So we have a lot of disgusting, flying little creatures in our kitchen. They’re called gnats, and they multiply like crazy. I don’t know if it’s because we leave out food or because we over-water our plants, but these things just won’t die or completely go away!

So being the clever little person I am, I devised a trap. My ingenious little “gnat trap” involves putting a piece of slightly mashed fruit (plum is good) into a large Tupperware bin, taking the lid off and resting it far away from the trap. I go up to my room, play my guitar, sing a little, go out to buy a vitamin water, maybe go to work or run. But whenever I return, I gleefully grab the lid and slowly walk over to the Tupperware. I stare at the unsuspecting little gnats and then before they realize what hit them, I snap the lid back on and watch in satisfaction as the 20 or 30-some little buggers fly frantically to try to get out. But they can’t! They’re TRAPPED!

I run outside quickly, shut my house door behind me, get in the middle of the street and then mercifully release them into the wild. I feel happy as I watch them flying into blue skies, out of our kitchen and away from our home.

A few days ago I’ve been meditating on the idea of this gnat trap, because I’m so proud of myself (it’s so much more effective than spraying a bunch of Raid everywhere, and a lot more humane). And this realization came to me– the best kind of trap is the kind where your victim feels safe, at ease, comfortable. Because that’s when they least suspect that something would ever happen. Comfort is a major element of an effective trap.

And then my mind wandered at the thought, wow, I think that’s exactly how Satan and his evil forces must work. I don’t think he tries to alarm us with his demonic powers (maybe he does, I don’t know), but I think it’s most effective to flirt and coo the idea that we humans should live in comfort. He’s got a big, rotting piece of bait that’s just the very centre of his trap for us. And there’s no mercy in him, no releasing into the boundless blue. More like, he traps us and then Raids us to no end.

You won’t trick me. I’m on to you!

Today, my father came home from work and immediately dragged me away from my room (away from fb).

“We have to discuss an important money issue!”

Like Pavlov’s experiments, a conditioned response of guilt rose up in me at the word “money” as I anticipated another lecture about how I’m using too much of it and that we don’t have enough.

I prepared to apologize, but instead of chastising the misuse of my parents’ money, he talked about possible ways our family can save. He showed me a little spreadsheet he made during work that divided our budget monthly to see where most of the money was going. A large percent of it was going towards purchasing food, not just for our family, but for church parties and gatherings.

I agreed with most of what he was saying and was actually very proud of his motivation, because I always felt like we were buying way too much food, more than we need to eat and more than other people need to eat. The conversation shifted towards my life, and how if I can purchase a house and pay off the mortgage in just 7 years, I can be free to invest my money in Mutual Funds and become a millionaire by the time I retire. “You can retire when you’re 40, probably!” he said excitedly.

The sound of this made my heart sort of drop. Not that I don’t want to be a millionaire, but that plan just sounded so.. ordinary and boring and plain. My dad and I view living very differently. When he grew up, his family became immediately poor because his father passed away when he was in college, thus forcing the aspirations of my father to go down the drain as he decided to pursue engineering in order to further expedite his money-making capabilities. His dream was to become a doctor. Or a pastor. I can see it in his eyes, a tiny sense of regret, but similarly a sense of relief that we (the kids) are well-fed and doing fine. It’s a mixed bag.

To me, I want to live a great adventure. I never imagined for myself that I would want to be adventurous, all this time when I had lived in NOVA. I think I liked to be ordinary, and I wanted to stay just out from under the radar, undetected in a large sense. I wanted to be comfortable and have good friends and a good family. But after getting away from home for a while, after changing my perspective, the life I had imagined for myself previously has irrevocably changed. So when my father explained excitedly that I could be a millionaire and retire early, my eyes clouded over.

He has good intentions. But he just doesn’t understand my perspective. Compared to him, I know that I’m an idiot in this world because I haven’t fully handled being responsible for myself. I should be listening to his advice and learning from his wisdom of life. But I don’t want to merely make a lot of money and lead a comfortable life. More than comfort, I want MEANING. Knowing me, I could probably find meaning in a ladybug’s sneeze, but it’s because I know myself. I know how easily content I can get, and I don’t want that!

