Some people may be on the periphery of our lives, but still light up our world. Clifford So and Libby Yu are like that for me. Today, I discovered how beautifully and inexplicably God has tied our families together in our grief, and in His goodness.

Cliff and Libby were camp counsellors when I was a teen. I don’t think we Actually interacted much, but it was nice to know they were there, quietly being awesome with their continued love in my college age fellowship (I think they were leaders there just after I had aged out?) Little did I know the terrible battle with Cancer they were going through.

On facebook I saw he was supposed to die have four years ago. The oncologist estimated if he had not started chemo at the time he did, he would have had only 48 hours to live, such was the tumor load in his lungs. Then he experienced a massive brain hemorrhage during treatment, from which he also should have died. The doctors had actually drawn the curtains and summoned the social worker for his wife and sister to help take care of his arrangements.

Miraculously he survived, but last year, his cancer relapsed and he underwent another brain operation to remove another tumor from his brain. In total, He had 2 brain surgeries, 6 rounds of conventional chemo, 2 rounds of high dose chemo with stem cell transplants and 20 rounds of radiation.

In January Cliff posted that his oncologists could not give him any more hope of treatment or cure. His community mobilized quickly – setting a Meal Train,  Sending the So’s to Disneyland! and dedicating Fraser Lands Church‘s regular Thursday night prayer meeting to them.

I decided to go to that prayer meeting, and asked God for a Word of Encouragement for Cliff and his wife. Immediately I saw a picture of a sea gull flying away, so I tried to think of an interpretation. I told Cliff what I saw, and encouraged him that who the Son sets free, is free indeed – no matter the difficulties he was in, he could soar in the Spirit with Jesus, and just as the sea gull was white, he had such a pure heart, and one day he would SEE all that his faith had accomplished.

He said it was interesting I saw a seagull – because his guitar was one of the Seagull Guitars, and he would often use it to worship God.

Today, I expected to write a very different post, because my son was born today last year. This post for Cliff and Libby was in the works, but I was going to put it off again, until I saw Dorcas‘s Happy Birthday wish for Cliff show up in my news feed.

It struck me deeply, that Cliff and my son share a birthday, and as I meditated on it another connection came to mind.

My husband’s father also passed away when he was young, and for some reason when he, his two sisters and his mom were deciding on an urn, they chose the one with three sea gulls on it, and as they left the funeral home they heard a cawing and looked up -just then, three seagulls flew overhead.

I was thinking of how hard it would have been for Cliff to go, leaving behind his three young kids and wife, wishing he could be there for them, praying they would be okay, and I realized my husband family went through a similar thing, just with the kids in reversed gender order – oldest son, two little sisters, vs oldest daughter two little brothers.

They are a testimony of how amazingly we can grow up, despite those difficult circumstances. My husband and his sisters are some of the coolest people I know. They are kind, hardworking, and So Trustworthy. Clifford and Libby, I know you have raised your kids wonderfully well, and when they are old, they will not depart from the way they should go. They will soar in the Spirit with their Father God, and with you watching over them.

Read more of their story at https://clibbyblog.wordpress.com

When I did Miss BC in 2013, I went through the jewelry I had (which wasn’t much) and even though it was unrelated to what I would be wearing, I felt like I was supposed to bring the bracelet I got from Project AK-47, which through pictures tells the story of the life of a rescued child soldier. Little did I know I would meet this incredible woman, whose platform was rehabilitating child soldiers, because she’d seen first hand the painful effects of being forced into war, as her partner Fazineh Keita had gone through it. 

I gave her that bracelet, and then part of my heart as I saw what a kind, genuine, beautiful person she was 
She was my Miss Congeniality, and my choice for Miss Heart and Soul, as she shared her heart so freely and vulnerably with us 

I heard the former title holders share about how they had made friends over their pageant weekend that have lasted their life times, that they would come back year after year to help out together, and I dreamed that we could have a friendship like as well.

