how to live – full of JOY {be transformed}

Today I ran across an old FB note from 2010 – before this blog began… I thought it’d be good to share with you all here, starting with a quote from one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met:

“A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstance or environment;
it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God.”
-Francis Chan

July 27, 2010
“Dear Joy: How do you stay so positive and joyful? I am always blessed by your posts. You shine Jesus, keep it up and share your secrets.”
-Blessings from Sacramento

joyful_heart_cheerful_face_pocket_prayer_cardHAHA, well it prolly helps that my name is JOY. LOL So glad I can bless you! You bless me every time I see you! =) So I guess we’re even! I don’t know that it’s a secret, but I truly do LIVE to WORSHIP & that is where I am renewed daily. You can’t shine for or with Jesus’ love if you are not first filled with it, right?! But… you know that already!

((Also, I figure if Face Book {or WordPress} is going to be any good at all, I should look at it as a Mission Field of sorts… I represent Christ WHEREVER I go, even on FB… so I try to check any negative attitudes at the ‘door’ & not just “barf up” my most recent struggle/drama online for everyone else to be polluted by it! It encourages ME when I FORCE myself to come up with an uplifting comment to share with others, esp. on those days I don’t feel very positive!))

Here’s a good pointer though, to keep from DISCOURAGING yourself or others: If you feel rotten, discouraged, angry, etc (anything NOT good)… give your FLESH exactly 5 minutes to FEEL it & to express it to God… sometimes I take 5 to feel & another 5 to tell God! LOL – But the KEY is that after that, you GIVE it to God & CHOOSE life & love as your response from that moment on! It isn’t easy, but we can do that if we ask God to help us! =) Of course He WILL since this is the way He has instructed us to respond!

joyful_heart_foundation_inspired_nails_by_samikelly-d6cfze9The hardest for me is when people who KNOW BETTER still hurt me, I find that I have to remind myself how Jesus treated those closest to Him, even while they questioned Him, lost trust, & then betrayed Him… He forgave in love, taught them, came alongside them, & asked His Father to forgive them!

To sum it up:

  • KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW “WHO Jesus is & Who YOU are IN HIM” ((this happens through relationship/communion with the Father, Spirit, & Son through worship, prayer, & study/meditation of the Word & Truth!))
  • SPEAK (& THINK) only LIFE, that which is edifying.
  • DON’T sin in ANGER, better to do nothing than the wrong thing.
  • FORGIVE, as you have been forgiven.
  • PRAISE & WORSHIP the God that gave you life more abundantly!

This is the way to live IN the SPIRIT, even while your flesh is struggling to adapt to/survive in your circumstance/the world. (See Rev. 1:9-10a)

"Be JOYFUL always!" -1 Thessalonians 5:16

My joyful boys – Wesley & Joseph in San Fransisco, CA @2010

“Be JOYFUL always!” -1 Thessalonians 5:16
-JK
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to Market we go… every 2 days!

I’ve been pretty sick with a sinus cold this week. I have plenty to say, but not enough brain power to put it into clear sentences for you… Not much to update on the adoption stuff. (We went to do our final fingerprint cards for the immigration papers today – tomorrow we will mail those in & wait another month or so for the next step.) That’s pretty much it, & now I’m bored, since I’ve been in bed or on the couch for two days.

So I guess it’s as good a time as any to upload all these beautiful pictures of our colorful markets here in HK. We go to the market almost every 2 days, due to the SMALL fridge space, high humidity & lovely FRESH foods. I’ve only been promising to share these for over 3 months… so here they are. This is mostly the fruits/veggies. I need to take more pics of the meat/fish… (I also plan to add a post with various market videos soon… ) I just love shopping here, relatively affordable fresh foods too! It has definitely helped me enjoy cooking & eating, having so many fresh & tasty choices! (Check out our other ‘What’s Cooking’ posts.) Please enjoy a walk through our markets!!!

 

-JK

a Daughter for mother’s day {5k+1} – [announcement!]

Exciting news to share with all of our friends out there!!! We finally found our daughter!!!

