December 31, 2014

Our Christmas

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This Christmas,  Beau and I spent at home together; just the two of us. We've been doing it for the past 2 years.  I admit that I often wish for a huge family celebrating that comes with much anticipation and preparation and reuniting with distant cousin, aunties, nephews, etc. However, we do not have large extended families, and we are okay with that. I prepared breakfast, and Beau cooked us a feast for dinner. (His teriyaki glazed turkey wings were delish!)

One thing I really enjoyed doing this year was wrapping gifts. I could not get enough of it. I've taken a liking to simple kraft wrapping paper, with bakers or jute twine wrapped around it and a cardboard gift tag. I think it added a nice look to gifts and it was my personal touch, you know?

We look forward to building a family and starting traditions with them in the future. But for now, we enjoy the simplicity of the holidays  and enjoying our time together as a family of two.

I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas!

December 20, 2014

Life, Lately

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Hello! It's been a while. Where have I been?....Here. It is not so much that I don't have time to blog why I haven't blogged. It is just that sometimes I feel like I have absolutely nothing to blog about. Life has gotten pretty mundane and repetitive: work every day except Sunday. Church in between and barely having any time to relax #Iguessthisisgrowingup. Beau often tells me that I need to have a "Jhan Day". To that I responded, "when?" Honestly though, it would be nice to just take time to let my body and brain recharge. I often get home from work and feel like my body is still wired from the day-- the hustle and bustle of waiting on customers and singing (mindlessly) along in my head to the loop of top 20 songs on the radio station. We seriously need Pandora, or something, because variety. {end rant}


As you can gather, nothing really new and interesting has been happening on my end. But here are some things I would like to share.

Anniversary. Beau and I celebrated our two year anniversary on November 24. We took a (9 hour, turned 14 hour) road trip to Myrtle Beach, just for the sake of going someplace warmer than it was here in Philly. It wasn't much warmer than it was back home and it rained every day we were there, but it was good nonetheless. Beau and I were able to spend some well needed one-on-one time with each other. We talked. Laughed. Listened. Discussed our goals for the year ahead. I cannot express how great it was just to get away and clear our heads for a bit. It was also really nice to be right on the beach. We also stopped in North Carolina on the way to- and from- South Carolina to visit Beau's brother whom he hasn't seen since our wedding. I know he truly appreciated the opportunity to spend time with his brother. On our last day in SC, we drove down to Charleston to visit some friends. That was also a great time. We didn't spend much time in the city, but from what we saw, Charleston seemed like a lovely place to live. We also saw dolphins! ... and the sun finally greeted us for a couple hours before our departure.

Hair. A couple months ago, I decided to do something different with my hair. I got partial highlights in auburn. It took some getting used to; not just with how it changes my physical appearance, but also in (re)determining what color clothing best complements my hair and and complexion. Overall, I love the new look and I am considering highlighting the rest of my hair.

Photography. Very last minute, someone asked me to photograph her sister's wedding. Knowing that I have no experience in wedding photography at all, I freaked out a little bit. But also from my personal experience of abhorring my wedding photos, but the thought of not having wedding photos at all would be much worse, I decided to accept. It was a small get together and a pretty relaxed setting, so that allowed me to not be too nervous. I took multiple shots, in order to not miss a special moment, and after editing the photos, I realized they weren't half bad. There are definitely things I need to work on such as composition and directing clients, but I will say that it was not bad for my first go at it. I don't see myself making this into a side-gig or even a full-time thing, but if the opportunity comes to capture someone's special event, I will accept, as I do understand they importance of capturing moments and having the snapshots to look back on. That is something I lack. Maybe I will touch on this more in another blog post on my interest in photography.

To sum up, I am alive. By the grace of God, I am well-- and I sure do miss this space. Hopefully I will be more present in the time to come and continue sharing bits of my story on here. I am so grateful for my own little space on blogger. Looking back on my first posts, I can see the growth and maturity. I hope to continue growing and documenting it here along the way.  Coming up,  I will be sharing some photos from our trip to South Carolina.

