Perspective.

 

“No height too high

No valley too low

There is no distance that His love will not go…

I look behind me and what has been done

I look before me to what is to come…

No tear drop has fallen, no trial known to man

Slipped through God’s fingers when He stretched out His hand.”

=======================================================
This where I need to stay. God’s unfailing love.

Why do we hope in Him?

Because his hope will not disappoint.

Why should we abide in his unfailing love?

Because his love is unfathomable, indescribable.

What if the answer was not found looking around anxiously and pining for achievement, fulfillment or status?

What if the answer was found by looking to the One who has the best perspective because He has written our stories before the beginning of time?

===============================================
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[image taken from tumblr; quotes taken from sherri youngwood’s song All I Need to Know and Psalm 121]

Potsticker Pity

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This was originally supposed to be posted before Christmas… But things got busy. (And I may have been not ready to re-live this experience, just yet). Anyway, here it goes.

————————––——————————————————————————–

I work for a really nice couple somewhere in San Diego- I keep the Mrs.’ sweet ol’ mom company, and pretty much hang out with her a few days out of the week. We watch Shirley Temple movies, take long walks, exchange silly stories about our childhood, and talk about good-looking Cary Grant is. And sometimes, when we are feeling a little rebellious, we might go to McDonald’s and order some senior coffees.

Who knew a 19 and a 91 year-old would have so much in common?

Ok, I will admit… Not exactly your typical 19 year-old.
I also have a collection of cat sweaters.
I’m kidding. Really.

What does this all have to do with Potstickers, you ask?
Read on, lovely person.

So, one night, I had to whip up dinner for myself and sweet “Alice” (not her real name). Lemme just tell you- lunch was a hit. I heated some rotisserie chicken, mixed veggies and rice pilaf with almonds (it wasn’t from scratch- but “semi-homemade” as the young ones are calling it these days).

With the freezer door wide open, as I peered into the icy plethora of frozen foods that had the potential of becoming my next masterpiece, I smiled and recalled the earlier success.

I’m pretty sure my eyes twinkled (like in the movies) when I saw the bag of frozen potstickers sitting on the 2nd shelf. “Booyah!” I thought to myself. “Wife material. Right here.”

Disclosure: I’m Asian. And potstickers are an Asian thing, yeah? my little niece loves potstickers and, My sister, her mom, swears by them.

My parents on the other hand, don’t buy frozen ones cause they have preservatives and yada yada yada- they are sort of health nuts, and it gets a little annoying sometimes, but these days- I’m turning into one (Shhh. Don’t tell them).

The bottom line is: heating frozen potstickers was a foreign concept to me.
(Still is)

So I yank out the bag- it read- “ready in 10 minutes!”

“This can’t be that hard”

Cue the scary music.

10 minutes later, I have a huge ball of half-cooked, half-not cooked potstickers on the pan- all soaking butter and 1/2 cup of water. Picture this: uncooked brownish, pinkish meat, oozing out of slimy dough. I felt like it was gonna come alive and jump out of the pan… All Frankenstein-style.

I started to panic, knowing that the people I work for were in the next room (with their cats and dog)- not that they would fire me or anything. I just thought that I was gonna impress them somehow.

While I poked the “evil blob” (I named it, yes) with a fork, trying to relentlessly salvage my wounded pride, I tried to think of the positive side of things.

“If this thing attacks me, at least they’ll hear my screams.”
“Who needs a wife who can cook anyway?”
“My kids will just have to learn”
“At least the dog won’t be hungry tonight”
“One day, I will laugh about this”
“Today is not that day”
“Darn it, should’ve worn the cat sweater.”
“Pride cometh before the fall”
“I wonder if they have cat sweaters that ‘meow'”
“The Asian community should disown me”
“Heck, I’m going to disown me”
“I will never touch a potsticker in my life”

Somewhere among those musings,
the pan turned black.
Something started to smoke.
Someone entered the kitchen.

