Monday, February 28, 2011

This Little Light Of Mine

Why is it so hard to just write this thesis even though I've got everything outlined already? Why can't I just sit down and type it all out?

So many things get in my way... School work, track practice, tiredness, LAZINESS; you name it.

But even though the thought of giving up keeps coming, it's just too late to turn back now. There's not an option for me to drop out of the Honours program anymore. It's literally do or die. My calendar says I've got twenty-one days left till it's due and I've only got THREE pages done so far.

*Tears hair in false panic*
(Because if I were really panicking, I would be burning the midnight oil instead of blogging.)

Well.......

Today's weather was kind of rainy and grey, but at least the air was warm- almost 15 Celsius. I even got to run in a T-shirt this afternoon. It felt great! Now that the weather is finally turning, I can feel spring coming right around the corner. Yippee!

Bible study in school today got me thinking. God has helped me to overcome certain sinful habits in my life, but am I starting to let myself be tempted by those things again? Things like gossiping, listening to worldly music... I don't want to become enslaved to them all over again!

Furthermore, I am beginning to see that a lot of people in school actually look up to me as a Christian. They often ask me for advice and to pray for them, which actually shocks me when they do so, but it also makes me quite scared.

The Bible says that "not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1)

Yikes!

This really makes me evaluate the way I do a lot of things. For example, when I dress up to go to school in the morning, I try to ask myself "who are you trying to impress?" Then while I'm in class, it's an uphill battle to try to keep from making smartass comments. I've also been looking at my prayer life. Do I pray for others as much as I pray for myself? Am I continuing to grow and mature in Christ or am I content the way I am?

It's like all of a sudden, I feel like God has higher standards that He wants me to reach. Being good is not good enough. I should be following His will at all times so that I'm ready to answer any questions whether in or out of season.

There are more people watching than I realise.

A few weeks ago, the school librarian finally asked me what we were doing meeting in the conference room every Monday night. I told him that we had Bible study. After we became acquainted at the track meet a week or so ago, he asked me why I was so into the whole Christian thing. He said that he looked through my Facebook and was wondering what made me become this way. As I was sharing my testimony with him today, I also noticed that the security guard sitting nearby was listening to our conversation. It made me realise that the next time I walked into the library for anything, she'd recognise me as "that Christian girl".

Don't get me wrong, I do recognise that giving my heart to Christ is more important than just focusing on looking like a Christian from the outside. But God is opening my eyes to help me realise that I should let Him into EVERY area of my life so that He can truly shine in me. And for that, I am truly awed- that He's not giving up on me!

Hmm... I really have a penchant for blogging past midnight these days.

Sorry for the abrupt ending, but GOODNIGHT!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deuteronomy 31:8 At Work

It's Sunday night now and I'm back at the dorm.

On Saturday, I had to work in NYC again. It was supposed to be a 70th birthday party for some billionaire dude. I thought to myself: 70th birthday party? Must be some boring gig for a bunch of old people...

That afternoon, I rushed to Gotham Hall at 14:30 only to find out when I got there that our call time was 13:30 instead!

When I got to the backroom where we usually leave our coats and bags, the whole place was a blur of activity. Every single one of the eighty or so waiters had to get hair and makeup done for this event.

We also had to get manicures so the guests wouldn't see crusty nails serving them wine. Most of the staff were guys and they were quite tickled by the fact that it was their first "official" manicure.



Manhattan Transfer is one of my favourite bands because my dad always plays their CD when we were hanging out. As a result, I grew up loving their songs and their CD still remains as one of my top 10 most frequently played (if only my car stereo wasn't broken).

Listening to them belt out those childhood classics really brought back a lot of beautiful memories. It made me wish that my dad were there to enjoy the performance with me. It was also probably one of the only times in my life that I'd come close to being starstruck. I just couldn't believe that the same people who sang those songs in my radio were singing LIVE in front of my eyes! Not only that, but they sounded great live- completely in tune and in harmony; they were such a great pleasure to listen to.



Earth, Wind & Fire's songs are generally recognisable by most people at our age, but it was my mom's favourite when I was growing up so I had to listen to it... A LOT. To hear those songs again also brought back memories of better days past.

Because the party was retro-themed, the girls had obiang makeup and hairstyles. In this picture, I have about fifty bobby pins sticking in my hair and close to no blood circulation in my forehead area thanks to the headbands.

The night sort of flew by in general because I was actually enjoying the performances and wasn't too focused on watching the clock.

But by the time the party ended around 01:00, we had to go through the nightmare of breaking down the entire event floor and didn't get done until about 02:45.

Impatiently waiting to be let off by our bosses to go home.

One last glance into the main hall.

Gotham Hall is a really interesting building, being that it used to be a bank in the early 1900s. Now, it is used as an event space for billionaire birthday parties. fashion shows and concerts among other things.

