Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eve's dilemma

I'm having a small shindig at my house for new year's eve and to my chagrin, there is much talk of people bringing uninvited guests without permission and seems, this party is growing by the minute. I'm imagining an out of control party scene where a "small get together" while the parents are away for the weekend turns into a full on, get busted by the cops kind of party....But maybe that's just want we need to get this new year started. :)

On another note, although this would be at my house and I actually won't be stepping anywhere outside my kitchen, I don't want my guest showing up and I'm still in my American Apparel leggings and my over-sized sweat shirt. But then again, who wants to show up to a New Year's party where the hostess is dressed in a cocktail dress, her fake eye lashes falling into your champagne and she's click click clicking around in her too tall heels like a Barbie doll? I want something casual but festive, but unfortunately, I'm too lazy to brave the mall and find something to wear...oh the dilemma. Here is something I would love to throw on while serving up my tuna tartar and mini Asian crab cakes...(minus the heels)





















or maybe I'll just wear a tiara and call it a year....


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Expanding Circle

















self indulging, over eating, hording and pile ups
collecting in store houses, don't know what I'm saving it for.
who will win with all that's saved? will it last or will it fade?

smaller circles, still getting smaller, shrinking and deflating
what causes my heart to shrink and deflate is what I eliminate to self preserve.
well preserved until the end of days, preservation has no service, no purpose,
it all goes to rot.

preserving and protecting, guarding and vigilant of anyone who will slay
anyone who will break, anyone who will wound
from my high watch tower, where no one can reach.

isolate, hide, fake and deflect, griding my teeth
toil, spoil and ringing of hands
little sword shield can't cover me, can't save me.

oh to free fall, to let it all go, to be obedient to the One, to the source,
 to over spend on people other than me.
giving, spilling, spending, until it costs and until it hurts.

costing this way and hurting this way, far more rewarding
greatest sin becomes greatest potential
greatest hurt becomes greatest strength

recover from this smallness, this shrinking...
repent and redeem...
love unconditional, with no return... expanding circle.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Days after Christmas

I can't believe Christmas is come and gone already, not because I didn't enjoy and relish each moment of it and it was a whirl wind of events that I missed it, but I would really would like it to continue a little longer. I'm not ready to let Christmas go yet! I will do my best to water my parched little tree and try my best to gingerly close my front door so that the dried up pines of my wreath will not fall to the floor, leaving just a ring of bare wire. I'm not sure why I want Christmas to stay this year, but I feel completely lost in the glitter and the heart of it, the true reason for the season. I had a good balance between having a traditional all-American Christmas full of food, family, gifts under the tree, and watching "It's a wonderful life" with the whole family even to down to my dad's old antics of rushing through movies and trying to leave before the film is done; and understanding and realizing that God came near to us and gave everyone hope.

My mother and I are already planning New Years Day, planning to hand make "mandoo" dumplings all day and eat them for dinner. While H and I are busy making a guest list for the small New Years shindig we want to have on New Years Eve. I even saw Valentine chocolates and cards already in the candy isle of Dominick's and I feel days go by too fast! Is it my age? Have I finally become my parents and this is how it feels when "life is too short" and say things like "youth is wasted on the young"?  How short is the times and far between are these festivities and times of gathering, where it's expected that family come together just to eat, drink and be merry. I'm glad I'm a wake to it this year.

So, if this year, my head is still in a cloud swirling with Panettone, Christmas ham, lights, and humming Joy to the World, it's because I'm trying to make it last just a little bit longer.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas this year

This year, Christmas was more mine than something that just happens to us. I'm not sure if it's owning the Christmas celebration and all entertainment and food rested on me and me alone, or the Christmas day of being an oasis of sort to people who needed a place to go and not be alone, but I felt, I owned Christmas this year. Not in a way that I made all it happen or I was the source of all good tidings and joy, but I wasn't the consumer in this celebration, but I wanted to do the serving this year. I think this is a good end to the streak I've been on of consuming and separating myself from all things "I will not allow people to force me to do" from 2010. I vowed to do only fun things and to be over indulgent in self preservation, self protection, self medication and self feeding. In efforts to steer clear of the bitter road after a hard couple of months, I wanted to do everything in my power to feed on goodness, wisdom, God, Jesus, a good work out, luck, health, Justin Beiber, anything that would do my spirit good so that I would not shut down from all the heartbreak.

Oh, did it back fire...and just like gluttony, self indulgence in anything causes a shut down. Too much food causes obesity, heart failure, diabetes and eventually death to your physical body. Too much soul food, does the same, when all you're doing is feeding yourself and not feeding or serving others, it causes a shut down. I think in a weird way, taking care of H during his tonsil removal was a good stepping stool on to serving and giving in general. This Christmas didn't move fast, it didn't drag on, but I feel I was truly here for it, in the present. I think that was the best gift I got for Christmas this year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve

This is the first year I will have my family over to my place and I am doing all the cooking...and even as we speak, the Orzo is boiling on the stove and the Sweet potato Casserole is resting in the fridge waiting to enter into a warm...or hot future. I feel I haven't prepared enough food for the whole family, but then again, I tend to air on the side of over preparing, because nothing's more sadder than not enough food. Lucky for me, it's just my parents, H, my brother and his girlfriend, so even if I failed miserably, I would have their unconditional love to fall back on....that and my mother's Korean short rib stew she's bringing over.

Christmas music on, the tree lit and it's been snowing for the last 2 hours and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...now to sweep up the stray parsley and onion pieces off this floor....

 * Happy Christmas Eve everyone! *

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Remember when?

Remember when I was good? like, really good...
Dad would play tricks, more like tests to see who would fall for it...it would always be me.
He would smile this smile of contentment or a fulfillment knowing that his little girl would still fall for his tricks at the age of 16. You would just continue eating your dinner like nothing was said, nothing can faze you. He was proud of that too.

Remember, when I am coming home and you would be leaving at 10 pm?
That was closing time for me, but the night was still fresh and young for you...
I hated the double standard, but I'm thankful for it now because dad thought me precious enough to over protect.That was my biggest lament of 16, that I was over protected and caged, it may have been for the better, it may have crippled me, but we'll never know. I was especially bitter because even after I entered college, the curfew stayed the same, and so did the double standard.

Remember when you use to "come over" and sleep over in my room? you'd drag your pillow and blanket from next door, and sleep on my floor and we would talk till wee hours of night about everything. As much as a 14 year old and a 16 year old would know and think about. Then, when you came home from college and I did too, it still was our thing to do. Rent a movie and eat Lay's potato chips with Jalapeno cheese dip, or that onion dip that came in a jar.

Remember how we would go to church or where ever go, we would sit for hours and just chit chat and laugh about things I don't even remember now. It seemed the whole world would pass by and we wouldn't even notice....like it was us against the world, because our parents didn't even understand fully what it was like to be us. People say we're weird, but who cares right?

Remember when I broke up with my first and last boyfriend in high school and I cried all the time. Finally, you were sick of him trying to call me, so you picked up one of the many times he called and you shouted, "don't call here, she doesn't want to talk to you!" I'm not sure how scared he was of a 13 year old, but I felt fought for and felt like I didn't have to cry about it any more because I won some how...You hated him years after that, you might still have a little resentment toward him now.

