Sunday, December 16, 2012

It Still Makes Me Laugh When I Think About It


About a month ago, Russell and I were watching Skyfall at the movie theater. When the movie ended, I noticed someone to my left who I thought looked like Colleen. Russell was already squinting towards my left and when I turned to get a better glimpse to see if it was really Colleen, I saw an Asian girl with her hood on. She jumped a little out of her seat and made a surprised squeak. It was Colleen. We ended up watching the same movie, at the same theater location, and sitting on the same movie aisle without knowing it until the film was over.

Today, for white elephant, Megan picked a present that looked a bit shady wrapped in a box. The present was from Colleen. As she opened it, she pulled out a bird feeder and then a giant bag of bird seed. I looked at Russell with a bit of fear and humor in my eyes. The only thing I can think of was, Oh gosh. I really hope Colleen opens the white elephant present I bought but at the same time that would be kind of creepy. When it was Colleen's turn, she was reaching for Angela's present but decided to open the present I brought instead. As she was trying to take it out of the bag, I was already clutching onto Russell in anticipation.

There were two wrapped presents in the bag I brought. She opened the smaller one first and I could already hear my friends joking, saying "Watch, it'll be birdseed." Colleen unwrapped the presentIt was birdseed. She quickly looked at me then looked at the second larger present that came with it. She reached over and tore the second, bigger, present openit was a bird feeder. At this point I couldn't breath from laughing so hard. All I can do was look at Colleen's facea look of genuine shockand laugh really hard. We were both weirded out.

I had to write about this because even now I am still thinking about her face when she unwrapped the present, and she realized it was yet another odd coincidence we shared. Oh my gosh Colleen, I think your face was priceless and I still can't stop laughing. hahahaha

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"I go to seek the Great Perhaps" — François Rabelais

I want the beautiful unknown and the Great Perhaps. I want to know that everything will be okay or not okay. I don’t care for lies today. I want the cold hard truth. I want the awkwardness, the budding fear of walking into a dark room. I want to be told that I will be okay, but sometimes not okay—and in the end, this makes it all okay. Because what are we but dust made from the earth, living for a purpose that is either misdirected or profound?

I want the crushing feeling of a thousand burdens because I know I will not have to bear it alone. I want the pain from being lost then the joy of being found. I want the rock bottom because then I will relearn where my foundation is. I want to know where my weaknesses are; I wonder if they will be where my strengths lie.

I want the extremes. I want the epiphany that makes sense for only a brief passing second that ebbs into confusion. I want the lightning, the uncomfortable feeling of wet clothes sticking to my skin, the desperate longing for an umbrella and not knowing if the longing is futile or worthwhile. I want the journey, the great commission, and having a faith so strong that it could move mountains.

Oh I want the stuggles. And I don’t want the comfortness of words that I write. I want the written word. I don’t want to find the familiarity of my own. I want the tears and the anger and the realization that I am nothing nothing nothing but something in they eyes of the one who holds truth.

And after all this, I want rest. I want my jubilee, I want my peace. I want to remember that I am human in the hands of mercy and grace.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Palm Springs

Jenny and I took a quick girls trip to Palm Springs. Here are some pics:


There was an art fair which we wandered through. I took a picture of the water fountain sculpture.



There were a lot of Marilyn Monroe stuff so Jenny and I took a picture by a giant Marilyn Monroe statue.


One of the best parts about the trip was eating.

Because I love food, here's the Instagram picture I have of the three course Sunday brunch I had before we left. So yummy.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Engagement Photos

I wanted to title this post "Back by Popular Demand!" but that would have been a lie. The photos are going up because Bernadette (reader #5!) asked; and because she is a maid of honor; and because I figured if I have to share them somewhere, it would be on my blog.

Here are some of the engagement photos of me and Russell.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas, Present Shopping, and Ironman

Christmas at my house.

Christmas time is upon us! After Thanksgiving and the chaos of black Friday, we finally have the holiday spirit around us. We've put up our (fake) Christmas tree and stockings as evident in the picture above. My brothers also put up a giant inflatable Snoopy in our front yard along with some Christmas lights going up one of our palm trees. Ah, Christmas in Southern California.

I am so excited for this season. My aunt will be coming from Canada to visit us, I will get to go to Reno and finally meet Russell's dad's side of the family, and I get to see a bunch of relatives over at my house on Christmas day. There are so many festivities this month that I am getting excited and exhausted just thinking about them.

Since it is Christmas time, present shopping is an activity that has consumed much of my time. And here's what happens when I take Russell with me:

Russell becomes Ironman!

Ironman Christmas shopping.

One moment I'm browsing and the next moment Russell has disappeared. I turn around and he is in an Ironman mask. It was hard not to find it amusing.