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October 2, 2014

My Current Testimony

Psalm 27-13 
Since my Sunday morning devotion, I can not stop thinking about how much the scripture I read applies to where I am now. I read Psalm 27 and the last two verses are what stood out to me the most. It says: 
"I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.

Why those two verses resonate with me so much spans back to March 2012. I began applying for jobs a couple months before completing my Masters degree in hopes of getting a head start on the job search process (before school ends and everyone else is in the career searching pool). I also wanted to set myself up for any interviews that may have come around my Spring break. I had so many plans on where I would be in life after completing grad school, but the Lord had different plans. You see, I had plans to start my career in laboratory research, start saving towards our wedding, and so much more. The months passed and no jobs were offered and my plans began to shift to counteract the the detour. The more I tried to shift plans, the more they just did not come to fruition. God had something else in mind. We got married that year and everything fell into place seamlessly. We were able to fund our wedding and not be in some ridiculous amount of debt for it. 

Fast-forward to the next year and I'm STILL applying for jobs. I thought 'when I start my career, we will be able to do this, purchase this, furnish here, go there'. Still, no offers in my field. But God supplied a part-time position for me that helped ease the burden of our expenses, allowed for a little getaway for our one year anniversary, and a chance to start furnishing our home piece by piece. 

This year was much of the same. I still had hopes of starting my career, but got nowhere. Interviews are no longer being offered, rejection notices come a lot faster, and you can pretty much see that I am not where I wanted to be. But, we are doing better than we were this time last year, and the Lord has blessed us in many ways since. 

Of course there are many times in between the past couple years that I literally thought I was going to lose my mind. Sadness. Depression. Worthlessness. Yes, even that. After 500+ rejections, you can't help but feel worthless. But through it all, I had one thing to hold on to. More than encouraging words from others and the love and support of my dear husband. More than all of those, I held on the promises of my Lord. Those years built my faith, y'all! Two years ago, I wasn't as strong in my faith. In retrospect, I can see how I would have crumbled and lost hope. I'm not going to lie and say that it's been easy and I went through these years with much grace and acceptance, I did not. There are times when I got frustrated. I questioned God. I challenged Him and asked why did He bring me here. Why all the promises and nothing to show for it after two whole years. I cried before Him. Some days I wept. But always before Him... Knowing that my help comes from Him. Knowing that after all this time of seeking help from this person, and trying to network with another person, nothing came of it. Proving even more that He is in control. 

This may be hard for many of you to understand. You may question why serve a God who doesn't give you what you earnestly desire? Why continue to trust in Him after such a long time of letdowns and disappointments? I don't quite have the answer for you, but I will say that it has a lot to do with faith. As Psalm 27:13 says, "I would have lost heart unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord". It all comes back to faith. Faith in someone who is greater than I am. Someone who has the power to control everything as He wills. And for me, this meant controlling where I go in life. I remember last year I found myself on the floor of our church during worship service saying "Yes! Yes, Lord. Yes". From the very depths of my soul, I said 'Yes'. Whatever God was asking me to do, my soul cried out 'Yes'. 

And so, I hold on to the hope that I will see the fullness of what He has planned for me.  He did not want me to work the past two years. And I am okay with that. My soul says yes to His will and I will continue to press towards Him to find out what He would have me to do. 

September 26, 2014

Kayaking (Take 2)

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There are several posts I have lined-up to share from a few of our summer adventures, but I've been lacking in time management to organize and get them up.

