Archive for mothering

Walk in the Light You Have

It is easy to keep things the way they are and to maintain a certain level of predictability. Transitions, on the other hand, are very difficult. Even little changes in the course of a day, like coming home from work (or having your spouse come back after being at work,) can be tricky to manage well. That is why so many of us prefer to stick it out in a less than ideal situation rather than leave and risk something worse or deal with the changes. This is really true for me. I don’t like change.

It is hard and unsettling and it is especially challenging as a mother watching your kids struggle through a hard transition and not be able to help in any way.
Yet, I also know that when there is something that needs to change, I cannot sit by and just let things continue as though there is nothing wrong. I am reminded of one of my closest friends who has been walking in the light she has. She learned of some abuse happening in a neighbor family and instead of just minding her own business and protecting her family, she has been taking steps to protect those vulnerable children (and her own kids too!) There have been very unpleasant and costly consequences for her and her family, but she continues to push forward, praying and trusting God to lead her and to bring true justice and complete freedom, healing, and protection for those kids. It is the right thing to do, but I don’t know if most people would have taken that first step in her place, or continued once things started getting tough and personal. She keeps taking one step at a time, walking by faith in the light she has, and maybe (more than) a little afraid of the darkness just beyond that light.

Taking action to change things is a long and treacherous path for us creatures who love comfort and pleasure. Walking in the light we have means that we don’t have all the answers and yet we do what we know and can do. We don’t know that it will all turn out fine in the end or that we will “fix” anything, but we do the next thing.

Doing the next thing, taking the next step of obedience to God, praying the next bold prayer, moving to the next phase of life, trusting God for the next minute… This is hard and wonderful. Walking in the light we have means moving forward one step at a time – with fear and faith together. This is my life right now. I love it and hate it all at once. I am full of fear for my kids and yet full of faith in my God who loves them more than I can imagine. I am full of fear for the future and another move that will disrupt our newly established routines and full of faith that He who has called us, goes with us and equips us. I know that I must keep taking the next step but with my eyes not on the things around me.

La Belle Étoile

La Belle Étoile

As I am living in the Alps surrounded by mountains, I cannot help but be reminded of Psalm 121 (NIV):

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

These truths are reinforced each day as I see God’s protection. Eila recently had a really bad bike accident. A car was backing out into her and she was thrown from her bike into the road where she flipped over on her head. Miraculously, there were no other cars driving down the road at that time. She was able to get up and walk away with no marks at all. I can hardly describe my feelings as I watched this happen.

Les Alpes

The Creator of the Universe and of the mountains so strong and imposing around me is my helper, my strength and my guide. He is the Light of Life. He gives light for the next step so that I can walk in the light I have.

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And So It Begins…

Eila may only be 11 years old, but she is already starting to be all private and moody. She likes to have headphones in pretty much all the time, even if she isn’t listening to anything. Eila is getting taller and taller, soon she will catch me. She wants to spend time with friends and ride the bus to be with the other kids rather than get a ride to school with her parents.

The tween years are upon us. I don’t think I’m ready.

She still likes hugs and cuddles though, so all hope is not yet lost. Thankfully!

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Summer of Family Fun

I try to be intentional to spend quality time with family and friends. It is important to me that our immediate, nuclear family spend time together. It is also important that we enjoy time with extended family. That becomes more difficult as we all spread out around the country (and soon – the world. Yikes!)

This summer we have had one family fun time after another and it has been really wonderful.

We started off with a wedding for one of my cousins (actually his daughter) in Minneapolis. Then we had a family vacation, tent camping and hiking, exploring and laughing in Michigan’s U.P. We saw the Porcupine Mountains (no Michigan does not really have mountains, but there are a lot of forests!) and Pictured Rocks. We climbed a lighthouse and went on a boat cruise. We swam and skipped rocks in Lake Superior and swatted millions of mosquitos. We spent a few days with friends in Traverse City (so much fun!!) and then made it home in time for the kids to have their own adventures.

After time apart, we were so glad to be reunited and had our annual trips with the Janes’ side and the Yee side. For as long as the kids can remember, we’ve spent a very long weekend at Aunt TeeTee’s, enjoying time with cousins and on the lake. There are official games and lots of snacks and always an ice cream trip too. Then, we went the following weekend to Kalahari with the other side cousins, aunt, uncle and Grandma Karen. They had so much fun at the water park and the arcade and the zip line and the hi-ropes course and even just being in the hotel room. These trips are the highlight for all of us over the summer.

The big trips aren’t the only fun we’ve had this summer. We also enjoyed several trips to the library, the zoo, the village, swim clubs, air shows, and shopping. Our regular routine included plenty of gym time and some church time as well as a few playdates. We didn’t have quite enough trips to the farm (at Miss Barb’s or Walls Nuts Woods), but it’s not too late yet!