And I was going crawl under the dining room table.

They held their composure, but I could hear a nervous laugh, here and there- and I’m pretty sure they wondered if the smoke alarms were on.

I mumbled a few stupid things I’m sure about how directions on frozen food packages lie, and how I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy started by the government.

But the one thing that I cannot forget was when I thought I seemingly found a loophole out of my misery: “OH look!” I said in jubilation, “it’s expired! It expired a month ago!”

And I was oh so close to adding, “so this mess is not my fault! I am still wife material!”

Then, my false hopes were shot down when the Mrs. responded, by telling me that it’s fine to freeze stuff before the expiration date and she just had some potstickers the night before.

I knew that. I do that at home all the time.

“Shoot me now,” I thought to myself. Right about then, I was ready for “evil blob” to jump out of the pan and kill me.

Actually, The Mr. was kind enough to help me salvage what was left of the bunch of potstickers. And, thus, some of my pride.
Maybe the 2% that remained.

A little part of me likes to think he did that cause he knew I was embarrassed.
But a big part of me knows it’s cause he was afraid I might burn his house down.

Well…The Mrs. did seem a little jumpy that next time I put a pan on the stove.

~fin~

Emmanuel Has Come

 

Whew! The semester is finally over. I randomly tell people I am around how relieved I am to be on winter break. It’s definitely been an adjustment, compared to being homeschooled. With all the craziness of life, I find it amazing to know that you can still see God work, if you just stand still for a moment. 

  My final essay for English this semester was to write an essay tacitly based on Shakespeare’s Henry V. I chose to write about “betrayal” and “maturity”, since it was two of the broad themes represented in the work (Branaugh’s portrayal of it was awesome, by the way!).

Of course, I had to get some Christmas pizzaz in it, so I figured a Christmas Church play would be a great backdrop for the story.

Hope you enjoy!  

 

  From behind the stage curtains, I gazed in satisfaction at the sold-out auditorium.I savored the delighted expressions on many of the audience members, especially  those of my parents, who sat in the front row. But my eyes scoured the crowd for my big sister, who was nowhere to be found. “You don’t need her here,” I whispered to myself, as I clutched on to part of the stage curtain, grasping for the strength I needed to keep my composure.

 

 

A Nativity scene, (complete with cardboard donkeys and sheep), and a little piece of “heaven” (which they used gold spray paint for) fit on our small stage; expertly designed by our prop department. What the whole team lacked in space and decorations, we made up for in big hearts and talent. Alyssa, the choir director and my mentor, exemplified both traits. 

She caught me peeking out the curtains, and mouthed “you can do it” from the opposite of the end of the stage.

 

 

  The stage was full of little boys and girls in angel costumes- not only did they look the part- but when their voices rung in harmony, boy, they sure did sound like the angelic beings. On the closing notes of the current song, the Narrator, dressed sharply in a white tux with blonde, sleek hair- begins to introduce the scene when Mary & Joseph journey to Bethlehem for the census; which only meant one thing to me: I was going to take the stage next.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

   Each glance we exchanged at the dinner table was filled with raw emotion: sadness and confusion, and hurt. I thought the holidays would make everything better, and although Christmas music played in the background and the evergreen scent of the our undecorated tree permeated the living room- we could not escape that fact that this year just wasn’t the same. My sister, Sarah, called from college a few weeks ago. Beautiful, quirky, whip-smart Sarah. I could just see her with black-rimmed glasses, light brown hair, and silly laugh. She loved cashmere-sweaters, Chanel no. 5, and ponytails. I would always tell myself, If I could be just a third of how smart and pretty Sarah was, then I’d for sure get somewhere in life. She had never had a boyfriend because we all thought she was too picky, and studied too much- so much so, that she went to college on a full-ride scholarship. It wasn’t much of a surprise when she didn’t come home during the summer- supposedly, she was taking summer classes.  

