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Lion Dance

This video is a little long but it’s worth it! So amazing! It makes me want a cute pink Chinese lion for a pet.


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January 20, 2012 · 6:57 pm

The Year of the Dragon

One of the things I love about my husband being Vietnamese is – well of course all the great food, his incredible family – and adding another holiday celebration to the winter. Tet or the Vietnamese/Lunar New Year is celebrated on January 23rd this year and it’s the Year of the Dragon. Of course celebrating another culture’s holiday can be a little tricky.

Before kids we just celebrated by calling Ba and Me (Mom and Dad) and wishing them a year of fortune, health, joy, prosperity, and all the other wonderful things we could think of. Phu and I individually spoke to Ba and then Me. Sometimes we would get some type of special food that Phu remembered eating on Tet.

Now that we have children I want the traditions to run deeper. Of course the biggest memory my husband has is getting the beautiful red envelopes from relatives on Tet – they were filled with cash! That part of the holiday is easy to carry on but I wasn’t sure how else we could celebrate.

One tradition is to clean the house before Tet (Yeah that will probably not happen). But another is much more fun – getting new clothes. Every New Year I buy each of the kids a new outfit – for Kendra something red and for Andrew something blue. Then they pose for a picture that we send to their Ba Noi and Ong Noi (Grandma and Grandpa).

This year I’m hoping we can make some cute DIY dragons to hang up. I’ve also bought gold coins and put them in the red envelopes for classmates. Of course we still call Ba and Me to wish them “Chuc Mung Nam Moi!” And hopefully I’ll take lots of pictures and get them posted!

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My Rock

Well besides both my husband and I switching jobs during the holidays there is a lot going on. I can’t really get into the details but I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be a year to prepare for major changes. Some of these potential changes will be pretty difficult and I have been feeling a little blue. But during worship today I felt like God put this on my heart and wanted to share it here. So here it goes. . .

How much is my faith placed in circumstances, my job, my family, and my friends? Is it bad to have all these things in my life to lean on – absolutely not! But if they are all suddenly gone (I know that sounds morbid) then do I crumble? Do I become utterly lost?

No – because my faith needs to be in Jesus Christ first and foremost. He has promised that He will never leave or forsake me. He will be there with me in any and every circumstance. So no matter what the future holds I do not need to be fearful because the God of all creation cares enough to walk me through it.

And as usual – because God is awesome like this – our pastor’s sermon was pretty much about the same thing (and no that is not a coincidence). I Peter 5:6-11.

So thank you Lord for all the blessings you have brought into my life: all the friends, family, my job and even my trials (because I have learned so much through them). But Lord let my praise be to You not because of just those blessings but because You died in my place and You give me the gift of redemption and grace.

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Sweet Weapons

So this has nothing to do with anything but it did make me laugh out loud so I wanted to share it. Good clean fun – well not so much clean but definately appropriate for children.

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By Hand

So how can I be “Jennybyhand” if I’m no longer a hand therapist? Well the simple reason is that the title was not based totally on my profession. “By hand” is a term that brings up all sorts of images and meanings to me. First of all if something is done by hand then I assume that it is a one-of-a-kind, it is not mass-produced. I have been made by hand – by the hand of God – and we are all unique. That’s the other thing about doing something by hand – it tends to be imperfect in some way. But imperfections are not a bad thing. A misprint on a minted coin can make it worth far more than it would have been if it were perfect. I love seeing the variations in a hand-stitched blanket or the slightly askew brush strokes on a hand painted plate. I love when you can see the artist’s hand in the object that has been created. I sure hope that you can see the brush strokes of my Creator but I am a work in progress.

The other part of my blog’s title is a reference to my love of crafts. I’m not very good at them – crocheted blankets are shaped like trapezoid and I have a ton of unfinished projects. There is something so satisfying about creating something with your own hands. Whether it is re-building a car engine, decorating a room, or making a bracelet there is nothing like doing the job yourself.

So Jennybyhand will stay and my posts will probably become even more varied. I don’t know that I will stick to any single theme but that’s ok. That’s kind of how my life is anyway. I’m sure it’s just my mom reading this anyway – and that’s ok too. I learned a long time ago that you will enjoy life a lot more if you don’t take yourself too seriously.

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It has been 7yrs and I have an itch. For months I have struggled with wanting a change in my professional life but I wasn’t sure that I was brave enough to jump off that cliff. But what is life without moments that make you catch your breath and wonder what the heck you were thinking.

For a long time I have been more of a hand therapist than an occupational therapist and each year I felt like I was drifting away from my profession. I work in an office full of physical therapists and I was starting to become one of them (no offence ment – I love PT’s – especially my husband). I was getting mighty comfortable wearing my nice work clothes, dealing with patients who (for the most part) could take care of themselves. Of course when you’ve injured your hand or arm there are things you need help with but usually it’s the “clean” stuff. I can’t even remember the last time I helped a patient transfer to a toilet or shower chair.

So I am ready to jump into something totally different. In January my New Year’s resolution will be to embrace the reason I became a OT in the first place – to make the biggest difference possible in the lives of people who are in need. I am so torn because I know there are not many hand therapists out there but I am very excited about joining my fellow therapists in the home health field. I am excited about the opportunity to come into people’s homes and make an impact on their lives.

I am also scared! I am used to being the one people go to with hand questions, the specialist. Soon I will be the newbie, the one who doesn’t know what the heck she’s doing. But that kind of change is good. It will keep me humble. I don’t want to ever get so comfortable in life that I’m not willing to be stretched. Life is not about reaching a goal and then coasting along enjoying the view – at least not for me. Life is about making the biggest impact on the people God puts in your path and allowing the people around you to touch your life as well. I’m still learning how to walk that out. It is too easy for me to pull into my shell because it is safe there. But I don’t want to be safe right now.

It is possible I will not like home health – that it won’t be the place for me – and I may regret leaving my job that I still love. But I am willing to take that chance. I don’t want to look back on life and see a lack of mistakes or failures. I want to look back and see all the things I’ve learned and know that I learned as much from my mistakes (or more) as I did from my successes.

So I’m standing on the edge, ready to jump, ready to feel the wind in my face and my heart in my throat as I rush towards my next adventure.

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Like a Child

One of my goals in life is to forever be teachable. For some reason (especially in the healthcare industry) admitting you do not know something is frowned upon. We should all know that learning doesn’t end when you walk out of a classroom – I would actually argue that most learning takes place somewhere far away from classrooms. So why is it that even when someone knows they have more to learn they are terrified to admit it?

There is nothing more infuriating than watching someone do something wrong, watching their frustration grow, trying to give some instruction and then have them respond “I know! I know!” and continue to do it the wrong way. Maybe it is my delivery, and I can work on that. But instead of dwelling on the frustration from the situation I am thinking about my own response to instruction.

On the flip side there is nothing more contagious than the enthusiasm of a child when they are learning something that really excites them – the wonder on their face as they watch a butterfly emerge from its cocoon, the wide eyes as they see a wrecking ball hit an old building (and then rush off to recreate the scene with all available objects and your purse).

Children are told over and over that there is so much for them to learn. They are praised and rewarded for learning and then somewhere on the road through adulthood we stop praising ourselves. Instead we feel bad that we don’t know how to properly eat a lobster or what APR means on those car sale ads. But this is only a bad thing if we shrug our shoulders and say “Who cares?” or worse yet “I know! I know!”

So my goal is to embrace my lack of knowledge and admit it, to chase down the facts like a child – without any self-consciousness or fear – with anticipation and expectancy.  I want to pay attention to what the people around me are saying – what they are teaching me and I want to learn. But first I will look up the definition of APR.

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