Wednesday, November 30


The thing I love most about visiting Sun and seeing her in action in her own home and environs is seeing what a great woman she has become. This girl's got it all, I'm telling you.

She can corral two temper-tantrum-y ladies and placate them with a word and a kiss, and nothing more.

She can cook up a massive Korean home-style dinner (with flavors learned from her mother, which taste exactly like the flavors used by my own Omma, and you tell me that doesn't mean that we are truly sisters in some way) in a matter of minutes, and the only pitfall is that she forgets to plug in the rice cooker.

She can shop and not drop, with two ladies, a stroller, a backpack, a cooler bag, and an arm full of clothes to try on in tow.

She can wrap a birthday gift, make a homemade birthday card, cook a hot breakfast, all with the two ladies involved, and still have a non-frazzled, unforced smile on her face at the end of it all.

She can take classes and do homework and compile portfolio projects and complete take-home final exams, and have humongous dreams for her professional life, even as her personal life becomes more and more plump.

She can look objectively at the people around her and wish herself to be like them or not be like them, and strive to make herself better and better at an age when most people start to not care how they continue to change and grow (or not grow).

She can do all this and still throw a good spazz, zing a sharp one-liner, and discuss a major social phenomenon (while quite effectively blocking out the "mommymommymommymommymommymommy" from the back seat of the minivan).

I know who I want to be like when I grow up.

Tuesday, November 29


There are, shamefully, times when I forget how vast and varied and gorgeous this country of mine is.

Leaving for L.A., I was so exhausted that I fell asleep as soon as I buckled myself into my window seat, a good twenty minutes before takeoff. I didn't even feel the plane leave the tarmac. I missed the first and second beverage service, although my seatmate had kindly saved me a snack-pak (I love the crackers and faux cheese -- how did he know?) and a small bottle of water. I didn't watch "March of the Penguins." I didn't go to the bathroom, not once.

I didn't open my eyes until the jet's wheels hit the landing strip as we arrived at the airport at Salt Lake City. What a sight to behold! Mountains -- snow-capped -- all around, in every direction I turned my head. Clouds and fog and snowflakes fluttering about. Sunlight streaming in ribbons through slender openings in the sky. Crystal blue heavens peeking through wider openings. I had initially been thankful to God for giving me much-needed rest. My thanksgiving turned to praise upon viewing clear and convincing evidence of the beauty and wonder and breath-taking reality of Creation.

My need for sleep was not yet sated; I fell asleep again at the gate as soon as I buckled myself in for the leg to Los Angeles. Again, I felt nothing, knew nothing, ate nothing, spoke nothing. Again, my eyes snapped open as soon as the plane -- very violently, by the way, and that totally freaked my freak, you know what I'm saying, Ellen Degeneres? -- landed at LAX. And again, I peered out the window and this time ... different mountains, different sun, more trees, same glory, same thanksgiving, same praise, same wondering, "how do I forget that this exists? How do I forget that this too is my country? How do I forget that He made this also and this also is good?"

I need to not forget so much. I need to travel more. I need to travel to my sister more. Dang, this place is starting to grow on me. Too bad it's 3000 miles away from my life ... and too bad about the three-day state Bar exam.


I'M IN . . .

My first meal upon landing in Los Angeles -- within an HOUR of landing in Los Angeles -- was In-n-Out Burger, natch.

Our order was messed up, but that did not lessen the beauty of the In-n-Out Burger experience. YUM-O-LA.

If future employment opportunities don't work out, I might have to be the first franchisee to bring this wonderment to New York.


FROM "LOST" TO L.A. . . .

It wasn't until she told me that someone pointed it out to her that it hit me: my sister looks like Sun, the Korean female character from "Lost."

Resolved: always leery of using people's real names on this big bad place known as the Internet, I shall now refer to my sister as Sun, her husband as Mr. Sun, and the ladies as ... I dunno. The ladies, for now. For that is what they are quickly -- far too quickly, for our taste -- becoming. Sigh.

Monday, November 28

GO BLUE . . .

This is the lamest post ever, I think, if only because I'm lifting my idea not even from another original-idea-ed blogger, but from an American Express print advertisement. I have sunken to new lows, but I am too exhausted to even try to plumb the depths of my brain for the things that come from me. So thanks, Blue, for the uninspired inspiration, and for the added opportunity to answer simple questionnaire questions with lengthy, multi-part answers because I'm unable to winnow down my answers to just one ... or two ... or however many I'm supposed to winnow my answers down to.

My name: MC Estoppel

My childhood ambition: at age 7, to be an astronaut; at age 12, to be a physician; at age 15, to be a United Nations ambassador; at age 18, to be a journalist; at age 21, to be in full-time college ministry; at age 26, to be a federal prosecutor; at age 30, to write a book and bring justice and freedom to all. Oh, I'm sorry, am I supposed to have grown up by now?

My fondest memory: every good thing; I am physically and psychically unable to cling to the bad things, thank God. Honourable special mentions go to Schapiro 12, Legal Follies, adventures with Cheezer, romps in the city and camp, and all things involving Omma, Appa and Cheech (especially the U-Haul snot-flicking moment, and any evening many glasses of red wine were consumed).

My soundtrack: everything on Herb, and lately, especially, Shane and Shane, David Crowder, Franz Ferdinand, David Gray, Jason Mraz, the Rent Broadway soundtrack, Fiona Apple and Beethoven's piano concertos.

My retreat: Block Island ... or anywhere He is.

My wildest dream: professionally: opening a New York City branch office of International Justice Mission, to which hundreds and thousands of professional from the tri-state region can be brought to be trained to perform Christian justice and legal rescue work around the globe, and from which these professionals can be sent out to restore His kingdom and those He created so that they can live in peace and liberty and in the fullness of all they were created to live; personally: finding, marrying and loving The One, with whom I will have many babies, live in a small and cozy home, cook up a storm of meals every day, laugh my brains out, stay up late every night talking and discovering more and more about each other, and for whom I will always be thankful.

My proudest moment: and also my most humbling ... the times I heard or was told, over the past few years, that younger girls at NHF want to be like me when they grew up.

My biggest challenge: living What and How and Who I believe.

My alarm clock: is masochistically set to the morning news.

My perfect day: an early morning, a hearty workout, a hot shower, a sludgy cup of coffee, a quiet time, a companionable lunch and productive session of work and reading, a satisfying dinner, a good film, a bad hand of 5-card-draw, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, a snowy night.

My first job: mother's helper for my high school Russian teacher.

My indulgence: The Container Store, Whole Foods Market, cooking and baking, a deep tissue massage, standing still for way too long in the hot shower, all things Apple, staying up with those I love even if I'm sleepy beyond measure, coffee from Papua New Guinea, J.Crew jeans, burning up ever-so-precious gas driving around and around and around craning my neck upwards to look at the wide blue sky.

