12/18/2009 06:12:00 PM

becoming a hermit

And the finalists are...
CT VA (West Haven)
NJ VA (Newark & Lyons)
MD VA (Baltimore)
UMDNJ (Newark)
Montefiore (NYC)
Trinitas (NJ)
UMDNJ (Piscataway)
American Lake VA (Tacoma, WA)

8 is not bad. I was not aware of this until recently, but supposedly I applied to some of the really competitive VAs (West Haven & Baltimore) where if I get matched there, I will totally kick butt as a psychologist specializing in SMI. My professional self would love to go there, but my personal self prefers to stay in NJ/NY. We'll see.

With all the internship/dissertation stuff and my mind focused on the future, I've been feeling pretty tired. I used to love hanging out with people, but for the past month or so I noticed myself becoming more reclusive. I look forward to staying in on the weeknights and meeting with only 1-2 people tops on the weekends. Big groups tire me. It may also have to do with the Driscoll sermon I listened to on Christian friendship that made me realize I really don't have as many genuine friendships as I thought I did (and this was only affirmed when PW started his series on genuine fellowship that same week). What bothers me the most is that all this doesn't bother me much (makes sense?). I'm pretty much ok with seeing less people for now. Maybe it is partly because my life is in flux, and I'm holding my breath to see where I will be. Once I find out in February, then I will have to start making some big decisions.

For now I'm focused on developing the genuine friendships I have - the ones that are God-centered, not activity-centered - and waiting to see what unfolds for the next two years of my life. I wish I could sound more excited, but that's how tired I am. :P

12/14/2009 04:22:00 PM

Status so far

Internship interviews. I am in a state of 'controlled panic,' but still mostly at peace. I love God, and he is good.

Interviews completed:
CT VA (West Haven)
NJ VA (Newark & Lyons)

Interviews upcoming:
MD VA (Baltimore)
UMDNJ (Newark)
Montefiore (NYC)

Portland VA
Seattle VA
Boston Consortium
Bellevue (NYC)
St. Luke's (NYC)
Maimonides (NYC)
Coler-Goldwater (NYC)

Waiting to hear:
Trinitas (NJ)
UMDNJ (Piscataway)
Edith Nourse VA (Boston)
American Lake VA (Tacoma)

So I guess people are right when they say NYC is still psychodynamically oriented. Very much so. And except for Tacoma (and I'm totally expecting rejection from them), all the West Coast sites have turned me down. So God has definitely answered my prayers that he would close doors to places I 'should not' be for the next two years. It looks like I'll be sticking around the East Coast. Not sure how I feel about that yet.

12/11/2009 11:50:00 PM

Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to
If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade?

11/24/2009 11:37:00 AM

Being robbed of gratitude

Ironic that this week is Thanksgiving... because it feels like this week is when things start to snowball into big rolling boulders of stress, threatening to mow me over in an overwhelming cascade of grumbling and complaints. I mean, I know I'm neurotic by nature, but today I just needed to take a break from it all, breathe, and write in an attempt to organize my thoughts.

Some highlights:
- Condo fee going up (again) to $315/month. I hate being confrontational but 2010 may be the year I really have to make an effort to attend the condo meetings. We don't hear about any progress in trying to recoup money from the previous association that screwed us over. The irony is, they always tell us about the increase in the same letter where they wish us a happy holiday season. I keep having a mental picture of someone stabbing me in the back while wishing me a happy birthday at the same time.
- My master's manuscript which has underwent billions of revisions is still in limbo because all my 'co-authors' (meaning advisors, supervisors, etc.) cannot agree to just support me and let me submit the paper. Too many chefs in the kitchen for a dish that should have really been mine.
- Some departmental politics at UMDNJ, where this girl who doesn't know me at all is assuming things and telling my supervisor things about me and my co-workers that are untrue. I can't stand it when people use others to try to gain leverage in a department. To top it off, she will be there tomorrow when I run the social skills group for a second time with a bunch of psychotic schizophrenia patients.

All this has left me feeling impatient, fed up with people, and aggressive. I guess I should be thankful that I am feeling this way instead of depressed, insecure and down. It's better to be angry and productive than to be a steaming pile of uselessness. But as I sit here and think about everything I can be mad at, I also feel a spiritual component to all this, that there is something almost tangible in the air, tempting me to grumble, to complain, to treat others coldly and to assume the worst.

I'm not sure if this post has any point behind this, but I suppose I just wanted to share that if you are also feeling the same way -- that during the holidays when everything is supposed to be like it is on TV (families coming together, everyone laughing, no stress, huge gluttony and yet retainment of slim waistlines), that it is most likely also a spiritual battle. I know that lack of gratitude leads me to be annoyed with God and to discount all the blessings I've been given, and it's going to take effort for me to push back today through devos, prayer and listening to some solid Driscoll teachings. I hope if you're reading this that you pray for me, that I would learn to be patient, accommodating and grateful this week, and that you know I am praying for you as well. Don't let the world and Satan rob you of the precious gift of gratitude this season.

"Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." - Joshua 4

11/14/2009 04:17:00 PM

A million miles in a thousand years

"The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen" ~ Donald Miller (p. 106)

11/03/2009 10:48:00 AM

5 things

I haven't updated in awhile, so I'll blitz through the five things that are in my head right now:

  1. Halloween - In NYC was crazy. Never ever rely on the subway during Halloween. Super crowded, filled with skanky girls and drunkards. Steph noticed a lot of drunk girls crying on the streets. Some guy dressed up as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz tried to pick us up, asking if we wanted to go to Kansas with him. Good food made it all bearable (not good-for-you, but it-tastes-good variety). Nicky's Viet Sandwiches, Otakfuku, Crif dogs, PDT, Virage. My stomach misses living in Manhattan. But not my cholesterol count.
  2. Internships - Finally committed and pressed that "submit" button for places in NJ, NYC, West Haven, Boston, Baltimore, Portland, and Seattle. Scary to think I may not be here next year. Comforting to know God will never leave me to deal with changes and challenges by myself.
  3. Dissertation - need to get started on data analysis. I hate data analysis. You start out with predetermined steps then end up in a million directions if the data doesn't 'behave' the way one anticipates. But a necessary step I must complete before the end of this year.
  4. Singleness - For some time after August, I was pretty annoyed and sad about what happened in Vegas, but now it's so weird how mentality changes. Of course, I would still like to have a family someday, but for now I'm really enjoying not being in a relationship. This is (ironically and unexpectedly) creating some interesting developments as of late. Regardless, I am satisfied that my current focus is on God, family (spiritual and earthly), and career.
  5. Thanksgiving - I can't wait until the holiday season. Enough said.