Although you fought for me, I fought for you too. How you would come running toward me with mischievous fright, half smirking and half terrified, as a little boy of 3rd grade is chasing after you. And when you're in elementary school, two years can make a difference in height and stature. I would give that boy a scare and chase him a way with my flying fist because although, I might beat up on you sometimes, no one else better come chasing after you with a fist. Nobody.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Park Family 5

Watch this video:  http://vimeo.com/18024686

I don't know how it came to be, but as long as we've been through the adoption process, we've heard of JT and Grace. We don't know them personally, only their relatives and mutual friends that have shared their stories with us and in turn they've began to know us and our story. Although their family has already been added on, I see them as adoption peers. A lot of what they have faced in opposition we have faced as well. Although my parents are some what contemporary in thinking, they have slipped here and there with comments more revealing their true desire for a biological grandchild. No, they're not against adoption, but they would like a biological kid first and then help others. To this I have explained in not so patient ways that it's not out of charity, or philanthropy nor is it out of consolation from not being able to conceive a child do we adopt, this happens to be the way a child is added to this particular family. I know, it's difficult for them to understand fully what this means. Like many Asian parents, my in laws are no exception to the rule and found myself becoming increasingly belligerent as they ask and prod, suggest and comment on a child that is not genetically theirs.

I don't imagine the journey from here to actually having my child in my arms would be the end of the road, but just the beginning. Unlike some waiting parents, I don't romanticize my meeting with my child because I know that I will be a stranger to her and she will be to me, and for a life time we will work on being bonded to one another. At times I, her mother would not even be able to know exactly or even half of what that will mean to her (or him) and that is my worst fear, and cringe to think that I would not be able to comfort her when she has questions and wonders about her beginnings. I know that there will be many tearful nights where she is crying, but so am I, from exhaustion, confusion, and just plain difficulty of the situation, and I know there will be phone calls to veteran adoptive parents who will regret ever telling me that I can call them 24-7 with questions or just for support. I have fears that my child will not bond to me well, not bond to her father well, or vice versa, and that I will know the baby blues.

Watching this video reminds me that it is a joyful journey, or that it should be and I don't need to fret over the comments and the misunderstood, miseducated people that surrounds. Its not their fault, they just don't know, so it will be my job to protect, defend, and re-educate for the sake of my future child. I will be an advocate for her, because Grace is right you know, you just love them the same, exactly the same. Although I don't know my child and haven't seen her, I already love her like she's conceived in my womb. Just as a mother with a swelled belly, she is fully content and at peace with her growing state, I too am at peace, not toiling over when, who, and how this baby is to be. It's just as she says, "it's like labor...." and right now I'm just encroaching on the third trimester where I can't tell if the baby would be a boy or a girl, and when we finally come over with the child on that 14 hour plane ride, I imagine that that would be my labor. :) I am content in knowing that this child will come to be just in the nick of time, and I will be the one to receive and this family will be Shin Family 3.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Down and out guy

One thing about community living is that you either have instant neighbors or you have neighbors who live with you in the same building but never say hi to you. Luckily, we live in a condo building that have friendly people and as long as you say hi and chit chat with them, it's reciprocated. There is a one particular guy in his late 20's early 30's, about my age give or take a few and we've exchanged hi's and how are you's. We don't actually know his name but H and I always just call him the down and out guy because...well..he's always down and out. The first time we saw him, he was with his young blond wife and his cute little toddler and he seemed a little too young to be married and with a kid. We made small talk and we found that he attended Iowa State and was lamenting on how his team sucked.  We often found him wrestling his little boy into the elevator or chasing him out of it, some times his little boy would be throwing up and throwing a tantrum. Most days, we just awkwardly smile and inch away as far as one could in an elevator.

Then yesterday, I had just made the elevator as I was coming home from the gym and I found this guy sitting down with 4 to 5 whole foods paper bags hanging from each of his arms. He looked so pitiful sitting there and he looked at me and greeted me with a forlorn "how you doin'." This had to be the most pitiful and typical of all the interactions I had with him....I just replied "good thanks" and noticed that he had a tear in one of his bags, so I let him know.

"oh no! you have a tear in one of your bags...look." (he looks)
"That's horrible...."
"yeah...I'm sorry..."
"Thanks for letting me know...now I'm prepared...."
"sure...have a good night...."

It seems this young dad has been on the run since the day he said "I do." But his forlorn down and out circumstances are almost comical, like he knows it'll be funny one day.  Thanks for the laughs today, down and out guy....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sea Otters hold hands not to drift

It's silly, but there are a pair of sea otters who made it to the news and have been seen holding hands whilst floating in a man made pool at a zoo somewhere. It's adorable and some even commented that it's so sticky sweet that they "vomited rainbows" after witnessing the spectacle. Then, through inspiration of these two, and how cute they were, I had posted on my facebook status, "sea otters hold hands so that they won't drift away from one another while they sleep. I love nature. heehee."  This silly comment was replied by Kimberly in all of her genius wisdom to say, "Susie, we must always hold hands so that we won't drift." We must follow in their little otter paw steps when it comes to friendships like ours. It's long distance and we don't always have the luxury of not talking all week long and finding ourselves serendipitously at our weekly church service, or run into each other at the student union while walking to class. We can't even count on the yearly KCC reunions every summer because eventually, we will all face life circumstances that will hinder us from the place we call heaven, or as some of us call it, "happy place." 

Most likely, we will never have this leisurely relationship of drifting along the same river and come together now and then to always know about the subtle changes in each other. We will always have to hold hands, whether through texting random messages about the outfit she threw on asking "hippie or Native American?" or the emails that will pile on through out the day to total 30, only containing one-liners like, "blah blah blah..." so that we won't drift away from each other while we live.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Garage door closing

Today, I did a little bit of reading from my own writing and searched through all the past entries I had written. It may be that this year is quickly coming to a close and I can't believe it's December already can you? Can you believe that it's going to be 2011, just when you  got use to writing 2010 on all your dated documents?  I came to a particular entry dated almost exactly a year ago today, December 10, 2009 and it seems this is the day, after crying most of November and part of December, eating very little, and watching countless hours of MTV and the Food Network, not to mention holding everyone I know at an arm's length, I have finally peeled myself off the couch to emerge from the pruning that may have been too severe to bounce back from without a little recovery time.

What I saw back then is that even when I was going through what I called a roller coaster, or maybe I described it as being "jerked around" by God, it seems I was more interested  in being available to people and allowing God's story unfold in my life, than having everything in perfect order. This means, whatever downfall I have, whatever flaw and mistakes I make is for all to observe and learn from, and not just the wins, the glory, the good in me. Over the course of 2010, I'm not sure what road I went down, but I was almost sure I was going to grow from this and began this year with reading through that dreaded One year Bible that makes you read a chapter of the New Testament, the Old, a Psalms and a Proverbs verse. Every.Single.Day. I was determined that I was going to get joyful and stay effortlessly carefree no matter how many lemons life will throw at the stage I was performing on, even if it killed me. All with a smile on my face and my best outfit on. Perhaps I didn't go about growth and maintaining my openness, my silliness, my sense of self quite the way I would like to have. I'm not the cerebral grower, yes I did get good grades in college and every class after, but I was mostly interested in being a good girl in those days, that was the way I played that role. But when I thrive, when I change, I am a student of life.

