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Sandwich Generation Living

Snippets from the middle
September 04, 2012

Parenting beyond your capacity ~ The Orange Parent ~ Widen the Circle

This was our theme for Family Camp this past weekend presented by our Pastor Don Ng. Inspired by the book written by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof. So inspiring, i just purchased on ibooks.

While this is a Christian influenced book, each chapter is relevant without Christian belief and can easily be understood and ideas can be applied by any parent. What makes this book different than other parenting books is that it does tie in Christianity which is helpful to those who can relate to the scripture and connect it to a real life situation.

For the next few blogs i will highlight points made in each chapter that are mostly directed to parents of young and teenage children. But also great little reminders to help everyone improve their family relationships.

The first chapter introduces the Orange Parent. If you paint with red, you will only see red. If you paint with yellow, you will only see yellow. If you combine the two, you will see orange. Become an orange parent. Red represents the parent who provides unconditional love, and yellow are those in your child's circle who can help them grow (From a Christianity point of view, yellow represents the church). Joiner is saying widen your circle of influence. Two people cannot really raise a child on their own. The people around them will help shape them and impact their future. So choose wisely. This of course ties into the church family etc. But for non Christians, this still applies. Seek those in your schools, neighbors and friends who can also be a mentor to your children. Assuming these individuals share the same goals and moral interests that you have.

Children can share ideas, concerns, questions to someone other than their parent. We as parents cannot be everything to them. Kids may feel the need to seek advice from someone who is not responsible for them and who isn't making the rules.

This past weekend was a living example of what this chapter meant to me.

Our camp schedule over 2 days comprised of family/group activities, arts and crafts, sports, campfire and adult sessions. During the (2) 90 minute adult sessions, our kids were sent to join a children's program. The leaders for our children are teaching, disciplining and playing with them while we are in session. The beauty of this is that they are members of our church who we see weekly and are recognized as friends and family. There's familiarity and respect. It's like having more aunties and uncles!

Joiner says, when you widen the circle, the goal is to have other trusted adults in the lives of children before they need them so they will be there when they need them.

Our pastor pointed out, not many congregations have the capacity to do this. The foundation of our church is comprised of many who have been members for over thirty years and have brought their children and now their grandchildren. I know that growing up in our church I had significant mentors in my circle that are still available to me today. It's an invaluable experience and I hope our kids will find their persons of influence and in turn be an influence to others.

Here are the main points covered in 8 chapters:

1. Widen the circle, invite others to invest in your children.

2. Imagine the end. Focus your energy and effort on the issues that will make a lasting impact.

3. Fight for the heart. Create a culture of unconditional love in your home to fuel the emotional and moral health of your children.

4. Create a rhythm. Tap into the power of quality moments together, and build a sense of purpose through your everyday experiences.

5. Make it personal. Allow your kids to see how you strive to grow so they can understand how to confront their own limitations and pursue character and faith.

A word from Carey Nieuwhof:

August 28, 2012


I began to write about friendship. Between our adoption process, kids in pre school, now both kids starting new and different schools, we as a family are on social overload. No complaints, it's fabulous, but whoa, all at once, we are meeting so many nice people.

As a couple our friendships were through golf, work and Church, and now our children have introduced a whole new social agenda. It's great, would never change it, just wow.

As my thoughts continued, i ran across an article published in the UK (March/Aug 2012) about teachers telling children not to have 'best friends' in primary schools in order to shield them from the pain of falling out.

I just never thought about it that much. Milly is in her 2nd week of Kindergarten and is slowly making friends. Surprisingly shy, and slow to go, but has repeatedly implied a few different girls have become her best friend. It's funny to me that a play date constitutes a 'best friend'. But that's how they convey it, or really believe it, not sure.

But educators disagree, having a best friend and experiencing a 'fall out' is good for the soul and teaches children the ups and downs of life. I would agree. I just think it's funny that at a young age, it is so easy to be attracted to someone who is simply nice enough to play with and in turn becomes a BFF.

As adults we scrutinize before reaching this status (because we do not want to be let down). Expectations change and we become more demanding as adults. We give more and expect more. Perhaps true, "to have a friend is to be one". So true and such a large statement. Being a friend means so many things. Kids view this differently. "If you play with me nicely, I really like you!" How sweet.



