There’s so much I could say about the last 11 weeks and even the weeks leading up to them. Without being a crazy all-out trial, I can say this is definitely one of the hardest/most trying stretches of time we have been in and Kenny and I agreed, it is certainly the hardest stretch of time we’ve ever had during our relationship (and no, it’s not due to interpersonal conflict).

But instead of writing about why these past 11 weeks have been so difficult, I want to write instead about our dearest Kara Joy, my 2-month-old, my pi day baby, our second child. Time goes by so fast and I’m not delusional enough to think I’ll keep this up, but I at least want to have some recollection of the first days of Kara Joy’s life.

Anyway, this is just going to be a long data dump for my own future reference, but here’s a bunch of KJ related things.

  • Kara Joy’s name can mean a number of things, but the meaning we choose to go with is joy (chara) upon Joy; exceedingly great joy
  • I’ve always liked the name Kara, but Kenny was not a fan. So I prayed. And at the Seeds Christmas service, PKyle said chara, used in the Christmas account, means exceedingly great joy. At the end of the message, Gma received Christ. I remember thinking “well, if he doesn’t agree to Kara now, he’s never going to.” That night, he let me know that Kara it would be :)
    I had my craziest season of work at DoH leading up to KJ’s (we don’t call her that, but it’s easier to type) birth. I’ve never worked with such intensity at DoH and never for such a prolonged season even during my IMS/Zii days. There were a bunch of unexpected resignations plus I had to find someone for my maternity leave and I thought there was no way we’d fill all the positions. So I prayed in faith that we’d fill them all before I left. It came down to the wire, but the second to last day I was in the office, we had 4 new hires at orientation. Funny thing is I had forgotten about my prayer, but a coworker reminded me. I also went to gloat (for Jesus– gloating about Him and His faithfulness!) to our other coworker who had lovingly said I was delusional when I told him I was praying for all positions to be filled before leaving. :) I have never depended on God so much in my work. And though it was very hard and yes, stressful, I also had a lot more peace than usual and I was able to work really really hard with an undercurrent of reliance and joy. I say none of this to point to me, but to point out God’s Grace on me. Reflecting on my work journey, I am SO different now than I was before. Praise God– His sanctifying work continues in and despite me.
    I told many people KJ could not come before 3/14 and even asked some people to pray she’d stay in there til then. Lo and behold, on 3/13 I sent my last work email around 9pm, took a nap, then as I was getting ready to leave my parent’s house around 10pm, my water broke.
    At lunch the day I went into labor, Eva napped in my arms for over an hour. She NEVER does that anymore. It’s like she knew… or the Lord knew it was her last day as an only child.
    L&D was SO different this time around. My water broke, but I only had mild contractions. TMI, I know, but right before it broke, I texted Kenny saying I either was having contractions or a stomach ache and while in the bathroom I texted him again saying, yup just a stomach ache! Lol. As I was saying. L&D was so chill compared to last time. As we took surface streets from my parent’s to Kaiser (Kenny had to drive out to get me), we were joking around and I was majorly hoping we wouldn’t be sent home. We took a nice stroll in the cool air from the parking structure to L&D. Checking in was so very calm compared to last time. Praise God for a much better experience this time (not that last time was bad compared to other experiences I’ve heard). It was also strange that KJ was born when it was bright outside. And the end of delivery gets blurry, but now I’m realizing I don’t even know what time my daughter was born… will have to ask the husband tomorrow.
    First thoughts upon seeing KJ: wow she looks like Eva; I love her. Attachment and bonding was immediate this time, probably because I wasn’t in shock and knew what to expect. I’m sure I also noted she had a lot of hair, but I don’t remember that being her most notable quality until somewhat later.
    Another fun story: Pet was visiting and also had a short window when KJ could be born. It had to be after her work conference, but before her return flight. Turns out she was able to see KJ twice before leaving. And yes, it was also after her work conference. :)
    It’s harder to tell your child’s temperament with your first baby because you have nothing to compare him/her too. Temperament is more obvious with the second because it’s relative to your first. Almost immediately, we could tell that KJ was much more chill than Eva. I was shocked that from her first days, she wasn’t too fussed about diaper and clothing changes. It’s probably an exaggeration, but Kenny and I think Eva cried at almost every diaper change for her first year of life and certainly fought every change well past that. And she still cries out sometimes when she pulls her shirts over her head (I wonder where her flair for the dramatic comes from lol). Our dear little KJ in comparison is so laid back compared to her sister, though she has been super fussy (her version) the last few weeks since getting sick + getting her shots.
    KJ’s noises are also different from Eva. Eva talked a lot at this point. KJ’s voice is softer and I don’t know how to describe it, but she speaks more with squeaks and grunts and little noises. She also seems to grunt more than Eva. Which leads to the next bullet…
    It takes a LOT for KJ to get comfortable. This is the one thing she is not laid back about and probably why she’s not a great sleeper. She’ll toss and turn and fling her head around until she can find a comfortable position. It’s hilarious. I’ve never seen a baby put so much effort into getting comfortable.
    Overall, I’d say KJ is a very sweet baby. She’s not as smiley as Eva was from what I can recall at this point, but she’s quick to smile when you talk to her. She especially loves Eva and smiles most easily for her. Kenny and I keep saying she’s such a sweet girl. And it’s definitely a second child thing, but we just love letting her sleep in our arms and totally spoiled her (which we are absolutely paying for now as she only naps well now if you hold her… ugh!). I think the second time around you also enjoy things more too. For one, you know how fast the time passes so you want to savor every moment, but second, you’re also less shocked and less worried about every little thing. Kenny and I keep asking each other why this was so hard the first time haha (though granted Eva was also more difficult than KJ at this age… but again how much of that is a function of personality vs. parenting?).