Today, I am sharing a kayaking trip Beau and I went on with a couple of kiddos from church. During Beau's birthday week, we took the hour-long drive to French Creek State Park to go kayaking. Beau and I had such a great time the first time, we wanted to try it again. We brought the kiddies along because they have become like family to us. We often bring them to Sunday school with us and Beau usually counsels them in the way of the Lord, as that is where his heart is at the moment. I often think that if I were to have children (2 boys specifically), they would be just like these two: a little reserved, but fun to be around. In any case, we also thought it would be a good experience for them as they didn't even know what kayaking was. They were nervous at first, but loved it in the end. We had a great time also. Of course, Beau did most of the paddling in our tandem boat because, weak arms. The day was beautifully overcast (my favorite since the sun seems to literally set my skin ablaze... no, seriously), and I wore a golf visor which apparently reminded my husband of little Asian women. We enjoyed our day trip and the guys did as well. Kayaking has easily become my favorite outdoor activity. I would love to try it in the ocean, though I'm not so keen on sharks.

September 11, 2014

Full Circle

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I have come to the realization that every. single. thing. we do in life has meaning and purpose. Every person you meet. Everything experience you have. Every hardship. Every struggle. Every bit of joy.

Every thing we have done in our lives at one point or another, all serves the purpose of advising ourselves or others if we were to encounter a similar situation in the future. If you think about it, all that we do in life comes full circle.

So, embrace every experience. Hone every skill. Be kind to everyone you meet. For you do not know when you will be confronted with these situations again.

August 30, 2014

Summer In the City

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- Spruce Street Harbor Park +
Hispanic Festival - Penn's Landing (July 12, 2014)

July 31, 2014

Life Lately: Between a Rock & a Hard Place

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So, this month has been pretty busy and I haven't had much time to sit down and write for this blog. But I could not let the month pass without submitting at least one post, so here goes...

 July was a very eventful month. It included my mom and Beau's birthdays, a well-needed staycation from work, a wedding, and a kayaking day trip. It was a month of renewed friendship and increased joy between Beau and I. 

 Most of our activities occurred during the week of my staycation and it. was. lovely. The week off from work was well needed, as I have been working there for 8 months now and haven't taken any time off. Also, the company that I work for has rolled out a new system that claims to make work 'more efficient', but has only caused more stress on our end. I mean serious hair-pulling, weight-losing stress! I pull through, though. Knowing that it's only for a couple of hours every day and when I leave to go home, I am able to take a break from it all. 

 I submitted my 500th job application not too long ago and it really got me thinking: What am I REALLY doing wrong?! 500 applications submitted since March 2012 (2 months before completing graduate school)! What is really going on?! I started thinking that the academic and professionall skills that I have gained two years ago are kind of stale now (especially since I am not using them in my current position) and this huge gap makes me more and more unmarketable by the day. This led me to consider continuing my studies -- either a doctorate or a certificate degree program. Fun fact: I applied for a 12-week certificate program in Ireland in early April and got accepted not long after. I was elated because for the first time in a long time, I was not rejected for something I went after. I discussed it with Beau and he was willing to part-ways with me for the 3 months if it meant increasing my chances of employment in my field. I also sought opinion from other trusted individuals and they all said go for it as the benefits outweighed the risks. Days later after applying for a small loan, I was rejected... Once more, something I pursued wholeheartedly was shot down. Disappointed and discouraged don't even begin to explain how I felt. I literally feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place with this thing. I just don't understand it. Why me? Why am I stuck here? What is really going on?! But I continue pushing with the hopes that one day, it will all work out. 

 After facing that last rejection, I really started to question my life and my purpose here on this earth because I literally feel like a waste of breath and life: unable to accomplish anything. Stuck and useless.. I remembered listening to an interview with Misty Edwards where she spoke about her battle with illness and her struggle in determining the purpose of life. She wrote a book all about her findings called "What Is the Point?: Discovering Life's Deeper Meaning and Purpose". It is an easy read and has been helping me thus far. We spend so much of our lives focused on obtaining this great thing, but as Misty Edwards wrote
"Everything in life is on a quick fade... Men love you one minute and ridicule you the next. One year you're cool, and the next you're outdated and old. One season you are successful, and the next you are a failure. This is true in finances, relationships, ministry, impact influence... We cannot anchor our desire for meaning in these things, because it would be like chasing the wind..."
Boy, did I need that reminder! I feel a little better now knowing this, but I still feel unsuccessful at times. I am currently praying for strength and added faith.  




