You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.

Well, he’s really a toddler now, but I wanted to list the things he can do now:

  • He is starting to imitate even more words, such as “Hi, I did, thank you,”, etc., but his favorite word is still “no”
  • He loves singing and dancing, and will often dance to an uptempo song. The boy’s a natural born dancer!
  • I catch him “singing” from time to time. He doesn’t know what notes are yet, but you can tell he is trying to sing a song.
  • He can make growling noises and other deep-throated noises.
  • He can whisper now! The other night he started to imitate me whispering.
  • Today I asked him to bring me his shoes, and he did! He brought them to me so I could put them on his feet to go out.
  • I also asked him to help me clean up his toys, and sang the cleanup song, and he helped me on his own!
  • The last remaining missing teeth are starting to sprout.
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I decided to have a low-key birthday this year, because I have learned from experience that expectations of others can lead to disappointment. Plus I decided just to praise God for the day anyway, and it turned out really nice!

The first thing that happened this morning is that one of my co-workers, Charlene, came into the elevator and immediately wished me a happy birthday. I was touched that she remembered. No doubt she probably received an invite to the cake celebration that my co-workers were going to host for me.

The celebration actually took me by surprise because it was early, at 1:30 pm. Andrea drove the cake in on her day off work, for which I was very grateful. I got a beautiful chocolate mousse cake, and the few co-workers who gathered and I had a good time just talking about everything, including Bookswim, books, movies, plans. They all gave me worldly advice and urged me to do something for myself.

Then I was able to share my cake with others, especially Angela, a co-worker who actually shares the same birth date as I did! I was so glad that I could share it with her!

My brother also called me up to wish me a happy birthday. I also received a birthday card from my in-laws, and later from my parents, and they both arrived super-quick through the mail, faster than normal! I know it was God because I had been praying about my financial situation, and decided to believe for some money. Praise God for his provision!

My dear husband keeps telling me that he will get me the mp3 player I want when we are able to, and our baby was a dear, as usual. So I had a very nice day with all kinds of little sweet surprises. God is good.

I had a victory for myself as a person today. I am normally soft-spoken and a conflict avoider, so it was a big step for me to express my dissenting opinion on a fan forum.

The issue that I had a beef with was this: A few months ago, a controversial article about Fave Singer (FS) appeared in Blender Magazine, in which he gave very sarcastic answers, but the way they were printed made him sound like a sleazy, raunchy person. Naturally, this upset some fans and delighted others. I didn’t participate in the debate that followed, but in my mind it came down to this: the fans who loved the article basically ridiculed the fans who did not, and called them prudes, etc. One girl in particular who was very conservative was the lone embattled voice against scores of others who tried to invalidate her objections. I contacted her and she told me that she received a lot of support from other fans who felt the same way that she did, but they would not help her by defending her publicly on the forum. I, unfortunately, was a guilty one. Why is it that whenever someone objects to questionable sexual material that they are automatically labeled a prude? Anyway, when FS got wind of the controversy and apologized to his fans, stating that he was just being sarcastic in his answers, but it did not come across well.

Recently, another article about FS cited the Blender article, saying that FS was not just a good, nice guy. Naturally some of the fans on the forum relished it (there are many hippy women and liberals on there). So I decided this time to state what I really thought about what happened in the best way possible. Lately I have gotten bolder, and not so embarrassed about expressing myself anymore. It must be the Lord. I ended up having a good discussion with some of the other fans, including the forum owner herself, who was apparently surprised to find out the depth of my conservatism. I discussed how calling someone a “prude” was often an insult, and I tried to keep my responses as unemotional but well thought out as possible. I even told them flat out that had this been a verbal discussion, I probably would not have fared as well. We also discussed the effects of fame, and I shared my parents’ story. It ended up being very good, I think, because I did not expect or demand anything of the other side, even emotionally, and concentrated on just expressing my view. The forum owner told me to keep sharing my views and not let anyone get me down. Yay!