I am so grateful that this weekend my dream came true!

How amazing is it that it wasn’t until 2 years later that I got a crown, and then another 2 years when I’d finished my titleholder responsibilities we were able to come back for the 15 year reunion, and spend the weekend doing things together behind the scenes 

You are a woman of such integrity. It’s so awesome how your platform wasn’t something you just said at the pageant in 2013, but you actually went on to start the Innocence Lost FoundationCharity, which has raised over $66,380 – enough to buy land, build wells and get solar panels for the Kabala Community Centre project in Sierra Leone, a place that will provide former child soldiers access to food and water, art and sport therapy, counselling, skills training and education to create jobs, and provide resources to further the country and people there.

It’s also so sweet how at first Women’s Rights was part of your platform as well, how we could be so different, and yet so loving and supportive of each other  Thank you for asking questions and listening, for walking with me in my journey with my son, for really being such a true and loyal friend. You exemplify what the Miss, Mrs. and Miss Teen BC Pageant is all about. Thank you, and the others who worked so hard this weekend for your humble service, giving back to the community, and letting people shine! 

Thank You Jesus, for making my dreams come true! 

And happiest of birthdays to you Ava Vanderstarren, my beautiful friend  Hope Fazineh gets you all the things you wanted today!  Lol – I learned from the internet how to splice photos together and put text on them for you today  Love you! 

Since my mom died when I was in grade 5, my sister and I didn’t really know what to do with ourselves on Mother’s day. As we got older we started celebrating everyone mother-like in our lives, including 5 Aunts on our Father’s side, 6 Aunts on our Mom’s side, friend’s mom’s, and then for me, leaders who took me into their homes. It got to be a bit of an ordeal, and I remember crying out to God, wishing I had just one mom like most of my friends did.

Looking back though, I am so grateful. My many moms / aunties lavished me with love, more than one possibly could. I am so lucky I’ve had so many incredible women ready and willing to step into that gap!

This year I want to particularly thank Mama Laura Lee Pak who started mothering / discipling me while she was still single, and even though she has 2 natural littles of her own now, and a 3rd on the way, she still managed to work, finish school, and be by my side on the hardest and most beautiful day of my life.

How Blessed am I that my Pastor and Spiritual Mother is also laleo photography‘s Professional Photographer! She sang worship songs with me (I was amazed I could sing through contractions ) read the bible to me, prayed for me, and captured our son’s first and last moments with the real love and compassion of family.  I could not have asked for a more perfect person to stand for my mom that day. In that crowded room with 14 medical professionals, my husband’s mom and 2 sisters, she was exactly what my heart needed. 

Thank you Laura for being an example of waiting on the Lord for your husband. For persevering, loving Him, loving His Word, and loving me )  Your teaching has made me love the Lord more, I owe a debt of love to you that could never be repaid, and I am so proud of who you are and all you’ve been able to accomplish. Happy Mother’s Day from one of the lives you have deeply impacted. 

What does it mean to be pro-life? For me it meant carrying my baby to term even though the doctors told me to abort him. They saw in my 20 week scan that his kidneys had problems and if they weren’t producing enough amniotic fluid, his lungs would not fully develop. As long as he was inside me he was fine. I could filter his blood and breathe for him – but they were not encouraging about his chances after he was born, and there were other complications. They found substantial fibroids in my uterus in my 8 week scan, so they thought a C-section would be necessary, and they didn’t think that was be worth it for a baby who was not viable. They wanted me to do the procedure as soon as possible so he would be smaller and it would be easier. They really believed abortion was the best choice for our family as it would mitigate my physical healing time, and we could try for another child sooner.

