Saturday, November 25, 2017

I'm an Alpha lovin' Amerasian TCK Hoosier

I'm an Alpha lovin' Amerasian TCK Hoosier. You have full permission to label me this way. In fact, you don't need to have my permission to label this way. Why? It's what I am. It's the truth, and it's not something I can change regardless of how I feel. Let me break down what it means to be so mixed up.

1. Alpha lovin' - There are a few verses in Revelation where Jesus claims to be the Alpha and Omega (e.g, Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13). Jesus claimed to be the eternal God, and He is the One I follow. 1 John 4:19.

2. Amerasian - This is a term I was introduced to by my soccer players at Pyongtaek International School in Korea back in 2002. When I stated I was born on a military base to a white American father and Japanese mother, several of my players mentioned I was Amerasian like them. I had always considered myself Asian-American up until that point, but the term isn't the most accurate description of my ethnicity.

3. TCK - Spending most of my school years in small-town Indiana was a tremendous blessing, but it did have its challenges. Sometimes people found it confusing that I was born in Guam, lived in Thailand prior to coming to Indiana, and moved to Brazil and Puerto Rico during my elementary and high school years. Since I've spent a significant part of my developmental years outside my parents' culture, that makes me a Third Culture Kid (TCK). I'm not just an American who is half Japanese, I have several other cultures that have shaped me.

4. Hoosier - I'm from Indiana. I've been to the 500 track numerous times and think tenderloins twice the size of the buns are normal. Occasionally non-Hoosiers have made fun of my accent, and despite not being a basketball player, I grew up watching and attending high school and college basketball games. Being a Hoosier is in my blood.

So there you have it. Now you don't have to wonder what I am. Hopefully, this will help you better understand me and all the people like me. :-)

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, or whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15

An eight-year-old Wick visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Why I'm Thankful For My 20+ Years Overseas

Although I claim to be a Hoosier, I'm a mixed up one. Nearly half of my life has been spent overseas which has made me a little unique. I like to catch largemouth bass and eat sushi. I'm comfortable with a fist bump, handshake, or deep bow. My "love" for soccer started in Brazil, and I wear a wedding band purchased in Thailand - a country I lived in prior to moving to "The Hoosier State." Living overseas has profoundly impacted me, and I'm thankful for all that I've experienced outside of the States. Below are seven reasons why I'm thankful to have spent so much time around the world.

1. You get to try new food. Scorpions, starfish, and seahorses. Yes, I've consumed all of them (just not at the same time).

2. You get to learn new languages. It's interesting when a language you once thought sounded a bit funky becomes normal to you. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

3. You get to celebrate new holidays. If you like fireworks, try Chinese New Year in China. It's like a battle zone.

4. You gain new friends. Who doesn't want that? Only a Scrooge. Don't be a Scrooge.

5. You learn about the world in ways books and videos simply can't teach. As a former geography teacher, I often know more facts about a country than the people from the country. Despite this, you need to experience the culture to truly begin to understand it.

6. You learn about yourself. Living overseas can definitely be character building and a time of growth. You'll be placed in uncomfortable situations that will humble you and show you how you're not all that.

7. You can worship with other believers in different languages. I have sung, prayed, listened to sermons, and read the Bible with brothers and sisters in atheist, Buddhist, and Muslim nations. God has provided me a little glimpse of Heaven during my time overseas.

Never been overseas? What's stopping you? Have you done some traveling? What have you enjoyed about being overseas? I would enjoy hearing from you.

March 2012 - We're leaving our apartment complex in Tianjin (China) to go out to eat.



Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ten Reasons Why I'm Thankful to Live in Evansville

We've been back in Indiana for nearly 1.5 years now, and I'm extremely thankful our transition has been good. We certainly miss various aspects of our lives in China, but we know this is where we're supposed to be. I often think how great it is to live in Evansville. Below are ten reasons why I'm thankful to live here.

