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One Poor Little Boy with a Drum


I recently had the pleasure of listening to/watching The Pentatonix video for The Little Drummer Boy.  Since then, I’ve been addicted to it and my family loves it as well.  In fact, we’ve watched it so many times, I’m beginning to feel responsible for it having gone viral. HA!

But today as I listened to it over and over…and over again on the way to work, I was inspired to tell you what occurred to me about this song.  

So, first some background: 

The Little Drummer Boy, according to Wikipedia was originally called the Carol of the Drum.  Written by a music teacher and composer named Katherine Kennicott Davis, it was recorded first by the Trapp Family Singers in 1955 (yes, the ones with the lonely goat herd and all the Edelweiss).  And it gained popularity into mainstream society from there. Even having movies made about his story. 

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Now, like other hymns that have stood the test of time, I believe that the writer was inspired from above to write this song in the same way that God inspired those who wrote the books of the Bible.  Maybe that’s a far stretch for you, but if He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, why can’t anyone else be inspired?

Back to this here poor boy with a drum.  I’ve heard this song for years and rarely have I given consideration to the words.  But after today, I’d like to share what I imagine to be the story of a little boy that could’ve been there at the scene: 

“I’m only 7, so I was a little frightened when three wise men came my way.  I was sitting by the road, outside of my home, playing with the little drum that my father made for me.  My big brother got a slingshot, but I got the drum, and I can’t shoot nothin’, but I do love my drum.  I take it wherever I go. 

I guess the wise men knew they scared me because they stopped and told me, “Come, there’s a newborn King in the stable not far away.  We’re bringing our best gifts to honor Him.”

I shouldn’t have gone with them, but I just couldn’t help it.  I had NEVER seen a real KING before.  And I couldn’t begin to imagine one in a stable.  So I followed them. 

When I went in, it was really calm.  Peaceful.  And I went right up to that manger and I looked over the top of it and I stared down at that baby they called Jesus.  The King.  He was so tiny, and as I looked around, I thought He sure didn’t look like a King.  But He SURE FELT like one.  

“Oh Little Baby…” I whispered in wonderment. Suddenly I was so sad.  For a lot of reasons I didn’t get.  I was kind of ashamed. I had nothing for Him.  I put my head down and turned to go home. But I also knew I didn’t want to leave Him.

Then, I had an idea!

“Shall I play my drum for you?”  The baby didn’t answer, but His Momma nodded. 

And so I played.  

I played MY VERY BEST for Him.

And when I was done? 

When I was done… He. Smiled. At. Me.”

Now, friends, this is not to suggest that there really was a little boy with a drum at Jesus’ birth.  If so, Matthew and Luke left it on the proverbial cutting room floor.  But what I am suggesting is that WE should be willing to approach the crib of the Baby Jesus with all the awe and wonderment of a POOR LITTLE BOY with NOTHING but a HOMEMADE DRUM and a DESIRE to PLAY OUR BEST FOR HIM. 

SO THAT when we are done, HE SMILES ON US. 

I hope you can enjoy The Little Drummer Boy video as much as I have.  

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The Test: A Lesson in Kid Cleaning


As you may or may not know, we are soon to be moving into our new house and I’ve been making plans for how to make the house run in a more orderly fashion.  Mind you, I’m not looking for perfection, just some simple rules that will translate nicely into adulthood—because I’m not raising children, I’m raising adults.  And because, quite frankly, I’m tired.

because I’m not raising children, I’m raising adults

Therefore, I thought creating a simple test might be the best way to reinforce what I’ve been trying to teach my three precious offspring in the past several years.  As I wrote, I couldn’t help but hope and pray that you would identify with me and feel something akin to great empathy. think that this could be useful for other working moms and/or dads out there who sometimes feel a tad overwhelmed by all the chores.  I will be handing out and grading this test Saturday morning before we begin moving our things….