August 27, 2012

Finders Keepers

I take full responsibility. It's just disturbing. We left 3 tennis racquets at a local private athletic club on a Monday. I don't play daily so it wasn't until Saturday that I noticed they were missing. Immediately phoned the facility and they recovered 3 racquets that matched my description. She said, " i have 2 Wilson racquets and a Prince". I was overjoyed!

When I arrived 2 of the 3 were correct. The third one was a very tired Wilson and mine was a fresh, young untouched, unscratched Wilson, which had been used about 3 times. As I peered over the counter i noticed a cover, but no racquet leaning against the counter on the floor. I asked to see it and it was mine. So whoever has my racquet, dismissed my cover and kept the racquet.

Why didn't they just take the cover too? Insulting to leave the poor cover. But the real disappointment was the girl behind the counter. She had no empathy for my situation, and could not offer any additional help except to say, 'its not here'...oh my. i was getting frustrated at this point, because this is the person who represents the club. She is the one who I will remember and never forget.

The net of all of this is, pay attention to my belongings, and the other is to accept that everyone is different. Some are honest, some are lazy.

August 23, 2012

A word from Dr. James Chuck

Our retired Pastor Dr. James Chuck was present at our tour with the CCDC...Tonight he sent an email to the congregation regarding our Adult Christian Education classes. I wanted to share with you. Highlighted statistics that may alert you to respond in some way:

"Last Sunday, Rev. Norman Fong talked to us about the work of the Chinatown Community Development Center.

Here are some facts he shared with us:

In San Francisco, there are over 500 single-residency (SRO) hotels that are home to over 30,000 low-income residents. Many of them live in the core Chinatown area.

The median household income in San Francisco is 75,480; in the core Chinatown area, 18,368.

Percentage of people in San Francisco living in poverty, 12%; in the core Chinatown area, 32%.

Children living in poverty in San Francisco, 12%; in the core Chinatown area, 54%.

In 1,906 units across San Francisco, the Chinatown Community Development Center provides living accommodations for 2,200 residents, more than half of whom are seniors.

On the wait list for these accommodations: 20,650!

Shelter is not that only things CCDC provides. Because 80% of their residents have limited English proficiency, their staff provides translation and interpretation services to help them with important documents that affects their benefits, housing status, and health.

Among the needs of residents cited: child care; and study spaces for children and young people.

As part of our session, we were taken on a tour of one of their SRO hotels, where residents pay a subsidize monthly rent of just a little over 200 (actual rent is 700). For that they get a small room just large enough to fit a single bed and not much else, and share an outside bath and kitchen,

The Director of CCDC is the Rev.Norman Fong, an ordained Presbyterian minister who feels called to express his Christian commitment through concrete acts of helpfulness to the "least of these."
Church member Tommy Lim is a member of the CCDC Board, and was instrumental in setting up this session of the Adult Summer Forum.

A Chinese pastor of a church in the Richmond district told me a number of years ago that he couldn't get his congregation interested in the people in their neighborhood because most of their members don't live there. At FCBC, even though most of our members don't live in Chinatown, we are committed to continue to be light and salt to the Chinatown Community. We started in 1880, and we don't intend to stop now.

(Community College English classes will no longer to using our church facilities beginning this coming fall. According to Pastor Don Ng, discussions are currently ongoing regarding how we might best use our facilities to reach out to the community. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed and needed)."

James Chuck, Coordinator
Coordinator for the 2012 Summer Adult Forums

August 22, 2012

A privilege.

This past Sunday, members of our church were invited to tour a property owned by the Chinatown Community Development Center, CCDC, better known as CDC. The purpose of the tour was to bring awareness to the organization, their mission, goals and the challenges they face everyday. The tour was led by one of our members who is serving on the board of the CDC and the Executive Director, Rev. Norman Fong who I have known for over 20 years and to this day he is still the vibrant vision of hope who inspires, motivates and delivers both good news and bad.