Anyway that’s a ton of stuff (and side note, after all these years, I still can’t think of a better transition than “anyway”) for now.

I love you, baby Kara Joy! I thank God SO much for you! These past 11 weeks with have been so difficult for reasons mostly not associated with you (though, okay, lack of sleep has definitely not helped– we gotta work on that, girl!), but more than that, these past 11 weeks with you have been so special and I will treasure them forever. I love you so much and can’t believe you’ve only been here for two months because I already cannot imagine our family without you. What more can I say than I love you again and I’m so lucky that God entrusted me with you!!! Looking forward to everything else He has in store.

Bedtime Cuddles

Bedtime Cuddles

Dear Eva,

I never blog letters to you anymore, but I had to get this down for posterity.

Tonight you asked me to cuddle for the first time. We were going about our normal bedtime routine: clean up, brush teeth, read the Bible, blessing, verse of the month, climb up the stairs, sing Jesus loves me, pray while you rock by yourself on the rocking chair… and right before I placed you in your crib you said, “Cuddle? Cuddle?”

My heart just about melted and as we cuddled I told you this was “the best feeling in the world” and you said “best feeling.” *Insert crying emojis*

I asked what was on your mind you said, “Daddy? Daddy?” We talked about how Daddy was at Auntie and Uncles’ wedding rehearsal and how before two people get married they have a practice run. I told you how the bride’s daddy walks her down the aisle and hands her over to her groom. Holding your hand and picturing you one day (Lord willing) I just about cried. Then we prayed that God would bring you a husband one day who loves Jesus so much. Someone you will partner with to bring more and more people into God’s Kingdom, just as your name says.

Then I asked you how your day went and what could have gone better. You said “Grandma Grandpa house happy!” And we rejoiced that you love your Grandma and Grandpa so much.

I asked what else was on your mind and you said “Frozen Heart microphone!” And we thanked God that He gave you a voice and that you love music and we prayed that you would use your voice and your words and your music to bring people to Him.