The feeling I have is probably like what someone who is skydiving for the first time feels as they stand at the edge of the plane, waiting to leap. Scared out of their wits, but deep, deep down inside, quivering with excitement. Altogether, not an inappropriate analogy for how I feel about my life right now.

9/22/2009 01:04:00 PM


When I was younger I used to struggle so much with Christianity because so many things about it didn't make sense to me.

By God's grace, instead of walking away puffed up with the conclusion that "because it doesn't make sense to me, so I cannot believe," He gave me an insatiable appetite for the seemingly irrational. The more it challenged my pride and my understanding of the world, the more I dug in because I was intrigued.

I guess now in retrospect it's not so surprising that I am a psychologist.

I still don't consider myself mature in the faith; I have so many shortcomings that even now I cringe when I recall them. But, one thing I take delight in is the realization that I have at least gone deep enough in my walk to acknowledge that Christianity is real to me precisely because so much of it doesn't make sense to me.

The more education I have, the more books I read, the more papers I write, the more people I know, the more I see just how limited and small human reasoning is. How long has humanity struggled with life's questions and still haven't figured out the solutions? If human reasoning is all there is and all we need, disciplines like philosophy wouldn't even need to exist the way it does now. I think the evidence is clear that human reasoning is extremely limited (whether or not people choose to accept that is another question). So, if my logic and brainpower is so frail and transitory, how could I believe in an all-powerful, almighty God if I could make sense of every single thing he does? If I could provide clear-cut, cookie-cutter, well-fitted answers for every one of life's tough questions?

If I could do that, I would either be a very excellent BSer, or God would not be God.

I used to think that the more I wrestled with doubt, the more I would move away from God. So in the beginning, I shied away from thinking about the tough questions out of fear I would lose my religious identity, something that took years to build. But now, having locked arms with God, pushing back and being pushed, I find myself in a much more intense, enlightening, and warmer embrace of Christ than I ever have before.

9/16/2009 01:08:00 AM

sudden thought

It popped into my mind after I finished my Jeremiah chapters for today's devotions.

It would be a shame if I went back to Egypt. It would be so tempting but so stupid to choose immediate comfort over GOD, over perseverance. But how many times have I done that?

9/03/2009 09:17:00 AM

Village of 100

Don't know the source of these stats, but kind of interesting to think about.

One village of 100 people

World evangelism statistics: What would our world look like?
Raw population statistics overwhelm you. Here's one way of visualizing the world and its economic, housing, health, religious and educational needs:
Shrink the earth's population to one village of exactly 100 people. Apply the earth's racial, economic and other ratios to these 100 people. Here's how this village would look:

60 would be from Asia
12 would be European in origin
15 would have come from the Western Hemisphere (9 Latin Americans, 5 North Americans, and 1 from Oceania)
13 would be from Africa
Sex / Gender:
50 would be female
50 would be male
Skin color
80 would be non-white
20 would be white
67 would be non-Christian
33 would label themselves as "Christian"
20 people would be receiving almost 90% of the village's total income
25 would live in substandard housing
17 would not be able to read at all
13 would be malnourished
Life and death
1 would die within the year
2 would give birth within the year
2 would have a college education
4 would own a computer

8/27/2009 11:59:00 PM

"secular" songs make the best praise songs.

When the rain
Is blowing in your face
And the whole world
Is on your case
I could offer you
A warm embrace
To make you feel My love

When the evening shadows
And the stars appear
And there is no one there
To dry your tears
I could hold you
For a million years
To make you feel My love

I know you
Haven't made
Your mind up yet
But I would never
Do you wrong
I've known it
From the moment
That we met
No doubt in My mind
Where you belong

I'd go hungry
I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling
Down the avenue
No, there's nothing
That I wouldn't do
To make you feel My love

The storms are raging
On the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
Though winds of change
Are throwing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing
Like Me yet

I could make you happy
Make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends
Of the Earth for you
To make you feel My love

8/26/2009 04:32:00 PM

i <3 Taylor Swift, but not her fans

At this point, most people living on Planet Earth have heard me announce this in repeated excitement over the last week - I was in the MTV VMA's video shoot for Taylor Swift's performance in September. It took place last night and lasted until around 1 in the morning... which is why now I'm totally hooked on coffee.

So, Jen and I got to the Grand Hyatt an hour early and made it into the shoot (they turned a significant amount of people away). We were part of the extras that scream and chase Taylor out of a subway station. Unfortunately, we were not dressed skanky enough to get into the more elite group of individuals who got to pose inside the subway car with Taylor before she gets chased. I kid (kinda). It seemed like selection was somewhat random but 'dressier' girls do seem to get picked more, as do guys. I guess my skinny jeans just didn't cut it, although I had a high school girl comment that she couldn't understand how I didn't get picked because she liked my top. I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment. I guess I will since we were told to look 'between 18 and 25.' :P

