Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (3)

2. Emotional blessing
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Cleaning up and repairing a house is one major project! How about living in a fix-up house with two little ones and trying to manage a home? And adding homeschool to the fun? It’s emotional work. It’s easy to allow negative emotions to flood my head at times like this. God has graciously timed the weekly Bible study of “Life of Moses”(with BSF) for guarding and examining my heart. I had every temptation to grumble when DIY projects didn’t go as expected, when a quiet place simply didn’t exist or when I just felt “I deserve better” attitude. I had my fair share of emotional meltdown and tears. It was His Word and His mercy that brought me back to the Truth, to the freedom to stay calm in the midst of chaos.

The weekly commitment to leading a small group Bible study was made before I knew about the house situation. The ladies in the group know their Bible well, unlike the new believers we worked with in China. This new ministry added another dimension of emotional challenge and blessing. The opportunity to serve others in my small group has pushed me take my eyes off my own inadequacies and troubles, but to lead others to the true source of strength and wisdom in the Lord.

I am so grateful the Lord has grown my compassion toward others and a genuine interest in what really is going on in others’ life. My heart was squeezed. Thankfully, the yucky bad stuff got out and He refilled it with His goodness! I know it is an unfair trade. God’s equation never works out the worldly way. God’s mercy was ever more evident after I failed so many times. That being said, I don’t mind sharing a few heart-felt praises here, knowing those thoughts are not from my flesh but the Wonderful Counselor:
I didn’t need to clean my house for months!
We had a fully heated camp ground in the middle of winter!
The boys, including the bigger ones, had a blast in trying different tools!
Forget about kid-friendly hands-on craft. We started our homeschool year with real house projects with real tools! What a valuable lesson!
We got to keep all the tools for the projects afterwards and save money!
We know everything about the house, I mean everything!
I learned to be creative in finding quiet time and place! Bible study is never meant to be boring anyway!
Lots of father-son time!

I am grateful for the change of mindset and truly enjoyed most of the camping lifestyle for a season. This is not brainwashing but allowing the Spirit to do the transformational work through perspective paradigm shift in real life situations, especially those challenging ones. I am writing this down as a spiritual bookmark for future references. Before the Lord returns, storms will come again. Lord, help me and my family not waste any teachable moments You have uniquely planned! Amen!!

My friend, are you in a difficult season right now? Is it too hard to live through it? You are not alone. God is real and He knows EVERYTHING! Ask God to help you restore your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to take charge. Give it over to Jesus, the Great High Priest, “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15)“.

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This is way we clean our kitchen. 🙂 

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (2)

In celebrating the one year anniversary of 10/10 moving day, I will count just 10 blessings in different categories. We believe many more are still to be unfolded as God always has a bigger plan for His children.

Before I start counting the blessings, here is the house-before according to the real estate description:

Home is being sold ‘as is’! Spacious Bungalow in need of complete rehab! Cash buyers/Investors only! Not bank owned or short sale!Home has lots of potential on a nice lot!

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We bought a house, debt free! God is so good!! Praise God, the city didn’t fine us for the too-tall grass though there was a fine sign on the door knob. 🙂

I will just leave it as it is and allow it to sink in a bit for your imagination. We were so busy cleaning out the house, training the big boy to live at a “construction zone” as we called it, taking care of the baby, that we didn’t have time or mood to take many pictures. Perhaps, it’s a good thing we don’t remember much detail of the messy situation then. The human brain is blessed to blur the bad memories and allow the sweet ones to stay. But, definitely, our home had and still has “lots of potential” and my heart is transformed along with the house.

With gratitude and joy, I can’t wait to give my Lord all the glory for the 10 blessings in various areas as following (in no particular order):
Continue reading

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (1)

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. —2 Cor. 5:1


Camping in the backyard! The tents came with the house. 🙂 We are grateful!

One year ago, Oct. 10th, 2014, we moved out of our rental house after four months of waiting. The reason why I could recall the date so easily is that our landlord graciously extended ten more days for our rent, which turned out to be a tremendous help for us to get everything sorted out, packed, and ready to go! As much as we tried to have advanced planning when looking for a house, we didn’t expect two-weeks of waiting would turn into four-months of waiting with “two more weeks” reply each time due to some complicated juvenile court case issues. Eventually, we started to refer to our house as a “maybe” house to our 4-year-old son as our faith dwindled bi-weekly. If you have been through some trying waiting period, you probably can relate to the anxiety involved and understand how the uncertain circumstances can push you to prayer. Continue reading

Happy Valentine’s !!!

 We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 

Love, love, love! Love is in the air in this season of life in the States! I say in the States is because the Valentine’s Day I experienced in China was much more narrow-minded. It was only limited between couples. It was so commercialized that guys felt obligated to have to come up with something to please their wives or girlfriends. Instead of “giving” as a theme of the holiday, “what-did-you-get” might be the most used phrase. From our recent visit in December to China, we’ve found the material pursuit and satisfaction have taken up more space of many people’s mind and heart as life pace sped up.

Looking back, I see we could have done more to take advantage of this western holiday to express God’s love. Being a mom in the States now, I am learning all the kid’s activities along with my boys. I love how Valentine’s is celebrated by all ages, especially among kids. It is a day to express love to those around you. It is love in action, the center of Christian living. The whole book of the Holy Bible is a master piece of a love letter from the Savior, the romantic and Victorious King, the Almighty God. His love is extravagant, abundant and never fails, because He is love! If we could just scratch a little surface of the source of true love, we are enabled to love, to experience the joy in extending love. On the flip side, if we love out of selfish motives, we experience emptiness and bitterness when our expectations are not met.

For this holiday in celebrating love, I am so grateful I just finished my draft of a blessing counting journal started last October, recording the Lord’s blessings in our most recent move. I will be posting them in the following days. Here, I just want to take this opportunity to dedicate the journal first to my First love, who has always sustained me to record all the blessings. Next, I want to give this journal to my best friend and husband who walked this journey with me to open my eyes for a greater world. Also, I want to thank my wonderful in-laws and many friends who made our move much smoother through sacrificing their time, labor, and many prayers.

It took me a while to finish recording this journey but the Lord is faithful. Never thought about the day when I am going to start posting it would be on Valentine’s! Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of your Love and love around us through your people. Help me to be a clean vessel for Your use! Amen!

As a faithful listener to Revive Our Hearts program, I am very much looking forward to the upcoming new series How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus. Check it out and perhaps this is exactly what you need in this season of love!


Welcome to 3rd Culture Living

As Elyse’s husband and the tech guy behind the site, I welcome you to 3rd Culture Living. My wife has a more meaningful welcome here. 🙂

We are excited to launch the blog for each other, for our children, and for anyone else who may want to join us in journey of “3rd Culture Living”. More posts and topics will be coming as we live intentionally and see where life leads and the lessons it will bring.

Welcome to the journey!

What you see now gives an idea of “What is 3rd Culture Living“, the reasons for “Why this site” and “Who we are” so you can have an idea of what to expect. You can read all the posts below (on the home screen), read my wife’s welcome for an intro to the site, or click on some of the tabs above (which still have limited content at this point).

Thank you for joining us at the beginning of this new journey. We look forward to growing together!