The Test:

  1.  What is an appropriate use for an ever-so-lovely dish towel or hand towel?
    1. They should be used for drying your hands or water from a clean counter.
    2. Mom should find the heart of miscellaneous hunted animals wrapped in them.
    3. They should be used for cleaning red juice stains from your carpet.
    4. They should be used as bath towels.
    5. Why are there red juice stains on the brand new carpet?!?!
  2.  If you make a mess, what should you do?
    1. Clean it up, and HURRY!
    2. Blame someone.  Anyone.  Like Santa. Or a wild hog.
    3. Exit stage left and plan spa day for Mom.
    4. ‘a’ but sometimes ‘c’ will work if you play it just right.
  3.  Where should dirty socks be deposited?
    1. Next to the hamper.
    2. Under the bed.
    3. In the couch cushions.
    4. In the hamper.
  4.  Where should dirty socks be deposited?
    1. Under the driver’s seat in the car, inside a McDonald’s cup.
    2. In the corner of the garage wadded in a ball.  With bird feathers stuck to it.
    3. They come out of the lawn mower with holes in them, I have no idea why.  I need more socks.
    4. In the hamper.
  5.  Where should dirty socks be deposited? (It bears repeating.)
    1. Under Mom and Dad’s bed. As quietly as possible.
    2. Behind the toilet. Because I missed the bowl when I threw them.
    3. In your pillowcase along with a dirty spoon from eating ice cream long after you were told to go to bed.
    4. In the hamper.
  6.   Should couch cushions ever contain random popsicle wrappers, pencils, meat, or socks?
    1. Yes
    2. Hell No
  7. When a trash can overflows, do you:
    1. Put trash next to it, but ever so neatly?
    2. Take the bag out and replace it with a new one?
    3. Leave the trash on the table.  With a note. To Mom.  About doing her job?
    4. Pretend not to notice and wait for Mom or Dad to do it?
  8. Muddy boots:
    1. Stay on your feet while you trail through the house and feign innocence.
    2. Need to be cleaned with an ever-so-lovely dish towel.
    3. Stay in the garage.
    4. Should be thrown away and new ones purchased.
  9. When you are looking for something, you should:
    1. Ask Mom where it is.
    2. Blame a sibling for stealing it and prepare to rumble with them.
    3. Demand another one.
    4. You should have put it where it belongs, otherwise, it’s wherever you last left it.  So remember where you last left it.
  10.  When mom burns a candle, you should:
    1. Enjoy the subtle buttery-vanilla-with-a-hint-of-hazelnut scent and leave it alone.
    2. Stick paper in it and watch it burn.
    3. Do whatever it takes to queue the fire department.
    4. Bust out the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate while batting your quarter-Asian eyes at Mom.
  11.  Are you aloud to eat in your brand new room with brand new carpet and brand new bedding?
    1. Only if I can sneak it in without Mom finding out.
    2. Never.  Not Ever.  Ever.  (unless it’s water)
    3. Only if I can blame someone else for it.
    4. Only if it doesn’t make crumbs or is red.
  12. Will Mom know if you broke rule # 11?
    1. Yes.  Mom always knows.  She is on to me like a duck on a June bug.
    2. No.  Because I always clean up after myself.
    3. Answer ‘b’ makes Mom LOL sarcastically.
    4. Both ‘a’ and ‘c’.
  13.  Where should the ketchup be stored?
    1. On Dad’s side of the bed.
    2. In the pantry.
    3. On the coffee table.
    4. Hint: the answer should not be ‘a’.
  14. If you complain about not having clean socks, where should they have been?
    1. Wedged into the barrel of a gun that needed cleaning.
    2. In the bottom of a pond along with a shoe that just. Didn’t. Make. It.
    3. On the mantle next to the family portrait.
    4. In the hamper.
  15.  Mom’s thoughts on laundry:
    1. I will fold it once, you will fold it the second time.
    2. If I washed it and you haven’t worn it, I better not see it in the hamper again.  And I will know.
    3. Bullets and homework should be removed first.  If an explosion happens, or you get a goose egg for homework, it’s not Mom’s fault.
    4. All of the above.
  16.  Mom’s additional thoughts on laundry:
    1. Why are there bird feathers in the here?
    2. I know last year’s Halloween costume has not been worn, why is it in here?
    3. All the money I find is mine. It is the cost of your clean laundry.
    4. If you complain about how it’s done, or not done, you will promptly be supplied with directions and detergent.  Best of luck. I’m off to the salon.
    5. All of the above.

Please let me know if I’ve left anything out.  I can always create bonus questions.