Here are some things I learned through the totally brainless video shoot:
  • It's cool to do once, but it's not as cool as people think. We practiced running/screaming up the Grand Central platform staircase multiple times. PRACTICED. SCREAMING. RUNNING UP THE STAIRS. Seriously? My IQ lowered with each practice run. And the whole night was a lot of waiting. A shoot in the NYC subway in mid-August surrounded by prepubescent girls totally either builds your physical/mental character, or destroys it. >:P
  • Privileged HS girls are failwhales. I will need God's grace to perform a miracle should I ever need to minister to girls from upper West side who go to "like, every single Jonas Brothers/Miley Cyrus concert ever" and then criticize other girls for doing the same thing. Also catty girls who made snide comments about other girls (whether or not they deserved it). More than once I was tempted to either ask them to keep their lips sealed, or push them onto the subway track (don't worry, I did neither!). And once Jen and I almost got bulldozed by this petite Latina chick who was screaming out to touch Taylor at the end of a practice run. I was in serious fear for my safety!
  • I am old. Seriously, maybe I left YG at the right time. I couldn't really find any common ground whatsoever to get to know the high schoolers at my table. But I do think urban youths have different needs than suburban ones.
  • Taylor Swift is sweet. And also pretty in person. I gave her a high-five, but it was more like a soft hand grab. A girly, gentle, lady-like high-five.
  • Entitlement is a sneaky sin. At first, people were excited just to make it in. As the night dragged however and some got into the subway car shoot, people became disgruntled, envious and impatient. And I found myself thinking the same way too, before realizing what I was doing. It is so easy to have a sense of entitlement creep up on me. I need to practice gratitude for everything I am given in life. I truly believe now that gratitude is a discipline and not just an attitude.
Overall, I liked being part of the shoot just to see what it was like, and although I understand the hype (I WILL be watching the VMAs to see if I made it into 0.00005 ms of the shoot :P), it was totally an experience in which I stared at popular culture, stardom, celebrity, and realized... not my slice of pie. I didn't like the feeling of being swept up in something because everyone else is, and over something that deep in my gut I felt was completely inconsequential to things that really mattered. But I still have the choice now to attend the VMAs itself, since I was part of the shoot... and I am still planning to go. Even after all that deep stuff, I still want to meet Beyonce! I think everyone knows that I'm not deep MOST of the time. :P

8/21/2009 08:48:00 AM


I had a dream last night where I was auditioning for America's Next Top Model. I had to learn a simple dance routine that I completely bungled when it came time to the actual performance. Come to think of it I think it was a dance pattern I learned in a fitness class. Anyway, I hid behind a group of really good-looking girls while waiting for the results and got through to the next round. I became really excited and couldn't believe my fortune -- same for my friend in the dream. Then they announced for the next audition we had to sing Lady Gaga songs, and I was like "Crap! I can't sing!" Then I woke up.

I'm not really sure what to make of this dream; I have no desire to enter ANTM. Maybe my brain somehow crossed its wires with the shoot for the VMAs I'm going to this Tuesday. That should be exciting. :)

I wish though my dream had more meaning, e.g. Joseph's dreams, but for me. Each time I hit the pillow I have a wild hope that perhaps God will speak to me through my dreams and grant me some peace via divine insight, but it never happens. So, ok, I get it - I need to exercise my faith and step out on the water - but would it really hurt to give a girl some supernatural boost?

And I also wish that in real life, you can be carried to success in the shadow of talented people. It's unfair but it's true.

Oh well. Totally random.

8/11/2009 09:18:00 PM

i want THIS kind of faith.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

I will love You
I will trust You
Even if not.

Habakkuk 3 & Daniel 3

8/05/2009 11:49:00 AM

#11, 15, 39, 40

Since I have some time to reflect on all the things that's happened since last August, I think I will actually take a rare moment of introspection and really force myself to put into words how far (or not far) I think I have come.

I don't particularly look forward to doing this since I have a tendency to remember pain quite well while forgetting the happy parts of my past, but here goes:

Last August: I was completely crazy. Unmet needs/expectations coupled with desperation and a mostly immature kind of love makes a really really bad combination. I did a lot of things that now I wince at and wished I had not done so that I could have preserved even just an ounce of dignity. While I think it is true that choosing pride over love is probably the stupidest thing a person can do, there is a fine but clear line between pride and dignity. And I totally threw away my dignity. When I sacrificed my dignity and received nothing but a mutilated mess formerly known as Self-Respect in my hands, that was the start of what I am going to call a "MAJOR POOP PERIOD" of my young adult existence.

August - December: I remember having enough strength to play the strong 'Christian woman/church intern' on the outside, but constantly crying every time I met up with PW to discuss my spiritual progress. Anger eventually replaced some of the grief as I railed against the people who were making my life even more miserable by their opposition to the vision I had for my internship, for the church and for what I thought was the best I could offer to the congregation. That was a REALLY hard period of my life. I think I lost some weight then. :P The good parts: Discovering the divine joys of running, being forced to lean on nothing, no one but Christ, because I had no choice, the development of a deeper faith as I chose to believe in Christ despite the turbulence in my heart.

Jan - March: The upswing! Working hard at the internship, and starting to be less judgmental and more patient with others. I think I still suffered some bouts of insecurities and loneliness then, but it was nowhere as bad as the previous months. Praying more to God, discovering the joys of learning more about him and returning to a more consistent mode of QTs.

March - July: Promising rise. Things seemed to be falling into place. The future was uncertain, but I was excited. I enjoyed praying for others and sharing with others what I've learned. And by this point I was definitely over last August. I knew by this time what I was ready for and felt like I knew more about myself. In ministry I will always be driven, discerning, preferring to cut to the truth and sharp "like a surgical knife" as PW puts it. I probably do that to a lesser extent with my friends. And I definitely do that at work. But I know I do not want to do that in my home life. I am a psychologist and scientist in work and ministry, but at this point I know that what I am looking for in a marriage and family is an opportunity for me to just be a supportive partner that simply delights in letting the man lead and pampering him. Yes, pamper. Of course there is partnership, but I don't want to lead in a marriage, only to serve. I don't know if this is 'biblical,' but that is what I realized about myself. That there is a clear difference in what I value in ministry (in myself) and what I value in my future home life.

