I’m watching him as he grabs to the rail to go down the steps.

“Stay on the porch,” I say.

He turns his head to look at me as he goes down another step. Toddlers.

“Stay here with me,” I demand, holding back my smile. I love this grandson so much. His little feet move forward with no intention to listen to me.

“Do you understand English when I’m talking to you?” I bring out my artillery.

He stops. “What is English?”

“English is the language we are speaking right now. Do you understand my words?” He smiles and waves his hand. “Of course I understand you, Buni.”

“But do you want to listen?”




I didn’t tell this to anyone.

As some of you know, I see my heart doctor now and then.

Yesterday. He gives me a routine check up and seems pretty pleased, as he can see I am beaming.

“Not bad,” he says, “not bad at all.” He doesn’t need to adjust my meds, I look happy and we continue our chat.

‘What I need you to do now is to take a good walk everyday.”

” I try to do that,” I say.

“Good. When I see you next time I need your heart to be stronger.”

Then I spill the beans. ” When I don’t walk outside, I walk in the stores when I do my grocery shopping.”

I see his face changing. Is that a smile? No. It is a mimic of surprise. “Madam, walking in a store doesn’t count for strengthening your heart.”

Now I’m surprised. “Why?” I should have stopped asking questions.

He starts to laugh and keeps laughing for a while. The nurse stares at me without a word.

“Because when you go shopping you walk a few steps and stop to see this item. Than You move another two-three steps to reach to another thing. And so on.” He looks me in the eye. “Doing your groceries is not the exercise you need to help your heart.”

I’m astonished. Life’s not fair.


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The Mailman

postoffice2Had to go to the Post Office to get some stamps for my mom’s b-day card. Asked K2 (2 1/2 years old) if he wanted to see the mailman. Agreed. The twins stayed at home with daddy to celebrate their 6 mo. old, mommy at work, and I got out of the house, holding his little hand. He is carrying a plastic container with a lid, fresh from the dishwasher. I don’t mind.
“You’ll be in the stroller,” I apprise the young man. I get the vehicle from the garage and try to lift the top in a sitting position. I don’t know how. I push and pull, and look under it to find a button or something. The little boy tries to help as well. In vain.
“You have to lie down,” I inform my subordinate. He wants to see the mailman anyway and he listens to me. Then off we go. He keeps opening and closing the lid on top of the container while we go down the hill. We cross the street and walk in the newly remodeled Post Office. Now he is allowed to sit up and watch the mailman as we are waiting in the line. When we get to the counter, I tell the postman he has an admirer. They wave at each other, I pay for the stamps and we are out the door. The little guy closes his eyes. I can see the plastic container gets heavy in his hand. “Well, you don’t fall asleep in the stroller. You sleep in your bed.”
He stays awake. He saw the mailman.


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Don’t Ask

biffar-doors-high-security-district-small-12820PHASE 1 – It might be easier to walk into the White House without appointment than into the 99c Store’s restroom on Harbor. It took two representatives, one out loud call on the store’s microphone, one guy from the loading section in the back and an angry security lady to finally open that door that had a 9 digit pass.
I felt honored. 
PHASE 2 – While inside, another victorious elderly lady with a walker stepped in the high security area next to me. When she kindly asked for some toilet paper, “If you, by any chance, have some to spare.” She stretched her hand under the little wall between stalls, and I handed her the treasure.
Sharing with others brings joy.
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No, Thank You -30-


While taking the public transportation as a foreigner in Bucharest made you the target of the pocket thieves, that didn’t seem to apply to Beijing. I felt safe there, even though I stayed alert to what was going on around me, with all my documents and cash placed in a pouch hanging under my clothes. It looked like the many years of practicing fencing helped me be on guard and pretty vigilant.

We checked in the hotel and went to leave our bags in our rooms before taking a walk in the city. Not everybody from our team came back from the field and our meeting was at dinner. About an hour under the hot sun by the tall buildings, and walking without a specific target, we lost our interest in discovering the city on foot. Had some lunch and walked back to the hotel.

When I saw it. I was mesmerized. It was a small purse shop in the subway.

Some may wonder what was so amazing about that? I’ll tell you what: those purses had personality. Their design was so unique and beautiful that made me slow down and let my friends go without me. “Are you sure you don’t want to come back with us?” the translator asked me. I was sure. The hotel was straight ahead at about ten minutes away. They didn’t insist. I walked down to the subway again and got inside that store. It was full of dust, with bags and purses piled on top of each other, to maximize every inch. I didn’t care. There were at least ten purses I overwhelmingly liked from the first sight.

You may think that I’m a purse spender. I’m not. Every time when I needed, it was hard for me to find the “perfect” purse. But there they were lined up, faultless.

Made of black and purple leather with long handles, this one was parted in two compartments, with a tiny clasp on the exterior that was Mickey Mouse’s head. I bought it. Yes, I came to China from California and got a Disneyland purse.

Looking around the table I could see us, the few men and women who left the LAX airport not long ago, but something significant was changed. We missed one of us.

After being spread into the heart of China and encountering such a need for the Word of God, after being witnesses of poverty and pain in so many ways, we gained a new heart, a humble heart.

(To be continued)

This Saturday’s Mystery

SATURDAY between Good Friday and Easter morning is a mystery. There is a word saying that Jesus, after He died and before His resurrection went to Sheol / hell.
“He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” 1Peter 3:18-20 NIV
Even though I can’t comprehend this, one thing is sure.
HOPE arises on Saturday before Easter. We don’s see it, we are still in the waiting room, but we know something extraordinary is happening. The whole unseen world moves. The tomb trembles. His body is still there, but not for long.

Holy Thursday

holy_thursdayHOLY THURSDAY – the Thursday before Easter- is a big celebration in churches in Romania. Even though, the unwritten custom was to observe the day without working, but fasting, meditating and praying, my both grandmas and my mother kept doing the daily labor, while praying and fasting.
At dawn they went to a church gathering, grandmas in the villages and mom in our city. Sometimes my dad would attend, as well, but was pretty worried not to be caught by the communist secret police and lose his job as a supervisor.
I didn’t like going to church, especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It was too sad to go through the real story of Jesus who suffered and was murdered without blame. At that time, I didn’t care about Jesus. I thought God – if there was a God- was for old people. My life was ahead, and fun was its name. Because I learned that God and fun were opposite – boring stuff on God’s side, and excitement life without God.
I didn’t know people made it sound like that.
It was years after when I encountered God in a personal way and proved to me as the sweetest, loving, joyful person on earth. I mean in Heaven and earth.


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