I am touched by people being kind to others, children being completely self unaware and pure, and by forgetful giving of self. It's the person I want to become and when I saw that people were this way in Jordon, I was completely humbled in every way and it was glaringly clear that I have strayed far from this. I want to stop blaming it on circumstances and how I have been a victim to the little devil sitting on your left shoulder, or how I have fallen through the cracks of all the ministries available to the rest of the congregation but not the admin, but I want to take a good look at myself and see that I have grown inward, becoming far too self aware and self conscious. Ingrown and like a garage door, I was slowly shutting down before the eyes of everyone around me. What can change when all I've been doing is making excuses for myself saying "it's been a tough few years" or "how much more can a person take?" when there are far more dire situations others have endured like murder, poverty, human trafficking, hunger and still they are thankful. joyful. How can I change a person, especially when that person is myself, through brute force or sheer will? I need to remember it's not me that does the good work of recovering from my wounds, but Christ's unfailing love that leads me to repentance, to newness and recovery.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What I can't get from you
















"Sus, what do you want from your friends? their soul?"  (what...I can't?)

"I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever (and never use you up)" - Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toons

I can't fake it if I love you
I can't fake it if I don't
it's not just for show, it just seeps out, I can't contain it.
It's honest, maybe too much, but how can I be more dishonest?

I'm not a child I know
I need a filter I realize
My desire for you is insatiable
Though the love I have for you is lavish, it wounds others by with-holding.

I wish I was like Her, Elmyra
To hug you, kiss you, and love you without being exhausted
My love is not regenerative, it has a source.
I need the refill from you

It's difficult I know, when my pit has no bottom
it's diffcult when this pit has no end
There's only One that fills, but His love is hard to remember or see

This is why it's a sacrice to love, to give yourself up as an fragrant offering, a sacrifice to God.
I pray for freedom from bitterness
I pray for kindness in my voice, in my actions
I pray I will not demand from man, what I can only recieve from God.


"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life." ~ Saint Francis

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Christmas Story

There's always a Christmas story, no matter if you're from upper side of the tracks or the lower, you remember the best and the worst Christmas' ever by the gifts you got that year. Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but when you're age 8, you can't help but get a little glitter in your eye and fail to see what's beyond the annual limited edition of Holiday Barbie, the sledding, the tree, the line at Macy's to see Santa. When I recollect on Christmas past, it's comforting to know that the adults who call themselves my parents, aunts, and grandparents have made the holidays memorable enough to recall certain warm details that describe Christmas.

While my brother would have a list of toys he had wanted from commercials he'd seen in between his G.I.Joe episodes, I wasn't a little girl who asked for many things, so my parents had to find that age appropriate gift that I may or maynot have liked.

Although they did their best, the worst Christmas gift I had received was Teddy Ruxpin. If you don't know who he is, he is a medium sized Teddy Bear that reads you stories as you follow along in a book. Teddy is a little too heavy for any little girl to tote around on a trip or a sleep over, you just had to keep him at your bedside and at bed time, instead of having your parents read you a story in their sweet familiar human voice, this machine had read you a story while the mouth and eyes opened and shut in a rhythmic pattern. I was a little afraid of Teddy Ruxpin, it may have started when he began with an abrupt "HI!! My NAME IS TEDDY RUXPIN!!!" (the volume was turned out too high) and I was always on my best behavior when he read me a book and made sure I was following along in the book, not missing my cue to turn the page. I was half expecting Teddy saying something not on the pre-recorded tape inside the opening in his back. Something like, "Didn't you hear the beep?! it means to turn the page!!" as his eyes turn from dark brown to murderous red.

Although I was mildly disturbed by Teddy and his hard body that was machine on the inside instead of the soft cotton stuffing it should have been, I had not mentioned to my parents that he wasn't my favorite toy, until one day...the tape player inside Teddy had been empty when I knocked him over from my bed. He began opening and closing his eyes and mouth without a story, instead it was an eerie sound of machine! I was afraid that if I had waited a second longer, Teddy Ruxpin would have told me what he really thought of me instead of reciting the pleasant stories he was program to tell. I ran from my room, and told my mom that she needed to go in and shut Teddy Ruxpin down for good, taking the batteries out of him. I never saw him after that day, because I had buried him under my brother's He-man and G.I. Joe action figurines. In a way, he belong in that bin with all the other hard and slightly violent toys.

To further prove my point, see exhibit A. The commerical for Teddy Ruxpin, a mad scientist creating a Monster. My fears irrational? I think not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kc2HvjO8z4

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Anti-best

Sorry, but no matter how much I tried to conjure up a best or even a good story to share about my Jordon trip, today feels like doom and gloom. It's cold and I'm under the weather. I literally cannot come up with one good thing about today or anything to say "That's the best!" about and I feel too tired and grumpy to tell you any of the good stories I brought over from the Middle East. :( Thus today, you will get this. A bunch of complaints:

My outfit is really scratchy and tight today.

I had too much to eat at breakfast and didn't eat lunch, so now I go hungry to the gym.

I have to go to the gym even though I'm sick.

I feel sick.

And it's COLD out! Baaaa humbug!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Peace in the Middle East: "God made me this way"

On a Friday (the Arabic Sabbath) we went to church and drove a set of siblings home from church. They were Ethiopian refugee kids and one sat next to me and she had a little brother who sat in the lap of our Palestinian friend Lina. Lina noticed that this 5 year old boy that fingers that didn't have finger nails on them, and asked what happened, because Lina noticed things like that and she's the type of girl that uses the word "habibi," loved one, often. The boys big sister replied in Arabic, "God made him that way," a phrase that we would say in the ways of "he was born that way."

Subsequently, at a thanksgiving meal we had with a few international people and some Muslim friends they had, we went around and shared what we were thankful for. Most of the Muslim or Jordanians shared they had good brains, they had good hearts, and one even said that she was a model. We were a little taken a back by how forthright they were in boasting in their goodness. Our friends who were more versed in the culture explained to us that in the Arabic culture, you are the one that will boast in your own good qualities because they have a deep understanding that "God made me this way," thus they are thankful for those attributes. When we say, "I am no good", or "I'm not that great", that is insulting God's ability to create or what he's created.

As I was telling my brother this story, he tells me that he lead out a small group one week and he asked everyone to state one or two things that are good about themselves. Most people had a difficult time thinking up things that was good, and he thought how sad that was. In a way it's sad, but I also think that our culture values humility and modesty even if it's false humility and false modesty. It's called low pride, and unlike high pride where it is easy to put your finger on and name it. With low pride, it's difficult to see that this person who seems so modest about themselves is indeed thinking about themselves just as much as the person with high pride, just not with positive perspective. It makes me reflect on my own modesty, do I really think that I'm only a mediocre writer or am I really? Am I really the jack of all trades and master of none, or are there true gifts that only I possess? It's important to begin to see ourselves in the correct objective light, whether good or bad because this paradigm shift will allow us to see others just the same. To see people just the way God made them and appreciate them just as they are.

Tell me somethings that are good about you. How has God made you good?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Best #14: When you come home from a long trip and you notice new things about your home

Whether coming home from Paris, London or the slums of China, there's nothing better than coming home to your bed, your friends and that immigrations line at Ohare. Where the officers greet you with that ol' cowboy brute force and policing anyone that doesn't look or sound All- American. Although it's been a beautiful experience in a far and a way country, you come home and hurry to settle into the old comforts of familiarity. When you see the pile of mail you had to pick up from the post office because all the mail from two weeks wouldn't fit into your 5x5 mail box, you see that things will accumulate, fall apart, come undone when you're away. It gives you that firm feeling of "oh, I live here and my existance matters here", even if it's just to sort the mail.