My last purchase: boring: groceries; not boring: "things I need" from The Container Store.

My favorite movie: there are so many for so many different reasons -- "Pride & Prejudice" (the BBC version, natch), "The Usual Suspects," "Schindler's List," "Moulin Rouge," "House of Flying Daggers," "Bring It On," "The Godfather," "Roman Holiday," "Swingers," "Strictly Ballroom," "Elizabeth" ... but "The Sound of Music" has its very own special nook in my heart, it really does.

My inspiration: the Lord.

My life: is too joyful, too upsetting, too dramatic, too full, too blessed, too meaningful, too insignificant, too full of potential still, for me to totally comprehend.

My card: let me redeem points to head to Los Angeles for a much-needed getaway and reunion for a fraction of what it's supposed to cost!


I really do apologize for being so lame and list-y lately. I blog for myself, largely to express the things that take too long for me to write long-hand, and believe me, there's plenty that I write long-hand, even more than I blog, if you can believe it. But still, I know there are a tiny number of you out there who actually read this to READ this, and to know me, and to love me, and I'm sorry that all I'm giving you lately are lists and regurgitations.

It's just that ... it's just that I am thoughtful lately, and I don't know how to express these thoughts, except on paper, and those words you will never ever see. Sorry, but that's the plain truth.

It is my greatest hope, and my assurance, actually, that my time in L.A. will be fruitful. That it will loose something in me that I have bound up for a few days, weeks now. That being with my sister and her family, that basking in sunlight and being wrapped in warmth, that being with those who have loved me for over a decade will be healing for all that ails me, and that being attacked by two rambunctious and preternaturally precocious little girls will provide me plenty of laughter and revelation and peace and yes, fodder for blogging. Heck, I should be able to cull a good story or two out of the airplane flight alone!

So stay tuned, my trusty friends. L.A. beckons; I can't wait. And neither can you?

Saturday, November 26

1,000,000 IN 100 . . .

Almost 1,000,000 people murdered in 100 days.
That is what I learned from watching "Hotel Rwanda" tonight.

I am so ashamed. I am so woefully embarrassed that eleven years ago, when I was a college student old enough to know and to be aware and to care, I didn't. I am so ashamed that I didn't read past the newspaper headlines. I am so ashamed that I didn't pause in my dinner, my classes, my daily activities, my glasses of wine and mornings slept in, to take notice of what was happening in Rwanda. I am so embarrassed that I didn't consider what it meant for citizen to kill citizen, for a person to be drunk with hatred and prejudice, for a world to ignore truth, for humanity to be rendered totally inhumane. I am so ashamed that my heart is breaking and my mind is reeling with disbelief now, a stupid and meaningless eleven years later. I am embarrassed to confess that I don't know what's happening, fully, around the world in these days, even.

I am glad that I am alone tonight, that a cold has forced me to stay in and be still. I am glad that I have the rest of the night to think and to pray and to consider the world that is so much larger and more important than I am by myself.

It is easy for me to ridicule movies for being senseless and insignificant. It is difficult for me to watch films like "Schindler's List" and now, "Hotel Rwanda." These two films, I know, are life- and heart-changing, not just for me, but perhaps for you as well. Still, I am glad to have seen both now, even if it means nights of nightmares and days of never feeling like I'm doing enough.

After all, I see that it is good to be reminded that there is always room.

Friday, November 25


... for which I am thankful.

1. Salvation.
2. Never having to worry about what to eat, what to wear, where to live.
3. Excellently comfortable jeans that make me feel like a hot mama.
4. Learning new things about myself and my family.
5. Conversations in which my parents and I speak to each other like adults and friends.
6. Conversations in which Cheech and I either (a) are not fighting; or (2) are not talking about bowel movements.
7. Heat.
8. Robert Downey, Jr.
9. Pecan pie and vanilla bean ice cream.
10. The first snow of the season.
11. Staying up late and not letting go because heck, you just don't have to.
12. The Container Store.
13. Redefining friendship and realizing that family is still family, no matter what.
14. Chief Justice Roberts not being a total wacko.
15. The fact that several good movies are on the horizon after what seems an eternity of crap-o-la films.
16. Coffee.
17. Airplanes and the ability to fly on them to see loved ones.
18. JetBlue and their enormous tray of endless snacks.
19. Wool socks.
20. An honourable father.
21. Eyelash curlers.
22. Books.
23. David Crowder.
24. Burt's Bees lip balm.
25. Satisfying poos.
26. The Noodles running into my arms, crying out my name and giggling.
27. That I have the mouth and heart with which to pray for the ones I love.
28. The slow but sure recovery of the Gulf Coast.
29. The inability to forget.
30. Salt.
31. Mittens.
32. "Lost."
33. The colour red.
34. Trust, and that He helps me to do it.
35. Leftovers, which always taste better the next day.
36. Friends who remind me that I don't have to be alone, even when I didn't anticipate being lonely.
37. Sudafed.
38. Reminders and heart pangs that tell me that I haven't gone totally cynical and jaded yet.
39. Anticipation.
40. The fact that it's in the 70s on the Wrong Coast and I will be there soon.
41. That crepes are so easy to make and taste oh-so-heavenly.
42. My imagination and that it is understood by the select few who matter.
43. High ceilings.
44. Home Depot.
45. Hearing a friend's voice and feeling the love as strong as ever.
46. That my girls and I can speak volumes to each other with a simple raise of the eyebrow or twitch of the lips.
47. That a huge favor is not a favor at all but a pleasure.
48. Will Ferrell.
49. The generosity of strangers.
50. That I am alive and breathing now, in these times, in this place, with these people.

Thursday, November 24


This year, in particular, I am thankful for my friends.

I really thought about this a lot yesterday. Sitting in a cafe near Columbia, looking out at the familiar sights and even the familiar-looking people strolling by on the sidewalk, I was totally transported back in time to the days when some of my most key friendships were forming. Ha, the C.o.S., Janey, Wonger, Yang, Snoozy. We see each other as often as we can and it's still never enough, but there are ties that bind sisterhood together. Even those with whom I don't keep in touch anymore: the fact of our having drifted apart over the years doesn't lessen the impact that they had in my life, the lessons they taught me, the way they were used of God to grow me and teach me and mold me.

