Friday, November 6, 2015

So very nearly there...

Today I am 40 weeks + 2 days pregnant  and the renovations for our home is nearly completed other than the mantel in our bedroom but that's not a big deal...the tile backsplash and fireplace finally got done and I cannot be happier..! 
Baby is doing well- we had the non stress test done on Thursday but the midwife is rather keen for me to give birth sooner rather than later so the original plan of waiting till November 14th would  have to be scraped...she suggested a membrane sweep for my next appointment and I went ahead and ate some fresh pineapple this morning...and boy, it does seem to have some effects...the mucous plug fell off about three hours later! (It looks a slimy bloody slug..) I'm not sure if I'm having contractions or stomach cramps but it's ok- we are prepared for baby to arrive any time...(but I do hope it will be on Sunday instead of Saturday...cos the hospital won't be so packed, traffic is usually better and I'd like to go to Cincinnati tomorrow to pick up some baby clothes from a friend...! the other friend who said she will give us baby clothes gave them away to some other stranger cos she felt that stranger was more in need than us..which i reckon would be true but somewhat jarring considering that she told me not to get any baby clothes..?! Fortunately I already got some before she told me that...otherwise I might feel extremely resentful...) the other random thing I have on my mind is a couple who gave me three sets of baby clothes for the baby shower with the price tags on- the total value of the clothes were close to $50 but there was no gift receipts...and the corned were all 0-3 months which we have too much I went back to the store with the hope of exchanging them for bigger sizes...and those clothes were on sizes were limited and they were on 20% with an additional 75% the total cost would have been closer to $10 than $50...I know I sound extremely petty but I guess I just don't understand why someone would do that ...or rather I do not have a good explanation other than the fact the giver was deliberately trying to give us the impression that they spent much more than they did? And that they really didn't care about what we wanted or needed...? (Cos we did try to tell everyone not to give us baby clothes..) so what is it about the gift? I mean, I love bargain hunting and can't resist a bargain and would frequently buy stuff for owllike just cos they are on sale and I think they would like it but I guess I wouldn't leave the price tags on...cos that's tacky..? Lord Jesus, help me see how gracious you are to me so that I can reflect the same graciousness to other people...and also, not stress out so much about stuff that my baby might need...! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

learn to forgive...

This morning, I listened to this podcast...and it suddenly struck me that I have been saying the same thing about different situations over and over again..

"Why don't they apologize?!" or "Why are they not apologetic at all..?!"

Over the last few weeks, the house has been undergoing major renovations...first it was the kitchen then it was upstairs and later this week, renovations will begin on the downstairs....

on paper, it doesn't sound so all the appliances and things needed, make a list of things to do, give it to the contractor, make sure they do it, finished!

well, things that we bought sometimes don't come on time..(the tv took more than four weeks and arrived we are waiting for a replacement..the calls to the company made my blood pressure shoot up extremely high I think...I always like to imagine myself as a 'nice' person but during the calls to the company, a monster comes out...) or when they arrive, the delivery people don't do a fantastic job (the fridge was stained by the greasy fingerprints of the delivery guys but the worst part was that they dropped the tray of the water dispenser in the drive way and I only found it by accident and they also told me that the fridge did not have any mechanisms to level it....not true..) or in the most stressful scenario, the company did not deliver to our area and we had to borrow a truck and drive somewhere to get it (the shower cubicle which was in a store in Cincinnati- a 1.5 hour drive one way and the sectional which Dennis' colleague helped us transport in his truck and trailer..) ..

and the contractors don't turn up on time as they said they will or finish their job properly (we are still waiting for the backsplash to do completed...the guy was late for three hours installing the countertop and the first words out of his mouth were: "Aren't you glad I'm here?" Actually at that point, I just wanted my money back!)

The main contractor that we are working with is a really nice fella but he doesn't always do the things I ask him to do...he seems to have some set ideas of his own of how he wants things to even though I handed him a really comprehensive list of things to do done in every room, he doesn't refer to it and some things require repeated this point, I think I'm rather sanguine, but every time I step on the slopping kitchen floor, I think about the creaking steps on the stairway and make a mental note to get the main contractor to fix them before carpet is laid down...

Even with friends on whatsapp who don't reply in a timely manner or do things they say they will do, I'm not very inclined to continue chatting with them and might just leave the conversation hanging...(this is really unlike me and actually very comfortable for someone who loves closure...but I think it shows the extent of how hardened my heart has become towards those friends..almost like a tit for tat..)