So praise be to God who opens my mouth! I can now relate to Moses when he told God that he could not speak. But the Lord is opening my mouth and helping me to be bold!

What a great day I had today, praise God!

Yesterday I had learned a little about essential oils, and how they help heal the body. I didn’t have any oils on hand, but I did have a small jar of Tiger Balm, the clear kind. I thought I would try applying it to my nose and the areas of my head that ached, and it helped a lot! Not only did my sinuses clear up, and my head and ears felt much better, I slept very well! I got up this morning and ran to the organic foods store, where I did get a large vial of peppermint oil, which I found out can bring down a fever when applied to the feet! On my way there, I was also able to rebuke any residual earache loudly and clearly, which was great!

Today is also payday, so after giving contributions and paying bills, somewhere along the course of the day, it occurred to me that I ought to record myself singing! I had wanted to record my own version of the healing scriptures, and I had an mp3 software on my computer, so I did that, reading them to the best of my ability, and I did not have one hitch, glitch, or error for all all 11 minutes of it! God is awesome! A natural outcome of this was the idea for recording my singing. I was looking up Kristy Starling (a new Christian music singer who is singing a Christmas song duet with Josh Groban), and heard her version of “To Where You Are” and I had to try it for myself! She had brought the song down to a comfortable key, so I recorded my version, acapella, of course, but nevertheless I was astounded and quite pleased with the outcome. Usually when I record myself I get really self-conscious, and I cringe when I hear myself. But this time, I was at peace and confident, and even though the voice still sounded like me, it was not as nasal, and I think my opening my mouth wider to enunciate really helped. Doing all this made singing irresistible, so I had to try other songs, too! I can’t wait to record some more! It was a wonderful creative moment.

I watched an interview of Fave Singer (FS) by a Milwaukee TV reporter named Scott Steele, and all I can say is that Scott knew which questions to ask, and this was one of his best interviews that I’ve seen! Scott asked FS how he managed to remain grounded with all of the fame he’s had, and FS answered graciously that he felt like he was “successful, but not famous”. He thought it was great that he had passionate fans, but that he could still go to a restaurant and not be bothered by paparazzi. He also said that he knew that he was very lucky to have the kind of voice he had, and the opportunities he’s had, and he tries not to take it for granted. He also praised his parents for raising him and his brother right. I found it interesting that Scott would ask FS about his brother, and whether FS was worried about the effects of fame on his brother. FS replied very confidently with a “no”. He said that his brother was a brilliant filmmaker in his own right and had always supported him, so he did not worry about that.

FS also agreed with Scott when Scott called his “luck” a “blessing”. And Scott praised FS for his graciousness. Definitely the way FS honored his parents on television was wonderful. The best part of his character came out here, and I was encouraged.

I also called my mom tonight and told them about my impending promotion. They were glad to hear it, of course, and for the first time I was able to disagree and banter with my mom a bit. She was telling me how lonely she and my dad felt, and I was trying to encourage her to find some friends. Of course she told me why that wouldn’t work, and suddenly I realized that much of the problems that she told me had to do with her and my father’s status as mini-celebrities in their professional realm! Now I understand much better why my family always seemed so isolated from other people. It’s a terrible thing when you cannot trust people because you never know who might gossip about you! I imagine it’s what Hollywood celebrities have to deal with all the time. When I was a little girl I was told not to tell even my friends about what was going on in my family, especially if it was bad. I always thought this was not right, especially since I was supposed to be an honest Christian girl, but I grudging complied. Tonight I was able to tell my mom how I felt about it, that my character is such that I prefer to be open and honest with most people about things going on in my life. I think it is a cultural difference as well.

I am indeed a woman caught between cultures. I am Asian-American, and my mother agreed that the way most Americans make friends is different than the way a lot of Asians make friends. I read that Americans make friends based on common interests and shared activities. But Asians make friends based on having common societal values. But then again, it’s probably hard for anyone to find true blue friends.

