Reflections on Motherhood

For the past 15 months, my husband and I have been blessed with a wonderful daughter. We see her grow up in front of our eyes each day and we realize how much we need God’s grace moment by moment and more so in the coming months and years to come.  

She gives us so much joy. But she is perfectly capable of causing the opposite at the same time. Sometimes I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry when I see my own personality reflected by my daughter. It’s true what some people say that you see your worse in your own child. O, how I’ve proven this time and again!
Being a parent sure helped me understand the doctrines of original sin and total depravity better.  It also helped me appreciate the beauty of Gospel better.
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Celebrating Advent

It’s been 16 days since Katie was born and I’m halfway through my GeLai, a monthlong traditional Chinese practice of postpartum care (more on that next time). One thing that I am looking forward to, after my GeLai and even more as a church planter’s wife, is to attend the soft-launch of the church planting project that my husband and I have been involved in for more than a year now. We’re very excited about starting weekly services next year and we’re doing a preview next month beginning with the Advent theme. Everyone is invited!

ImageIt’ll certainly be a milestone for the church planting project and we truly praise God for guiding us all the way. Lord willing, December 2 will be Katie’s first worship service and she will be hearing her Daddy preach then.


Bundle of Joy

I haven’t been blogging for the past months since I’ve been preoccupied with morning sicknesses, layette shopping and birthing classes. Yes, I was busy being pregnant.

But alas, the long wait is finally over and I have given birth to a 7.2 lb baby girl last Wednesday (7 November 2012) at 11:41 in the evening. We named our precious covenant child, Katharina Bryn, after the wife of the German reformer, Martin Luther and of course, after her dad, James Bryner. We fondly call her Katie. We hope that she will one day be a great “brewmistress” like Katie von Bora herself! Ha!

God was indeed gracious to have given me the strength to go through Normal Spontaneous Delivery (NSD) without epidurals. I’m really happy that my mom encouraged me to go au naturale.

I guess that means this blog will turn over a new leaf… again.

I asked the Lord, that I might grow

by John Newton

I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know;
And seek more earnestly His face.

Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair!

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins–and give me rest!

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part!

Yes more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe!
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds–and laid me low!
“Lord, why is this!” I trembling cried,
“Will you pursue your worm to death?”
“This is the way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.”

“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set you free;
And break your schemes of earthly joy,
That you may seek your all in Me!”

A Long Overdue Project

It has been quite difficult to find resources for children that is both theologically sound and reasonably priced. For one thing, most of the locally published (or imported) materials either assume the Gospel or is moralistic in application. Yes, it’s VBS season again.

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to write a low-cost Reformed curriculum for children. The projected started out well, really. I even made a title and the logo design for the supposed material. But it never really matured after that. I guess taking on Covenant Theology was too ambitious. So James suggested that I should start with basic Biblical Theology (Creation-Fall-Redemption-New Creation). I could not agree more.

I really hope it would be different this time around. The goal is to finish the 5-day curriculum by the end of the year, in time for next summer.

I thought of using ‘The Returning King’ as a title. But it’s so reminiscent of Tolkien’s last book in the The Lord of the Rings series. Any suggestions?

From the Kitchen: 5-minute Microwave Brownies

James suddenly had an urge to eat some chocolate last night so we decided to try the microwave brownie recipe that’s been around the Internet for a while. It’s certainly not your top shelf brownie, but it’s a quick fix for all those chocolate cravings!

Here’s my own fudgy concoction…

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a mug.
  2. Top the brownie mixture with chocolate chips (optional).
  3. Pop the mug in the microwave for 1 to 1.5 minutes over high heat.

If you don’t have any cocoa powder lying around the house, substitute it with 5 tbsp of Ovaltine–the chocolate malt drink–then reduce the sugar to 2 tbsp. It won’t be as fudgy but it’s still good.

But if you want to really spruce it up, add a big dollop of rich vanilla ice cream and you have brownie ala mode!

This recipe can actually fit two medium-sized ramekins.