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Spoke Too Soon

Looks like I spoke too soon. My other wisdom tooth, the one that hasn’t been removed yet, started acting up on Sunday and hurt badly enough for me to not be able to finish studying today. I’m seeing my dentist yet again tomorrow to make sure there’s no infection. On top of that, maybe I’m just being paranoid but a new spot appeared where my impetigo had been. I’m calling a dermatologist tomorrow to set up an appointment.

I do feel really upset that it seems like one health thing is just following another, but I choose to have faith. Not just that I’ll heal and be able to feel normal again one day but that God will help me accomplish all the goals He wants me to pursue even when I don’t feel my best. That includes taking my CPA exam, the next section of which is coming next month.

I just choose to have faith and remain grateful for everything God has given me – good friends, a future career, parents who love me and much, much more. I also want to take advantage of the here and now so as soon as I start feeling better again I want to go and just do something fun.

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Reaching For Righteousness

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So far, so good. It’s been a few days since I’ve finally started feeling normal again. By normal I mean less itchiness, swollenness or infections. I am very, very grateful that I feel normal (at least, for the most part). Apparently, the swollen gums from my last post were from a weakened immune system so I’m really glad I’ve been taking these probiotics lately. I really do feel a difference!

I’ve also had more time these days. Studying for the Audit section of the CPA exam has been chiller than studying for FAR. I study more efficiently now so I’ve been able to save more time and retain information better than when I first started. I’m on track with studying with time to spare.

Now hat I’m feeling better, I’ve noticed something important. I’ve realized that I’ve been staying at home quite often. Although I do take walks in the morning and play tennis sometimes, I feel like I should be doing more.

There are moments when I feel worried that I’m not doing enough or that I’m not challenging myself as much as I should. My track-record says somewhat differently. I’ve been able to mentor a lot of other students, profit from a hobby that I enjoy, get a job offer with a great firm, be super involved on campus and help make a change but now I’m floating in momentum.

It feels like the train’s come to a slow and steady stop.

That’s because I don’t start work until September and I put freelancing on hold so I could study full-time. Besides a few good friends, I haven’t really talked to anyone since graduating and I don’t plan to walk. In those moments of worry, I’ve been praying and asking God ways that I can really pursue a righteous life. Maybe not a fast-paced and exciting one – but at life that really pleases Him and where I can have the assurance again that I’m helping Him make a difference in the world in some way (even if it’s a small difference).

I asked God how I could pursue righteousness and I knew that this started with reading His word regularly again. And I felt Him lead me to the book of Acts. And what an experience that has been. I’m seeing all these ways that the early apostles and the early church served God, boldly preached His good news and gave to all who were in need. Although I’m not yet at the point where I can sell all my possessions to give to the poor, I want to serve God step-by-step more-and-more each moment of my life. I want to serve God and be proud of my faith and not be afraid to share it with others even if it risks me getting ridiculed or outcasted.

It seems that it’s best to start with smaller steps at first. So – I’ve decided to give going to church again another try. I’ve visited many churches in the past two years and have never really made a connection with any of them that made me want to stay. BUT I’m going to start trying again and see where that takes me. In the meantime, I’ll keep you all updated and please let me know if you have any tips for fellowship or anything church-related. I’d really appreciate it! 🙂

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No One’s Good Enough

 

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I’m a perfectionist. So it’s easy for me to idealize myself or the way things in my life should be.. When something deviates from that, it frustrates me. Being a perfectionist can lead to a feeling of duplicity and then anxiety. There’s moments when I accomplish my goals and feel really great about myself but then moments where I fail or when I do something that doesn’t ‘seem like me’ and I feel frustrated and, for lack of a better word, worthless.

In the end, I read something today that showed me simply that I’ll never really be good enough during my time on this earth to be perfect. That idea I have in my mind of the way things should be may never come to fruition. If I was perfect and I could line up my Ps and Qs perfectly, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for me. But He did die for me and because of what He did, I can be perfect in God’s eyes without having to BE perfect. And that’s the beauty of the Resurrection and what Jesus did to me.

He freed us from the law and helped us find freedom in His grace. There’s no need to perch up on your toes so you can meet a minimum requirement. You can meet it just by coming as you are.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 

I fail God every day. There’s no skating around this fact. But He died for my sins when I didn’t know Him or even wanted to know Him.

