BE NOT WISE IN THINE OWN EYES. FEAR THE LORD AND DEPART FROM EVIL.
(PROVERBS 3:7)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Church Picnic

We had our church picnic last Saturday. P's mom and dad drove from Winona to go with us to the picnic. It's a once-a-year thing and we like them to come with us to fellowship with our church people. Picnics are a really good avenue to know our brothers and sisters in the Lord more. I like conversations in an informal setting... over food, yes. I was hoping I would be able to play volleyball, but it seemed like nobody from my age level was interested in it. So I talked to friends and cheered for Izzy and Paul more than play. Isabelle was in a few-meter sprint race, blowing bubbles, tug of war, and candy hunting games. It was cute. Paul was playing with the "men".



This is how I do "picnic"... sitting pretty!

Musical friends... Julie and Diane (daughter and mother)...

P playing with the men.


Izzy in a sprint race...

Izzy and her grandma making cookies...

Minnesotan Wedding???

Did this wedding really happen in St. Paul, Minnesota? Is this for real? Knowing how Minnesotans can be generally "formal", to me this particular wedding is unbelievable. It's a lot of fun though!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flowers




I am a little disappointed that our daisies don't last long when they bloom. They were blooming so beautifully the past two weeks. Now, they are almost gone. I am planning to plant more perennial flowers more this week. I am hoping that our Coreopsis will still bloom late summer. I haven't seen a lot of them yet. I am also hoping that our roses will continue to bud and bloom. But... I am thankful to God for every flower we have in our garden beds... including the flowers from the weeds. Hehe, just kidding.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fun in the Sun

So glad that finally it felt like "summer" over the weekend. It was too cold for a summer last week. It barely went up to 70. But it was a perfect time playing basketball with Izzy on our driveway. Speaking about basketball, I miss my friends in Mongolia who I enjoyed playing it with when I was there. They were such great friends.

The warm weather on Saturday was really great for biking. We biked for 6 miles to the Minnehaha Falls from Fort Snelling. This was our second time biking that trail. This time we were not rained on. I remember, heavy rains poured on us just a quarter of a mile away from the falls last year. That time the falls was still nice, I heard. We were sad to see it on Saturday dried up. We were told that there is a serious drought going on here. No wonder why my flowers are not beautifully blooming now as they were last year. Anyway... here the photos from our weekend activities...







An afternoon at the beach of Lake Calhuun in Minneapolis on Sunday...





Thursday, July 16, 2009

Melaleuca

One of the realtors that P works with came to our house with her husband one night. Her husband used to work for a chemical industry for 7 years. According to him, while working at the industry, he developed a very serious kind of eczema on his hands. He tried every remedy possible to be free from it but it only frustrated him that it would not go away. On the other hand, that 7 years of working at chemical industry gave him enough information how chemicals used in housecleaning liquids, soaps, detergents, lotions, and etc. are harmful to every persons health. He left his job, became a realtor, shift to non-chemical based cleaning products and started taking vitamins from Melaleuca company. Lo and behold, his eczema divorced him for good.

Honestly, I am not easily carried away by advertisements and even testimonies from others, but that testimony made sense to me. I've been to a few countries but I've never heard so much about cancers and other diseases until I came to the USA. I was really alarmed. Many people are sick and there is a medical term for every little sickness, which I think makes it sound more serious than it actually is. It is also in America where I could find all kinds of chemically-based cleaners and disinfectants. These cleaners smell too strong for me that there was that two weeks that I didn't clean our bathroom because I just hated it when I smell 409. It makes me cough. Antibacterial hand soaps are drying my hands like crazy. Anyway, I think that cancers are also brought about my these chemicals we have been using in our homes. How about the food we eat? Well, there was a time that I was gonna turn our diet into organic and study more about nutrition but I quit. It's just that it's hard to figure out who to believe for what. My simple opinion is this... with food, I pray for its sanctification before I eat and I believe that God answers that simple prayer. However, I don't always pray before cleaning the bathroom ;) maybe I should.

In my devotion today, I was reading the account of David facing Goliath. Applying it to myself, I said to God, "Lord, you know how the fear of sicknesses and diseases is one of the giants I am facing. I can gird up myself with all of knowledge in the world available for protection. I can study more about food and healthy living, but I believe I have a sling with small stones that I am so used to, let me pray." It is my version of what David said about trying on King Saul's armor, "I am not used to these armors. Let me use my sling."

