Week 17 of Shelter in Place, COVID lock down

I cannot fathom it’s been 17 weeks of sheltering in place. It seems like I will blink, and we will be at a year, where America is a place of civil unrest and civil war. No, the world will not return to life as it was. I watch the world around me, the people, and I see the struggle. The devil has set a sneaky subversive and still aggressive sneaky form of hate and fear ripping across the land.

I admit, I feel tired today. I think I should charge the government back fees for the playgrounds I cannot attend. My health club owes me money for services we cannot obtain.

The things that steal my energy are the spiritual warfare issues that exist, even in my own home, plus things which are just natural and normal… like the disobedience of my children, my own struggle with self-control, the blessings of children scrambling onto my lap that make it hard to type, repetitious spills that make me stop and clean something I just finished cleaning already, eating sugar, interrupted thoughts because four or five people talk at the same time to me… It is hard to teach to short attention spans, competition and tattling among siblings, and different developmental needs which compete for my attention.

Yet, here stands the truth: Jesus, Your blood has totally justified us in Your sight. Your name is Faithful and True, and You call us Your redeemed, and Your beloved. Minister to us this week, speak over our identities and Your Bride. Help us be clothed in robes of pure white, in acts of righteousness. We live in the center of the river of life, which is crystal clear, and flows both from You, Abba, and also Your Son Jesus Christ. On both sides of us is the Tree of Life, and from it, we bear fruit in every season, every month. The washing of Your Word cleanses us daily, and we submit to the streams of healing in Your Spirit. And Lord, also, we take the leaves from the Tree which are for healing. We claim healing over our own identities, our own marriages, our relationships towards ourselves, our spouses, our children, our extended family members and our friends. We declare the Peace of God which surpasses understanding and guards our hearts and our minds over ourselves and our homes. The battle in the mind ends now. You stand in victory and You have won the battle, Lord. You have already delivered us from any evil and no weapon formed against us can prosper. Great is Your remnant. We are Your Remnant, Your chosen few. We persist. We continue to stand and fight. This victory belongs to You alone. Amen.

When I realize the truth, I am all better. I have sequestered myself in my room for a recharge. Then we are going up the mountain to praise God. He deserves our affection, our time, and our love. We will seek Him first. This is how we fight our battles.

Praying for justice

I am adopted. My siblings are from all over the world (Bogota, Korea, Miami, and there’s one biological one too), and some of my cousins are too (Romania). Half my family is Jewish, some are Christian, some are agnostic or atheist. I always thought, and said, if I adopted a kid, I would adopt a son who was black. Why? The sparkle in his eyes. I grew up saying I wanted to complete the rainbow of my family. But I know, if God gave him to me, I would worry about him just like every other mama of a beautifully dark-toned boy. So I feel glad that God gave me the gift of diversity.

And I’ve received comments about race my whole life. I’ve dealt with assumptions people make my whole life.

I was made fun of to the point of tears every day for a year when I first moved to the South because I looked different, I was younger than the class, and I was adopted. I was only 7. There were very few asians in the class… just two. And only one girl from Pakistan. I remember when a new boy moved from China, and how kids made fun of him because he didn’t understand english and had different gestures. It made me long to look different at that time. I am healed of that issue now.

I used to be told I should learn Korean to honor who I am… who is someone else to tell me who I am?

I was a teenager going out of Baskin Robbins by my home – I was 16 or 17 years old… this is while my father was still alive. A man assumed things about my family – I was alone there and I had to deal with him alone – and became very aggressive, though only with words and intimidation. He was so close and so loud he was spitting into the window of my car as he yelled. I told him to back up or else I was going to roll over his foot. I told him my family members fought in the Vietnam War. Somehow, though it was a blur, I gave him the phone number of my home to call my parents, OR maybe I asked for his number so he could deal with my parents – I can’t quite recall. NOT A SMART MOVE.

I drove home shaking and crying that day. But he actually called my parents. Never before have I heard my parents curse someone out and threaten them like that – I never heard them say words like that. Tears come to my eyes now recalling the memory and my parent’s hand of protection.

Asians, in particular, are often curious about why I have no accent, who raised me, who did I marry. Do I work. Is my husband white… they just straight up ask me if he is white. They ask many questions and I have only come to the assumption maybe they are trying to find out about how hard or easy my life might be.

For anyone looking in on my family and kids, you can see my kids have a mixed background. If I’m not with my husband, people sometimes say things like “oh your kids are mixed aren’t they?” Why do my kids have to hear that label? My kids were created in God’s image, and they are gorgeous because their hearts are beautiful.

I learned this past year, that my mother in law was worried about how her parents would received me because she identified her parents as racist. She was glad they loved me and nothing ill was said. That hurts though. But I know her mother loved me, because she told me she did.

I know my brother has told me things people assume about him based on how he looks. Not only is he from Bogota, he also has a huge beard and unkept hair a lot of the time. My heart hurts for him, for those times someone stupidly and arrogantly decides to assume something about him and throws an arrow into his heart.