As things begin to speed up, I will try to keep blogging since I have about three loyal readers (Hi Russell! And Jonathan! And Stephanie?). Three readers is a big deal since that is 300% more from the zero number of readers I get when I write in my diary. Happy holidays everyone!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Encouragement

Russell and I had dinner with an awesome family tonight. Kuya King and Ate Faye are such an encouraging and godly couple that I can't help but admire them. And their daughter River is just the cutest thing. The three of them will be moving abroad next year so Russ and I were lucky enough to be able to sit down and talk about life and church with them.

We talked about church. We talked about missions. We watched River eat her mac and cheese. We talked about how exciting marriage will be. Time went by fast. Like Ate Faye, I am already starting to grieve for their departure next year. Russell and I will be in Philippines and Singapore next year so hopefully we will be able to see them in Singapore or Malaysia.

I have been blessed with such a great community around me. From the parents who pick up their kids from the Sunday School I teach, from the people who attend Friday night service, and from the people who I get to share life with on Tuesday nightsI am so happy and thankful to be surrounded by people who invest and share their life with the community around them.

I can only hope one day that Russell and my relationship can also be a blessing to others also. Everyday I am learning what it means to be part of the body of Christ.


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Three Oddest Words by Wislawa Szymborska

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.

When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

I made a mistake of only bringing one book during my family trip to Vancouver and Seattle. So when I finished the one book I brought, I spent two days waiting to get to a bookstore so I can get another novel. When in the airport in Seattle, I was able to buy a book from a small bookstore. I bought this book since I heard many good things about it.

Note to self: I must not read this in public. I find myself laughing out loud while reading this book. Mindy Kaling has a way with words that I will forever be jealous of.

Oh, and my favorite section is by far this one:


It is just so cleverly titled. Also, I relate to this chapter in a funny way. Though I was not bullied when I was little nor did I struggle with being chubby, I still forget nothing. Haha, this is not to say that I wish I didn't. 

One of my favorite passages from this section is when she talks about high school and directs it towards teenage girls. I agree and love this advice so much that I will put it on this blog in hopes that a teenage girl will stumble across this blog and take something away with it.

Sometimes teenage girls ask me for advice about what they should be doing if they want a career like mine one day. There are basically two ways to get where I am: (1) learn a provocative dance and put it on YouTube; (2) convince your parents to move to Orlando and homeschool you until you get cast on a kids' show, or do what I did, which is (3) stay in school and be a respectful and hardworking wallflower, and go to an accredited non-online university.
Teenage girls, please don't worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I've noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also a big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it's so wonderfully fair.  
 — Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Family Vacation

Recently, my family and I took a week vacation to Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington. In Vancouver, we stayed with my aunt and uncle's family. We were there for about five days and were able to enjoy tourist sites as well as Tim Horton's coffee.

Here's probably my favorite picture while we were in Canada:

Spiderman poses.

Below are some more pictures from Vancouver, Canada.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens

V
   I do not know which to prefer,
   The beauty of inflections,
   Or the beauty of innuendos,
   The blackbird whistling
   Or just after.

Read the whole poem: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Writing

It's too bad that when life gets busy, I put writing on the back burner. It's also too bad that I cling onto this blog so tightly. My poor diary hasn't been written in in months; blogging has become a primary way for me to record days/dates/moments. And it's also too bad that people actually read this. The whole thing about grammar and spelling and the pressure of being an English major deters me from typing my days out. Oh, the pressure! That, and life. Life is speeding by faster than I can ever write. I gave up trying to record everything in my diary since I'll always be a couple pages behind. The very act of writing gets in the way of even more writing. It's sentence after sentence after sentence while life simultaneously ticks by.

Tick tock.

I guess I'm writing this because I am getting defensive--against myself--for the guilt trip I've been having since I can't find the time to write stuff. Then I think about all my favorite authors who write in their blogs and always emphasize Write! Write! Write! and I feel even more ashamed. Like right now, I was supposed to write about something profound (maybe) but here I am. Phew, I'm tired. Enough writing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weekend Fun

This weekend, Russell and I got to see our friends Nick and Heather! They were in town for a quick short weekend but we were lucky enough to grab boba drinks with them Saturday night then lunch at Guppies on Sunday afternoon. This picture shows Nick and Heather laughing about something but more importantly--the awesome TWO coconut brick toasts we ordered for dessert.

Mmm.

I guess I should mention that when Nick was interning at WCC, he was probably the first one to tease Russell and I about dating and to make it awkward. A long time ago, when I had just met Russell, a group of us were at Guppies (good ol' Guppies). At one point in the conversation we were having then (it was in 2009 I believe),  Nick turns to me and goes "You know, Russell is single" then followed it up with a long awkward silence. I remember wiggling in my chair and Russ being just as awkward. A lot of people teased Russell and I during our "courting" stage but Nick was the first. Because of that, Nick and Heather will always hold a special place in me and Russell's dating story, haha.