Nashville Blast

We hit the road to Nashville after lunch at Joy and Brian's house in Cookville on the 4th of July. We were looking forward to see the festivities in the city on that special day. We heard that July 4th celebration in Nashville is very special, so we couldn't wait. I was also hoping I'd see the boat parade.

When we finally got to the city, the first thing we did was putting sunscreen lotion on our skin. It was blazing hot... at least for me, for some reason. My skin pores were dripping sweats like crazy. By the time we got to the family activities spot, my sweat washed my sunscreen lotion off already. I couldn't wait to get inside a well air-conditioned building. But I needed to be patient because P, Izzy and our friends were playing on jumper combos. Paul (my hubby) and Paul (Joy's hubby) even had a race on that big inflated climb-slide combo. Before I could get really dehydrated, we saw Hard Rock cafe and went in. Oh, it felt great, although, I basically had to use the menu pages to fan myself that first 30 minutes. I don't know what happened there... I guess I have officially become a Minnesotan! Tennessean heat and humidity were almost unbearable to me. But we had fun with our friends... that was important.

After cooling down and feeding our hungry tummies, it was time to get out and explore the river bank filled with people. There was a huge stage floating on the river facing the crowd (hehe... of course!), so we wanted to check it out. Plus, of course, a crowd-lover like me won't just miss this opportunity to be with lots of people. I was really looking forward to that. However, it rained cats and dogs before we could even get to pay our bill at the restaurant. We got out anyway, I couldn't stay even a minute longer at that kind of cafe. It's dark and loud. I love "bright, bright, bright... places (and things)". Dark and loud don't seem to fit my personality.

So we got out and ran in the rain to cross the road where we could buy rain coats. Isabelle was basically partying in the rain! She just loves the rain. She sang, "Rain, rain go away, come again another day, little children want to play." She sang that line for like a thousand times and finally she got frustrated and said, "It's not working!" I just couldn't believe it! She really thought that the rain would go away if she kept singing it!

Paul and Paul found out that there was a thunderstorm coming just about the time the fireworks would start. We decided to cross the bridge to get to our car on the other side of the river before the thunderstorm comes. There was a big crowd on the bridge too... well, at the first segment of the bridge, I should say. When we almost got to the middle of the bridge, we found out that we were trapped. We couldn't get to the other side. There was a barricade. Paul and Paul were concerned because any minute from that time the thunderstorm would come. We had mixed feelings... part of us was happy because we were at the best place for the firecrackers show, but we were also kind of scared because we knew that a strong thunderstorm was coming. Well, it was time to put our rain coats on. We were prepared! The firecrackers show started... it was amazing! After a few minutes, it started to rain... it started to get windy! But we got to enjoy the firecrackers show being that we had our rain coats on. Our cellphones, cameras and purses were safe. Nothing is better than being prepared! We felt bad for the people who were wet and cold watching the show. That was quite the experience for our two families. Our 2-year-old kids didn't care about the thunderstorm... they, too, enjoyed the firecrackers show. After a few minutes from the finale of the show, the barricade was removed and we were able to walk to our car. While walking, I was telling my friend how I loved the experience. Yes, I do enjoy atypical experiences.








Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tennessee

We flew to Nashville, Tennessee on July 2nd to visit Joy, a very good friend of mine, who I haven't seen for 8 years. She and her family make their home in Cookville, an hour and a half drive from Nashville. Isabelle did very well on our flight to Nashville... well, she always does. She enjoys every single flight we had in the past, except that one time on our flight to DC when she had an ear infection. You can just imagine how painful it is on your ear during taking off and landing when you have an ear infection. But our flight to Nashville was very nice. We rented a car and one of our friends co-own the Budget car rental here in MN so we got to get a big discount through him. We ended up driving a rich-man's car... very nice.

We drove to the downtown of Nashville from the airport and had lunch at a Greek cafe. Outside the cafe, Paul got to meet the security guards of the building and guess what... he was witnessing to them. So predictable, I know. After telling the guards to repent, believe and put their trust in Jesus, we left to hit the road to Cookville.