It occurred to me more strongly yesterday than ever, that no friendship is possible without God. I can think that any friendship, any relationship, I am a part of is because of common interests, compatible temperaments, mutually enjoyable personalities. And yes, partly friendships are all of these things, and all of these things are also God-given and Christ-grown. But without God, without Him actually being the center of each relationship, without Him being the filter through which all things are spoken and done and given and received, without Him being the one to winnow out all the potential pitfalls between people and replace it all with grace, there is no such thing as friendship. And I don't just speak of my friendships with other Christians. Some of the people dearest to my heart are non-believers. But this does not mean that I don't view and love them -- always at least try to view and love them -- with God's heart and vision. Any kindness, good time, point of laughter, deep sharing, commonality that I try to achieve on my own is weak, easily faltering, sometimes misunderstood, occasionally rejected. Any of these things that pass through Him, I can fall back upon trust that He is growing the friendship and sustaining it in the fullness of Him.

I am by no means a perfect friend to my friends. I become easily distracted and busy, and forget to send an email or return a phone call or mail off that letter that was written weeks ago. I write post-it notes to myself to ask someone about something, then lose the post-it note. I am inadvertently hurtful, idiotically thick-headed, often ignorant, unintentionally insensitive, unnecessarily busy, stupidly outspoken, inopportunely silent. But even through all my shortcomings, my friends stick by me, and His grace covers all of us, drawing us closer to each other in spite of me and who and how I am.

For all of these things, for all of you -- Flacon, J2, the Noodle Family, Hooch, the Aliens, my L.O.Ls, my sister, Soybean et al., the Gs, my beloveds on the Wrong Coast, Banana and DYC, JC, Kwon, NHF PT, and my bestest and most unconditionally loving friends of all, Omma, Appa and Cheech -- today, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 23


Sometimes, a lot of times, we, I, use words without really considering what they mean. Take "remarkable," for instance. It means "worthy of attention." Remarkable. Able to be remarked upon. This word just is not used as much as it should be. I cloud my own perception with descriptives like "cool," "awesome," "amazing" (used far too much because most things actually are not amazing), "interesting" (once again, really, how many things actually are interesting?). But clarity comes with realizing that some things are remarkable.


Children whom I've known since birth -- since the day of birth -- speaking in full sentences now is remarkable. I visited the Noodles this morning, and I practically had a conversation with them. Nay, scratch that. I did have conversations with them. Girl Noodle told me that she was eating raisins; I asked her if they were delicious; she said "yeah." Boy Noodle toddled up to me and said "excuse me;" I offered him a slice of clementine that I had just peeled; he said "thank you" before stuffing the whole fat slice into his mischievous little mouth. Where did the time go? Will they love me as much next year as they do this year? Will they think I'm cool enough to hang out with when they're teenagers? Will they still call me "Aunt" and run headlong into my legs with abandon?


The fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same, is remarkable. Sitting on the UWS, my old stomping grounds, in some new-fangled Starbucks near Columbia (one of two, I must sort of disdainfully mention, even though I do love the Starbucks Evil Empire), staring across at the new student center, watching UWSiders and students and professors and homeless folks rush by with their collars upturned against the bitter cold, it occurs to me strongly and poignantly that nothing has changed in the last ten years. Oh sure, you can tear down some legendary locales and put up fancy shiny new storefronts and bring in Starbucks and overpriced "Asian fusion" eateries and install college students who don't know what a typewriter is. But it's still all the same. The life, the vitality, the grittiness, the supremely high times and the distraughtfully low periods, the necessity of coffee and friendship and communication and learning and co-existing and learning to be independent. These things, and more, are all the same.


The emotional ties that I have to Columbia and the UWS are remarkable. I am sentimental and nostalgic by nature. I can be in the middle of an experience and already feeling nostalgic for the future, how I will feel when I look back upon what I am currently living. But still. To be so tied to a school? A neighborhood? How could I not ... this is where I grew up. This is where I learned the meanings of home, friendship, love, faith, vanilla lattes, commitment, responsibility, wisdom, financial security, thick-and-thin, devotion, independence, self-awareness, humility, generosity, family, food. This is where I learned it all. My heart swells now, looking out onto the sidewalk at 114th Street and Broadway, to look upon the brick and cement that nurtured me. To consider the all the things that formed me into the woman I am now, and to think upon all the other formations that are occurring right now. All of these students, so much potential ... do they know how lucky they have it? Do they have any appreciation for where they are, why they are here, and how they must learn to live their lives?


The power of words is remarkable. Last night, I had to choose my words carefully, restraining myself as with a real live muzzle, so as not to wound somebody else just to gratify myself. This morning, words cut me to the quick and deflated my entire day. This afternoon, words soothed as though a balm upon an open and raw wound and served to pump life back into the rest of the impending evening. As Flacon insightfully stated the other night, words can separate people as well as, if not better than, a brick wall; words can also build bridges where no other foundation could or would have been laid. That we do not all choose and think upon the words we use more carefully is also remarkable.


God is remarkable. He has no need to make me feel bad about myself to make Himself grand. He lays no guilt trips, asks for no recompense, offers free and unconditional love and grace, provides everything I need and then some, carries me when I can't move myself, sustains my breath and biorhythms, moves mountains and oceans, works miracles and withholds them wisely, and changes people and then changes them some more. He looks upon Creation as something to be infintely loved and gingerly cared for in the palm of His hands, not scorned or hated or disdained or discriminated against or destroyed or ignored. How unlike us He is. Thank goodness.


UPDATE: sometimes, lots of times, my own idiocy is also remarkable. I sit now, watching an NYPD officer patrol down Broadway right in front of me, writing parking tickets with glee. Yes, I promise he has a look of glee upon his face. I know that in two blocks, a matter of minutes, he is going to happen upon Good Girl. Good Girl, who is a good girl, but whose owner and driver is a bad, bad girl who doesn't believe in paying for parking, unless she puts Good Girl in an underground garage, in which case, she has to pay for parking because otherwise, she's not going home with the car in which she came. I also know that the po-po is going to slap a bad boy upon Good Girl. I also know, I think, that I will consider not paying this bad boy for as long as possible ... perhaps forever. Alright, that's not entirely true, because I'm far too afraid of jail to not pay a stupid parking ticket. And finally, I know that by now, enough time has passed that the po-po has found Good Girl and I am going to be out $100. Dang. How remarkably dumb.

Thus, I am going to say the following two things. Sprinkle grains of salt as necessary, and check back with me later, when my hormones have stopped doing their I'm-going-to-turn-you-into-not-you-for-a-little-bit-just-to-make-you-and-everyone-around-you-crazy-and-yes-you're-going-to-cry-over-everything-and-make-a-big-deal-over-totally-inconsequential-things thing.

1. I feel like the clock is taunting me. Do you ever feel like the clock is taunting you, either in how excruciatingly sloooooow it moves, or how head-spinningly fast it ticks? Yeah, I'm totally being taunted by time.