Norman grew up in Chinatown, in poor conditions, ultimately evicted out of their apartment at a young age. Norman has seen everything. Everything. The Presbyterian Church in Chinatown helped place his family to another home and from that day forward, Norman knew it was his calling to give back. He turned to ministry and has not left Chinatown since. He helped advocate over 200 housing projects, created countless youth programs associated with the Presbyterian Church and the Chinatown Community. If there is a wedding, funeral, political event, arrest, or criminal activity. Norman is there. He walks the walk and talks the talk. As if he had the time, he still performs with the energetic fun loving band, "Jest Jammin"which he co-started over 40 years ago.

Today we toured a SRO, single resident occupant apartment building. 665 Clay is one of 25 properties owned and/or managed by the CDC. At one time, Clay Street tenants were threatened by eviction notices and later with much protest, supported by the CDC, the City arranged to fund the property, preserve and seismically improved the property.

A non elevator building, situated in Chinatown, adjacent to SF Financial district houses 10 Single-Room, 13 studios, 1 one-bedroom, 1 two-bedroom apartments. One of our members stood in the center of the apartment and could touch both sides of the wall. This 8' x 10' space rents for $200/month, but a typical SRO not managed by the CDC rents for $700/month, which by the way is generally in poor to very poor condition, far worse than any of the CDC buildings.

CDC buildings offer mailboxes, others may not. What this means to most tenants, social security checks are at risk of being stolen. Mail is left in an open lobby. Private lockers (small) to store kitchen supplies, so tenants can keep their plates/dishes etc separate in a shared kitchen. This building had 3 bathroom stalls. No heating and of course no air...and this is a CDC property. Even the CDC managed buildings are prone to rodents, roaches, and lack of ventilation. The other buildings not managed by them are far worse and are basically filthy.

More. SRO's are limited to 1 person in a room. Privately owned SRO's are housing many more. As many as 8 in one room. Can you imagine? My children's bedroom is larger than that. Everything they own is in this space. Everything. I often wondered why Portsmouth Square (park in Chinatown) is filled with local residents everyday. I have finally come to understand why. They don't have space. They cannot survive in their own home.

I encourage a visit to their website for more information. Albe and i will find some time to help in some way, i hope you can too.

More information:

Be sure to read this month's message from Rev. Norman Fong. He shares a story about Betty Ann Ong who was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight #11, and was not mentioned in the news or by any media...The newly renovated Chinatown Recreation Center re opened July 2012 and the Chinatown Community and Mayor recognized and honored her by renaming it, The Betty Ann Ong Chinatown Recreation Center.

Complete story from SF Gate:

A reminder that we live a privileged life.

August 21, 2012

A positive and well planned environment can make a difference...

The kindergarten topic continues. A moment to revel on the fact that Milly was accepted to a public school by lottery. A very lucky little girl and relieved parents to say the least. Her school is so "together".

A parent arranged for 2 park/ play dates held a month prior to the first day of school. The Monday before school began, kindergarteners were invited to preview their classroom, meet and greet their classmates as well as their parents. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

The morning of her first day, parents were asked to join for 2 hours to follow a list of 10 things to do with their child. From finding the teacher's desk, the bathroom, their coat hook, the service dog, and cutting out an apple for the teacher, coloring the type of transportation to school and posting it on the wall...to preparing their own snack! Amazing.

Then time to play in the yard, and back in the classroom for a story read by Mr. Peets. The promethean board was equally impressive as the message behind the story. If you have a kindergartener or soon to be, this is a must read. After the story, parents were asked to leave and i don't believe their was a tear in the classroom...well, by a child anyway. Parents i'm sure were holding back but all went seamlessly. A joyous day indeed, thank you Mr. Peets.

The Kissing Hand:

August 20, 2012

Don't blink...

Milly our eldest began Kindergarten last week. While the excitement of this milestone is in full throttle, the emphasis on time whizzing by seems to be the shared response in families who have done this several times over. Don't blink. It goes by so fast, these are the best years, wait until they are teenagers...

With that in mind, the message is, enjoy every moment even though challenging at times. Remember it is about letting go and that having a child is not about having a possession. It's about teaching, guiding, loving and listenening.