It took us less than an hour and a half to get to Joy's house. Her house is beautiful! I adored the pretty roses on her garden beds. She takes such good care of her yard. The inside of her house is immaculately clean. Man, this young lady is a clean freak! Well, I just meant to say, she cleans her house very well. It was awesome to get to see her finally! She didn't change that much... maybe just a little bigger than the skinny Joy I used to know before. I'm pretty sure we have the same weight... and height. And we are still the friends who love to talk and laugh out loud. As expected we had sleepless nights... talking and watching our Filipino movies. Isabelle became friends Joy's super handsome 2-year old boy. They played so well together... no pushing, no grabbing of toys etc. happened. Paul also became friends with Paul... well, Joy's hubby's name is also Paul... but he prefers being called Brian now. P and I really love that night Brian played the piano and the rest of us sang along. I got to sing a duet with Joy... what a special time. Brian did a really good job on the piano.

The family brought us to Burgess Falls one afternoon. It's a few miles away from their house. We love the long scenic walk of the series of three water falls. Pushing the strollers up on the hill was such a "weight loss" program for Joy and me.

Other things we did in Cookville with Joy and her family include visiting their church and shopping... (well, for her and me... we spared our husband from the joy (pain for them) of shopping.)We also drove to Nashville on the 4th together in a Suburban SUV. We had such a phenomenal experience in Nashville... check it out... Nashville Blast.








Summer

Izzy and her mommy have been busy... outdoors. We like to pull the weeds from our garden beds and pick up flowers for our vase on the dining table. It's really nice that our daisies this summer has been blooming a lot. I feel bad, though, that our day lilies were chewed by our regular "deer" guests before they were ready to bloom. Izzy gets excited to see the deer in our yard, I do too, it's just sad that they can't stay away from the day lilies. My day lilies were so beautiful last summer, but I guess I don't have them to enjoy this year.

Other things Izzy and I like to do outdoors is biking. My little girl has just learned to use the pedals of her little pink-purple bike to move around our driveway. Sometimes, I walk beside her as she bikes around our circle. We also enjoy our biking time where I put her in her trailer and I get to drive my bike around our circle for ten times. I still don't have the courage to cross highway 42 to get to the biking trail across the street of our circle. I think it's too dangerous for me and Izzy. I am just contented to get my work-out around our immediate neighborhood... biking around the circle at least 10 times. It's nice when Paul gets home earlier from work and we get to bike together for two hours.

We really haven't been able to set Izzy's swimming pool up yet. I think we have to get it going this week. Also, we are looking forward to regularly visit the public swimming pool a couple blocks away from our house. There's a really nice and big water park just about 10 miles away from us, that's one of the places we want to go soon.

We do picnic at Crystal Lake beach on Saturdays. It's also our family evangelism time. My part is to intercede for Paul while he goes around witnessing to people at the beach while watching Izzy play at the kids park. We are really loving it! When P is done witnessing, we eat dinner. It's really fun.





Blogging


Wow, I didn't know I had neglected this blog on the first 14 days of this month. Thanks to my very good friends in London who kind of reminded me that this blog is not really just a hobby for me but an avenue to update my family and friends about my life in America. I apologize.

The summer this year is amazingly cooler. High of upper 70's to 80's is a perfect temperature for me. It is so nice out that Izzy and I spend most of our time during the day outdoors. We love to play on our lawn... we like to chase each other and picnic. Oh, and she has just learned the simple summersault thing. It is so fun to watch her run and quickly do the summersault. With me (and Paul, when he is around), cheering her doing the summersault a thousand times doesn't seem to make her exhausted. Oh, boy. It makes her parents exhausted, instead.

Part of the reason why I have not been blogging that much is that I have been scrapping. I love making a few scrapbook pages at night while listening to the Audio Bible, Nancy Leigh Demoss' radio shows, Paul Washer, Way of the Master radio and my favorite music. I just love my scrapping time. It is a time for me to put my creative mind to work and at the same time learn from God's Word. Paul helped me set up my craft area in his office room in our basement. We found out that that there was an empty space in that room that was a perfect spot for my small "big ideas" adventures. I used to have my crafts cabinets and working station in our guest room. So, I've been enjoying my craft time... sewing, jewelry making, scrapping and card making. Speaking of card making, I never thought that I'd get orders here and there... they're not much but it's an income. I praise God for that.

Oh, and yes, a very good friend of mine in Tennessee and I have just started a ministry together. Well, it's a ministry that I have started since I got here but didn't really work for it good enough, and when I shared it to this friend of mine, she got excited about it (that got me excited, all the more) and joined me since we share the same vision. So, this one too got me a little busier.

I guess now, I am back to blogging in this blog! Happy reading!