Today my boss called me in and told me that my promotion had been approved. I get to add the word “Senior”, in front of my title now. Yay! I wasn’t overly excited, but I was excited nevertheless. But I seem to do best when I keep a level head and I don’t let things get to me, one way or another.

The electricity went out unexpectedly when I was typing this entry, so I got to spend some time talking to hubby in our cool, dark living room. It’s so nice to have those intimate times. Why don’t we do it more often?

I learned a lot today. I was re-reading Norvel Hayes’ book on Financial Dominion, which incidentally, is not just a book about finances, but includes information on being a servant and on healing. I read how he decided to seek Jesus as the healer when his daughter kept having a recurring illness. He prayed to God, saying that he would get away from his religious traditions and preconceived notions to seek the Jesus of the Gospels, the one who healed all who came to him. It did not take long before God showed him how his daughter could receive healing.

Here was a man who was willing to put Jeremiah 29:13 into practice, to seek the Lord with all his heart, as the healer. My first thought was, “can I seek you as my lover, Jesus?”

I don’t mean that in a physical or romantic way, of course. But the bottom line is that Jesus is often called the “love of my soul”, but how come we don’t often feel that way? I would say that not only would I need to seek Jesus as my healer, but also as my provider and my lover as well. It has been a long, long time since I have sincerely sought Him, having let many earthly situations discourage me and cause me to become disillusioned with religion in general.

But Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, right? If so, his number one objective will always be to seek and save what was lost, to have that close, intimate relationship with us. And I hate to say this, but as long as I have been a Christian, I have not felt that kind of closeness and intimacy with Him except for a few times during my Christian walk.

I remember when I was a lonely child who had been deserted by my friends, how I wish I could be like another little girl who said that she talked to Jesus all the time. This little girl was also an outcast on the playground, and she credited this experience as being something that drew her close to the Lord. But that was not my experience. I would often try to pray, but nothing would seem to happen in answer to my prayer. Naturally I wondered what was wrong, and eventually concluded in my own heart (not my mind, of course) that God was far away, and I probably was not all that important to Him.

Any Christian reading this would naturally conclude that my perceptions were wrong, that God did and still does care for me, and that I am precious and important to him. But I believe that I am not the only one who has felt this way. In fact, most of us probably do feel similarly on some level. We wonder how Paul was able to be so passionate about knowing Jesus, that all else would be rubbish to him? Paul was in love with his Lord!

So enough with mediocre Christianity. I will seek the Jesus of the gospels, the one who was kind to the poor, healed the sick, and was so gentle that he would not break a bruised reed, nor would he snuff out a smoldering wick (Isaiah 42:3). And I will seek him until I find him! Only then will I be able to do great things for the Lord. Only then will I be confident when I share my testimony with others about how good God has been to me.

Today was an unusually hot day, and the earache symptoms came back and I had to fight them. It seems that on hot, dry days the symptoms flare up. In working through what’s going on possibly with me, I discovered that for most of life, I have felt a guilt due to my own sense of inadequacy, stemming from my childhood. And I realized that even when I don’t feel the guilt, it’s always in the background, buzzing on a low level, perhaps, like the noise you hear when you live in the city.

How would you feel if, when you’re a child, your parents one tell come to you and tell you that you have to do well in school because everyone else’s kid was doing so well? This happened to me, and I remembered the solemn exhortation from them from time to time to succeed academically in order to bring “honor to the family”. At the time I took it in stride, but now that I think about it, that is a lot of pressure to put on a child of 7 or 8 years old! And around 8 years of age was when I began to have a bunch of problems. I became nearsighted around that time, I lost all my friends, my grades suffered, I lost my best friend because she moved away. And I realize that life has never been the same since. I went from a relatively normal child to an being an outcast, a loner, and not willingly.

All of this brought tears to my eyes, which always help with these sinus/earaches. I also listened to Andrew Wommack’s four-series teachings on one’s destiny. It was such an eye-opener! To think that if Saul had waited for Samuel to come and do the sacrifice, and not offered it himself, God would have continued his reign and blessed his descendants, and that David was God’s plan B, not his first choice! It is indeed, hard to imagine. But it assures us that God’s plan B can be much greater than even plan A!