Now: Deja vu! Deja vu! And not in a good way. I smacked my face against the proverbial wall of reality. I was totally ignorant of it until it socked me in the gut, leaving me breathless and wondering just why I seemed to be thrust in such a similar position as I was last summer. Different, but the same. But God is so good. I don't know why things happen the way they do. I would hope this did not happen just to 'test' me. I like to think that this was going to happen anyway, but that in God's grace He allowed me this time to react differently. Classy, not crazy, as Greg Behrendt would put it. Even if you think the other person is BSing you (or BSing themselves), or if you think they have hurt you unfairly and treated you without courtesy, act classy. For me, classy = be like Christ. Humble, suffering without hysteria, compassionate, just in His criticism of flaws, but always loving. Always wanting the other person to grow, to know God and to be filled with joy. Disappointment may abound, but my dignity is intact and my soul is right with God as I strive to focus on the good, on forgiveness, and whatever is 'praiseworthy' instead of what is sad and angry. And learning to respect a person's divine ability to choose, even if I do not agree, is one of the hardest and most precious lessons I've learned thus far. I learned it last year; I practiced it this time. Instead of losing myself in that dark hole again, I'm going to hang on to the cross and lean into the dip. The more I allow myself to wrestle through disappointments and doubts, to lean into this dip, the more momentum I'll gather for the upswing. And the peak will be higher than before.

The only difference between a lump of coal and a diamond is this: A diamond becomes what it is through time + pressure. It is funny, because I heard that in a sermon I listened to on Sunday. And a month ago, PW remarked that whether I believe it or not, I am a jewel that God is refining in the fire. I have faith that he is right (but maybe a cheaper jewel, like cubic zirconia :P) That's why I've been saying, it's been one of the most disappointment times I've had recently, but probably one of the best weekend I've ever had in my whole life. I think I still struggle with what people say about my calling, about who I am, and my fears that although I'm frequently called 'unique' or 'special' (not THAT kind of 'special,' OK) that actually works against me in some areas of my life. But I just gotta have faith that I was made by God this way for a reason and that I will be loved this way. I think there are some negative aspects of me that I have to work on, but I hope I resist the temptation to change ME.

Thanks for all of my close friends who have prayed for me, who love me and have been so encouraging. I hope to talk to you face-to-face in the future and share in more detail (a semi-public blog does not encourage me to get all Oprah tell-all about some things out of respect for others.) As Pastor Tim says, "Lean in!"

P.S. So to add to my conviction that God is totally shouting "I AM HEEERRE!", as soon as I finished this post, "Everything Is Beautiful" starting playing on my iTunes. That's the song that got me through last year's MAJOR POOP PERIOD. Listen to it if you haven't already. :D

8/03/2009 06:45:00 PM

Not Afriad

I heard this song when I was driving in Vegas. Really catchy song! I think I might just start to like some Christian rock ;)

Written By: Stephanie Smith, Jamie Moore, Aaron Rice

Verse 1:
Sorry its over I think it’s the best thing for now I’m takin’ the memories Don’t wanna leave them all behind… Some were good, some were bad Some were in between But I gotta do what’s right for me

I’m not afraid to walk away Let me go for the last time Finally got it straight for the first time Not afraid cause I know He’s there to meet me So I’ll be gone, I’ll be gone, But not alone, alone

Verse 2:
I hate how it happened But it just wasn’t supposed to be Lets not talk about it Cause always lookin’ back Won’t change a thing Leave the good, leave the bad, And the in between I’m gonna do what’s right for me

It may not be easy Cause at its best, life is still hard But He is with me, And I am not alone

7/14/2009 02:50:00 PM

in all the low places

Greece was fantastic. What else to say? It's the kind of experience that is best shared over a cup of coffee at Starbucks, narrating through photos. Definitely not as suitable for writing about in a blog that maybe ten people read (if I'm lucky).

One thing that I really appreciated about Greece was its history. Perhaps the reason why I am not as drawn to places like Bermuda and the Caribbeans but really attracted to places like Rome and Cairo. The ruins and the architecture... it's all very Indiana Jones kind of romantic. As I reflected on all the places we visited in Greece, from the Acropolis in Athens to the island of Delos, it's clear that people back then were intensely devout to have built such majestic temples in high places. The hikes themselves were challenging enough. At one point I thought I would have definitely been an atheist back then because 'going to the temple' 4-5k years ago in Greece is not the same as hopping into my air-conditioned car and driving to an air-conditioned church. I admire their dedication, their faith, their fear of the divine and unknown.

It also made me intensely appreciative that God is not a god who we have to strive to reach in the high places, but that he meets us at the lowest places of our hearts. Climbing the Acropolis, scaling Mount Kynthos, peering off the edge of the cliff at Sounion made me realize how special and unique Jesus is, that he is God reaching into the muck of our lives, digging around in the dirt, doing all the sacrificing and all the work, building holy temples not in mountains and physical places but in the recesses of our often deceitful and weak hearts, hearts that are cold and inhumane in our callous selfishness, our ignorance of others, our tendency to put 'me, me, me' first.

It is so ironic that by taking the initiative, by humbling Himself, Jesus has taken away any claims - however facetious - we have of protesting that we deserve salvation because we build temples for Him in all the 'high places' of our lives. He strips all the lies away and shows us our utter dependence on Him, and at the same time His amazingly abundant love for His darkest and most cherished creations. He lays the foundations of the holy temple in the corners of our desert hearts.

Now I understand why, as I stood at the beach of Mykonos at night, this thought came to my mind:

Jesus is more divine than I will ever know, and more human than I will ever be.

6/12/2009 05:07:00 PM

July will rock!!!

Here's why.

6/25-7/01: Mom and Grandma visiting New Jersey. I have not seen my grandmother in at least 3 years. It will be a pleasure to see her again and attempt to converse with her in my heavily accented, infantile Cantonese.

7/3-7/13: Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini. Architecture, mythology, history, beaches, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I will be playing the part of the quintessential sidekick/3rd wheel, albeit a totally awesome one of course.