1. Church - We worship at a solid Bible-based and Christ-centered fellowship on Sundays.

2. House - We were able to purchase a nice home in a peaceful neighborhood that is close to parks, hospitals, restaurants, stores, and our jobs.

3. Location - A big reason we moved back is to be closer to our parents. A three-hour drive north sure beats an overseas flight.

4. Megan's Jobs - Megan gets to teach ESL to people from around the world.

5. My Job - I work with a great team of teachers, partner with super supportive parents, and help guide a diverse group of students.

6. Nature - Although Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana with a population of 120,000, we're surrounded by lots of places to fish, hike, and view wildlife.

7. People - The people are friendly, and you see folks from all walks of life. We fit right in.

8. Restaurants - There are all kinds of eateries here including multiple BBQ & sushi joints. Both sides of me get their fill!

9. School - All three of our kiddos receive a top-notch education at a school they enjoy.

10. Stores - We don't have IKEA, but Evansville has every other store imaginable. Walmart is just a five-minute drive so I'm good.

So there you have it. God is too good to us. Live here? What do you like about Evansville? Live elsewhere? What makes your community special?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Five Ways Our Minivan Drew Me to Christ

I was blessed to drive some decent vehicles prior to moving overseas in 2002. Courtesy of my parents, I drove a Chevy Camaro during high school and part of my college years, and later they gave me a first generation two-door S-10 Blazer. The first wheels I purchased was a Chevy Silverado which my dad wisely sold when I was in China. When we moved back to Indiana last summer (the kiddos had actually never lived outside of China), my pops gifted us with a 97 hunter green Plymouth Voyager minivan, a.k.a., the Wickmobile. I'm extremely thankful my dad (and my in-laws) gave us some transpo. Our transition back to the States was met with some challenges, but having working vehicles certainly made life a whole lot easier.

At the start of this month, it was time to end an era and part ways with the Wickmobile. I don't want to sound like an ungrateful wretch, but like me, she had some issues. Despite this, God used her to draw me to Christ in several ways. Let me explain.

1. Humility – The Wickmobile could spend some more time in the shop. This summer the blower motor went out so that meant no AC and heat. The headliner is sagging in multiple locations, and the wheels always made some unique sounds that I couldn't figure out how to fix.

2. Joy – Inside the Wickmobile we experienced the joy of the Lord by listening to Christian music via the radio. The Wickmobile has a vintage cassette player, and this joy would have only increased had I not donated all of my MC Hammer tapes. 

3. Kindness – Sometimes I was asked to deliver or pick up items by way of the Wickmobile. I’ve also been able to pick up a couple of large pieces of furniture that Megan selected for our home. I’m such a kind guy.

4. Prayer – Although this didn't happen very often in recent months, there was a time when the Wickmobile would occasionally be in the middle of the road and just stop running. I'm confident that my constant prayers were being heard.

5. Strength – Crank windows, power locks that didn’t always work, and having to remove two rows of heavy seats in order to haul items - my 150-pound Spirit-filled temple was definitely being used as a living sacrifice.

Every so often I would shake my head and wonder how I ended up driving a twenty-year-old minivan. Although the Wickmobile isn't something you'll find on the cover of Car and Driver, she definitely drew me to Christ.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Eight Reasons Why Fishing is Da Bomb Diggity

Last year I lived in a Chinese city with an urban population of nearly 13 million. That's the population of the entire state of Indiana times two. Now I live in a "city" of 120,000. Life has changed a wee bit. One of the countless changes that have taken place is that I'm surrounded by less concrete and a lot more greenery and places to fish. Change can be hard, but I really like this change. Family and close friends know that I enjoy being in the woods and that I'm often seeking out water bodies to cast a line. So what's the big deal about fishing? Below are eight reasons why I think fishing is da bomb diggity.

1. I like the quiet. I'm not a fan of noise and crowds and living overseas for so many years probably made me more introverted.