I struggled with this choice, because if I couldn’t breath, I wouldn’t want that experience to be prolonged – but there’s a big difference between letting nature take its course, and injecting something into his heart to stop it, andthen inducing labour 

Holding on to hope for a miracle, I cherished every day I could have with my son safely inside me. Classic Asian Mom – we never make our kids move out ;p 

Did he suffer more as he took his last breath in my arms? I don’t know, but today I say being pro-life is this: valuing life no matter how long or how productive it is. My son was not perfect, but neither am I. He could not have survived without help, but the same is true of all of us -we all needed help. Carrying him and birthing him wasn’t easy, but he was worth it.

I am so grateful I got to see his beautiful little face with eyes so much like mine and mouth and chin just like his dad’s (totally perfect and unsquished because he came out bum and foot first 😉 His crying was the best sound I’d ever had the privilege of hearing, because it meant he was alive!

This is the Love of a Parent. This is the Love of The Father. Even when we had nothing to offer, it was worth it to Him to carry us, to carry our cross anddie taking the punishment for all the ways we’ve messed up. He says you are worth it, and He looks at you the same way I looked at my son – with so much love, so proud of who you are 


When labour was terrible at the end I kept asking God for help, and I felt Him say “Yes,” – of course He would help me. The pain did not diminish, but looking back I was unbelievably helped! At one time we counted fourteen medical professionals in the room. I was literally picked up and put on the birthing bar when I was so exhausted that I could barely move. They pushed my iliac crests together to open up my pelvis, and continually said encouraging things.

In the weeks that followed, people brought food – setting up a meal train for us that quickly filled. One of my best friends even flew over from Calgary to attend the funeral. My parents and in-laws both gave us substantial gifts, so we had nothing to worry about when it came to funeral costs. Also, one of the massage therapists who was working at my clinic used to work in the funeral industry, so he was able to give us good counsel and walk us through that process.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I don’t know what choices or struggles you’re facing, but I do know this -cry out to Him and God will help you. You are His child and He loves the sound of your cries. It may not be the way you hoped help would come, but He will come through for you. I still believe it. I will see my son again, and until then He is safe in the arms of our Heavenly Father.

What a difference a couple years makes! The last time I shared at Evangelical Chinese Bible Church (ECBC) Dorothy Tanaka was the one there supporting me and I didn’t know if I was ever going to get married, and where I was going to work. It was amazing to go back this year with my husband, and as a clinic owner!  It’s crazy how my husband is / made happen all the random things I wished for!

I remember going to Dora Ho and Timothy Chu‘s wedding thinking it was so cool how they had their scout crew as their honour guard, but that I could never have that at my wedding since I’m not a scout leader ;p (Thanks Fox and Felix for being our honour guard! ). I wanted a man who would pursue me, but my personality didn’t really allow for that, because I’m so straight up – when I’m interested, it’s pretty obvious but I was honestly turned off by Stu’s lack of profile picture on ChristianMingle – which he didn’t have because he was involved in The Number One most attractive thing to me – teaching in high schools. He teaching about social media – telling kids to be careful what they put on the internet because you can’t erase your cyber footprint ;p Thank God Pastor Emily Lim ran Danny Lee Silk‘s Define The Relationship Class and gave us the homework of going on a couple dates, so I actually paid for a Christian Mingle Membership, and could finally read the messages he had sent me to explain that. And that he happened to send me another smile a couple days before we were going to report on our homework, so I actually looked at his messages and was highly motivated to go on a date with him asap (so I could be the star of class)

Thank you Jesus for being So Faithful and True to Your Word!!! It’s crazy how two of my Sexual Integrity Teacher friends (Jessica Littlehigh and Catherine Thomas) and I met our husbands / fiance within 2 weeks of each other. Actually I thought of them right away when I met Stu, thinking if it didn’t work out with me I could introduce him to them  My friends are so awesome, it would have been easy for me to be insecure, because I could totally see how he might prefer them over me, but it just so happens Stu has a thing for Hong Kong Chinese girls – and I fully understand that because I have a thing for white guys  ;p I also had a thing for Claddagh rings because I used to love Buffy The Vampire Slayer– so it’s particularly sweet to me that He’s Irish!  

