Sunday, December 1, 2013

Month of Thankfulness

We all know November is the month of thanksgiving. Instead of posting every single day something I'm thankful for, I've decided to write a quick line each day that describes my day, what I've learned, and mostly, what I'm thankful for... and post it all on the last day of November. Take a sneak peek at the diary!

What a way to start off a month. Thankful for conviction, for friends that hold you accountability, for forgiveness in Christ, for James 5:16.

Thankful for productive, learning days. Thankful for books to learn from, for godly insight, for the reminder that a women was created to help.

Thankful for humility and learning to ask for help. Thankful for people willing to help - Fran giving me a ride to church; Cathy letting me practice my driving. Plus, making a great interception in football pretty much makes one's day. ;)

Thankful for meeting random strangers like Joe who owns Cheap Joe's and reminded of his sweet generosity when using the gift card he gave me.

Thankful for a sketchbook.

For meetings and things to keep you occupied else what would one do?

For my sweet little children at childcare.

Thankful for practice that makes perfect... even if it seems really far off.

For movies - cowboys, Josh Lucas, and Tony Stark all in one day.

Thankful for submission. For the space and freedom we're given so we can choose to submit. Thankful for the authority in my life and the continuous act of submission and respect towards them.

Grateful for the beautiful fellowship of godly women in all different stages of life and for the wisdom imparted!

For a warm coat, long hair that keep my ears warm, for the wind, the sun, even the anticipated snow, for God's creation even when it's cold.

Thankful for the reminder of how blessed I am.

Thankful for the 19 years God has been faithful. Thankful for his divine designs, those little so-called random details in life, that he has so purposefully planned. What a perfect example of a true designer.

For professors that are helpful and truly want you to succeed. I cannot be more grateful for the education and the amount of things I'm learning in college.

So thankful for seeing the fruit of practice pay off!

For little girls who push you into the center of attention for the birthday song, for gentlemen who tell off little boys who are being a little less than gentlemanly towards girls, for girls to have tea parties, trips downtown, Thai food, and Sweet Frog runs with... for friends. :)

Thankful for fun friends and good catchup sessions.

For being able to take off work sometimes and watch my favorite USMNT.

For delicious taco bells and families that are concerned about your extremely tired face.

Thankful that I am healthy even when I work at a childcare where everyone is falling sick this time of the year.

For my daddy, for his advice and guidance, and his help with selecting my fantasy premier league team this week!

You gotta be grateful for southern men and their southern directions.

For the Patriots and their epic comeback.

Thankful for trusty mechanics and being able to learn more about cars!

For rain, even as horrible as it is, for rainboots, even if they break on me, and for movie theaters!

Love the white stuff falling from the sky and especially grateful for the safety I experienced on the roads today.

Happy Thanksgiving! My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness for Ms. Elaine, the Reynolds, and the other friends who joined us for a delicious Turkey meal.

For tears and people who care for you even when you get busted up on the football field again.

Grateful for the beginning of the Christmas season, for the fun in decorating the Christmas tree, and for the reminder of what this next season is all about.

Goodbye November! You've been a month to remember!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Love

The past month has been great. Truly. More than a month into my junior year at Appalachian State University and this semester has started off really well. I can't complain. Really. It's good to be back into a routine, staying busy with schoolwork and activities, hanging out with friends and my beloved church family, just living the life. I've been thoroughly involved with iPals (a soon-to-be club on campus that aims to help internationals experience the true America by a pairing system), met some great internationals through that, coordinated transportation for forty plus students to a family's house for a cookout, met plenty of friends, hung out with old friends, played both types of football, gotten injured, fallen (I mean, typical me!), taken a few more big steps towards my own driver's license, gotten to know a great girl who is now my accountability partner, went without a laptop for two weeks and witnessed how God miraculously fix it....

I mean, it has got to be the best semester yet. Just last week, I didn't have a meal where I didn't have a plan for. I'm meeting up with people left and right, hopping around from class to work to meetings. I love hanging out with all these different people I've met this semester. I go to Bible study and share some great theological insight. I go to lunch and talk about Jesus with different people. I read my Bible and devotion every single day. I talk to God daily. I have a great bunch of edifying friends. I get all excited about some great opportunities to share the gospel and to be a light. I help a brother or sister; I do good acts. Oh my word, I have mastered the thing called religion.

"Religion quickly turns Christianity into acceptance, a group of people, an act of good works, a knowledge of literacy... but you MISS Jesus."

My pastor said that today and it was like a quiver hits bull's eye in my life. Where did I go wrong? Where, in all that good stuff, did I lose sight of the real goal? It went wrong when I forgot my first love. It went wrong when it became no longer about Jesus but more about what would Jesus do? Don't get me wrong, doing what Jesus would do is great, but the second your focus shifts from Jesus to an act that makes you feel justified because you're doing something God would "approve" of, is the second you have forgotten what it truly is all about.