2. For the first time in my life, I am dreading Thanksgiving because I feel like The Family Failure. I am yet unmarried, I am still unemployed, I have no grand prospects for either on the near horizon, I am not even at home to help Omma prep for our turkey-less meal (did I tell you about the day we discovered -- over thirty years into my parents' life here in the States -- that nobody in our family likes turkey so why the hell were we slaving over it every year if no one actually wanted to eat it?) although I will be heading over plenty early with armfuls of desserts and side dishes. And on top of all that, I am planning on not staying over Thursday night at home because I made tentative plans with a close friend to meet up after our respective family dinners. That's going to go over real big at home. Baa, baa, black sheep.

Sunday, November 20


It's a little bit funny this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a travelling show
I know it's not much but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

"Your Song," by Elton John / Bernie Taupin

I can't sleep. I've been up since 7:45 a.m., had an intense hour-long workout, ate mostly balanced meals, drank no coffee, had only one mugful of English Breakfast tea, powered my way through a four-hour worship team rehearsal and two-hour-long praise night. I am tired, and my eyes are droopy, and my body is weary, but my brain, my thoughts, my heart -- they are all in overdrive, and I cannot rest. Dang, the worst part is that I don't even want to step into the bedroom to lay down and let my body sink. I don't even want to be there anymore.

And so, I resort to another list. I realize these are unoriginal things. I realize I am not creating anything of any value by perpetuating these lists. I realize they are senseless, self-indulgent, silly. But maybe the mundaneness of thinking of myself and realizing exactly how unremarkable and boring I am will lull me to sleep ...

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
1. Smart Food White Cheddar Cheese popcorn
2. Lays plain potato chips ... dipped in ketchup
3. rugelach from Whole Foods Market
4. baby carrots dipped in just about anything that baby carrots are supposed to be dipped in
5. bite-sized fruit: grapes, canteloupe cubes, strawberries

5 Songs I Know All the Words To:
1. We Fall Down
2. The Star-Spangled Banner
3. Still
4. In Christ Alone
5. Sleeping to Dream

5 Places I Would Run Away To:
1. Block Island
2. Ha's place in L.A.
3. Red Mountain Spa
4. Banff (alright, I've never actually been there, but I imagine that once I go, I will want to run away to there often)
5. Tranquility Spa with Mabel

5 Things I Would Never Wear:
1. fur
2. something completely yellow
3. animal prints
4. puffy sleeves
5. non-baseball-cap hats, not because I don't want to, but because I always look like a 12-year-old wanna-be poseur in them

5 Favorite TV Shows:
1. "Lost" (for the record, Hooch and I were on the bandwagon before anyone else was. Heck, we started the engine!)
2. "The Ellen Degeneres Show" (dude, she's just fun and her guests like her)
3. "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (in reruns, but still remarkable and occasionally hysterically hilarious)
4. "Will & Grace" (Jack and Karen are the best characters on television in a long, long time)
5. "Exteme Makeover: Home Edition" (why yes, I do have "sucker" written all over my forehead)

5 Bad Habits:
1. picking my lower lip until it bleeds
2. talking, bopping, dancing, swaying to and with myself ... in public ... when there are other people around
3. speaking before I think
4. jumping to conclusions about everything
5. keeping myself busy when I just don't need to be

5 Biggest Joys:
1. Jesus
2. my family and friends
3. New Hope Fellowship
4. my hobbies: reading, cooking, organizing
5. the special moments: camp, Starbucks, walking, napping

5 Favorite Toys:
1. Bob
2. Herb
3. my mom's digital camera
4. the Buh-Bo cards
5. newborn babies: I can move them around and make them "talk" and basically do whatever I want them to do, except when they flop over because they can't hold their heads up yet

5 Fictional Characters I Would Date:
1. Mr. Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice (the book, and alright, you can throw in Colin Firth, too)
2. Sawyer, from "Lost"
3. Almanzo Wilder, from Little House on the Prairie (the book series, not the television show)
4. Mr. Knightley, from Emma (the book, but I'm not turning Jeremy Northam away!)
5. Vaughn, from "Alias"

10 Years Ago, I was experiencing: true friendship, a budding romance, a strong Christian fellowship, Schapiro 12, senioritis, career angst, constant hilarity, anxiety about impending adulthood, sisterhood.

5 Years Ago, I was experiencing: 3L-itis, another budding romance, assistant-director angst, torture at the lashing tongue of my favorite law school professor, another brutal Boston late-autumn, homesickness, career angst.

1 Year Ago, I was experiencing: the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, the stirrings of a new and true friendship, being on the verge of a new beginning, career satisfaction, my first winter in my own home.

Saturday, November 19


I was recently caused to recall that prior to heading up to law school, I promised God that I would use my law degree, my skills, anything I learned and additional talents I acquired, for His glory and to advance His kingdom. And so now ... I find myself in that unique situation in life where I can start over, do whatever I want, and actually, more importantly ... fulfill the promises I made.

But this ain't so easy.

Many of the non-traditional legal positions I'm looking at in the ministry field require that I submit a statement of faith. I have never written a statement of faith. I've never even spoken my statement of faith. Has anyone done this? Do you know anyone who has done this? What does it look like? What does it sound like? How long is it supposed to be? How short is it supposed to be?




A good day, a bad day.
Shuffle the deck, see what pops up.

God is faithful.
Help my unbelief.

Friday, November 18


It's hard to these days, but I'm trying. Thanks to Sandra for another list -- dang, I love these lists even if I'm not in the mood for them -- and a reason to think upon Him once more.

10 Things I'm Grateful For That Reveal Me at My Shallow Worst
1. Crepes.
2. J.Crew jeans.
3. Bob, my G4 laptop, and Herb, my old-school iPod.
4. The Container Store.
5. Josh Holloway, a/k/a "Sawyer," on "Lost."
6. Whole Foods Market.
7. Coffee.
9. Good Girl, my bumpy, trucky, dirty, bare-bones, totally non-luxurious, dented, scratched, gear-hauling, friend-toting, too-big-for-me 4Runner.
10. Pretty underwear.

10 Things I'm Genuinely Grateful For
1. Friendship. No, really.
2. The way God has been moving in, working in, transforming NHF.
3. Shelter, food, provisions.
4. The skills, talents, quirks, weirdnesses, abilities that I've been given that make me me and make me able to share me.
5. My parents, Gran, Cheech.
6. The United States of America. No, really.
7. Camp of recovery, "Lost," movies, crepes, and naps.
8. The fact that I am surrounded, even when I foolishly feel lonely, by people who love me, encourage me, consider me, lift me up, make me laugh, pray for me, look after me, take care of me, care for me, sustain me and look upon my far more generously than I can ever look upon myself.
9. Memories.
10. Music.