All right, time for me to get back to focusing on God….  

I had dealt with my own envy of other mortals last week, and regrets over the weekend. But sometimes even after dealing with the immediate emotions of envy, one still has a yearning for one’s dreams and future to go right, and maybe a little wishful thinking, too, such as, “I wish I was as lucky as so-and-so”. These emotions may not be as strong as envy or regret, but I think they need to be dealt with nonetheless because they produce a quiet unhappiness which diminishes the joy Christians are supposed to have in the Lord.

So I found myself in a tug-of-war between my flesh and my spirit. On the one hand, my spirit knew that I should be rejoicing always, as it says in Philippians 4:4, and always giving thanks to God, praising him for the blessings I have. But on the other hand, my flesh, or carnal nature, kept bringing back to my mind all the things that I wish I had, all the things I never had, or even incidents that I had not remembered for years, where someone said or did something that was hurtful to me. Remembering the negative things of the past does indeed make it hard to rejoice in Christ.

I already knew that in order to combat envy, I could take the following practical steps, some of which were even recommended by Dr. Phil!

  1. Pray for the person you envy. Ask God to bless them even more and rejoice in their good. (Something that the preacher F.B. Meyer did when having to deal with envy of Charles Spurgeon).
  2. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Praise God for them. Remember that there are millions of people who don’t have a fraction of what you have.
  3. Show extra gratitude and affection by telling friends and family you appreciate them.
  4. Do some charity work, or find a way to give to someone else less fortunate than yourself.

But to deal with the additional feelings of yearning, I found these helpful:

  1. Do your best to praise God, even when you don’t feel like it, and give him thanks as if whatever you had wanted to have happen already happened. This demonstrates your faith and confidence in God, that you believe he will fulfill the desires of your heart because you delight in him. (Psalm 37:4)
  2. Think of a time in your life when you were lucky, or blessed in a way that was definitely from the hand of God. This morning God reminded me of the way he provided for me when I moved to California. I came here with no job in hand, and yet when I went to see the HR person at my previous company, she had a position open for me that day! Remembering that incident made me relive the emotions that came with it. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world! Everyone has had something great happen to them at least once. Think on that instead of dwelling on all the negative things that have happened.
  3. Take steps, no matter how small, toward your dreams. Start doing research, take a class or lessons, start painting, writing or whatever it is you want to learn. I have started to outline a new screenplay I have been wanting to write. A lot of people say that luck is “preparation meeting opportunity”, and a lack of faith may mean you don’t prepare as you ought, so when the opportunity comes, you can’t take it because you weren’t prepared. Ouch! I don’t want to miss any opportunities when God sends them my way!
  4. Another tip along the same line is that years ago, a professor set out to study “luck” and what made certain people lucky, like the person who won the lottery twice. What he found was that unlucky people tended to be anxiously looking for something, so they missed an unexpected opportunity that didn’t fit their expectations, whereas the “lucky” people were more relaxed and more likely to spot an unexpected opportunity.  E.g.,  they go to parties trying to find a perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make friends. Also, the lucky people had positive expectations of life, listened to their intuition, and were resilient enough to transform bad “luck” into good “luck”. He said that “luck” was often a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hmmm… maybe the professor should have read this verse: “He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.” (Proverbs 11:27)
  5. Do research on the life of the person you envy. Talk to them or try to read about what their life is actually like. You’ll probably find that often it’s not as glamorous as we make it out to be. For example, singers and actors often have to perform even when they are very sick, and not only do they have to worry about their own health, but also about disappointing their fans! Also, due to the way the music industry works, many musicians may still owe their music company money even though they have made millions selling their albums. Acting is not steady work and Patrick Dempsey has said that he could not get a job for ten years straight. It got to the point where he could not go watch movies because he felt so low.

I am writing down all these thoughts so next time Satan tries to attack me in this area, I will be prepared! My sympathy goes out to anyone who struggles with envy, regrets, yearning for dreams to come true, etc. Rejoice in the Lord always!