Things I've realized coming home from Jordon and Lebanon:
-People miss you when you're away.  They don't forget you in 2 weeks.
-My bed is really soft and comfortable, and my sheets, are the right sort of worn cotton that makes it feel soft.
-The pressure and the temperature...and the amount of water that is available to me 24-7. I don't have to ask the whole family to come pee with me before I can flush.
-Speaking English and understanding every single word of it, even words like amalgamated and peccadillo. :)
-The daily interactions with my friends, even though it's just to say, "hey, so..I'm stalking your facebook today and you look good in sea foam green, just sayin" or getting a gchat saying "um. can you call my phone, I can't find it and I have a phone interview in 30 mins."
-I have a good community here and feel, I really haven't paid much attention to them. That I don't star in a movie called "My life" and everyone else is the supporting cast in this movie.
-I can walk into the bathroom with my bare feet and step in something wet without thinking "was that water?".
-I love my couch, it swallows you in.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peace in the Middle east

So..I just got back from the middle east, Amman Jordon and Beruit Lebanon to be exact (and no I didn't got there for a mission trip, I went on vacation!).  I could not have been more wrong about the middle eastern people perpetuated by their fierce dark looks and their AK47s... The people in Jordon and Lebanon are the most hospitable people on earth. And because they follow the Biblical hospitality principle and it's so engrained in ther culture, it's just the norm. I am thoroughly impressed by their offering of food to strangers, the Jordanian woman at the airport that gave us her phone number so she can take us out to coffee while in Amman, the taxi driver that allowed us to follow him all the way to the airport when we asked him for directions and the woman patron that directed us to follow them even when it would cost her a detour before she got to her destination.  I have more to say...but between all I've learned, my rusty clumsy fingers that have not seen a keyboard in two whole weeks and the jetlag, I must digress until I am fully recovered and the dust settles in my brain before I share more.

But before then...for my sake (so I won't forget) and your sake (cuz I know you're curious) a few things I carry around in my brain right now...

-Hospitality and how that means I love you
-"God created me this way"
-The language is covered with words of God and loving on people. My favorite "Habibi" means "loved one", one stranger might call another stranger by this term.
-The Bedouin camp grounds and their custom to invite any stranger into their home (tent), feed you, feed your animals, bed you and protect you from harm for up to three days before they ask you why you've come or asking any questions.
-How both us Christians here in the States and the Muslims in the Middle east miss somethings about God
-hmm...I guess I've got more sand or I mean dust whirling up in my brain than I thought...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best #13: When a puzzle has all it's pieces

This past weekend, the Praise Team went away to Highland park and rented a mansion to relax and bond. We sang, cooked gourmet food good enough for Food Network, played Mini-Olympics and got way too competitive, ate s'mores and sang s'more. The first night, we found this 500 piece puzzle and decided that we would put it together. The whole time we were working on it, I was convinced that there were not enough pieces for the puzzle to be whole, which would have driven me up the wall. Alas...in the end, all pieces were there. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Best #12: When you can tell the plane flying over you is going to Korea

Sometimes I look up in the sky and see that airplanes are flying over and for someone that lives near two airports, that's a lot of airplanes, and when I see that sky blue airplane with the red and blue yin-yang, I know that's a Korean Air airplane.  There a whole plane full of Koreans and some visitors that will soon see Korea in it's mountainous beauty and on their way, they will encounter the most beautiful bilingual flight attendants you'll ever meet. They will serve you bibimbop, movies, booze, a blanket and anything else you'll need for your 12 hour trip...now that's what I call mother ship. :) Always fly Korean Air to the mother country, not Asiana, or United for that matter..it's the best.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Best #11: Words old people use

I love when older waitresses or even older men you encounter who were born in another era call you by sweet names like, "doll" "muffin" or "little bird." It seems they're stuck in the time period they grew up in and it gives me this sense of nostalgia for an era I never lived in. The flip side of the same coin, I love when grumpy old men say things like "cacamemy" "malarky" "nincompoop" and "rabblerouser," because try with all their might to be an ol' grump, they're still so darn cute! "Now stop with all the shinanigans!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Waiting Room Reprised

It's been a long road to Damascus and finally we have sent in our dossier to our agency and for some odd reason, I feel as though I've been in the process of adopting a child for the last 15 years and 15 years ago I was a wee high school fretting over my AP Chemistry homework. I title this "Waiting Room Reprised" because I don't know if I ever moved on from waiting...waiting for death? Ok, no rewind, too fast, that was like the 32X fast forwarding where you skip over too much of  the movie. It seems like that's all it's been waiting and now that we've been sprinted thus far, jumped this high, climbed this hill, hopped this hoop to finally send our completed adoption dossier to our agency, we just wait. Again.

In ancient Hebrew (I just learned this from someone, I know...much to everyone's surprise, I don't speak ancient Hebrew) to wait and to long is the same word. The reason being is that when time passes with a longing or a desire, you WAIT for that thing to come into fruition. The time passes with thick anticipation for something you want, you don't want, whatever impending in your life. If you are not longing or in want, that's just time ticking, or time passing. This is why waiting is hard and when you wait too long for anticipation for impending future, the unfulfilled void in your heart gets weary. Just like how you make a pup wait on your command to devour that yummy morsel of doggie treat placed on his nose. You can see how stressed out the dog is with each passing moment and after he's aged a few years in that 10 second pause, he gobbles it up but the next 10 seconds passes with just a  few wags of his tail.

I'm not really sure what I'm waiting for actually, much to my demise and the shock of the community of moms I know, I'm not completely in love with motherhood. I love the idea, the sacrifice, the bond, the unsung heroes of our day, those who deserved to be paid $100,000.00 a year if you calculate all the things they do in a household. But to be realistic and completely honest, the crying, the whining, the diaper changes and the sleepless nights, the sacrifice, the bond and being the unsung heroes of our day and not getting paid a single thank you let alone $100,000.00 a year to run a household is exhausting to me. Lately, people have been asking me "Susie, what do YOU want from your life? liiiike....what do you wanna do?" Well...it's hard to answer that question when everything I've done and accomplished in my life had fell into my lap or forced upon me that I'm not sure what I want. I've never asked those questions of myself and even in laps of fantasy, I thought about what I would love to do, I pop those balloons of reverie with my sharp practicality and remind myself I'm being selfish for thinking and wanting the things I actually would enjoy (because life is all about having things you don't enjoy? because that's one sure way not to become too shallow).

Whatever I'm waiting for....God, motherhood, peace, me to make up mind about what I want, or to make up my mind to actually go for what I want, it's hard to wait on that one thing. This means, as long as we wait for whatever we are desiring at the moment, we will constantly move into the next waiting room without actually arriving into the doctor's examining room. Instead of looking at the morsel of doggie treat to tempt me and age me with every 10 second pause that is commanded of me, I will look to my commander, the one that is truly in control. Not waiting on my circumstances to change, but to wait on God.

The Best # 10: When a two year old likes you

Yesterday I went to Nordstrom cafe to grab a bite during lunch and as I sat there, this little two year old came over to me to say hi. I asked her how old she was, what her name was and what her cow doll's name was. She's two years old (practically a lady), her name is Hailey, and her doll's name is Princess (of course). She proceeded to go back to her seat where her mother was, take big mouth fulls of macaroni and cheese, then carefully balance herself on the wobbly seat over to where I was.

Over the next 10 minutes while I was waiting for my lunch, she sat Princess on my lap and I had told her that she's so heavy and that she must have eaten a lot of her macaroni and cheese. She giggled with glee and nodded so sweetly, then she looked at me like "what's next?" she wanted to be entertained. I had shown her pictures of Bonnie, Chaeli, and other friends I had in my phone, but she had a special interest in Bonnie (like most people) and proceeded to ask "what's her name?" "How old is she?" and "Is that her doll?" (referring to the picture of "Baby", Lynn's stuffed animal she's had for the last 22 years).