Sounds a bit funny to say that out loud, I mean, it’s not like she was ever lost… But  after 15 years of dreaming & praying, over the last 4-5 of those years Mark & I actually began to think it was possible to have a daughter. (Of course, by ‘have’ I mean ‘adopt’, don’t get confused here. *wink*) Now here we are, in the midst of the miracle we always hoped for – God has shown us His timing & His path to adopting our daughter, the one He led us to, who is living in a Foster home China right now. Just a short 8 hour drive up the coast from us… We know who she is, we fell in love with her smile & her laugh, & we know her name!

Now we are officially ‘Pre-Approved’ to adopt a specific 4-year-old girl, who is more precious than words!!! Mark & I first saw her face last December while scrolling through list after list of “waiting children”, all with at least one “special need”… We want to tell you all everything about our sweet girl so you can enjoy the rest of this new adventure along with us… However, due to the regulations that are in place to keep orphans & their information safe, we aren’t allowed to tell you very much until we are almost ready to go get her. ((Praying that will be by the end of THIS year!)) We can’t tell you exactly where she is or even her given name… & we especially cannot share her pictures online yet. As soon as we can though, you can be sure we will!

ajk signsSo, in honor of Mother’s Day & this wonderful news – we want to share something just as special as her picture… Her new name! A name is very important, especially to God. He puts a lot of emphasis on giving meaningful names in the Bible. Many times, when there is a new beginning or a new life for someone, God gives them a new name to emphasize the changes He is doing in their lives… We also have taken great care in naming all of our children. We especially want our little girl to start her new life with a new name that brings her hope & freedom & eventually, we hope it brings her closer to God.

We also hope when you read our daughter’s ‘new’ name that you will think about & pray for all the other orphans who still need families. Maybe one of them is meant to be in YOUR family. Maybe they are just meant to have your prayers until their family finds them… Consider this:

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces
It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms,
But once you do, everything changes.” 

– from Radical by David Platt

Now for the fun part – we have chosen a fitting name for our sweet little miracle girl:

ajk2bAnnaBelle Janae Kwong

Anna: a Prophetess in the Bible, a woman of worship, prayer & dedication to God, a woman who recognized Christ! (Luke 2:36–38) {also, Anna is MY middle name!}

Belle: French/Hungarian – Meaning ‘beautiful’. German/Spanish – Meaning ‘intelligent’. {just found out, Belle is the name of my ajkStep-Father’s late paternal grandmother!}

Janae: feminine form of the biblical male name Janai. – Meaning ‘God has answered’, ‘God is gracious’ or ‘gift’

It comes with a ton of fun nick names to choose from too! Anna, Belle, Elle, Ellie, AJ, Nay Nay, etc.

Please pray that God will continue to provide the finances for us to go get AnnaBelle! Before we committed to the adoption, we prayed for God to confirm that He wanted us to move forward. When we felt He had, we paid our application fee. When we were accepted, there was a very fast deadline for the first $3,000+ in agency fees. We prayed again, knowing if God provided for the need in the short time, it must really be His will & plan for this girl to join our family! Miraculously, God provided almost $5,000 in less than 2wks! Isn’t he great!!! Since then, He has continued to provide & over half of the fees/expenses have already been paid. Now we are praying for the remaining $20,000 that will need to be paid before we are finished with the adoption. Please pray with us!

Yes. That IS a lot of money. It is simply the cost of adopting internationally these days. The cost of a life… And we KNOW that God will provide it because He has told us He will. He has confirmed it by already providing through many of His children, isn’t the Body of Christ a wonderful thing?! — We can’t wait to pay every penny it will cost for our daughter’s life! SHE’S WORTH ALL THAT & MORE!!! Mark & I & the boys are so excited to go scoop up our little AnnaBelle & bring her home! If all the timing works out, we should have her just in time to bring her home to the States on our next trip – then she can meet so many of you that will have helped to pray her home to her Forever Family!!! Don’t you agree that every little one deserves a Forever Family to love them forever?!