I have friends who have have experiences too, of course, and they have felt hatred, assumption, bias, pretense, violence, you name it. And they haven’t deserved it. I think about how much they are worrying about them, their men, and their kids, and how much their kids are worrying.

And now I am thinking about George Floyd and all the other people who experience any form of vile and detestable ‘ism’ in our nation. And my heart goes out to your families. I am praying for JUSTICE, and for ministering angels to go comfort the families. And for angels of warfare to unleash punishment where it should be dealt.

I am also thinking about my brother in law and cousins who are or were police officers, and how humans are reacting and making assumptions about law enforcement. And I am sad. Because many and most of them are good, and they make a sacrifice to do their jobs. And it’s a scary time for them too.

So my heart is heavy and I am just praying.

I came back because this is incomplete: if my friends, especially my black friends have suggestions that could help, in proactive ways, please comment. Help. Explain your feelings. Tell others what can be done.

You have been created in His image. He sees the injustices. I am praying for justice.

Zoom an Expert: Professor Appel – What does a scientist/engineer do?

Please post your questions in the evite! Grab some pancakes from mom, and join us in another Webex an Expert call. This time with a Professor!

Dr. Appel is answering the question: What does a Scientist/ Engineer do?!

“Dr. Appel is currently a professor at Stanford in the department of materials science and engineering. All of his degrees are in chemistry. He has studied at Cal Poly in SLO for his undergraduate and masters and did his PHD at Cambridge University in England. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. The main focus of his lab is to make new treatments for infectious diseases, cancer and diabetes.”

Dr. Appel is no stranger to high achievement, honors and awards for his work! See more about Dr. Appel here!

We will NOT be discussing the Corona Virus! 

SOME HOUSEKEEPING: 

  • Zoom details will be sent at 9:30am via Evite only.
  • Post your questions in evite, please!
  • All the right safety precautions have been taken.
  • Audience includes kids elementary aged and down.

RSVP here: http://evite.me/X7mCJVghcw

Zoom an Expert: The Heart of Musical Worship

Please post your questions in the evite! Grab some pancakes from mom, and join us in another Webex an Expert call. This time with a blossoming worship leader! 

Please invite your children and your friends’ children to Zoom an Expert: The Heart of Musical Worship – Worship is more than just the musical side. And musical is more than just singing and playing instruments!

This talk is geared for early elementary students, and would benefit those all the way up to college as well!

Christopher just finished his 4th year in college at Biola University as a Vocal performance major. He went to public school until he was in 7th grade. Christopher had struggles with dyslexia, ADD, and limited working memory. He hated singing and dancing when he was little. 

But God had his own plans. Since then God has placed him in senior ministry, onstage with church and school musicals, and even onstage with Andrea Bocelli. But his passion is in Worship Ministry. 

Christopher has He has been leading worship since he was 14 years old. And now he has led worship at 4 different churches: Lord’s Grace Christian Church, Valley Church, Westgate Church, and Menlo Church. 

In addition, he has led worship for youth groups and youth camps. He currently leads his own worship band at Biola and disciples high school and college students in the areas of worship ministry.

RSVP Here: http://evite.me/xRFnxgwg7h

The Blessing (Cover) | WestGate Church
West Valley College – Biola University Conservatory of Music | Christopher Cuyle, tenor

Hands

It’s my 8th ever Mother’s Day where my family celebrates, decorates, and rewards me with signs of affection, anecdotes of favor, and moments of joy.

I hope for a day void of sibling rivalry, selfishness, and – let’s be honest – work!

For some of us this day is hard. It’s hard for us, in a sense too, because our mothers are physically far away. But some of you have longed for your mother’s embrace for many years now. This is how I feel on Father’s Day, or every day since I kissed my dad during our last embrace in 2000. And for others of you, you are longing for a child who has either gone astray; or you are longing for a child who never breathed a human breath; or for a child who you nurtured and embraced, taught, and served, and loved for many years, but God has chosen to bring to Himself far too quickly than your heart could bare.

Truthfully, the title of motherhood initiates you into the secret club of life’s deepest things. We expose and open ourselves to the most vulnerable of places. We are in a position where our families ask for our continual self-sacrifice where our old dreams and values go to die, and God plants new dreams and values. This is hard for many of us.

The nirvana of motherhood lies in the center of life’s storms, in the eye of the tornado, in the impossible place where we are asked to proceed from a place of total peace and surrender in the midst of storms. We are asked to wield a sword of love, and wave a banner of love. We are requested to lay down in areas of self-care sometimes, work when we are ill, rise up when we are beat down, give away the warm food we finally just prepared for ourselves, and smile when we are weary. How can we do the impossible?