7/18: Liz and Kirby's wedding. I can't think of a couple who is more deserving of happiness. Time to boogie down with old MOBstas and get my jiggy on.

7/27-8/3: Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be like The Hangover, but less raunchy and more "all the single ladies!", as some other friends will also be there the same weekend. Fun!

Nice summer to prepare for internship applications and whatever the uncertain (but exciting?) future brings.

5/26/2009 08:00:00 PM

Quest the incubator

Back from Quest. Pretty good, lots to think about... but everyone is preoccupied with the flu (strain A or something?) that is making its rounds among all the attendees of the youth track, sgls and youths alike.

I got lucky in the sense that a) I didn't start feeling sick until after I taught my first lecture class (ever!) this morning and b) my symptoms (so far) is a persistent cough, general feeling of fatigue, a feverish feeling, disturbed sleep, and some joint pain. My condolences to those who are vomiting/have migraines/can't eat/can't sleep, etc.

The general worry is of course, swine flu. Most likely just a flu-ish bug that is being spread, but that's the worry that people seem to have right now.

Even as I'm sitting here in my bed exhausted beyond all belief, I am still a geek. I find myself wondering how awesome it would be if I can somehow retrospectively create a map tracking the spread of the virus, starting from the youth who collapsed on the last day and seeing how it contaminated others (-if- he's the origin).

I'm so nerdy.

But also sad now, since I had to throw out the rest of my Sour Patch Kids (I shared them with the SGLs yesterday... more than one contaminated hand was in the bag!)

My sour patch children... the silent casualties of this whole pandemic.

All joking aside, even though we're all suffering from some symptom or another, it is worth it for the glory of Christ. You shall not shake us Satan! :shakes fist:

"I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness." - 2 Corinthians 11

If I complain now, Paul will call me a wuss in heaven. That won't be happening, no sir.

5/06/2009 03:48:00 PM

Creative excuses I've heard during my teaching career

Here are all the popular excuses I've gotten so far from undergraduates, hoping that I will give them a grade they didn't work for, in order of WTF ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!:

  1. Death of a loved one - "I thought it'd be ok for us to plagarize off of each other, since our relative/friend/significant other passed away, and we were so stressed out. We were sure you'd understand!"
  2. I am in therapy - "I am hoping you may pass me with a temporary fail and grant me sufficient time to rectify my situation. Attached is an insanely general and vague email from some therapist with a Masters degree in EDUCATION saying that I have depression and anxiety issues, and therefore should be excused from missing all the labs this semester, not responding to your emails, ignoring my warning grade, and not bothering to come to you until there is one week left in the semester."
  3. I am a senior - "I know I was a total slacker this semester, but oh I am a senior and oh this is the last class I need to graduate and oh if you can just give me at least a C or something even though I know I don't deserve it and oh if you can just do that I would be eternally grateful to you and will sing your praises to all humanity and name my firstborn after you oh I would so appreciate it."
  4. It's Sakai's fault - "Professor Grace I swear I submitted all my assignments on time, I don't know why Sakai rejected all my assignments, I didn't know until I checked today that I got Fails in all my work (even though you told us to check routinely and come speak to you with any discrepancies), but yeah well here is what I have and I hope you'll just take all my work that's 10 weeks late and give me a good grade, kthxbye."

I'm sure as I teach I'll get increasingly creative ones. Looking forward to it!

4/29/2009 08:45:00 PM

serious, serious trouble

after discussion with some girlfriends, there are three things in life that serves as our achille's heel (heels?), kryptonite (kryponites?) and water (waters?)

1. God
2. food
3. boys who play the guitar and sing. well. brilliantly. melting-girls-to-puddles kind of awesome.

1 is ok to have to have as a weakness, 2 is mildly ok to have, and 3 is trouble. serious, serious trouble. that's why i should stop watching youtube.

4/22/2009 10:35:00 PM


It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Philippians 1 and Matthew 7, respectively.

Paul... you are one cool guy! "Because of this I rejoice." That's insane. And when Jesus gave that sermon, I always imagine him affectionately but firmly chastising his followers. I don't know why I think that. Maybe from watching some Jesus movie when I was a kid? Matthew 7 totally saved my butt today when I was working with one of my patients for the last time. She came in all pissed off about everyone... I started getting pissed off at her for being so judgmental... and then this verse came to me. And I began to see her as someone who was really "lost and harassed, like sheep without a shepherd." And although I did not lose the thought that I still think she is misled, I was able to have more compassion for her and responded to her differently. Despite my 'Christian' tendency to want to nail in her head the 'reality' or truth of the situation.

The way that God works sometimes does not fit into my nice-and-clean box I have defined for him.

And this is the verse that brings tears to my eyes, every time I read it and think about the state of the church and the hope Jesus had for us:
"Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." - John 17:11

4/21/2009 09:12:00 AM

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Sunday I won a game of horse. In skirts and heels!

I guess if I were playing against more competitive people that would have never happened, but since it was a very friendly game...

But it was funny how divine retribution plays out. Especially after SOMEONE said, "But I'm going to destroy you" after I suggested playing...

...And props to Allan, Kai, & Henry for fixing my bathtub faucet (I was really impressed and pleasantly surprised :P)... now I don't have to be driven insane by the constant dripping sound. Guys who are good around the house are really cool. Curiously guys who tend to be good around the house don't live with their parents. An observation of a correlation.

I'm just sayin'.

4/14/2009 03:53:00 PM

one of my pet peeves is...

...bad grammar.

No, fate will not have 'it's' way with me, until he takes some lessons in basic English and learn the difference between possessive 'its' and the shortened form of 'it is.'