Sunday, November 13


I am exhausted from last night. He lifted me up and carried me, but I am exhausted nonetheless.

Today, I am sluggish again. Today, I desperately and vainly seek Him again.

I am thankful for responsibilities, that He puts on my plate things that must be done, people who must be cared for, an entire community to reach out to. I am thankful for these, because it causes me to look outside myself, and to be used for a greater purpose than my own.

But I am still weary and heartbroken and mourning. I am still downtrodden and slow and heavy. I am still riddled with holes that need so desperately to be filled by His very flesh and blood.

The day and night loom ahead of me and I dread how I will function ... or not. I dread what is to come. How I need grace to cover me today, not for my own sake, but for the sake of the one I love, the team, NHF, my friends, the children.

Saturday, November 12


Yesterday, Flacon was grateful for me, that I had sun. Ironic, given that I woke up and saw the sunlight and thought "damn you, how can you be shining?" Strange, how two people of the same soul can have such divergent views of the same God-given gift.

The sun is shining again today. And today, I am not so angry. For I found the Lord, and He did not turn away from me, and He came to me and comforted me and engaged me in conversation and began the slow, bone-breaking process of lifting me up.

I still don't know where He is leading me. I don't know what He is going to teach me through this stage in my life. I don't know yet what this suffering is for, but I am convinced it is for something. Not convinced just because I feel it must be for something, but convinced because He has given me the faith to believe. I don't yet see a healing for my heart, and the reconciliation for our differences. But I do see that He is sovereign and powerful and merciful and gracious, and the fact that these things about Him never change, though everything around me might, is a soothing balm for my soul.



God is my refuge and my shelter and my comfort at all times, in all circumstances. And so I am thankful that He gives me more lists to compile to take my mind off of things. And I am ever more grateful for the friends He stands in my life, to whom I can link for inspiration when I have none of my own ...

First best friend: Caroline. Wonder what she's up to now ...

First Car: that I ever drove was an automatic transmission Audi Quattro. That I ever drove legally was my mom's enormous silver Cadillac DeVille. That I "owned" is Good Girl -- I ain't paying for her, but she's mine, all mine! That I really owned is LuLu, and she's only three months old and mine legally, but I seem to have been her surrogate mother, for my parents have her now and refuse to relinquish her to me because she rides smoother than Good Girl does, even though I pay for her upbringing. What is that all about?!

First kiss: aside from the 1st-grade classmate who smacked me a wet one on on the cheek in the stairwell of our elementary school and then commenced chasing me and yelling all the way down the hall, "KISS ME BAAAAACK!"? 8th-grade ski trip of three families. I fell down on the slopes. He, the son of a family friend, picked me up and pecked me on the lips and said, "there, now you can keep going, right?" UGH, SO CHEESY.

First big trip: France and Spain in the 7th grade. I wish I remembered it.

First flight: I was three years old and my family went to Korea and I remember some of it, actually. Images of a large great-grandmother flit about my memory. That, and tasty ice cream treats.

First time skiing/snowboarding: Winter 2004-5. I spent one whole day with Cheeser not being able to go heel-side. Then I spent another whole day in Whistler not being able to go toe-side. Then I spent another whole day realizing that although I am right-handed in all things, I ride goofy. Who AM I?

First alcoholic drink: an involuntary gin-&-tonic in a bad hotel bar in Korea the summer after I graduated high school. I thought they were drinking 7-UPs, and I was extremely thirsty from dancing to bad club music, so I grabbed one out of a friend's hand and sucked the whole thing down in one sip. They were amazed. I got drunk and lay on the floor and pronounced that I could no longer feel my knees.

First ticket violation: autumn 2003, I got trapped right at the point where it went from a 55-mph zone to a 30-mph zone. I was going 73 mph along with everyone else on the road. When the po-po asked me if I knew why he stopped me, I said, "Because you THINK I was speeding?" I am so lucky, I know, that I did not get a beat-down, and he agreed to drop me from 6 points to 4.

First job: mother's helper for my Russian teacher in high school. Now I realize how weird that was, to be so close and intimate with my TEACHER. I mean, I saw her LAUNDRY, for crying out loud, and saw her in a BATHING SUIT, and knew that she ordered PLAYBOY magazines as a gift for her husband! ARGH! THE TRAUMA!!!! But the kid was really cool.

First date: aside from the high-school-y "hanging out in a big group even though everyone knows that we're sitting next to each other exclusively throughout the evening because we're 'a couple'," my first 'official' real date was autumn of my senior year in high school when I was taken to a special event at Carnegie Hall by the son of its then-director (God bless her soul), then taken out to a late dinner at Essex House, along with his family, board members of Carnegie Hall and Isaac Stern and his wife.

First memory: being with my dad at home in the evenings while my mom worked nights, making kimchi together, asking him to make me a hot chocolate treat, "helping" him fold laundry, snuggled into his armpit while watching "M*A*S*H" and laughing at all the times he laughed even though I understood not a single word of it. This must have been in the 3-4-year-old range.

First true love: what does this mean, anyway? In every relationship I have had, I think I have had glimpses of what "true love" is and so I continue to build my expectations and hone my desires and the things I seek in The One. I know what to ask of the Lord now ... but still the phrase "true love" is unreal to me. Jesus is my true love. Everyone else is a gift.

Friday, November 11


I am totally, utterly broken.
I have been tossed by the wayside.
I have seen soul-satisfaction, and had it taken away from me.
My life has changed and my heart has irrevocably shattered.
It can be rebuilt, reglued, I'm sure.
But it will not look the same way it did before.
It will not be as blessed, as full, as happy, as radiant, as warm.

Please don't ask me about it.
Unfair, I know, because now it's just the big pink elephant in the room.
But I trust you and you must trust me.
Please don't ask me about it, when you see me, when you talk to me, when you email me, when you see me cry or look away or wince or leave the room.

Please just pray for me.
I cannot pray for myself right now, and that withers me.
So please, please just pray for me.

Thursday, November 10

WHY WAKE UP? . . .

My alarm went off this morning -- yes, I know I don't have a job to go to in the morning, so there really is no reason to set the alarm, especially given that I wake up at the same (early) hour every morning no matter how sleep-deprived I might be anyway, but I just hate the thought of sleeping late "just because I can" and then letting the morning go to waste and have nothing to show for my precious and once-in-a-lifetime freedom -- and so the first thing I heard at 7:45 a.m. was: "Amman, Jordan." I never reacted so quickly in the morning before, whipping my arm around from the other side of the bed and slamming my hand -- all five fingers of it -- onto the snooze button. I wasn't going to sleep any more; I just needed to turn the radio off fast.