Anyways, it was great to catch up with them. Lots of food was consumed and many stories and laughter were shared. Can't wait to see them again!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blessings

I've written a post already about how good wedding planning has been. Since that post, even more amazing things have happened!
  1. Russell and I got our Save-the-Dates! We got them printed by the company downstairs from Russell's work. I guess Russell has known some of the people there for awhile so we decided to get our postcards printed there. When Russell went to pick up the Save-the-Dates on Wednesday, the lady told him to consider it as a wedding present and we got them for free! AHHH! Everyone is being so nice and we are so overwhelmed by everyone's generosity.

    Here's a picture of me and Russ on the day we took the pictures. The Save-the-Dates look similar...but not. Better than this picture, haha. Anyways, they look amazing and I can't wait for people to start getting them in the mail.

                         
    Save the Date!
  2. Russell and I bought our first new car together! It's a Prius C!

                         
    It's so pretty.

    We've been looking to buy a car that has better milage than his Jeep and what better car to get than a Toyota Prius? I should mention that since the Toyota Prius came out years ago, my dream car has always been a Prius. I've told my parents and Russell that when I have a proper job, I would love to buy a Prius. Well, I was able to sell Russell on my dream car so now we both get to enjoy driving around my our dream car! 

Everything has been so exciting. I get to start my new job on Monday, and I'm actually looking forward to challenging myself in this new job, learning new skills and whatnot. Russell is playing hockey again since his shoulder is better. It has just been one blessing after another and we praise God for all of it.

Photo


Here's a picture of the lights at LACMA. This past Sunday, Russell and I had a giant date day where we went through a corn maze, a modern art museum, and ate at an Italian restaurant. 

For more photos, here's a flickr album of that day: Date Day

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wedding Goodness: An Update

Russell and I will finally be getting our Save-the-Dates this week and they will be mailed out in a week or so! We also took our engagement photos this weekend with Sun Swept Studio and I just can't wait to see the photos. Our photographer, Ann, showed us a couple of pictures on her camera and they look amazing--not that me and Russell looked amazing, the lighting and composition looked amazing, haha. Overall, wedding planning is going very smoothly and I hope that I did not just jinx it.

My family has been totally more open about talking about the wedding. I think my whole extended family finally know about the engagement which means Mom can now relax. Besides making the lists and excel sheets at the beginning of the engagement, the planning is going by peacefully. Russell's family is so helpful and supportive. I am so glad we decided to do the wedding in Oroville.

It's so funny because people always ask me how my wedding planning is going. I always answer with a simple, "good." This results in them prodding me more which has led me to realize that the answer "good" never really suffices. I have my maids-of-honor and bridesmaids texting me once in a while asking me how things are going. Or friends will ask if the planning has been stressful. I never have the right response because I don't know what people expect me to respond with. I tell them that the planning is going "good" and I really mean it. This engagement season is joyous and wonderful. God has been so good and all our expenses seem to be met. We are just so blessed and I am continuously amazed by the wonderful people around me.

My constant prayer is to remember that the wedding is just a day of celebration. I want to focus on having a good, godly marriage and not get lost in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. I find myself collecting my mom and dad's words of wisdom on married-life and parenthood. My church has also been doing a "Relationships" series that goes over different roles in marriage which has been helpful. Everything has been good because I have not been burdened by stressful wedding planning but have had more time to focus on teachings of the Word and wisdom from trusted elder spiritual couples.

Lately, it seems like I have been doing more marriage-planning rather than wedding-planning. But that is all fine with me :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Road Trip

When I quit my job at the law firm, I decided I needed to do something spontaneous while I had the free time to do it. I texted my friend Stephanie asking her if she was available for some spontaneity. She was.

We ended up taking a quick and fun road trip to Laughlin (NV), Oatman (AZ), and the Mojave Desert (CA).

Below the break are some pictures from our trip:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exit Strategy

Monday was my last day at the law firm. I was planning on giving a two-week notice but it turned into a one-week notice then it turned into basically a two-minute notice. Neither of my supervisors were at work so I ended up having to email and message them my resignation anyways. It was all very anti-climatic.

I went into work knowing I would have to say goodbye to three of the funniest coworkers I've had in a long time. I hate goodbyes and am awkward going about with them. When I came in, I ended up randomly saying "I'm quitting!" to each of my coworkers at separate conversations. There would be a pause, then a "Wait, what?" And then I would have to say it again and then the sadness would start.

