Archive for the 'family' Category


Welcome to the planet Logan Xavier Tom.

Logan Birth-1-8

Welcome to the planet.
Welcome to existence.
Everyone’s here.
Everyone’s watching you now.
Everybody waits for you now.
What happens next?

Logan Xavier Tom, Born August 27th 2008, 5:22PM, 8lbs15oz, 21 1/2in long

I comforted. I took pictures. I cried.
Who is this new person in my life? Up until this day I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly love another child as much as I love my firstborn. Now I have some idea.
God help me.

Logan Birth-1-2


Chinese in the Mainstream: Learning from Kai-Lan

Ni Hao Kai-Lan
I sat down to watch a few DVR days worth of Nick Jr’s “Ni Hao Kai-Lan” with my virusy family. It made it’s debut on Chinese New Year. (btw Xin Nian Kuai Le! 農曆新年) Jayden’s picked up more Chinese in one week than he has since he was born. The show is an interesting venture capitalizing on the bilingualism of Dora the Explorer and the play along think along techniques of Blues Clues. What’s more interesting to me is the emotional intelligence that Kai-Lan teaches. During the middle of the episode a character demonstrates some issue and Kai-Lan encourages kids to figure out why they acted in that way and find a solution. I can appreciate that and the Mandarin lessons.

The NYTimes has a good article on the show and its creator, Karen Chau. I found her relationship with her dad quite amusing and all too familiar.

Ms. Chao, who earned a degree in digital art from the University of California, Irvine, in 2000, didn’t quite follow the path her father preferred. “He set me up for an internship at PaineWebber, but I doodled on the cold-call sheets and taped the phone receiver down,” she said. “I wasn’t a very good worker bee, but Dad was ecstatic because I was wearing business outfits with shoulder pads and big pants. In Chinese culture criticism is love. So my dad must really, really love me, because he has a lot to say.”

Kai-Lan is timely. Kids are more influenced by Asian culture than ever before getting beyond Kung-Fu and Moo-Shu Pork of my childhood experience. Makes me think of all those years of Chinese school. To think, my parents were cutting edge then. It’s essential now to learn Chinese in American schools in order to prepare for a global economy.

An estimated 50,000 American children are being taught Mandarin in public schools, with an additional 50,000 studying in private settings. Next month the first 2,000 high school students will take the College Board’s new Advanced Placement exam in Mandarin. The number is small but an indication of big things to come, said Tom Matts, director of the board’s World Languages Initiative. “We expect to see growth in this course unlike any other introduced in the last decade or so.”

Also read Nick Jr on Ni Hao Kai-Lan


Apple Release, A Family Event

I mentioned last week that the Mac OSX Leopard release was going to be a family event.
So, we ventured out to the Apple store in Ardmore, Pa.
It was pouring rain out and yes there was a line around the store. We waited on line for about 20mins and then the cheers began. There was quite a commotion. Hi-fives all around. We nabbed ourselves some event shirts.

So I’ve been playing with the new OS and I really like it but I’m probably not going to install it on my Macbook Pro just yet.
I’ve got too many applications to update and no time…sigh.

Jayden at the Apple Store

Jayden at the Apple Store

Leopard Shirt


Becoming a Bi-Racial Family

Todd and Mason
Read up on my boy Todd Hiestand, pastor of The Well in his process of adopting Mason Carlos Hiestand. He shares the process through a series of letters written to his new son from Guatemala. The process as most adopting parents know is long and disheartening at times. It’s a journey. Different from the experience of carrying a child within your body then facing the labor and birthing but a journey that also gives us insight into the heart of God.
These letters should make you all warm and fuzzy inside. I loved reading them and journeying with my brother through this process.

