edlina & the lynns
Joyce was back for a few weeks and it is always great to have loved ones return. The Lynns were very blessed to have Aunty Joyce around and did all the funny things with them. It must be a treasure hidden in their spirit when Aunty Joyce dated each of them individually the Thursday before she left for New York again. The entire day was taking turns dating Aunty Joyce and climax at the Chocolate Boutique for all. Lynns were super glad and Aunty Joyce...oh well, she was exhausted, I am pretty sure.

They certainly look forward to her next return.
edlina & the lynns
"Mum, you promise..."

It is a common statement I hear from Chrisa at home. Children remembers promises especially this child. She sures remembers details to what she's been promised. We won't make any commitment to her if we know we can't measure up to it. As parents, we know every word spoken to a child needs to be kept lest we break their spirit. There's power in a promise. Unfortunately, our human nature has flaws even in parenting. We need reminders.

God promises us too. He promises life's fullness and abundance when we walk with him closely. That sure gives hope. Life without hope is not worth living. The difference - God doesn't need reminders. He remembers them all.

Just two days ago, I talked to God as if he has senile dementia...that I need to remind him of all he had spoken and promised. Believing in the promises and living it out to see them been fulfilled is quite a different thing. But if as a mum, I ensure I keep those promises to my children, there's no reason why God won't keep his. The Malay saying, "Lelaki pandai membuat seribu janji, tapi satu pun tidak dapat ditepati" (sounds very biaise to the male species) - it reinforces the flaw of humankind. But God is not to be compared because his "goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives" (Psalm 23:6).

Perhaps I lack a good understanding of eternity and a poor vision of heaven that cause me to question his love and promises when the struggles of life overwhelm me. If only I catch a greater glimpse of heaven...

I always admire the apostle Paul who was full of strength, courage and focus; and I want to echo him, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revelaed in us" (Romans 8:18). Bill Hybels in his bible study said, "when you don't think you can hold on, when you don't think you can go the next step, when you feel like you are drowning...Think of heaven and hold on."

A promise gives hope!
edlina & the lynns
In our family, we try to make it a point to date our children individually, a practice we picked up from our spiritual mentors. Besides setting time aside to have our time together as husband and wife, we have to bear in mind our dates with our kids. That's quite a bit to keep up with though our individual dates with them are not weekly. We do it as regularly as possible. Through it we are creating memories. They look forward to each date eagerly. Their special time with Mum or Dad! Just one at a time. No sharing attention. All of Dad. All of Mum.

Today, Nat woke up early and got ready to go out breakfast with Dad - on the motorcycle. The last time they went off on the bike was up to Penang Hill; a ride that thrilled Nat and carved an adventurous memory in her. Today was simpler. Just to Grandpa's place to pick some plants for gardening. The rest of the date was gardening together (our garden needs a facelift) while her two other sisters did Art with Mum. What she did were simple things in life but above all else, she was so satisfied with the precious time with Dad. Now Ash and Chrisa are just awaiting for their turns this round to have Daddy by themselves.

A tremendous joy fills my heart as I watch my girls enjoying their Daddy, and how the man I courted and married are taking effort to make his princesses feel special. Just recently, his own sister commented how Ed has become so domestic now as she watched him do laundry for his pregnant wife :) You will never know what fatherhood can do even to the toughest man!

I am a daughter of the Heavenly Daddy. His love pursues me. Watching my own girls desiring so much to spend time with their dad, I can't help to think of my dates with my Heavenly Dad. How deep is my longing? Just like no one can take daddy's place in a lil' girl's heart, no one can fill the deep longing in the daughter of the Heavenly Father except He alone.
edlina & the lynns
I wonder how much he loves me? Seems like a silly question. A redundant one. Yet my mind raises many questions...

Can we ever understand how much our parents love us as we are growing up? Somehow we know they do but how much is a relative term. Its a norm to hear parents proclaim they love their kids. On the other hand, the kids complain their parents don't love them. The tension is real. Many times we can blame the temperament clash and the different love languages. Some kids may truly understand they are loved but how deep is questionable.

I grew up knowing I am being loved very much. Dad slogged hard to be the sole breadwinner while mum laboured at home to raise her young. Though we were in the lower income bracket but never did I feel I lack love. I enjoyed my childhood. My parents love me. That's a truth.

It was not till I became a parent myself did I realized how deep my parents' love is - or any parent for that matter. We may not always agree with everything they do yet who can compare to their love for their very own flesh and blood. The Bible says even those who are evil know how to give good gifts to their children (Matt.7:9-11).

Even the animals care deeply for their young. A couple of weeks ago, Ed discovered four kittens in our backyard. The discovery was a horror to me - simply because I don't fancy cats! The stray cats cause me lots of work. Very often they come into the backyard and leave fish bones, poops and vomitus around. Ya, sounds disgusting, right? And this is the second time our backyard had become the nursery for the newborn kitties. What is a horror to me is a delight to my kids! Ooos and aahs..."they are soooo cute..." The kids were all over the kittens that day. Honestly, they were cute. Ok, yes...they were cute kittens but not anymore soon when they are grown. That I am sure. Cats and dogs are a no-no in my home. The kids know that. Ed and I just don't like cats. He thinks cats are dumb (amongst many more valid reasons). Sorry, this sounds terrible to the cat lovers. And dogs...one got a piece of my rump when I was 8 and I've been too traumatised ever since.
Anyway, the kids attempted to plead for mercy for the cute creatures to stay. Oh well, I may not be friendly with cats but I am not as heartless. I thought hard together with Ed how to dispose them in the best way. Being a mum whom had nursed three babies and now expecting the fourth, I thought of how it would be for the mother cat to find her young missing. I was in a dilemma. Should I wait for them to be weaned off? If yes, there's a list of consequences which I may not be prepared to face. Finally, Ed drove them to a friend who loves cats and he adopted them. Don't know how they will fair but at least they are in better hands.
Soon enough the mother cat kept coming back daily meowing at my backyard. The cries were pathetic and pitiful to a human mother's heart. It is time to nurse. I remember how anxious I need to nurse my baby when they were hungry.