Someone told me, I forget who, that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. God is going to guide me ev’ry which way, but I want to collaborate with Him. I think He desires, more than smart investments and banking, an inner character that desires to do what God wants. Even if it’s crazy, and disadvantageous to any normal human being.

Now, I’m not so sure my motives are that pure. I’m not sure if I have been surrendering myself to God’s will, or creating my own will, but I desire the former. I’m at this time in my life where I can’t depend on any one pastor or any one friend or any one Christian group to motivate me to seek God. If I’m going to draw near to God, I need to muster up the discipline and desire to do so and just freakin do it.

The conversation with my father went further.

“So you’ll be working, paying for the mortgage, and then you’ll have to get married in about two years…”

I let out a loud squawk of indignant anger.

“I really don’t think I’m going to get married in two years, dad.” He had a confused expression on his face.

“Okay, three years.”

“I REALLY don’t think I’m going to get married in three years either, dad!”

“But it’s so hard for girls to get married after that,” he said.

My vision started turning all crimson red, and then I argued with him, not allowing him to get in a word. I argued for the sake of all women three years older than myself, I argued for the sake of loved ones I knew who were still unwed, I argued for myself because I could not see the marriage horizon anywhere in sight but I still had to believe and fervently hope that it existed after three years, after 10 years, after a 100 years. After I’ve lived a full, long, single life and had only one year left to survive, but then finally found the one who I was meant to belong to, and it wouldn’t matter how much time we were apart as long as I would find him eventually.

“Are you crying?” my dad asked me after I was done.

I feel like my dad views a relationship like an investment. That might not be entirely fair on his part, because my dad is a kind, gentle, loving human who wants me to find the right person and values my feelings. But it’s like, if I don’t invest in the next three years, my value will decrease and I will become less desirable to males, compared to younger females. And I hate that mentality. I hate that formula expression, because you can’t predict anything in life. That kind of thinking leaves no time for space or hope.

I watched WALL E recently. It’s a movie about this robot who gets left behind on earth for 700 years to clean up the garbage from overpopulation and pollution. You can imagine after 700 years, the robot develops a personality and also discovers his own loneliness. A new robot, EVE, gets dropped off, and he falls in love with her and actively follows after her, in hopes to have his love returned.

Even though they’re only robots, I couldn’t help but cry, watching the tenderness. Why can’t I find my own Walle? Or rather, when? Where? How? Or should I just resign to the investments I need to be making in life?

Hello friends, stalkers, lovers, and haters alike!

Tonight I would like to think on the topic of replaying scenes/events over and over in the mind. In a disturbing sense, I am discovering that I do this more and more, constantly, and at very random times. Sometimes I’ll think of moments when I’ve embarrassed myself, or when I did not do the right or responsible thing. On the outside, it appears like I’m concentrating on whatever it is I’m doing and then out of nowhere, I’ll squeeze my hand into a fist, punch it up to my chest near my heart, and let out a loud “KKKKKKKKKUH!” while closing my eyes tight and ducking my head down low. I’ve even done it while jogging.

The older I get, the more mistakes I make, and the more I have to dwell on, so I suppose it’s natural that this happens with more frequency with age. There are some people I know who do not do this. They reflect for a few minutes, and then kind of just get over it and forgive themselves. I get filled with awe when I witness something like that, because I often don’t forgive myself. It’s like as if they have a whole different mentality at looking at themselves than I do.

When I look at my mistakes, my sins I daresay, I kind of keep them like they’re m’lucky charms, invisible of course. A shackle of weight on my already tired and out-of-shape body. I’m sitting in a cesspool of my own regrets. But the worst part of it is I let it define me. No matter how many nice or good things I’ve considered myself to do in my lifetime thus far, I only remember my faults, my mistakes, my guilt. And then I conclude that I’m erroneous by nature, that these things define my whole self concept. It’s like a Radiohead song I like, called Videotape:

“When I’m at the pearly gates,
This’ll be on my videotape, my videotape
Mephistopheles is just beneath
He’s reaching out to grab me

This is one for the good days
And I have it all here in red, blue, green
In red, blue green

You are my center when I spin away
Out of control on videotape, on videotape, on videotape
On videotape, on videotape, on videotape”

I just feel that God must look at my life’s videotape and shake his big, white-haired head in disappointment. I’m not an outstandingly bad person. But I am bad. And I am not outstanding. And that’s why I feel that he would be disappointed. Mostly because I am disappointed in myself, and project that perhaps God is too.