He and his wife, Melanie, went down to Guatemala this week to pick up their new son and bring him stateside. We joke around about being bi-racial and having that in common now. I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Here’s a snippet of his thoughts,

You do need to know something about the first nine months of your life. Your foster mother loved you deeply (I know that she still does too). For some reason, I didn’t think about how hard it would be for her to pass you off to us. I knew it was going to be for you, but I hadn’t thought about her. For the first nine months of your life she cared for you, bathed you, fed you, held you when you cried and loved you well. And now she has passed you on to us so that we could do the same and make you part of our family. I imagine she finds comfort in knowing that you have changed hands and families for the final time.

Honestly, Mason, I don’t know exactly how to process the role of your foster mom. I can understand your birth mom knowing that in order for you to have a full and best possible life she would have to entrust you to another loving family. I can’t imagine doing that, but I can at least get it a little in my head. But for some reason I think the love of your foster mom fits into a different category. She welcomed you into her home, knowing full well that she would one day have to say goodbye.

todd hiestand, web-designer and pastor.


The Family Structure and Cultural Clash in Chinese / Asian Families

Cultural differences are clearly something that we wrestle with more than ever in society, church and even homelife. Things are not simply black and white. Those who live in the margins know that very well.

djchuang recently highlighted two articles from the gospel herald about Dr. Peter Lam (director of Asian Family Today and father of two second gen children) on improving the communication between Chinese parents and their ABC (or not) children. lam points out the obvious problems or methods employed (to those of us who are ABC) – rebuking, punishment, guilt – and he offers simple advice to parents – encouragement is key – and other biblical sounding counsel.

two articles
Researcher Comments on Cultural-Clash in Chinese Families
Communication Must Improve in Chinese Families, Researcher Says

i also enjoyed this thoughtful post from Nikki Toyama co-contributor of more than serving tea, about boundaries, enmeshment and justice. she poses some great questions that i wrestle over with my non-asian wife. how do you manage boundaries on the mission field, in doing mercy and justicework? do you?

I’m beginning to wonder if boundaries are the luxury of the middle class. Is there such thing as boundaries when you’re doing justice work?

I’ve wondered about boundaries, Asian American families, and Christian discipleship. What therapists call “enmeshment” is a common occurrance in Asian American families. Is it an issue that we need to fight against in the Asian community. Or is family therapy culturally bound.

What some might called “enmeshed” has great characteristics. There’s a wonderful sense of involving everyone, and a corporate identity that is a healthy antidote to a narcissitic individualized model. But it has its problems too.

From my limited vantage point, it comes across as parents who are very upset at a young person’s decision. A lot of emotional pressure lands on the young person to comply to their wishes. I’ve heard extreme cases of threatening suicide unless a young person changes their plans. More common examples are sleepless nights, extreme anxiety, etc. Are the young people just clueless and self-absorbed? Or is the older generation enmeshed? Both?

Is this just how things get done in Asian American households? What’s the Christian response?

What’s cultural? What’s Christian? What’s do we embrace and what do we work against?

Back in 2003, the BBC had featured the cultural clash in The Asian Family.
Listen to their program here.



on a recent trip to chicago, my boy dan of chennergy took this amazing image of my wife and son.
he submitted it to jpg.mag with the following blurb:

7 feet tall by chennergy
Mommy’s pretty tall, but today Jayden’s the tallest one in the family. Mom doesn’t mind handing over the title of the tallest, in fact she could get used to the idea of looking up at her son. She believes as Jayden gets bigger the sky will be the limit, but for now.. seven feet will do.

more images here and samples of chennergy’s work
official chennergy site

bruce reyes-chow had some words for jpg.mag. grrrrr. right on. but it would be nice to get this jpg published….no?


ash wednesday redux

last wednesday we flew out bright and early to phoenix, az from philly. this is our first family vacation – wifey, baby and me. in packing i kept second guessing myself. do i really need to bring all this stuff? do we really need all these toys? i had desperately wanted to simplify my own personal packing. i can’t really simplify jayden’s. the thought of being that family you see in the movies or commercials going to the beach with three kids, the dog and the dad clumsily haulin all the toys, beach chairs, and the cooler from the mini-van, well it just doesn’t sit well with me. not saying i’m there yet but traveling with the family has its challenges.