Like the Church of Ephesus, I have forgotten my first love. I have forgotten what it was like when my alarm would go off at 6am and I was jumping out of bed so excited to spend some time with my Savior. I have forgotten the joy of worshipping God and the joy of being completely surrendered to Him. I have forgotten about that secure, intimate relationship I once had with Him.

So here I am, publicly confessing that I have forgotten my first love, and repenting and declaring today that I will return to my first love, that Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross for me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Here I come, South!

So I haven't travelled the world or anything close, but I have crossed both Alantic and Pacific oceans a fair number of times. This song describes my summer pretty accurately.

I'm coming back, Southern Comfort Zone.

I have walked the streets of Rome, I have been to foreign lands
I know what it's like to talk and have nobody understand
I have seen the Eiffel Tower lit up on a Paris night
I have kissed a West Coast girl underneath the Northern Lights
I know what it's like to be the only one like me,
To take a good hard look around and be a minority

And I Miss my Tennessee home
I can see the ways that I grown
I can't see this world unless I go
Outside my Southern Comfort Zone

I miss your biscuits and your gravy
Fireflies dancing in the night
You have fed me, You have saved me
Billy Graham and Martha White

I have since become a drifter
And I just can't wait to pack
Cause I know the route I leave on
It will always bring me back

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Coat of Paint!

Yes! Its completed. Over the last three months, I've redesigned, repainted, rearranged, refurnished, redecorated my parents' great room. All sorts of re's and now its done.
I've compiled all the design notes, preliminary planning, floor plans, and price analysis into a notebook so I'm going to dedicate this post on the challenges of doing something like this (1) in Malaysia and (2) with such a low budget of RM1,000 (equivalent to $333).

#o1. In Malaysia
Don't get me wrong, Malaysia is one of the more fortunate of Asian countries. We're developed. We're updated with the rest of the world and the latest technology. But it's not American architecture and I'm not used to it.

I mean, concrete walls?! Yea, it was a nightmare.

So I like photo frames and wanted a photo frame collage. We borrow a hammer drill. I drill one fine Saturday.... for three hours. With only one 1/2inch deep hole in the wall to show for it. My arm was shaking, my ears were about to burst. Next solution, concrete nails! We hammer nails in for about one hour and then try hanging pictures to catch them right after as nail and frame tumbled down.

Finally, a God-sent angel, a handyman who parks next to us, came over for three hours and drilled, chiseled, hammered, drilled yet again, 13 holes into our concrete walls scratch that, they were columns.

If it means taking one hour at the paint store to pick out the perfect color, do it. Don't go with the handy dandy 15 options they give you. No, go for the 1,000 shades of every possible color under the rainbow booklet that they finally pull out to let you see after you have clearly shown that you are one picky designer. But it was worth it. The olive green I picked out - I would marry it if I could marry a color.

#o2. With a low budget.
So go to the local furniture stores and look through all they're options for a room divider instead of going with Ikea's much-more-expensive-and-not-as-nice room divider. You save a few hundred dollars just be doing that.

Work with what you've got. Other than the room divider, I used all existing pieces of furniture and just rearranged everything and accessorized differently. No extra money spent, but still a brand new look.

A new coat of paint is really what does the trick. It makes the place look completely different and completely new. And there's nothing like an accent wall to add color to your room.

Take advantage of the cheap accessories available. Don't go for stuff that's trying to look expensive but really is cheap, it simply looks tacky. Go for the simple designs, the plain black frames, that are cheap but don't look its price.

Finally, sometimes you got to go with your gut instincts even if that means buying accessories that suit the room, even if they don't suit your daddy's taste. He has questionable taste.

To view my design notebook on this project, please visit:

Friday, July 26, 2013

DIY: Custom Map Deco

In case you weren't aware already, I've been in the process of redesigning my parents' great room. You know, the whole big thing. New paint, new furniture, new accessories, pictures on the wall, etc. It's almost done and I will have a whole blog post dedicated to it. This post, however, is dedicated to this cute little custom deco I made:
This is perfect for the type of walls that are so small in width you can't put any furniture up against it and a regular size photo frame will either be too small or too big. My particular wall is only two feet in width and is right beside a bedroom door so even a small side table against the wall would prevent full access to the bedroom.

Why maps? You ask. Well, the concept for my whole redesign is connection. (More on that in the later post.) And those locations are where all us family members are located. It ties back in with the concept, I promise. ;) Here's the steps to create a similar deco but custom made to fit your needs:

Supplies Needed:
A sheet of Form Core (I couldn't find that in Malaysia, so foam from Popular - RM4.70 per sheet - will have to do!) Make sure its large enough for the pieces you want cut out of it!
A xacto knife (Again, I'm in a foreign country and all my supplies aren't with me so I used a very sharp small kitchen knife and sharpened it very often!)
A cutting board or a huge stack of newspaper!
Your printed out maps - more on how I made these below.
Ribbon (I got mine from Popular for RM6.90)
Glue, Tape, or some form of adhesive (Rubber cement would work great!)