By the way, the "oh SNAP!" picture of the day:

4/10/2009 06:50:00 PM

i'm no better, but infinitely better

4/07/2009 11:26:00 PM

Items in my life that gives most "bang for its buck"

1. Riding boots that I've had since sophomore year in college
2. Mini George Foreman Grill
3. White Forever 21 scarf
4. MacBook
5. Carmen
6. Lint rollers
7. Bootleg China suitcase I've used for everything, from travel to laundry to transporting tests as a TA
8. Rice
9. Faculty/Staff parking pass for Rutgers
10. Jesus... or eternal salvation... best deal ever

Things that I find give the least 'bang of its buck' when guys who are usually passive get their boxers all tangled up in a knot defending
1. iPhone
2. iPhone
3. iPhone

I don't mind if you like your iPhone, but if I don't see that same type of zealous energy you display when I say the iPhone is lame applied to doing God's work or serving in ministry, then your argument is moot for me.

As Lent comes to an end and materialism rears its ugly head again, I'm reminded that I already have the newest, best, and most 'revolutionary' gift of all, the love of Christ.

And that is one gift that is fully deserving of my praise, energy and attention.

3/30/2009 02:33:00 PM

I quit playing wow 3 months ago

This has some truth to it

There is totally no point to this post, except to brighten up the day of any nerds who may be reading this. Or I guess if you are a hard-core WOWer, make you extremely annoyed.

Last night I played Street Fighter IV for the first time. I totally believe that your character's appearance affect your ability and skills. When I played Rose:
I sucked to high heaven.

But when I played Cammy:
The image “http://content.mahalo.com/images/8/80/Street_Fighter_4_Cammy_pkf_21309.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
I did much, much better.

I really believe that's because Cammy's beefy legs and obvious confidence in herself, as displayed at her ability to fight in a thong, inspires to overcome my adversary through energetic button-mashing.

I would like to play Street Fighter IV again.

3/22/2009 11:31:00 PM

Spring Break Haiku, a spontaneous ode

My spring break has passed
And I didn't get stuff done
How could this happen

I worked so hard but
Still so much more work to do
Time waits for no one

So I should begin
Finish what I half-started

Stop writing haikus
Grace it's Sunday night at ten
You better move it

I mean it you punk
Writing bad poems wastes time
It makes readers cry

Ok I will stop
Dear readers you now all know
I got more to do

So have a good week
Work hard, play hard, and rest hard?
I use toilet now.

3/18/2009 06:44:00 PM

A random snippet of spring break to-dos

A real taste of my life a la spring break

Already done:

  • Doctor's for checkup: she says my 'food poisoning I-am-going-to-kill-myself symptoms this hurts so much' episodes can be attributed to hormones, so maybe I just need to keep track of my cycles carefully and lay off heavy foods during that time. She also says I have tendonitis on my left index finger. This is obviously because I am a ninja and kill people with one finger. I mean, seriously, what? How? Why? Ugh.
  • Eye doctor's for checkup: she says my tears are 'sticky' and have more protein/fat deposits than typical, which results in easy clogging of my tear ducts and drying out of my contacts. She also said color contacts for someone with my degree of astigmatism costs $300. Great.
  • Random food-related errands
  • Bought my tv converter box, waiting for it to come in
  • 'Group hang out but not really the truth is I'm really introducing you to a guy' kind of thing completed. Nothing happened. Was fun though.
  • Bought shoes for Friday, silver and cute but set me back $40. This was allowed because I really DID need shoes for Friday.
  • Semi-broke my Lenten fast of shopping... ok so I bought a sunny yellow dress for $7.45 at Filene's. And a jacket on sale for $16.99 at Forever21. But given that I used a gift card for one and returned something at UO for a similar value, it's almost like I didn't shop. Right? Right?
Still to do:
  • Labcorp blood/urine test, 7 am to beat insane crowds
  • Photoshoot on Friday with Tribe 5 girls, which means additional hygienic maneuvers pre-shoot are necessary (e.g. shaving extra carefully)
  • Buy Johnson's Baby Shampoo for new daily habit of rinsing out tear ducts
  • Vacuum & Pledge
  • Buy new glasses. Time to look smart.
  • Buy more face toner; I go through these like alcoholic goes through beer
  • Finish AA/NA/Al-Anon paper; drop off key for RAs; look at preliminary dissertation data; work on gambling paper manuscript; enter some PCLT data; update my alcohol self-monitoring project (topic: facebook)
  • Look over Sunday School materials
  • Shooting range Saturday, birthday celebration Sunday(?)
  • Cry over my lack of time to get anything done
  • Thank God for spring 'break'

3/09/2009 09:50:00 AM

Here's what i hope to happen for spring

1. Tackle something else on my bucket list (green thumb, perhaps)?
2. By the end of May, cleanly finish my data collection with sanity intact
3. Make more money (somehow, somewhere, through God all things are possible, etc.)
4. Mourn and then process the fact that Nicholas Kristof is going on another win-a-trip journey with another student somewhere in the country, then firming up my resolve to apply next year
5. Carmen will stop shedding
6. I start running regularly again (fake, slow running.... what I do should not be construed as athletic running)
7. Forgive, forgive, forgive
8. Wrap up my tenure as SH counselor on a high note.
9. NOT get into any more trouble at RCCC.
10. -SECRET!- pending future developments.

What are your hopes for spring? Spring is my favorite season, because it starts to get warm and cheery and there's a general feel of rebirth in the air... and allergens.

2/25/2009 12:34:00 PM

Fashion, Continued

Hosiery with holes.

Just..... no.

In other news, sometimes I wonder why I have everything together except for

ONE thing

and that ONE thing can turn me into an angry, vindictive mess.

PW is probably right, I will have to tackle it sooner or later. But right now I'm engaging in avoidance, which, ironically, is what I accuse the other party of doing.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't a psychologist; it is so much easier to live in complete ignorance.

Dying to the flesh is ridiculously painful, sometimes.