(Really, I should just reset the alarm tuning to a music station, or even that ear-splitting beeping, but I'm addicted to 880AM.)

After a happy Wednesday day and night, it was such an awful way to wake up the next morning, this morning. To instantly be taken from sweet slumber into the reality of hatred, death and destruction ... it's just too much. I know, I know, look at me sitting here in my safe, quiet, clean home, complaining about "it being too much." I know that I don't know what "too much" is. And I also know that if I had even a small glimpse of "too much," I wouldn't know what to do. My soul would crumple up -- thousands of times smaller than after 9/11 -- and would never recover.

But it's still too much. I look at my beloved anklebiters around me every week at church, and think, "what will we tell them about their world as they get older? How will we explain all this to them? How can we bring them into such a world and raise them into such peril?" And the greater questions I ask myself daily, "How am I to trust the Lord in times like these? How am I to tell people of His goodness and mercy when everything we do to each other indicates that such things don't exist? How long, how long, how much longer until He comes and restores?"

I'm a big sucker for the news. I check my news sites several times daily -- even more, now that I don't have a United States government Internet firewall and monitoring system to watch out for. But I'm going to have to rethink this addiction of mine. Not because I want to ignore -- heck, no! (I couldn't harden myself against this world even if I wanted to, and I definitely do not want to.) Just because ... the weight of the rock in my stomach gets heavier and heavier with every death, every bombing, every man-woman-child murdered, every martyr sacrificing his or herself, every proclamation of hatred, every promise of revenge. It's just too much.



After a totally dry cinema season -- it's gotta be damn good for me to drag my lazy self to the movie theatre -- I find myself suddenly intrigued by a whole slew of upcoming films.

Pride and Prejudice speaks for itself, although I'm not a big fan of anyone but Jennifer Ehle playing Elizabeth Bennett (in the 6-hour BBC version, omigosh-you-have-to-go-buy-it-and-watch-it-now-even-if-you-are-a-man). Still, despite Keira Knightley, I can't help myself -- anything Jane Austen, and I'm there.

The Break-Up is not by any stretch of the imagination a quality film, methinks. But I think Jennifer Aniston is sweet, and I'm half-seriously in love with Vince Vaughn. I don't mind giving them my money, I really don't.

Walk the Line conjures up memories of Appa singing Johnny Cash tunes to me, which I always thought was strange as a child, because I would ask myself, "how does Appa know Johnny Cash songs if Johnny Cash is an American country singer and Appa grew up in Korea which has no American country singing sensations?" Ah well, let us save these difficult questions for another day. I'm a sucker for biopics and a bigger sucker for things that tweak my childhood memory.

Rent goes without saying. Saw it on Broadway with Wonger -- with JOEY FATONE in the cast, no less, and yes, he did the N*Sync "Bye, Bye, Bye" dance in the scene where he dances on the table in the bar. Oh, jeez. But the original cast, including Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, and my beloved Jesse Martin? HOW CAN I NOT?!?!?!? I shall also pride myself on being able to sing along with the movie, so if you come with me to watch it, be prepared.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was the first C.S. Lewis book I ever read, before I knew him as a Christian author. As a Christian theologian and author, he stands with the cream of the crop. As a fantasy writer ... he changed my world-view. The special effects look exceedingly cheesy, but I must go anyway.

The Family Stone, only because it has a killer cast and SARAH JESSICA PARKER. Really, sadly, that's enough for me.

Syriana, because MY GOODNESS HAVE YOU SEEN THE TRAILER?!?!?!?. That, and the chilling line: "corruption keeps us safe and warm!" Brrrr ... anything that makes me shiver that much, I have to pay attention to.

Brokeback Mountain is about gay cowboys. BUT NO IT'S NOT. It's about so much more, and it's the only trailer I can remember in the last few years that MADE ME CRY.

Memoirs of a Geisha makes me wary merely because I normally don't enjoy movies adapted from books I've read and thoroughly enjoyed (BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" is an obvious exception -- they really outdid themselves, those chaps). But the trailer took my breath away, and anything done by the director of Chicago, and starring Ken Watanabe, Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh?? Why would I NOT watch this?

Wednesday, November 9


Jun Choi, 34 years old, has become the first Korean-American mayor in a city on the mainland (Hawai'i, natch, beat the rest of the states there). If y'all recall, this is the dude about whom The Jersey Boys from 101.5 FM made those horrid comments: Americans should vote for Americans, and all.

It would appear that Americans DID.

Choi now takes the helm of one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Joisey. He also faces a potential recount, given that he won by one percent, a mere 272 votes. But the significant thing to me is that while his opponent whines of votes being rendered along racial lines -- why does it always come back to race?! -- Choi chooses to focus on the future.

Rock on.

Tuesday, November 8

SWEET . . .

Genesis might reunite!

Today is a grey day. The perfect day to filch material from my sister, respond to memories triggered by Chanandaler Bong, and spout a whole bunch of sense and nonsense. Buckle up ...



Chanandaler Bong speaks hilariously of the time she socked her brother in the nose during a car ride. Which reminds me of the time ... Cheech and I were driving me and my belongings in a mini-U-Haul up to Boston before my first year of law school. Somewhere along I-90, Cheech was picking his nose in the middle of our conversation; I turned my head and stared out the passenger-side window to give him some privacy during his excavation process. I turned back around when I thought a decent amount of time had passed, only to see Cheech flick his booger off the tip of his finger. Before I could duck for cover or offer him a Kleenex, the flicked booger -- A BIG WET BOOGER WITH A HORRIBLY DRY END -- landed on my BARE LEFT ARM. I saw the arc it made as it flew through the air of the U-Haul cab, and it was as if in slow-motion. Though I saw it coming, I could not move away.

And then once it landed, Cheech and I had such a riot laughing at it, sitting on my forearm, that I did not think to remove it for at least another three minutes.



TEN MORE . . .

Thanks, HaYoung, for another list. I love lists. Gimme more lists!

Ten People I'd Like to Meet (and I assume, have a beer, a coffee, a conversation with), in no particular order ...

1. My paternal grandfather: please tell me about North Korea, about your life, about how much you missed your wife and two sons, that you never ever forgot about them, and that you might have even been curious about the possibility of me.

2. Julia Roberts: please tell me that you really are normal and not snotty, and tell me some cool stories that I promise -- I promise -- I won't tell anyone else.

3. Jimmy Carter: the first American president I can remember from my childhood memories, please tell me about your time in office, your philanthropic work, your faith.

4. Bill and Hillary Clinton: people hate or love you, but I think you are among the smartest people in America and you must give good convo, so please, give me some.

