Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in Seattle

As usual, whenever I went to Seattle, the weather brightened up. The rain somehow miraculously stopped, it became sunny the next day, and when I left, it started raining again. I thank God for the divine charm that stopped the sky from crying, at least when I was there.

Thanksgiving is a time for family; for me, it is a time of family away from my real family. This is my family, the few who are left in the US. This will be the last thanksgiving that we spent together, because Dee is graduating from her culinary/bakery school!

Food served that night: cranberry glazed turkey breast, corns, garlic mashed potato with gravy, baked sweet potato with marshmallows, mushroom and vegetables, chocolate souffle.

And this is the few of us getting ready to go to an outlet on Black Friday. Dress code: bright orange with brown jacket (it's unplanned, honest.). Motive: it's easier to keep a lookout on each other, just in case we get separated.

Second day:

We were crossing the street to get to Sephora when this band played at the corner: "I am a friend of God... I am a friend of God... I am a friend of God, He calls me friend". People were clapping and singing along by the side of the street. That made my night. What can I ask for when there's the cool (not rainy!) weather, beloved friends, Christmas ambiance, and God? I thought that was worship; pure, genuine worship on a street of Seattle.

This is Chocolati on Green Lake. If you're a chronic chocoholic like I am, you'll appreciate their Chocolate Europa. It is literally melted chocolate. Yum. BUT, Dee said it's pretty grainy... I guess they should have whisked it more smoothly? I trust the dessert expert (Dee) when it comes to... ehem, dessert.

And this is me donating my old puffy jacket (the brown one) because there are holes :( This is right outside Chocolati, there's a donation box conveniently located for this purpose. Bye, college jacket!

Third day at Pike's:

So you get to see me with my new puffy jacket. I look like a motorcyclist now. Good job, Karlin. And this is at Pike's Place that's super famous for their chowder. I'm going to have to say it: it's better than Union House in Boston. (I really apologize to Union House fans.)

I thought this was the best dish for lunch at French Cafe near (or behind?) Sur La Table at Pike's. Ham and gruyere sandwich. Yum. I thought that Michelle got the best order :)

This is the last meal: post thanksgiving dinner meal. We got our ingredients from Pike's: steeped lobster and seared giant scallops! Thanks Dee for cooking them like a real pro.

When will I see you guys again? The next time we meet, probably it will be in a restaurant... So I really appreciate home-cooked meals that we had, and the late night talks we had... Now Seattle has too many memories. I'm missing you guys already!

Bonus picture: this is Dee's cake that she made.

She won the competition with this amazing creation of hers. I am so proud of her and how far she has come! Dee, you're always in my prayers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Never Been Kissed

"That thing, that moment when you kiss someone and everything around you becomes hazy and the only thing in focus is you and this person and you realize that that person is the only person you're supposed to kiss for the rest of your life. And for one moment you get this amazing gift, and you wanna laugh, and you wanna cry... 'cause you feel so lucky that you found it and so scared that it'll go away all at the same time."

I thought I'd post this famous, old school line from the movie. Just to reminisce. Hope you've had a good time reminiscing too :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Prayers Unanswered

I had a deep thought about this at church today, which made me... not so attentive, unfortunately. But the thought was ignited by something that the pastor said, and it kinda lingered on until I made sense of it. Well, a little bit more understanding, at least.

Have you heard that when prayers aren't answered, it's because what we pray for aren't according to God's will? It made me think that prayers are then useless, because aren't prayers supposed to work in such a manner that our desires, wishes and dreams come true through God's divine intervention? If the only prayers that come true are those that is going to happen anyway, then what is the point of praying?

Then today, the pastor was saying that God is faithful and He will never violate His word, which is the Bible. So, my thoughts lingered around the two concepts.

Perhaps, He will never violate His word because His word is perfect. If His word is perfect, then it must produce the most loving outcome in every situation, even those that we may not comprehend yet. But if He works to make all that are broken, sinful, and painful be redeemed, such that the most loving outcome is produced, it only makes sense that He cannot violate His word. To violate His word means to not produce the most loving and beautiful outcome.

So when we pray, we pray what is according to the Bible because that will produce the most loving outcome. When we pray for something that is not according to the Bible, as much as God wants to, He cannot endorse it because it will not be the perfect thing for our own lives. And He loves us so much He'd rather be misunderstood by us than to let us die.

I thought this is a very interesting concept. I shall think more and see if I get anywhere with this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Human Evil

My heart broke. Seeing one of my clients broke my heart. If I could, I would have cried. If I could, I would have leaped and shaken the evilness out of my client's parent. Rather than being angered, though, I felt despair.

We, indeed, are broken and imperfect creatures. We not only drag ourselves and the whole nature with us to hell, we also drag the next generations into insanity. The worst thing is, we think we are doing them good. Such audacity!

How ignorant are we to say, "The Bible said that now each person will pay for his own deeds, the next generation is freed from generational bondage." I am not trying to say that the Bible is wrong, or it lies; I believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is true, not just real. But look at my client, and you will know what I mean. It almost is like saying, we are not sinful even though Adam has sinned, because hey, that's his problem, nothing to do with my generation; but no, we are fallen because Adam fell into sin and we are his seeds. What if, we were there with Adam when he sinned, because after all, God created men before we came to this world. What if, Adam carried all of us in his being when he chose to sin?