It’s been eight years in my journey with Christ and back then, before I chose to follow Him, I seriously doubted that I would ever call myself a Christian. It took me a week to even consider giving faith a try. One of the things that changed my mind was reading the Psalms every night out loud and realizing that God was far different than who I thought He was. He’s a merciful and kind God who’s understanding and slow to anger. Although He’s not by any means safe, He’s not some sort of angry Zeus in the sky launching lightning bolts at people like they are extras in The Purge.

At this time, I didn’t deserve in the least to know God or have a relationship with Him. Regardless, He was looking out for me and I discovered Him even when all the odds were against it.

So to be right with God, I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to come to Him every single day and when He offers me that cup of living water or solace in His arms, I’ll do my best to choose to accept.

And so, Romans 5:6 is one of my ‘life verses’, a verse that means so much to you that you remember it by heart. I’m proud to share it with you here today :-).

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

Romans 5:6 

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Updates: Taking FAR, United Airlines

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I just took FAR today, April 10th at noon. Used Becker and Becker covered absolutely everything I saw.

I’m not going to reveal what I saw on the test but I can make some general comments about the level of difficulty that I personally experienced and keep it vague.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad. Not what I expected for sure.

The MCQs were no more than 33 each. The first one was actually pretty straightforward and easy. The second one was a bit more difficult in that it went more towards application and had more calculation problems (which I struggle with). I didn’t have time to doublecheck my answers so that is what I’m worried about.

Then the three testlets were for SIMs. I heard that the exam was harder now and the SIMs were going to be long and complicated with lots of stuff for you to sort through. I kinda pictured sitting in a hot testing room where the computer screen was dim and I was taking the test on Windows 95. But actually, the Prometric I went to had great accommodations and I felt very comfortable. The SIMs were not crushingly difficult, in fact, I got one that shocked me with how simple it was. It was crazy simple and I triple-checked that problem to make sure that I didn’t miss anything.

The second SIMS testlet was harder but it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought. There was only one question that had a bunch of resource documents to sort through and even then they kinda made it obvious what you should look for and what you should not look for. The hardest question was the one where I wasn’t quite sure what they were asking me and by the time I got to the final sims I felt really drained.

Overall, I don’t know how I did but I can tell you that

a.) There are more SIMS but it looks like they have some that seem really simple to kind of even it out (or maybe I just bombed and got easy SIMs haha).

b.) Becker did an excellent job preparing me for the exam because every single thing on there was in the book. SOme of the questions were even similar.

c.) BRING EARPLUGS! When I took them out I could hear a guy coughing and sneezing hahaha.

d.) If I could go back, I’d do more Ninja and Becker MCQs but I already studied the best that I could before the exam….

So I guess we’ll just see what happens in August! (so bummed we don’t find out till August :/)

Also, Roger CPA outlined a time strategy that REALLY helped me! I had 2 and a hours left for the SIMS which were really, really helpful.

Testlet 1 – 45 mins
Testlet 2 – 45 mins
Testlet 3 – 30 mins
Break
Testlet 4 – 60 mins
Testlet 5 – 60 ,mins

I ended the exam three minutes early and had time to double check my SIMs! Before I started, I wrote down the time checkpoints (so the first batch of MCQs was from 4 to 3:15). It helped me not panic as much during the exam XD.

I left feeling exhausted. I’ve been studying like crazy for this exam and I hope it pays off. Those four hours were pretty draining and I kinda wish I hadn’t studied before the exam today because that definitely made me feel a bit more tired going in.

All-in-all though, the events lately have helped me to realize how important it is for me to look to God for things in my life. In this, I mean that before I started getting random health conditions popping up almost sequentially, I lived life with God kind of in the background.

The CPA exam and the events of late have helped me to see how important it is to always keep hoping in Christ. I used to keep a prayer journal and write in it every morning but I realized that by doing so, I would just write one entry and then forget about it the rest of the day. Rather, forget about God (as bad as that sounds). I was in a way compartmentalizing my relationship with Him when I should be aware of His presence much more than that.

And that just brings me to how I was feeling after leaving Prometric. Although I didn’t double-check my answers and felt really worried, I found that I have a steady hope in God. No matter what happens, I truly tried my best and God will come through for me. I have the same feeling that I did after the case competition that I truly thought that I did not do well in or was even going to be selected for. As a flower looks to the sun, I want to keep my face and heart open to God and just wait with hope.

Also, in the car I thought about what my career coach from my internship said. He told me that his mentor said that it didn’t matter how well he did compared to the guy next to him. As long as he tried his best, that’s what mattered. And my career coach is someone extremely driven in his career.