But that’s not the Truth. It’s not the “sweet knowledge of salvation” as one of my outstanding friends has penned. I mean it’s true that I’m pretty helpless at times and do a lot of really embarrassing or wrong things. But it’s not true that that’s all I am. Joanne, come on. You have to fight to know that your hands ARE clean, that you ARE free, that you can’t keep trapping yourself with all these replays.

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.”

-Psalm 18:28-29

I get more helpless the older I get. I get more dependent. I don’t know why that is the case with me– it seems like everyone else is holding up okay. But me, I need someone strong, I need someone who will stay with me, because I’ve got all these replays and I can’t fight against them. Help me, Jesus.

Also, the older I get, the harder it is to reconcile my heart and my mind when it comes to Jesus and God the person compared to Christian doctrine. I was listening to the radio today, and this preacher caught my ear (he had a nice, loving voice). He was sharing a story of when he asked his seminary professor a question: What if I get to heaven and find that my mother isn’t there? Or my best friends? The professor responded: When you become in your most glorified state, you will rejoice in your mother and others being in hell because you will be rejoicing in God’s holiness.

He said something to this effect, and it made me have several reactions. First was, I really didn’t like the sound or idea of that. It made me feel dismissive, but I had to pause because this man actually studied at an accredited school for teaching about my dearest and beloved God the Father and Jesus and H.S. God in my heart is all forgiving, saving God, merciful God. Just God. But I don’t know if I could rejoice if everyone I loved was in hell while I was partying it up in heaven. Maybe I don’t deserve to go to heaven. Or maybe everyone will be in a glorified state and all be in heaven.. wouldn’t that be nice?

I don’t know. My dad tells me he hates those words when I say them, but I just don’t know what to make of it. God, help me sort through this stuff.

Until next time, readers.

Today, I feel the effects of being cooped up, preparing for my nursing licensure exam. Like diarrhea, the adverse side effect so common in medications I’ve been studying (such as corticosteroids) — I’m ready to explode because all this concentration and worry is filling me, til I can feel it in every fiber, just waiting for the freedom of release. Maybe this entry can help alleviate some of my mentally bloated suffering.

Maybe I should appreciate this time of refinement, because it’s making me realize I could never be a hermit. It’s actually quite freeing and wonderful to understand that a core part of yourself needs other people to be around and commune with, converse with. I was so starved for conversation one day, that I broke my NCLEX-bloodstudy-oath to have an 8pm-2am exchange of words about things from guys/boys, Christianity, God’s justice, diamond bathroom faucets, and passions in life. I felt such a sense of clarity, that study became so much more efficient after that.

Some active brain thought in the frontal lobe that has been preoccupying my mind for the majority of my conscious state is my wonder at what the heck I’m going to do with my life. It tells me, my brain that is, that I need to study for the NCLEX and get some nursing experience under my belt so that I can make money, make my parents happy, and not have wasted the past 5 years of my college education. But the limbic system, oh ho ho, the limbic system of my brain which controls the emotional aspects of my personality, rebels so strongly as to be deemed incorrigible. At most times it concedes with the nice, rational side, but this whole month has been a fight for control over the decisions of my future. Maybe it has been asleep in the past. Maybe I’ve induced it asleep for so long that now it has woken up and is grumpy and raging like a fox demon (for those who have watched Naruto).

But isn’t that always the case? I think everyone has come to a point in time where important decisions haveto be made, a juncture.

This would be quite a nice segue way into a song I’ve written most recently:

Make a
Make a stand
Build your home on
Solid rock
And defend
What you love
Don’t be afraid of
The squall

This is the juncture
Of your definition
O pledge
Your loyalties

You’ve been so scared
All these years
Now brace yourself
For the greatest
Moment

You may burn out
You could snuff out
This is what you are living for

You may burn out
You could very well snuff out
This is what you are dying for

Everyone must walk through one chosen door, gambling as to the road it will lead. The seemingly innocent glance backwards may induce a person to live a half-hearted, regretful life with the choices made. Women in history did not have choices– marriage and child-bearing were the only things available. But now there’s such a thing as a career, and it’s almost as inescapable as being a wife and mother once was.

