fresh.

take a breath. take two.

awaken, oh sleeper. don’t you think you’ve been in slumber long enough? clear away the cobwebs and dust settled.

when did your tomorrows stop holding mystery and excitement? if I speak of hope and passion, will you still comprehend what those are?

refresh, heart beat fast.

tomorrows come because I want them.

eyes- don’t fade out, don’t grow dim.

brighten up and analyze.

can I make a suggestion? that you wise-

up! stay alert, don’t fall inert.

take every chance and think bigger,

it’s limitless, think vigor.

stretch dormant muscles, reach high.

it’s not uncool to make an effort, so try-

harder than this, all I see is potential.

that you’re wasting, you’ve forgotten the essential.

so remember-

remember who you are and who you’re made to be.

give me a head ups when you stop turning blind eyes and set yourself free.

 

 

 

falling into default mode.

let’s take the easy road. say the first things we think of. act on our immediate instincts. instant gratification is the way to go. generic statements are all we spew.

“oh cool.”

“that’s something.”

“i’m good.”

let me ask you this: “what is original thought?”

*silence*

“sorry, what? i wasn’t listening.”

let’s not really actually take the time to focus on the words others try to say. only your own thoughts matter. other people are projections of a reality where only you reside. but to say that would be rude, so just put on a pretense. nod your head, say your “hms”, repeat back what they said to you in a question form. do those things, but feel free to let your eyes drift to your phone or to the environment around while they drone on in the background -oh wait, they said something that involves you! tune in for a second… aaand alright it’s fine to get distracted now, they’re back to themselves. feel free to go back to yourself.

perpetual routine. and put that on repeat. you know the steps so well since you do them everyday. you hate, simply tracing the same lines. it’s so familiar you could do it in your sleep, and still you trace away. it’s all you know. it’s you, it’s your very identity. to stop would be to stop being.

let’s stay stagnant, let’s stop growing or learning. we can only do what we’re told, what we’re assigned, and the less we must do, the better.

the whole thing is awful, I feel sick to my very core, as if my bones were dipped in fatigue and all motivation and passion were seeped out of my body is a slow, but steady process. I hate it, I hate it all so much… but give it to me again tomorrow. I take it daily, I’ve done it countless times and I will continue to do so infinitely. I can abhor it with my entire being, detest it all so much I want to puke blood- anything to make the mundane humdrum come to an end. but then so would I. the very thing has become myself. so I must continue, because I must be.

 

tired.

if I stop holding on so tightly, will you simply slip away? so I gave it a try. I was hoping to find that you were also holding on as tightly as I.

but you took a breath and said “thank God, I was feeling suffocated.”

I’m so tired of this game we play, where I hold onto everyone tightly, moving them to where I want them to be. so I’ve decided to let go and let the pieces fall where they will.

I know you care as well, but not as deeply and intensely as I do. and I suddenly feel so tired.

why do people you love the most have to be the ones that hurt you the most?

cycles of emotions.

feeling stung. hurt. betrayed. sad. indignant. angry. resigned. and lastly exhaustion. heavy exhaustion. what do I do now? the ones who care less seem to be the winners. so how do I become that? how do I stop feeling so severely, so acutely?

i’m sad ’cause loneliness.

I am so very much an extrovert. where I draw energy from being around people.

I wish I was surrounded by peoples 24/7. loneliness is a thing and I hate it. there’s no such thing as “alone time” being needed for me. (lol, I shocked the heck out of my introvert friends with this statement). I am trying so hard to be content with me. with being by myself, all by my lonesome. because that kind of intense dependency that I have on my friends scares me.

I try to hide how much I love being in company. I say comments like: “I am ready to go home” after being insulted by my friends. and it slightly surprised me when edith was like “you’re not really gonna go home!” because of how completely true it was and how completely sure she seemed of it. or when we needed to relocate this one time because it was closing time for a restaurant and I was like, “we need to go… outside.” and edith caught me again. and she responded like, “but JUST outside, NOT go home.” and it struck me again. is it so obvious how much I hate going home and being alone? oh gosh, how I wish to be an introvert. to love quiet time by myself. now that’s sounds like a solid thing to find enjoyment in. no need to think twice about boundaries, being overly reliant, or just plain miserable when I seem to enjoy and need other people more than they enjoy or need me.

I love huge families. I’ve been “kinda adopted” into two.

firstly my canadian family, and my godfamily (gosh how I love them).

they are the most loving people I know and I wish I could spend all of my time with them because they love me so very well and so very much it is all so humbling because what did I do to deserve such wonderful people in my life. my heart feels warm and tingly just thinking about them. but distances is hard. and there’s this real thing where I want to keep my image that I’m doing very very well. I once wrote a really heartbreaking letter where I missed them so much I wished they were my real family and my godmother cried and I just can’t. so I don’t want to do that thing where I make them cry. I want them to be proud of me and rest secure that I am good and doing quite well though it may not be necessarily true. I watched this korean drama where there is this scene where a student is calling back home to his mom and insisting that he is eating all his meals and doing very well academically when really he is really struggling financially and eating a really cheap meal. and I just relate to that so much wow. everyday I think at least once about how much I wish to go back. everyone is sick of hearing me talk about it but it is right there on my mind what can I do, lol. I must vocalize.

second makeshift family, hi clan.