To make your maps:
I simply went on Google Maps, found my location and zoomed in until I was happy with it and then took a screenshot. I then opened this image in Photoshop and played around with the Filter options until I found one I liked. (Filter > Texture > Texturized) This gives the image a canvas printed look. Once I was finished Photoshopping the image, I pulled it into an InDesign file, setting the paper size as the normal letter size (A4 - 8.5"x11").  Zoom and let the frame crop your image as desired. I also inserted an empty rectangular frame at the size of 6" x 6" to see where exactly my borders would be. You do not want to print the maps the exact size of the foam core, you want map to cover the edges when you wrap the paper around. Once this is completed, use InDesign's text tool to write the name of the location on the map and also as a title as desired. You are now ready to print.

With all your supplies at hand, you are now ready to start!

1) Cut the form core to the desired size. I decided on three 6"x6" squares so I drew those squares onto the foam and then double checked that it was actually square by using the diagonal rule. The diagonal rule is that if both diagonals are equal in length, it is an exact square with every corner at 90 degrees. If you have a triangle ruler around, I would use that as well to make sure each corner is exactly 90 degrees. When you are sure of your lines, you are ready to cut. Don't worry too much if the edges are jagged, it is tough cutting foam, but the edges will not show as we are wrapping the paper maps around them.

The trick when cutting foam/foam core is to not cut it all in one stroke. In fact, depending on how thick the foam is, I would suggest three or more strokes to make one cut in the foam. Use your first stroke to make a groove, your second to define that groove even more, and your third (or final if more than three strokes are needed) to actually cut the form all the way through.

2) Now you have your three foam core squares you are ready to wrap the maps around them. Place the foam square behind one of your paper maps and align them up as desired. Then trace the square contour on the back of the paper. Then draw a border around the square you drew, giving it at least an inch extra, thus your square will measure around 8"x 8" now. Then cut the corners out as such:
You are now ready to cut your paper maps out to the outline you have drawn. Be careful now to cut off your corner tabs, they are crucial!

 3) Time to wrap! Wrap it as if you were wrapping a present and pay extra attention to the corners! Its all about craftsmanship. If you are using rubber cement as your adhesive, apply that on your paper map and on your foam separately and allow it to dry first. Rubber cement works best that way.
4) Finally, it is time for the ribbon. Cut one piece in the desired length for the ribbon behind the map squares that will be connecting all the squares together. The ribbon I got was translucent so I doubled the length and made it layer twice. I then tied it so that there was a loop to hook around the screw on the wall. Glue on the squares to the ribbon as desired. Cut another piece of ribbon for the bow on the top and tie that on to the early piece of ribbon, right below the screw. Taa-daa! You are done!

(Sorry for the horrible resolution. Blogger takes the picture and throws resolution down the drain.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

This is For You

So I'm not black, I'm not white. I'm barely even yellow. I don't speak my native language. I can only speak one language. I didn't grow up in my native country. I'm a TCK (third-culture kid), PK (pastor's kid) and MK (missionary's kid) all in one. I didn't even stay in one place long enough to finish elementary school at one school. I grew up in New England. I lived on the equator in Asia. I love the South and am a country girl. I skipped middle school. I was home schooled. I finished high school at the age of 16. I've flown on airplanes more than any other public transportation system combine. I moved out of my parent's home also at age 16 to start my life all alone in a state university I'd never been to and didn't know a single person in the radius of 6 hours.

Just last Friday, I was reading a book review about a book that was "written very specifically to Christian, conservative home schooled girls." And while I fit into that category, I don't at the same time. I went to a PK camp a few years back. Sure there were some things that the PKs shared in common with me, but at the same time, my extremely varied demographics made us far from similar. And although I fit into a lot of broad demographic categories, all my other demographics that are so diverse and unique make me completely different.

This is for you.

You, out there in the big world, wondering where you fit in. You, in the quiet of your room, questioning where you belong. You, wondering if there is someone out there that is exactly like you. You, crying unseen tears, when no one understands why you're so different. You, trying so very hard to conform into your society. You, exhausted from trying to be someone you're not. This message is for you.

There's not going to be anyone else with a similar life story as you. Stop trying to fit in. Stop trying to be someone you're not. Embrace your uniqueness. Take pride in it. Take your identity from it. Know that there are others that are in the same boat as you too. We form the demography of the demographically-varied. We're so unique but we're similar in the sense that there's no one else like us.

I was there once. I used to question whether I was American or Asian. I discovered that I was neither. I used to try to fit in. "PKs, let's have a camp!" And I would be the first one to signed up because I wanted to be able to fit into one category. Just one. Home-schoolers, over here! And I would run over. TCKs, this book is for you. And I would be reading it straight away. Only to discover that I wasn't like all the other PKs, I wasn't like all the other home-schoolers, and the TCK book wasn't even close to relevant.