As I left work, I reflected on how I'd prayed that God would go ahead of me to remove any obstacles and to help me gain favour with my bosses and coworkers. I prayed this prayer because I had to work with one of the (in my opinion) stricter and meaner bosses that night and was kind of worried as to how he would catch me screwing up at my work. Instead, he actually shook my hand and told me what a nice job I did at the end! I was so shocked that I think I forgot to smile while I was saying thank you.

Not only that, but the girl that was trying to get me at one of the past jobs was working last night too but I managed to steer clear of her throughout the entire night and everything went swimmingly well.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, GOD!!! You always know what I need and You never fail to show up when I need Your help the most!


I hate having to take the late trains back to New Jersey, especially on Friday or Saturday nights because that usually means that I'm the only sober person in the entire carriage. I'm not even exaggerating right now...


Being surrounded by so many delirious people shouting curse words, talking about sex, drugs and everything disgusting always makes me feel like I'm Will Smith in the movie I Am Legend; you know, where he lives in a post-apocalyptic New York City that's overrun by cannibalistic zombies? Yeah, I literally felt like I was surrounded by cannibalistic zombies. I think it's how the drunk men were staring at all the women in the train. God knows what they're thinking... Probably not good thoughts since most of the girls were smashed themselves and dressed seductively.


I prayed before I left work, while I was walking to the train, while I was waiting for the train, while I was sitting on the train, while I was about to leave the train... you get the idea.

At every point of the journey home, I always had the creepy feeling that something evil was watching me from every direction and was just waiting for an opportunity to prey on me. And that's why I knew that I needed to pray for God's protection over me. Needless to say, God did protect me and I got home safely, which is always a miracle in itself, considering that I live in a ghetto area.


I got home around 04:00 and passed out completely for two hours when my alarm rang and I had to get up to drive to church in Pennsylvania.


To be honest, I had a really big struggle with myself this morning about whether I wanted to keep on sleeping or drive to church. Just the thought of the two hour long drive itself scared me. I thought about how little I'd slept and began thinking of other alternatives to going to Pennsylvania. But ultimately, God won. I knew that if I didn't go to church today, I'd be seriously missing out on something. I didn't want to start off the upcoming week on a wrong foot.


Once again, God was merciful and granted me a safe and swift journey back.


When the first song = "Come, Now Is The Time To Worship" started, I didn't know why but I just felt so glad in my heart. So glad that I started tearing up! I knew that God was pleased and I was so grateful to be in His presence this morning. I didn't even know I needed it that much.

When the song ended, I realised why I felt so extra happy- there was going to be a baptism service! By the time the eight or so baptisms were over, I just felt so overwhelmed by the testimonies and joy of the occasion that I couldn't keep from crying throughout the entire service. I knew and felt deeply moved in my heart that God was there among us- loving, teaching, guiding and smiling.


Come to think of it, I did ask God recently to give me a heart of gratefulness and He definitely did that today. He's so awesome!


It's pretty cool that I received a gift that said "The Lord goes before you and will be with you." (Deuteronomy 31:8) on it today, especially after such a weekend.


Ok. Time for bed.


Track practice at 07:30 tomorrow morning. Whee!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cheese & Basketball Game

Cheese and dairy products are generally not part of my daily or even weekly consumption. I always try my best to steer clear of dairy because I don't think I need a lot of it. I could get my calcium elsewhere. Also, I noticed that consuming dairy seems to cause me acute pain near my abdomen during races. It's a stitch that many people may experience at least once in their lives. I'm not sure if it's directly a cause of my dairy consumption, but cutting out dairy from my daily diet has actually left me feeling a lot cleaner inside.

However I do have a weakness for cheese and I miss it everytime I pass by the cheese aisle in the supermarket.

So I went and got myself some Brie, Blue and Goat cheese the other day and I've been slowly savouring them all week. Besides, Indoor track season is over and we don't start regular track practice for Outdoor season until next week.

But but but... I've been running on my own anyways... And I definitely feel slower and heavier. I'm sure not all of it was the fault of the cheese (I had some Crianza to go with it), but whenever I'm running and the wall of tiredness hits me, I ask myself is the cheese worth it?

Then I go home and sink my teeth into a nice stinky chunk of Amish blue cheese... And I think to myself: yes. It's worth it!

Until it's time to run again...

German class is definitely my favourite or second-favourite class this semester (it's a toss-up between German and History). My professor is a little bit hard of hearing so it's really funny when he misunderstands something and tries to tell us we're wrong and he's right. We always have a ball of a time in class. And that is why I love small classes!

In the evening, instead of sitting home and doing my thesis paper, the school's athletic department came up with the brilliant idea of making it mandatory for all sports teams to show up to the basketball game against Rider University for breastcancer.

They even had stalls set up for face painting and popcorn and cotton candy to make it seem more festive.