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The Farmer’s Remark


As a kid, my Dad was a rancher/farmer/software programmer–odd combo, I know.  He was a genius of sorts, a MENSA member, with a degree in Math and Physics.  During the week, he would commute to his office at a technology company and work to create programs that did things such as measure the salt in a certain well-known brand of potato chips, and other things of which I didn’t care much about because I liked Farmer Dad better (I will assume that my ex-NSA software programmer brother might know what else dad did, and he may tell me, but may have to kill me…)

On the weekends, Dad ate the aforementioned potato chips and we would feed the cows, fix fences (that were mathematically perfect), haul hay, birth calves, and drive tractors and trucks.

Anyway, I was thanking the good Lord above for the rain recently and it impressed upon me how reliant farmers are on God to provide.  As a farmer, he was always thankful for the provision of rain which caused the ponds to fill for livestock, and the grass to grow to bale hay.  If it rained at the right time, we’d have more grass, we’d have more hay, we’d have a better year.  Likewise, if it rained after the hay was cut, and before it was baled, we were not so blessed.  You get the idea.  Direct effect.  God in control.  I believe that farmers are cognizant in ways that other aren’t of ‘from whom their blessings flow’.  Have you ever heard a software programmer say “I’m thankful God provided that code when he did”? I’m guessing seldom. We could learn a lot from these farmers.  They work hard, they do their part, they ask for blessing, they trust in God, they praise Him for provision, they know there is a season for everything–and they do this out of necessity; in a way that many of us do not relate to.

God blesses the farmer, and He so desires to bless us in our work.  But He desires our reliance, our trust, our hard work.  He desires for us to watch the seasons, to watch for rain, to be on the lookout, to prepare, to hope, to give thanks, to plant, to reap, to sow.  He desires our hard work, but mostly, he desires our faith, trust, and reliance.

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Peace & Chaos


It’s been a little chaotic lately my friends.  I’ve had some stress that has chiseled at my ability to find all the <appropriate> humor.  I’ve felt very tiny, very unsettled and overwhelmed by the stress.  Nothing highly devastating, just the typical stress that comes with having an elderly and eccentric Asian mother who demands “re-SPECK,” a slew of children with everyday children needs, a full-time job in sales, a husband with his own company, tax season, chickens in the garage–you know, nothing at all out of the ordinary.

Hummingbird2

Just moments ago, my sister-in-law group texted this picture of a hummingbird at their feeder in the country.  She said, “They’re peaceful.”

At the very moment this morning when I was near tears, I read her text and all the science on hummingbirds that I ever learned started to flash through my mind–they are the SMALLEST of all birds, they can fly at speeds above 30mph, they can fly backwards.  Indeed it occurred to me that each time I see one, I’m amazed at the ‘chaos’ I see.  They’re all over the place…zipping around, flying left to right, up and down, BACKWARDS.  And yet they have peace.  And perhaps more importantly, they are PEACEFUL to watch.

Oh how I want to be that way….peaceful in the midst of my chaos, and peaceful to watch.

And I remembered that God must’ve had that tiny bird fly to that tiny feeder in this tiny town at just the right tiny moment that my (also tiny) sister-in-law could snap a picture and send it to me as a tiny reminder that I too am tiny, and He cares for me.

And from there I was reminded of these scriptures:

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” –My dad’s favorite verse.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

And I don’t feel so tiny anymore.

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The Allowance Experiment: Part Deux


I’m almost three weeks into this whole allowance experiment and wanted to let you know results thus far.

A few details:
1. We are paying out $7 per week per kid to do a list of chores, all homework (of course) and to keep a good attitude in general.
2. Extra chores outside of this list are available should they want to earn more (cleaning the cars, re-roofing the house, etc…)
3. Not really on the re-roofing, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

The Great Allowance Experiment commenced on a Friday afternoon. The kids were required to keep to the list of chores for the week and each Friday, we pay out. Like a Greasy Guido at a singles’ bar, they told all their friends about their new–impending–wealth.

Sunday, Delaneigh, 9, dropped her iPod touch, otherwise known as an iAmStinkinFragile, and broke the screen. Now, while this was an accident and iFelt sorry for her little broken iPod Touch heart; iDo know iRepeatedly have said:

“You need to keep a cover on it, that’s why I bought you one.”

Or, “It’s going to break if you don’t put a cover on it.”