I spend a huge amount of time with these peoples, lol. and I honestly love the bustle and noise of people so much. they drove me home just now and not having to guide them and just knowing full well that they will get me home safe ’cause we go to each other houses on like, a weekly basis. that is something that is very nice. music playing in the background as they begin to dance along at the chorus. they are goofs. the silence is comfortable, but I also enjoy hearing their voices. side conversations happening in front while I lightly engage in conversations in the back. I wish my entire life consisted of these moments. of feeling safe, surrounded, and loved. and that’s when I begin to feel sad, because the moment will soon be over.

and so  here I am. internet-ing until I am so exhausted I have no energy to think about how extremely lonely I feel and the sadness that comes along with that. I have tried so hard at being ok with being alone. but it is all so difficult. when my clan is ready to have their own family family time. uhm merp, fomo is real lol. but hey, what can I say. they’re not doing anything wrong by wanting to spend time with blood, yeah?

and all this just makes me miss my mom so much. it is so very hard to find contentment in my own family. isaac is a baby. lol what can he understand. don’t get me wrong, I love him to death but like- I am still very lonely. and dad. oh dad. patience is required. I feel like there are moments where I fully appreciate who you are and thankful for you as a dad. but dispersed interactions with time limits are what works for us currently. and anita ahyi. I feel that slight ocd-ness in you and it has been difficult to find a balance between our very different ways of living. we’ve both tried, but I think that slight awkwardness will always be present. that’s just how things are.

my loneliness is so especially tangible in this moment, it’s hard to bear.

psalm 25:16-17

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.

(^accurate depiction).

I would also like to talk about when Jesus was in the garden of gethsemane. I cannot at all fathom what it felt like to be in His position at that very moment. but as He pleads with his disciples to keep watch with Him. I feel a glimmer of that desperation. so thank you for this trial of loneliness to understand our Savior a bit more and draw closer to Him. thank you for the family that I do have currently. they are good and I am definitely blessed to have them. but it is still very difficult, and I just miss mom so incredibly much ok, if you did not get that. (I really want to go to her grave and just sit there for a bit and cry right now the feeling is overwhelming) so please. draw me to nearer to You, oh Lord. and nearer still and bring comfort.

 

the boat that could no longer race.

the children eagerly prepared their small boats to race down the river. the air tasted crisp and lovely, laughter and excitement so tangible it was in every breath the children took in.

simon was the expert on all things boats. almost everyone had multiple boats, backups were always safe to have and all children took boat racing very seriously. the children would usually name their boats after their very hopes and dreams.

rafe had “Valiant Viper” painted in bold letters on each side of his boat. he had grown up on books of knights and obsessed over all things snakes. he wanted to be courageous and crafty, and so he was such. Valiant Viper floated down the river quickly and speedily and got scratched up half the time. however it would win a few races here and there because of how boldly it took new shortcuts at breakneck speed.

sally named hers “The Rose”. it was elegant and sleek and floated gracefully. The Rose would always sail at a brisk but safe pace but it had a knack for finding swift currents and quick breezes. The Rose managed to pick up one or two victories.

and these were considered names that were quite original. children loved names that would be named for the very best. repeating names was considered a grave sin. children often fought over the rights to a name. the feud between little tom and sam had lasted at least a month when sam decided to be a little snot and name his new boat “Sam Swiftest” after he already knew tom had just painted his boat “Tom Swift” to be clever. and even to this day, sam took extra delight in pronouncing “swift-est” with extra care whenever his boat bested tom’s in speed.

however simon’s “Jenny” was the greatest envy of all the children. it was painted was such care, you couldn’t even see the strokes. after all, they were only children. even if they were as careful and as patient as they could be, the uneven paint strokes on their boats was still visible. none of them knew that simon had hoarded his allowance and skipped out on buying sodas and candies to pay a professional to paint his Jenny. he had named her after his sweetheart and Jenny was such a speedy little boat. kids would gather around simon and watch him with a hawk’s eye, hoping to catch onto how he won so often with so little exertion. but he was a natural, gifted for the sport. and they could not hope to mimic him.

“who was first?” children would ask excitedly.

“oh Jenny of course, but just wait until you hear about how Valiant Viper stole second away from The Rose!  he was a mere coupla seconds away from the finish line when The Rose swooped in from outta nowhere!”

and so it was such, Jenny would always have a solid hold on first place and the children stopped begrudging simon for his wins and took this as something that will always be as they scampered and strained for close seconds.

but as the children grew, change lurked nearby.

simon fell into a passionate affair with his sweetheart and spent less time on his precious Jenny. he used to be constantly checking for signs of wearing, rips in the sails, or rust. but he began to neglect Jenny. however Jenny stayed faithful and steadily scored win after win. and so she was taken for granted by simon himself.

then one day simon’s sweetheart broke his heart. the very heart that had been driving Jenny to victories. and so, Jenny broke as well.

