Little children say the most exciting things or ask the most surprising questions. When one is working with curious and young children, they tend to ask questions that they are thinking about. They do this without malicious intent. Just honest odd questions. Questions like: Why are you old? Are you a hundred years old? Why don’t you have hair?
And when some of them don’t want me to leave, they would ask: Where are you going? Where do you live? Why don’t you stay here?
The most interesting question I got was: Where’s your girlfriend?
My first initial answer was “I don’t have a girlfriend.” You are talking to a 68 years-old guy. I am thinking to myself: What can you be talking about? But the child’s question was not exactly as she wanted to ask. She had no frame of reference to ask a more specific inquiry. She wants to know who is the grey-hair lady that she sees me with. I get it now. Where is your wife? I told her that is not my “girlfriend” but my wife. And I produced a digital picture of Sylvia. I was thinking that I was pretty smart and telling this child who my wife is.
But the story is not finished. On Friday this week. This same child did not understand the word “wife.” On reflection, another child had asked what “wife” means. I attempt once again to explain who a “wife” was.
I said: You have a mommy?
She nodded her head.
I said: You have a daddy?
She nodded her head.
I put up two fingers and said: Mommy and daddy. And wiggling them, I said further “Sylvia, and I are like mommy and daddy.
And in her eyes, you can see that light bulb lit on her and smiling she said: “Oh, you live together?”
Sylvia thought it would be cute if I share this little story with you regarding my work with preschoolers.
This little story happened on Wednesday afternoon with the preschoolers. I volunteered to read for the children stories since I will not have a chance to read on Friday morning. I have already picked out the books to read. These were the books initially scheduled for Friday. I usually read four books. One of my favorite book to read was Big Bad Bunny.
So the second book that I pull out to read was Big Bad Bunny. As the story goes, the bunny was a bad bunny who wanted your money. His first victim was a chick. He would come up to her and said: “Give me your money!” And to illustrate that I would extend my right hand out and say the phrase in a gruff voice. Not giving away the whole story, this would happen to the next two victims. And each time I come to the part where the bunny asks for money, I would extend my hand out and say “Give me your money!”
I think nothing of my four stories as we finished up and got ready to go outside. The school has a yard for the children to play in. After when we went out, a couple of children came up to me, extended to their hand and playfully said: “Give me your money!”.
I told this story to Sylvia, and she laughed. We both laughed because I said I do not know what the parents would say or think if their child went home, extended their hand and said: “Give me your money!” We hoped that the parents would know that this came from a story that ended well.
Well, one thing is for sure, some of them were listening!
I usually do not write about a product or praise it very often. But today I will tell you about a service that did what no other service can do.
I am reminded of this service when we had finished shopping at Safeway today. It had all started when we moved into our current place. We have a mailbox where all our letters are put into. But we were given two mailbox keys. We have our two daughters whom we want to provide a mailbox key to. So starts the quest to duplicate two more keys. This was in 2013. How simple is that? Everyone who needs an extra key knows what to do. They go to their local key-duplicator business.
According to Sylvia, she tried not one but two places that made duplicate keys. And both times the key turned out worthless. They fit into the mailbox keyhole. But they would not turn. Useless. I thought I knew better and went to my choice of places. One was a hardware store that had a variety of keys made. The key they duplicated did not work. The next place I went to was a store that only made keys. They also were unsuccessful in reproducing a key that works.
We had given up and gave one key to one of the girls, and I had the other one. Then one day I say a kiosk in Safeway. (This happened on March of this year-2018. Having these news keys seemed like years ago.) I don’t know what prompted me. But I decided that I would give this key copy kiosk a try. I followed all the instructions, and a set of keys (I ordered two) were to be mailed to me within a couple of days.
When the keys arrived, I was set for another disappointment. This was how much faith I had in the keys working. My first key went into the keyhole. I turned it. It opened!!! Unbelievable. I was amazed. I quickly tried the second key. It also worked. I was surprised again. Even to this day, I was amazed at how after trying four key duplicators, this company duplicated keys that worked.
I don’t know about the success rate or anything about this company. For me, they made me a set of keys that worked. I am an amazed and satisfied customer.
I have just finished reading a short book by Louise Robinson Chapman called “Africa, O Africa.” It was an uplifting book. The author showed how God answered the many prayers that the African people and missionaries offered up. It encourages me to continue to rely on God and his timing.
After reading this book, I got to thinking about how the Lord gave me a love of reading. It started with comic books. When I arrived in America, I discovered comic books. I did not understand the English language, but I followed the pictures as they weave a story for my young mind.
In grade school, I believe a series of books continued my love of reading. The books were by the author, Walter R. Brooks. He wrote a series of books that featured a pig. His name was Freddy. Freddy would go on all kind of adventures. The author took me on an imaginary journey of place and characters. Freddy had an influence on my life. He was righteous, fair and kind.