And also, “What would Jesus Do?” (Applicable in multiple situations.)

Now we have a predicament: There’s nothing like the heartbreak a parent feels when their kid is truly upset. But on the other hand, I had the overwhelming urge to do the ‘Told You So’ dance from Will and Grace.

will and grace image

So, the next day I pay $107.85 to have Lani’s iPod repaired/replaced at the Apple Store, I bring it home, I show it to her and then…..I put it away and tell her she must work it off. She is now $100.85 in the hole. She is quite forlorn.

Later that week, she wants me to buy her some cotton candy body spray in cute glittery pink packaging with flowers on it at Target. “It’s only $3.99, Mom.” she says. I tell her when she has her allowance she can save it for her iPod or buy body spray.

“UGH!!” She says, “I HATE this stupid allowance thing. I didn’t AGREE to THIS!”

Then she puts back the cotton candy body spray in the cute glittery pink packaging with flowers on it. I just realized I saved $3.99 plus tax and I buy myself new mascara.

Only once did he ask me for an iTunes song. He was told ‘no’. He surrendered peacefully.

The boys fared a little differently. Connor, 11, has cheerfully done his chores for two weeks in anticipation of the allowance. This is the most effort I’ve gotten from him ever. EVER! EVERRRRR!!! He’s happy, motivated, and diligent, if you will.

He’s also shown us no less than 3 pellet guns, a Go-Cart, a St. Bernard puppy, and a motorcycle that he plans on buying when he saves up. And when he walks in from school and says “can I have my $7?”, I hand it to him–he has earned it. My momma heart is proud.

By the following Tuesday, he’s spent $7 on candy and gum.

Only once did he ask me for an iTunes song. He was told ‘no’. He surrendered peacefully.

Tanner, 7, has almost as cheerfully done his chores. His favorite thing to do is spend our money at the concession stands during Connor’s baseball games, of which we often have 3-5 on weekends. He walks up to me asking for $1 to buy candy.

“Nope.” I say.

“UGH, (we say ‘UGH’ a lot in my house) but I’m STARVING!” he whines.

“We just ate.”

Kid you not if he says “Nevermind, I’m saving up for a new video game and a treadmill.”

“A WHAT?”

“A treadmill, ‘cuz they just look like fun!” Tanner runs away to play.

I high-five all the baseball moms.

By the end of week two, they’ve figured something else out: Working together has its perks. They decided to pool their money to rent a movie on Pay-per-View. Then they shared a pack of gum on Saturday. By Sunday, they’ve decided to invest their money in baby chicks. Random, I know. But since they’re all fans of Duck Dynasty, their names are Si, Si, Si, Si, I Don’t Remember, and Si.

So, in summary after two weeks, this is the official status report:

Connor: $0, 2 baby chicks, can’t wait until next Friday when we pay out again.

Delaneigh: -$101, no iPod Touch, 2 baby chicks, has begun to do extra chores so she can earn more money.

Tanner: $12, 2 baby chicks, is considering paying Connor and Delaneigh at a reduced rate to do his chores.

After two weeks, Copenhagen Fella and I have decided this Allowance Experiment might be the best thing EVER!

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The Allowance Experiment


Hey friends, I wanted to share with you our recent experience with giving our kids an allowance.
At dinner a few nights ago, our 3 curtain climbers approached (again) the subject of getting an allowance. Now, in our house–our offspring have everything and then some. And we often complain that they don’t value money. Why do we feel this? Statements such as “it’s not a big deal that I left my sweatshirt at the field trip, it’s just $40.” Or “why can’t I have this bat $150 isn’t that much?” Or my personal favorite as they hold their iPads and iPods and iDon’t Even know what else’s, “you never buy me anything!”
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So, the request was that they each feel that in return for their weekly chores, their homework, and for being overall very good and loving kids we should pay them $5 a week. There are many great reasons why allowance should be given.

Our reply was simply “that’s great, but in reality, we spend SO much money on you regularly that you don’t even pay attention to, that we feel it’s fair for us simply to have these expectations of them.”

(And this is where it gets really good my friends) Their reply? “How about, y’all stop giving us money for things then, and we just use our allowance?”