Jenny started fell behind. the others were shocked. first place was suddenly left open for the taking and they quickly overcame their surprise. there victory was! how evasive it used to be and now it was right there for the taking. they surged ahead in excitement. while Jenny slowly fell behind.

simon no longer took pleasure in racing, but it was all he had ever known. all he was ever good at. what would he even do if he stopped? so he continued. rust began to settle on Jenny, he quickly covered it over with paint to hide it. Jenny’s bottom began to wear and he tamped tape on her inside to hold her together. rips began to appear in her sails and he hastily made rough mends with a borrowed sewing kit. racing that used to come so naturally to him began to take its toll.

as they raced, Jenny was not able to score any more victories, but she remained somewhere in the middle of the speeding boats. she became terribly average.

simon didn’t care about how quickly Jenny could make her turns anymore, he barely had it in him to make her set sail. every bit of distance she covered took so much effort out of him. and each race tired him in a way no rest could recover. and Jenny lost speed and fell farther and farther behind until simon grew ashamed. he might not have taken any pleasure in winning anymore but his pride remained and he could not bear to lose so dreadfully.

he learned to train and practice. something he had never had to do before.

he brought Jenny out to the river early in the morning before any of them woke up and practiced making sudden turns, having her float in tight circles or even zigzags to gain complete control over her movements. and he forced Jenny to keep speed. forced himself to deny the sadness that drained at him and practiced smiles in the mirrors.

and still the others whispered, held pity in their eyes when he came around. and simon fell to despair.

they could only talk about how terribly average he had become without realizing how much effort it took him just to be that. they could only talk about what a tragedy it was that Jenny had fallen so far behind when she used to be first. they didn’t see effort, they saw only the result. and it didn’t match up to what it used to be.

simon regretted ever being a victor. now there were expectations of him, expectations he could no longer hope to meet. and so he gave up the race.

he tucked Jenny into the back of his closet and dived into other interests. they were alright. life was alright. but happiness was never quite the same. a quiet sadness tinged the joy till the only sweet he knew was bittersweet.

the allure of being busy.

I don’t miss the stress and anxiety that comes along with being busy, and having deadlines loom over my head. but I do miss that self-importance that comes along, lol. confidence in yourself, in your own plans. getting to pick and choose your timeframe for everything. being able to put all of yourself and all your effort into one specific thing. it especially hits when I hear of people around me doing wonderful, productive things and I just feel like a lump on a log.

so here is the horrible truth, I have so much free time. so much time I don’t even know what to do with all of it.

I recently read a verse in the Bible where that I fully identified with.

james 5:5 “you have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. you have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.”

so hi me. I pretty much indulge in whatever feels right to me at the moment. eating whatever, watching whatever. no urgency, just quiet desperation. I let myself do this for a while. being busy didn’t make me happy. I pushed myself to do so because all my peers were busy with their studies, their sports, their commitments. and that pleasant self-importance that streams in when you deny hangouts in the name of homework, projects, or early bedtime for work the next day.

but I feel quiet nudges nudging me back towards the highway of life. a quote popped up for me on tumblr (that blasted site that I dearly love).

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.” Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall.

it struck me because that was exactly what I was doing. let time slip through my fingers like coins. and I attended sunday school this past sunday. we’re going through a study of colossians. and chapter 4:5 says “be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

and one of my friends spoke up and said that “time is a commodity that should not be wasted.”

that pulled at my heart. I can’t say I felt instant conviction. not like, whambam and I’m a new person. how can I immerse myself in things that I care nothing about? that was the fight through high school. I don’t even know how I made it through high school to be honest.

but lastly, what tugs at me are the long talks I have with dad. I think I have much more respect for his advice. he’s the only one that has been with me my entire life and I don’t know anyone who knows me better than him. (gosh, as I type these words I miss my mom so much).

he repeats himself nonstop like a broken recorder, he uses the same examples and compares me to my “successful” friends and he can be biased as heck. and the patience it takes to listen to his lecturing usually runs out by the time we hit the first hour mark. sometimes it feels like torture.

however, I can feel how much he cares. he cares so much. as he brings up examples of certain friends I can tell he’s hurt, because in his mind I know he is certain I am smarter than them, better, funnier, more charming, etc. and yet why am I here on the struggle bus going nowhere and they’re where they are at.

I can hear it in the way he talks about their parents. I felt a little guilty here. he’s a pastor, my dad. he’s always on display and so with that I am automatically also on display. I wonder what he is telling people who ask after me. and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that asian parents would ask after me being who they are.