In Junior High school, one English teacher read us classics. Other teachers introduced me to Melville and the white whale, London, and the wolf, and many other books.
It was one summer that I got introduced to many Christian writers. Lorene, one of my wife’s older sister, dumped a pile of books for me to read. I read about prayer, the Christian life, faith, and great missionaries. The two that I stilled remembered are Hudson Taylor and George Mueller. Their prayer life and confidence continues to inspire me to put my faith and trust in God.
A good book would keep me reading for days. I hope you would also develop or continue your love of reading.
If you are interested in what kinds of books I read, go to my general website at http://www.tinyurl.com/mmlouie5
This site will direct you to my Goodreads site of books read or go to my Pinterest site to see the books pictorially. These are just my recent read books. I did not have the opportunity to put books that I’ve read in the past into these sites.
Sylvia is asking. When are you going to write again? Here I am.
On Tuesday, a pleasant surprise happened Janny came by to visit. It was a great time getting caught us with each other.
Throughout the week, I spent time with the preschoolers. The ground under the Jungle Jim is still not finished. So on Monday, we could only sit around the play area that was not being worked on. On Wednesday afternoon, I was asked to read to the children. What a pleasant surprise. I did. Friday morning we got a chance to go out to the play area even though the Jungle Jim was still not accessible. The children had hola-hoops to play with. It was hard to hoop when you have heavy winter jackets on. But jackets did not keep the children from having a good time.
Thursday morning is spend-time-with-Sylvia time. She likes that. Here is a drawing of how happy she is while we were shopping. No surprise here. Just pleasant!
Thoughts for the Christmas Season.
Scriptures: Luke 1:30
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. (NIV)
A long time ago in the Old Testament times, God had told his people he will send a Messiah. It has been a long time from Old Testament time to New Testament time. About four hundred years has elapsed between the two testament times.
Four hundred years? I would not be able to wait for four hundred if I heard God telling me of good news. I will not last a hundred years! Just because God does not show himself does not mean that he forgot about what he said he would do.
So according to the scripture today, an angel appeared before future-mom Mary and said: “do not be afraid.” What do you mean do not be afraid. I will be fearful if an angel appears to me. Actually, I might first doubt my sanity. Or I may question whether I was awake or dreaming.
We are skeptical people. We would not expect or anticipate any angels talking to us. But this does not mean that God does not want to communicate with us. God still want to tell us “do not be afraid” in this uncertain and chaotic times.
What are we afraid of during this season? Do we fear the unexpected? Worrying about what may happen in the future. Do we have a fear of personal loss? There may be other fears that I have not mentioned.
For Joseph and Mary, with the news of an unexpected baby, they faced a future that they are not sure of. We may have news of an unforeseen future. Or we may be currently facing the future with uncertainty.
I believe that God is not only telling Joesph and Mary not to worry or fear the future. God is also telling us through this birth-of-Christ narrative also not to fear or worry. And we may have to wait for what seems like a long time for God to “answer.” But we need to trust in him and be not afraid – of whatever we are worried. He will work things out. And if not, he will make us stronger in faith as we continue to trust and lean on him. So…do not be afraid.
Just sharing with you some thoughts during this Christmas season.
Scripture: Luke 1:5-17
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 1:5–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
We may not understand why it was vital to Zechariah and Elizabeth to have a child of their own. Most likely having children was considered a blessing from God. And also having children was a blessing to the family. Scripture tells us that they did not have children up to this point. She was barren, and they both were too old to have children. They must have prayed during their younger years to have one or more children. Their prayers seemed unanswered.
Both of them were righteous before God. Both walking blamelessly in obeying God. Not having a child became a burden to them. People around them knew that they were childless. They also may have wondered why such a good couple was not blessed.
Do you feel like this couple? A couple following the commandments of God and yet not having a prayer answered? Maybe for you, it may not be a child. What kind of burden do you carry during this Christmas season? Is it about relationships? Perhaps you are in a bad or wrong situation. Maybe you are not sure of the relationship that you are in. Could it be a health burden that you have? Or you are concern about a loved one’s health. How about money? Money trouble? Or home trouble? Or even a besetting sin that God is telling you about. What kind of burden is pressing on you?
God has his timing for all of us. In the scriptures, Zechariah and Elizabeth will have their long-awaited prayer answered. This was their day. God will satisfy their longing and fill their hearts with hope.
And this answer did not come in a spectacular event. It was just an ordinary day for them. Both were doing what they were having been doing most of their lives. Of course, God did not make it a regular announcement on an ordinary day. An angel gave Zechariah the news he will have a son!
I submit to you, continue to serve and be faithful to God. He will take care of you. And on this day, He may bring you good news to lift your burden.