For the almost five months I've worked there, we were prohibited from using the elevator because of a) the electricity it costs and b) it wasn't up to code and the owner was scared that if we were to get injured while using the elevator that we would sue him. When I arrived at work, I was about to use the elevator because I figured it was my last day and I should break a couple of rules. The moment I pressed the button, the law firm owner zoomed into the parking garage in his Viper and I freaked out and ran up the stairs. Hopefully he didn't see me.

When I got into the office and realized neither of my bosses were there, I said goodbye to the girls. They walked me to the lobby and said I should go ahead and take the elevator down to the parking garage. It would be the last huffah we had as coworkers. I gave them hugs and hoped that we would keep in touch. While the elevator doors closed and I continued to wave bye to the three of them, I realized it was the perfect exit and the proper goodbye.

Now, I'm on to a new chapter in life. It's hard for me to make friends and even harder to find a group of people I can laugh comfortably with. These girls provided the right humor for tough days at works and we all had the best teamwork when it came to finding shortcuts and/or planning potluck days to help build team morale. Great people are hard to say goodbye to.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Joe is Back!

This past weekend was full of many joyous activities. I already wrote about Brett turning 5 years old (he's a whole hand now!) but there were a few other events that were just as awesome. Last Friday, Russell and I were able to meet with his brother, Joe, after he got back from eight months in Afghanistan.

Russell was able to take a half day at work and spend the rest of the day with Joe. After I got off of work, I met up with them and it was great to see Joe after months of only hearing stories about him from Russ. Russell and Joe had spent their afternoon eating lots of Korean bbq, getting boba, and playing hockey on the Playstation. When Curtis got off work, we picked him up and even got a tour of his office building. His office looks so much fun--toys and designs everywhere.

For dinner, we decided to go to Guppies (I guess Joe really missed Asian food...). It was pleasant and interesting watching the three Henry brothers tell stories to each other and joke around. I always hear crazy and funny stories of when they were kids from Russ but I rarely get to see the three of them together and goofy. And goofy is the word. They are totally goofy.

The Henry brothers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

5 Years Old

The month of October is a crazy month for me. All my weekends are packed, my weekdays are hectic, and there's just so much planning to get done. I even had to bust out my planner to keep track of dates/appointments/activities (and I haven't really used my planner since I've graduated from college in May). 

This past weekend consisted of many activities; one of which was my godson turning 5!!

Brett being silly.

I can't believe this kid is 5 already. I remember holding him during his baby dedication and he kept crying because he didn't like me. Little did I know that a whole bunch of candy and toys can easily bribe him (Just kidding! Er, not really).

Jessica, Russell, and I met up with Brett, Krista (his mom), and a few other people at Downtown Disney for his birthday. We had lunch at Rainforest Cafe. Funny story: every time the life-sized gorilla became animated, Brett would flinch and freeze but be oddly fascinated by it. I wish Brett could stay little and gullible forever because it's just the cutest thing.

Happy 5th birthday to Brett!!

Brett making a silly face.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Visit to the ER

On Monday nights, Russell plays hockey. This season, he opted to be the goalie since he claims that it's a fun position. Well, this previous Monday wasn't such a fun night.

This happened:
Russell who is all smiles in the emergency room.

Ok ok, it's not as dramatic as I make it seem. And thankfully there were no broken bones--just a dislocated shoulder. However, it was not fun being in the bleachers and seeing Russell on the ground and him not getting up. And it also wasn't fun seeing him walk out of the rink, holding his arm and grimacing. Because of all the goalie gear he had on, we couldn't get to his shoulder and do anything about the dislocation. We knew that the best bet was to go to the hospital. (Okay, I tried calling my brother Kenzo because I wanted him to pop the shoulder back in for free but he later told me that that was something he wouldn't want to try, even as a nurse just in case something went wrong.)

I couldn't find Russell's keys so my parents ended up picking us up and driving us to the emergency room. There was no wait so Russ was able to get checked up by a doctor fairly quickly. His brother, Curtis, called and came to the emergency room after the game (he plays on the same hockey team as Russell). When he got there, he asked me something along the lines of "Did you ever think you'd be in the emergency room waiting for your fiancé?"And it's kind of a funny story and kind of not because Russell is the kind of person who is very prone to injury. He's hurt his shoulder before playing hockey, he's broken his colar bone playing hockey, and he's had several concussions. As Curtis described it, "Russell is a rubber ball. He bounces back from injuries." You would think that a trip to the emergency room for only a dislocated shoulder wouldn't shock me so much but it was still enough to worry me. 

Anyways, when one of the nurses called me in to see Russell, one of the first thing Russell asks me is "How soon can I start playing hockey again?" It also didn't help that the two nurses there were hockey fans and kept talking to Russell about hockey.