Since we hit it off so well, the waitress moved her plate of mac and her chocolate milk right next to my table so that we "girlfriends" can have our lunch together. Her mother had finally decided it was time to go, but she says, "noooo~" We hadn't finished our girl talk yet. :) "Bye Hailey, it was nice meeting you and thanks for lunch."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Best #9: When your friend works at Starbucks and you get Free drinks

I've worked at Starbucks and when a friend enters the cafe, I'll immediately call them over to the bar and ask them what they want instead of having them stand in line. Over the course of my barista career, I've given out at least one cup to several of my friends and even friends of friends because honestly, Starbucks can use the humbling and I don't think they would have noticed if I stopped charging all my costumers for just one day. Now the tables have turned and although I'm no longer under the watch of the great Starbucks Siren's eye, I am still her faithful patron. It's been most convenient and fortuitous that the Siren employs one of my friends at the cafe right next to my work. Those days when I am not fully awake and I stumble in to fuel my veins with the fluid of life, which I call caffeine, M will just say "I've got you," and I just say, "thanks" and move on to the bar to pick up my free cup of triple tall (sometimes quad) cinnamon dulce latte. That's the best.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Best #8: Unseasonably warm weather

It's 70's and sunny all week till friday. and it's November. Suddenly, you have another chance at an autum as summer comes to a close. I love how weather can give you a sense of new optimism and a second wind at life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Best #7: Hanging out with your mom (and dad)

Every Monday, on my day off, I visit my parents. Its always the same though when I see them, whether they're at work or meeting them for dinner. I feel as though, I am the purest form of myself, not hiding a thing, completely confident and I am sure of myself. I'm the most funny, most charming, most happy, and best of all, known. I was telling my mom that I've been blogging a little online and she kind of looked at me like she knew all along, like she's been reading them secretly without me knowing. She just says to me, "yeah, probably because you're like your dad. You've always been a good writer since you were in Kindergarten." I was surprised, first because I can't believe that it would even be possible to tell that a kindergartener's  writing is especially exceptional, and second, that I myself only discovered writing a few years ago when this blog was formed.

My dad on the hand is very much like me, so sometimes we butt heads and we end up getting into some argument that started with me looking at him the wrong way, or I didn't hold him tight enough with he asked for a hug. Still, he says things like "you look like Audrey Hepburn," "I'm the most concerned with your happiness princess, even before your mother's" (And yes, he's only half kidding, my dad makes me laugh and cry like no other.) or "I don't know if it's because you're my first, but you're my favorite." (in the presence of my brother, who is also his son). But more than anything, my dad notices when I've changed and knows what may have been making that change in me. He doesn't like it when I do because I think, aside from loving me because I'm his daughter, he likes me. He likes the person I am, and that's the best.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Best # 6: Chaeli From

Chaeli is a five year old girl at my church that comes to the office with her parents once in a while as an oasis to their tour of chauffeuring her brother's and sisters to their various activities. She will run into the office and make a bee line to my desk and shout, "auntie Susie!" expecting me to pick her up onto my lap. She always has a picture or a little craft she had made at home to bring me, just like when her older brother Daniel was a little boy. He's long grown out of that phase now and he can barely say hi to me when I see him, but he's left a good replacement. When Chaeli began speaking, we would rhetorically ask her "Chaeli, where'd you come from?" and she would answer us like we should've known, "China." Now, she will sit on my lap facing me and tell some story about her brothers or sister then finally she'll say to me, "ok, now get off me!" knowing very well she's on my lap, she's the best.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Best #5: Lauging out loud in public at a text conversation you're having

Sometimes, the quick "hi" text you get from a friend turns into some drawn out story of how you got lost in the city and you had to walk through some dodgy part of town or how you've just embarrassed yourself by slipping on a discarded banana peel, straight out of a Ben and Jerry episode. Sometimes it's just a picture of a hilarious Halloween costume with a caption that says "guess what I am?" or a friend responding to your genius costume by saying "what are you going as?" to which I  reply, "what? you can't tell?!" Whatever the topic is, it's the best when the conversation slowly turns into this elaborate silly banter and you're standing in line of a Starbucks snickering at your tiny screen, as you  try to come back with a smart one. They've got you when your friend finally says something that makes you let out an actual laugh. out loud. in public. by yourself. What's better than that? when you make your friend laugh out loud in public. That's the best.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Best #4: When a baby you're getting to know finally says your name

For a while now, I've been slowly making passes at a little boy of two and his name is Dillon. He's been giving me high fives and fist bumps (which are two little, knock knocks with his tiny little meatball hand) but when he's asked to say hi, with a look of horror, he quickly reaches for him momma. Yesterday, I had lunch with the two of them and all hour long his mom and I cajoled him to say "Suuussiiee" and he would say, "Elmo."
"no, can you say Susie?"
"Elmo"
"yeah...Elmo, but how about Sooozzieeee?"
"Elmo"

With no avail, we allowed him to eat his little cork screw shaped pasta in peace. Finally, we did try one more time and he said it! "Soojee" with his big brown trusting eyes peering  into mine, and I might have thought it was the sound of heaven's sweetest angels singing my name. It's like he had finally accepted my existence and have included my name in the roster of limited vocabulary words he's acquired in his short life. Along with Elmo, Grover, nose, elbow, more, down, momma and poppa......Susie. That's the best.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Best #3 - When the streets are paved with gold.

It's the best when you get to drive on that new paved road that's been under construction all summer long. It's like you deserve that finally completed road because you've endured the stand-still traffic, the power hungry lady with the "slow" and "stop" sign giving you the stink eye if she ever thought you were going too fast, the smell and the dusty debris filing in through your air vents, the enormous construction vehicles swinging it's long jaws of life in front of your windshield. Then one day, you wake up and the road is miraculously finished. You congratulate yourself for being a patient and cooperative driver and you are rewarded with the smooth, shiny, brand new one mile of black gold. ahhh.....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Best #2 - When two of your favorite jams play back to back

The times I'm in my car, I'm usually going to or coming from work, so I'm in dire need for a little pick me up. That one song that usually does, it comes on and it's like the DJ played it to better your mood, but then the next song is another one of your jams? That's the best. There was a time when there was three songs in a row and  that's when you think someone got a hold of your ipod.




** On an honest note...this is a lot harder to do than I thought. Tired, overwhelmed, empty and feeling a bit crazy, you really don't feel like writing these, or feel any happier afterward, but I guess that happy doesn't just kick in immediately. phew.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Best #1 - People who love you for no good reason

I've only known them for really, two weeks since the two years I've been involved in KCC. There's not much I have done for them or said to them that would make them love fiercely like they do.  I'll have to list all the awesome here in one post about KCC because I think I'll have to write 1000 awesome things just for them...