So I tried my best and that is what matters. And if I didn’t pass, what matters is that I don’t give up because at least there’s no limit to how many times we can retake the test (for now). But I feel in my heart that this is something God just might want to give me. Since I won’t find out until August, I’ll simply have to wait.

~

Also, the incident with United Airlines assaulting a passenger and literally DRAGGING him off the plane has disgusted me. Quality-wise, you don’t get much from UA for the price you pay versus just going with a budget airline.

I find it appalling that after the way they assaulted that man that the CEO would paint the passenger out to be an inconvenience, “having to ‘reaccomodate’ the passenger. The only mistake that passenger made was choosing to fly with United.

And although I’m not posting angry comments on their Facebook, this is something I will remember every time I’m choosing an airline ticket.

People say that it’s within the airline’s right to boot passengers from the plane and that overbooking is a standard airline procedure. But the amount of force they used to remove that man from his seat and drag him across the aisle half-naked in front of his own passengers was unwarranted to put it mildly. What if that was your father? What if he was your son? Or your brother?

The follow-up video of seeing him get back onto the plane and standing in the back muttering that he had to get home and that they should just kill him sent chills through me.

There was a lot more they could’ve done. They could’ve upped their offer to passengers who were willing to get off the plane. They could’ve tried to find other volunteers or reperformed the search algorithm. Any rational person would’ve understood that this man was a doctor and seen his determination to stay on that plane and try to find another passenger.

Also, Asians are portrayed a certain way in the media as being submissive and easy to push around and bully. Could that have played a role in this incident? Could they have been this forceful because they believed they could push him around and it wouldn’t have as much of a consequence?

Regardless, whatever his race was, I’d be equally outraged because that could’ve been me or someone in my family.

If he was being belligerent and throwing fists around and splashing water into people’s face, I would understand. But it seems like all he did was just refuse to move. He was probably rude about it but the way he continued to refuse to get out of his seat even with the goons approaching would’ve been an obvious indication that he wasn’t going to leave peacefully. For the sake of the other passengers as well, that’s why they should’ve known when to give up and find someone else or up their offer.

And even if he was rude, it does not ever justify the amount of force they used to remove him and the way they treated him. That’s someone’s son.

Even if this ‘blows over’ for United Airlines in a few days, if I have my way they won’t ever have a cent of my business again. I don’t want to give my business to an airline that treats its passengers like human cattle to be prodded off planes with electric shockers and bodyslammers.

I also find the cavalier response of not just the CEO but certain late night comedians insulting. Conan O’Brien did a segment where they forced an audience member to sit in an empty seat. The actor was wearing the same clothes as the man in the video. And they he talked about the incident was very light-hearted and like he honestly didn’t give a sh*t.

Others are saying that there’s no such thing as a victim or he must’ve done something to deserve it. From a firsthand account of the incident at this video here (Fox News), it seems like all he did was refuse to leave and was rude about it. Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows what to do when you’re dealing with an uncooperative customer, you just have to compromise and try to make the most of the situation and not call the squad.

 

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Staying Patient

 

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Ever since December, I’ve had a string of random health incidents. I am trying so hard to stay patient right now but it’s almost uncanny how one health incident follows another. I’ve been praying about it a lot and asking God if I’ve done something wrong and that’s why this is happening. But He’s been putting it on my heart and showing me through that He wants me to mature in my faith. Particularly, He wants me to stay patient.

When did it all start?

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In December, I went to Vegas to watch Michael Jackson One (it was amazing!). Stayed in Nobu and decided to eat at this place called Beijing No. 9 Noodle in Caesars Palace. My mom was in the mood for some Chinese food and the restaurant was just a few minutes from Nobu. As we walked in, I glanced at the floors and saw that the floors were really dirty. There were paper towels on the floor, forks, pens, someone’s missing grandmother from 1996. Albeit, we decided to stay although they were selling noodles at $20 a bowl. For $20 I got a bowl of decent jajiangmien and horrible, ratchet food poisoning.

In the hotel room a few hours later, I was bowled over in pain with a sharp pain in my stomach like an alien was stuck in my uterus and was trying to karate-kick its way out. I was sweating and the pain was so bad I almost fainted a few times.

 

The next morning, I was waiting in the airport lobby looking pale and tired as we waited for our flight home. That’s when I felt a peculiar itch on my face. I shrugged it off and continued to scratch it from time to time, remarking at how weird it was that this spot on my chin kept itching.

Fast forward to a few days later when that itch turned into horrible, crusty blisters. I thought it was a cold sore (although I’ve never had one before) and I usually put off going to the doctor way too much for my own good, so it got really, really bad.