I am so grateful I can throw my weight on Jesus Christ, and ask His Spirit for guidance, protection, helps of all kinds, and wisdom. Sometimes my children ask me for dessert, and I give them a chore. And sometimes my children have earned the loss of privilege but I knew they needed a hug instead and a gentle “try again”. How could we discern this without the wisdom of God?

I lift up my hands to my Father, who is abundantly gracious to crown my head with joy, and fill my hands with the soft bodies of my babies. I am abundantly and exceedingly loved.

I hope you feel the boon of the Holy Spirit today. He makes my hands to work hard, but He also supplies the rest!!

Here are the hands of my beautiful mama, who taught me how to do this motherhood thing the right way.

Save the Date!

Active Mamas continues to host Webex an Expert series, though we have gone through a few name changes… Zoom a Scientist, Zoom an Expert, Webex an Expert… because… technology.

Save the Date, here are our topics:

  • 4/10 Pastor at 10am PT / 1pm ET, RSVP here
  • 4/17 Prayer Warrior at 10am PT/ 1pm ET, RSVP here
  • 4/22 Ecologist at 2pm PT / 5pm ET, RSVP here
  • 5/1 Army Major, Blackhawk Pilot & OPA, RSVP here
  • 5/8 Auto Expert, RSVP here
  • 5/15 College student, exact topic to come!

We have in the works, my friend who is a pediatrician agreed to chat with us about her world (and NOT covid! We have had enough of that, haven’t we?)

Love, Robyn

Robyn’s Sheltering-In Survival Guide

I have so much peace during our time sheltering in. I think this is why.

Priorities for homeschool include making very proactive efforts to put peace at the top of the list. This means resting in the Lord with lots of worship and prayer, and showing lots of grace right now.

I have UPPED the chore load for the whole family, even the three year old!

School is more of a suggestion than a requirement. Right now my big focus is on telling my children the Easter story over and over and over again, preparing for our Passover Seder, and Easter itself. Of all the holidays, this is our most important one, following by Christmas, and then Thanksgiving. But both before AND after Easter, during this “coronavirus crisis”, my focus is on friendship for the children and for parents, and regular time with friends online for both them and me is helping that. I make their online play dates educational, but also fun.

We go for walks and spend big chunks of time outside, even in the rain. I even folded my last chunk of, what I’ve been calling, “decorum” and wearing (what I call) “back-brella” – literally, a wearable umbrella. That way I can push a stroller without hurting my wrist, and it helps!

I accept the MULTIPLE messes that happen daily, and sweep SEVERAL times a day, because of so much foot traffic. If something spills, I interpret that as a sign that Jesus wants me to mop the floor and then I just obey.

A deep breath takes me a long way in earning more self-control. “Sniff a flower, blow a candle, sniff a flower, blow a candle.”

We have a routine.

We make a point to laugh.

We drive places to see beautiful things… nature. Open skies. Green stuff. Sunshine.

We are celebrating a lot, anything we can, and we are doing it with flare. This is especially important for the holidays. Think ahead about the holidays that are really important to you, and make decorations to celebrate it. The decorations don’t have to be expensive. They just have to be meaningful to you, personally. Think about words, colors, smells, symbols, textures, lighting, timing, gifts, touches, arrangement, and landmarks that are memorable for you, and create a memory. Life is happening in a NEW way right now. I find it more helpful to pour my mourning into this creative path that puts my family on a highway of thanksgiving and hope.

We are looking for opportunities to give, and trying our best to follow the Holy Spirit’s instructions. This makes all the difference.

Well, I hope you find something helpful for your own life here! Give me your tips in a comment, please!!

Zoom a Scientist: Ecology

Zoom a Scientist opportunity is being formed right now with an ecologist. We need questions ahead of time here – comment on this blog, please.

Dr. Munson says:

“I am a scientist who works on both trees and soil in forests, and a little on microbes in the soil! I have been matched with your classroom for skype a scientist. My work focuses on cycles of «nutrients», that are the food for trees, found in the soil. Please have your students prepare questions before our session so we have plenty to talk about. I would prefer if you e-mail me the questions your students have prepared before our session so I know the kinds of things your class is interested in. 

I am available most afternoons this week or next.”


I’m working on setting up a time with Alison. Thanks!

Love,

Robyn Cooper

Zoom an Expert: Auto

Friday: Auto Expert!

Come meet Mr. Jennings!

Do you love legos and matchbox cars? Building and designing? Seeing how things work? So did Mr. Jennings as a child! Now, he is it a complete expert of auto repair and restoration.

Mr. Jennings was given a discarded Italian car when he was 14. He knew he would have to get it running and looking good before he turned 16 if he wanted to have a car to drive. He took it apart, reassembled it, got it running, painted it, restored the interior and drove it to school. When he was 18, he took over an auto repair business that was failing and turned it into an Italian restoration and repair business that’s now been in operation 25 years!

He encourages kids to do what they love and perhaps they too can get paid to have their favorite hobby.

RSVP here! http://evite.me/wHrbR4hzEz