In all that searching, in all that trying to belong, I stumbled across something.


And I realized that was enough.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Drudgery of Life?

2 weeks of work have gone by and I'm starting to feel that old drudgery coming back to play. You know, that feeling when everything is an old boring routine of life and really nothing exciting ever happens. Which is completely false - scroll down to the post below! - and you'll see that my life is never short of craziness. But it just feels like that!

Before I go into an elaborate discussion about the drudgery of life, which I do indeed plan discuss in much further detail - don't run! It'll be interesting, I promise - here's what I've been doing at work:

It started with nothing but a whole bunch of 2D floor plans, a software I'd never really used much of before, and a huge stack of construction documents... to this:
And then I added slanted columns (huge achievement!) and windows and such:
And then I rendered it:
Huge leaps, I know, but I'm actually doing work here, not documenting my every move. I'm pretty impressed with my own skills though, if I may add humbly. ;)

One more tangent, and then I promise you I'll get to the subject:
The other day in the elevator (I guess its just the location of all my excitement!), I found myself going up to work with an Indian lady. She said something long to me in a string of Malay to which I simply replied, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Malay." She then paused to try to figure out how to convey what she wanted to say in English and all she managed was, "Philippines." I laughed and quickly assured her I was actually Malaysian Chinese and she was like, "Your face, looks like from there." So now I get it. I don't look like I'm from here, and I definitely don't sound like I am either. The Managing Director at my work also asked me the other day, "You're not from here right?" Um, yea technically I am? Looks like I have a talent of sticking out.

So today I was reading out loud from My Utmost for His Highest and it really just hit the spot. Oswald Chambers spoke about 2 Peter 1:5 and how we are to "add to your faith" and form godly habits. Allow me to quote some of it:
We are to "add" to our lives all that character means. No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits - we are to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us. We are not meant to be seen as God's perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet, "Jesus... took a towel and... began to wash the disciples' feet..." (John 12:3-5) (Emphasis mine.)
We all have those moments when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God's way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which comes from Him. Don't always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.
Wow. That speaks for itself. I know that personally I find when I have those drudgery moments, my character sort of fades. I was just reminding myself of the new life God has given me (Ephesians 4:22-24), that I've already received, and start living it out. How? By renewing the mind, by forming those godly habits, and by developing my character. To be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace.

Disclaimer: this is definitely still a work-in-progress.

And so I'll leave you with that as I conclude this post and go sit in front of the air-conditioner because its a 90 degree day. Knowing me, I can't really stay indoors for long and so the last couple of days, I've gone outside after work and kicked a soccer ball around for about 30 minutes, coming home a ball of sweat. Literally. Nothing else. If I were a bottle, I would read, "Ingredients: sweat. Made in Malaysia."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Never Short of an Adventure

I apologize profusely for not updating more. I've started more than a few drafts and never got around to finishing them because, knowing me, I'm a perfectionist and don't really finish what I start. So who knows whether this will get posted or not. I have full intentions as of right now to post it, but you never know what will happen in thirty minutes. I'm pretty fickle too.

Anyway, the last time I posted, I was back in Australia, living a happy life of rainbows and unicorns. Turns out, I had to leave happy land, and although it took me about two weeks before I finally left for real, it was good while it lasted. Those two weeks composed of hanging out with friends, redesigning my living room and painting (still in progress!), exercising to my leisure, and doing whatever I pleased. So it happens, adventure does not ever leave me behind.

+ Note to self: do not go running with your iPod Touch in your pocket ever again. Everything went fine for the first six laps and then I decided I wanted to sprint. I take off at like 30mph, not even exaggerating, and my iPod Touch stays behind. On the ground. With it's screen shattered like it didn't have a care in the world.

+ So what if you're the only girl in all of Asia who plays soccer. If you love it, want to play it, than do it! And that's exactly what I did. Sunday evening, called an old friend, convinced my daddy to come along, showed up and played with all these random boys. Didn't even give the ball away once. Made some great passes. Shouldered up to the guys and defended. Headed the ball away! Big whoopie, I have never EVER done that before. Surprised all the boys at how well a girl could played. Scored. A beautiful goal.

+ Don't ever go into an elevator without a phone and without being able to say "Elevator is broken. I'm stuck." in the language of the country you reside in. Thankfully I had the former if not the latter. I was simply trying to leave work when the elevator stopped on me and I was stuck on the 10th floor. In a box. Alone. It was an adventure to say the least. I stayed calm for about the first 30 minutes. By the 50th minute, I was in tears. Finally, I got out after an hour.

Life ain't fun unless there's a little bit of adventure, and I've certainly got my fair share of that the last two weeks. I may have left happy land and entered the land of a working woman, day in and day out in the office, but adventure still hasn't left - and I'm glad. It is my constant companion. Until later - with more adventures!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Land of Kangaroos

Travel Blog #1

Australia. The 6th largest country on planet earth. A continent. Probably another huge melting pot where all Asians migrate to because its the closest Western civilization around. Another check off the list of places to go, another continent I've been to.

