We can be set FREE from our brokenness, for $19.99!

JK, it’s actually for free… not some Jenny Craig Program for the heart or something…

Last week, my women’s Bible study group was studying about brokenness. And as I was one of the youngest in the group, I didn’t feel like I had much life experience to share. People shared about broken relationships with spouses and family members and parents. People shared about death and mental disorders and other severe chronic ailments…

Mine? A breakup… sounds quite silly and young… actually. Continue reading

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Only in the Midwest (and maybe the South)

I walked into a major grocery store chain, biggest in the country, actually. Ok, fine, I say it… it’s Kroger. Anyway, one day I was picking up some items. After having just getting out of my car, I was still humming to the last tune in the car while listening to the Sirius XM Satellite Radio Station: The Message (a Christian radio station).

I walk int Kroger, pick up the weekly circular and start pushing my shopping cart and as I was desperately looking for White Pepper (not the millions of black pepper…), I suddenly realized that the store ambient music was the same song I was humming…. Wait, what?

Guys, I am not kidding. They were playing straight up Christian music. Not country music that would kinda mention the word “God” or rap songs that were in forms of prayer and said God. And I don’t mean the made-popular Christian bands like Switchfoot (which I love) and Creed and Reliant K or POD, who would sing about God, but not always in a direct or in-your-face super obvious way. But straight up Chris Tomlin and Desperation Band style Christian worship music, like CCM style. Whoa!
Continue reading

Chronicles of a New Wife

I should think to re-name my blog. Just kidding. Hopefully, in a few years… I’ll be not so “new” at being a wife anymore.

Being a wife… is HARD! Not just suddenly thinking for two people, but also being responsible for a whole new set of things, and on the other hand letting go control on a bunch of other aspects in life.

Of course, there is the constant living and talking to each other, which is awesome! But, here we go, learning about “it’s not WHAT you say, it’s HOW you say it.” The husband and the wife are two separate beings, with two individual minds and two different agendas. They have both very good ideas and opinions, but once again, they are two. And now we are ONE.

We need to come up with ONE plan, ONE agenda. We need to figure out ONE set of rules, not two. We need to run our lives that match to ONE schedule, not two.
Continue reading

Midwest doesn’t like Obama… what?!?!

So a few more items that I found that may hinder my attempted subtle transition into the Midwest… I’m trying to be inconspicuous, and fit right in… Looks like it’s going to be a lot harder.

First of all, people in Michigan speak with an accent. I am NOT joking. It’s very slight, but it’s most apparent in how they pronounce their “a”‘s, particularly the short “a” sounds…

Tangent.

Second of all, everyone (ok, fine, not everyone, many people….) is Christian and Republican. (obviously excluding places like Ann Arbor where there is high percentage of high education, research, teaching, education….) Apparently, it’s common for dinner table conversations to be bashing Obama and the administration.
Now, obviously, as left as NYC and CA can be… people aren’t always 100% pro-Obama and think he’s God’s chosen one… However, we also know to be PC and polite and not be bashing a certain side of politics in mixed company. What makes you think everyone here is Republican?! And even if everyone is Republican, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees!

It just makes me really uncomfortable. When people start going on and on and on, and suddenly if they bring up religion + all these other things, then I am not sure. I should stand up for what I think, right? I shouldn’t feel like I’m being silenced. But it’s strange, we’re talking about a “free country” and a “free market” yet suddenly, I don’t feel like my speech is very free anymore… We don’t have to agree, but to be condemning and mean is just not okay (no matter what corner of the earth you’re from…)

And moreover, WHY ARE YOU STILL YELLING?? Is it really the policies? Or perhaps its the race that you’re bothered by, but since you can’t openly complain about that (against federal law of racism) then you displace your dissatisfaction and target his policies and parties. Look, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Obama’s decisions and policies either, but I don’t say horrific things and bash the leader of our country. I still try to give the man some basic respect, you know, the ones promised and mandated by the Constitution? Oh, and btw, I’m also Christian. So now what? Why are you telling me that the Democrats are the devil?