But what about the dreamers? Those who dream an alternative to those choices (or maybe non-choices), those who want to change the world, who want to make a specific impact to impart some goodness unto people? I don’t know of any manual on changing the world. All I know is that people who have historically done so did what they loved unabashedly, thought not of themselves but others, and retained a keen sense of integrity throughout the whole process. Their motivation was like their purity, untainted by outside forces.

More and more I’m finding that only Jesus makes me pure. Only Jesus makes me good. He keeps me from freaking out on the hourly basis I normally do and helps me to dream more than anybody I’ve ever known. Dream about the potential for this world, about the potential for people around me. The answer, as I am typing, comes clearly to me now that I need Jesus. In whatever I do. And I also realize that if Jesus is the one keeping me breathing second after second, I need to trust that He’s in control of all aspects of my life and journey and world around me. I really, desperately need Jesus.

My wonderful pastor friend, Brian, enlightened me one day with something he learned in seminary: before meeting Christ, man’s greatest need is the gospel. After meeting Christ, man’s greatest need is the gospel.

The older I get, the more I worry and the more I feel like control is slipping from my grasp. Jesus changes my puny human mind with my puny human needs to see that when it comes down to it, I need love, particularly His. And I can feel this inexplicable sigh escape from somewhere deep inside me, and I can finally sleep at night.

So now, I think a step-by-step problem-solving tactic is in order. Joanne, pass this NCLEX exam. Next, record some music and share the art and have fun and get people who listen to it to think and enjoy. Then, learn the ropes at work and please, please don’t kill anyone. Help your church by praying for them and being vulnerable and present. Care for your friends by having many good and deep and silly conversations. Love fully and well everything you do, especially what you do for Christ.

I am happy to announce that the mental distention has improved.

I am now a real person in the real world. I have graduated.

Wow, what a mixture of elation, fear, dread, worry, excitement, hope. Actually, today was a pretty bad day for me. To sum it up, I guess I just didn’t feel very special to my family. I know they love and care for me, but sometimes it hurts a lot more when people you really trust and love do little things carelessly that inadvertantly damage you. Sometimes, on days like these (days where I can feel the beginnings of huge, crazy mood swings signifying the anticipation of Aunt Flow comin’ to town), I think about the song “Creep” by Radiohead. There’s a line that goes along the lines of this:

“I wish I was special
You’re so very special

But I’m a creep,
I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doin’ here?
I don’t belong here”

Good old Radiohead. Knows how to sympathize with my feelings and yet somehow pull it off in a very stylish manner. Anyway, I felt a little bit like that today and I had my sister and my other little sister (she basically is) at my apartment. So I drove around a little bit, looking for a safe place. Found it at a closed gas station, and all I could start praying was for God to remind me that He loves me and that I don’t have to do anything or be anyone special to prove my worth so that He would continue to love me so. Stuff like that is really hard to admit to anyone, although I feel strongly that’s what Christians should be freely doing.

Anyway, so I felt much better. I stopped thinking so negatively, I stopped putting myself down, and I just felt content.

I read somewhere that somewhat important men at some point in time can just remove themselves from their feelings. I imagined myself trying to shove my feelings on the top of a dusty shelf, removing myself from them. I don’t know if that’s the healthy thing to do, but sometimes I feel like my down-and-out feelings can be so depressing that I want to laugh. I feel like “Debbie Downer.” I wish I would stop taking things so seriously– like religion and atheism, the rest of my life, stuff like that. I wish I could just live freely and openly and vulnerably and daringly. I read in the Bible in the book of Proverbs that the righteous are as bold as lions. So many times I feel so afraid of so many things, and sometimes I use that fear to propel me and do crazy things I never imagined I could do. But sometimes that fear just overcomes me, and I’m wondering if I could ever be righteous and ever be as bold as a lion. I just feel like I need somewhere solid to stand so that I can be bold.