Crafts, how the kids get so into it and people take it home to actually decorate their place even though it's hideous..
The lantern lit pathways that seem like you're walking through a dream. So romantic and pure.
The way we just go back to the way we were just the summer before, like there wasn't 365 days in between.
The way cup ramen and snacks sustain you the whole entire week, but you still lose weight.
Everyone calls each other by unni, noona, hyun, oppa, and they mean it.
You can be who you are and do a dorky dance in the middle of.......anywhere.
You can always count on a impromptu hug and it's no questions asked.
The pranks played by the counselors on each other and the campers.
The tattoos that are always being drawn on by markers
Messy games, foolish games, the wet ones and the ones that just don't go as planned.
Nap time, sleep time, the involuntary sleep that comes in broad day light
The texts, letters, wall posts and messages throughout the year.
Momma counting down the days til the next KCC
The day poppa and momma tells us counselors who's coming back for the summer.
The day we claim our bunks and it's seems it's the same one every year.
KCC NEVER ends...its this one continuation of camp all throughout your life.
You will never be alone...ever because someone, 55 + someones out there will remember you forever.

That's the best.

I'm sure I'm leaving out a 987 more...

Monday, November 1, 2010

You become your thoughts

I recently discovered a blog that is my new favorite, called 1000 Awesome things. It seems, this Neil has been getting so much traffic, he's been called upon by esteemed press like CNN, Wired, The New Yorker and of course, the most prestigious, The China Daily. He first began this blog after his wife had asked for a divorce because she no longer loved him and his best friend, his "Harold" to his "Kumar" committed suicide due to un-named mental illnesses. Any one would fall  prey to the forlorn disdain of something, no two somethings so jarring and although he didn't mention his time of mourning, I think he did spend quite a time toiling in his sorrow. One day, he began a small blog writing down the small things that made this life good, no awesome. His first post is #1000 : Broccoflower, a mutant vegetable that is a cross between cauliflower and a broccoli, Awesome. Then #999: That last crumbly triangle of potato chips at the bottom of the bag. Awesome. 617 days later, he's felt a lot better since day one of this blog. Not only was he counting his awesomes, he was being funny about it and because we only have 100 years of enjoy all of the awesome things in life, we need to start noticing them right away and everyday.

Here is the website: 1000 Awesome Things

Here are only SOME of my favorites...just because I can relate and/or they just make me laugh.

#980: Old, Dangerous Playground equipment
# 951: Hearing a stranger fart in public
#905: Using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else's shower
#878: The smell and sound of a campfire
#844: Celebrities on Sesame street
#838: Smell of freshly cut grass
#765: Thinking it's thursday when it's Friday
#699: a long hug when you really need it.
#698: Listening to your new favorite song over and over
#631: Coming back to your own bed after a long trip
#573: The one person who laughs when you tell a really bad joke
#498 Long comfortable silences between really close friends
#450: Horrible fake accents made by close friends

I think I might have to come up with my own awesomes....exsept I'll have to call it...The Best...to use it in a sentence: "You know that film that the factories put on new equipment? The feeling you get when you peel that off, it's THE BEST."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freak.

When my dad sent me to Korea to study International Relations at Seoul University after my senior year in college, I had completely given him reign over my future and career because I thought Father knew best. He did know best in hind sight and I may have acted in haste when I had demanded my tuition back from the school claiming that they didn't deliver on the promise of a graduate program in English instead of in Korean. How did they expect me to write a graduate dissertation on Problem of war and the Resolution of Peace in Korean when the last time I spoke perfect Korean was when I was 4 years old? I had climbed many a small hills on that campus (literally) to the Admissions office and tried to argue in my broken Korean to receive every penny of that semester tuition they had made me pay in dollars instead of in wons. My esteem for the number one school in Korea had deflated so much by then, I didn't know who I was fighting any more and all I wanted to do was to come home to the States.

I remember during that time, my parents would call me every week to check up on how I was doing in such a foreign land, because by this time, their home country has become foreign even to my parents. I told my dad during one of the many phone calls, sobbing, "I just want to live a normal life dad, I just want to like everyone else." I just wanted to grow up in one town, with one set of community and have the towns people know all my business even if I would have hated it. Then go off to college, marry my high school sweetheart and find a job teaching first grade at a local school and raise my babies in my white picket fenced home. It didn't matter if this was in Korea, Japan, Jordon, New York or in California, it just had to be normal, stable. So, I had crumpled up my plans to be a foreign officer and eventually an ambassador and made a three pointer into the waste basket and flew home.

No matter how rash my decisions in scrapping two years worth of schooling and a future career to establish some normalcy in my life, I really didn't find it in the end. I still felt different and left out, sort of a pariah with mentality and outlooks not fit for mainstream America. I don't think I did anything normal even after that, most obvious is our adoption and wanting it so much even after I got pregnant.. Wanting that child that was already conceived in my heart and mind over the child conceived in my womb was a controversy not well taken by the faint of heart, or the community wedged in conventions. I realize that there's no explaining myself and the things I do because they just won't understand and we can't correct everyone.

For a long time, I thought because I grew up unconventionally and thus making me a little bit of a puzzle for people to figure out, I thought I was broken. I tried my best to fit in and be the good church girl who got good grades and got along with everyone, and I succeeded in most parts in filling that role for the expectations I thought people had of me. I didn't know why I was trying to be like everyone else though, because  no one ever really rejected me and thought me an outcast, I did that on my own. Whatever storm was raging in my head and mind was all I could see and thought that others were tangled up in that storm too, thinking the same things as I was in seeing me as the freak. I'm not broken or to be fixed, not in the sense that I have to change my personality and my tendencies. When I really think about it, I can't image doing anything in the traditional sense, I like it this way.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Behind this mask

I'm sorry you met me at a time I am not myself. She'll be back, you'll see. You may not recognize her because you know the girl here and now. The girl that's here because she's seen too much to be carefree, funny or joyful any longer. I'm sorry you knew me at a time where I didn't make you feel loved as much you should have or made you feel special like I normally would have. You'll see someday, in a few months or maybe even a few years, if you'll still have me. I don't know how long it'll take, but I'm sure she'll be back, that girl that is completely sure of herself, who is completely joyful and won't give a damn about the details of words before she says them. The kind of girl that would have made you feel completely at home, made you laugh over texts, emails, phone calls and letters, the girl that told legendary stories from her collection of "The Stories of the Weird" with hand gestures and dramatic pauses to boot. It wouldn't have mattered what context or what way, I would have loved you better.

The searing hardships marred my soul and didn't know it was happening, but slowly, I've changed and become less talkative, less goofy and somewhere along the line, I've started taking myself way too seriously to want to be around me. When did I become too self conscious to dance in front of people I didn't know? Too shy to break out in song when I felt like it was time, or throw my arms around you in your mid-sentence because I just noticed how cute you looked telling me a story? I want to run away from me because although I would like to consider myself like that of strong dark queens in movies like the Gladiator and 300, who mother Gladiators and Spartans but I am not, I've been faltering and I'm not as noble as those women. I'm not as disciplined or concrete with my beliefs, principles, or values and beginning to see, I'm no better than that of Judas, Saddam Hussein, or Lebron James. How can I judge or who can we judge when you can fall from grace oh so fast, when you're whole character and personality can change after a few bouts of storm.