So back to the original point...why do I feel like so many people 'owe' me an apology?

Because of my parents.


Yup, because I feel like they have hurt me in so many ways and even when I tell them that I am wounded and affected by their words and behavior, they don't seem to care and tell me to suck it up!

Yeah, I think that's it....cos I feel so 'wronged' by my parents and that I wish desperately that they would 'repent' and apologize that this anger and sense of injustice just spills over to other areas of my life...hmmm. :/

Thursday, July 23, 2015

unhelpful communication

Flash back to April when my parents made those comments about the pregnancy, I wrote in to a Christian counseling podcast...and this was the episode with the their answers...(my 'wish' did come sister IS having a girl and I am having a boy and I thought three months of not talking to my parents might have sent them the message that it's not ok for me to say things about gender preferences to me but the first thing my dad said to me was, "Congratulations!!!' I asked him what he was congratulating me for and he replied that it's because I'm having a boy....and I said that boys are just as good as girls and his answer? "*sigh* no matter what, boys are better...")

and this is the book which the counselor recommended: (which I did purchase but felt somewhat guilty about reading because it's hard to think of my parents as being self absorbed and abusive...)

and today upon waking up, I was surprised to see a notification on facebook from my mom...she had commented on my week 25 bump shot photo....this is the first time she has ever commented on any picture (she doesn't even use the 'like' function..) so I was intrigued to see what she had to say.. 

and it was: 

"Did you have a hair cut? Your face looks rounder." 

And now, I think the purchase of the book was totally justified. And harsh as it might seem, it might not be that far from the truth that my mother does not understand how her speech and actions might negatively impact the people around her (and she doesn't care even if people tell her that they are hurt by her remarks). Just boggles my mind though....what deep rooted wrong beliefs does she have to be able to pass such a comment on social media to a daughter who is pregnant and who she knows used to suffer from a eating disorder? 

It must take a whole new level of callousness and stupidity. 

Speaking of which, last night the cell group went out for dinner and there was six of us in total..there was one older couple, a older lady who brought her teenage niece and Dennis and myself. 
The older couple have a strange relationship...the guy even though he's in his late fifties, behaves like an annoying pre-teen boy and would frequently say things just to irritate his wife or tell jokes which are extremely lame and corny...and other people (and his wife) would react with obvious eye rolling... 

we were seated at a rectangular table meant for eight and the wife was running a little late and when she arrived, her husband put his hand down on the chair next to him and said it was taken (it wasn't; he was being facetious) so she said, "Just as well!" and sat down two seats away from him and put her bag on the seat between them... 

I thought it was rather awkward and made things seem somewhat tense...especially cos she was sitting all by herself separated from the rest of the say that I was agitated is to put it mildly, I really wanted to smack that guy and ask what's in his brain?! Why would you treat your wife like that in public? It doesn't make you or her look good! It's not a good example for anyone to follow!

And the icing on the cake? I went to the washroom after the meal was finished and upon my return, my husband cracked a lame joke..referring to my pregnant belly, he said loudly enough for the whole group to hear, "Oh you obviously ate too much...!" I think I was a bit too shocked to react and just laughed it off.. 

But inside, I was really confused...why would my normally extremely considerate husband say something stupid like that? Ah, maybe it's the influence of that childish guy next to him... ?! (the husband did apologize after the dinner and this morning..) 

I'm not sure too of the purpose of documenting all these... maybe something like a pouring out of toxins? 

and my prayer? Father God, help to see people though your eyes, even when they knowingly or unknowingly say or do hurtful things and help me to pay back good for evil and to run to you for love and comfort first and foremost and to be cocooned in the safety of your truth and what you think of me and my appearance and be oblivious to even what my parents, husband or any one would say. 
If it does not align with what you think, I will choose to discard it like trash. And lord, help me to have a heart that does not keep offenses and is able to forgive easily and quickly and to be at peace with other people. Please heal the parts of my heart which are wounded and give me the wisdom to overlook and to forget. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Love is gentle, love is kind..

It's amazing how well the husband knows me and can read my facial expressions nowadays...