 “I can’t come home for Christmas…”  Sarah regrettably said.

 

She was on speakerphone and although her voice was muffled, Mom, Dad and I knew what this meant. Dad must have sensed something else was at play, but still asked if money was the issue.

He said he would be more than happy to help.

 

But then she dropped the bombshell: “… because I’ll be spending Christmas… with my husband.”

 

That’s why she didn’t come home in the summer. Married. She eloped. With a marine she met at a bar.

He was stationed in Japan. Actually, they were in Japan for the next 2 years. 
Then, came the tears, the screams, and the confusion from both parties. Sarah assured us she was the happy. She was finally with someone who loved her. I asked her to come to my Christmas play, and obligingly said “she’d try to”.
 

 

When my parents hung up the phone and left the room in despair- I stayed and cried by the phone. 3 rings passed.

 

“Hey, goose, you know I love you right? I was offered an internship, and he was leaving. I had to choose. That’s why I tried to hide it for as long as I could…. I’d like for you to meet him one day.”
Sarah said, oblivious to all the pain this caused us.

 

 

I wanted to ask her how she could leave without saying goodbye. I wanted to ask how she could throw away her future this way. Most of all, why did she have to hide if from us? But all I could manage was a weak “I love you too.” Perhaps, I couldn’t ask the questions, because I wasn’t ready for the answers.

   And that is why the boxes of Christmas decorations stayed untouched in the garage, because none of us were really feeling the Christmas spirit-whatever that meant.  Any meals we had together were the worst; with the empty chair, speaking volumes with every bit of silence. Everytime my parents asked me how I was feeling about what happened, I would answer with the same remarks, such as  “Please pass the potatoes” or “the chicken is good tonight”, and to be honest, I have said both, even though we were having carrots and roast beef. Sometimes, I’d catch the error, but I didn’t care enough to change it. My reasoning was, if I changed the subject, they would stop asking. I didn’t want to tell what I was feeling. I felt hopeless. 

 

 

 But not for the reason they would think. If Sarah, with all the promise in the world, could be such a disappointment- Where does that leave me? Should I just give up before I make things worse?

 

So the the boxes of Christmas decorations stayed unpacked.
And I continued to say the “chicken was good”, even though it was really beef.

 

 

 “Let’s go, kiddo-” said my mom placed her red and green cloth napkin on her empty plate.

We were heading to choir practice at church- The Christmas musical served as a sanctuary from the rest of the world. I could get lost singing my heart out to “Angel We Have Heard on High” and other songs like that- under the bright stage lights, all dressed in my angel costume with my shiny, gold halo. 

 

And the best thing was no one else knew what was really going in my head- the question that haunted me for so many nights: Am I next?

 

 

Odd thing is, when you keep thinking of yourself as future failure, you will find reasons to fuel your goal. 

 

I wanted so badly to tell my parents to punish me now, for all my future disappointments. Or put me up for adoption. Since I really didn’t see a way out. But I decided to save that for later- my poor parents could only handle so much heartache in one holiday season.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 

 

“Ok, let’s run through that one more time, guys, then we can take a break. Very nice job.”

said Alyssa, our choir director, giving high-fives all around the circle.

About 5 of us arrived earlier than the rest of the cast and choir to practice solos for “O Come O Come Emmanuel”- I had the last couple verse. And was ecstatic to get a mic all to myself for just a few minutes. 
It was my turn:

 

“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel…..”

 

 

 Honestly, I was too embarrassed to admit that I had no idea of what the song meant- Emmanuel? And what does “ransom captive” even mean? Each time someone complimented me on my singing, it was just a reminder that I had no idea what I was singing actually meant.

 

  Before I knew it, the song was over, and everyone ran off to play a makeshift game of tag.