2. like the pace. Sometimes life feels a little hectic when you have a million responsibilities screaming for your attention so fishing provides a little relaxation.

3. I like the sport. Fishing can require a certain level of skill - what lure to select, where to cast, when to fish, and how to reel are all to be considered.

4. I like the strike. Fishing requires some patience, but when a big fish hits, it's all worth it!

5. I like what I'm learning. I'm constantly learning about new fishing techniques, terms, bait, equipment, locations, species, and more.

6. I like who I meet. Fishing has allowed me to build relationships and surprisingly given me opportunities to have deep conversations about tough topics.

7. I like creating memories. I love watching my brother pull in a big fat channel catfish or when Josiah Lee gets excited when he catches a tiny green sunfish.

8. I like the time to pray and reflect. Sometimes when I fish I'll take a break and read Scripture, and I frequently pray and think about this amazing life we live.

Fishing isn't really a big deal, but it is definitely a blessing that I thank God for. If you've never been fishing or your pole has been collecting dust, unplug and find some water. I'm sure it can be a blessing to you as well.

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, Genesis 1:21a

This evening I caught this largemouth bass on a Strike King gizzard shad crankbait.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reviewing Byron and Robin Yawn's What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Had Told Her

As the father of two daughters, I thought Byron and Robin Yawn's book, What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Had Told Her, should be something I read. It was definitely a good purchase. The book is filled with Scripture, real-life stories, humor (you might laugh out loud a few times), and practical advice on how to be a Godly father that draws his daughter (s) to Christ. The Harvest House published book is less than 200 pages and consists of the following 12 chapters.

  1. A Man Gladly Wrapped Around a Finger
  2. Life - You're Not Crazy
  3. Love - Find This Man (Lt. Todd Weaver's Letter to His Infant Daughter)
  4. Purity - There is no Such Thing as Casual Sex (Adoniram Judson's Letter to His Future Father-in-Law)
  5. Biblical Womanhood - It's More Ridiculous Than You Think (Adoniram Judson's Letter Regarding Marriage to Ann Hasseltine)
  6. A Spiritual Leader - Be Careful What You Ask For (The Seven Stages of the Married Cold)
  7. Marriage - Complex Problems Start from Simple Failures (Husband's Communication Safety Guide)
  8. Freedom - Never Fear Answering the Door (The Good Wife's Guide)
  9. Beauty - You Are Beautiful (Safe)
  10. Husbands - Seriously, You Cannot Change Him (Application for Permission to Date My Daughter)
  11. Strength - You Cannot Do All Things in Christ (Rules for Dating My Daughter)
  12. Grace - You Must Love Christ More to Love Him as You Should

I like how you get two Christian perspectives throughout the book - one from a reformed pastor endorsed by John MacArthur and the other, a pastor's wife and mother of two daughters and a son. It's a book written specifically for dads; however, I know the book has been a blessing to moms and daughters as well. If you desire to communicate more effectively with your daughter (s) and be someone she/they can trust, I highly recommend What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Told Her.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Reviewing John Murray's The Atonement

Although The Atonement is only 34 pages and can be read in less than an hour, it's not light reading. Written by the Scottish-born Reformed theologian, John Murray, The Atonement covers important theological topics such us justification, predestination, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption. These are topics I used to teach to international 6th-grade students in China; however, if you're unfamiliar with these terms, I wouldn't recommend starting with Murray's book. Murray taught at Princeton Seminary and helped found Westminster Theological Seminary before going Home to be with the Lord in 1975. His language is not from 2017, and it's of an academic nature. Murray defines the atonement as "the term that has come to be widely used to denote the substitutionary work of Christ which culminated in the sacrifice of Calvary." If that excites you, I recommend dropping 99 cents for the Kindle edition or four bucks for the booklet. The Atonement is divided into five short chapters and contains a preface, conclusion, a bibliography containing several works from the 1800s, a short biography of John Murray, and a description of Chapel Library Resources, the book publisher.