Connie, the secretary of the athletic office and I.

The game felt like an eternity to me. I was starting to get really sleepy from after practice and felt upset that I wasn't able to do any homework.

Everyone else seemed to be enjoying the game though.

After halftime was over, I decided to sneak back to my dorm and get some homework done. But alas! I got zip, nada, NOTHING done last night.

If ever there was a profession called Procrastinating, I'm definitely a professional at it right now.

But I learnt my lesson. Tonight, there's another mandatory basketball game, but I will only stay for the first ten minutes or so. Besides, it's not fair that it's mandatory for all sports teams to support the basketball team when it's not mandatory for anyone to watch the swimming, golf, baseball, soccer or track teams compete.

Anyway, if I keep on blogging it'll turn into another round of procrastination.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cap Jempol

Ahh... What a nice day.

Not only did I score points with my bosses at work this morning, I also managed to touch my thesis writing! Though I didn't write much, I did get a lot of thinking sorted out so the rest of the writing should go smoother.

Midterms are around the corner but I'm not worried in the least. I've been keeping up with paying attention in class and completing all my assignments on time so I am sure God will bless my work if I ask for His blessings- which I am!


Dinner really made me happy today. I cooked a pot of miso soup with lots of mushrooms and tofu, as well as fried chicken gizzards. Yum!


I had my gizzards with this dipping sauce that I found in the Korean supermarket near my house.

I'm usually scared about buying new sauces because you never know if you're going to end up hating it and having to waste an entire bottle. But I got it anyway because it said "made in Indonesia" on it and looked like the regular chilli sauce you'd find in hawker centres in Singapore.

Fortunately for me, not only did the sauce turn out to be fantastic, it also tastes almost similar to what you'd find in Malaysian roadside stalls!

I am sooooo happy!

Now I can eat spicy southeast-asian chilli whenever I want! I don't have to fly all the way to Singapore to have it!

Anyway it's seven to midnight and I've got classes tomorrow morning. The chilli sauce pretty much sums up everything I wanted to talk about today. Can't wait to see my good friend "Mr. Toiletbowl" first thing in the a.m..

Toodles!


Monday, February 21, 2011

With You All Things Are Possible!

Just finished this movie that I started last night.


And through this incredible film, I have realised that this past weekend's race was just another lesson on how to be a Christian athlete. I'm humbled that even though this is my senior year, God still has so many things to teach me.

Last Thursday, I asked the question "why am I running, for what?"

I know the generic answer.

Everything I do, I do for the glory of God, right?

But the reality of what that meant hadn't really sunk in until I watched this movie. How could my insignificant races ever contribute to the glory of God?

Now, I know that I have to praise God whether I did well or badly. Despite all circumstances I have to trust that He will answer my prayers. I guess I'd forgotten that God is an awesome God, and that for Him, nothing is impossible.

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" (Mark 10:27)

In all four years, I've never managed to come in the top 8 for the 5k race during MAAC Outdoors to score any points for the team. And all this time, I've always known this to be an impossible thing- for me to come in top 8. Have you seen the girls that I'm up against? It's foolishness to think I could outrun them.

My coach told me, my common sense confirms the fact. But I hate that it's a fact. It makes me not want to run at all sometimes.

So why have I never committed this to God before?

I guess watching the Eagles face the Giants in Facing the Giants, whether it's a fictional story or not, reminds me of the unchanging fact that God is an awesome God. And whatever doors God wants to open, He will open. And whatever doors God wants to shut, He will shut. And if God opens a door, it cannot be shut by any other.

"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" (Revelations 3:8).

I am starting to look at track with new eyes... Not necessarily starting this weekend, but ever since I decided to commit my track life to Christ.

And I see now that I need to honour God in all things. I need to respect my coach's authority, whether or not I agree with the way he does things. I also need to "get my fields ready for the rain that God will provide". That kind of preparation means giving my all and more at every practice. I can't expect to slack all season and then expect a miracle from God. And this goes for everything else in my life right now.

Whatever comes in track, school, life post-graduation, I will trust that God will be with me. All I have to do is remain in Him.

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me" (John 15:4).

I know God always honours His promises. I cannot count on people, money, health or even myself, but I can count on the Rock of my Salvation. His faithfulness lasts forever!

And to His glory, the Lord has truly begun to touch the hearts of people on the track team. Some are beginning to seek God and even if by rote, we all pray and praise His name before and after our races. I believe that even the most calloused heart, God can melt. It is beyond understanding how He is willing to use a useless person like me to reach out to others. That is the measure of His grace, that He trusts a stumbling bumbling human being like me with His Word. I am so grateful... Even though I am so weak and have so little faith in Him, He still answers when I call upon Him.

Dear God.... Thank You...



