships fall apart, life has no direction, we feel lonely, have no job, no money, have cancer.  But like Daniel, we should be praying before the trial comes and at all times to God.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer," (Romans 12:12)

It is so easy to forget God through the busyness of the day. Daniel intentionally got on his knees, HUMBLY, three times a day to pray and give thanks to God.  Maybe a new year's resolution? May you too be encouraged and Happy 2014!  

Like the new look of the blog?  It was a spur of the moment thing...=) 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So So thankful

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. No gifts to get, the cold weather, hot food, turkey runs, turkey bowls, and just a day RESERVED to be thankful.  When this time rolls around, I always try to remember to be thankful specifically to God because the good things in my life are not randomly here but I believe that every good and perfect gift ultimately is from him.  It is because of his graciousness that I get to have what I have and I am so blessed. This year I have a lot to be thankful for:

Fishing in the bitter cold!
1.  Dad is with us!  After being diagnosed with cancer in July, the numbers and facts left me wondering how long Dad would be with us and if he would be able and quite honestly here to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  Praise God he is feeling well at this time and is here to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family!  God continues to remind me that life and our relationships are such precious gifts and need to be cherished.=) Love you, Dad!

2.  One big happy family this Thanksgiving.  For the first time in years, my whole family is here for Thanksgiving.  My sister and her husband were in Singapore for awhile and so this is the FIRST year where her family will join us for Thanksgiving.  Usually we send them a picture of the good food and this year they can to taste it for themselves.  My aunt is even in town and I am so thankful because it is also her first Tgiving with our family.  Yum yum!

3.  Mommymoments and a sweet baby.
Don't be fooled by pictures because for me, the first year of motherhood was extremely difficult. Now that baby's past a year I find I can enjoy her more.  I love her talking, her kisses, and her smiley face and giggles.  Much of the frustration and tears from trying to deal with her eczema and allergies are gone and I am SO thankful that I finally know a lot of different things she can eat that are dairy free, etc.  I am so thankful for this more peaceful time in motherhood (though it may not last long) and I have a greater appreciation for basic foods like milk, eggs, seafood, peanut butter, etc.  And even though I don't get to eat them as much, I am still so thankful that though small and light, Maddie is healthy and full of jibberish and joy=).

The list can continue on and on!!! Happy Thanksgiving! May you too give thanks to God this holiday for the good things he has done in your life.