June 15, 2014

Baby Robins

I was walking into our garage several weeks ago and found myself ducking from a string of twigs. I thought it odd that this white ribbon entwined with twigs was hanging from the door, so I looked up. Much to my surprise, I saw even more twigs stuffed in between the lights above the garage door. I instantly thought "those kids have stooped to a new low. Why on earth would they waste times stuffing our backyard lights with dirt and twigs?! Isn't stealing our recycling bin enough?!" (We have a middle school at a block away from where we live and those school kids are wild- to say the least.)

I grabbed a step-stool and my camera to get a closer look at the mess. I was shocked to see it wasn't a mess at all, but a neatly crafted nest. There were no eggs in it at the time. Beau wanted to take it down. The thought of an angry mama bird trying to keep her babies safe was not something he wanted to encounter. I pleaded with him that we keep it there. Afterall, she put such care into building it-- although it looked pretty rough on the outside, the inside was quite neat and smooth. Besides, we didn't know if she would actually lay her eggs there. She could have found a better location and decided to abandon that nest. That was my argument anyway, in an effort to have Beau agree to keeping the nest up (just in case). 


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About a week or so later, Beau mentioned seeing a bird fly away when he went out to the back yard. I thought he was just paranoid, but then I saw the same thing when I was leaving for work one morning. So after work that day, I grabbed a chair and a camera and blindly (the chair/step-stool wasn't tall enough for me to look in) snapped a photo of the inside of the nest. When I viewed the photo, I was so excited to see four blue eggs laid side by side in the nest. They were so beautiful. I instantly fell in love and needless to say, Beau got even more nervous.

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One week later, I decided to check on the eggs. My neighbors kids had a field day throwing balls around the day before and it made me a little anxious that they could have hurt the eggs. I snapped a couple photos and when I reviewed them, I saw two naked baby robins lying face down in the nest. I was even more in love.

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Every few days after that, I would snap photos of the baby birds. Not every day, as to give mama and babies some time away from this crazy camera lady. Each time I shot photos of them, they got bigger and bigger and more feathered. Sometimes the sound of the camera shutter made them think I was mama bringing food, so they stretched their necks up and opened their mouths really wide. It was quite funny and a little mean.

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One day, I went out to take a pic of them and they were fully feathered and practically bursting out of the nest. They were also less sleepy and more alert. That was my last photo of them. I went back just two days later and they were no longer there. To be honest, I felt a little sad. They were kind of like my non-human babies although I had no part in rearing or feeding them. I loved them nonetheless, and I am so happy that mama bird chose the lights above our garage door to build her nest and raise her babies.

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Side notes:
** There were four eggs in the nest, but only 3 birds seemed to have survived. I'm not sure what happened to the other egg/chick, but I'm sure mama bird took care of it. She cleared the nest of all egg shells after each chick was fully hatched.
** You may be wondering how I was able to get such detailed photos of the baby birds--here's how...Each time I opened our back door, mama bird would be startled and fly away. She always perched herself on a tree limb close by, however, which allowed to her keep a watch of her babes. She never showed any signs of aggression... only on those few days after the chicks hatched. I couldn't get any good shots because the camera wouldn't focus (I think the chicks were moving around a lot) so I was out there taking photos longer than anticipated. Mama AND papa bird got a little antsy and would fly up to the door of my neighbor's house, flap their wings really hard, and then fly back to the tree limb. That was my cue to get the heck outta there. Other than that, I respected them and their babies, and they didn't try to peck me to death.

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June 1, 2014

Rainfall

You know what's a little disheartening?