5. Sarah Jessica Parker: please tell me that you'll play me in a biopic of my life.

6. St. Paul: so, uh .... please tell me about your life -- your amazing, faithful, hard, painful, redeemed life.

7. Jane Austen: please tell me how your characters came alive in your mind, how you got it all down on paper, and how witty you are.

8. The doctor who f*cked up my mother during her first C-section: please tell me how I can f*ck you up in return.

9. Laurie, from 8th grade: please tell me what I can say in apology to you for the way and the depth to which I hurt you with that one horrible, wretched comment I made that still rings loudly and clearly in my memory.

10. Any of my faceless blog friends: please tell me ... oh, I dunno. Tell me anything and everything you want to tell me. I'm listening.



(Disclaimer: it took me a really long time to put together my thoughts from last week's experiences into a coherent format. So many thoughts and feelings flowed in and out of me, and I confess that I had to write it all down in Word before transcribing it here. Even so, I feel dissatisfied. I wish that I had better words, better vocabulary, better insight into my own self, so that I could accurately convey and describe and show everything I want to say ... suffice to say that the following experiences were heart-changing.)

I spent nearly all of last Thursday and most of Friday night in the company of high school students. Thursday, Mrs.G invited me to come to her Canadian high school and speak to her two classes of seniors – AP English students preparing their college applications. Between these second and seventh period classes, I sat and gleefully watched Mrs.G teach her other classes, three periods of tenth graders. Friday night, I headed up to Stamford to watch Skater, a high-school junior, in his fall improv-comedy show. Were there ever two experiences so simultaneously joyful and painful?

I have a severely selective memory about my own high school experience. Few incidents stand pronounced in my memory; everything else is a blur. There was that time in the ninth grade, where I – neither popular nor unpopular, but mostly just a music and foreign language nerd – was walking down an empty hallway. Emily, the most popular girl in my grade, headed towards me. Life happened in slow-motion, and it dawned on me that she, for all of her confidence and bravado and security – surely she was secure in her immense popularity? – was avoiding my gaze, shifting uneasily even as she strode towards me, her shoulders back and her arms swinging bravely. I knew that we could pass each other without saying a word. We, two students in a teeny class of 182 students, would walk by each other in this long, empty, looming hallway, without a mutual hello, or even a glance or recognition. And I knew that our acquaintance, as fragile as it was, would be irrevocably injured. So I did it. At the moment she came close enough to hear me, I spoke forth: “Hey, Ems.” Shucks, I even called her by the nickname her closest friends used. My reward for such unprecedented ballsiness? A bright and thankful smile, a comfortable pause, a hello returned. And I resolved never to be bound by social boundaries again.

There was that time in junior year … heck, there was all of junior year. I thought I was a senior. My best friend was a senior and thanks to him, I was smuggled off-campus in the middle of the day in the back of his Jetta, the one in which I learned to drive standard. My best friend’s best guy friends treated me like their little mascot and I was more than happy to help steal the humongous cow statue from the local Ben & Jerry’s, or cajole our Orchestra director into signing fake cut-slips so we could cut class upon class upon class, and sit in his office eating cookies and playing on his computer, or tear up the clutches on their manual-drive cars while zipping around town … as a 14-year old driver with no permit and no adult supervision. I resolved never to play by the rules again, not if it meant sacrificing time with those I loved.

There was that time in senior year when I realized that I just didn’t care. I didn’t care that I was a total grind while my friends played their year away – I was loving my classes and my teachers too much to slack off. I didn’t care that I was a total music geek – singing and piano took over my life and I loved it. I didn’t care that my allowance didn’t enable me to buy the trendiest clothes – I was comfortable every day, and big fat ponytail never hurt anyone. I didn’t care that I was shorter than everyone, younger than everyone, more Asian than everyone around me – I was smart and loud, and that counts for a heck of a lot in most situations. I resolved never to be penned in again.

The past two days, I relived these times, these foundational moments that formed the concrete base of who I am now. I saw reflected in Mrs.G’s kids and in Skater’s friends everything that I had been, had let go of, had grown out of, had held onto for dear life.

Mrs.G’s tenth-graders shuffled into each class, heads bowed, arms laden with humongous binders. (Side note: all the girls carried binders, backpacks, and purses. What’s up with the purses?) Their clothes didn’t really fit all too comfortably; they were trying to hard to be trendy, pretty, handsome, cool. The girls were wearing just a touch too much makeup. The boys were not yet quite clean-complexioned. Awkward growth-spurts abounded. Conversation was not a skill yet acquired, but they were too old for child-like teasing. They had not yet learned to look a person in the eye when speaking or being spoken to. Peer pressure weighed heavier than self-assurance, so questions went unasked, confusion went unaddressed, and homework was bound to go uncompleted, through no fault of Mrs.G. Oh, my heart wrenched to see them thus, and I tried vainly to remember my own sophomore year … in the way I hope these students will, I must have blocked it out of my memory for I can conjure up not a single scene from 10th grade.

The seniors were a complete experiential turnaround. How easy it was for me to forget there was a twelve-year gap between us! They strode into classes with smiles upon their clean faces. Not a stringy hair was in sight. Clothes fit, and bucked any trend; nay, they were dressed as they wanted to be dressed, and nobody cared to say otherwise. (No purses either.) They looked me head-on, this strange woman standing in the front of their class, and nodded or said “hello,” even as curiosity and perhaps even excitement twinkled in their eyes. They chatted with Mrs.G, shot the breeze with each other, exuded confidence and security, however fleeting or fake. These kids knew what was up, and their sophistication was refreshing, not unnerving. I saw in them every single ounce of potential that adults hope to see in teenagers these days, and hearing their stories of accomplishment and responsibility borne lifted my spirits out of 10th-grade despondence. I struggled to remember: was I this capable and competent and attractive as a high-school senior? I dared to hope.

Skater’s friends – mostly girls, from what I could glean from the decibel level of shrieking voices – turned out to support him for his improv-comedy show. First of all, can I just say that I think it’s amazing that his high school even has an improv-comedy troupe. Second of all, Skater is one talented dude. It’s almost disturbing to see how comfortable he is on the stage, but not at all disturbing to see the depth and breadth of his adaptability, impeccable timing and lack of shame or pretense. I noted to myself that I must get his autograph now, before he really makes it big and becomes too busy to come back home to us. But I digress. The high school social event – be that as it may – is such an interesting thing to observe. Everyone wants to be heard. And in the presence of someone as popular and likeable as Skater, everyone – every girl at least – wants to be noticed. From the moment he and his troupe took the stage, the gals in the row in front of his mom and I started screaming and shrieking, nearly bobbing hysterically in their seats: “Skater! I love you! SKAAAATERRRR!” My word … I have vague memories of being like this and being so high-pitched, but I’m still in denial.