Our friend Kathy reminded us we are responsible for two lives, our son and daughter. Lives. Gosh, i thought they were just children. Lives puts it into a different perspective. It means forever their well being, their needs, everything they see, want and do, we are a part of that. But at the same time we have to let go. Definitely a large task for me since i am seriously the controlling one...large task indeed.

So off to Kindergarten and we will teach, guide, love and listen. We have always said this about our parents, "they did the best that they could"...so Albe and I will do our best.

August 18, 2012


It's been many months since blogging in, and i have so much to share. Today, it's all about collecting and saving memories in a very cool, organized and utmost important easy way. Creative talent is not required. Check out this video:

<iframe width="640" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_PFsArr4Z1s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The time consuming joy of scrapbooking is not an option these days...BUT, alas SMASH! I discovered the most convenient and creative way to save/collect things that are normally found in a scrapbook, photos, awards, etc, but now include random items found in my car (artwork from the kids) or in my junk drawer...maybe a business card from a restaurant we loved, or a name tag from our kid's first summer camp...and a collection of leaves that Milly, our daughter insist on keeping...Smash is for me. The pages are set, and the images are interesting, pretty and fun, AND are bound in a beautiful journal....

I love it so much, i bought 5 books! A large one for art and miscellaneous things that represent our family or friends, a regular sized one for each member of our family. My husband can save his record breaking golf score cards, restaurant cards and photos, magazine clippings about his business, on and on. The kids have their own. Art, photos, paper airplanes, craft project, doodles, etc..and me, a collection of images that include our family, friends, a great decorative idea, a wedding or birthday invitation, a purse that i need to have, a haircut I want one day, an electronic room key i kept (accidently) from our last vacation, tickets to the Giants game, my Peets card (because i am there everyday) and much more! Smash is perfect for anyone and everyone who wants to save a memory without feeling it has to be perfect. just smash it!

A Closer Look:

For immediate satisfaction, try your local Target, they will have a pretty good selection
Important note, every journal has a theme so careful when selecting the bound cover...i almost purchased the beige one and learned it was for weddings.

March 27, 2012

Social Media Madness


It's been 35 days since my last post. Too busy to post? Not really. Blogging has been partially replaced with the usage of multiple social media platforms. Less talking and more viewing.

PINTEREST has been a real time waster for me. I say this with sarcasm, but honestly it is a great tool that allows me to search, share and post images that are meaningful to me with limited text. I have an account that allows personal expression and another for my store which offers new trends, looks, things we desire and represent, and fashion do's and don'ts.

FACEBOOK helps me express my current status whether it be spending time with the kids or washing my car. The latter seems quite senseless, but who cares. It's FB, that's what it's there for. A platform that allows me to share useless and occasionaly meaningful informaiton.

POLYVORE gives me an opportunity to search for anything related to fashion/style and makes me feel like a stylist. Whether or not I am or not, it is another social platform that lets me share fashion looks that i feel are relevant and interesting.

THE FANCY is starting to grow on me. Again, more images (similar to Pinterest) but one's that take you right to your pocketbook. Click on the random photos and before you know it you can buy what you Fancy. Most things I Fancy (my collection) are unusual things that cost oodles of dollars, so it truly is just something to Fancy, but there are many gadgets to Fancy that can be purchased without breaking the bank.

For me, YOU TUBE was considered a source for viewing segments of TV, News, Entertainment or Music related stories. I really never "searched" thoroughly until recently. For instance, my friend suggested our son start using a neti pot for his sinuses. If you don't know what this is, You Tube it. It is a method of using saline through your nostrils and draining out the mucous in effort to clear your sinuses. Sound complex, not if you find it on You Tube.

And I have recently began posting random videos of my kids. Yes, more social networking. I can share our life on video in seconds.

So here they are. I plan to continue wongsandwich, but should i be found missing you'll know where to find me. :-)


Well, gotta run. It's time to put together an outfit on Polyvore! ;-)

February 21, 2012

Travel can be stressful...on everyone.

February is always a busy month for retailers. Multiple buying shows everywhere...I miss being at home but forget how it can take a toll on others. My friend (also in the business) Catherine and her dog just had enough.

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