Saturday, July 29, 2017

Veritas Press Self-Paced Courses Review

     This summer is not a typical summer for our family. As you all know, we are in the middle of moving overseas, and I had to figure out how we would still do some, not much, school work done in the midst of this huge transition. I decided to focus on two subjects during this summer: math and history/bible.
     For math, we are going to continue working on Saxon Math 2. We plan to finish it by the end of August. For history/bible, we are using a Veritas Press (VP) Self-Paced Course: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt this summer. We started the course early May and we are aiming to finish it by the end of August as well.
     History is one of the many subjects that I am not confident. Throughout my school years, my study in history was very shallow and I never got to retain much of what I had learned. For this VP course, I am taking the class with Elisha, which means I sit down with Elisha for every lesson and we learn together.
     We love this course and here are the reasons:

1. Very engaging - The narrators are very articulate, funny and often hilarious.
2. Adds details to pegs - This course helps Elisha to add a lot of details to the memory pegs she has nailed down past two years at Classical Conversations.
3. Plenty of reviews help retention - there are a lot of quizzes and games to help us retain what we have learned
4. Aha! Moments - Elisha has been putting together all the pieces from The Story of The World audio books, CC timeline, CC history sentences, hundred of library books she has been reading past 2 years and bible studies.
5. Cross Referencing - I am enjoying how the course makes references to the new testament and classic literature such as Shakespeare. It once quoted a line from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and I saw Elisha's eyes sparkle with excitement. (She read and listened to Shakespeare's plays last year)
6. How timely! - This is a personal reason. As we are moving to Egypt this summer, this course seems to be so timely for us. I am learning so much about Egypt's history and culture through this course.

     By now, some of you must be wondering how much the course costs. We purchased this course late spring when all their Self-Paced Courses were on sale. Instead of paying the full price of $199, we paid $99. There are 160 lessons in this course. Each lesson takes anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes and, most likely, it will take us 4 months to finish it. All in all, I am happy with this course and hope to continue with their next 3 other courses.

Yes, We Got the Visas!

     Yesterday (7/28/2017) we heard from DC office that our visas arrived from Egypt Embassy. When CJ called me to share the news, kids and I sang a song of praise dancing around in our hotel living room.
     God is so amazing: Our new home in Egypt will be ready next Monday and we will arrive in Egypt on Thursday, which means we do not have to stay at a temporary housing when we arrive in Egypt. By the time we leave Winchester, VA, I will have seen the massage therapist 4 times and CJ will have seen him 3 times. The therapist has done a great job diagnosing and treating my & CJ's chronic pains. We are so thankful that the delay in our visa processing, which at times seemed to be too hard to bear, actually gave us a chance to find healing in our physical pains.
     We had a lot of rain last night, and today, the air was so cool and fresh. Rain is something we will rarely see in Egypt. As we took a walk at the Museum of Shenandoah Valley garden, I tried to soak in all that after-the-rain freshness. I am extremely thankful that we are finally going to have a place to call our home, but I also know that we will miss the mountains and green space we have enjoyed here in Winchester for the past 8 weeks.

Everyday is a Miracle

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tracking His Handiwork

     As I am putting final touches on this post, we are in Winchester, VA. As you will find more below, we are in the middle of moving overseas, and I wanted to share how God has been leading us thus far in this journey of another trans-continental move. I don't know why, but, early on, God laid on my heart to track this. Here we go:

January 9, 2017     
My husband, CJ, received a tentative job offer for a position in Cairo, Egypt. There was an initial honeymoon period filled with excitement. However, soon doubts, anxieties and all kinds of worries (aka the reality) hit me and I started pouting, snapping and an attempt to make CJ give up this once-in-a-life-time career move.

January 25, 2017   
CJ received an e-mail that due to POTUS executive order of federal hiring freeze, CJ's job offer is on hold...Ha! Did my wish come true? Was I overjoyed? Believe or not, I didn't feel peace. My heart must have known before my head figured it out.

January 30, 2017  
It was Monday morning. Elisha was in the Classical Conversations weekly meeting and I was walking outside her classroom building for twins' nap time stroll. To be 'productive', I was praying while I was pushing the double stroller around the block. That's when God told me to support CJ and to be on the same page with him. It was too clear to doubt and immediately I texted CJ 'God wants   us to be on the same page'. I guess it would have been much nicer if I added some apology for having been so grouchy, but I was such a proud coward. Anyways, this is when God prompted me to start tracking this journey.

February 20, 2017
Still hiring freeze with no updates regarding CJ's position. Limbo. We are anxious to have some kind of closure for this job so that we can make plans accordingly. On this particular day, through Elisha, God told me 'everything will be ok, because you've been praying and I hear your prayer'.

February 28, 2017
This 'on hold' situation seems to bother CJ a lot. I sense that CJ really wants this job and he is almost gripped with fear. Aha! I see what God is doing - He is teaching CJ lessons: that it is possible to wait in peace, that He knows what he needs. I texted CJ 'God wants you to let go of gravels, so that you can hold the diamond God wants to give you'.

March 7, 2017
While looking through her old workbook, Elisha found a note she wrote a few years ago. It said, 'Don't worry. I will take care of you.' I got it from her and taped in on my kitchen cabinet.

March 10, 2017
Not consistent nor really serious, but Elisha plays with the Arabic language learning app CJ installed in January. I feel so sad to put her in this uncertainty.