The speaker for today’s graduation ceremony read the inscription on one of the buildings of my school. “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” from the book of John. Truth.. God, why is this such a struggle? I feel like there’s a feel-it-in-your-bones kind of truth and a clearly objective truth. I’m just having trouble reconciling the two things. Does anyone know what I mean?

My mind is fried right now. Thai fried rice.. mm. Joanne, get a grip.

The nice thing about friends who are pastors or who want to be pastors is that I can ask them a lot of burning questions or vent a lot of things and this is the business they’ve decided to commit to. This feeling of being alive is most strong when I’m talking honestly about my hurts and my losses. I wish people weren’t so afraid of things not being okay with a person. I wish people were more willing to really ask how you’re feeling and pray for you and care about you. And that they would be willing to stand the truth, maybe a tear or two from you. Well, I guess that’s another nice thing about friends who are pastors. They always want to listen, and they always want to talk.

My thoughts are kind of all over the place and I’m craving some lovin. I know that, surely, only God could fill the emptiness I have.

I realize the post I have below this is quite technical and not a lot of heart-felt introspection. More like mind-introspection with a lot of negative comments and thoughts. I realize books that I read REALLY affect me, so I need to be a bit more careful about the books I choose to read. I don’t want some nasty, mean author to get into my head and come pouring out of my heart when I’m around other people. Anyway, on with the topic.

Tonight, we had bible study.

When I decided to lead 4th year girls bible study, I did not know I’d get as touched in my heart as I have and that I’d receive more answers to questions than originally thought. Today, Cecilia Jiang, a friend I really admire very much and sometimes am jealous of, shared the lesson tonight since I’m making the girls pick a week to teach/share a short testimony. The title of the lesson was “I Want To Be Used.”

I think I’m starting to realize this game called life. Well, it’s not really a game, but I’m starting to see that if I divide my life up, it is really just a sort of confused life I am leading. On the one hand, I want to put my efforts in the camp of “being cool.” Being cool means maintaining an image, like pretending to have good friends who are ethnically diverse and beautiful and pretending to lead a life that is exciting every second and meaningful and that I look good at every moment. There’s also a Christian camp of “being cool” and this means looking very holy and pious and religious and doing a lot of things to make people think you and God are tizzight.

Another aspect I want to invest in is music. I imagine a life much like KT Tunstall’s, strangely enough. Roaming around with my guitar strapped to my back, playing random odd shows for the next night’s dinner money, finding shelter with kind strangers who would let me sleep for free. Hanging out in smokey bars and living the gypsy life.

Yet another camp I can shove myself into is one of baking or cooking and other hospitality sort of things. I can picture myself flying to Paris, France, and taking culinary and patisserie lessons, all the while picking up the language, living the life in the city, and being refined and artsy and European.

And then I picture myself going out, full-throttle, as an experienced nurse, helping the poor, pot-bellied children in Africa or caring for the malnourished, starving people in North Korea, doing underground political and spiritual ministry.

Lastly, I see myself married to somebody I desperately love, having enough kids to start my own ultimate frisbee team, and living on 600 Park Street behind the downtown mall, peeking through antique lace curtains, waiting for dinner guests as the hydrangeas come into full bloom.

But if I sit down and think about what it is I want to BE USED BY GOD as, I realize all these things are pretty meaningless. I realize a lot of fantastic dreams and romantic wishes are meaningless, because once I’ve found my savior to the meaninglessness of this life, what else can I do but consecrate everything I am to him? As quoted in the movie Into The Wild I watched recently, happiness is a shared thing, baby. I really don’t think I could be happy partying it up with people who don’t share the same passions as I do about love, about Jesus, about praying for others and helping others. I don’t think I’m really happy when I AM HAPPY. I think I’m truly happy when I want God to be happy, or people I love to be happy. America stresses so much independence, it can make a person feel left in the dust. In some ways, I really like how Koreans are so tribal– they really like to stick together in their communities, and there’s such a STRONG sense of community. I went jogging with some Korean-American friends of mine, and I felt an inexplicable ease when I was with them, like I didn’t have to impress anyone or sound smart or cultured, and I could just be stupid and goofy. “I like being Korean,” I told one of them happily. While I am living the independent life, I think I am thankful that I have people I can feel a sort of kinship to.