And at the end of it all, let me always praise God for what He has done in my life. Let me not seek my own glory, but acknowledge that without Jesus Christ, I have and am nothing. All my intellect, wisdom, strength and power are meaningless. Whatever I have was gifted to me from God- so I will use these gifts to praise Him and HIM ALONE!




Sunday, February 20, 2011

Your Grace Is Enough

I just came home from playing basketball at church this evening. My feet are swollen and my back, legs, arms and neck all feel like old people's body parts. However unlike this summer in Singapore, I managed to actually play through an entire half of a game without dying on the floor (or passing out on the bench later) so I guess that's an improvement.

Anyway, late last night I couldn't stop thinking about what I'd blogged in my previous post. But when I opened my Bible, God had some hard truths for me.

"...we are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts...... God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else" (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6).

This one's pretty obvious. But to read this verse again in black and white reminded me that to seek one's own glory in any way, fashion or form is vainglory- sinful and dirty in God's eyes.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Next time I feel like all my efforts are for nothing, let me remember that the day I die will be the end of any opportunity to run faster, be a better student, daughter, sister, friend.

"...to accept his lot and be happy in his work- this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart" (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20).

When read this last verse, I felt in my heart that God was telling me to BE CONTENT. He'd answered my prayers above and beyond what I'd asked for hadn't He? So why am I still grumbling and grouching over useless things?

Not praising God and being glad in Him is an affrontery to all the grace He's given me.

May I never feel like God's grace is inadequate again!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Making History & Everything Else

Without further ado, let me just say that us girls won our MAACs Indoor Championships yesterday, against all odds!

Even though we're still in the midst of winter, yesterday's temperature soared at 18 Celsius. Warm enough to walk around in shorts and a T-shirt!

Actually, when I got up this morning, I wasn't a bundle of nerves like I usually would be. All the doubts and questions that were flying through my mind kind of vanished as well. The only thing that I was really focused on was doing one thing at a time. I simply told myself that I had run the 5k so many times before that it's not as if I don't know how to race it. All I had to do was to focus on the task at hand, and that's exactly what I did.

When the gun went off, I didn't run out fast like all the other girls did. I stayed in second-to-last position and stayed close behind the main pack. By the first mile, some girls in front of me had gotten tired and so I started to pass them one by one.

The result of being patient early in the race was that I got a personal record of 20:11:76 for the 5k.

Even though it's a personal record, I didn't feel satisfied simply because deep inside, I'd wanted to break 20mins. But it's okay. The all-important race for me is still about two months away so this is just a bypoint to where I want to be.

What's even more incredible is that for the first time in Saint Peter's history, the women's track team won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a cumulative score of 196. Points are awarded to the top 8 scorers in each athletic event and then totalled for each team.

Honestly, the full force of the fact hasn't even begun to hit me yet.

To win the MAAC conference for the first time during my senior year is nothing short of a miracle. Even the alumni who came to watch us run couldn't believe it. They were all mumbling that when they were still on the St. Peter's track team, this would never in a million years have seemed possible.

In a way I feel both blessed and guilty that us seniors may enjoy this privilege. A lot of what the team accomplished was carried on the shoulders of our freshmen and sophomore girls. But as seniors we bore the brunt of recognition and glory.

And yet......

Why do I still feel so sad?

As I watched my teammates joyfully call their friends and parents after the meet ended to share the good news, I was reminded again that I have nobody to really share this victory with. Even my personal victory of shaving 24 seconds off my time seems stupid if I can't share it with someone who can appreciate it.

I know my parents and some friends will probably give me the whole courtesy of "oh you did a good job" and all, but sometimes it just makes me even more mad to hear that.

Good job? You have no idea...

All they see is the end result, but they never knew how many stairs I had to climb to get to this point. All my mental and physical struggles... Each one of them got me to this momentous point. My parents don't even know what kind of a difference a 20:11 5k makes for me. They ask me questions like "did you win your race?" "No? Oh well."

I'm asking too much aren't I? I think I am. I keep seeking human recognition for my stupid accomplishments in school, track, etc. Even though I know that all these things are meaningless, but I still long for them like a five year old kid. Why isn't it enough that God sees everything? Do I really want my parents to be there at every track meet, to pat me on my back everytime I do something good?

Maybe I do. I know I'm bitter over the fact that they keep saying that my track meets are too far for them to go to any. In all four years of collegiate racing, they've never watched a single race of mine. Whereas other people's parents, regardless of whether they're disabled or have small children or live SEVEN hours away, they've come to watch their children run at least once. It saddens me to know that my parents will drive two hours to drop someone off at the airport but won't drive one and a half hours to come watch me run even once. And they say that it's because I never tell them when my races are happening, even though I've told them that the schedules are all on the school website... I feel like they don't care. Even my dad in Singapore always seems to change the subject to talk about my siblings who are excelling in their sports in Singapore when I try to share what's going on in my track life.