As I went to join them, Alyssa put her hand on my shoulder, and gently asked how I was doing

 

 

 My parents told her what had happened at home, because she was someone we knew well enough to understand. Alyssa was my sister’s high school best friend. She was in her mid-20s, and is newly married to a deployed marine. Ever since she heard the news, she’d take me out for random ice cream runs or have lunch with the family on weekends and try to make me laugh. Whenever I told her she was being too nice, she would always just say that our family was being too nice for “adopting” her into our little flock and that her husband is forever grateful for all the meals we’ve fed her. I didn’t care if she was being truthful or not, as long as she’d stick around.

 

“I’m doing okay,” I looked away, trying to hold back my tears. I told her last time we met, that I wished Sarah would’ve been proud of my work on the play.

 

 

“You did a great job with the solo. Sarah’s missing out on seeing you do what you love. It’s her loss.” She wiped away my tear and brushed my hair behind my ear. “It’s going to be ok, you know. God has a plan.”

 

Something else was bothering me, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint yet what it was, but had to compose myself before the others would come. I grinned and said, “Might that plan include a Christmas movie marathon this weekend with my favorite choir director?”

 

 

“No,” she replied. Quizzically, I asked why. 

 

“We’re going to something much better- We’re going to decorate my Christmas Tree.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

   She had boxes and boxes of Christmas decors in the closet.

They were all stacked up with the appropriate labels on them-  like “lights”, “glass ornaments”, “santa decorations”.
Her 6ft. noble-fir was set in her living room, all ready for us to work on. 
Honestly, I wasn’t against Christmas traditions, I just couldn’t go through with my family’s traditions. 

 

“Let’s get to work!” Alyssa played our Christmas songs on the CD player and broke out her stash of chocolates to ensure we’d both stay happy.

 

 

“Lyss! I’m tangled in lights!” I screamed. I couldn’t say it without bursting into laughter. Only me. I volunteered to get the last box of lights in the closet, and instead of bringing a ladder, I jumped for it. Just to have its all contents to fall on me! I am so lucky it wasn’t a box of glass ornaments.

 

 

“Oh my! Are you hurt?” Lyss ran my rescue. When I told her all I suffered was a bruised ego, she started belly laughing. “Wait! Let me find a plug. You can be my little christmas tree! I need to take a picture. Be right back!”

 

 

“You are so enjoying in this moment. Hurry so I can get out of this thing!”

I tried to seem bitter for her not untangling the lights immediately, but I was too busy trying not laugh. I really didn’t mind, as it was the first time I had laughed about anything this hard.

 

 

  Once we took enough pictures to post on instagram, and I was free of all decorations, we settled down and made some root beer floats. As Alyssa was considering whether or not to scoop and extra serving of vanilla ice cream into her tall ice cream glass, I interrupted her.

 

 

“Lyss, can I ask you a question?” I asked seriously.

 

“I’ll try my best to answer it.” She dropped the extra scoop on ice cream into the glass. Figured she’d need the extra sugar to even hear what I had to say.

 

“I- Do you think I’m gonna end up like Sarah?” I looked down and winced, just waiting to hear someone to confirm my suspicions out loud.

 

“Look at me,” she said,  “Remember the lyrics to your song? Remember what it means?”

 

“Yes, I remember them… but I don’t really know what they mean” I replied sheepishly, as I admitted this fact, “What does this even have to do with Sarah?”

 

She let a deep breath out, and continued, with compassion in her eyes.

 

“Israel was exiled from God because of their sin; we all were. Now, sweetheart, Jesus came to set them free from their sin- and ours. That’s the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. Those who accept Jesus into their hearts are free from sin. Free from the shadows that tell us we are destined to become failures. Free from the lies that are whispered into our souls. God has a plan for you- he wouldn’t have sent his son, Jesus, to come, if you were just going to throw everything away. And when you do make a mistake–and we all do–it’s not the end of the world. Someone once told me, “Life is not futile, failures are not fatal, and our death in not final.”