What brought me to this beautiful place was the fact that my family hadn't been all together as a whole cohesive 4 piece unit since July of 2010 when my sister moved to the States for her undergraduate degree and I followed the year after. It was high time for a family vacation - and this time, that meant a caravan in the land of kangaroos.

Meet kangaroo.
It took awhile to get my sister adjusted. She grabbed a handful of food and the kangaroo comes up to her more than eagerly and all she could do was scream, "Hazel! Help! How do I feed the kangaroo?"

And then came the kisses. My sister was a natural at getting them, while it took me about a million tries before little Roo decided that I could have a kiss too.

But the most amusing thing ever was my dad on his Samsung Galaxy tablet, taking continuous shots of us interacting with the kangaroos, while himself staying as far away from the hopping creature as he could. That resulted in some very curious animals approaching the man with the big box in hand... and a few dozen shots of the same exact thing. Or a motion picture, literally.

Yea, I am a woman of many poses.

Of course there were other animals at Caversham Wildlife Park and I was one of those tourists who takes pictures of all the animals, but really, who wants to see pictures of animals? Rather, just go to the zoo yourself.

I did discover that llamas and I have a mutual understanding...

... koalas are the cutest little things ever and if it was possible, I would want a koala bear instead of a teddy bear.

... I often feel like a bunny: short, small, but adorably cute ;)

... and well, I have a gift in taking pictures of floating animals.
Of course, that wasn't all we did in the five days we were there. We went kayaking down the Swan River (where apparently a good deal of dolphins reside, we didn't spot any). Raced my sister around the lake and she went straight into the pole thing that marks the ends of different zones. Don't tell, but I think she knocked one partly done. Of course, that led to bumper kayaks. That didn't work out so well. Us Chang sisters have craziness in our bones. We also don't look anything alike or like any of the same stuff. Guess the only mutual thing is the craziness.

Visiting a chocolate factory, wine tasting, going to the famous local ice-cream shop were things also on the agenda. Oggies Ice Cream Cafe turned out to have a lovely outdoor section with a playground, lots of grass, and would you know! Soccer balls! Turns out I'm pretty great at playing soccer with an ice-cream cone in hand. We had a mini family competition to see who could kick the ball between two really close stumps with the least amount of attempts. Reigning champion, hate to brag, me! ;) It took me only three attempts while the dad took 7, the mother, 8, and the sister, 9. In all fairness, my mom had a handicap and was allowed to shoot from a closer range.
As for wine tasting, that was interesting. Ended up we liked some and actually bought a bottle which was consumed later.... me!

Not really. I had about three small sips that were more like drops and called it good.

In every trip, there is one day when its rainy and foggy and you just kinda do absolutely nothing but still have fun. That day to us meant making a trip to Mandurah, south of Perth, having some great fish and chips at Cicerellos, and taking pictures at the bay. We then went to the caravan park for that night really early in the afternoon, sat in the caravan through a really intense rain, while my sister was stuck at the bathroom. She revealed to us that she was trying to figure out how to get back to the caravan and considered using a plastic chair as an umbrella but decided that would look too weird. Later on that day, the dad went to grill burgers for dinner and got caught in the rain as well and literally used a plastic chair as an umbrella and appeared at the caravan looking like a strange creature with a huge plastic hat. I'm pretty sure we got our craziness from him.

You can tell who's the loud one.

Back to the dad, here's another shot of him taking photos. Notice the orientation of the tablet and how it varies. He tries.

To end the trip, we traveled back to the Swan River to go catamaran sailing. That by itself was quite an adventure. Firstly, once we were situated and sailing out into the open, there was absolutely no wind and so here we are going at like 5mph. Of course my sister, being such a huge mathematic junkie, gave us a running commentary on her estimated speed of travel. We caught some speed and after awhile decided it was time to attempt turning the boat around. We did everything our instructor told us to do yet the boat was not turning. My sister's giving her suggestion, my dad's putting in his input, nothing's working and I'm like, "Y'all. Let's think this through logically. Physics, people, physics." And finally we turned. And made it back to shore. My family are hopeless scientists, but thankful someone on board had a minute understanding of physics.

Behold, the Chang family.
(Pictures taken from three different cameras so you get a full perspective. View Facebook album here and leave comments!)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dirt Road Prayer

Dear God,

I often rant within myself how little people know about me, and I've only just recently started opening up to fellow human beings about my innermost thoughts and emotions. But still, not a single human being here on Earth knows me like you do. And I can only just be so grateful that You do know me, inside out and backwards.

I thank you that You are always with me, even in the Charlotte Douglas airport at 6am in the morning, when its quiet and I'm all alone and my emotions are going through a hormonal fit. No, instead, I was able to go, "Hey God. This is what's up." And You listened.