I was talking to my friend Laura today in the car. Laura is a Caucasian girl, very hilarious, and very into different ethnicities. She immediately asked me, “Why do Koreans stick with other Koreans? It’s not a bad thing, I just wonder why people tend to gravitate towards other people who are similar to them.”

Fair question. I don’t know. I appreciate the immediate sense of acceptance I feel from some of the Korean-Americans I know, and instead of cursing it and being ungrateful and saying “Why can’t everyone just mix?” I think I count it as a gift, and want to expand my skills on making real connections and friendships with people who are different from I.

Whoa, got off topic. Back to the being used by God part.

So I realize that my life just won’t be fulfilled unless I am having some real, authentic purpose to it. And I really think that the only way people can find healing, meaning, and joy and love in their lives is through Jesus Christ. Jesus was on to something when he says this:

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:25-26)

I was thinking a little bit about the VTech shootings that happened about 1 year and 2 days ago. The media coverage on it and the people remembered were incredible and quite sobering. When I die, I want to be remembered by two things. Firstly, I want the music I make and share to touch people. I want people to be moved by my music, moved by Jesus. And secondly, I want to die for my friends and family. If a shooter came and threatened the ones I love, I want to dive without hesitation.

I think whatever you actually do in life doesn’t matter. But I think life has always been about the heart condition and the reason why we do things. I think the ugliest things in life are self-glorification and selfishness. I think the most beautiful things are self-sacrifice and love. I want my life to be beautiful.

So, as usual, been thinking a lot about different things mainly revolving around me and my life and why I am the way I am. There is a famous psychologist named Erik Erickson. He was a smart guy and came up with these different emotional, psychosocial trials a person goes through in life. In adolescence, the trial is Identity vs Role Confusion, which means that the adolescent struggles and experiments with behaviors to find a true sense of self. If he achieves it, he can progress happily to the next stage. But if he does not, he remains in uncertainty about who he really is. This stage can go and be refined for the rest of life as well.

The next psychosocial stage, the one including young adults such as my peers and I, is Intimacy vs Isolation. The young adult must find intimate relationships in the form of friendships, or close family ties, or significant others in order to successfully move on to the next trial. If not, they remain in– yup, you guessed it, social isolation.

If something goes horribly wrong with the trial that one is supposed to contend in, backsliding is certainly an outcome that can occur. I wonder if I’m regressing. I feel like I’m struggling a lot with a sense of secure identity, or maybe just security in general. Like, as I was talking with a wonderful friend last night, what the heck does “being secure in Christ” ACTUALLY translate into? It sounds really nice, but I think I realize that I’m growing up without actually knowing how to do that. Or how to become that. I think that phrase is a mighty feat– something that’s developed life-long as you learn more about the character and nature of God and Jesus and the Spirit. As dear Jennifer Sohn so nicely put it, maybe it’s like a 3D gradient graph instead of black and white, cut and cold. If so, where am I plotted on that graph? ‘Cause it’s not looking so good right now.

These past two weeks, I’ve felt a curious sensation of heart block– not an actual medical diagnosis, but a condition in which the outside stimuli I experience with my brain is not making it’s way to my core. An empty shell– hollow and unfeeling.

And I think I’ve figured out this heart block of mine after much indepth conversation with the lovely Sohn and a medium sized “healthful” icecream. I think after having contended with that great Intimacy vs Isolation trial, it’s kind of ended in devastation for me. I was more hurt and affected than I even realized. My coping mechanism was to grieve its death and then completely remove it from my system, but in effect, I’ve carved out important portions of my heart. Portions that, as of now, seem nigh impossible to recover again. I mean, what do I seriously know being only 22? But in my mind, surely a damaged heart requires a lot more effort to function, and will never return to its full, pure capacity unless by some miracle by God. Amy Kim recited to me a line of Korean poetry to this effect: “I carve you into my heart, and then I carve you out.” This is quite exactly how I feel.

