Maybe I’m just one of those weird super introverted person who’s still trying to figure out funerals.  Who is it for?

Recently some friends of ours drove a distance to a funeral.  The funeral itself was a very public event (including media coverage) due to the circumstances of the deaths.  The family concluded with a family only reception and did not greet those who came.  So it really got me thinking as to who is the funeral for?

When my mom and grandmother passed away, they both had so many friends who wished to say good bye we held funerals for each at their churches so everyone would have a chance to remember them and say good bye.  And it was good because I found out more about how their lives had impacted others and it was a reminder for me to live victoriously and with others in mind.  When my grandfather passed away, it was a family only event because besides our family, my aunts and uncles really didn’t know the people with whom he had interacted and so it turned out to be more of a family reunion.

Maybe it really is a time to remember the loved ones.  But it just seem so hard at a time where there is mourning and perhaps the stress of how to carry on, there’s the issue of pulling everything together the last minute and don’t forget the cost.  And then the people who come.  Are they there really to say good bye, or to support the family or just there out of obligation?  I’m way overthinking this.

Hum, how true it is that it is better to go to the house of mourning and reflect on our end.  We have our will taken care of, but perhaps it’s time to think of last wishes and also parting words that I’d want to say to my loved ones.


Waiting for Immigration

Several years ago I watched the documentary Waiting for Superman.  I cried at the end as the families awaited the result of the charter school lottery to more or less determine their kids’ futures.  It really highlighted some of the problems with the public school system and how it’s failing our kids.

I think someone needs to do a documentary on the problems that legal immigrants faces in trying to legally immigrate to the US.  Being an immigrant myself (albeit naturalized as a minor through my parents) and having been in contact with a number of foreign immigrants really gave me an appreciation for how tangled the immigration process can be to navigate and how hard it is to legally come to this country from one of the more restricted countries.

Few years ago I was helping a US citizen with talking to her lawyer regrading applying for green cards for her parents and siblings.  Well, the waiting time for bringing over a Chinese US citizen’s siblings was ten years at that time but if amnesty happens or the door becomes open to illegals, the wait time would be extend for at least couple more years.  WOW!

Last weekend, we have friends who just got married.  The wife is Chinese and the husband American and both are teaching at colleges.  He was shocked to learn about the immigration system.  Her immigration status is good as long as she maintains her current employment, however, if she quits her job, she will need to leave the country immediately  even though they are married.  Crazy isn’t it.  Now they are talking to a lawyer to try to figure out the best course of action which would give them the maximum freedom of choice in terms of employment.

Of course there were a number of cases that I know of where the couple after getting married, had to wait another year before the spouse of a US citizen is allowed to come into the state.  And this one really got me, a US citizen was not allowed to return to the states with her husband unless they can show prove of employment.  And of course we can’t forget the thousands of dollars spent on lawyer fees.  It just gets me boiling mad when we hear from the news that these policies apparently are not applied uniformly depending on which countries you are coming from.  That is not racist at all… sigh…

Oh there are countless number of stories I’ve heard throughout the year that just makes your heart ache.  So many people are waiting on immigration.  The lines are a whole lot worse than those in Disneyland.  People wait years only to be denied because they did not cross the t or dot the i.  I feel sad for these people and wish them the best in their effort to find a better life and pray that while they are waiting, we as a nation would not open a floodgate of line cutters who will further delay those who are going about things legally.

Pause and Reflect

I have been busy learning the ropes with WordPress to put together the new website for Mid-Rio Grande Home School Band.  Finally found a music player that I like for the past concert recordings.  As I was uploading and getting the recordings ready, I decided to listen to some of the songs from beginning band from both the fall and spring concerts.  Wow, what a difference in quality and such improvements.

It’s really a silly thought.  Of course there would be improvements from previous months especially when it’s beginning band.  But, I’ve been so used to the girls in the higher bands that I think over time I’ve just became kind of critical in terms of the missed notes the missed counts etc and it’s good to stop and reflect on how far the kids have come.

I think it’s the same with raising our kids.  Often time, all we see is what still needs improving and not the milestones that they have already reached.  So we can become a discouragement to our own kids.  Rather than encouraging them with the progress they have already made, we can become critical as to what they have not achieved.  Especially at the end of the school year (not that we ever have one since we go year round as my kids like to remind me), it’s a good time to look back at the beginning of the year and, perhaps not even focus so much on the knowledge that they have gained (especially if they are in the binge and barf mode as so many of have been in our lives with school), but what good characters have they developed because that is what will ultimately carry them through life.

Classic Guilty Dog

This afternoon we found our dog next to one of the kid’s shoe. When we called her name, she had that classic guilty look, she stayed low, tried to hide the shoe and look innocent. Oh, you’ve got to love things like that. I guess part of me miss those early days with my kids when they were caught red handed and tried to hide.

I think part of us are still like that where we still try to hide from the things that we know we shouldn’t do.  Maybe over time we’ve either became more inventive with making up clever excuses, or we’ve just became so callous that we no longer blush when we are caught red handed.

I need this reminder to take ownership for my action like one of the courses that I got for my kids for “How to Study”.  He states that the students need to say “I choose not to do my homework or study or whatever” rather than , well things got busy, etc.  Even when life does get busy, we still make choices.  We may have chosen to do what really needed to be done and chose to neglect something else.  But it’s still a choice that we made.  I hope I will not become callous towards the bad that I do, but also not to make excuses for choosing to do the things which I should not have done.  And hopefully my kids will learn the same.

Team Sports Myth

How many people buy into the team sports myth about character building?  I like what Voddie Baucham says about that.  If team sports really brings about all those good characters then we should see shining examples of the results in the NBA and NFL.