I drove my dear husband batty last weekend with my moaning and groaning about my dreams, or lack of accomplishment thereof. It wasn’t that I was really vocal about it, it’s just that regret can creep into your life and take away whatever joy and gratitude you have. I think sometimes regret and envy go hand in hand together–they are the flip side of each other. So last week I dealt with my envy of certain people who just seemed to have all the luck, and this time it was my regret at the opportunities that I didn’t have.

Yes, I wish I had been “discovered” as a young person by somebody, and immediately pursued a career in the performing arts. I also regretted that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at that age, and so didn’t fully pursue my interest and passion in that area. Even in college, I did not pursue performing arts as a major because I didn’t want to be “judged”. I thought that the teachers would be subjective and not like my art or performance. Plus there was always this practical side of me that wondered how I could make a living as a writer, or performer, or filmmaker, which were all things that I wanted to do. And yes, I still want to do them.

Whenever the subject of regrets comes up, my husband always gets testy, and this time he drove it home to me. “But if you had done all those things, we would have never met, and your son would not exist, either.” I told him I was thinking hypothetically, to which he replied, “I bet that if you could go back and have your dreams come true, you would be willing to delete our existence out of your life.” Ouch!

I apologized to him, of course. He did not seem very hurt, but then again, maybe he was. But he then proceeded to tell me why I must never look back and regret things, because they always turn out for the good of those who love God. And for we who trust God, don’t we believe that he has our best in mind? I admit that when I envy and regret, I am saying to God that no, I don’t trust him and things should have gone my way instead. And we all know what happens when human beings take control of their lives instead of allowing God control–disaster usually ensues.

So I found myself grudgingly thanking God for the good things in my life once again, in an attempt to shake off that feeling of unhappiness and malaise that comes with regret. Somewhere along the line my husband (isn’t he great?) also drubbed me for not working on my query letters to try to sell my screenplay. I tried to explain why I hadn’t done it yet, and after awhile he said what I would have said: “those are just a bunch of excuses!” Then he went on to talk about my confidence. When I told him I was confident, he said, “then I wish you would show it, because you aren’t right now!” Yep, what I had told him last month when I pushed him to enter his art into a gallery exhibition was coming back to bite me in the rear end, and he told me so himself. Just like I pushed him, he was going to push me.

So I resolved to do my best during this coming week, and just be the best person I could be. Of course, a hint of cynicism accompanied my resolution; after all, I had made similar resolutions in the past, only to fail each time. But this time I told myself that I would ask God for guidance and wait on Him every step of the way. If I didn’t know how to do something, I needed to get advice and wisdom. Unlike my childhood, when I fretted with anxiety about how I was going to keep up my good grades, only to get a pat on the back saying that I would figure it out, this time, I will take action and get the help I need.

Anyway, I had a couple of occasions where I felt a big fear and anxiety attack, as if the devil wanted to overwhelm me with fear, worry and doubt about my health and life. I don’t know if this was caused by the caffeine I drank those days, or not enough sleep, or if it was just a spiritual attack. In either case, both times I started reciting scripture out loud, and it passed after an hour or two. The following night I had a light sleep and woke up in the morning feeling like everything was going to be all right. And those anxiety and worry attacks haven’t come back. God is great!

I am not one who usually adores celebrities, but this past year I did join a fan site of an actor I had admired (note the past tense). I had admired him because of his honesty, humor, and how I was able to relate to his struggles. Fans of all ages, from every walk of life would gush and obsess over this man, keep track of all the news about him, speculate on what he was doing, etc. Some were even ridiculed by friends and family for liking him. Some spared no expense to see his movies or go to events and conventions to see him. One woman’s husband even gave her distributorship of this actor’s movie in her home country as a gift! And many of this man’s fans petitioned and petitioned until the same movie got a general showing across the U.S. This man inspired his fans (and me) to become best friends, share our struggles, to draw, paint, write poetry and stories, learn how to make cool signature graphics, raise money for charity, etc.–all because of one man! And yes, we even prayed for one another. When this actor made an unexpected appearance at a fan convention, you can imagine the astonishment, adoration and gratitude he received, and how they hung on every word. I’m surprised that some of the women there did not faint.