Then we cuddled just a bit more, I told you that you were cute (“I cute!” you repeated emphatically) and I asked if you were ready to go to bed. “Yup!” you said.

As we always do, I told you you’re our daughter in whom we’re well pleased, kissed you, and placed you in bed, re-arranging your stuffed animals to encircle you. And as we’ve been doing as of late, I made sure to cover all four limbs with your Frozen blanket and tuck you in.

How amazingly sweet it is to have you as my daughter! You are truly my beautiful daughter and my heart is filled with joy as I think of you.

How wonderful it is too, to just be a child! You’re so content with cuddles and with being our daughter. You’re not weighed down yet by the weight of the world. I tell you you’re cute and you take me so easily at my word and are so happy to proclaim “I cute!”

What love the Father must feel when He looks at us, His children. As I do with you, Eva, He knows our flaws (seriously just minutes before during Bible time you threw a tantrum because you didn’t want to share the Bible with me lol), but also as I do with you, He loves us so much and calls us wonderful, beautiful, CUTE and wants us to take Him at His Word.

Last month at the Seeds retreat, Pastor Jon talked about receiving the Kingdom as a child. We listed many adjectives that describe children: persistent, eager, loud, silly, emotional… messy!! But tonight I’m reminded too of the beauty of being like a child, of being so naïve, wanting your mother or father’s cuddles, being simple-minded, and easily pleased.

Eva, I pray that you will always be able to take us, take God at His Word when we say that you are beautiful, wonderful, amazing, priceless. It grieves me to ever think about a day when you don’t believe us. I pray that you would know how to be loved, how to be treasured. I pray that you would know how beautifully, wonderfully, and fearfully you are made. Yes, you need a regenerate heart. Yes, you too are woefully sinful and need Jesus to save you. But I pray so much that you would have the quiet, humble confidence that comes from knowing God made you and that you are an image-bearer and that you are SO beautiful.

My heart bursts with love for you. And if my hearts bursts with this much love for you, I can’t even begin to fathom the love that God has for us.

Your dear, old, weepy, sentimental, adoring mother,

Week 24 + Lazarus & The Rich Man

Week 24 + Lazarus & The Rich Man

So I realized my last pregnancy update post was actually on the first day of week 24, and not the last day of week 23 as I had thought. Whoops!

Anyway today is truly the last day of week 24. Can’t believe it. Only ~3.5 months left!!! Definitely getting nervous as it seems like we have done so little for the baby.

Thankful for my co-worker who encouraged me to not stress. She said once the baby comes you figure it out and all a baby really needs is you (aka FOOD), clothes, tons of diapers, and a place to sleep. All the other stuff is nice, but not necessary!

In other updates, I forgot to mention last week that I got the mom cut! Early, I know, and I really wanted to hold out until we had the baby, but I think I just had it with all the static and the tangles and the blahness of my old hair and I went for my first major chop in years!

The second the hairdresser made the first cut, I regretted it and was having terrible flashbacks of junior year, but when she finally finished I was shocked… I actually LOVED it (and still do)! I feel very TSwift… whatever that means haha.

Also worth mentioning is that I had my monthly check-up yesterday and babyee is 1 pound, 7 ounces! Growth is on target PTL!!! It’s funny because the ultrasound wasn’t as exciting this time as the baby is SO BIG and it’s actually really hard to see much anything. (In prior months, the baby was smaller and her entirety could be captured on screen. Yesterday, we could only looks at pieces of her: her head, stomach, leg. Still fun, but not as captivating as seeing the entire form of a tiny human on screen!)

How do I feel?

Only a few weeks away from 3rd tri and starting to feel the tiredness return as I was forewarned. I keep waking up at night due to leg cramps (time to order compression socks says the doc!), having to pee, or just being straight up uncomfortable.

On that note, I’m pretty apparently showing now (probably have been for the last couple weeks)! Looking forward to the special pregnant woman treatment everyone says you get once you’re obviously preggo. Not looking forward to the unsolicited advice part though haha.