2/20/2009 12:05:00 AM

Things guys should never wear

1. Wife beaters alone = trashy look
2. V-cut fitted t-shirt, showing man cleavage
3. Briefs, too tight may lower your "fertility count"
4. Plain white dress shirt with blue lines for a wedding... Chinese boys do this. It bores girls.
5. Polo or any shirt with unbuttoned buttons without an undershirt.... no one wants to see chest hair peeking out
6. Popped collar, what is this, 1995
7. White suit, unless you're in a musical
8. Sweats unless you're working out... otherwise it's just frumpy, and you will only attract frumpy girls
9. White socks with black shoes, which is UTTER BLASPHEMY
10. Insert your own here

2/12/2009 11:48:00 PM


Awhile back I found this cool deal to buy $25 restaurant certs for $3 each. So being Chinese, I went all out and bought a lot of them without thinking about just when I might get to spend them. Now I am burdened with the heavy heavy calling to use all my gift certificates. So I had to wring Irene, Ruth & Elaine's arms to be my dates and to accompany me to Makeda's for Ethiopian food, which I've never tried.

It took some convincing, obviously. I am lucky I have such patient and generous friends. It is not easy to eat with me, since I tend to talk a lot. And people who talk a lot tend to have very stupid things come out of their mouths. The grace of God is truly manifest in my friends.

It's pretty easy to sum up Ethiopian food. At least for me -- it felt like I was eating Indian food. But with my hands and using sourdough crepe. Some of the meats were interesting. Most of them were really good, but two tasted like used coffee grinds. Weird, huh?

One thing I realize... Proverbs totally got it right. Good company makes food so much more enjoyable. Sucky company, on the other hand, totally gives you emotional (and sometimes physical) diarrhea. Ick.

1 certificate down... 4 more to go? 4 more dates with more girl friends. Too bad we don't have a witty equivalent to the male term "bromance." I would so be using it right now.

2/09/2009 03:21:00 PM

The world's an ugly, ugly place

For those who are not as 'culturally savvy' (or nosy in other terms), I've been following the story of Chris Brown and Rihanna since it unfolded last night around Grammys time. For those who you who don't know, these are both singers. Their relationship has been well documented by tabloid and other more 'reputable' media.

Apparently Chris Brown was arrested last night on charges of domestic violence toward an 'unnamed' female. So, although it may be obvious for some people to jump to conclusions, the name of the victim was never supposed to be released because the law protects the identity of domestic abuse victims. But surprise surprise, it didn't take long for tabloids to do some snooping around and identify the alleged victim as Rihanna.

Being a volunteer advocate on the SART (sexual assault response team) on campus, I have very heated thoughts about how there is apparently no respect for Rihanna's privacy, but as a Christian, I am even more deeply grieved at some of the comments people leave on sites that published the story. Here are some choice snippets:

'There is no way Chris Brown did any of this...if anything he was probably fighting her off. I have heard she super jealous and quite a drama queen...we'll see when the truth comes out!'
"He's a typical n_____."
"Um, bite marks....... sorry to say, but it sounds like Chris may have been defending himself. That is usually how someone is bitten. I think it is funny that we all assume that Chris is the offender here. Women go crazy and start fights ALL THE TIME! If she was trying to push at him and hit him and he was trying to defend himself, then she would be the one with all of the marks....not him."

Then there are the occasional crude umbrella jokes and some misogynistic remarks.

What is it about technology that allows people to be so mean to people they've never known? To make snap judgments? To feel that they have leeway (because of "anonymity") to write racist or sexist comments? I suppose the bigger question is, is there anything sacred anymore in this age where we are all technologically connected? Do we still respect a person's right to privacy or due process? I can either think of this as people just not being aware of how they act when they are not seen, or I can see this as an indicator of people's true nature. As much as I wish I could think it's just the former I keep assuming it's the latter.

What really saddened me the most is when issues of privacy come up then people engage in victim blaming. "Then she should have never pursued such a public career to begin with.' What? So Rihanna's choice of career path justifies others' insensitive, judgmental attitude on her current situation?

And by using Rihanna, don't think I'm making any statements about Chris Brown in any way. I feel for him too, and by how trapped and upset they must both be feeling.

Have you ever thought about how technology makes people lose their sense of propriety and decency?

2/02/2009 05:46:00 PM


This past Saturday, I participated in the Don't Walk By Campaign (http://www.dontwalkby.org/), an outreach event for the homeless in Manhattan.

I was not too happy the night before I hear that temperatures were going to be in the 20s and that we would be out walking, combing the streets of Harlem for homeless in the bitter cold.

(As an aside: Why hello again Riverside Drive, I thought I left you and your bone-biting winter chill years ago when I graduated from Barnard, but I guess not.)

Covered in layers of clothing, ski jacket, hat and gloves (I really wished I had a ski mask though, it got so cold talking felt like I was doing it with Novocaine), we ventured out for about 3 hours in search for people who needed a warm place to stay for the night.

We did not come across many people as it was so cold that many of them were hiding out at Penn Station and other subway stops (and there were other teams who were assigned subway stations), but on the whole I was very glad that I participated in this event. I think just by being part of it helped me to realize the need in the city and how easily it is to not even notice the homeless once you start ignoring them. And I feel by doing this campaign that it has made it more easily for me to start seeing these people as people in the future.

But being faced with such poverty really is a 'make or break' moment. Do I believe that despite the limited things I can do that God is good? Do I believe God is bigger than poverty? Do I believe that good is going to win in the end?

These questions were on my mind at the end of the night as I stood in the crowded church. All of a sudden, I noticed a volunteer put her arms gently around a tired, dirty, and unshaven old man as he eagerly sifted through the volunteer lanyards to keep a couple for himself. She smiled and patiently waited for him to pick two he liked, even though they were all the same. I kept watching and took in her clean white coat, her put-together appearance, her blonde hair, her height, her white skin, her all-togetherness, and I watched as she without reservation interacted with the dirty smelly old dark-skinned homeless man. I felt all at once proud, shy, ashamed of myself, inspired, tired, and happy at the same time.

And I decided the answer was "Yes."

1/30/2009 11:21:00 AM

I understand all the jokes.

I'm such a geek.

