The Journey Begins

When I was 5 years old, I sat my little sisters down in the basement and told them about the love of God for them and that they needed to believe that Jesus was the Son of God who died for them so that they could go to heaven. I told them that they needed to be friends with Jesus starting right then. So, they did. With a successful first missionary experience (that I honestly don’t really remember), I began a life long mission to help others know and grow in faith and friendship with Jesus Christ.

We often had missionaries in our home for dinner when I was very young. I enjoyed hearing stories of where they lived and what they did. I don’t recall any details, but this small thing was something that stuck with me. I would imagine myself traveling around the world and doing all kinds of missionary things… whatever that was. In my mind, missionaries simply flew on planes and then lived in really beautiful, but far away, parts of the world. They didn’t really do much aside from reading or maybe teaching and, of course, they went to church and sang. It seemed the ideal life for me.

One of the church activities that my sisters and I were involved in was Awana. I loved earning my badges by memorizing verses from the Bible. I was really good at it and got lots of candy and had my vest filled up. I still know many of those verses today.

There are some memories from my childhood that I believe have shaped who I am today. I remember people praying at church and so many times hearing amazing answers to those prayers, as people would report back and praise God for the way he worked. Most of all, I remember the ways that my mother trusted God. There were many times when she did not have enough money to cover expenses, but we were always cared for. I know how one day, someone at church stuck a large bill into her coat pocket just when it was most needed. I’ve heard about how for Christmas, my mother didn’t have extra money to but gifts, but miraculously a huge bag of gifts perfect for 3 little girls was left on our porch. There were several families who lovingly came alongside us and cared for us, cut our hair, encouraged and equipped my mother and her girls. And, of course, there’s the story of my favorite blue station wagon. It was beyond it’s last leg, but still barely running. My mom knew the end was near and took it to the car shop to trade it in for a new (to us) vehicle. That little blue car made it all the way into the car lot and broke down in the driveway. God answered prayers and showed himself in mighty ways in my childhood and my mom made sure that my sisters and I saw God’s hand in our lives, protecting and loving us.

This is a big part of who I am and how I started on the journey toward God and His way, no matter what or where.

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Closet Cleanse

I’ve somewhat recently learned about a minimalist or capsule wardrobe.

Step One: Figure out my style. What do I love? What do I feel good in? What do others compliment me on?

Step Two: Purge my closet. Does it fit? Is it appropriate? Do I love it? Will I wear it?

Step Three: Fill in the gaps. What do I want my wardrobe to consist of?

Step Four: Relish and refine.

My style… I don’t really know what my style is. I do know that I like to wear brighter colors, v-necks or boat-necks, scarfs or sweaters/cardigans for winter, cotton dresses or skirts for summer, and soft fabrics. I received a compliment on my coral shirt, striped cardigan, … and my haircut. I’ve received several compliments on a hand-me-down black jacket, and it does look nice, but it might not be my style. I’m ashamed to say that it is too trendy for me. My favorite pieces are really old, a bit classic, but still fun. Unfortunately, most of my favorite pieces need to be replaced. Finding a shirt or skirt that fits well, hangs just right, is comfortable and is reasonably priced is a task that takes more time and energy than I have for shopping. Of course, I think I could really enjoy this process if I were to take along a friend or two.

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Some Good Things

In the last year or so, I’ve adopted some new activities and some old ones too that I think have been very good.

I love to read, and I’ve always tried to take a few minutes before I go to bed, usually, to read. I’ve read several good books and here are a few that I thought were well worth the read.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
All of these books are a little depressing. They are hard to read, not because of the vocabulary or grammar, but because they deal with difficult topics and issues. They are not a happy, life is good, sort of read. They are each the kind of book that will make you think and hopefully motivate some change, to reach out to others, to be stronger in the face of real life, which is not always pretty.

Volunteering regularly at the school has become part of my life, and it has been great to get to know the kids and adults that my kids spend so much of their time with. Driving to and from the different schools is a good time for me to listen to the news and other interesting stories, like Invisibilia.

One of the best things, we’ve done is: Babysitting Co-op. Some friends of ours, who also have three kids, take turns watching all the kids. Every three months, we take a turn to babysit nine kids for 3-1/2 hours one Saturday. The kids get along really well and have so much fun together. We feed them dinner and oversee their fun. For the other two months, Brian and I get to go out for a lovely evening, without the extra cost of a babysitter. It is wonderful!

Cooking club has been one of my new highlights each month. A group of 6 women, who are gourmandes and also happen to enjoy the cooking that goes with the eating of delicious food, gather once a month to dine and discuss. We alternate cooking and take turns hosting in our homes. It is a great time of talking and eating with friends. I didn’t know all of the women when we started, but I have gained several new and wonderful friends through this great club. I think it is probably not a coincidence that several of the women are French.