What is God saying?

In BSF this week, we studied Revelation 6: the opening of the seals and 4 horsemen.

Honestly all the judgment and gloom and doom is very unsettling, but what struck me the most was when we were directed to the passage in the Gospels about Lazarus and the rich man, a depiction of heaven vs. hell.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but the specific passage drove the point home. At the end of their lives, what will the people who do not know Jesus think? As they see Him face-to-face and realize just how real He is, what would they say to me?

Would they thank me for not sharing with them, for respecting their personal boundaries and beliefs? For respecting them as parents, and not proselytizing their children? Would they thank me for not making them uncomfortable, holding back, and not offending them with my Jesus beliefs?

In Luke 16:27, the rich main cries out:

“Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers– so that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”

Honestly reading this is terrifying. How could I not be filled with urgency and compelled to share about Jesus with those who do not know Him while on this earth they still have time to repent and believe!?

If my heart remains stagnant and lazy, not compelled to share and to preach, what does this mean? It means any of the following or maybe a combination of all 3:

  1. I don’t really believe in God is real, for if He is not real, then there is no reason to share.
  2. Maybe I do believe He’s real, but I don’t take Him at His Word and believe what He says that all who do not accept Him on this earth will be eternally separated from Him in hell for their unbelief.
  3. If the first two don’t apply to me, then maybe I really just don’t care about the destiny of those who do not believe. Or maybe I do care a little bit, but not enough to risk the possibility of offense or others looking down on me.

In my heart, I must confess that my lack of desire to share is probably due to parts of all 3.

  1. There are still parts of me that struggle from time to time with doubt. Is God real? Is He!? It’s so hard for me sometimes to believe. Thankfully, as I’ve been turning my doubts over to Him more and more, I really do feel He has been giving me more and more faith to believe. Faith is a gift, and you sure bet I’m asking for it! I want to be like Tim Keller (I believe– I wish I could find the link, but I can’t seem to right now), who in the Veritas forum was able to say that he 100% believes in God. 100%! Zero doubt at all. I was blown away that he could be so assured. I want to have 100% faith to believe!!!
  2. I also struggle with really taking God at His Word on this one. Would He/will He really punish in hell those who don’t believe? It’s the good people argument. When I think of friends and family who don’t believe, they’re not perfect, but they’re also not the incarnation of evil! Do I really believe His Word that says even one offense is offense enough to be eternally separated from Him forever? How much do I take God at His Word on this? How much do I believe?
  3. And at the end of the day, I am selfish. I am selfish in my belief. I’m scared to risk relationships, risk my reputation, by being a “Jesus Freak” (90’s throwback, holla!). I’d rather stay comfortable, not cause conflict, nor dissonance. I want to be a good friend/family member who doesn’t offend and is respectful and PC.

If I do not have urgency to share, when will I ever? When someone I love dies who doesn’t believe? Will I then be so guilt-ridden that I am finally compelled to share with others?

I hope I don’t wait that long.

And yes, there is the idea too that the Gospel is shown by our actions, how we live our lives, which indeed it is. But at the same time, there needs to be times and places where we share with words, where we convey the truth. There needs to be boldness in our walks. There needs to be a willingness to speak the truth in love, not just cop out and say “well, I don’t need to speak it because I’m already showing it.” I don’t want people to think I’m just a nice person (though in my flesh I do). If I’m compelled by the Gospel, I want people to think I’m a nice person… but only because of Jesus!!!

I’ve always struggled with people-pleasing. I’ve always struggled with a lack of boldness. I’ve always struggled with a lack of urgency to share. Jesus, convict me and change me, give me Your eagerness and Your urgency to share Your love and Gospel truth with family, friends, and a world in need. Help me. Help me to believe and act on that belief!!!

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Matthew 9:37-38

Jesus, send laborers into the harvest. Jesus, make ME a laborer. Jesus, send me.