Here's a picture of a hockey game of when Russell didn't get injured:
Russell (in black) as goalie.

Russell is full of surprises...just some of them not as fun as others.




Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roses

A bouquet of red roses.

For the first time ever, I received flowers that were delivered to my work. Exactly one month since I got engaged, Russell had flowers sent to me. I was on my lunch break when one of my coworkers texted to tell me that there was a surprise waiting on my desk. My first guess was that she left me cookies or brownies. Nope, even better: flowers from my fiance. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oroville Trip

The view of Oroville and Oroville lake.

This past weekend, I went on a long-driving trip with Russell and my parents to Oroville. If you haven't heard of Oroville, it's about one hour north of Sacramento. It's a fairly small town but it's beautiful, quiet, and at night time you can see the stars. It's definitely a nice break from Orange County.

Our goal in Oroville was to look at Grandpa John's ranch and decide where we want the wedding ceremony and reception. He has a beautiful lake in the middle of his ranch that I liked ever since I first saw it. However, we ended up settling on doing the wedding on Russell's aunt's property. She has a vineyard and a cute barn. Overall, Oroville is exactly the kind of location I would like to have an outdoor wedding in--scenic, garden-like, calm, and homey.

We arrived in Oroville on Saturday morning and left on Sunday morning. It was a quick trip but we got a lot of things done.

  • We saw Roxy:
Roxy loves being petted, rubbed, and loved.
  • There was a salmon festival going that weekend so we were able to witness the salmon travelling upstream to lay eggs.
    There were windows you could look at to watch the fish migrate.

    The Oroville dam. We stood here awhile and watched the fish try to jump the stream.

  • We found a reception location and great hotels for guests to stay at. (No pictures, it'll be a surprise)

  • We were able to tour my parents around Grandpa John's ranch. My dad was in awe of Grandma Alice's backyard mini-produce farm. We were able to take home figs, a giant zucchini, small tomatoes, and squash. We also ate some pears and berries straight from the tree/bushes. (Sorry, I wasn't able to take a picture of her beautiful vegetable and fruit garden)

  • We had dinner on Aunt Linda's patio.

    Neither my parents nor I had ever had dinner out in a patio so we were in for a treat. We were able to chat and eat dinner while the sun set. Moments like these make me love Oroville even more.
Overall, I'm very excited and glad to be getting married in Oroville. It's home to many of Russell's family and it has such a nice welcoming feel. I've been bugging Russell to plan our next trip back to Oroville already 'cause I miss it so much.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Engagement Story #3: The Day After

The morning after I got engaged, I woke up super early because I couldn't sleep. I began the morning staring at my ring finger and waiting for my mom to wake up. Once she did, we had a great heart-to-heart talk in the garage which I wrote about in my engagement story #1.

After that, one of my best friends, Jessica, called me to talk to me about something. I quickly blurted out that Russell asked me to marry him the night before and a lot of happiness and screaming ensued. Within minutes she appeared in front of my house wanting to hear my engagement story in person. (I even got a text from her younger sister telling me congratulations and that she overheard the news from her sister who was being really loud and shrieking inside their house--haha).

Jess and I then drove over to iHop where I rehashed all the details from the night before. When we received our pancakes, Jessica began praying for our food. After we finished praying, the lady in the booth next to us turned around and said, "You guys are so cute." She was also a christian and told me that on the morning after she got engaged, she and her fiance (husband now) had breakfast at iHop too. She told me congratulations then continued having breakfast with her four-year old son. This basically summarized my morning after being engaged--just random and sincere encouragement and love from people (strangers, family, and friends) around me.

My other best friend, Bernadette, also drove up to Irvine to celebrate that morning with me and Jess. I had woken her up with a phone call asking her to get breakfast with me and Jess and although she had just woken up, she still made it. She even wrote a brief and kind blog post about me getting engaged here.

The three of us ended up on my bed in my room. Jess pointed out that it's just like when we were 16, just chilling in my bedroom only now we're all grown up and doing grown up things. I was surrounded by the people I needed then and the people who have watched me grow as a person and been wonderful sisters-in-Christ. I remember the overwhelming feeling I had then and still do now whenever I hang out with them. I told them that morning that they're both my maid-of-honors [some things I had known since I wanted to get married was that a) I can't have only one maid-of-honor and b) I knew I was going to pick these two].

It's funny how the three of us all started from the same church but as the years passed by, God has called us to different churches/different ministries. It is truly a blessing watching these ladies grow into women and do God's work.

Ok, so this isn't so much as an engagement story as it is talking about my best friends. But these girls are great and deserved a good long post on my blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Building Bookshelves


The only time I can ever remember my parents getting into a fight (not even a big fight, just a mild disagreement about something I don’t even remember anymore), my dad built my mom a bookshelf. Even when I was little I knew that this action was something special.