It was as if the heavens themselves opened up and rays of sunshine fell upon our dinner table. The hubster and I, who–incidentally–has requested I refer to him as ‘Copenhagen Fella’, could not get our words out fast enough. In fact, we might have fought to climb over the table to look them eye-to-eye and say “Done!” And “no take backs!” and “Please sign here at the dotted line.”

Then we pointed and yelled “What’s that?!” as we high-fived when their heads turned away.
To further seal the deal, I even followed up with “we’d be willing to pay $7 a week for that deal.”

The kids, bless their little non-money-valuing hearts, said “Done! And No take backs!”
allowance
Court was not impressed with that. As he calculated $7 per week, x 3 mini-me’s x 4 weeks in a month, I hear something like, “Lady, you know not what you’ve done!”

“Go with it.” I said.

So thus became week one of a new agreement NEVER (as if) again to give them $ other than their allowance.

We all went to bed feeling rich that night. And calm fell upon us as we drifted off to thoughts of what we would be able to buy with all this (as if) wealth.

Think about this my dear friends. And stay tuned for the results from week one.

Do your kids get allowance? Share your thoughts here!

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Asian Children Don’t Have to Exaggerate


As the child of an Asian mother, strict in her ideas and notions, I often have to laugh at the things I hear. Failure to laugh could possibly manifest itself in other ways: depression, rage, substance abuse. Does anyone understand this? I’ve said this before, but if I were a stand-up comedienne, my mother would provide my material. But, she is not unique to her Asian thoughts and words. Case in point:

Earlier this week, I had the notion to stop off at Dillard’s during my lunch hour to look for some new work clothes. Struggling to find what I was looking for, I walked up to the nearest saleswoman, who happened to be an older Asian lady, and made my plea. The following is the result:

I asked the little Asian sales lady for wide-legged dress pants, “you know, like to wear to work.”

She asks “yess mam, wha sigh you nee?”

Smiling, I say I’m a size 4. She walks around the counter and zeroes right in on my hips and says “oh i see whya yu lika da why-leg pan,” she pats her hips and says “you hava some bigguh heah, mus haf why leg!”

I almost embraced her…”Momma?” I’m not sure why this is so funny to me. I’m also not sure why I follow her….

She proceeds to lead me around the store pulling out every pair of dress pants, looking at it, looking at my hips (through her reading glasses perched on the bridge of her nose) and says things like “No, thee ah nah foh you sweehar” and, “you wan to try sigh sick instead sigh foh?”

I feel a Facebook post coming on.

Then. THEN! She comes INTO the dressing room WITH ME and says “I cah see you hava da PROBREM right heah” and pats her hips again. She says “I hava da righ pan foh you, you wahn me get?” I feel so exposed. Oh wait. A strange Asian woman is in the dressing room with me, ‘exposed’ is an understatement.

At this point I am laughing, and many have asked why I even followed her after such insulting statements. My answer is simple: she DID call me ‘sweehar’ and she’s not MY mother.

Speaking of my mother, I thought I’d share a few of the statements I heard from my own dear mom in the last 4 days:

Thursday, I am working from home. She pops in on her way home from the store to bring me salad. Why salad, you ask? Her words, “I bring you sumting good for you, I know you only fee your kid the hoh dog.”

All I can think is “Three mom. I have three kids.” I am beyond arguing her theories on what I feed my kids.

Then she looks and my lovely burlap table runner from Pottery Barn. I love that thing. Burlap is all the rage in case you haven’t noticed from Pinterest this year. It’s subtle, it’s cool, it’s country, it’s adorable.

She picks it up with two fingers, like it’s sick with the Asian Bird Flu or West Nile Virus (both of which she thinks I will get, one because I’m Asian, the other because I don’t use OFF! liberally each time I open the front door).

I digress. Sorry. She picks it up with two fingers and says “Why you haf dis? It look so….POOR!”

Saturday evening, I’m headed out to have dinner with a couple of girlfriends and she pops in on her way home from church. I’m wearing a trendy yellow dress that I picked up from Charming Charlie’s a few months ago. She is wearing a royal purple pantsuit. I’m strangely reminded of Jack Nicholson in Batman.

Standing behind me she says “ZEE-na….why you wear that dress? It so tacky. Cannot belief you buy dat.”

This, my friends, is the epitome of being an American-born child of an Asian mother.