Week 20!

Week 20!

Last day of week 20! We are halfway there!!!

This past Saturday was our mini gender reveal with the fam. Baby Yee is… a girl!!!! (Insert picture which I don’t currently have here.)

A few moments of hilarity:

Grandma Yee (right after we cut open the cake): IT’S PURPLE!!
Everyone else: Purple? What does purple mean? Both? One of each?

Dylan (disappointed): I thought the baby was in the cake…

Hahaha I love it!

Baby Yee, we are SO excited for you! We can’t wait to meet you soon!!!

How do I feel?

Excited! We’ve now been telling people pretty indiscriminately so it’s been a lot of fun. Also I’ve been starting to show this past week and there were two people we’ve told who said they were wondering but didn’t want to be rude and ask (whaaat!? do I look that big already!?!?).

Nauseous. Still feeling it in the afternoons! It’s been stronger the past week or so. Not sure why, but I am eating a ton more lately so maybe that’s part of it? One of the moms at church said as soon as the baby comes out though you start feeling normal again though. Looking forward to it!

Cranky. So this could definitely be just me, but I’ve continued to be pretty irritable and short with people when normally I’d try really hard to be polite and keep my cool. It comes out mostly at work and especially when unexpectedly interrupted (i.e. every time the front door rings and I have to make the trek down 3 flights of stairs and people get impatient and ring the door bell again while I’m trying to wrap up whatever I was doing/gather pertinent info for them/etc.). Lord, help me!

Emotional. So all these symptoms aren’t really new and have persisted throughout pregnancy. I continue to be really emotional about things. For instance, my co-worker told me he was babysitting his baby niece this past weekend and totally falling in love with her and I kid you not IT BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES. I don’t know why but I was just so touched thinking about him bonding with this little baby that I was tearing up. So random hahaha.

Grateful. Amidst all the symptoms good and not so good, God’s been reminding me to be grateful. Every time our little baby kicks it makes me so excited and reminds me that she is REAL and she’s on the way and I just can’t believe we’re actually having a baby!!!!

What’s God saying?

I’m going to make this another blog post as it’s been weighing so heavily on my heart as of late and made this blog super long haha.

A Longing for Missions

A Longing for Missions

I’ve been thinking about missions lately especially since writing my post about my crazy tag section and pointing out that I used to write a ton about missions, but not so much anymore.

When I left college, I only had two church requirements: 1) that the church be a Bible-teaching, Jesus-loving place and 2) that the church would have a heart for missions.

Oddly enough, right when I started attending was when Lifesong was growing in a heart for missions and the lost and it was a perfect fit.

Now in the transition to Seeds, I did not feel like I had much of a say in the matter of whether we were to go or not (though my husband will disagree haha), and the question of missions crossed both of our minds, but didn’t play too much of a factor in deciding to go on the church plant. I think we both knew though from what Pastor Cory had told another couple that if missions was something we were hoping for in the next 5 years or so, it would be wiser to stay at Evergreen. Nevertheless, Kenny prayed, felt called to Seeds, and we went (though I must admit I went somewhat reluctantly, but that’s a story for another time!).

So though missions continues to be on my heart, it really hasn’t been something we’ve actively pursued since getting married. The biggest extent of our missions pursuit happened this past February when we attended two missions conferences: Passion for the Nations and World Mandate West.

Both were interesting and exciting and might have had their drawbacks, but I still felt the Lord tugging at my heart for the lost and very specifically for Japan.

And so I’m left with this question: what do we do with missions?

It’s clearly on my heart. It’s clearly on Kenny’s. I wept when I felt God speaking to me about Japan, reassuring me that He knows my heart and telling me that just as Westerners (most likely) brought the Gospel to my samurai great-great-great-great(?) grandfather who started our spiritual legacy, God would send us to take the Gospel back.