I thank you that I can walk through airports and pray for the random strangers and people I see walking by. What a way to truly reach the nations.. in a place where everyone is from different locations, united by a similar mean called travel.

I thank you that You truly know what I'm going through right now, when no one else truly gets it. A sort of mixed emotion of happiness and unhappiness. A sort of anxiety and a sort of excitement. Just a ton of mixed emotions.

So here's my prayer, dear God. That you guide me and lead me. May I remember who I am in You. Remind me to live like a new person because I am that person. Give me peace. Help me be brave. Finally, help me to love.

There's my dirt road prayer.

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been
I can talk to God like he’s my best friend
Take my heart lay it down again right there
In a dirt road prayer.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Sorry its been almost a month since the last I updated. Hello, April! Its the 20th already! I swear I always feel like my mindset is, "Time runs by too fast, I need more time!" but guess what?! We all are given the same amount time! If some amazing, inspiring people have enough time to do all that they want to, I have enough time to do all I need and want to do as well.

Well guess what, I have news! My sophomore year in college is almost over! Can you believe it?! Because I can't. I can't believe I'm telling people, I only have two years left because it still feels like I'm a freshman going, oh yea. I'm here for all four years. Especially since I'm like one in a handful of the international students that are actually here for four years. So I'm always like, "Oh yea, I'm a four year student." and then it dawns on me, well I actually only have two years left now.

Truth is, as I reach this midpoint, I don't want it to end. I love college life. I want this semester to never end. It's been the best semester yet. I love the freedom I have as a student. I love having a full semester when I'm finally a legal adult. I love how spontaneous I can be. I love making my own plans. I love going to lunch with my girls, getting a call from another good friend, and spontaneously going to a softball game with her and two little children. I love meeting new people, meeting up with different people every week, strengthening different relationships. I love playing soccer. I love my church family and all the families that have adopted me. I love football after church. I love skating outings, hikes, trips downtown. I love my work, spending afternoon hours in the sun with cute children and some great college girl company. Gosh, I just love college.

No, I don't want this semester to end. I don't want to reach that milestone called "halfway through". I don't want to go back to Malaysia for the whole summer. I like it where I'm at right now.

But then, enters, God. And once upon a time, I told Him to drive. I told him that my plans aren't concrete because a man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his path. I told him, I would follow Him. I told him, I would go wherever He wanted me to go.


So I've been struggling with this the past month or so since booking my tickets and making the final preparations to do so. Well, the other day, God reminded me of a story in the Bible. The story of Moses.

So he grows up in Egypt. In the King's palace. Royalty. Paradise, possibly. And then, he ends up murdering someone and running away. He ends up in this wilderness but he loves it! He's just chilling, watching sheep, and falls in love, gets married, starts a family. One day, typical day, he suddenly sees a burning bush and God tells him, "Go back to Egypt!" Yea, that land he ran away from. The last place he wants to go back to after what happened back there. And he's like, are you crazy God?! He makes excuses, "God, I can't speak." God's like, so what. Aaron will come with you. And so Moses has no choice but to obey God and return to Egypt.

Maybe, in many different ways, I'm sort of in the same boat as Moses. I'm like, really God?! Malaysia. Again? I don't want to go back. And he's like, you're living in your comfort zone. You're happy where you're at, but I want to bring to higher ground. You may want to stay right where you're at right now, but I promise you this higher ground will be better. It may not seem like that, and I know its going to be hard for you, but guess what, that's what I have installed for you in this period of your life. Trust me, and go.

Go back to Malaysia.

... and so that's what I find myself doing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Like Bliss, Like Sun.

There is nothing like dressing up, putting on your boots, and spending time outside in the sun with such a talented photographer snapping pictures of you. I mean, you're out in the wide, wide open with the wind blowing only slightly, the sun shining down on you, it's your March spring break and it was snowing only just yesterday, but today's a new day and that's good enough for me.
See, pure joy!

Speaking of joy, I'm still on that whole living-by-the-moment journey and I think I'm becoming much better at it. I mean, you stop making so many plans, you stop trying to live to a calendar, you wake up, you breathe, you go with the flow. You smile at the little things in life. You take a leap at the unknown.  You learn to balance responsibility with fun. You screw up, you try again, you succeed. That's life for you, right there.