A couple years ago, my mom was looking at the bookshelf in the garage—which she uses to place her shoes on by the way—and asked my dad when they bought it. My dad blinked then told her he built it that one time she got mad at him. Mom laughed and said she didn’t remember. I didn’t want to tell them that I remembered. When I saw dad building that bookshelf when I was little, I knew that the mood in the house was very tense and gloomy; but seeing dad hammer the nails into the bookshelf and sanding down the wood, I realized that the driving force behind every hammer and scrape was love and a conviction to prove it. In an odd way, it was beautiful.

Anyways, I told this story to Russell when we first started dating. He said he would build me a bookshelf. And I don’t doubt it since he and his brothers helped their dad build their entire house in Reno. But it’s really not about the bookshelf. It’s about the boy and the love and the action. And because I love books. Who knows, maybe he’ll even build me a couple bookshelves so I could use one for shoes… ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Writing...Even More

The past few days have been a whirlwind. As things are settling down, I feel like I can write again.

This previous weekend, I got an unexpected sideline freelance writing gig that has caused me to do even more writing per day. When I graduated from college with a degree in English, I was a hopeful individual. I loved writing and couldn't wait to go out into the working field and write. You see, I'm a firm believer that words can change the world.

However, after writing article after article everyday, there's only so much sanity that I can pretend to have. The feeling is similar to the one I get when I'm only on page three of a seven to eight page English paper and it's 4 a.m. It's that moment of panic, of wanting to give up and just crawling under your desk willing to give up books and writing and words.

But (yay, light at the end of the writing tunnel)! I did some great time managing and can now handle my freelance writing gigs (for now). It's just...sometimes I'm writing about chemistry and then I'm writing about biology and then I'm writing about law that my head gets all messed up that talking to people in normal conversation terms becomes difficult.

Any my run-on sentences become worse.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chaos! Plus Some Happier Stories

The past couple of weeks have been very exciting yet somewhat stressful. Between planning a wedding, getting another sideline freelance writing gig, looking at possibly trading Russell's Jeep in for another car, planning an Oroville trip this month, looking for an engagement photographer, and getting new tires (goodbye Disneyland passes fund), I'm a bit tired.

Maybe the stress is only because of this month. I'm spending this month trying to prioritize and figure out what I should do first. Mom is helping out a lot. We were even able to plan a [somewhat] spontaneous trip to Oroville next Friday so we can see Russell's family. It'll be nice to have his relatives and my parents together. I think it'll really take a lot of stress off my shoulders once some of the planning goes into motion.

Besides stress, there have been other emotions going on. Here are two happy events that have happened recently:

1) Last night, mom walked into my room and gave me this book:


This means a lot to me. Mom knows I'm a reader so for her to actually go to a bookstore, find this book, and give it to me makes me feel really loved. The only times my parents have bought me books was either for a) school or b) a bible. In other words, they've bought me books for rare/special occasions. I've asked Russell to also go through this book with me since it's designed as a couples devotional book.

2) The second happy event involved a lot of shopping. This past weekend, Russ and I went to a thrift store and craft stores to start looking at some decorations we can make. 

Here's a picture of Russell in a thrift store with a tiny cart:


We've gotten a good heads start on the decorations. Since Russell is the artsy kind and I love hands-on crafts, making our own wedding decorations will be our quality time the next few months. 

I'm hoping the stress will subside. I want this engagement period to be a time of celebration and joy but so many other events have appeared simultaneously that it's hard to just sit back and relax. However, I am confident that things will begin to look up soon; especially with the trip up north next weekend. Once everything has been sorted and assigned, it'll all be simpler and easier. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to Basics

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio

I bought two books this weekend (and a bridal magazine)! I'm going to get back into reading, guys. It's time I filled my head with some beauty and got rid of worries and negativities. 

On a side note, today I was watching the ducks land into the pond and I couldn't get over how poetic it was. 

Books

(Source: Observando


Friday, August 31, 2012

Reasons Why I Have Best Friends


I was scrolling down my tumblr dashboard feed when this came up. Bernadette, this seriously made me smile. Thank you.

As of right now, I am still on happy mode and everything is super fun. Making lists, budgeting, and daydreaming is all great right now. But that can also be because it's been less than a week...

A lot of things are up in the air currently, and Russ and I are trying to tackle big things first before actually planning the details. I still cannot believe that this is happening. So right now (before I start making more excel sheets about what needs to be done, planned, etc.), nothing can really be done except for prayer.