March 14, 2017
CJ sent me a text: he will have a job interview with Minneapolis office this week. I found out this position does not pay for PCS cost and that's a clear sign for NO.

March 19, 2017
I read about Abraham's servant's quest to find Isaac's bride. Everything went so smooth, so seamlessly. It reminded of our trip to Korea in 2015 to try IVF. Things were planned and executed at the last minute, in such a hurry, but God put all things together in such a manner that all the details worked out so well. Also, it reminded me of how I got my work permit after Northwestern University. I was literally on pins and needles...the permit did not arrive until the day before I had to leave the dorm. BUT it did. It did arrive. Why? Why on earth did God have to make it so hard? Did he want me to wait in peace? How could I wait it peace when the due date was fast-approaching? How could I be still when the clock is ticking?

March 20, 2017
While driving to CC this morning, I continued the conversation with God from where I left off last night: Why did God put me in such a scary wait in 2002?...All of a sudden, it became very clear that what happened at the end of 2002 was to prepare me for this time, this wait in 2017. What does that mean? A precedent. Something that will guide me during this uncertain, blindfolded journey. He wants me to know that He WAS faithful in the past, He IS faithful now, and He WILL be faithful
in the future.

March 22, 2017
Early morning, I checked emails and found an email from his supervisor Dr. Masoud regarding CJ's job....they submitted exemption request for CJ's position in Egypt and he is expecting a positive result!

March 22, 2017
CJ texted me...CJ's position is approved for exemption from hiring freeze!

April 3, 2017
Unlike we've been assuming all along, we won't be authorized to ship our POV to Egypt. Originally, our plan was to ship Camry to CJ's parents in Chicago and take Odyssey with us. Disappointed, but thankful that we are not completely unprepared for this. Just to test the water and out of curiosity, last Friday, CJ took Odyssey to a few dealers and we were able to get an idea of how much this car is worth,  if we decide to sell. So, tonight, CJ spent a few hours to take pictures of the car and listed it on a few websites for sale. We've done our part: maintaining the car in excellent condition,                doing enough research, taking a prompt action, praying. Now, we will see how God's going to work this out. If CJ agrees, I plan to post here how much we paid for the car and how much we sold it at.

April 9, 2017
It's Psalm Sunday, and early in the morning, I read news that two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt were bombed by ISIS. One of the churches is located in Alexandria, which is considered a 'relaxed, expat-favored, Mediterranean beach city'. It's not far from Maadi where we will be living. My knees shook and I just wanted to sit down and cry. Not wanting to ruin this day, I made it to church with CJ and kids, but my mind was wandering: will we be able to come back in one piece? will we be able to go to church on Sundays? will every day be spent in fear? will we be able to lead 'normal' life? One may think I am morbid, but I am just being realistic.

April 11, 2017
It's twin's birthday. Later in the evening, we received PCS order via email. PTL! A few weeks ago, CJ was told that POV shipment is not authorized, but PCS order showed POV shipment is authorized, which is an answer to our prayer!

April 12, 2017
CJ emailed to verify  POV situation, and yes, POV shipment is authorized! We decided to ask CJ's parents to take care of Camry and take minivan with us. We will take care of the van, but would not 'use' it daily. CJ will be provided with a SUV for personal use, and, from what I have read so far, I do not think I will ever want to drive in Egypt. So, we will use the SUV and when CJ's out of town, I will use taxi.

June 4, 2017
A lot of things have happened. Mostly logistics related to moving. I started packing in January, but I guess it was not early enough. Every night, after we put twins to bed, I would organize, pack, throw away, organize, pack, throw away.....If I didn't see the acupuncturist and massage therapist every week, I would not have survived the past two labor-intensive months. We moved into a hotel on Memorial Day and movers came to pack and load our household goods last week. We cleaned the house squeaky clean, and left it much cleaner than when we first moved in two and a half years ago. I did not have a minute to sit down and relish the thought of moving to Egypt.

As I sat at the church today, I had a brief panic at the thought of what's really happening...the 'reality-kicking-in-moment'.

June 8, 2017
We left San Antonio and arrived in Virginia.

June 11, 2017
After spending a few days touring DC area, we arrived in Winchester, VA. As soon as our visas are processed, we will leave for Egypt.

July 21, 2017
My back pain got worse and I saw a local massage therapist. He used a very unique method called Capstone and during and even right after the treatment, I wasn't quite sure if it worked or not. He was very knowledgeable and was able to pinpoint the source of my chronic pain.

July 22, 2017
I had a lot of soreness last night after the treatment. However, today I feel much better overall. I thanked God that due to the delay in visa situation allowed me to see the therapist. I plan to see him again early next week.

July 23, 2017
We have been here in Virginia for 6 weeks now, and we are still waiting for visas to fly out to Egypt. We have been feeling discouraged and often sad missing home. It has been hard for me to see Elisha crying homesick. Nonetheless, some good things have happened as well: Elisha made a few good friends during our stay at Capon Springs and Farms; twins got their table manners down and eat very well by themselves; we got to enjoy a long, very long summer vacation that we had never dreamed of!

I had a dream last night: we were all hiking on a mountain. Elisha and I arrived on the top first, and we were hugging and crying so excited. CJ was right behind us pushing a double stroller with twins. During lunch today, I got to talk to Elisha about this dream and asked what she thought of it. Elisha said the dream meant we will be receiving our visas soon and will go to Egypt.

Everyday is a Miracle