P.S. Note to self - more books to read to develop a theology of suffering (as a single person in ministry):
All Things For Good - Thomas Watson (Romans 8:28)
The Divine Decrees - Jonathan Edwards (essay)

1/27/2009 09:05:00 PM


As part of Rutger's ridiculously smart decision (from both a marketing standpoint and a student perspective), RU recreation started offering "Dollar Menu"classes in which for a buck, you can try a bunch of one-time classes ranging from needlepoint to basket weaving.

I picked "Crisis Intervention for Women," aka self-defense. There is irony in the name "crisis intervention" especially since as a shrink in training it means something completely different. But this "crisis intervention" essentially means beating the crap out of your attacker, and I think it has its merits in specific situations.

Anyway, it was fun to learn some basic moves and get to practice them (gently) on another student. The instructors (a cop and a martial artist) taught us a variety of moves that I hope never to have to use, including:

Eye gouge
Nostril hook
Throat punch
Over-the-shoulder throw

And some others. Anyway, I basically learned that sometimes you want to do actions that are counter-intuitive in order to inflict the most damage on an attacker. And that you should always scream your shrieky head off when confronted regardless of what the attacker threatens you with, including guns and knives.

The instructors seemed very knowledgeable and obviously comfortable with their masculinity. At one point one of them lay on top of the other as if he was sexually assaulting him. Unfazed, the one on the back wrapped his legs around his partner and pulled him closer. The point was to emphasize that actually pulling an attacker closer to you takes him by surprise and actually puts you in control of the position, but I think all the girls in the room was... distracted at that point. Heh.

The teachers said if the class gets picked up as a full-course at RU they would be able to allow us to wail on them while they wear protective suits, and train us to feel comfortable with screaming our heads off. Sounds good to me!

Most Memorable Advice: "You don't want to just kick, you want to grab it... and then yank as hard as you can." Priceless.

1/26/2009 04:58:00 PM


This past weekend, I went to try snowboarding for the first time at Hunter Mountain.

So, I still don't know how to stop yet without landing on my butt, but at least I can kind of stay up for ~10 secs or so until I see an obstacle (e.g. a sign, a tree, a crying child). Then I try to stop and end up falling on my butt.

I'm glad though for people who pushed me to learn on green vs. bunny. If I stayed on bunny I think I would've quit early and called it a day.

And ladies: there is no better test to gauge a guy's character, than to see who stays behind to help you learn when they are tempted with the call of the mountain (I was going to say "call of the wild," but I thought that may be misconstrued as to mean "toilet," so I didn't).

1 down.... 50ish to go?

1/26/2009 04:34:00 PM

Books to read

So I can feel smart, in a good way (not in a I-have-to-read this for grad school kind of way):
Tony Campalo - Adventures in Missing the Point
Jhumpa Lahiri - The Namesake

Interesting quote from two Sundays ago, from Pastor Lucas:
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but is thinking of yourself less."
Mark Driscoll:
"Religion leads to pride or despair."

1/15/2009 05:43:00 PM

I should add...

51. Tame a lion, or at least pretend to in a circus.

1/15/2009 11:14:00 AM


The big list of random, continued

26. Play in a band (praise team does not count)
27. Go to DC during Cherry Blossom festival, and have a picnic
28. Visit a Buddhist temple, a synagogue, an African-American church, and a mosque (if possible)
29. Provide foster home for an abandoned puppy/kitty
30. Be part of a Big Brother/Big Sister mentoring program
31. Go to Disneyworld
32. Attend a Beyonce concert
33. Get dressed for a FANCY dinner out with friends for no reason (ie. bday, engagement...)
34. Get a manicure/pedicure and eyebrows threaded (I have never tried any of those things... always been a DIY kind of girl)
35. Build.... something (assistant from the male species is ok)
36. Join a gym and actually go consistently for a year
37. Get married. Have sex? Have children? (Har har har. I mean, Have sex! Have children! Of course.)
38. Go on a cruise with friends
39. Go to VEGAS! with friends
40. Be part of a photoshoot
41. Attend a taping of The Colbert Report or Conan O'Brien (unlikely for Conan, since he's moving to LA)
42. Write a children's book (note: find a friend who's an artist)
43. Witness a solar/lunar eclipse
44. Take fitness class I normally would not take, even if pushed
45. Be part of a prison ministry
46. Join a walk-a-thon
47. Ride a hot air balloon
48. Cultivate some form of a green thumb
49. Prepare an entire meal for close friends (from appetizer to dessert)
50. Throw a costume party

If I mention to tick off a good portion of this list, I'll allow myself to create 50-100.

We'll see what happens!

1/15/2009 11:02:00 AM


This includes things I have done, but want to make a purposeful attempt to do again, and things I haven't done.

As I do them I'll cross them out and journal about it.

Don't be hatin' on my list, if you don't like it, I don't want to hear about it :)

In no particular order.

1. Go skydiving
2. Horseback riding in the desert
3. Shooting range
4. Learn how to swim (after two failed attempts)
5. Master volleyball, or at least hitting the ball over the net with one hand
6. Hip-hop lessons
7. Ballroom dancing lessons
8. A full one-on-one game of Beer Pong
9. Try a new type of food (so no Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc...)
10. Get color contacts
11. Use an online dating site and actually go on a date with someone I've never met
12. Learn to snowboard (or attempt)
13. Go on a safari (Six Flags doesn't count)
14. Do Meals-on-Wheels or a similar outreach event
15. Teach a lecture course
16. Go-kart racing, like not just friendly racing amongst friends, but racing to totally PWN YOUR FACE kind of thing
17. Trip to Italy
18. Try eating sea urchins/blowfish
19. Ride a mechanical bull (maybe... this scares me more than skydiving)
20. Learn to ice skate (so does this)
21. Take self-defense class
22. Take an automotive class or learn to change my own oil, at least
23. Solo-karaoke in front of my friends (without using liquid courage)
24. Return for Africa for another STM
25. Go to Thailand/Cambodia to work against the sex trade industry