Case in point: while shopping at an Asian grocer, I can't find the same bottle of light soy sauce that I have been using but see a gallon version of it...then I say aloud, "but I just threw the empty glass bottle in the garbage..."  
The husband smiles at me and I ask him what he's smiling at...
His reply: "you're thinking whether to pick it up from the garbage or know exactly where the bottle is..."
"How did you know?!!!!" (No, we bought a different brand in the end..)

In other news, I'm really thankful for how gentle and kind my husband is...we were planning to watch a movie and for some reason, I saw that the movie timing was 6.20pm and it was around 5.30pm that we just finished our dinner and I commented that we still have plenty of time...out of the blue, the husband asked,"are you sure it's 6.20?" "Yup..." He doubled checked and nope, it was actually 5.45pm!!! So we took off and drove hastily to the cinema which was about 10 minutes away and prayed that traffic wouldn't be too bad...and he didn't show any sign of anger or displeasure...I apologized a couple of times but he wasn't upset at all...

And last night I couldn't sleep and after the husband had fallen asleep, I went out to the living room and slept on the couch instead...around 5am, there was some loud cat fighting noises outside the house and I heard my husband stir and he got out of our bedroom and looked at me tenderly and sat down next to me and stroked my hand...he seemed really sorry that I was sleeping on the couch...

God, thank you for such an awesome husband!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Updates on Baby Ison

We had a small scare at about 18 weeks after a blood test for genetic defects came back "slight positive" for Down's syndrome....

I'm not sure how to explain it clearly but it's not so much the thought that my baby might not have the life that I had envisioned for him but more so the fear that I did not have the capacity to love a child with 'defects' made me think that I might be the same as my own mother who rejected her own children because she thought that they were not good enough just cos they weren't boys...

Yeah, I think I was a bit melancholic back then...

The ultrasound showed that everything was normal and baby had none of the soft indicators that is suggestive of Down's so we decided not to have further tests...

And now I'm at week 23, feeling really pregnant and amazed at how big the belly is...(yes, I have saying this for a while but still! It's like growing fat really quickly and suddenly!!!) 

Baby's kicks are really obvious now and even Dennis can feel them when he puts his hand on my belly...he says it feels as in my muscles are twitching...I assured him that it's our little boy and not me...

And we have decided on a middle name for baby is “義生” or on his birth certificate, "Yisheng"..."義” means righteousness and if you look at the word, it's a lamb/"羊” over me/ "我”…and I think it explains the gospel succinctly...and "生” means to abound, multiple or produce...the name also sounds like "医生”/doctor...and together with our last name Ison/ "爱神”, his Chinese name can also sound like "一生爱神” and it is my prayer that righteousness will abound in Baby Ison's generation and God will use him as an instrument to bring healing and wholeness to the people around him and that Baby Ison will love God all of his life. (A lot of word play and wishes I know...! May God answer my prayers for Yisheng and may he fulfill the destiny God has planned for him!)

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Theology: "the study of the nature of God and religious beliefs"

It sounds like a big word but it isn't really...

(having a blog is really good, even if no one else other me and my husband read it, for the express fact that I can look back at half a year a go and am shocked that I am upset about the same thing..)

So what made me upset enough to blog again?!

Ah...the same old...a stand in pastor preaching about the deceptively wicked human heart and how God is waiting to judge all our sins and the sins of the world...and how we need to go out and tell all the sinners out there...(he was preaching at the evening service..which means that only the most 'faithful' of the congregation will attend and which also means, the audience were alllll believers..)

My beef?

What then of the cross? Of the sacrifice of Christ? Did not he already die for the sins of the world?
What judgement is then left? The wrath of God was satisfied on the cross...

And the God I know is patient, loving, kind and gentle. He does not sound one bit like the God you are preaching about.

The preacher was surely sincerely and truly believed that it was important that the message that "we" are all sinners in need of a saviour needed to be spread...but, we are no longer sinners in God's eyes!!!
Once a person accepts Christ, God sees him through the lens of Jesus's work and we are redeemed, righteous and at peace with him!

The difference between this time and half a year ago is that my husband is now rather concerned about my many 'complaints' against 'his' church...

He reckons that I might be focusing too much on the negatives and ignoring the good...

so let's do a stock take...

I've been here since November 2014...that makes it about seven months...other than one couple whom we hang out with regularly, I can't claim to have made friends with many other people in church....not for lack of trying...there were three ladies I tried to reach out to...the pastor's wife, our cell group leader's wife and Dennis' good friend's wife...and they all have something in common...they do not respond to messages...yup, I'm not kidding. No replies mostly or very curt ones..