I'm sorry, I've been a martyr in writing out all the hardships and acting like I've been rising above it all, learning from it, growing from it, but in hind sight, I haven't matured at all. The reserved countenance, the humanistic, philanthropic activities and the nuggets of wisdom I've been spewing out had all been a smoke screen to cover up my weaknesses, that I've been sucker punched by life and it's been hard to get up from that last uppercut. How do I recover when it's one after another, when do I have time to reshape myself to the semblance of what I originally was when the cut is so deep and frequent. Though, after so long behind a mask, it begins to weld itself to your face and its hard to get off. You'll soon forget what you really look like and who you are.  Though I don't expect to look exactly as when as was a wee girl, I know that joy, love and free spirited-ness are things I wish never to forget.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hunting dog leading the blind

When people ask me where I grew up, it's hard for me to answer because in essence, I grew up nowhere and everywhere. I've been asked by several people to explain where I grew up and why it's hard for me to stay put mentally. It had been ingrained my little body of 6 months that we as human beings are nomads and everyone will eventually go from one city to another and eventually, out of the country. I mean..isn't that why there are so many beautiful countries and cities out there? For us to experience all of them? Isn't this the natural course of life for every family? Um. no. I'm only recently learning in my adulthood that "normal" and "real" people don't meet their fathers at 6 months because he had been living in the middle east and their families don't pick up and move at every 4 year mark, like it's a presidential term. Finally and only recently, I had lived in one city for two consecutive terms and it's been a learning experience.

For a while now, I've been living with this underlying ants in my pants feeling of unsettled angst. Like I should be somewhere else by now, not just in my job, or my status as a parent or not being a parent and even in my marriage...not that I'm unhappy with any of these things, but there had to be a change of some sort. I wasn't getting a scenery change, so I was trying to cause some type of change in something, anything! Friends, community, a new outfit, a haircut, plans to move to Korea and begin a new career. Another consequence to living as a vagabond is not only are you without a physical home, but there is no mental connection between you and the friends, or your community. You're trained by circumstances, that you'll be forgotten in a few years and when you've moved from so many places, you've been forgotten by a whole lot of them. It's like you're a ghost and you don't really exist to anyone but your family, like you were only a figment of everyone's imagination. For once I wish someone had kept me from being erased out of their memory and or their life, like they couldn't bare to let me go. No one's chased me that hard.

Sometimes I think that I've been trained (even if it wasn't my parent's intentions to do so) to become one thing and then expect me be another. Like a trained hunting dog expected to lead the blind, I feel I'm about to run after a fox when a frail person counting on my guidance is holding on to me for dear life. I'm running after something I've been trained to, but in the process, I'm dragging a long a person that was relying on my ability to calmly guide him across the street. I don't mean to hurt anyone but I do. And not to say that dogs can't be retrained because there have been retired police dogs trained to "sic em" have become guide dogs, but I wonder if they ever swallow down the urge to fight crime like they use to....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Love like Woah

Dear God, Help to be a loving person, to love people with all that is required of me without the requirement of reciprocity or expecting anything back. Amen.

I prayed this prayer and aspired to be the embodiment of love since college, probably at the age of  growing out of childish self absorption and waking from ego centralism. I don't think I ever grew into this and when I see my old habits seeping through the tightly secured mask of being a good girl and doing the right thing, I don't know if I tried that hard or prayed that hard to love people without the expectation of the return. Actually and regretfully, what I really see is that I am in love with love and the ultimate act and sacrifice of loving someone, and learned, it is so difficult. I was never braved the coldness I would feel if I really did love someone unselfishly. All this time I've only given away what is only the semblance of love so that I can receive it in return. I sometimes doubt that even the love I received was ever real, or just a morsel of warmth throw to me out of courtesy that I swallowed down at the moment, just to get by on. Like it didn't matter to me at that time of desperation to alleviate the coldness of life, whether real or not, it was available right then.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself and I'm not a narcissistic snow queen I just made myself out to be, who is only selfish and no good. One of my girlfriends once said that a song reminded her of me and it was a song called "love like woah" and when I asked her why, she responded, "because your love's like woah." We just laughed about it, but I hope that everything I had given her and the people I really claimed to love was purely love and not something I'm offering just so I can gain for my own needs.

I may need to make fast and deep connections with people of my choosing because I need them not to forget me. Not to treat me like the sea of millions of faceless people who they will see in their life time. To be able to point me out and say, "that one, I know that one and that one I know and love forever." Maybe I feel a little bit desperate to nuzzle and embed myself into hearts so that I will no longer be a ghost that will be forgotten once again if I don't make my presence known and constantly reminding people that I'm here.

I love you like woah, but sometimes, I wonder about my motives. Not because I'm being insincere or I have an agenda, but because I can't love you without receiving back. Maybe this kind of love is for the most holy, for the saints and God himself, and not mere mortal like me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Poppa's wedding in Numbers

This weekend, all the Ohio counselors plus some extra special people came to celebrate our Poppa and his new momma's wedding. Although the weekend was fast and furious, where it only lasted less than 24 hours, it was worth very drop.

2- Grocery Carts full of Korean snacks to take back to Ohio for David and Daniel.

4 - The number of Korean snacks Bonnie picked out for her collection.

10+ - the number of plates of meat we enjoyed with the Hartman Family at woori village in Niles. Those boys can eat!

12:00 - Time time Team Stephanie arrived at Jenay's house

1:00 - The time Team Patrick should have arrived at my house...but didn't

2:00 - The time Silvia presented her new Beau to me

3 - The number of times I wished I wasn't in the room with Silvia and Gido...

3:45 pm - About the time we realized, "They're cutting it pretty close aren't they?" "Oh well, who wants peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches and chocolate milk??"  I felt like I was running a day care.

2 - Number of girls Gido danced with in my living room, where one ended in a dip as a finale. Thanks for the dip Gido ;)

12:30 pm - Rewind a little , Paul and Stephanie are enjoying a leisurely lunch at Mommas house, while Team Patrick speeds down a road in Indiana (Do you see the contrast?)

2 - The number of texts saying that Patrick's car and Hans' cars are parked right next to one another in traffic. what are the odds of Hans coming from his final from the city and Patrick coming from Ohio merge to ONE same exact spot on the road at the SAME time?

Text from Hans: "pat is driving next 2 me"
Text from Kim: "Hans is literally right next to us"

5 - The number of texts Kimberly sent me stating her need to go to the restroom

3:45 pm - The eleventh hour in which Kimmie pushes me aside to go to the restroom. I didn't mind, better the shove than a puddle on the floor I would have to wipe up :P

6 - The number of people trying to get ready for the wedding. It was like the Home alone house before they left for Paris. Luggage lying about, people taking turns in the bathroom and buttoning up in front of mirrors. I kind of enjoyed a full house...

6 - The number of people rushing down Dundee to get to the church on time. We were sure that the traffic they experienced would continue on, but we actually made it there and sat down with hands folded in our Sunday best.

1- Wuti who was later than all of us, but had on a nifty vest even Bonnie commented on, so that made up for it.

2 - The number of tables with rowdy kids, who couldn't stay seated through dinner...oh dear...I hope Poppa wasn't too embarrassed of us.

11 - The number of shots taken even before dinner was finished. No I didn't take all 11 shots, they were dispersed among 10 KCCers and a certain Paul Hartman.

2 - Very happy people bound for a happy marriage. congratulations Ryoung and Hannah!

1:00 am - The hour we decided that we were famished, so Hans and Tim went out to get us a brief case of tiny burgers. yes, the crave case from White Castle. This was Hans' first time having white castle, ever. Meanwhile, Kim, Patrick and I almost fell asleep waiting for them.