We hope you will check back with us as we share more updates on our adoption journey! We have a long ways to go yet, we only have half of the paperwork phase finished. So there is much busyness around here, getting ready! The boys are very excited too, I’m sure I’ll write more about that another time…

ajk announce1 copy

If you or anyone you know would like to help us with our adoption costs, we do have a couple of ways you can do that. Please just shoot us an email & we will fill you in! (mark.kwong@na-link.com) We are overjoyed to know our daughter will soon be home!! Thank you for your love & encouragement! You all are some of the best people on the planet & we love each of you so much! We’re praying God’s grace & blessings over your families today!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

-JK

thanks disney… NOT

Training up my children in the way of the LORD, not the way of the mouse. Discussions on the Disney Channel always make me glad we left the country & don’t have cable here in HK. We actually only see what we purposely record online & then make special time to view, which is not even on a weekly basis; maybe LESS now that our TV broke yesterday… LOL! I totally agree with the below comments on the Disney Channel programming… While I do let my boys watch Good Luck Charlie & Jessie on occasion, the catch is that I’m watching with them & we discuss the negative attitudes as we go. The rule at our house is, if you learn negative behavior from ANYTHING, out it goes. They all agree to this for their movie, music, tv & friend choices. I believe it’s very important to teach our children to use their own discernment & I totally agree that when it comes to Disney, much discernment is needed. Thanks Disney, for giving me so many chances to teach my kids what NOT to let into their growing minds! 
These days, less is more friends. Discernment is KEY. Training is needed so our kids will be wise as serpents & gentle as doves, both now & as adults.  -JK
Re-Blogged from “Life Inspired” – original post

Between Us: An Open Letter to the Disney Channel

No More Disney Channel copy

Dear Disney Channel Executives,

My daughter Journey has recently become a fan of the Disney Channel.  She just turned 7, she has officially outgrown Nick Jr. and since Nick seems to show SpongeBob all day, she has moved over to the Disney channel.  At first, she was pretty much only watching Phineas and Ferb.  Eventually, she started watching the rest of the line up including Good Luck Charlie, Austin and Ally, Shake It Up and Jessie.

The more she watched, the more I realized that all of scripted shows on the channel have one thing in common—all the storylines center around pretending to be something you are not or lying to get what you want.   I also realized that just about all of the episodes are recycled sitcom storylines from 20+ years ago with the same premise.  The pet that dies (or gets lost) and is replaced.  The favorite item that is mistakenly given away and has to be retrieved by any means necessary.  The boy who pretends to be someone he’s not to get the girl or vice versa.  While the setting, faces and fashion has changed, the stories are basically the same.

So much of our world has changed in the past ten years alone.  Yet Disney continues to promote shows built around formulaic characters that reinforce negative cultural and gender stereotypes.  There’s the doofus dad (Good Luck Charlie, A.N.T. Farm); the scheming brother (Good Luck Charlie, Jessie, Wizards of Waverly Place); the not too bright best friend (Wizards of Waverly Place, Austin & Ally).  But the worse show on the channel by far is Jessie.  A show about self-absorbed absentee parents that have left a flighty, inexperienced nanny and lazy butler to care for their culturally diverse adopted brood that represents as many stereotypes as it does ethnicities.

I am also concerned about the portrayal of mature subject matter between some of the characters.  Girls and boys regularly pursue each other and sometimes end up in relationships.  While this may be appropriate for teenagers, I don’t think it is behavior that should be presented to children around my daughter’s age.

At first, I thought it was my fault for allowing her to watch a channel that was programmed for older children.  But after a bit of research, I realized that Disney Channel is programmed for kids ages 6-14.  The obvious way to solve my dilemma with your programming would be to change the channel, and believe me that is exactly what I did.  When I made that decision, I sat my daughter down to explain why she couldn’t watch the channel anymore.  She was upset about it, but she did agree that most of the characters make bad choices at one point or another.  “But mom, they always fix it by the end of the show,” she said.  This is the message that our children are getting—that no matter how many times you lie, scheme or make bad decisions, it will all work out in the end.  Of course, anyone over the age of 7 knows that is simply not true.

With three Disney channels, I am asking that you consider airing programming on one of them that is suitable for kids ages 6-10.  Or at the very least, a block of programming during after school hours that features shows like Phineas and Ferb, Gravity Falls, and Disney feature films, as well as age appropriate scripted shows.

But then again, maybe I’m just expecting too much from a corporate conglomerate that occupies such a large place in the hearts and minds of children across the globe.  In the end, it’s up to me as the parent to make sure that the content that my child is exposed to is in line with my beliefs and values.  So for now, much to my daughter’s dismay, she is no longer allowed to watch the Disney Channel.
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