I guess that really pissed me off...'cos in my mind, I might have thought, "ok, these folks don't do the supernatural stuff...maybe they are just focused on being loving..." But how loving is a person when they do not even want to connect with a newcomer who reaches to them?

And then of course, there is all that identity not tell your people that they are sinners and be surprised then they struggle with sin in their lives... Isn't it the same as telling a five year old, "You are a crazy boy." and then being taken aback when he runs around wildly and doesn't listen to instructions?

The small group is doing a bible study on the Holy Spirit and I thought, 'Yay! Finally! Things are going to get exciting around here!" But what most of them thought was that the Holy Spirit enables them to be better people and if they do feel guilty, yup, that's God's spirit working in them...
my dear friends, when you have thoughts beating you down, that's not from God...that's either yourself or the devil....

Dennis and I had a somewhat heated discussion last night and I went for a shower and waited for him to come back to the bedroom but he didn't return and I went out to the living room to find him with his head between his hands, looking visibly upset...I asked him what he was doing..he said he was praying and asked me what I'd do in his situation...I said I'd be praying too... and he blurted out, "Do you wanna change church or something...?"

Actually I don't...I do like the people there...most of them seem rather friendly and are nice... if somewhat distant....and Dennis has been there for the past five years and I know how he values relationships and is an extremely loyal friend but when I look at the bible study materials and listen to the sermons there, I sometimes just want to tune out completely...cos if I play attention, it makes me want to scream, "Don't teach things which are not true about my God!"

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

unmet expectations...

There are times when I think that I have the worst parents in the world...(but surely that must be an exaggeration...and how ungrateful does a person sound when they say something like that?!)

But I do feel this way. 

Face timed my mom yesterday and the first thing she said was, "Your younger sister is pregnant!" 

"That's great! How many months is she?"

"Humph! She's well ahead of you! She's already three months!!" (I wasn't aware there was a competition going on..) 

Then she passed the phone over to my sister and we excitedly talked for about 30 minutes (we discovered we had many similar a slowed down digestive system and really really really bad gas..) until my mom decided that it's long enough and she wanted to hang up. But before hanging up, she said, 

"Dad's wish came true."


"He said that he wished that Chin Boon was the one pregnant, not you. Because your baby will be too far away for him to even touch."

I think i was too stunned to even reply and the call ended after that. 

How stupid is that?!

Can't he wish for BOTH of us to be pregnant? Why must be it one or the other? Can't good things happen to everyone? And why does my mom have to tell me that and make it seem like there's some sort of rivalry going on?! Is there a bigger inheritance or more love for the oldest grandchild who will not even share your surname!? (And I'm not even going to start on the parents clearly value boys over girls...)

What is this?! 

I think my parents are the sort of people who might never ever be happy. 

During my wedding dinner, I made so many accommodations for them and felt that I had really bent over backwards but yet in the end, they still had nothing but complaints. 

"The food was the worst we had ever eaten in our lives!!!" (maybe being dramatic is hereditary..) 

I think I really try to be a 'good daughter' be responsible, have a job, give them money every month, get married and settle down...and give them grandchildren...

but ok, all these is just not good enough. 

I thought I had already decided to stop wanting to please my parents but evidently that desire is still deeply rooted. 

I can only say I am so glad I am physically very far from them. I have really tried to be filial and I'm sorry if it's always not good enough. 

Jesus said in Luke 14:26 that "if If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple." 

That sentence puzzled me for a long time...surely the God who is love personified, is not telling us to hate the people around us? 

Recently someone explained the verse this way...that Jesus actually meant that if anyone loves their father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and their own lives above how much they loved Jesus, then that person cannot be his disciple... 

That made sense...and I think God might be wanting to spare us unnecessary pain and heartache when we put our hope and our first love in people who will fail us....that if He is the source of my well being and my security and identity and the one I seek to please the most, I can emerge out of bitter expectations ("why can't they be better parents? Why can't they be more understanding? More diplomatic? Wiser!?!") like what happened with my parents relatively unscathed... 

It's ok, baby...even though your maternal grandparents don't think that you are such a great idea, you are God's beloved creation and He thinks the world of you and has destined you to be a blessing to the world. And of course, mom and dad already love you and welcome you.