I can hear it in the way he brings up what I am good at, telling me how he knows I’m smart, smarter than he is. also the father in him that tells me exactly what I lack, where I fall behind. as he brings up books, activities, to once again captivate my interest. inspire motivation. lastly he tries the scare tactic. threatening that I would fall far far behind, so far I would not be able to catch up, stuck working minimum pay jobs the rest of my life.

so I gotta do it. for me, for the people I love, and for the people that will be lifted up by what I am holding back. I don’t doubt my ability. another close friend of mine struggles with that. I am fully convinced that I am brilliant. (dad did good in acknowledging that in me, the pride in me would drown out whatever he said next if he refuted that). so the heart. Lord, give me the heart. I’ll fight the temptation to indulge, so give me back my motivation and hope.

also, help me fight temptations… lol. I need help in all aspects. I don’t even know how to start helping myself. so Lord?

lemme take a breather.

I saved a draft of this last year sometime. I never posted because it’s sounds really depressing. why are we so afraid to admit that we struggle? so posting. I mean, I’m still struggling. so God, a breakthrough real soon would be cool. but I recently read the story of Job and re-read Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey (solid book, y’all) so I’m still gonna hold firm. I’m just real tired, but if this allows me to grow and develop. just- help me bear through the storm.
here it is:
sighs, wow I really get affected when people judge me. I recently had a surprise encounter with a lady felt like she beat me up, verbally.

“I don’t think you understand how competitive it is out there these days. My son had a 4.1 and relatively high SAT scores and he barely got into his school, not to mention his involvement in volunteering… etc. wait, I think he’s your age. he’s a junior.”

“people have been setting themselves up for success starting from middle school, you don’t even know.”

“I didn’t even have to force my children to take those strides in their studies. did I tell them that they had to take all the extracurriculars, meet up with counselors to figure out their direction? no, they decided to take those steps themselves and all I had to do was give them the resources they needed.”

“I think… you should really try to figure out what you’re doing with your life right now before adding more activities to your list.”

wow… instead of asking teachers whether they allowed us to eat or not in their classes from day one why didn’t I start off with asking how many AP classes I could take without killing myself. I was clearly not cut out to be a go-getter from the start. I think I missed a transition period in my life where making mistakes is just a part of learning and it’s okay and just made the leap to where making a single mistake could affect my entire future. now what? this conversation left me reeling while a friend of mine, who had been privy to the same conversation, brushed it off like nothing.  we had planned a day of fun with studying and hitting up the movies, but all I wanted to do was go home and lay in my bed with ice cream at hand.

the lady didn’t say anything particularly malicious to me, but I feel like opening up to people and being vulnerable just gives them that chance to judge me and tell me what they would do if they were in my shoes. well why don’t I just take a breather and you can feel free to come be me ‘cause I’m tired.

everytime I’m hit by a wave of negativity, I’m downed. it’s just so hard to trust God with my future when everyone has their own opinion on what future I should be building myself up for. my faith is at such a baby level, wow.  and I thought I was such a superstar christian. without security, positive attention from people, validation and success in everything I do, I’m already crumbling down and dying. I’m no rock against adversity, no being confident in the power of Christ. I’m weak. I want to be super rich and blessed with three children and no worries and when people ask me how? I will be that person to say with my serene smile, “all due to the goodness of God.” who wants to be this? a penniless college student with opinionated people, who is defeated by the first sign of failure?

mang I really wanted to end this one on a positive note of some sort.

throwback story: the cute guy at family mart

so this experience happened with my mission buddy: faith. we don’t talk much currently but I swear, she’s been in the majority of my short-term missions. I kinda don’t want to go to another one if she doesn’t go, lol.

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(^there we are. dang, I feel like we look exactly the same, lol. we had just finished senior year of high school, I’m pretty sure. HIGH SCHOOL. wowzers. oh and I cropped melody out. LOLOL, I love you fatso, but this story isn’t about you so bye).

so during taiwan missions, I’d say our 7/11 breaks were the best. so I remember we had a bit of extra time while picking up lunch for everyone. and there was a family mart nearby. I mean, it wasn’t our preferred 7/11, but better than nothing! so we went in to buy some popsicles and there was just one guy sweeping as we browsed. when we approached the counter, he rushed over to assist us. and in his hurry, he dropped his broom loudly to the ground with a CLOMP! I remember being startled by that, and also a little bit touched because he raced over to us like we were VIP customers or something, lols.

he talked really fast and low while helping us with our transaction, so we couldn’t understand a thing he said, and we were both like “whaaaat?” lol, I felt like we were so obviously foreigners >___> it pricked my pride a bit because I thought our Chinese was advanced as heck. I think he was trying to tell us something about the change :/

but anyways as we left the store, while tearing into our popsicles:

me: “hey did you think that the guy there was pretty cute?”

faith: “what? was he?! I wasn’t really paying attention :(”

and you were pretty bummed out. lol.

me: “also he had a very mellow voice. it was nice!” (I’m a sucker for mellow voices, lol)

faith: “really?” you paused and bit into your popsicle, pondering over what I had just told you. “wait if we have extra time, can we go back and take a second look?”

me: “what?! noooo, that’d be super obvious and awkward.”

faith: “weeeell, we can buy something. we can buy some drinks!”

me: “… nah, that’s overkill.”

faith: “come on. we’re probably never going to come here again. and if we have extra time we have to wait anyways. let’s just do it.”