I saw how easy it is to be ignored as a teenager. One is not young enough to be coddled, but not old enough to be taken seriously by any great measure. And so it becomes imperative that one is seen socially. One must be visible, pretty, loud, popular, athletic, talented, a good dancer, dashingly witty, strikingly tall, adorably short. Something must set a teenager apart from the rest, so that he or she can be seen and heard and noted. I remember this, this longing to be visible, to be noticed, to be loved. I know I didn’t recognize these impulses in me at the time, but in hindsight – that ever perfect standard of vision – I see how my behavior was dictated by all of these things. To see myself of fifteen years ago reflected just the same in the faces, the body language, the pitch of the voices of teenagers today … it is remarkable how nothing has changed. Everything is the same.

I see also the teenagers at NHF. Three of them have told me in the course of the past year that when they grow up, they want to be just like me. What a burden! (And also … what a joy.) And so, I’ve been asking myself the same question for the past several months, and the loop is running faster and faster in recent days and weeks: what role must I play, CAN I play, in building up these teenagers, causing them to stand-up straight and look people in the eye, encouraging them to lessen the shrieking and increase the intelligent speech, spurring them to right action and thought that benefits more than just themselves, growing them into capable, caring, compassionate, strong adults who can change the course of this world?. I know it’s not incumbent upon only me to do these things. But my heart is so pulled by teenagers lately. I think of all the ways I was saved from myself and saved from being just like everybody else … my potential was channeled and it’s only right that I pay it forward, but how?

Sunday, November 6

RISE UP . . .

Screaming teeny-boppers aside, the David Crowder concert last night in Queens was pretty rockin'. Not as much of a worship-y evening as I had hoped, but still ... sometimes all you need is a good knee-slappin' blue-grassy hoedown ending to an evening. I know Mabel was in hog heaven over that.

Reverberating in my head still (in addition to the resonating bass still echoing as a result of sitting near the amplifiers): don't waste your life on anything but the Lord. Ain't that the truth ...

And ... the admonition to remember ...

You are my joy
You are my joy
You are my joy
You are my joy

Friday, November 4


Sometimes, when there is just too much on my mind, on my heart, and I can't parse through them coherently to relate them to those who care about me ... I turn to quizzes and other fun things that still stimulate my mind. Thanks to The Unlimited Mood and all who came before her, some good times for one with a sore throat and sleepy eyes on a Friday evening in New York ...

(P.S.: I am still relatively new to the World of La Blog. Can someone fill me in as to what a "meme" is? Sigh. I'm such a novice.)

01. When I was young... I read books more than I socialized with people, and I was generally a holy terror, albeit a very obedient one. That's the worst kind, isn't it? Smirk!

02. Although I love... looking at and playing with and being around large dogs, I will probably never own or be able to actually take care of one.

03. If I had the time...I would spend it all with those I want to be around the most, no matter what the clock read.

04. I almost... didn't go to the law school I went to. My life would not be my life right now. SHUDDER.

05. Contrary to the belief here in the Xangaworld... errr ... this ain't run off of Xanga, y'all.

06. I LIVE to... love friends and family, serve God, do justice, eat, giggle uncontrollably, entertain and be entertained, cook up a storm (very neatly, natch), read incessantly, make the world a better place.

07. I think it all started... when my crazy parents birthed me and dared to encourage me with "be loud and be proud." I prefer to think I'm all their fault, hee hee.

08. I immersed myself in... books, food, church, family, late nights with friends, Marlboro Lights 100s. And I have no regrets. Not even about those tasty Marlboro Lights 100s.

09. As some of you know... my bitchiness and hardness is a big fat front.

10. Although I... appear to be what I appear to be, you just have to look deeper to see what I actually am.

11. Besides home... what? As if. Oh alright, twist my arm: Block Island.

12. Although I love... driving, I don't love other drivers.

13. I LOVE... this amazingly blessed and full and hopeful life He has given me.

14. I actually LOVE... driving in Manhattan.

15. An overwhelming desire to do the right thing ... motivates everything I do and say, and when I fail in this, I feel every moment and instance of it like a boning knife twisting in my gut.

16. My favorite books in the Bible are... Psalms and the Gospel of Mark.

17. Perhaps it's due to... my epiphany in 9th grade, but I refuse to give into my own social awkwardness if I can help it.

18. I was once... highly immature, deeply insecure, incredibly shallow and stupidly naive. Work in progress, I suppose.

19. I know... some, but not nearly enough.

20. I am currently learning... how to show grace to others without needing to receive it from them first, realizing that I have His grace to give, and His grace is enough.
EEK . . .

I love these quizzes.
It's the labels I hate.
Totalitarian? Really?!

You are a

Social Conservative
(38% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

I'm a shrew. There are those in my world who will have a field day with this information ...

You are Katherina from Taming of the Shrew. You are
bold, independant and often very stubbon. It is
hard for you to find someone to share in your
active, often wild life. Any relationship you
are in must involve respect and equality. You
might argue with your partner, but these often
lead to a deeper understanding between the two
of you.

Which Shakespeare Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, November 1


Dinner at home is always sort of an event. I try to get home once a week to chill with the parentals, and it normally goes like this:

1. Chill with Omma and set the table.
2. Eat with Omma and Gran; have great conversations.
3. Appa comes home, so sit with him while he eats.
4. Be totally ignored by Omma and Appa while they talk and giggle about everything under the sun except me.
5. Wash dishes while Omma and Appa continue to gaze into each other's eyes and talk. Why did they want me to come home for dinner again?
6. Do miscellaneous things for Omma and Appa: reset computer passwords; download the latest iTunes; reset the heating system programs.

But dinner on special occasions, like last night, are a totally different experience. For on special occasions, Appa prays for the meal, out loud, for all of us. And you haven't heard anything until you've heard my father pray for a meal, pray for his family. It's not just because he prays in Korean -- formal Korean -- and everything just sounds better in formal Korean. I can't describe it ... it's just amazing and never fails to move my heart around the universe and back.

And then there's the birthday card. (Or, in the case of my father, who has only recently discovered the sheer joys of email, the additional birthday email.) Both my parents are suppressed writers, and their craft emerges in the birthday cards they write to Cheech and me. And so I haven't yet mustered up the heart, the courage, the Kleenex boxes required to read what they wrote to me in this year's card. But I did open an email from Appa, and once again ... I can't describe what I felt.

I can't realize your 30 years of life without thinking of our family's hard trying to settle down in this country.
Your 30 years' life exactly represents our family's history here.

My heart is too full.