Reviewing Ryan Haack's Different is Awesome!

In case you didn't know, my son Josiah Lee was born with only his right hand. Because of that, I'm often looking for resources for people with limb differences. Megan purchased this 30+ page book, Different is Awesome!, so we could read it to Josiah Lee and show him that there are others like him who don't have two hands. The book is written for children ages four to eight years old and contains fun and colorful artwork from cartoonist Wes Molebash.

The story of Different is Awesome! takes place in an elementary classroom. A little boy named Joey brings his older brother Ryan to show and tell. The story is actually a real-life experience of the author's. It emphasizes how everyone has challenges in life, but having one hand doesn't mean you won't be able to accomplish much - life's tasks might just need to be done differently. The students ask Ryan various questions like if he can tie his shoes, ride a bicycle, and play baseball. Joey notices that each person that asks his brother a question is a little different. He has classmates of different sizes, skin color, and facial features. The story concludes with author Ryan Haack stating that being different is awesome.

If you have a young child with a limb difference or know of a child with a limb difference, I highly recommend getting them this book. If definitely would make a great addition to a children's library. You can learn more about this Jim Abbott endorsed book at http://www.livingonehanded.com/differentisawesome/.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Happy Birthday to my Father-in-Law

Today marks my father-in-law's 72nd birthday. I first met Fred more than two decades ago when I was a new teacher at Frankfort Middle School, home of the Hot Dogs. I was a 6th-grade geography teacher, and he taught math. We didn't have much of a relationship back then, but a few years later Fred asked me if I would be interested in meeting his oldest daughter. The rest is history.

I'm not exactly sure what Fred saw in me back in the day, but I will never be able to thank him enough for all that he has done for me. Fred is a man of few words, but he has spoken volumes into my life. He is undeniably a man of God that I desire to emulate. Below are just a few of his traits that display our King of Kings and have made a profound impact on me and countless other people.

1. Patient - I get impatient when driving, when things break, and when my children don't follow my instructions, but this isn't what I see from Fred. Fred has been given an increasing faith in God's timing, power, and love. Various trials in Fred's life have helped develop this Christlike patience, and I so look forward to seeing Fred being rewarded in the end.

2. Faithful - Fred is faithful to his family, friends, and fellowship. You won't find a single person that would say Fred hasn't devoted himself to helping his family, being a good neighbor, and serving in a local body of believers. If the Lord allows me to live as long as Fred, I would be honored if people said I was half as reliable, steadfast, and loyal as him.

3. Gentle - Sometimes I forget that toughness isn't one of the fruits of the Spirit - not Fred. Fred is not one to boast, desire revenge, or be impolite. He's humble and understands that God's ways and thoughts far exceed our own. Fred accepts God's righteous judgment on people and circumstances, and he overflows with the fruit of gentleness.

4. Servant's Heart - Fred serves our Heavenly Father by doing His will and not his own. I desire to have this mature spirituality and leadership ability that Fred possesses. I certainly know that Fred isn't perfect; however, it's quite evident that Fred gives himself to others in order to bring God glory. He has the power of the Spirit and is always pointing me to Jesus.

Happy Birthday, Fred. I'm so thankful you are my father-in-law. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Six Most Popular Facebook Pictures From 2016

Below are my most popular Facebook (via Instagram) pictures taken during 2016. Five of them include a little guy named Josiah Lee, and three of them were taken at birthday celebrations. All of them include smiles. Enjoy.

After living in China for a few years (19 for Megan & 13 for me), we moved back to Indiana - this time with three kids.

I ran into one of my former sixth graders at my birthday celebration at the Frankfort Great China Buffet. He grew.



Our last visit to the Great Wall of China (near Beijing)

Megan took this fun birthday pic when Josiah Lee turned the big five.

Rosalie turned 14 this summer, & Grandma Downs made a special birthday cheesecake that was super yummy!

There were many tears during the season, but Josiah Lee enjoyed being a Red Shark this day.