I was not convinced, but you didn’t give up! I have to say, you always had a way about being able to persuade me when it comes down to it =___= so back we went after we finished our popsicles to buy drinks. he was back at sweeping, which made me feel embarrassed cause we were so annoying, lol.

so we got our drinks and approached the counter again. I was feeling super self-conscious. and he kinda smiles at us and goes “冰吃完了?” (finished your popsicles?) and in that moment I was like, HE KNOWS. HE TOTALLY KNOWS WE CAME BACK FOR HIM.

I think we murmured an embarrassed “yeah” and doubled outta that place. as we were leaving we started laughing about the situation. and you were like, “yeah, he was cute! and his voice was nice.”

it was a neat little experience and I think you wanted to keep it an inside joke between us. just whenever you would refer to “the family mart guy” we would both smile over it. but I ended up blabbing it out to the girls that were with us. sorries. I have no idea how the story spread but pretty soon the majority of our mission team members found out about family mart guy and wanted to see for themselves just how cute he was =___=

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(^there’s some of us! missing 阿斑哥. maggie? I can’t remember if your parents were there for it too).

I was completely against this, because our schedule was pretty tight and who know if he’d be working again when we were free. but what luck we had, huh? because we especially made a trip over and he just happened to be working that particular day. we all filed in and I made somebody buy something because we needed a reason to be there, right?  there were a couple of seats along the counter and I remember the guys just sitting there, being completely obvious in their scrutiny of the guy.

girls agreed with us that he was kinda cute, in that fobby way. but dang, the guys were super critical. like calm down, everyone. we’re not on Taiwan’s next top model or anything.

阿斑哥 was straightup: “I don’t see anything attractive about the guy! he just looks like an average guy!”

jeremy was like, “yeah I guess I can kinda see it. but he’s way too skinny. I’m obviously better looking.” <- LOL PSH.

and so on with their nit-picking and criticisms =___= faith, you were like trying to get me to go buy something else and take a picture with a guy. TAKE A PICTURE? like nah girl, I ain’t that gutsy. I kept turning you down and once everyone was satisfied with their gawking, we finally left and went for lunch across the street.

but as we ate, you kept bringing up how mad you were that I didn’t go for the picture.

faith: “it would be such a good memory if you took a picture with him. at least try asking! if he says no than that’s that.”

me: “but what would be my reasoning behind taking the picture..? it’s so embarrassing!”

other members: “you could say that you’re from the states and emphasize your accent a bit. be like, you’ve never been to a family mart before and it’d be cool to take a picture with one the the workers!”

me: “… that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

other suggestions involved asking for directions and somehow transitioning to picture time. or make him feel like he’d be the lucky one to get the picture with us cause we’re foreigners from America. what a rare thing for him, lol. it was ridiculous. and everyone wouldn’t let up. eventually I gave in like the sucker I am. and agreed to ask with four conditions.

  1. we weren’t all gonna file in again and have everyone be watching from the sidelines with their wide eyes and popcorn. faith would come in with me, and charlene as the one to take the picture. that’s it. everyone else was gonna wait outside patiently.
  2. I wasn’t listening to their ridiculous suggestions and I was just gonna straight-up ask for a picture. I was pretty sure that the guy recognized us going in three times for him and he probably could guess at the reason.
  3. if he was busy and there were a lot of customers, it was a no go.
  4. lastly, faith had to be in the picture with me.

and that’s how it went! after lunch we all went back. I was nervous as heck. there was just one person at the counter. so we waited and I approached. I honestly don’t know if he recognized us but I just blurted out: “我們可以跟你照相嗎?” (can we take a picture with you?)

he jostled at some receipts in front of him and didn’t look at me. I was looked over at faith. did he hear me? did I have to repeat myself? finally he looked up at me and seemed pretty confused, but said: “我想應該可以吧?” (I guess you can?) very hesitantly. and he came around the counter and took the picture with us. I think I chirped a quick “謝謝!” (thank you!) and sped outta that store. everyone was waiting for us and I think they even cheered for us when we said that we were successful in getting the picture. wow, we’re so extra. lols.  阿斑哥 was like, “now that you have a picture. you should’ve asked for an email to be able to send it to him and get his contact info that way!” but I had to put everyone to a stop there. that’s too much, lol. everyone needs to calm down.

so yeah. even though I felt like everybody had coerced me into it. and it was embarrassing as heck. but now I’m glad I got the picture (: every time I tell this story, everyone is so curious to see it. and it took a little digging on my part to find it again. but I did, and I’ll go ahead and attach it, ahaha.