Obama is already in the 3rd year of his term, if anything, why don’t you focus on who’s running? As opposed to, “Let me count the ways of his mistakes, and though I can’t do better, nor do I understand or know better, let me just complain, instead of using my complaints and energy in a positive way to influence the community, you know, in that same way that you think Obama isn’t doing well.”
Ohh, but of course, you’re Republican and Christian (?! I don’t see how this is relevant here…), and you think there should be a new development on ways to euthanize poor and sick people (oh, and don’t forget the immigrants) so that YOUR tax dollars don’t have to pay a cent.

Except, why do you have income today? Don’t say “because my own two hands got me here.” That’s never true. I went to some of the most expensive schools in this country, and I KNOW that I can’t ever say “by my own two hands,” because it’s just NOT true. It’s so untrue.

If I were born a different race, or a different family background, how about a different SES? Then what? I could work with my “own two hands” but I wouldn’t have the guidance “towards what should I work for”, “how should I work for”

ok, stepping back. This blog was never supposed to discuss politics.

Anyhow, I just found another obstacle in my transition to Michigan. Great…

I’m not saying I have to find friends that are pro-Obama, not at all. But I hope I’m not clamored with hoards of people/politics bashing company… Hopefully, we can have intelligent and cordial discussions, where we can talk about our thoughts and opinions. I always want to know what people think and why they think so, even if it’s worlds apart. But it shouldn’t become a battle, or attacks, or anything mean and barbaric.

Anyhow, I guess I shouldn’t hang my Obama poster back in 2008 anywhere visible. I kept it, thinking it will be an awesome memorabilia, since it really was our first black president ever. Thinking I’ll keep something to show my kids “I was there!”

But now… I guess some parts of the country think that it’s a disgrace, and want nothing more than to scrutinize and crucify his every move.

Good job, Midwest America. Finally overcoming 300 years of racism, and you just set us back to the 60s. Good job.

Taking the day off for Good Friday?

Some people at the office were really shocked that I came in today… They said because I am so religious and because it is Good Friday. (They actually called it Easter Friday…)

Then they proceeded to ask me which day was it that Jesus turned into the Easter Bunny… Somehow, I find this really offensive and insensitive. Can I say this is some type of discrimination?? Should I confront them?

How did Christ respond to ridicule and shaming? I guess this is exactly the right season/time to meditate on it.

Should I have taken the day off? Am I now not as good a Christian? But I also have good work ethics, if this day wasn’t allowed to be off, I can’t really just declare a holiday for myself.

I asked around my friends from church, and everyone was still hard at work, diligently and faithfully working on what God has put in front of them…

Wedding planning is a microcosm of marriage

Wow.. I can’t believe how many topics we’ve covered in the past 3 days.

I’m not going to lie, there are many times that we get so discouraged, because these discussions (or fights) can get intense, and personal, and we can feel very vulnerable.

Issues that we’ve covered in 3 short days:

– Birth control methods, responsibility, medical risks, statistics, etc.

– Moving, possessions of each person, do we ship it, buy new things, which things to keep and which to throw out, different tastes, etc. (I hate your lamp, I like my table, I wouldn’t pay 5 cents for your shelf, etc)

– Registry or cash as gifts, information from other couples, one location or multiple ones, what information/perks/deals are useless or useful

– Sticking up for the other person (we’re on the same side)

I’m thankful that sometimes in the middle of the fight, when we’re both fuming at each other, we stop to pray. (Because we’re both speechless at some point… which is very very rare…)  Sometimes we’re not that angry yet, and we still have some sanity and have the lucidity to say, “I think we should pray.”
Sometimes, it’s because of pure scheduling. Because it’s time for our weekly devotionals, and we needed to pause our fights, so we could pray and do our couple’s Bible Study time. (Is it ironic that we were on Ephesians 5 this week? the part about Husbands and Wives?)