I am still running and enjoying my Friday cross-training class at the gym. Since it has been almost five years that I’ve been going each week, I’ve become pretty good friends with the teacher and some of the other regulars. We decided it was time to have some fun together outside of our class, so now we are going out monthly as well to chat and relax together.

With a church building, there has been lots of work to do there. So, I have been spending a fair amount of time helping with various odds and ends. Now, I’m going to help with cleaning each week as well. This is a good time for me to think and also be helpful to others. I only wish I found cleaning my home to be as therapeutic as cleaning the new church.

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More or Less

With the start of the new year, 2015, I had every intention of making some resolutions and so on and so forth. But, here it is nearing the middle of February and I am still putting it off in favor of other things to do. Those other things are fun, of course.

I just celebrated my 37th birthday. I would lie and say that I’m 27 again, but my kids keep telling me how old I am and as I’m getting used to hearing it, I’m not as scared as I was by the number that sounds a lot closer to 40 than I ever imagined myself. I still feel 27, and yet I’m a lot smarter and kinder and thoughtful than I was at 27. I think I look pretty close to how I did then, but my eyesight isn’t all that great and I don’t have a lot of time to stand around staring at my reflection in the mirror. So, I could be much prettier.

I think I’ll stick with that version. Smarter, prettier, nicer than ever before.

Let’s hope it just keeps getting better.

Honestly, things don’t get better without a fair amount of work and a decent plan. Now, it’s time to come up with a plan for this year.

More…
This year, I’d like more celebrating the little things. More time spent playing and talking with my family. More relaxing. More working. More thinking of others. More helping. More trust. More clarity. More moving forward. More of God.

Or

Less…
This year, I’d like less complaining and whining (from my kids especially but also from me). Less time wasted on the computer. Less stress over meals and cleaning. Less arguing. Less trying to make myself appear _____ (good, perfect, successful, wise, beautiful, happy.) Less worry. Less doubt. Less figuring things out. Less of me.

The gist is this: more of God and less of me.

That is a pretty lofty goal. And, not very concrete or well-defined. It’s not really measurable or attainable either. But, with God all things are possible. More of God in my daily life might look like more of all the other things I want to see this year. It might also look like what I cannot yet imagine. More of God will definitely look like less of me. More of God might also look like less of things that I might want more of.

So, this year I resolve to pray, serve, teach, love, and live for God and with God, and to forget about me… More or less.

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Start the Day off Right with Breakfast

I love breakfast and I enjoy cooking and baking in the morning. By the end of the day, I’m tired and it’s hard work to make dinner for my family. Research has shown (somewhere, I’m sure) that it’s good for us to eat breakfast. So, here is a list what my family eats for breakfast. I included links to the recipes that I started with, but for almost every recipe I have adapted it to be gluten-free and with much, MUCH less sweetener. I also usually reduce the butter because while we love butter, there is a limit to the amount we need for our healthy brain function. Cereal in our house is a great bedtime snack, but not great for breakfast since we all seem to be hungry again well before it’s time for lunch. We typically have pancakes at least once a week, which we serve with peanut butter and a small amount of maple syrup or jam. Eggs and muffins make regular weekly appearances as well, sometimes served with veggies or fruit, but usually just on their own. Oatmeal, cookies, biscuits, toast and smoothies are in the rotation every other week on average. For gluten-free toast, I sometimes use frozen gluten-free waffles. Occasionally, we will eat leftovers for breakfast, but that is rare. To make breakfast and pack lunches each morning for our family of five, it takes me about an hour. We eat together and then head off in different directions to work productively and efficiently since we are so well nourished. At least, this is what I tell myself.

The Yees enjoy: pancakes, biscuits, scones, pumpkin muffins, almond muffins, blueberry or bran muffins, cinnamon roll muffins, or other muffins, Scottish oatmeal, eggs, smoothies (usually with oatmeal or biscuits instead of honey/jam), hot chocolate and toast, toast and peanut butter, breakfast cookies, baked oatmeal, ricotta pancakes, overnight waffles, french toast, popovers, and fruit with grilling cheese or yogurt and granola.

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Merry Christmas from The Yees 2013

For pictures, visit www.yeesite.com!

The Yee family members are all science aficionados and the lighting our advent candles fits perfectly with that. Eila and Josiah are both happy to show off their reading skills in retelling for us the true story of God who sent his Son to rescue us from all that has gone wrong in this world and to make things right. We love to celebrate Jesus‘ birth and coming to earth, and our home is filled with lots of joy and peace.