My plans were to come home, spend time and hang out with friends, go to Christmas service at a new church my friend had told me about, and continue to volunteer.

NOPE. I stayed indoors for several weeks as the impetigo colonized my face. At one point, my mom looked at me and whimpered and said, “I don’t want to look!” I don’t blame her. I felt like the hunchback of Notre Dame and as much as I enjoy League of Legends, I’d rather be outside than stay home all day with a skin infection on my face playing ARAM.

Thankfully, some topical antibiotics coupled with some oral antibiotics settled that issue.

After coming back from China, my wisdom tooth got infected. When it got infected in 2015, I planned on removing it then but put it off. So then I had to get two of my wisdom teeth removed and the recovery was not pretty.

I spent a few days in bed and at one point projectile-vomited because the pain meds were making me queasy. However, my dentist said I was healing at record speed. Cause I stopped taking the pain meds, there was this constant throb where my wisdom teeth had been and I so missed eating solid food.

(The plus side was that my dentist gave me some free movie tickets! Can’t wait to go see the Boss Baby!)

A guy sent me a rejection text cancelling a date (car trouble, he said. The oldest excuse in the book!) and I remember reading it with half my face swollen like a balloon and thinking, “Meh.”

Just as my wisdom teeth were healing, one day I woke up in the middle of the night with an unbearable itchiness. The itching got worse and that’s when I realized I aggravated a skin condition I had with all the antibiotics I’ve been taking. It took about a few week for me to feel back to normal and when my skin didn’t itch every five minutes.

Then, right as my seb derm was getting better, I felt this sharp pain in my gums. I realized that I had gingivitis and it was really painful. I’m really particular about brushing my teeth but I always miss that spot for some reason so I’m not surprised it’s acting up. But the timing!

Now that my gum is healing, I feel somewhat normal but the tooth next to my sore gums is now starting to hurt.

So… this is where I’m at. It just seems so UNCANNY, doesn’t it? :/

I hope I didn’t sound whiny during this post but it’s just a lot of vent-up frustration. The good thing is that I haven’t started work yet and I’ve had the luxury of studying full-time for my CPA exams. The downside is that I’m taking FAR on Monday and don’t want to take it with a toothache, hahaha.

As I’ve been praying, I feel like this verse relates most to what I’m going through. I was sitting in bed feeling really ew about everything that’s happening and this verse came up on my random Bible verse app:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 

Then I received this verse in my email:

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12 

It was easy to trust God when life was going well and everything was sunshine and rainbows. Even with the health things, I have a really simple life filled with an awesome family, great friends and a stable future job waiting for me. But it was easy to feel angry with Him and withdraw when things didn’t get so pretty (literally).

And this is really personal to share (duh), but I feel like God is challenging me to grow up and mature in my faith to the point where I trust in Him even when I don’t feel so great. Right now, I don’t know if I can really say I love Him without being able to come to Him even when random health things are happening.

Even though skin infections and gum disease are not pretty or fun, my dad told me that everyone gets these things. They just don’t talk about it. Seb derm, gingivitis, wisdom teeth infections and even impetigo are things that a lot of people have had before and they’re minor infections. I felt like an outcast for having these things but that was when it really clicked to me that everyone goes through things like this.

This experience helped me realize how human I really am and it disturbed me a little. But it also made other people feel more real to me if that makes sense. I’ve realized that people around me go through all sorts of things and they just don’t talk about it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty sheltered person and have had a pretty unconventional life so far. So it was easy for me to see the world in a certain way and to put it bluntly I didn’t have much empathy for people around me. Getting these random health things has created a new dimension in the way that I look at others in that the world isn’t so black-and-white anymore.

The biggest lesson now is learning that life might get interesting at times for me and I need to trust in God when trials happen. And the trials I face in the future just might be far bigger than random health things.

 

A Little Lesson

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It started at the beginning of February. My dad’s vision has been progressively worse since 2015 and he’s been pushing it off due to lack of time. To get him the help he needed because he could no longer drive at night, I played a lot of telephone tag with the insurance company and the doctor’s office.

However, the first surgeon couldn’t finish his surgery. She did it halfway and then realized that it was too complicated of a case for her.

When the nurse called me to pick him up, I went to pick him up and he was waiting for me with a wrap on his eye. He looked out of it and confused. For the next few days, my dad was just waiting to get a second surgery with a more skilled surgeon. It was uncomfortable seeing my dad looking so vulnerable. His eye got infected too because of what the first surgeon did.

