Winnis Chiang Newsletter
  Personal Note from Winnis
  Feature Article - Take Stock of Your Life
  Real Life Story - How One Christmas Changed My Life
December 24, 2013
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"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; ... And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

It's Christmas Eve again. I so look forward to our family gathering tonight. A few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law asked whether I had some favorite photos from Christmas 2011 when we last spent Christmas Eve together in San Francisco. She asked me for 5-6 photos and I sent her 20. She selected some and made a page for her album. I want to share these photos with you because that was my first Christmas with not one, but two grandchildren!
See how cute my grandchildren were? They still are! Every chance we can spend as a family is so special. I am so blessed with my family and in-laws. But I would not have lasting love, peace and joy if I did not take stock of my life 25 years ago. I still do that every year. Hopefully, the feature article, Take Stock of Your Life, will get you started too.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Featured Article
Take Stock of Your Life

2014 is around the corner! Ancient Romans named the month of January for Janus, their god of gates, doors and beginnings. Always pictured with two faces -- one looking toward the future, the other back at the past -- Janus is a fitting symbol for the turning of a new year.

As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it's natural to do as Janus does: look back and ahead. But this year, instead of just reflecting on the past year or making New Year's resolutions, consider spending some time to take stock of your life.

Who are you? What do you believe? What do you really need?

When we discover who we really are, we stop living on auto-pilot and start to live with intention, focus and purpose. Our choices become clearer. We begin to make active choices in our life, instead of making excuses or passively living with the status quo.

Here are a few questions to get you started. Have a journal or some way to record your thoughts. (Writing by hand keeps you in touch with your breath and your heart.)

• What is aching to be expressed?

• What needs healing?

• What unique gifts, talents and skills do you bring to the world? How are you using them (or not)?

• Who do you need to forgive? How about yourself?

• What beliefs are holding you back or getting in your way?

• What can you let go of in your life?

• What makes you happy?

Don't forget to consider the vital information that other "parts" of yourself are giving you. When you use only your head, your experience of yourself and the world is more limited.

• What is your body telling you? When someone yells at you, does your stomach tie up in knots? Do your shoulders stiffen when you've been too focused on fulfilling others' needs and ignoring your own? Notice the messages your body is giving you.

• Check in with your heart. The heart is the home of what is most alive in us. What does your heart have to say about your job? Your relationships? About how you spend your days? Does it need more play time? Is something missing? What, according to your heart, really matters?

• Listen to your intuition, your "gut." Your intuition speaks volumes, but often gets ignored. What is this voice saying now? What are you yearning for? What voices are you listening to? Don't forget: If you are in Christ, you are a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Would you like to walk in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16) moment by moment to live out your new life?

Don't forget to notice what you already have that is working. Acknowledge and give thanks for the gifts and the beauty and the miracles that are in your life right now. Write them down.

Tell the truth. Now is the time to start being honest about who you really are. Encouraging those unlived parts of ourselves to emerge can provide an exhilarating sense of discovery and optimism for the New Year and beyond.

"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God ... So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:1-12).

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Real Life Story
In December 1988, we accepted an invitation from two of our friends to a Christmas celebration at their church. We sang some songs and listened to someone's sharing, but I only remember the drama that night. It compared and contrasted the lives of two women, one with and one without Jesus Christ. Somehow that gave me a glimpse of hope.

On January 1, 1989, I started attending church. Not wanting to introduce myself, I intentionally arrived late and departed as soon as the sermon was over. Nevertheless, I did go to church every Sunday. Then on Saturday, January 28, I attended an evangelistic meeting in the evening. The speaker was a medical doctor who, like me, was a foreign student from Hong Kong. My accomplishments seemed small compared to his, yet he had felt the same emptiness I was feeling! Facing terminal illness, he had cried out and God gave him double healings. I sobbed when I heard how God restored his relationship with his wife, and that he had written letters to be mailed to his children as they grew up without him.

Then someone led us in singing a song, What a Friend we have in Jesus (that I had never heard before). The verse "Oh, what peace we often forfeit? Oh, what needless pain we bear? All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!" was my wakeup call. I cried for the years I had tried so hard to fix my marriage and my life, on my own.

I found what was missing in my heart and received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. The miracles in my life started in Christmas 1988 when I finally said "YES" to the invitation of a Christmas program. Thank God for loving and faithful friends who did not give up after me saying "NO" for six years! To God be All Glory!
Winnis Chiang Winnis Chiang is Founder and CEO of Parenting ABC, a company dedicated to teaching and coaching Chinese Christian parents from around the world how to make a difference in the lives of children, youth, and young adults. Her passion is fueled by the new life she received when she found Christ in 1989 after her marriage and parenting were no longer working. She specializes in helping Mandarin and Cantonese speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and influence their American Born Chinese children.

Winnis is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in California. She holds a M.A. degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from Western Seminary and a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Her former careers include being a software engineer, development department manager, stay-at-home mom, counselor of kids and teens at public schools, and children's minister.

Winnis and her husband (now a pastor) have been married since 1975 after only three months of dating. They enjoy their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren!

Winnis Chiang, M.A., LMFT


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