We are starting our fall bucket list though as Labor Day and the return to school in quickly approaching… cider mills, hikes through the woods with fall colors, and football games are at the top.

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Dinner Help

Lately, Josiah has not been eating as much, which I’m sure will change again, but for now he basically says that he doesn’t want to eat. He claimed to not like the dinners prepared for him. After several days of this, we offered him a new option: make the dinners that he would like. He jumped at the chance and has made dinner so that he can get more of what he wants.

So far from Chef Joe, we’ve enjoyed Mandarin Chicken, cereal, pizza, macaroni and cheese (from the box), Swedish meatballs, sausage, biscuits & gravy (homemade), spaghetti and sauce (from jar) and breakfast casserole (Mrs. Meagher’s recipe – from my wedding shower cookbook!).

These choices may not all be the healthiest or most nutritious, but Josiah seems pretty happy. He is learning some valuable skills in the process too.

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Revelations

I am a girl with many questions. I am also a girl who likes to have all the answers. Unfortunately, I am in a really uncomfortable place for me… a place with many unknowns and therefore lots of potential for growth or failure. Failure is my biggest fear. My husband and I have known for a while that God was calling us to go, to serve full-time in ministry. We have been following God’s lead, one step at a time. Last September, when I began the Revelation study with Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF), I was praying for a revelation of my own, where God would answer all my questions about the future. Well, God has made many things clear in this study of Revelation. For me, the biggest revelation has been Jesus! This study has been a Revelation of Jesus first and foremost.

If I have all the answers, I will rely on myself, but God has opened a huge door and called me, my husband and our three kids to go to Yaoundé, Cameroon – francophone Africa. That was one question answered, but it led to so many more questions with so much potential to fail. Every moment, I have to make a choice: will I freak out because the circumstances around me are far beyond my abilities or will I look at Jesus and trust Him.

Revelation has made me focus on Jesus. Each week at BSF, I’ve learned lessons about God’s sovereignty and power to control everything. Jesus is worthy of praise and complete trust too, even in the midst of seeming chaos. Jesus is victorious, king, lamb, lion, sacrifice, worthy, faithful, true, mighty, perfect, bright morning star, holy, above all, reigning, powerful, just, merciful, living, gracious, beckoning… and so much more. As a children’s leader, each week we ask the kids questions after the story. The kids know that the answer is Jesus. We ask: Who is perfect? Jesus. Who judges rightly? Jesus. Who reigns in heaven? Jesus. Who is coming again? Jesus. This is what I needed to be able to understand the book of Revelation. It isn’t about all the symbols and judgement, though that is in there; it is about Jesus.

The very first week from lecture, I wrote down: “Follow God’s dreams, not mine. Don’t focus on what ‘seems’ to be, but on Jesus.” What seems to be is not always what is… It seems like I am in this awful place where I feel so lost and out of control. I am full of fear. I am overwhelmed and failing as a mother, wife, friend, missionary, children’s leader. I see how I am not measuring up and it seems so hopeless.

I am working hard at developing a partnership team and obeying God’s call, and I am tired, but in my weakest moments and when I keep messing it all up, God keeps picking me up and calling me back to Him. God wants me not to focus on me, but on Jesus. I dream of being perfect and having everything just so. God’s dreams will get me there one day, but His dreams are taking me a different way than I’m inclined to go.

So, the biggest lesson I’ve learned was stating succinctly in the intro to this study, and then repeated each week. “Keep your eyes on the Lamb!” When I have my Jesus in sight, my doubts and questions lead me to worship, not worry. With Jesus in His rightful, central place (Rev. 5:6), I say “Yes, Lord” no matter the cost and am able to take the next step forward in faith, not fear. I can see that the wild place (Rev. 12:6) may really be the safest place because that is where Jesus is.

It seems so hard at times. But then, I look at Jesus and I see all that He has done, eternally, for me and I see Him at work, here and now in the little details. My kids are sharing their deep thoughts openly and asking for prayer. My husband is talking to strangers and friends alike, confidently – if you know him, you understand that this is a huge God-act.

Our financially partnership team for our Wycliffe ministry is at over 60% and that is God’s work. I am humbled to be part of what He is doing. God has brought me from not knowing where or what He was asking me to do last September – to clearly calling me and my family to Cameroon in December, to providing what I need, at exactly the right moment for His glory now. I am often full of tears and fears, but God is so gracious and I’m learning to trust Him each moment and to focus on Jesus, following His dreams not mine.

I don’t like being in this uncomfortable place, not knowing all the answers with great risks, but I know Jesus and with Him, I can take the next baby step. I can be bold and look at Jesus. As I confess my self-focus and repent, my focus changes to Jesus. Jesus is the answer for life and for all my questions too!

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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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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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