I don't know... I'm just feeling super frustrated about this and I'm sick of feeling this way. Maybe it's my fault that all throughout my younger years I've always tried to push them out of my life; so now that I'm technically an adult, they don't feel like I'm their child anymore.

This is so lame...

I'm know I'm letting something lame destroy what should be a really sweet moment in time, but I can't help what I felt.

I don't even feel like mentioning this weekend to anybody because it seems as if no one understands but a few track teammates and God.

God...

I can't wait to meet you someday God, because You see all things. Before you my heart is laid bare and my plans are nothing before You. But I am so grateful to You for what You have done yesterday. You gave my legs and lungs the ability to hold out for what seemed like an eternity of 20minutes. You swept away my doubts and placed Your spirit of courage and strength in my heart. So let my heart be filled with joy and gratitude for You alone oh Lord. Turn my eyes away from earthly things and towards Your spiritual kingdom. I do all things for Your glory and Yours alone, so that I am not exalted in anyway and may boast in no other but Your name. When I meet You Lord, may this person who is always coming in last be among the first, so that You may look upon Your workman with approval and say "well done, good and faithful servant!" Help me to use what little You have entrusted me with to the furtherance of Your kingdom. Thank You so much... For believing in me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.


P.S.

And to that one person in that entire stadium that yelled out "don't give up, keep running!", you have no idea how much I needed to hear that for all 25 laps. I carried those words in my heart for the rest of my race until I crossed the finish line. Thank you.......



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pre-MAACs Thoughts

Again, tonight couldn't have ended on a better note.

I had the pleasure of watching some friends perform at the International Song & Dance concert at school this evening.

I mean, how often do you get to see a German do an Indo-Pakistani dance?

I was really surprised and wowed at how much hidden talent walks by me on campus on a daily basis. People whom you never knew had the penchant for singing suddenly bursting out in glorious song on stage!

Yet although every performance was good, not every one of them was entertaining. It made me realise how tough of a job it is to keep people entertained. Props to all stage performers who can hold their own in a crowd of attention-deficit people!

After the concert, we were treated to a buffet of international deserts. Being that tomorrow was our MAAC championships, I only had a small piece of Balaclava (sweet Greek nutty dessert) and a tiny creampuff.

We ended the night going crazy with the helium balloons that were tied to our chairs. I laughed so much until I cried and almost peed my tights!

Boy, I'm really going to miss these moments when I graduate. Laughter is definitely medicine for the soul. I felt so lightheaded (in a good way) on the way home; as if I could fly up to the clouds like those little balloons...

Anyway, tomorrow will finally be the day of our much anticipated MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Indoor Championships. For those of you who don't know, it is considered one of, if not the most important track meet at the end of every season.

There are three seasons for track in a year- Cross Country in the fall, Indoor season in the winter and Outdoor season in the spring. In the summer we are not in school so there's no track. I generally race all three seasons, but most people on the team are only involved in Indoor and Outdoor. Only the long distance runners do all three seasons. After tomorrow's Indoor MAAC Championships, Outdoor season for track will begin.

So apparently, this year we've got a pretty good chance of winning MAACs on the women's side. Our steady competitor has always been Manhattan College and our coach likes to play up the whole politics of it. But as far as I can see, track is still an individual sport. If someone wins an event, it's all based on their own effort, not the team's effort. But to be sure, if we can score points as a team and win, that'll be great.

However I'm still not sure how I feel about tomorrow because Indoor season has never been my favourite season. I've always felt miserable during Indoor because we run on an indoor track which is half the size of your regular 400m outdoor track. That means that the curves are sharper and I can always feel my shins killing me as I sprint around them. This winter is no different...

The only problem is that while everyone else has a personal goal for tomorrow, I don't really have one because I feel insufficiently prepared to even have a goal. And to go into a race without any passion or drive is really bad because that means that I won't be prone to push myself beyond my mental limits when racing gets tough and my whole body is screaming at me to stop.

Even praying about tomorrow is hard for me because I don't know what's the point of me giving my best since I am not confident of getting a personal record or any points for the team.

Why am I running? For what?

I don't know.

Dear God, I hardly ever genuinely entrust my track activities to You, but this year I've come to realise that You should be present in my every endeavor. You know my weaknesses of mind and of body, but I just ask that You will cover them with Your strength and fill me with confidence- for you gave me a spirit of courage and not of fear. If I am to run tomorrow Lord, help me to do it for Your glory oh God. Help me to understand what that means in my heart and may Your hand be upon me at all times. Please go ahead of me and make my paths smooth tomorrow. I entrust all things to You tomorrow. Thank You for always being there when I need You the most! Amen.



Wonderful Wednesday & Terrific Thursday

Whew!

I haven't blogged since Monday because there simply wasn't enough time to do so. However, to be sure, not all of that time was spent studying.

Yesterday morning I went through all my classes in a daze.