I believe that we have the divine strength to break that generational bondage, in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God. But it takes more than that, I think, because you have to work it all out. It is, after all, a process. It is like getting a renewed strength to get off drug addiction, it is not an overnight process. So even though a generational bondage has been broken, I think that getting the flesh used to the fact that the bondage has been broken will need more time, and we often forget about that. We leave the person hanging after, not knowing what the person is supposed to do now that the bondage has been broken; and we condemn them for relapsing. What is wrong with us?

We are so broken; I am so sinful. Today, I am really taking my time to vent here. I don't even know if what I am saying up there is coherent. But I saw evil; I saw evil playing with humans' sufferings, and it's enjoying our pain. I hate that. My heart broke, and it keeps breaking over and over again with the thought of leaving my client in the hands of her parent. What can I do, but to pray for God's deliverance and intervention to come at the right time?

(P. S. All identifying information regarding the client and the incident have been changed to adhere to confidentiality procedures)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Downtown Artwalk

I went to Downtown Artwalk on Thursday night with a couple of friends, and I thought it was really cool. It was like another part of LA that I have never seen before!

It looked like New York, for one. People were walking about even till midnight (yes, I was there till really late, surprise, surprise...), the chilly air, the sound of live music on the streets, people randomly dancing to the beat of the drums at the sidewalk, the occasional scent of beer and cigarette... Classic.

Galleries were opened till really late too! I got to visit many of them even though I arrived pretty late on the scene. There were interesting exhibitions on paintings - also live painting - and sculptures, and other pieces that I would not know how to categorize them under. Like this:

I love the caption: "1200 calories that will go straight to your thighs".

NOTE: This is NOT a real dessert. It was supposed to be a farm, with human figures working between the bushes or plants. But it was still pretty cool, even though it is inedible. Hah.

This poster, on the other hand, talked about the two doughnuts that I ate:

Ok, just kidding. The right doughnut was comparable to a pie chart, explaining the different amount that US has spent on Vietnam War, Marshall Plan, New Deal, Gulf War, Moonshot, Korean War, NASA's all-time budget, Louisiana Purchase, and Savings and Loans Crisis (in no order). The left doughnut showed the US 2008 bail-out. Wow. Talk about The Great Depression. I think we might be in it right now, huh?

I bought 2 art pieces; one out of compulsion, while the other out of prudence. But I do not regret any of my purchase, probably because it's art, and I'm addicted to certain arts in my own weird, unexplainable ways. Like an outlier.

The art piece I bought out of compulsion, which I think by seeing, you may understand why:

The other art piece I bought out of prudence was by Hammerline (?), whom I later found out to be starting work with Sony for some images (and made me realize that maybe my taste in art isn't so weird after all):

I failed to take a picture of my favorite art of the night. It was an "I (heart) LA" sign, constructed with aluminum and other interesting electric device, waaaay too cool and too expensive to be purchased by a seminary student. That piece won my heart; too bad it will never be mine.

It was a good night spent; I actually got home waaaaay past my bedtime... But I really look forward to this event again next month!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Friend

This is my friend and I during the weekends that I am not doing anything crazy. Thanks, Kurt Halsey, for putting it in a beautiful image.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jump of Faith

I did it out of spontaneity and curiosity. What does it feel like up there, when I watch the world and the people from a great distance? How does it feel like up there?

The world looked small. I felt small. The ocean stopped at the horizon; I still could not catch the other end of it. The houses, offices, streets, they don't seem to matter anymore. The air was fresh and cool. The wind against my face made it a little hard to breathe. The world that God created was so beautiful. I felt like I was flying.

When it ended, it felt surreal: what was I thinking, dropping myself from 13,000 feet? When I watched myself jumping out of the plane, I wondered, was I crazy? My knees still went weak. My mind could not comprehend the different emotions and thoughts being triggered: fear, anxiety, surrender, surprise, joy, being breathlessly in awe, etc.

At the top, I learned that fear is... when I am full of myself. I feared of ME falling, ME getting hurt, ME not landing safely, ME, ME, ME... Then a random thought came into my mind: perhaps this is how we should face life. Life's unpredictability is fearful, it brushes your face against the cold. But if we surrender and trust God, who knows what He is doing, He will ensure the parachute will open when it is ready. So while we freefall and live our hard lives, why don't we just trust God, while enjoying the view and the whole process? We will get there anyway, somehow.

But the experience was more than what words could describe. It was like meeting God mid-air while overseeing His creations. I wonder if this was how Adam felt, while he was at the top of the hill, looking down on God's creations and naming them?

When I landed, I realized that perhaps all my life I've been crazy, perhaps I have asked for the impossible, but because I did, I felt like I have walked on water. My faith's journey was like the cycle of me sinking into the water and God reaching out to rescue me, so that I could continue. Thank you, my God.