 

 

“Really?” Her words brought a small stream of hope to my parched soul. Freedom is what I needed, from this enormous burden I had been carrying. “But I don’t feel that way. What if others don’t think that way about me?”

 

 

Lyss took a sip of her already-melted root beer float, somewhat content with my response to her answer. Or maybe it was just to buy time to answer my next one.

 

 

“Tell me- just because you don’t see the sun on a stormy day, does that mean it will never shine again? Or… just because a seed has not sprouted yet, does that mean it will never bloom into a beautiful flower?  Feelings may not always match up with what’s true, but that doesn’t change the truth.”

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Two months had passed since that cold fall day, and every time I practiced my song, the words she spoke echoed in my mind. They rung louder than ever as I walked up, a mic in hand, to my spot on stage. 

 

That night, I didn’t even think of the crowd, or even cared if my sister would show.
I sang each word as someone free from the shadows, 

 

I cried “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” because I knew his coming changed everything.

 

 

It brought freedom.

Man Who Received Kidney Transplant Marries His Organ Donor

NewsFeed

In a story straight out of a Hollywood movie, an Indiana man in need of a kidney, and the woman who provided the necessary organ, have married. The ceremony took place three years after the life-saving operation.

Kyle Froelich was diagnosed with a fatal kidney disorder when he was 12 years old, and by senior year of high school, he was in dire need of a transplant. Dozens of friends and family members had offered Froelich one of their kidneys, but none of the prospective donors had been a match. Doctors estimated that the 19-year-old had one more year to live.

Then Froelich met Chelsea Clair, and everything changed.

As the Indianapolis Star reports, the couple met at a local car show. The two took a liking to each other, and spent the day driving around in Clair’s new Camaro. Within hours of meeting Froelich, and without quite knowing why, Clair…

View original post 247 more words

Hello Fall, Where did Summer go?

Yep. Last time I checked in was July… and now it’s October. Crazy. I entered my password wrong quite a few times logging on, and realized that’s been way too long since I’ve “blogged” about everything and anything.

 

Since summer, I’ve wrapped up a NA program, started college and a new job, and had a birthday, got more involved in volunteering; some family has moved away, some friends as well… lots of change.

Last night I was just thinking how if you told my 13 year-old self how grown up I would be at 19, I would’ve gone hiding someplace you could never find me. Responsibility can be scary, man!

Maybe that’s apart of why God doesn’t give us all the details. We would probably faint to hear of all the things He has planned for us- I’m sure some are pretty exciting and amazing, and some are just plain scary if we try to tackle them on our own.

Lately, I heard someone say, “God gives generalities because He wants the daily dependency on Him.”

That reminds me that it’s not all about our life goals, or the “American Dream” (happy, successful, happy) but it’s about getting to know God; Going where He leads us, because we get to learn more about Him and experiencing new life because He gave us new purpose and hope through Jesus.

And once you take that step to follow Him, make sure you hang on tight- ’cause life will be quite a ride!

I’m not enough and that’s okay

It’s the best news I’ve heard all week…

////

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, (II Corinthians 3:5 NKJV)

“Our sufficiency is of God; let us practically enjoy this truth.
We are poor, leaking vessels, and the only way for us to keep full is to put our pitcher under the perpetual flow of boundless grace. Then, despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.” (Spurgeon)

I find so much comfort in this truth. I am definitely a poor, leaking vessel. We all are. That’s what sin has done to us.
we can try to apply band-aids, bandages, maybe some krazy glue… make-up and designer clothes… nice cars… Pretty houses.. education…

But in reality- still the same poor, leaking vessel.

and then because of Jesus-

I get the privilege of being “under the perpetual flow of boundless grace…despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.”

Bad news: We are sinners; we are broken.

Good (GREAT) news: boundless grace in Christ!

//the difference a dot makes//

IMG_7653
“Brain damage? Say what?”
 
Ok, let’s back it up a bit.
 
I was home alone babysitting my teen nephew and 6 year old niece. Their parents are in another state, by the way. And my parents are at work.
 