I also realize that I’ve kind of blocked out questions that I’ve had about Christianity and God in an effort to heal faster. In doing so, I have very effectively placed myself at a disadvantage for being able to find my security in Christ, because I have so many insensitive questions. Like, does hell really exist? And why do really nice non-Christians have to be so condemned to eternity in burning flames? And has Christianity actually been influenced by previous civilizations with barbaric human sacrifice offerings to appease their gods? Unfriendly, impersonal questions like that involving history and proof and science. These questions need probing for answers to make them shut up in my head, but at the same time my Jesus is untouched in my heart. Because I don’t think you come to love a person or realize a person loves you with scientific proof and historical evidence– your heart is touched and something inexplicable takes place deep within you. It’s hard obeying laws and rules and religion, but it’s quite another story believing and trusting a whole other person who has done so much to love you. That’s why my Jesus is in a very pure place in my heart. If I treat Jesus like a stranger, it’s easy to criticize Him and leave Him in the dust. “Jesus, it’s nothing personal. I just don’t buy all that religious stuff. Don’t take offense.” But if I let Him in my heart, there is really no greater sense of fulfillment and fullness than with Him. There might be pain now, but He’s with me.

Anyway, it’s getting late. I’ve stayed up past my bedtime to post this, because I am committed to this blog, and committed to solidifying my thoughts and sharing about my musical and life adventures.

Today, Matt, Paul, Edison, Evelyn, Mary and I had a lot of fun eat dinner and telling stories and talking very extensively about cheese. The boys wanted to measure their macho-manliness, so here’s a few clips pure testosterone.

Matt cool as an iceberg and Edison with all kinds of emotions scrunched up in his face.

The shortest game of arm wrestling goes to Matt and Paul 😉

 

Also, I’m going to be playing at another benefit concert called Melodic Impact to help Special Love, a group helping children with cancer not through research but through instilling hope and encouraging the fight to survive and live. I’ll keep you guys updated!

Long time, no update! I really do wish blogging was more in vogue.. I miss reading peoples’ thoughts and feeling a closer web of connectedness, versus the very detached, stlaking-capable facebook. And who has the time to socialize with everyone?? Well, even though I don’t, I’m feeling a strange sensation of senioritis (or fourth year-itis?) kicking in.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about the act of attempting to make a difference versus saying general comments about human incapability. When I was younger, I always said, “We’re really weak as humans. We cannot do anything on our own.” When I encountered a difficult situation, I would think for about 3 hard seconds and then say, “Well, we’re just human. There’s no alternative. We’ll get there someday when we die.”

As I age, I find how important creativity can be. Creativity, more than painting pretty pictures or writing different songs, is about finding another route. A really creative person does not follow a well-trodden route, but rather paves one’s own. In the back of my mind, although I still resonate this sort of insufferable human idea, I don’t want to believe that something is impossible just because I cannot think of an immediate alternative.

In praise team today, we talked about the act of confessing sin, and it got me thinking that a lot of times as Christians, we expect sin and hurt to fill our lives and world, amongst our friends. And this is true, along with grace and forgiveness and all those good, godly things. But I think we leave our imaginations and dreams behind in the dust when we say things like “One day in heaven..” or “When we die and see God..”

I used to love this guy a lot, and I thought back on what drew me to him at first. And I think it was because he shared a vision of a true community of grace– living heaven on earth, being authentic and really relating in such the way Christ has meant us to. He sparked in me this thought that maybe there are alternatives to what we can see before us now, and it doesn’t have to be “when we die.” That Christ might be calling us to usher in the Kingdom and see it in reality right now.

This kind of mentality can be seen as more humanistic, I think. They even have songs on the radio that say, “Ooh heaven is a place on earth.” The idea is that people aren’t really thinking about an afterlife, and because the present is what we have at the moment, we need to make the most of it. Now, while I truly believe earthly pain will cease when we are complete in God, I think Christians can benefit from having a more “present-time” mentality. And, I should get my facts straight before I say this, but I do think God and Jesus care about how we are investing our time now.