An earthly parent's love is no comparison to all others except...my mind was brought back to two scripture verses:

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13)
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15)

As I thought about God's love, I can never ever comprehend the height, width and depth of his great love. I began singing an old song, "Think about his love...think about his goodness...think about his grace that brought us through...how could I forget his love..."

How could I forget his love?! I need not wonder. I just need to continue to believe and embrace the truth. He loves me and I am not forgotten. My heart is drawn to him whose passion is me (and the whole world) and my tears trickled down. I was comforted in his presence despite the difficulties and trials of daily life.
edlina & the lynns
Birthdays in our family are important although not always we have big dos. A simple hug and kiss, a little homemade card, a telephone call and the must-have makan are some ordinary gestures to say we love the birthday boy/girl.

In the midst of Chinese New Year, Kenny always become the star of ang pow receiving...coz he usually gets two portions from loved ones. He's not little anymore but he still receive much adoring greetings - especially from his nieces now. The Lynns wanted to dress their best for Koo Koo's birthday lunch and dinner. He loves wan ton mee, so we delighted him with good noodles from Noodles Station and for dinner he treated us instead :) or was is Dad who settled the bill?!

Happy Birthday and God's blessings, Kwang (more affectionately called at home)!

edlina & the lynns
How most adults underestimate the power of play. Every child needs to play. Play IS work to these tender hearts. Early childhood education emphazies play as a crucial part in the learning process. Our world is so caught up with academic achievement that so many kids are deprived of good creative play.

I love observing children playing. They tell you so much through their play. The past year end break gave great opportunites for my kids to have their friends for sleepover. As they engaged in their talking and playing, I sat quietly to listen and learn from them. It was an interesting lesson for me. The simplicity of children brings me the joy of daily learning.

Perhaps to the adults, they are merely playing. To them it is living. Learning life through the power of play. Chrisa wanted to set up her "cafe" today because she had her friends at home. I told her we would not play "cafe" today because time didn't permit. She was crossed and exclaimed, "I am not playing. I am really mending a food stall. It is real." Yes, indeed it is real - real food and beverages, real money and real ceramic kitchen ware (to any child it is a pride to be able to handle real stuff). I am caught guilty in my own thoughts for not being sensitive to a child's play. So I pacified her by rephrasing my words and not undermining her "work". Afterall, she is learning so much through her "cafe".

They ended up in the favourite kitchen corner. To any young girl who comes to our lil' nest, they never fail to be fascinated by the Lynns' kitchen corner - furnished with cookery ware and all sorts of knick-knacks from our nest. Anything from yogurt cups to spoilt microwave oven and a cardboard sink! These are real stuff and any kid will love it. The cardboard sink is almost as old as Ashlynn but still standing strong and serving the kids over the many years. The 2 hours of slogging to put the sink to reality was sure a worthwhile feat. It just cost a lil' creativity, some junks and a few ringgit as opposed to a thousand ringgit or more for a sophisticated toy sink from renowned toy shops. They served the same purpose - so that the child can play while working or is it work while playing? Anyway, for children... play = work.
edlina & the lynns
"The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core." - Maria Montessori in "To Educate the Human Potential"

Everyday I welcome the day with much challenges as a mother and educator - simply put a homeschool mum. There's always the tension of how much to teach and allowing the children freedom in their learning. Yet one cannot deny the essence of homeschooling lies in the joy of learning. The world throws at us a sea of educational approaches and materials so that the child gets a head start in everything. After a decade of parenting, I've come to realized, and again and again my own children remind me of Maria Montessori's quote. It lies in the core of the child. My responsibility is to yield the best from within each of them through providing a conducive environment to thrive positively - a world of imagination and creative play.

Chrisa's Cafe
(health science, art, writing, socio-emotional, math lesson at play)

The happy "customers" waiting to be served
(the yummy food came from mum's kitchen - sausages, cookies, juice, milk, tea, etc. The "boss" happily collected real money and "ting", dropped them in the cash register)

edlina & the lynns
The Word of the Lord came...
The year of waiting...
The months of preparation...
The weeks of excitement...(also with some anxiety)

...we humbly present the Gateway City Church before God as we dedicated the new work to Him and rejoiced together with fellow saints as we gathered on 27 Jan 2008 evening. It was a significant moment as many came to witness the dedication, prayed and partnered with us as we seek to Empower the Generations, and Impact the Nations. Continue to dream big with us in this awesome assignment!

Bro. Chin Aik's words of encouragement was surely empowering and affirming. We are so grateful for his service and the partnership of MAPLINK. Our thanksgiving to God who made all things possible and city pastors, family and friends who walked this mile with us. Also for many who couldn't make it personally but showed their support in different ways. A big thank you!

For more information later http://www.gatewaycity.com.my