My law presentation went extremely well. No doubt, because I spent half of the time preparing for it in prayer. Even at the end of the presentation when the class was given the opportunity to question my opponent and me, the answers came with ease.

After that first hurdle was over, I rushed first to track practice, then off to New York City for work.

As always, I got slightly lost on the way there and arrived about ten minutes late.

We were supposed to go there yesterday for a prior fitting for an event.

Everyone had to try on the black dress, shoes and stockings. There were two seamstresses on hand to do alterations on the spot.

Photos were taken for the very detail-oriented event planners.

Once the fitting was over, I enjoyed a lovely stroll back to the subway since the weather was quite warm although slightly windy.

Back across the river in Jersey City, the sunset made the sky look like a page from a calendar.

After dinner, I went to the building meeting for our dorm where we played the Newlywed Game.

In our version, we were paired up with our roommates and had to answer questions about each other to see how much we knew about each other. The winning couple would then each get a $25 Visa giftcard.

Unfortunately for me, my partner (who wasn't even my roommate, it was my track teammate who lived in the same building but in a different room) and I came in second place... which wasn't good enough to get any prizes.

I was kind of sad!

One of the questions he had to answer was "which country would your roommate love to go for a visit right now?" I thought he knew the answer... I mean, it's pretty obvious right? So I yelled out my answer "RUSSIA!"

Turns out that he answered "Singpore". And that's "Singpore" without an "A".

So sad right?!

Because it's true! I do want to fly to Singapore for a visit too!

Anyways, even though yesterday looked as if it would've been an extremely stressful day, it actually turned out to be smooth and relaxing, I think because I prayed specifically about it on Tuesday night. And everything that could possibly go right, went right. The weather, the people, the little conveniences... Everything...

Even after going on an impulsive rollerblading stint with my friend after the building meeting, I still managed to finish my school work for today! Which is not exactly a good thing that I procrastinated, but I really enjoyed Wednesday nonetheless.

Then this morning when I woke up and went outside, the pleasant spring weather just blew me away! Keep in mind that we've been having subzero temperatures for over a month now and lots of winter storms and gray skies for weeks in a row. For the temperatures to suddenly jump to 10 Celsius feels so wonderful that it kept a smile on my face all day.

All this despite the fact that the sand is still falling through the hourglass and my thesis isn't getting done.

I'm not stressed nor worried though. Maybe I should be, but for today, I am just happy to be in college and alive.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Nice Valentines' Day & Thesis Update

When I got on Facebook this morning, my newsfeed was already inundated with all sorts of Valentines' Day statuses- most of them well-wishes to friends and family. I suppose the people who had real valentines were too busy enjoying their special day to brag about it online, but there were also a lot of "I'm single and Valentines' Day is irrelevant to me" statuses.

I'd say that I fall into the latter category.

Besides, why should we celebrate Valentines' Day anyway? There's nothing in the Bible about it...

So while other people celebrated Valentines' in their own special ways, I went through today just like any other Monday.

Class, homework, Facebook, track practice, Bible study, dinner.

But to receive gifts on Valentines' Day as a single person, is pretty sweet I must say.

Okay the chocolate bar isn't a direct Valentines' Day gift but I'm including it because the packet is red... hehe.

I was really touched and lifted up by the thought that somebody thought about me today. But I felt a little guilty because I didn't get anything for those people. Valentines' Day is just not my thing.


I made dumplings for dinner today, but only got to ate it right before midnight. That's how busy I was today.

As for my thesis, I haven't even begun on Chapter I because I've got my regular school work to tackle in addition to it. There are about five weeks left to the deadline and I am trying not to be stressed out about it.

To be honest, I'm feeling rather skeptical about whether I'll even be able to finish it at all. It just seems so impossible right now... I really need a miracle! I need God's divine intervention.

And speaking of divine intervention, God is SO good!

Before Bible study today, I just wasn't feeling right. When I got to the library, there wasn't anybody there and I was about to cancel it when Tracey and Liz arrived. Then Gatto. Then Aigner. And later Khadeen.

We talked about a lot of things today. Topics ranged from death in the family to the necessity of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Yet in spite of the slight buzz in my forehead, I prayed to God that He would speak through me and that I would walk in His Word and He answered my prayer.

As we were asking questions and going from topic to topic, God kept putting verses in my head. During the whole Bible study, I was very conscious of needing to actually read God's Word so that each time there was an issue that needed to be clarified, a Bible verse or phrase would come to mind and I would share it with everyone else.

Afterwards, while I was walking down the hill back to my dorm, it suddenly struck me how faithful God was to my prayer. I had actually asked that I would "speak as if with the very words of the Holy Spirit" and voila! It was like the words came pouring out of the very Bible itself.

I guess I felt really inadequate going into Bible study today because I'm just so tired physically. Also I feel as if I haven't been keeping my mouth or thoughts completely clean recently. So much so that even though I'd asked God for forgiveness, I still felt that deep down inside, I wasn't worthy of His presence.