We love our extended family and traveling. Summers are great for joining both these passions. Besides trips up north and to Cedar Point with family, we took a driving trip on our own down south to Mammoth Caves, Nashville, Memphis, Oxford, MS and Huntsville, AL for the U.S. Rocket and Space Center too. Brian is still working at ePrize and enjoyed a trip to Cleveland for the Nationals finals for the corporate battle of the bands, where he played at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He tries to fly as often as he can, which isn’t very much. He plays cards with some friends most weeks and has completed lots of little projects around the house. Shannon has continued teaching English as a Second Language at the Westland Library and also co-leading in the children’s program for Bible Study Fellowship. Shannon started running again and even competed in a few races including a half-marathon this fall. She tries to keep the house in order especially since once a week the local Moms In Prayer group meets here. Four-year-old Thaddeus adores being on the go and playing with his friends at BSF and ESL. He loves all things related to sports and whatever his siblings like too. TJ talks nonstop and will tell you all about riding his bike, playing games, his favorite shows, books and characters whether you ask or not. Josiah turned seven this fall and is in now if first grade. Remembering to listen all the time and follow directions has been tough, but he has lots of friends and is doing really well academically. He still loves volcanoes and legos and is super fast on roller blades. Eila is almost nine and is in third grade. She is often lost with her nose in a book, but is happy to play Harry Potter anytime, anywhere. She finished competitive gymnastics in May and has been learning to play the flute and knit in her free time since then.

We are glad to have you as a part of our lives and hope that you will celebrate with us the great of gifts we have in Jesus Christ!

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Oops.

It seems I’ve forgotten that I even had a blog. Oops. I have been busy actually living life rather than commenting on it here, which seems a good choice. Each year I seem to be busier and yet better too. I’ve learned a lot this year. A LOT. I didn’t realize how little I know. Oops. I have been a Christian, with a deep and meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ, for over 20 years. I’ve been in more Bible studies than I can count, but I have never really learned to pray or recognized the value or power in praying. Oops. I was really missing out. My mother was always praying and we experienced amazing miracles through her prayers and yet somehow I still didn’t get it. I know that the Craddicks were praying for me for years and through their prayers, I’m certain that I have been protected from many troubles and been blessed. Still, I didn’t make praying a priority. If I woke up at night, I’d pray. What else do you do in the middle of the night?! But this year, I’m seeing the gift of waking up to pray and the power that God works through our prayers. It’s like He has just been waiting to show a bit of His power and Himself to me. Oops. I was really missing out. I’m sure I still am and will learn amazing things even this week. I hope you won’t wait anymore.

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Goodbye Gymnastics

Eila has only been doing gymnastics for a few years, but she has come pretty far and is very good. I feel like we’ve invested so much time and energy and money that I hate to see it end. Yet, she is no longer interested. She loves the competition, but dreads the practices, which are 12 hours a week. She is so tired and while she loves doing gymnastics, she’s not really interested anymore. She will miss the girls on the team, who are her friends. She will miss the coaches, who have been great in every way. She will miss traveling and competing. She will miss learning new skills. She will miss being super strong and flexible. She won’t miss long days, missed meals, rushed mornings and nights, hard practices, or feeling exhausted and burned out. As a family, we’ll miss all that Eila will miss. I will definitely miss the families that we have come to love and count as friends. It is sad to say goodbye to competitive gymnastics, but we are looking forward to more time to just play and relax. We are excited to spend a weekend at home as a family. We aren’t put out at all about the money that we’ll be saving (or more likely spending differently.) Alas, we say goodbye to gymnastics for now.

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As The Saying Goes

Time flies when you’re having fun. We must be having a lot of fun!

I think we really are, but we’re so busy it’s hard to be certain. School, church, sports (basketball for Josiah and gymnastics for Eila, plus exercising for me too), and home make up the routine of our days. We are trying to keep Sundays as our family day and play games, take a walk, or watch a movie together. Brian has been traveling for work about once a month, so that adds a little variety to the schedule. Eila’s gymnastics competitive season is in full swing and we are traveling at least a few weekends each month with her. In January, we went to Toledo and then on to Columbus to visit my family. It was so much fun for all of us – playing games with our cousins, shooting pumpkins, eating well, and just catching up with each other. At the beginning of February we enjoyed a long weekend in Chicago where Brian and I celebrated all of our special occasions for the year with a most delicious and fabulous meal at Moto. We also loved exploring the Museum of Science and Industry as well as doing a little shopping. One of the highlights of that trip was the stop we made on the way home to visit some dear friends. This weekend, Eila and I will take a girls’ trip to Holland; we’ll probably try to squeeze in a little shopping during our time away.

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Dark as Night

I’ve been trying this new thing for the past few weeks. It’s crazy and really unbelievable that I would attempt this sort of thing. I am a woman who values sleep and does not care very much for the morning. I was also a little girl, teenager, young lady, etc. who had strong opinions regarding the high priority of resting until the last possible moment. For some reason, my children (well, my sons) do not share this love for lazy mornings in bed. Over the past several years, I have been awakened quite regularly at a very early hour by a small boy (or two). Just this past month, I decided to stop fighting this awakening and actually get up and enjoy some morning reflection and prayer time. So, I’m getting up when it still dark as night, because it really is still night, as far as I’m concerned, and enjoying a little quiet time reading the Bible, praying, journaling, and occasionally reminding my boys that it’s still night time, which means quiet time. And honestly, it is going great.

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