This morning, we had a short phone call before work, and we were loosely discussing some topics (can’t even remember what…) But we very easily agree on most things. In fact, we have the same opinion and mindset on the majority of things. I guess on the few things that we disagree on, sometimes they are significant issues to us and we become more emotionally charged than usual, and we get into very heated arguments.

A few of my women mentors at church (some newlyweds, others married for a few years) say that the top three things that couples fight about:
Money
Sex
Family (children and parents)

Our pastor tells us that marriage is a journey. I’m excited for it. I really am.

It’s just tough when there’s crying times (like last night) and difficult discussions (where you feel like you’re head is about to explode).

Thankfully, we can pray. Somehow, that always calms us both down, and renews us, and reminds us about what is ultimately the most important thing.
Christ – and being like-minded to Him.

 

 

PS. I know that by no means are we done fighting, there is a long road ahead of us. But with Christ as our head, I’m not too worried about it. I’m not to wary, I’m not fearful. 🙂

I got engaged! :)

Below is the recount from my now-fiance about the proposal:
(Editor’s note: He’s not really a gangsta thug… he just really likes that line…)

How we got engaged

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church..
-Ephesians 5:25

From the start of our relationship, one thing I knew about my proposal is that it would be the first time I would tell Erin that I loved her. To me, a word of such complexity and responsibility could only be meaningful when paired with a lifelong commitment. It also made it a lot easier to figure out what I would end up saying to her on bended knee.

The venue was also pretty easy. We met in the sanctuary of her church; I couldn’t imagine any place more romantic to ask her to marry me. Valentine’s Day was the obvious choice for timeline. By February, we had passed the 6 month mark, and I figured if she hadn’t run for the hills by then, I better put a ring on it before she realized I was getting the better end of the deal.

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, I packed up my equipment and headed to the church. My buddy Seth lent me a camera that could shoot photos at preprogrammed intervals. I also packed a tripod, roses, guitar, basin, towel, and a couple other supplies that I had mailed into Philly weeks before.

After setting everything up, I called Erin:

“Do you have a key to the church? I think my car key fell out of my pocket when we were there yesterday.”

Over the phone, I Jedi-mindtricked her into stopping by the church after lunch.

Two hours later, we were standing in the sanctuary, ready to look for my car key. On the stage where I saw Erin for the first time was a chair with a single rose on it. I had her sit down.

On our first date, I sang her a Mandarin pop song a capella, figuring I could at least impress her with my linguistic effort. Based on her paralyzed reaction that day, I figured I had to step it up a bit with a guitar accompaniment.

I chose “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. We’ve both loved that song since we started dating because it captures so much of our relationship. For instance, the part about me being a gangster thug, or the part about her doing brain research. But I really resonated with the final stanza:

I can be myself now finally // In fact there’s nothin’ I can’t be

I pick up the guitar and start strumming. It should be noted that although the chord progression of the song is straightforward, I have great difficulty with strumming in any kind of structured pattern. As I get to the end of the song, I improv the strumming for dramatic effect and just hope that my emotional effort is distracting her from my musical deficiencies. 

I set the guitar down, and pull a box out of my pocket. Erin’s face changes from content happiness to a downpour of tears. On one knee, I tell her for the first time that I love her – that I want to love her for the rest of my life. I ask her to marry me. She says yes.

..he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him..

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
-John 13:5-8

I’ve always been captivated by the image of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples: the master of the universe, kneeling at the feet of those who worship him.

Ephesians tells me to love my wife in the same way. I may be pretty self-absorbed, but I wanted to at least start my engagement off on the right path. I pulled out a basin of water from under the stage and washed her feet. With her soft feet in my hands, it really hit me – this is the woman I want to love sacrificially for the rest of my life.

We prayed together for a bit. After planning and rehearsing this moment for months, I actually hoped that I could just execute with emotionless automation. But sitting there together, alone in the sanctuary, with a sparkling symbol of commitment on Erin’s hand, the room was filled with a quietly overpowering sensation of boundless love.

We made our phone calls, headed to dinner, and started wedding planning…

 

Read: Our first date