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(^and here we areeee. wow my expression is so awkward. but I still smile a little when I see it. I’m glad I was persuaded to do it. it does make for a good memory!)

mang, I loved taiwan missions. this is just a short tale we can smile and laugh over. but there were plenty of experiences that helped grow my faith, that touched me, that allowed me to encounter people very different from me. maybe I’ll do a few more of these throwback stories in the future! (<- whoa I just mentioned both past and present in the same sentence there… that’s not cool, sorry. lol).

realtalk: for the glamor girl

al.

lol, what do we even talk about when our interests are so vastly different? you are my exact opposite. but despite maybe not knowing my current music tastes or current struggles, you know me in a vastly deep way that can only come from growing up together since toddlerhood. and in the same respect, I know you in a specific way as well.

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(^LOL. that was us in our nerdiest form with those circle glasses. gotta appreciate the time I was actually taller…)

I remember having long conversations with you into the late a.m.’s. there was this one time I was telling you something that was very important to me, and you even replied to me! yet to find out after about five minutes you were simply sleep-talking =___=

it saddened me quite a bit to realize how hard it is to fall asleep now for you when we used to tease you because sleeping was your all-time greatest talent. being able to fall asleep absolutely anywhere in nine seconds flat (I know this for a fact because I actually counted). yet now in the present, you need a lot of background noise and the t.v. blasting to be able to fall asleep.

you don’t know this, but your mom caught me glancing towards you when you fell asleep yet again during one of our movie nights. and she said to me. “alice needs the noise now to fall asleep. it makes her feel safe to hear us.”

I didn’t realize this fact until much later into the trip that you always slept in the living room because that was where the t.v. was. thank you for coming up to stay in the room with me on my first night back at your place. I was slightly confused to hear you tossing and turning when I’m used to you being an absolute dead log. one thing hasn’t changed, you smack your lips when you’re asleep, didya know? haha, every time I catch you doing that I smile a little because no one else I know does it. it’s like your trademark.

you know exactly who my first crush was and I remember yours as well. how amazing because you pretty much only date white guys now, haha. you’re the one that I told all everything to. giggling as we gave them nicknames so no one would know who they were when we talked about them. being absolutely horrified when your mom would tell us that she heard everything we said the next day. ugh, I’m still embarrassed just thinking about it.

your family is the kindest, most loving family I know. I know it can get hard when people seem to take advantage of your family’s kindness sometimes. it seems like all they do is give, and people just receive. but you’ve never held back with me. during my time of greatest need and sorrow, you embraced me into your family without hesitation. I had nothing to give back, in fact I feel like I still receive too much. but you remind me time and time again, that I am a sister to you. and that absolutely gets me.

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(^I love this one because I told us to make serious faces. but I messed up and made you mess up too.)

you’re not a perfect person, lol. you can be mean and sarcastic. I don’t agree with everything you do. I know you hold things back with me sometimes. but gosh, I still love you like heck. when I see you, I don’t just see the heavy eyeliner your lazy butt doesn’t wash off at night. I don’t just see your long witch-like polished nails and those distracted eyes as they glance at your phone at every notification (LOL, side note: but your eyesight is so bad. hahaha, you hold the phone like an inch away from your face). I see the you that promised to beat up anybody that hurt my feelings when I cried into your zebra-patterned pillow. I see the you that jammed with me and learned every song I wanted to sing in the piano room.

I like how I automatically feel comfortable with you right away. and though I loved the past you. I love the present you as well. when you offered to come to the airport right away when my flight was delayed and take me out for food. you’re absolutely ridiculous, you know that? we’re not without our imperfections, but I can love you past them and I can’t say that for everybody, you know? if you weren’t alice, I would’ve dropped you like a hot potato.

it saddens me a bit that I don’t know every single detail about you in the present. I want to know everything, to have you just tell me all your feelings. to have you cry in front of me and bare it all. LOL, I’m forceful like that. wow I can’t give anybody any room.

we have such a special history that weaves into the present. and out of all my best friends, it’s just very meaningful to me that you are the only one that actually knew my mom and that you were there when she passed away. not that my friends now can help not knowing, but you were right there during the hardest time of my life. and that can’t be changed. not that you knew my mom super well, but things at home were hard for me. and I never told you this because I tried to be all smiles around you, but you and your house were like a weekend haven for me.

when I struggled with anita ahyi, adults had to tell me all the right answers you know. tell me that I need to be understanding. tell me that I had to try to accept things. but you were there to tell me that when things sucked for me, they really sucked. you were candidly honest to a point where you would have me crack up laughing. and I loved you for that. my heart is literally warming up as I write this (gosh I’m such a feely feeler).

a lot of eyes are on you, concern and worry that you don’t want. you were the golden girl. serving in every possible way. I hated that part, remember? the unwanted attention. I would plead with you to stay by my side when elders came to try to talk to me. “pretend you’re immersed in a deep conversation with me, al!” LOL, asian adults don’t care at all about interrupting though. haha, they barge right in. I smiled for them though. you don’t even do that. ahaha, do you purposely try to intimidate people? like seriously, if you weren’t my girl I would probably be intimidated as well. but look how things have flipped. you’re the one under scrutiny now. remember when I would be bouncing off the walls because I was so excited to go to church and you were like “noooooo.” OHMY, three years ago when the first sunday rolled around. and church was closed because we had a freaking ice storm. =____= that was so stupid. I had been so excited to go.

