Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a warm and toasty Christmas!

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is this blog dead?

Last month, we were prompted by our web hosting service that it was time to renew our account. We paid to keep this space alive, just barely alive. I seem to have this approach to a number of responsibilities in my life. The once lush grass is being taken over by crabgrass and assorted weeds. Real grass is in there, guys! Just enough so that I can call it a lawn. Last summer’s tomato plants, yes they did grow and produce a few tomatoes despite my inconsistent watering. My car–yes it’s still running. Sure the “check engine” light is on but it does that a lot these days. And didn’t my mechanic say it was ok? But I digress.

This blog is sadly clinging to life. If it could feel, I’m pretty sure it would need to see a therapist regarding my parental neglect. Blogs, what happened? Do we all just prefer Facebook to post snippets of our lives? The quicker, simpler forms of sharing win over maintaining a blog. It seems that if you keep up a blog these days, you (1) have written or are writing a book or (2) have your business/employment tied to blog traffic. Am I alone in noticing this?

So what about this blog? Why do I allow it to limp along? When I write, it is more than sitting down and banging out a few paragraphs. I have family life to share, thoughts that have been percolating, experiences to retell–when I write, I share myself. I’ve spent a few years wondering about the “public” me. I live a life that is open to a wider community. I have to decide what, where and how should I share of myself. It is risky. If I reveal myself, I am vulnerable.

Do I want to be vulnerable? That is an uncomfortable question to answer. (Just try that at your next dinner party.) No, I don’t often want to be vulnerable. Should I and do I? Yes, most certainly just not here. Will that change? Maybe. I’m thinking about it, especially since we just paid to keep this blog alive. 🙂

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new expressions

We are experiencing something new around here: having only one kid in the house. Kids number two and three are spending 4 weeks with their grandparents. The story of why they are there is a bit involved. The quick version is that they are getting treatment for their allergies–in southern California while also getting spoiled silly. Kid number one is home with us attending Project Destiny. He’s having a great time as well. (Don’t tell kids 2 and 3 but he’s getting more video game time and ice cream as well.)

Heading into the summer, we tried to figure out the best way for the five of us to keep in touch. Thanks to quite a bit of hand-me-down technology, we were able to set up everyone up with a device to text messages to the family. I will admit I was skeptical at first but it has turned out to be a fun way to update each other. Mixed in with the loving insults and occasional toilet humor, we are actually keeping in touch. One kid will share details of his day freely while another might need some prompting. One kid is more sarcastic than the others (ok, they are all sarcastic). My favorite text of late was, “Run really fast into my fist.” It shouldn’t surprise me that this is a new arena of expression for each personality. It’s both hilarious and endearing.

We are at the mid-point of this 4 week situation. I’m looking forward to having a full house again but I might miss those text messages.

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Happy Easter 2014!

Easter 2014 Liao
From our family to yours.

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Today I spent a glorious Saturday at home. At this stage of life, we are rushing about from event to event, activity to activity. (Unless there are blizzard conditions, and can we not talk about winter right now?) I have a long list of “I’ll get to it” tasks and one of them involved melting candle wax. Really. So as I stood by the stove waiting for the wax to melt, I had time for reflection–reflection while making sure I didn’t set the house on fire.

I’ve read a little here and there about what people think about blogging. Is it really uncool now? Should we instead be only sending each other photos and blurbs that evaporate or shuffle quickly down feeds? Do I need to blog? What do I really have to say anyhow? Do people read blogs anymore? Are blogs aging out as other forms of social media grow? Or are we all moving to all forms of social media? If you split your attention to your six or more forms of social media, can you achieve nuclear fission?

I have no idea and I’m not sure where this little space will go either. But I do like saying “hi.” So if you are still out there, “Howdy!”

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Merry Christmas to you!

Liao family 2013
I return to this neglected space to wish you a hope-filled Christmas and a joyful holiday. We’re off to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Hope to see you in the new year!

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Summer has ended, school has begun and I get a small dose of quiet around the house. After a great August full of nature: beaches, lighthouses, tents, fishing, dirt, rocks, sticks and fire. We started the fall with another sort of nature: seasonal allergies.