setting out on our little journey was eventful. first, i had forgotten that i left my mega swiss army knife in my carry on. you can imagine how the TSA felt about that. i miss my knife. the seating arrangement was borderline claustrophobic for me. jayden sits on us the whole 5hour flight. well, sitting would be so heavenly. i didn’t premeditate that part of the flying experience. afterall, this was my first real family vacation. note – jayden is not one of those cuddly little children, angelic as he may appear. upon arrival, the airline had lost a piece of luggage, the most important one containing my wife’s belongings and jayden’s stuff. my patience wore. i wanted to yell. complain. throw a fit. i lugged the luggage we did have to the car rental place to further negotiate about trivial insurance additions and the choice of car (i mean, mini-van) with the youngin behind the counter trying to convince me to rock out in an SUV with the sun-roof. we exit the airport and immediately we were faced with bumper to bumper traffic. i can go on.

jesus called out the leading religious authorities of his time on caring mainly about cleaning up the things on the outside and their relentless pursuit of ritualistic holiness while on the inside continually they are corrupted by greed, self-indulgence, hypocrisy and wickedness.

last wednesday was also ash wednesday which marks the beginning of the lenten season, a journey of focus and reflection of our lord going to the cross. it should draw us deeper into personal discipleship. typically people give up something like candy, meat, or some sort of food that they enjoy as if we have to sacrifice good things to honor the most high. it has become trendy to give up stuff like instant messaging, the internet, tv or some other form of media. some people flog themselves to identify with Christ in his suffering. it seeps into our thinking that we have to be miserable. very often people miss the point. perhaps instead of giving up something or thinking we need to be miserable, we should focus on adding things – things that make us more like Jesus, getting closer to him, exalting him. put your christ on.

colossians 3:12-14
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

philippians 2:1-18
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out[c] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.


snow day

jayden had his first snow day!
unfortunately we don’t think he liked it very much because he couldn’t really stand firm.

snow day! snow day!

we’re going on vacation!!! this is our first family vacation! heading out to phoenix, az to visit jayden’s little cousin theo. btw it’s in the 70s out there. sunshine and blue skies here we come.


christmas wishes from our family2u

lauren, jayden and i would like to wish everyone a merry merry christmas from philly
Jayden Christmas Greeting

surely you’ve got what you wanted for christmas.
as for me, the holidays are just one long marathon. i’ve hit the wall.
can’t wait to just sit still and rub my belly or maybe jayden’s.

i shared a message with some of the kids in our community through an SAT program this past week and expressed my dislike for christmastime. i really don’t like it, even the gift giving. minus the value of the gift, often we’re merely just exchanging material or we give out of obligation. we “exchange” gifts.
by definition, a gift cannot be exchanged. it’s freely given with no strings attached. how often do you experience the generosity? the good will? the sacrifice of the christmas spirit?
when it comes to gift-giving we’ve tried to give generously and graciously and it’s oh so very difficult. there’s so much involved for me. many times it takes knowing what someone really needs, or what they really want. i want to give in order to make their life better. i truly wish to just give and for the receivers to simply know that i love them. this takes a lot of work and effort. end jabber.
anyways, we hope that this has been a great time of generosity and good will for you.


jayden turns one!

our little boy turned one today. it’s mindblowing to me how he wasn’t there a year ago and now we can’t imagine how life ever’d be without him. i’m still learning every moment of the day how to love this boy. there are things that he does that are quite destructive to himself, others, things, etc. and he doesn’t realize it. and it’s so hard at these times but it is then that i must remind myself how much i love this kid, how wonderful he is… afterall, he has no clue what he’s really doing. i guess this is a small glimpse into the heart of our father in heaven. as jesus hung on the cross, he prayed, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. I say, Amen.

look at this tough boy. we decided for his birthday he’d rock a new do.
IMG_1951 IMG_1944

re-enacting life one year ago. . .kinda. . .
IMG_1863 IMG_1868edit

[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.


Feed the Ego

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