So I cried, and wept, and admitted to God that I felt forgotten, like He didn’t care to use me. I journaled furiously and didn’t want to share with Kenny because the things written on those pages seemed so impossible, so fragile.

And at the end of both conferences, when they had the classic missions style “altar call” and asked you to come to the front if your heart was crying out, “Here I am Lord, send me!”, I must admit I felt almost foolish as I followed my heart and with my husband walked to the front, and even more foolish tossing my shoes as an act of surrender to God and His missions for me.

So is it foolish of us to keep going up for these missions altar calls when missions seems like such a far away dream? Aren’t we too old for this, with Kenny now 30, me in my late 20’s, and with both of us hurdling toward parenthood and growing more and more roots in the SGV? It certainly seemed like it as I looked around at all these passionate collegians with their whole lives ahead of them, with few roots holding them down, full of passion, full of hopes and dreams.

Is it silly for us old fogeys to have college-style dreams?

I think when you’re a collegian and you go up for those altar calls, you feel so assured, so set, so determined to go and make a difference in the nations. And yes, maybe a big part of it probably is naivete, but the Bible calls us to not look down on those who are young and a long time ago Jesus Himself rebuked His more realistic, “wiser” disciples when they tried to prevent children from running to Him saying “the Kingdom belongs to such as these.”

I want to have that childlike faith and that collegian-like daring to continue to dream big dreams. It’s so easy to get bogged down and jaded by the world and “reality.” And it’s even easier to get entangled in the world’s dreams… dreams of a nice house, kids, comfort and ease. I think the more we have in this world, the harder it is to dream God-sized dreams because we get so comfortable and realize that hey I can live a pretty great life without being extreme.

I think the difference now is I’m more content with what will happen if we never get to live out my God-sized dreams. I hold my hopes more loosely now. I go on the altar calls with an open hand saying “this is what I feel You’ve placed on my heart, so now I will trust You to make it happen and be content with wherever You call me.” If God never opens doors for missions and asks us to stay in the SGV, I will choose to trust Him and find contentment. And by His grace I will hopefully still find ways to live radically for Him every day.

I think that’s one of the other differences that has come with maturity. When we’re young, we tend to think “once I get to the missions field, then I’m going to live this radical, sold-out, evangelistic life for Jesus!” Yet, we don’t live that kind of life when we’re at home, at work, at play. Something Pastor Cory wisely says is that Evergreen will never send on missions anyone who is not already living a sold-out, passionate, Jesus-filled life here. If you’re not living that type of life here, what makes you think you’ll live that type of life there once all the hype dies away?

Missions is HARD. Harder in many ways than life here. So while we are still living here, let’s use this time as a training ground for persevering and enduring even when there’s not much hype over living a Christian life.

Until then, I will continue to cry out and plead Isaiah 6:8.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Believing this in faith. I will go, wherever His call may be.



Last Thanksgiving, I wasn’t sure if my family (as I knew it) would still exist in a month, yet alone a year from that day. This Thanksgiving, we, the four of us, welcomed the whole extended family into our home.

I am thankful for my family and I am thankful for God. Without Him, I’m certain we would not be here today.

Have a wonderful Black Friday!!!!!!!

Watching: The Office and Community with my bro!! SO GLAD HE’S HOME!!!!

Christ is IN CONTROL.

Today is this little guy’s birthday!!!! Or I guess he’s not so little anymore.
Nineteen-years-old today. And I still remember when he was born!
My mom would always tell me to be nice to him because one day he’d be taller than me haha. Well, that day has certainly come!
I LOVE MY BABY BROTHER!!!!!!! He is really one of THE BEST people I know (and I bet he’d agree with that statement haha). But seriously. The kid has so much character and maturity beyond his years. I’m so lucky and I’m going to miss him so dang much this next year.
Finally, I found this little gem:

Who would’ve known that we’d both end up going there!!! (: (I remember thinking the campus was super ugly and being really tired that day pwahahah.)