... Putting complete trust in God for something and not getting it. Not only that, but seeing that people who don't believe in or trust in God at all can go after almost anything they want and get it. Or, people who choose to believe in God at their time of distress or in a time of need will get results or be granted some kind of favor in regards to what they were seeking. Yet, I am still stuck in my same position.

rainfallMaybe it's this attitude that still has me here. Maybe it's just a personal/individual thing and more is just required of me from the Lord. Maybe I'm just over-thinking this too much. But this is truly how I feel... especially recently.

This feeling does not alter my complete trust in God, but it does make me feel unimportant sometimes... And this is just how I HONESTLY FEEL.

However, Beau reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 5:45 that states: "...for He (God) causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

Also, Psalm 145:9: "The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all his works."

Hardships and disappointments can often lead to loss of faith, especially in the case of unanswered prayers. Unanswered prayers can seem like you're praying to a dead God. It truly can. But the Lord has proven Himself to me too many times for me to straight-up denounce my faith and His existence. So, I continue to trust. I continue to wait. And when that day of answered prayers comes, this blog will be one of the first means of sharing the news. Why? Because I know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 4:17). My blog readership is very small, but I do get visitors from all over the world on a day-to-day basis. I want to be an oracle-- a testament of sorts that as a Christian, we have our share of ups and downs. We are by no means perfect and sometimes when things don't go our way (and there will always be a time in our life when things don't go as we wish), if we continue to hope in the Lord, He will smile upon us and bless our faithfulness. So, that is my prayer right now-- more than finally getting a job in my field... more than furnishing our home... more than not having to worry about finances. I pray that I will continue to remain faithful and that my journey may be an encouragement to someone else out there.

photo via





May 25, 2014

Darkness ----> Light

Belmont Stable

When it rains, it pours.

I don't know how it happened, but I found myself in a deep depression the last couple weeks and it consumed me. I mean all of me was consumed by a heaviness that could not be lifted.

I first became aware of it during lunch one day. I started crying. I went to the bathroom to wipe the tears away and plaster a smile back on to my face before going back on to the teller line, but the tears kept rolling. Next thing I knew, I was telling my supervisor that I will be back in two hours time. I told her everything was okay, walked out of the bank, swiftly to my car and drove away as quickly as possible. I had no idea where I was going, but I hoped it ended in a life-ending crash. I ended up just driving to the end of the shopping center where I worked and balled my eyes out. I contemplated several ways of ending my life. Something that would be swift and painless. All options had possibilities of not going as planned, so I ended up crying more.

I felt like no one cared about me. I felt like I had no one to talk to, not even my husband. I felt stuck and tired of my current disposition. I was tired of life and living it.

Then something happened. A peace came over me. All suicidal thoughts left and all that was left was an empty mind, but one still full of sadness. I thought about how ending my life would leave me in a greater hell than the one I felt as though I was already facing. It wasn't worth it.

Within an hour, I drove back over to work and walked in with my head held high. I still felt down, but tried not to focus on it. But the more I tried not to "focus on it", the more it was there. And it stung. I mean, really stung. Like alcohol burning the eyes, it really hurt. I felt lost and alone and sad all the more because I felt like no one cared. In that moment, it made sense why so many people are depressed and it goes unnoticed until after they have taken their own lives. Maybe it was just how I was feeling at the time, but I honestly think that people are so caught up in their own lives and their own little worlds that they don't even notice when someone (albeit someone really close to them) is hurting. And with that loneliness, the depression gets heavier and heavier and weighs you down even more.

When it rained, it really poured for me the last few weeks. I was facing a really dark time. And through all of that, I am glad to have had some faith in my God. That is what has kept me through that hard time. Though He felt distant and unreachable, a part of me knew He was still there... I just couldn't feel Him. It is then that we have to have faith that even though we do not feel Him, He is still there. And believe me, there are many times when we won't feel like God is there. But he is ever-present-- omnipresent. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.

I still can't say what brought me to such a dark place, but I pray that it all goes away and light takes its' place. I wasn't meant for darkness.
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