What we need:

  • To decide on who we want to do our pre-marital counseling (super important). 
  • To be patient with my mom as she slowly (slowly) tells my relatives. Besides that, my parents have been so nice and encouraging that I feel like I'm going to be crying a lot the next few months. 
  • To remember to enjoy this season of life if planning ever gets too stressful.
  • To be patient with not just the people around us, but with each other as well. 
  • To trust God with the budget we have—and to remember that it's about the marriage and not just the wedding

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Budgets

Today, Russell and I sat down and set a rough budget for ourselves. We showed each other our bank accounts and decided on how much we can spend for certain things and how much to put towards our wedding fund (we've had a specific savings account just for a wedding for a few months now but decided to start putting even more money into it). We already knew about how much each other earned but never really talked about the exact numbers and where portions of our money went. So today was enlightening and lightening (ha!).

The main reason we did this was because I wanted to know if we had enough money set aside for disneyland passes. The answer: yes, but at the end of September.

I'm sure that as time goes by, I will be stressing out more and more about budgeting. So I am going to take the time now to remind myself that I am not in control. God is in control. All this money is God's anyways. I need to remember that He will provide for what we need, when we need it, at the right time.

Engagement Story #2: The Proposal


The Story

On Friday, August 24th around 10:30 p.m., Russell asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes. I wish I could remember and write all the details but when I look back on that night, it was jam-packed with so many little details, big emotions, and endless excitement. It's impossible to capture it in words.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tomato Fight

One of the first activities Russell and I participated in after getting engaged was go to a giant tomato fight.

After getting out of the tomato pit.

It was quite the adventure. Neither of us had ever participated in a tomato fight before but it was definitely fun. I was out after about 10 minutes of being in the tomato pit and then stepped out. Russell went in for a second time (when all the tomatoes had already been used so people were just grabbing tomato slush from the ground and chucking them). 

Being in it was fun. Finding a hose and being stuck in a crowd of people all wanting to get washed down was another story. Let me just tell you, the stench of tomatoes followed us for the rest of the day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Engagement Story #1

A couple of weeks ago, Russell and I deleted our facebooks. I felt it was necessary because I would go on it for hours, stalk people I don't even talk to, and sometimes get angry for no good reason at the things people post. Basically, not a lot of good came out of me being on facebook. I thought Russell deleted his for the same reason but little did I know that he had a secret agenda.

I guess when Russell talked to my parents, one of my mom's request was for us not to blast it on facebook (when Russ later told me this after he proposed, I was mad but now I understandmore on that in a bit). So a couple of weeks before he asked me, he slid in a comment about deleting our facebooks and I didn't think much of it and agreed. On a side note, this is why I'm blogging so much. 

I had a wonderful talk this morning with my mom and there were many tears involved. She asked how he proposed and she began crying when I told her the story. When she asked if we really wanted to get married in the spring of next year and I confirmed it, she cried some more. At one point we were both crying and I realized all the emotion wasn't bad. Mom was being so loving and I was crying at how nice she was being. Mom and I have a history of not usually crying in front of people so for the two of us being able to cry in front of each other was a big moment for me.

I haven't even been engaged for over 24 hours and I've cried countless times already.

Anyways, now I understand why mom didn't want me telling too many people right away. She wanted us to be able to enjoy this as a family then share this news with other relatives (oh so slowly) and then with friends. I now see that this is just a lot of big things happening so quickly for my parents. I want to be able to respect them in that. 

...But you're blogging about it, you wonder. Yes I am. But I find that only about 2% of my facebook friends/people I know are even aware that I have blogs and probably a smaller percent of that actually read it. Haha, so hello ghost readers. This is No. 1 of my engagement story and I hope to share more of it as time goes by.

Engaged!

I'm engaged!

I will post more pictures and stories of how it happened but for now, here's a picture taken on August 24th (our two year anniversary!) of when Russell proposed! It's 7 in the morning as I write this and I've been awake for the past hour, after going to bed at 2 a.m., because of my over-excitement. 

Ahhhh! God has been so good and I'm so blessed. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Learning the Value of Humility

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Philippians 2:3-5 
I normally have to remind myself of these verses. So often I get frustrated with others around me who are constantly negative, whom complain endlessly, and whom often act as the victim. I get astounded by how they cannot see beyond themselves and their comfortability. But who am I to think that I am any better than these people? How is one sinner any better than the rest?

I need to remember that I need to extend grace to people who are not even asking or wanting it just as Christ gave us grace. God is constantly teaching me the value of humility. While we may find fault in others, there is also fault in us.

The most important thing we can do is work on our relationship with God. Everything else will follow. When I am spending time with God and learning more about His character, then I can take an interest in others without anger or frustration. When I have peace with God, only then can I love my brothers and sisters in Christ the same way God loves his children.