God really does give us the desires of our heart as we delight in Him! I’m constantly shocked and amazed by His Goodness and the Reality of His Work in my Life! All this and more is too much for coincidence!!!

It was great too how He orchestrated that night – putting it on Wesley Liu and Jonathan Liu‘s hearts to share about Job (a great lead in to discussing Job 1:8 and 31:1-12) and to see how much they and others like Patrick Zhu have grown since the last time I was there – passionately leading worship and prayer!  Great Job Philip YeeJoyce YeeMichael HovaterJohn KuRachel Lowe and all the others who’ve poured into this Epic group!  The nights I have been able to spend with you have been a privilege and blessing!  

 

I have a crown. It was given to me yesterday at the Miss BC Pageant for Mrs Charity BC even though I did not put on a fundraising event on like I did last time. Instead, the money was raised because of a tragedy. It was given to me as a part of my inheritance as a Daughter of my amazing family, and a Daughter of God.

Here is what I wrote down to share for the 1 minute I had to introduce myself during the Heart and Soul portion of the Pageant.

“My name is Zana, but I’d actually like to introduce my Aunt Helen to you. My mom died when I was in grade 5, and that’s when she decided she was going to take care of me. We were already living together in one big Asian family unit with 2 other Aunties and an uncle, but she swore to herself then that as long as she had anything to say about it, I would never be hungry or cold. She was a strong, independent woman, extremely generous and always the first to volunteer to pay for dinners. She passed away recently, but she made sure that what she left would be more than enough to cover funeral expenses. So when the white pocket money came in from so many who loved her so much, my family decided to make a donation in her honour, to the Canadian Cancer Society which was so helpful to us in the last years of her life. So if I do well in the Charity BC section, it will be because of her, another gift amongst so many that she has left me.”

I am so grateful to come from a family who have chosen to be generous, andpeople of integrity, generation after generation. Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

But even with all that was donated from the funeral money, it would not have been enough because another had fundraised more! I don’t know how or why, but an anonymous donor gave another $2000 through my website, even though I had asked people to give to Denise Tam‘s fundraiser instead.

I am Truly Blessed. God has been So True to His Word.

He gave me a crown, and He gives you one too. That is the one that matters,and that is the crown that will last forever. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal. Will you come to our Heavenly Father and receive your crown from Him? Jesus took a crown of thorns so we could receive His crown.

Psalm 8:3 -5 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

Cancer may have taken my mother, my dad’s second wife, and two of the Aunts who raised me, but it has not taken away my hope, which is in eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord who has defeated death. I will cast my crowns before He who is Worthy to receive all glory and honor and power, for He created all things, and by His will they existed and were created, and I will always be grateful to those He used to bless me.

This is me, crying my eyes out during Karen Jiang‘s speech at my wedding, which was a highlight of the wedding, and also, a highlight of my life.

Almost 15 years of waiting had culminated in this moment. Karen was there for me when I had broken up with my high school boyfriend for the 3rd andfinal time and had chosen a life of Sexual Integrity. I’d screwed up. I knew I couldn’t make it on my own, so for Christmas circa 2001, I put something simple, but meaningful in her gift. That year my sister Lani and I made mini gingerbread houses, and in hers I stuck a jewelry box with a small travelers lock and key in it.

“Keep it for me,” I said, “as a symbol of my heart. When I am not strong enough, smart enough, or disciplined enough, to keep it myself as I intend to – for Jesus, and for the man I will marry, please help me guard it.”

And she did! She kept that little lock and key, in that box – with icing sugar still on it from the gingerbread house, to present it to my husband on our wedding day, bidding him to keep and guard our hearts, that had become One in Christ Jesus that day.

Thank you KJ, for being such an incredible witness, warrior and sister by my side all these years. I still remember meeting you at my first VCAC/FLC Teens Camp in grade 8 and how impressed I was by your honesty, how welcome you made me feel, and the reality of your relationship with Jesus.