But today, I felt lifted up again, all thanks to God's grace.

God's grace is truly sufficient for me. No matter how much good food I eat, how much beauty sleep I get or salsa music I dance to, nothing will ever come close to being as satisfying and fulfilling as God's presence.

He makes my heart sing and my very soul smile...



Sunday, February 13, 2011

A New Week

Hyahhhhh~

I took so many nice pictures today but left my camera in the car! How frustrating. Even though my car is parked right around the corner, I'm just too lazy to put my outside clothes on so the pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime, I just cleaned my room and rearranged some furniture so the whole place has a nice new clean feeling. It makes me want to start Monday on the right note.

Another Sunday gone, another new week on the horizon. I wonder what the next few days will bring?

Will I be collapsing with exhaustion by Saturday or will I be smiling with satisfaction? The upcoming obstacles include conducting Bible study at school on Monday, resolving issues at a roommate meeting on Tuesday, my Law presentation and work training in New York City on Wednesday, indoor track championship on Friday and two chapters of my thesis due this Saturday.

I can only pray that my discipline and passion doesn't leave me this week. There is no space for errors or lazing around. A day spent is a day I can never get back, never return to...

So in lieu of all this Lord, may I just come to Your feet humbly, asking You to help me because I know I can't do all these things on my own. I neither have the mind nor the heart for it right now, but I trust that You will provide all that is needed to serve You, for You have not given me a spirit of timidity but of courage to face my hurdles head-on. Will You go ahead of me this week and bless all that I am going to do? In Jesus' name I pray, thank you, and Amen.

Whatever will come my way this week, may it all be for the glory of God and the benefit of others...


Jetlag & Other Thoughts

I've got some kind of jetlag going on because of the late nights I've been having recently. That's why it's 01:13 and I'm here, still awake and blogging.

Obviously it's not a good thing because I've got track championships coming up next Friday. But what am I to do? Papers have to get written. Books have to be read. And if I have the chance to sleep in like today, I'm not going to sacrifice my beauty sleep because it's also important!

Had leftovers from the Mexican party for breakfast today. Although I might as well call it lunch because I woke up at 11:30.

My roomie ate some too.

It was delicioso!

Then I took some photos of her hamster, whom I affectionately call "Mr. Hamham". These are my favourite shots...






So cute right?

Luckily for her, she gets to keep the hamster in our dorm because the school made a special exception. Poor Koshka doesn't get to live on campus with me even though she really needs a place to stay this coming week. There won't be anybody at home to feed her for about eight days and I've asked all around but nobody seems to be able to help.

I will just leave a lot of food for her outside and hope that she has the sense to sleep in her cathouse. Hopefully she won't lose too much weight during this time...

Today I managed to finish all the homework that I set out to do so that I could relax on Sunday. This homework thing seems to be getting less tedious actually. I can breathe easily again.

But right now I just want to quiet my heart and my thoughts.

Tomorrow I am going to God's house and I want my heart to be where it's supposed to be. In a quiet place... with God alone...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Generally Genial Friday

Alright. So although I heard the weather was nice today, I haven't been able to enjoy it at all because I've been sitting in my room reading Pride & Prejudice AGAIN for a paper I have to write for my history class.

I love the book, I really do... and that's why it actually engaged my attentions all day. But this might possibly be my fifteenth time reading it and for a class moreover!

Reading books I love for classes is upsetting because it spoils the whole fun of it for me. My entertainment is inadvertently interrupted by academic thoughts and post-it notes. But I'll admit that it certainly adds another dimension of appreciation for my future readings of the book.

I was actually debating whether I had to read it in its entirety at all before writing the paper, but because the topic is so specific- "What does Pride & Prejudice show about the changing class structure of English society during the early nineteenth century?", I feel compelled to do so. There's nothing in Sparknotes that could possibly help me in this topic so I'll actually have to use my head for this one.

Anyhow, here I am, sitting in my dorm room being a dork with four scrunchies on my head. I haven't curled my hair in a long time and got bored with my straight hair so here's a shot at curliness.

You know how people's rooms resemble the condition of their minds?

This, my dear friends, is the condition of my mind as of late.

I've got my sleeping bag and pillows on the floor because I prefer sleeping on the floor to the spring mattress. The flatness of the floor does wonders for my back and I generally sleep much better on a hard surface anyway.

There's also a pile of laundry peeking from under my bed and my guitar seems to have found its permanent storage place on my bed. It's the most convenient place to have it because I can pick it up anytime my fingers get itchy, fuss-free.

I decided to stay in my dorm through Saturday even though I don't have classes, a track meet or work this weekend because I reckon being at home in PA may be a bit too distracting. As to the question about whether I'll be able to finish my regular homework by next week's deadlines, I'm not confident of a positive answer, but I'm persevering nonetheless.