Little niece wakes me up in the middle of the night, crying, complains of being dizzy and wanting to throw up. She’s burning up.
 
I give her some of the cherry medicine which tastes horrible (but makes her feel much better).
 
I make a mental note to buy a thermometer that actually works (Ours was broken!) once I get up in the morning.
 
 
Here comes the hard part (or so i thought): I have to keep the kids away from each other. Nephew cannot get sick. He has a heart procedure in a few days(!).
 
(Which would actually work if our house wasn’t so tiny…. hah)
 
Ok, so we are back home- I take her temp. (with the brand spankin’ thermometer we bought from CVS– i took her with me)…. wait half a minute… 
 
“BEEP! BEEP!”
 
I think to myself, 
“This can’t be too bad, right? People get a hundred-something fever.”
 
next…. I calmly pick up the phone at call her mom.
 
“Yep she definitely has a fever…. a hundred-six…
yes, that’s what I said… a hundred-six… No, I’m not kidding… do you want me to take a picture?… Yes, ok, I guess you don’t need a picture….
 E.R.?! WHAT! She looks fine to me! Brain what?….. Ok, I’m going to wipe her down with some cool water first… Yes I know its serious… Nevermind, I’ll take her now.”
 
I dash to the kitchen, leave out some lunch for the nephew and warn him not to open the front door to anyone.
 
Niece (with an ice pack in one hand and ice water in the other) and I hop into the car and head to the urgent care down the street.
 
We pray out loud–I told her to “repeat after me”– i needed to know if she was was conscious! And we most definitely needed God’s help and peace!
 
 
quick heartbeat… shallow breath… 
 
yes. that was me. Please, she had to be ok.
 
The medical assistant was taking my little niece’s temp again (the MA dashed to get the thermometer right when i said “a hundred six”).
 
“One hundred POINT four”
 
Me: “OH THANK GOD! it went down!”
 
 
I call my sister on the phone again,
 
“It went down… a hundred point four… what do you mean?.. no way could it go down to that from a hundred you say?… well, it’s either the thermometer is broken or I am blind…. Well, I guess all that matters is she is fine… ok… It’s new… I guess we’ll return it now…”
 
Well, the MA overheard our discussion, and sheepishly said… “Maybe you…. maybe you…. read 100.6 to her as 106.0… thats why she told you to rush her here. Because if my thermometer pulled up 106.0– I’ve would’ve told you to get out of here and go straight to the E.R. since they are better equipped to deal with children her age.”
 
OH MAN.
IT WAS MY FAULT.
I HAD A FLASHBACK TO AN HOUR AGO.
POINT SIX.
POINT SIX.
POINT SIX.
I SHOULD’VE TAKEN A PICTURE.
 
 
I didn’t even have the common sense to blame it on the thermometer and told the MA about my error…
bright red and flustered… like I was talking to a priest at confession (!) except for…. 
 
1) I am not Catholic
2)The waiting room looked nothing like a confessional box (at least you don’t show your face at confession!)
3) She ain’t no priest
 
 
 
THE END. That’s it. We aren’t laughing about it yet, but I do have a fever right now (ha) and
i make a point to read every “point” (YES-PUN INTENDED) I see on the thermometer screen.
 
You may be asking, “Why in the world did she write a blog about this?”
 
Maybe I am doing everyone (and by everyone I mean the handful of people who read this blog haha) a public service to remind them that a dot (or a period or a point or whatever) definitely makes a difference. 
 
Sentences would go on forever, no one would ever get any spare change, and you’ll make a complete fool of yourself.
 
 
Or perhaps the makeshift confession with the stranger at the urgent care wasn’t enough, and I wrote this in hopes of further embarrassing myself.
(Kidding!!)
 
(But seriously, especially in the medical field, points are of utmost importance! Oh the things that could go wrong if you don’t chart them or misread them!)