More seriously, early September is when I get small snatches of quiet sandwiched between trips to the bus stop. Soon these pauses will be filled with driving to activities, longer work days and meetings–all wonderful things to look forward to. Days like these are few so I’m off to enjoy this one!

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house still standing after roasting marshmallows with six boys

Alternate title: celebrating Evan’s 11th birthday

Last weekend, we had a low-key birthday celebration for Evan’s 11th birthday. He invited a few friends over for dinner, roasted marshmallows and general boy silliness. I’m so proud/relieved that six boys age 11 and under were able to simultaneously roast marshmallows without burning down the house. Unfortunately, the marshmallows didn’t enjoy the same fate as the house. The boys had a good time and hopefully made some memories.

I should also note that e returned safely from his mission trip to Sweden. He hasn’t had much down time since the trip but hopefully he can share some thoughts at some point. It was his last trip in this capacity for now and leaving Sweden felt different from previous years.

Summer is halfway over. This is the last week of Project Destiny. Evan’s really enjoyed himself and he’s begun the transition into youth ministry. He’s started attending Friday fellowship and will be going to Summer Teen Conference. At the same time, e is transitioning out of youth ministry. We are so glad that Calvin is now the Student Ministry Director. Not because it takes responsibilities off e’s plate but that the youth and college ministries will be in the capable hands of someone who can dedicate his full time and attention to them.

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Ah yes, Sweden

Dear friends & family,

Thanks for those who have taken interest in my ministry in Sweden. Many have asked for ways to pray for me and others from my church who have come to serve alongside our Nordic brothers and sisters. Here are some requests/updates:

– Training Week complete; thank the Lord. I have given 5 sermons plus about 4 additional hours of training content for the past week. I’m thankful my voice held out (as I was sick), and that it seems like people were aided by the material
– Pray for my remaining 11 sermons. I am preaching 1-2 times a day for the rest of our time at the Summer Camp. Pray that the Bible would impact people’s lives in a positive way for Christ.
– Pray for my family. I miss them, and I am grateful that friends have looked in on them and for Karen taking care of all three boys by herself.
– Pray for my mixture of emotions. I am so grateful for the privilege of returning to partner with and befriend many folks here. We still have over one week left in this trip, but I do not have plans to return next year. So this may be the last time I fellowship with most of these people in this life. May God remind me of the hope in Heaven where we can continue to fellowship.
– Pray that people would know and experience God more, that they may respond in love, obedience, and holiness.

Thanks for reading and for praying!

Avesta, Sweden

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hey did we mention Sweden?

Hi friends!

I’m popping in to ask for prayer as e is away on another mission trip. This time he is in Sweden training, speaking and ministering to the Chinese from Nordic countries. This trip is very much like the last couple trips. If you didn’t hear about them before, this post will give you quick overview of what e is doing there. This is his second full day in training. Please pray for him as he came down with a cold or flu on the trip over. Hopefully, he will have an opportunity to share how things are going and what he’s been up to in Sweden.

This year’s mission trip to Sweden has one notable change: the kids and I stayed home. We loved our trips to Sweden and the people we met so we are a bit sad about it. At the same time we were excited. You see, this year Evan is attending Project Destiny. If you’ve kept up with our family at all in the past decade, you’ll know that Project Destiny (PD) has been a big part of our lives. Officially and unofficially, directly and indirectly, e and I have supported PD for most of our time in Boston. It is a summer day camp for middle schoolers, serving the community right around our church. It is often the first contact these kids have with BCEC, God and the Bible. We are so excited and feel honored that we get to send our soon-to-be middle schooler to PD. I think that Evan feels the same way after just a couple days.

me: How was PD today?
Evan: (deadpan) Good.
me: What was good?
Evan: (still deadpan) Everything.
me: So are you looking forward to tomorrow?
Evan: (deadpan shrug) I guess.

Can’t you feel the excitement? Joking aside, he’s having a great time. (But that is exactly the conversation I had with him.) We are looking forward to what God will do this summer.

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