I did a quick look up of the benefits of team sports and the list includes

  • friendship and camaraderie
  • cooperation and teamwork skills
  • leadership skills
  • appreciation of different abilities
  • respect for team mates/ opponents/officials
  • a sense of belonging/team membership
  • social interaction skills
  • physical skills
  • self-esteem and self concept
  • team goal-setting skills
  • self-discipline, patience and persistence
  • resilience through sharing positive and negative experiences.

Hum, so how much of these characteristics do we see reflected by the professional team sports players.  Maybe you can call me somewhat a sour puss because while growing up I was usually a professional bench warmer who was usually one of the last picked in any pick up games and never the star of any team.  Team sports in my school days had probably done more damage than good and almost every item listed ended in the negative column for me.  And come to think of it, the idea of the team star, doesn’t that defeat so much of the idea of the “team” and switch it the individual?  Thankfully, I’ve slowly clawed my way out of my poor self-image regarding physical abilities which I’ve since realized was more caused by lack of popularity than ability.

Maybe I’m thinking about teamwork now because the kids just finished their end of year band concert.  Looking through the list about the benefits of team sports, I think being in band actually fulfills the list more faithfully than sports.  In band or orchestra, it’s a really bad idea to out play your neighbor except when auditioning for solo parts or chair.  You either play well together, or you go down in flames together.  Everyone needs to put in their part for the whole to succeed.  Now that’s a true team.  Of course I’m not advocating that every parent must put their child in some kind of music group nor am I advocating that children should not take part in team sports.  But what I am advocating is that we all need to think critically about our decisions as regards to what our children does, not based on what everyone else says or does, but be willing to stand alone if necessary to make the most logical and thought through decisions which will ultimately be the best for our kids.

Pinterest… Squirrel!

I have a love and hate relationship with Pinterest.  While I get lots of recipe and project ideas from there, it can also potentially be a real time sink.  When I’m on Pinterest, I’m like the dogs in the movie Up.  I see squirrels everywhere and end up with new boards and lots of new pins.  I forgot who said this, but we are all too easily satisfied with the unimportant things in life but end up missing out on the things that satisfies our soul the most.  We let the less important things have dominance over our time.  Let us all learn prioritize and find time for and finish the important things first before getting to all the other stuff, and not fear that we will lose doing the frivolous things that can occupy so much of our time.  Okay, I’m closing my Pinterest tab for now and checking my to do list to see the relevance of things on the list and try to stick with the important things.

Dealing with incomprehensible tragedy

I don’t care to watch the local news just because more often than not you hear so much of what’s wrong with the world.  But unfortunately being bombarded with these news items can also develop in us a callousness towards the lives behind the minute long spots.  Today a friend of ours received a call informing him of a tragedy regarding close friends of his.   The wife’s sister and family were killed in a fiery car accident after they were hit by a work truck in a possible DWI case and their SUV caught fire.  It was the lead story on the local news.  Ten years ago, the husband’s sister’s murder was also a high interest news item.  What are the odds of such tragedies happening to one family who does not engage in risky behaviors?

For most of us, when we hear these news items, we may momentarily feel bad for the parents, infant and toddlers who were killed, or other news worthy victims.  Then we just move on to how the weather will effect me tomorrow.  Perhaps it’s also the problem of we really don’t know how to face these types of tragedies.  I was trying to sign a card for the family and realized that there are really no words for comfort during these times.  I have enough faith to believe that God will bring Himself glory through all the tragedies but that is no comfort.  So, I just offer up prayers that someone that God Himself would bring comfort and healing to the family.  And let this be a reminder for me as well that next time I hear the tragic lead story that I would remember the lives broken by these events and offer up prayers to God for the lives so severely impacted by us tragedies.

Martial Arts Dream

Since I’m just starting this blog, I should from time to time let you know more about myself.  I started training in Tae Kwon Do few years back, okay our dojang really practice mixed martial arts.  My kids started first and while talking to the grand master about my kids, I unthinkingly asked about classes for me.  There were things going on that prevented the parents class from forming for another year.  What I hadn’t remembered until then was that growing up in the Asian culture, I was immersed in martial arts stuff.  It was not just Bruce Lee, but even many of the soap operas I watched growing up were martial arts based.  I had forgotten how my siblings and I used to practice flying side kicks against the end of our concrete hall way in the flat we lived in.  How my brother and I used to pretend spar.  I would have loved to have started martial arts training when I was young, but I’m glad that I did eventually start.  I had many reasons why I should not have done it, but I’m glad that I did not let them dissuade me from starting and continuing.  Now, I’m close to getting my black belt and loving what I do.

But I think the important thing I’m learning is that we all have dreams and wishes which may have been dormant for quite a while, but when opportunities present themselves, don’t shy away from actively looking for ways to pursue those dreams and wishes.  Yes, many of them cannot be fulfilled over night, but doesn’t it become even more worthwhile when you finally do obtain them?

Everyday Leader

What is the first thing you think of when you think leaders? Politicians, CEO’s, coaches? For the most of us, the we would not consider ourselves leaders, but we are. Do you have influence with another person, then you can make a difference and cause or lead another. Years ago, it was very eye opening listening to Jeff Myers talking about everyday leadership. We have a family dominated by introverts. I was the kid who walked through my high school hallways with my head down burried in the books in my arms. Who in the world can I impact. But as a mom of four who continues to learn, I am realizing how much influence I do have on others and not just over my kids. So yes, I am an everyday leader. My actions does lead others to do good or to do bad. So let me, no, let us live each day ready and willing to take on the challenges of being a leader, an influencer of others for good.