Even Korean dramas hold no lasting charm for me anymore. The plots are so boring and contrived that I could guess the next sentence in a heartbeat... I guess God really answered my prayers again by making certain distractions really unattractive to me. Now I'm free to focus on everything else.

Well then!

On another note, two incidents of weird noises outside had me feeling as if somebody were out to make Alejandra and me upset. It may be just my overactive imagination, but for some reason my ears caught a tang of pointedness that I couldn't help but feel was directed at our apartment. I hope that I am wrong about this because it is utterly unnecessary to our lives right now.

Dear God, if there is anything or anybody that is seeking to cause us harm or discomfort, I pray that You will prevent those powers from doing so. I ask that You will surround us at all times with Your love and protection. May You send angels to guard us and may we rest under the shadow of the Almighty. You are my refuge and my shelter, I run to Your Name and I am safe! Fill me with the power and love of the Holy Spirit at all times so that I may not stumble. Thank You for being with me. Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bravo's Surprise Mexicano Party

What a super long but fun day!

Everything actually started last week when I realised that my track teammate, Bravo's birthday was coming up this Saturday. I'd heard from his wifey that since nobody seemed to remember his birthday last year, he was pretty sad. And since we've never celebrated his birthday in all three years of college as a team, I decided that something had to be done this year round...

Alejandra and I then went about planning a surprise birthday party for Bravo this Friday, but we found out on Wednesday night that he had to work on that evening so we pushed it back to Thursday (today.. or I guess since it's 02:15 now, yesterday).

When I found out that we had to rush the party for Thursday night, I was kind of upset because it meant that we couldn't do a lot of things. For one, that meant that we wouldn't have time to make maracas, paint the cups in Mexican patterns, etc. Also, I didn't know how people would respond to last-minute party invitations.

Even worse still, when I woke up this morning, Alejandra who was supposed to help with most of the party stuff called to tell me that she would be held up at work all day and would not return until the party has almost started.

So starting in the afternoon, I had to begin by painting the tablecloth and getting all the other stuff ready.

Luckily some trackies came over to help out with the decorations.

Because Bravo's Mexican, we decided to throw a Mexican-themed party. It goes without saying that at a Mexican party, there should be Mexican food, so I put out stuff to make tacos and burritos.

Got a nice cake from a filippino bakery nearby.

Got people on standby in the dorm at 20:30.

Got sprayed with silly string.

Oh boy you should have seen his face when he walked in and the room was all dark and stuff! I took a video that's why I have no pictures of what happened...

But basically, he walked in the door and it was all quiet and dark, then everybody jumped out from their hiding places and screamed "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!". Well some... The other half screamed "FELIZ CUMPLEANOS!"

I think we actually made him tear up a bit.

Then it was time to eat!

Everyone was famished by the time Bravo arrived at 21:30.

Customary cake on the nose.

This was my second burrito after three tacos.... And this is the only burrito that was not filled to the brim.

Blindfolded Bravo so that we could play something similar to hitting the pinata. In reality, it was a balloon tied to Sacca's crutches. I've have no pictures again, because I took a video instead.

After everyone got nice and full of tacos and burritos and Jarritos, we sat down to play a really noisy game of Taboo.

Gave Bravo his birthday T-shirt signed with well-wishes from everybody.


All in all, it was a great success!

But I never thought it would be this exhausting to plan and prepare a party for twenty to twenty-five people. I mean, I work in the catering business, so I've been accustomed to seeing events for hundreds of guests get executed with precision. I guess my company is just so good at what they do that I take their professionalism for granted.

It was simply not easy to get everybody coordinated, all the food cooked, all the timing correct and everything. After today, I respect my bosses a little bit more.

Maybe it's because I'm already stressed out by other non-party related stuff, but I'm glad I did it anyway. And I'm glad I prayed last night for everything to go smoothly...

So that's it. This will by my last fun event for the next month or so!

Back to some serious work. Now I really REALLY get to bury my head in schoolwork...

I'm also really grateful that God kept my mouth clean today. It's not so much about cursing bad words, but rather, sometimes I say things that are just, for lack of a better word, inappropriate. Or sometimes, it's just the wrong thing to say at the wrong time. But I just prayed hard about it last night and God definitely stepped in today. I was quite worried that with being around so many people and all, that I would lose control of my mouth, but I didn't!

Well I'm glad I'm not being cooped up by myself anymore these days, as compared to the days of 2008-2009. But as much as I love hanging out with people, I'm beginning to truly understand why Jesus liked to spend so much time away from crowds praying...

I'm not saying that I'm Jesus, but as a disciple of Christ, I'm starting to see how being a living testimony to the non-Christians around me is so energy-sucking that I just need more and more of God's presence to even get me through the day.

Wow it's 02:49.

Goodnight!