A Foreigner

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(Photo Credit: Chus’ Life)

In a few hours, I will be flying across the Pacific Ocean to another land, to a completely different culture than what I step out into every morning here in the States. In a way, I will be going home, since I will be reunited with family members that I have missed. It’s odd that while I have spent the majority of my short life so far in California, there is still a part of me that is deeply and strongly attached to my roots in Taiwan. I seriously love that land and its people.

This will probably be my shortest trip ever at just a two-week-long stay, but in that time, I am excited to see family and friends that I have not seen in years, and to eat foods that make Taiwan famous. My schedule will be pretty packed because every moment is precious. After all, I have no idea when I plan to return again. It could be in a year, or another three to five. Every minute does count. Every conversation is important. Continue reading “A Foreigner”

When God Ruins My Plans

When I am not lazy, I am a planner by heart. I like to plan out my days in my head, from what I will be doing at 8:00 AM tomorrow, to big goals that I aim to accomplish by the end of the year. I enjoy mapping out my schedule, and sometimes when I am bored, I will jot down what I envision my day to be in one-hour increments. Or, I will create checklists of things to do because I not only love planning, but I like executing. Being idle and not having something to do, not having set plans, makes me feel uneasy and restless. Even when plans oftentimes go awry, I am usually okay as long as I have anticipated beforehand that things might not work out, or at least have thought of a couple backup scenarios that might be just as satisfactory as my original schemes.

Does this make me sound crazy?

Anyway, my point is, I like when things go accordingly to my ways. When plans fall through, especially if it was something that I really wanted to do, I know it is God’s way of sanctifying me. When the unexpected happens and I don’t foresee the changes, I have no doubt that God is teaching me to stop desiring control and to submit to His Lordship.

In fact, I am learning this lesson as I type because my plans got messed up today.
Continue reading “When God Ruins My Plans”

Hello, Fall! (And My First Attempt At Modeling)

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Photo Credits: Lapis Lazuli 

Did you guys know that today’s the first day of fall? It’s hard to tell that it’s already autumn when the sun’s shining brightly and you still need to sleep with the fan on at night. But I am so excited that it’s fall! Fall means that it’s pumpkin season, and that it’s almost the arrival of winter. Woohoo!

My best friend lives in San Diego, which is about a two hour drive down south for me. It wasn’t until I took this little getaway trip that I found out it’s been nine months since we’ve last seen each other in person. N-i-n-e m-o-n-t-h-s. The last time we saw one another was back on New Year’s weekend. It wasn’t intentional, but sadly, it just kind of happened. I guess it’s because we’re sort of going through different life stages and we have conflicting schedules, not to mention that the physical distance can be quite challenging too. But we do seem to be able to pick up right where we left off. I know that if I ever need an ear to listen, or if I just want to randomly call someone up to say hello, I can always call her. And I do.

I’m thankful that despite the distance, we’ve managed to remain pretty steadfast friends over the years. You’d think that we got along from the get-go and it was smooth sailing from then on out, but it wasn’t how it started for us. We went through some pretty nasty drama and falling outs during the early stages of our friendship. There was definitely a year of petty silent treatments too… Ahem. Anyways, all I can say is that it’s truly by God’s grace we’re still friends to this day. All that we’ve been through in the past, and whatever awaits us in the future, not only continues to deepen our friendship, but it sharpens us as well. We may not be able to walk together through everything as we did before, but it doesn’t mean that our relationship is any less significant or precious. Solid friends are hard to come by and even harder to maintain. As all relationships go, it does take sacrifice, effort, and time. But it’s seriously so worth it.

Near the end of my trip, we decided to have a spontaneous photo shoot session. My amazing friend and her equally awesome husband are into photography, so I became their subject for the afternoon. Besides the fact that it was about 102 degrees outside and I was sweating like crazy, it was a pretty fun experience! Who knew that modeling could be so hard though? It’s so much easier to smile for the camera when there’s something actually going on or when you’re posing with other people.

I don’t know why it becomes so much much more awkward once you decide to call it a photo shoot. I didn’t really know what to do at first, but I just went with the flow. Eventually, I did become much more comfortable in front of the camera. Here are some of my favorites from this shoot.

All photo credits go to the bestie and her husband.

Continue reading “Hello, Fall! (And My First Attempt At Modeling)”

Grace Upon Grace

I’m not really big on birthdays, but I turned a year older this week and found myself doing a lot of extra reflecting. I’m usually — well, still am — the busy bee in the house, bustling out and about every single day, but I took a step back this week to do some introspective thinking. I’m the type of person that processes things as they go, and mulling things quietly to myself isn’t something that I tend to do on a regular basis. But I did that this past week because I found myself to be alone at home, so I was forced to reflect and have a lot of quiet time to myself. (All of my introverted friends should be so proud.)

So after all that personal reflection, I’d like to take the time to flesh out my thoughts in writing, and to share it with y’all.

I think I can say that in my short life thus far, this past year has been one of the most rewarding, albeit challenging. Or maybe I’m biased because I have selective memory and the past year is still fairly recent in my memory. Regardless, many trials and unexpected blessings occurred that stretched my faith and caused me to trust in God through the good times, the bad, and the mundane. And I’m so thankful and glad for all that’s happened. I’m grateful for the friendships along the way, people that really supported and prayed for me and walked with me through it all. Praise God for them.

In a nutshell, all this happened within the past year: I’ve dated, broken up, resigned from my job, dealt with family crises, took upon more ministry opportunities at church, started a new job, learned how to resolve and handle sticky, drama-like situations, and trained for my first half marathon. Not exactly in that chronological order and probably not the best summary of all that happened. But I guess those are the biggest events that come to mind. All in all, what a humbling year. I’m amazed at the depths of my sins, but also at how wonderful God is — how vast is His grace and love for me.

As I was reliving all these past events through my trip down memory lane, I made up a little short list of what I really want to do as I turned a year older. I’ve been trying to pray for myself more, to ask God for strength and guidance for the times ahead. I look back on this year and see both the areas where I’ve wasted so much time in and areas where there was tremendous fruitfulness. My continual hope is to shine for Jesus and be a living testimony for him in all that I do and say.  Continue reading “Grace Upon Grace”