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(^lookit that. remember when everything freezed over and electricity went out. and we all blamed the cold on me cause I pray for intense snow every time I come back. LOL. God loves me.)

I wish I could shield you from all the attention you don’t want. I was always a bit sad you didn’t see church the same way I did. I loved newlife and all of it. the structure and the people (well maybe excluding a certain grandma. LOL. YOU KNOW). I hope you find a church that really feels like a family someday. it doesn’t have to be newlife, but just a church where you really feel deeply and truly loved by the people around you. every church has it’s imperfections and aspects that can hurt. but push through, al. you’re a warrior, aren’t you?

my prayers for you:

  1. you’ll be able to have truly restful nights where sleep comes easy again.
  2. talk to God. find a heart of worship again (that’s my fav worship song if you remember).

be nice to your family by also taking good care of yourself. parents seem so strong, like they’ll alway be there to support us, right? but they’re getting old. we’re the adults now. it’s our time to shine and start taking care of them.

I’m gonna end with a few compliments cause you’re so self-absorbed LOL. constantly checking up on your appearance, snap chatting how good you look and hitting up the gym pretty much every day. we’ve all agreed that you have absolute gorgeous hair from day one. but my favorite feature of yours is when you laugh genuinely.

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(^your eyes form like perfect half moons! and your smile is so wide with those dimples ^___^  you’ll probably hate me for mentioning your buck teeth. but I have to. you have them and that’s what makes your smile really great and one of a kind).

mang, my heart is filled with so much love as I write this post to you. I would be afraid of smothering my other friends with my love, LOL. and hold back yunno. but not so with you. I’m ok with being the sucker that loves more. (ew, this is getting so mushy. lol, I need to stop).

I probably would’ve pressed you harder and demand all details and information from you in the past. but I struggle too, and I think it’s good because it teaches me how to give space and be understanding. I don’t think I’m ready to talk about all the reasons I left biola or the sadness and confusion I feel sometimes. so right now, we spend most of our time catching up on movies or just doing life together and not talking. and that’s okay for me. someday we’re old and grandmas, we’ll look back to this time of our lives with nostalgia and talk all about our feelings and whirlwind emotions maybe.

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(^ us just lounging around while the boys set up for us, lol).

your friends and your guy probably aren’t the people that I would ever see myself being friends with. I’m a very sheltered asian girl who lives in an asian bubble, as you well know. you were the one who liked making new friends of all kinds. I remember when we went to a retreat, was it JR? anyways we came down for breakfast and found you sitting with an completely different church of all white people. and we were like, what the. hahaha, that’s you. alice the socializer. anyways back to your friends now and your guy. if you care about those people and love them, I will too by extension. if they’re important people to you, then I want to know who they are.

dang, I can’t wait to get past this period of struggle and finding our identities. but continue to fight the good fight (1 tim. 6:12). we were baptized together. I remember I tried to distract you during the process, but you were so concentrated and focused. it got me to be serious about it too. we were young as heck, I don’t think I was really ready. but it’s a special thought to remember that we did it together.

a lot of people ask me about you, lol. I have to remind them that I’m no alice expert either. but remember in the bar I asked a bit about spiritual life and you said you just really don’t know at this point? steven was really curious about you too. I hope you don’t mind that I mentioned that. and he said, “I don’t think it’s not that she doesn’t know. she’s just having too much fun right now. she just doesn’t want to think about it, because that would require her to live in a very different way. if she was really lost, she’d be searching. and I don’t sense that from her.” I don’t know, what do you think? he’s not worried though, he’s sure you’ll come to terms about your faith in the near future. I’m still struggling through my own faith for sure. let’s talk through it.

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(^gosh I really hate that you’re already taller than me).

ahah, as I’m looking through finding good pictures of us, I’m getting overwhelmed by the nostalgia. we have such good pictures of us, let’s be constantly taking more! thank you for being so down for pictures! I have to practically beg Christian >____>

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(^I’ll end on this one. ew the beach, haha. I’ll go for the company thoughs. I love you, al. and I’ll always be praying for you).

sidenote: lol, this was actually the first realtalk I wrote. but because it’s my very heart, I was embarrassed as heck to post. but you gave me the okay after I sent it to you first, so okay (: I think you’re my longest friendship out of my pinnacle of best friends. #GOINGSTRONGTILLWEDIE.

send conference 2017 experience

so like. honestly, without julia to plan and detail the whole thing out, I don’t think I’d be going to send conference at all. a lot of little things factored into my decision.

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(^that’s julia. LOL she makes us work, but we’re so grateful to have her in EM)

first off, julia was like “rend collective! phil wickham! francis chan and david platt!” and I was already like, “ohh, ok interest captured.”

secondly, it’s on a weekend. super close, in long beach. and edith was like, “long beach! that’s my area, I’m totally in.” so bam, fellow friend to come with.

thirdly: we’ll probably all be carpooling over, you all can ride with me. I’m pretty much almost in at this point. no driving on my part? beautiful, baby.

lastly: it’s thirty bucks. free lunch provided on the second day. church will help cover some costs. and alright, I’m sold. it’s pretty convenient, my schedule lines up. why not?