So that's what I've been doing this spring break. Going with the flow. Enjoying my break to the fullest, getting homework done, doing stuff at the spur of the moment. Like, say Sunday. Going hiking with a a great group of girls and my 12-year-old Grant. Getting muddy, witnessing a classical-Adrianne-fall in the creek, having deep conversations with the girls. Or on Tuesday, making a last minute appointment with Serendipity Hair Saloon, going all out on the drastic new hairstyle route, meeting up with the Riggins girls for coffee, trying a haystack frappuccino (best thing ever!), matchmaking like Jane Austin's Emma, and then driving to the lake for a photo shoot. And then ending the day off with watching The Lord of the Rings with our neighbors. I don't think last-minute plans could get any better than that. :)

Yea, I'm happy. I'm happy right where I am in this stage of life. I'm so grateful for the great bunch of edifying friends I have, for the great time of fellowship I get every week (in college or during break). I'm excited about what God's going to show me as he slowly takes me further along my life's journey. I can almost visibly feel him molding me into a Proverbs 31 sort of woman and I'm so excited to see the end result (although that will be never but it's exciting watching the process!). Of course there's bumps, there's times when I fall down and get huge black and blues, literally!, but it'll all be worth it in the end.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:25-26, 30-31

Saturday, February 23, 2013

You Never Stop Learning

So my current song addiction is Jamie Grace and Britt Nicole. Love their uplifting, rhythmic praise. Just last Sunday, Mr. Petrey mentioned Hebrews chapter 12 and I really needed that little reminder. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." (verses 28-29) I blogged about this verse awhile back in 2010, read it here. I know I, personally, sometimes forget that He is actually God and I need to worship Him with ultimate respect and reverence.

God's been teaching me so much the past few weeks, its almost to the point when I'm like, "Okay, pause, God, I need to get that first lesson down before we move on." I was just thinking as I was showering the other day, man I'm never going to be ready for marriage. I know, strange thought, but literally that was what I was thinking. Because I felt like I would never learn everything in time and never be wise enough to be responsible of another person. And then I went to the ladies' meeting with my church ladies and they were all telling me about the lessons they've learned... while being married, and it was like a lightbulb went off. You can still learn after you get married. You don't have to learn everything and have it all together. See, you never really do stop learning.

If I went on to tell you the many lessons I've learned in the past month, this post would go on forever. Recently, I've started having little journal sessions, out in the hallway of my dorm building, perched up on the window sill, reading Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George, and then writing down all the things God's been teaching me. Because there has just been many things He's been telling me, and I guess the thing is, I've been more receptive of it. There was a time when I told Him that I had it all under control and I didn't need to learn anymore. I thought I knew all the head knowledge of the Bible and that was all I needed to know. And only during a trial, would I turn to Him in desperation.

How false that was. It was simply a lie of the devil to tell me I didn't need God. All my life I've grown up in church and heard a million messages preached about how the devil whispers lies in your head. I believed that he did to other people, but I didn't believe he whispered lies to me personally. Perhaps its because all the teachers had given as examples were, "You're fat." (I never heard that one!) "You're useless." "You're not good enough." But really, the devil is a lot more cunning than that.

I only just realized end of last year the many lies of the devil I was believing, thanks to a godly council I spent some time with over the Christmas break. I realized the devil was telling me that I had to be a better witness, I had to love more, I wasn't doing enough as a Christian. He was telling me that it was my responsibility to bring my friends to Christ. He was pulling me down by making me feel guilty for not talking about God 24/7. I began to doubt the promises that God makes to me in the Bible. And although those are all good things that I could be doing, they are completely out of context to what the Bible talks about. I am simply a vessel. My responsibility is simply to love, to plant the seed, to water the plant, but to let God make it grow.

Just last Sunday, I was awakened in my sleep at 2:45am (which rarely happens, I never wake up during my sleep) and all these thoughts were swarming around in my mind. Different scenarios of things that happened that day and a few weeks ago were flashing through my mind. I was hearing, "You're not good at making friends. You need to work on forming better relationships. You're socially inept." This went on for about thirty minutes. So hear I am, thinking, "God what are you trying to tell me?!" And then, another lightbulb. Lies. God wouldn't tell me such things. I was made in His image. He has a plan and purpose for my life. I can do all things through Him. Promises. Facts. Assurances. I rebuked those lies of Satan, and fell back to sleep almost instantly.

We've been talking about Ephesians 4 in church and the last two Sundays on verses twenty to twenty-four in particular. It talks about the renewing of your mind. As I mentioned above, as well, I've been reading Loving God with All Your Mind, and its just been emphasized again and again to me, through different mediums - people, messages, books - that thoughts and my mind play a huge part on what I believe and what I become. It's still an ongoing process as I strive to take control of my mind but I'm so grateful that God is bringing me through this learning process.

As we start a new week, I challenge you to be mindful of what you think about.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8, ESV

Monday, February 18, 2013


Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
He who brings out their hosts by number,
Calling them all by name
By the greatness of his might
and because he is strong in power
Not one is missing.

Isaiah 40:26

Friday, January 25, 2013

Leave Room for God

"Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way... Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides."

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hold Up, Readers!

So its MLK day and I sign into blogger my only intension being looking at where my latest readers have been coming from. My shocked eyes see the astonishing truth: my reader stats have falling drastically in the last past week since changing this URL. Allow me to apologize for changing things up so drastically, leading many of you to my beautiful, but stationary, webpage and giving you only a little Blogger icon at the lower right corner to figure out where this blog went. As my stats have told me, it seems like many of you didn't connect the dots that the little Blogger icon would lead you here. Instead, you formed the conclusion that this blog is gone forever... also wrong. I could never throw away a blog of five years.