All of this led me to wonder: why don’t I have that type of enthusiasm for the living Son of God? Shouldn’t Christians be Jesus’ most ardent fans? Does he inspire us to make friends, use our talents for his glory, and enthusiastically proclaim our love for him? Do we meditate non-stop on all the wonderful things he is doing today?

My mind works in strange ways sometimes, and all this thinking led me to wonder what a Jesus fan site would be like (who knows, there may already be one out there). It might be a little difficult, since we cannot take any pictures of Jesus today, but nevertheless it should not be hard to keep up with the latest news and stats on what is going on in the kingdom of God, right? And hopefully all the Jesus fans would become the closest of friends–no, brothers and sisters! Everyone would use their talents in some way to glorify God and help each other, and the poor, too. There would be much discussion of what Jesus said, and many prayer requests and good news, etc. It would be one big family. Hmmm… this is starting to sound familiar–i.e., the church.

Of course, that does not mean that such a site would not have its challenges. Just like the fan site needs money to renew its annual server and software costs, and web site administrators and moderators, the church needs member contributions and leaders. But on some of the other things, sometimes I think that churchgoers could learn some lessons from fans. Religion can suck us into a rigid legalism that permits no creativity or change, and becomes a system whereby anyone who wants to express the truth is excoriated if the truth is at odds with the system. Whereas fans may become angry if the object of their admiration decides to change some things, e.g., Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s decision to switch to Hendrick Motorsports next season, they either adjust and follow along or they stop being a fan altogether and leave. But what happens to churchgoers when the Holy Spirit wants to implement some changes? Do we kick and fight them, or grudgingly comply but remain dead on the inside? Or do we slowly let the cares of the world draw us away from our first love? Perhaps this is why Jesus said in Revelations that he would rather that we be hot or cold for him, but not lukewarm. How many lukewarm fans of somebody are out there? I suppose that most people who call themselves a “fan” of a celebrity are usually not lukewarm about him/her, whereas most people who are lukewarm about a celebrity would not call themselves a “fan”. What about Christians?

Perhaps we need to fall in love with our savior again. Maybe sin and its entanglements, or life and its cares have dimmed the fire that was once within us. But it is time to re-light the fire and fan flames again. I speak not only about Christendom in general, but my own faith and walk with God. We could all be better “fans” of Jesus.

I have to report the good news–I went to the doctor for a follow-up visit this morning and she told me my physical exam blood work came back just fine! My cholesterol was really good, even better than my results a few years ago! They also did an allergy panel which showed that I wasn’t allergic to anything except mold (4 on a scale of 0-4), dog (3), and to my surprise, rice (3)! Everything else, including wheat, was 0s or 1s. Dr. K was kind enough to make me a copy of the allergy results. She also told me that while my iron levels were within normal range, they were a bit on the low side, so I should work on increasing them. I was happy to comply. We had a great conversation and she was understanding when I told her the reasons that I did not take the other antibiotic. She said that maybe the ear infection was viral, but when people complain of discomfort, doctors usually just prescribe antibiotics to treat it.

I also got the news from my OBGYN – my pap smear was normal, yay!

I have a lot to be thankful for, considering that so many people have much more serious health challenges. Dr. K said a lot of people were sick recently. I think it is the extremely dry weather. I talked to my mom tonight and she remarked that overseas, where it was humid, they needed a dehumidifier, but where I was, it was so dry that we need a humidifier. I agreed. She got a little nosy about my investments and retirement accounts, but my little warning got her to back off, and she explained that she was concerned about me, that’s all. I tried to explain to her how much it costs to live in California, and how much of one’s paycheck is eaten up by taxes, health insurance, etc., making it hard for people to save money. Hopefully she understood.