I just wanna add that I’m so appreciative of people who jump in to do the planning, driving and advertising to get people interested. having experienced these things myself, I know it ain’t no easy thing. so julia, you’re a superstar in my book.

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(^dat us. day one! I’m glad I forced us. this is pretty. the photographer who took this was really good. LOL, he had a pro canon camera around his neck so julia knew to ask him. just the way it’s taken, you can tell someone pro did it. I will forever refer to him as “the lighthouse guy” cause he pointed out my sweatshirt and how he knows a fellowship called that as well. nobody ever knows efci though lol. jerry’s low-key but hilarious humor showed here when he was like “you should’ve told him we’re the originals”. OG, BABY haha. saw lighthouse guy on day two and wanted to do a shoutout of gratitude but I chickened out, lol).

now the whole conference was pretty condensed. day five, we listened to five different speakers, all lasting about an hour. that really drains you, like mentally. I have to admit, I gave up one of them and needed get some shut-eye. my eyelids felt like lead. send conference held a lot of good reminders for me, time to spend with my church family and share what we learned about together, and just worship.

what a beautiful name it is was my favorite song I have to say. it was just so good. and they repeated it a couple of times, so I think they sensed that too, haha. austin stone worship was a band I’ve never heard of before. but they led worship well. it was easy to engage in. center my life has a beautiful chorus. rend collective was good. their worship is so uplifting and celebratory. and during instrumental parts, the lead singer does little jig with his guitar and I just love it, lol. also bonus! they’re irish. the irish accent is my fav accent ever. oh and phil wickham. I’m always wowed by how young he looks, lol. he has a beautiful voice, I gotta say. wouldn’t say all the songs chosen suited congregational worship. but still good.

so two things stuck out to me during the conference.

  1. david platt brought up the story of esther. it was my favorite book of the Bible as a child. but I haven’t thought of it in a while. and he said that it’s the only book of the Bible that doesn’t mention the name of God in it. but you can see God’s imprints all over it. how God worked out everything so perfectly. “it just so happened that queen vashti got kicked out, so they needed a new queen. it just so happened that esther was of eligible age. it just so happened that out of all the women gathered, she was the one that the king selected. it just so happened that mordecai, her cousin discovered the plot to kill the king and wasn’t honored for it at that moment…” and david goes on to tell the entire story of esther. and though I am quite familiar with it, it was still astounding to me to hear it again in this way. “it couldn’t have worked out better if it was scripted and this is real life and God made it happen.” life really is like a stage, and we each have our own role to play out. esther 4:14″if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. and who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”so good. it reminded me that God placed me in a certain position to accomplish a certain purpose that He has planned in great detail. half the time I have no idea what’s going on, but He does. I pray that I live up to it.
  2. “addicts don’t make sense. they can be at the happiest place on earth, but in the back of their minds, they can’t stop thinking about whatever they’re addicted to. and they can be good people! people who love their families. people who are smart and intelligent. but they can give that all up because they’re addicted to a drug. all they can think about is their next fix and how they can get it.” – francis chan. that really struck me. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. and there’s a sense of unease and sadness that is always in the back of my head. I used to be able to tune it out for durations of time  with distractions but lately, it’s always been there. invading on and tarnishing every moment. and this startled me when he said addicts can’t take their minds off something, because that something was at the back of my mind right then. “how wonderful if we could show that kind of love and commitment  to Jesus?” francis reminded us. and it would be. instead of stealing away from my moments, it would accentuate and add to each moment. because God is love. it would be so amazing. so praying for that. praying that I fall completely in love with God.

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(^exerpt of my notes. there was so much good stuff going on. sorry I drew francis chan like megamind… I didn’t have a pencil, which I usually use to sketch a rough outline first. but hey, go big or go home).

it was a blessing to go with church community. I hated going to breakout sessions by myself, lol (edith, weren’t you supposed to come to one with me, but you ended up going to one with caleb what the heck =__=).

jerry was gonna come to one with me! then julia informed me that he wasn’t going to that one anymore since I made up my mind to go there. and I was super offended, lol. but then they clarified that they wanted us to go to as many different ones as possible so that we can share later and hear from as many different ones as possible >___> so I mean, ok. I can’t argue with that.

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(^at the last session, I finally had some company!)

it was a really good experience, and it just makes me so excited for heaven. oh gosh, to not have to worry about your next commitment or responsibility and just completely focus on worshipping God. when I was young, that concept sounded like pure boredom to me. but now, I can’t wait. but so long as I’m here, give me the strength to fight the good fight, oh Lord, and live to Your glory. after all, “to live to is Christ and to die is to gain.” -philippians 1:21

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(^ wrapping up with one of all of us. day two! thanks for a good experience where I done learned and got reminded of important truths, send conference 2017. God, forever be molding me and growing me to fulfill Your purpose and glory).