I need to stop looking for the easy way out (getting angry) and start being humble (asking God to help me with these situations). I need to strive to be more Christ-like.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kenzo's Grad Party + A Lot of Baking

I spent close to 12 hours baking yesterday. I started off hopeful and excited and told myself I'll even take pictures of my progress.

Here's one picture I took while in Hour 4 of baking.
Baking mini apple pies.

After that it was a bit of craziness. Let's get things straight: I was not planning on baking for 12 hours. I was planning on baking for maybe a good 5 hours then going shopping afterwards. But silly me, I forgot how long it takes to make pies let alone 24 mini pies. And how long it  takes to make everything from scratch...I should have just bought desserts.

List of things I made:
  • 24 mini apple pies
  • 24 mini cheesecakes (12 w/ graham crust & 12 w/ oreo crust)
  • 2 batches of jam-filled cookies
  • 2 batches of brownies
  • 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies
...And that's it. Now that I look at the list, I wonder what happened during those 12 hours.

However! Look how pretty it all looked in the end:




Friday, August 17, 2012

Another Graduation in the Family


My older brother, Kenzo, graduated from his nursing program! He is now officially a RN nurse and soon he will be helping people in hospitals.

I had dinner with my family today and my parents kept talking about how great it was to have two kids finally done with college. James is only a sophomore in high school so it'll be awhile before we do graduation pictures again.

Lovely Food Dates


I'm not normally a salad person but I found this salad (spinach, strawberries, and almonds covered in a raspberry dressing) so enjoyable.

Russell and I enjoyed dinner Thursday night at "Simply Fondue." We wanted to catch a movie afterwards but the dinner ended up being about 2.5 hours long so we skipped the movie. It was nice to just sit and talk for that long. 

After the salad course, we were served cheese fondue!

I'm not a cheese person either yet this was fun to try. 

Russell and I couldn't finish all the cheese and bread they gave us so I considered hiding some of the veggies and bread in the cheese. After about 30 minutes of letting the cheese just sit there, I think our server realized that we were too stuffed with cheese to go on.

The third course was meat and veggies which they let us grill ourselves. I don't have any pictures of the meat 'cause we were too busy eating. 

Then, the fourth and final course (which I had been looking forward to since we sat down) was a chocolate fondue dessert!


Yummy fruits, brownies, marshmallows, rice krispies, and bread.

We finished our dessert the fastest. We took it easy and slow for the first three courses but as soon as they brought out the chocolate and dippers, we gobbled all of it up.

I wanted to write about this date night since we rarely take the time to just sit back and enjoy our food. We're the couple who goes into the restaurant, eats our food, then leave all within an hour. It was great being able to take breaks between all the courses they gave us and enjoy the night.

And here's a picture of our marshmallows lit on fire!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Downtown Disney

Spent the day yesterday hanging out with this:


Russell's cousin, Joyce, was in town with her son, Wyatt. Wyattwho is 10 I believegot along so well with Russell that it made me question Russell's age again. But that's Russell, always ready to switch to playful mode and always surprising me with his energetic character.

The picture above is Russell designing a Lego race car at the Lego store. Wyatt is the boy in red. Now, keep in mind that Wyatt is 10 yet Russell was very adamant about beating him and winning the car race. I ended up building a car too in hopes of winning but no such luck with the time and effort these two spent on their own cars. I believe Wyatt ended up winningbut don't remind Russell of that.

Afterwards, we ended up at the arcade in ESPN zone where Russell turned into a complete kid and started to get very competitive at the many games he played. How many, you ask?





A lot. And there were more but I didn't get a picture of all the games they played. They sure loved their racing games. I was almost scared of Russell driving me home in case he thought he was still driving an arcade game...

It was great meeting two of Russell's relatives and seeing how Russell loves to interact with his family. And it's always very amusing witnessing Russell lose to a 10-year old.


Friday, August 10, 2012

OC Fair

Last Saturday, Russell and I went to the OC Fair. It was so much fun. It's too bad that the fair is only here for one month every year since it's filled with so much food and games. And since we no longer have our Disneyland annual passes (wahhh), the fair had to be a slight substitute.

Here's a picture of the Euroslide that I really wanted to go on but got too scared. So I took a picture of it instead:

Russell tried to win me a stuffed animal at a darts game:


Instead, he won me two cute little stuffed animals (one snake and one pink lobster):


Sadly, we lost the snake on the way to the bus shuttle. But the lobster is now in my room along with the medium-sized car stuffed toy I won for myself.

I can describe to you the food there but that would be a whole different post (two words: waffle sandwiches). It was a fun Saturday morning, but we left after four hours since we were getting tired. Next year, we decided to try out the fair at night. And maybe next year, I'll be able to try some of the funnel cakes...