So, although there is a lot of pain and hurt and death and disease in this world, I don’t think we should brush off that there could be an alternative from this, and maybe God is calling us to attempt. In praise team, Hyung Woo shared that success is obedience to Jesus, and I think I agree. I really want to be a part of a community of true and godly grace. You know, I was fasting the other day, and I was planning to finish at midnight. I went over to play some cards with some friends, and one of these friends is a genius at cooking and made me this awesome chicken and rice burrito thing. And a minute before my fast was to end, I couldn’t help but just feel so grateful to God for everything that I have: I felt like in that moment, I was feeling a little bit of heaven on earth. Connecting with friends, bringing joy to one another, just basking in what I felt was like commonality and love in the room and ready to enjoy the food I had been deprived of for so long. I also felt this when I went over to talk with my best friend one random night when I was delivering Valentine’s day truffles, and it felt like something deep within me was intermingling and mixing with something deep within her, like our souls were forming into a pool of oneness. Strange analogies, I know.

And it got me thinking that maybe life isn’t about becoming somebody important or accomplishing the mission you set out for yourself, or making a good career, or going through the right milestones at each age. It made me think that maybe life was about this– this feeling of connectedness and thanking the One who made all this possible, this exisiting/living business. Needless to say, I wanted to cry as I ate that burrito, I was so happy.

And it made me happier still to know that even though that moment couldn’t be forever, it was special because it was the present. But I’m perfectly fine with that, because humans need to grow and find different ways of connecting and loving, and I can only thank God for the present that I can have. As Donald Miller wrote in Through Painted Deserts, a human was made to grow and develop, not read the same page over and over again.

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I jammed downtown recently. And this time, I wasn’t doing it for money, although I got the most money I ever have jamming outside.

I think I’ve been stressing myself out so much because I feel this sense of urgency to get my musical career started. A good friend rebuked me on Sunday. Er, he didn’t really rebuke me or at least I don’t think he meant to, but I felt rebuked, corrected. He said, “Don’t let making a cd become your idol.” And it just shocked me, because I think that’s exactly what I was doing. He went on to talk about passions and got really heated, but I became more deflated. I felt really worthless and stupid.
But I think he’s right. I think if God has meant for a person to do something, He opens doors. He makes chances and opportunities, and it shouldn’t be me controlling my own ship of destiny. I was so pressed to scheme of ways to get money so I can record things, but it just made me more anxioius.

I read a book called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamont, and she wrote about how if you’re into writing just so you can get famous, rich, or be somebody, you’re probably going to quit writing after a few years. She said writing is giving– in writing, you’re giving it away, and in giving it away, you’re receiving it. The fulfillment is in the writing itself. I see a strong correlation of this with everything I do, including music. Music shouldn’t be about becoming somebody, famous, or making it big. Would I stop writing songs and singing them in the open even if I was not successful in the common sense of the word? I think I would, because my focus was all whack. But music should be the fulfillment– in making it and playing it, that’s where your joy comes from.

And music that bleeds my life, my love, and my God– oh, that’s just sublime.

So anyway, I think I just want to enjoy life. I want to enjoy the transcendent feeling I have in life right now. I want to keep these lenses of filtering what I’m living to see the true worth and value, and just enjoy it. Enjoy relationships, enjoy people, enjoy good times, enjoy touching moments, enjoy counseling suicidal patients in my psych nursing clinical, and enjoy playing music.

Hmm. Maybe I’ll update about the suicidal patient I connected with later.

Can’t sleep because I’m left sitting here, the wind knocked out of me from sheer talent and amazement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbpfHBs8qpA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHSnE8raC0U

I can’t believe I know this girl. She’s one of the finalist for playing at the grammy’s with the foo fighters. We used to be in a band in high school called “Color The Sky Green” and now she’s this amazing musician! If you get a chance, go here and vote for her! Her username is thebloggster.

http://www.youtube.com/mygrammymoment

Very brief entry tonight, for I really must sleep.

I watched Breakfast At Tiffany’s a little while ago at June’s house. It’s a classic, but I didn’t like most of it until the end. And then I bawled.

hepburn10.jpg

The message I got from it is this: People belong to each other.

I think sometimes I can get so worried that I won’t belong to anyone, or that no one will want to belong to me. My usual nature is to want people to just respect me, because I don’t have any lofty ideas that everyone will like me or love me. But now reflecting on it, I think it’s better to have someone who will stick it through with you no matter what.

I believe I am afraid because there is no one who’s stayed long enough in my life other than my family. There’s no evidence for mine eyes to see.

God, teach me truth from lie. I belong to You.