Thanks to the Lord, though, we were able to get the second surgery for my dad right away with a much more skilled surgeon.

My dad’s second surgery was a pretty weird experience too. The surgeon told my dad that the surgery would take about an hour at most. As the nurse guided us towards the same-day surgery room, she said that after the surgery, my dad would be taken to a recovery room for one or two hours. If the main building was closed, we could head to the emergency room.

When it was much past four hours after the start of his surgery, I called for a status update. I frowned when the operator told me, “No one is picking up their phones. All the surgery and recovery rooms are locked with the lights off. Are you sure your dad didn’t go home?”

I told her that I was the one picking up my dad. He wouldn’t just leave. I asked her to check the ER. After a hold, she said the ER did not have my father. It felt like a movie. Where else would he be but the hospital? But why would he be there this much longer? If he was still being operated on, wouldn’t they be able to find out?

I went to the hospital a big crying mess to try to get more answers. I sat in the lobby and tried not to cry while people watched me curiously. At that moment, half past 12am, I got an email and it was a Bible verse:

It turned out that my dad’s surgery was very complicated and took three hours instead of one. This was a very humbling experience. I guess sometimes I have a very active imagination and I get carried away, hahaa.

Then, at 2am at night when we were still in the hospital,  there was an aggressive patient storming and yelling around the halls right outside my dad’s recovery room so we had to barricade the door with the nurse.

It was a strange night, but I’m just glad my father is recovering. He’s been healing and getting better, and I’m so grateful for that.

(My uncle is also getting surgery so please pray for him!)

 

Faith, Hope and Love

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In the past six years we’ve had our business, there were some days when I’d see my mom come home and look depressed because we hadn’t gotten a sale in weeks. The life of an entrepreneur can be difficult when there are no sales or fish biting for weeks on end. It’s a pretty nerve-wracking feeling because if you don’t get sales, you don’t eat right?

But in our very first year of opening, a distinct moment happened in my life that taught me something interesting about the way God wants me to trust in Him. When I was at the store one day, my mom turned to me and asked me to pray for the Lord to help us get more sales.

Although she is not a Christian, my mom is still a spiritual person. I went to pray and then, just as I was mid-prayer, I heard my phone buzz with a text. After I finished praying, I looked at my phone and saw a text from my friend Jenna. She wrote that God had put me on her heart at that moment. Her words were pretty much, “God wanted me to tell you not to worry about things like your mom’s business or money. He’ll be there for you and He wants you to trust in Him. If you seek His kingdom first, everything else will be given to you.”

Then she shared a passage from Habbakuk:

16 I heard and my heart pounded,
    my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
    and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
    to come on the nation invading us.
17 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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habbakuk 3:16-18

The timing was simply uncanny. It gave me a renewed sense of hope in Christ and made me think, “Wow. God is really there.”

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I heard that God tends to prepare His people for trials they will face in the future through the experiences they face today. If so, learning to trust in God despite the fear of the unknown has been a frequent lesson in my life.

There was a time when I would help my family with online marketing. In the slower seasons, where there would be no sales for days on end despite all my strategies and hard work, I remember feeling so despondent. Each day that went by without a sale felt like a failure.

I asked God for His guidance and was directed to the passage where Jesus tells His disciples to catch fish. The passage I’m referring to comes after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. His disciples were trying to catch fish but to no avail. As they sat there in that empty boat, Jesus came by and told them to toss their net in the water.

They did so skeptically but then, the Bible says that the net they pulled back was filled with fish wriggling and alive. After that, they realized that it was Jesus who had told them to cast their nets. They ran to Him and broke bread with Him and realized more clearly than ever that He is the living Christ.

21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Luke 5:1-14

In the same way, I’ve learned more and more that fish comes from God. I can try as hard as I can to make a better life for myself and for my family. To make things happen. God wants me to put my trust primarily in Him and not in my hard work. It’s like when a child depends on her father to give her the food and the clothing she needs. She doesn’t have to ask for it or work for it. He gives it to her out of love and because He knows she needs it. In the same way, God showed me that He wanted me to trust in Him first and foremost and know that fruit and fish come from Him.

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There’s a wall decal I saw that says Dreams + Hard Work = Success. As inspiring as this quote is and as important as hard work is, it’s not always the case that hard work equals to success. Sometimes, you can work your fingers to the bone for your dreams and still not see it materialize.

I’ve learned to put my trust in God. To yes, work hard and to have dreams but to place my hope in Him. And there will be people who call me a fool for doing so but I choose every day to surrender and to hope in Him continually and continually.