12 -  The number of sliders left over when we went to bed

6 -  The number of sliders we found after we got home from church. Did you guys eat them for breakfast? ew.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Everyone is Abnormal til you get to know them

PD mentioned a book by John Ortberg called Everyone is Normal Til You Get To Know Them.  I know what point PD was trying to make and I know what John Ortberg was getting at. When we look around we see that everyone is living pretty with 3 kids, a dog and a backyard, but when you really get to know them it's different, the dark side of the mountain is not as green. Maybe not even the dark side of a person, let's take it a down a notch and consider even the quirky side and how some people will not buy green sheets for their wooden bed because it'll make it look like a tree. (This is the thought process of someone real, and yes, she was completely serious about it) No, not normal...and you're not that normal either, even though you think you are, you're not. The only reason why you think eating cereal with orange juice is normal is because you never knew that the large population of the people in American society only eat cereal with milk. You're the weird one. 

How I see things is different from that of John, and if I had to write a title for this, it would be Everyone Is Abnormal Til You Really Get To know Them. The slight perspective change is that although we think people are so different and they would never understand you, when you really get to know them, they are essentially human and there's more to us than differences in culture, age brackets, tax brackets or whatever brackets you fall under. We humans are cut from the same cloth, it's just that some of us are made into pants and some of us into dresses. When I hear how people talk about Pastor Dave and how honorable he is, I chuckle a little and not because I disagree, he is honorable, smart, well spoken, wise and all that jazz, but behind closed doors, he's very human. I also imagine that if I did ever meet President Obama and spent one week with him away in  some cottage in the Hamptons (It obviously doesn't have to be the Hamptons, it could be Wisconsin Dells, but if he's paying we would be in the Hamptons) I would find that he isn't very different from Pastor Dave, my little brother or me or you. At the end of that week, he would just be Barack to me and not President Obama, and his presidency would become what he happens to do as a living.

I think I try to break people down to who they really are in essence because I want to know that we're not so different. We may have had different parents, up bringing, culture, education, life happenings, but in the end, there is a spirit in us that is essentially human and we share that. This is the reason why we are so baffled and appalled by mass murders because we can no longer see the human-ness in them, that they've just become monsters to us and we can't relate. Even then, I see their tortured souls writhing and twisting in pain from whatever childhood abuses have made them that way, or even if they had perfect childhoods, the sheer fact that they are no longer acting as humans do, tortures them. I'm sure of it because you see it in their eyes. Fear, denial, darkness, things we all know of from the school of life, but we were strong enough to keep from having it eat away at our spirits, they were not.

I want to ask you about who you are, who your parents are, who your friends are and maybe some of the answers will be closely familiar because I know those answers like they're my own. But sometimes, the answers you will give me will educate me further to who you are and not misunderstand you. When I love a person, I want to know their "heart motives" what drives your heart, to be loved, to be liked, to be perfect, to be respected? I want to tell you too, so that you don't misunderstand me, my jokes, my intentions for my actions, so that you can have grace on me too. I want to tell you, but I also want to keep them a secret, just in case it's too quirky, too scary, too dark, or just plain dorky. But, I know you feel the same too.

“I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.”


– C.S. Lewis, “Weight of Glory”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guest blogger - C.S. Lewis

I love everything he says about people and the way we should love one another. To see people not as ordinary, but to see them with "The weight of Glory" of our God, that he has deposited in us a certain splendor and knit us in our mother's womb with fear and care. That if God himself sees us and treats us like this, how can we mere mortal treat his creation like we do, like we have been. I post his writing copy and pasted because I wouldn't change a thing he says, except the way he spells neighbor.

 

~C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (18): The load, or weight or burden of my neighbour's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.   It is a serious thing to live in a a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you may talk to may one day be a creature which, if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.   All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.   There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.   Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.   This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn.  We must play.  But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.   And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.   Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.  If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Women's Retreat in Numbers

This past weekend, I attended a women's retreat. Gasp! yes....Susie actually attended a gathering of women over a weekend and to add to the list of unbelievable things she led a sister group. and had fun. Let it sink in....I'll give you a moment....

4- The number of girls that made up my sister group. The combination of these girls was just magical... had deep converstations, danced, went for a run at 7 in the morning, cried, laughed, and crashed.

1- The number of times we went for a run 7 in the morning. That was enough....

30- The number of times we spontaneously busted a move just because we felt like it.


15- The number of times we got funny looks from the other sister groups and the wait staff for spontaneously busting a move just because we felt like it. Half the time, it was in the privacy of our own room, but the other half of the dancing happened in the presence of others.

30 - Dance moves that just won't quit.

1- Granny panties that just won't quit.

1- Big juicy wax lips that reminded me of Halloween as a little girl. Sporting it now just isn't the same...creepy is a word that comes to mind for most.

5 -The number of times we crashed from all the high school girl level excitement. It's like we were at Cheerleading camp...now we just need to recover every 45 minutes.

2-grinding teeth

1- breast pump humming morning, noon and night

25 - Dollars on a Starbucks card won by rocking our skit! Because....."We are the champions my friend~"

27 - Dollars spent at Starbucks on a Sunday morning, spending our last hours together as a sister group.

5 -- Ramen noodle cups celebrated by more dancing

5 - Amazing stories that are both heart wrenching and heart mending

5 - The number of lives touched God and each other

Friday, October 8, 2010

I love girls


I love girls. I really really do. And although I have been a victim to some mean girl antics and contrary to popular belief, I am not now or was I ever a mean girl in high school or at any other time at that. I have been known to post several "girl crush" posts even in the xenga days of yore, about how girls at Starbucks will come up to me and tell me I'm cute. To recount one incident, several years ago, I was walking to my car and really attractive blond girl came walking toward Starbucks as I was walking out of it. Although she was pretty, she dressed so stylishly down to earth and casual, and as we passed, we looked at each other and I turned around to look after her and she was doing the same. We both smirked because I think she knew that I thought she was cute and I think she thought I was cute too! :)


This all might sounds so strange to boys because they're less inclinded to admit or even notice a man that is so put together and attractive. Unless you're a certain pastor I know that notices a particular man that stops by Starbucks every Tuesday morning dressed so dapper, he makes him stop in mid sentence to notice and comment on how dapper he is. I'm not only referring to how girls look, and although, girls are more beautiful than boys, because we have so many more options than just the suite, pant and shirt to mix things up, but they're so charming to me. I often gravitate toward praise songs that are sung by women, I can know exactly how to charm a little girl and win her over, and it's so easy to get one or more girls to laugh around a table given at least 10 mins.

Even tragety and the angst women go through are far more poetic and deeper than that of a man. Perhaps I don't fully understand the intensity or the dept of man's angst and problems, but those seem so general, so encompassing as a whole human race. However, the dilemma of a woman choosing her children and family over the career she worked so hard to build, the pressures of living up to the standards measured by men, other women, and worst of all herself, and the balancing act of standing up for your self with self worth and not going over the edge with cocky self promotion or on the other hand, balancing genuine humility with low self esteem is a tricker task.

I love how they talk, how they smell, how they look, the thoughts they have, the jokes they make. I love little girls, high school girls, girls in their 20's, 30's and even girls in their 90's. Truly, when they were made God did add sugar, spice and everything nice and in their pure state, we were made in such pleasure and were made to nuture, to love, to have roles that make life heaven and not just to create a standard or a status quo. I love how I feel and what they bring out of me when I'm with girls who giggle and talk a mile a minute, I love how some girls are hilarious and can joke like a boy, I love how girls will show up a boy and can do things they can't. I just love em.


 
Girls' bodies are so much more delicate and graceful. I think boys just funny naked. Anyone else?
 
 
 
Marion Cortillard is SO beautiful...I wish I was a beautiful French woman who can act and sing.
 
I'm not really worried about aging...I just want to be the most beautiful at my age.
 
I hate that little girls who are confident in who they are and what they look like, until they start comparing...