So, in benefit of you, my readers, as well as this blog's stats, let me inform you once and for all that this blog's URL has been changed to:

Bookmark it, favorite it, visit often... I have not yet abandoned it.

As I started out saying at the very beginning of this post, it is indeed Martin Luther King Jr's day! Ironically, last Saturday, just two nights ago, my roommate and I watched this:

What a great movie! I would put it in the same category as those like The Blind Side, The Pursuit of Happyness,  Freedom Writers, etc. It made me cry my eyes off. It made me think of injustice. It made me horrified by how things were during those times. It made me even more horrified that, in areas of the world, today - now - present day - injustice just like that is still going on.

"18 people were killed in Jackson that night. 10 white and 8 black. I don't think God has color in mind when he sets a tornado loose."

God don't got color in mind when he's judging, either.

Speaking of great movies and such, I was watching the Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots game yesterday night when I hear the commentator say Michael Oher. Funny how you know The Blind Side is a true story and you know that Michael Oher plays professionally in the NFL but you never really connect the two dots. I know I'm kinda slow, but I'm not that type of football fan - like I am a soccer fan - that knows pretty much all the players on a team. Just to set the record straight, I'm actually a disappointed Patriots fan - but in all honesty, the Ravens had a much better game and deserved that win.

Its watching an American football game like that, when there's 7:20 minutes on the clock remaining and the Patriots need two more touchdowns and a 2-point conversion, when I am reminded yet again why I'm a REAL football (AKA soccer) fan and not an American football fan. Because,

1, if this was soccer, it wouldn't be impossible to tie the game up, and score two more goals with 7:20 minutes remaining. Instead you are engaged till the very last second of the game, knowing anything can happen. American football, now... 30 minutes before the game is over I'm seeing people posting on Facebook that the game is over. There's 30 minutes left of the game! What's the point of watching the game if, half way through, you already know the outcome.

2, it doesn't take 100 commercial breaks to watch a full soccer game. No it actually doesn't take any commercial breaks at all, except at halftime.

3, you know you're a REAL football fan when the receiver goes beyond the last safety guard at the point of the throw and you're like, "OFFSIDES!" Oh wait, this is American football.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

I stand on the brink of the New Year, with 34 minutes and ticking before we date with a big twenty thirteen. Funny how when the clock ticks slowly (or quickly, whichever way you want to look at it – one of those half empty, half full scenarios) towards to the New Year is when you reflect on how life is going (particularly your own), your accomplishments, your failures, and your goals for the next year.

At church just yesterday, we were talking about our resolutions and how its nice to share your resolutions and have someone be accountable for them. My mind immediately went back to what I was aiming to achieve in 2012, exactly a year ago from this moment, when I was making THIS year’s (2012’s) resolution. Fortunately, I had them typed out as a note on my iPod Touch and could access them that very instance. Oh the wonders of technology. Here’s this years completed and uncompleted resolutions:
Okay so some aren’t as concrete as others. Some are pretty crazy like… put on weight. I mean, who says that. What more… who fails to ACHIEVE that.
Yea… I haven’t reached 100 pounds yet. :(

Before I get too caught up on next year and the things I can’t wait to accomplish then, I think it’s important for me to acknowledge all the things that I’ve really truly accomplished this year.

2012. I’ve not only increased my names-of-people-I-am-acquainted-with database, I’ve also formed some amazing new relationships. I found a great church to which I finally feel like I belong to. I’ve learned to stop judging. I’ve learned that love goes a far ways. It never hurts to ask for help. Playing American football is actually fun… to the point that it becomes a highlight in every single week. There ARE godly boys out there. I can create sculptures out of paper, foam, wire, and plaster of Paris. I learned how to do some pretty amazing renderings. I may have not gotten the scholarship I wanted, but I got two others instead. God works in mysterious ways. I turned eighteen. Had my first experience behind the driving wheel. Drove into a ditch. Learned how to drive stick (the later two events were at separate times). Grew some incredible heights in terms of style and fashion. Built some pretty sweet relationships with my professor, my boss, and a police officer. Learned I’m a pretty feisty petite individual. Learned how to skillfully use a circular saw, table saw, and power drill, along with others. Had some stressful days, schedule-wise, that turned out better than expected. Became more of a Southerner…. yes bring on the cowboy boots and flannels. Grew a few inches taller, with heels. Sprained an ankle. Went to health care three times, each time at the end of each three semesters I’ve had this academic year. Brought the definition of independence to another level. Learned to open up myself and become more vulnerable. Learned to not take things so personally. Got to know God better.

The list could go on but I just looked up and the clock reads 12:12.

You know what that means?

It’s bedtime.

Yea, that too but I meant….

Its 2013! Happy New Year, y’all!