a string to connect pieces of my life

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am grateful that

12/26, Friday
--- I got to see the Christmas tree in front of the Rockfeller building, though I was a little disappointed by its size
--- I had some good food at Chinatown
--- we didn't have much difficulty with finding the right subways or the right places while we were in the city

12/27, Saturday
--- I enjoyed 3 hrs of "band of brothers" on history channel
--- there was not much traffic on our way to the outlet mall
--- we were able to find a parking spot quickly
--- my husband bought me a lovely red coat from Jcrew

12/28, Sunday
--- my friend Jia gave birth to her healthy baby boy!
--- the weather was super warm
--- I had some delicious mini hotpot and all kinds of authentic Chinese food

12/29, Monday
--- the weather was sunny
--- we had a safe trip to the skiing place
--- skiing was fun
--- our hotel room was very nice and convenient

12/30, Tuesday
--- the weather was still sunny, although the forecast said it was supposed to rain which would really suck for us because we bought skiing tickets for 2 days
--- the ride back was very smooth
--- I reached the "professional" level in several wii fit games :)
--- my husband appreciated the food I prepared although it was mostly leftovers and took me only a few minutes

Some thoughts:

It became harder and harder for me to think of something that I felt grateful for. It was not because nothing good happened. For example, I have been able to have a lot of decent Chinese food at much cheaper price here. However, I gradually took it for granted and couldn't feel the same level of contentment anymore.

Again, it reminded me of the stories in the Bible. Men lost their gratitude even though God had given them what they asked for. Often we hear people say that they started to cherish something when they were about to lose it. Maybe there is a reason for not giving what we want, or taking away what we have. God knows us far better than we do ourselves.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I am grateful for

12/23, Tuesday
--- Rachel giving me the ride to the aiport with much grace
--- having some quality time with Rachel's ipone
--- my officemate graciously offering the ride
--- my safe and smooth trip to NY
--- my friends' prayers

12/24, Wednesday
--- sleeping in late
--- delicious dinner at flushing
--- my husband getting to hang out with two of his best friends
--- having a lot of fun playing wii fit with my husband

12/25, Thursday
--- the birth of Christ as God's gift to us free of charge
--- a sunny day
--- relaxing at home

Monday, December 22, 2008

I am thankful for
--- 2 hours of "family guy" on tbs
--- being given the peace with not flying to NYC today
--- my friend Rachel being understanding and supportive
--- having finished packing my suitcase
--- being given enough movitation to read the Bible for a few minutes in the morning for the past week

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I wonder how long I can keep doing this

I am grateful for

12/20, Saturday
--- finding parking spot at the mall
--- safe trips
--- hanging out with friends at Bhramara's apartment and playing with her super-friendly and -smart kitty
--- delicious chicken wings and guacamole dip

12/21 Sunday
--- having the strength to go to church in such a cold weather
--- seeing several friends at the church before I leave this Tuesday
--- a quiet and peaceful Sunday afternoon
--- being able to work a bit
--- abundant food in my apartment

Friday, December 19, 2008

I enjoyed

12/17, Wednesday
--- the $2 latte at Espresso Royale
--- the open-face sandwich for lunch at Weber's
--- using the coupon Ciara gave me
--- the home-made noodle soup for dinner

12/18, Thursday
--- having freshly-out-of-oven sugar cookies + frosting as my breakfast
--- the beef chili soup I bought from costco
--- having dinner and hanging out with my friends Jen, Ciara, Dem and Bhramara at Asian Legend
--- watching SNL clips

12/19, Friday
--- staying in and doing my laundry
--- home-made tasty coffee using my roommate's manual coffee maker which is much better than the automatic ones in the same price range
--- a good laugh from watching some old Frasier clips on youtube
--- having Chinese hot pot and watching a comedy movie with my friends Jinli, Xin and Yong (I am very grateful that they came to hang out with me even though the road was very bad)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

--- 8-hour sleep without horrible nightmares
--- getting a wii fit from amazon by using my cell phone!
--- chicken pasta from the school cafeteria as I was craving for some pasta
--- being able to actually focus on my work for certain period of time
--- sorting out our holiday plans with my husband without getting into an argument

Monday, December 15, 2008

i am thankful for

--- my first Alaska quarter
--- not having high blood pressure (The doctor told me that my headache was due to the temporary stress.)
--- everyone being super nice at the hospital
--- my awesome blue parking permit that allows me to park basically wherever I want in campuses

Sunday, December 14, 2008

i think it is very funny

SNL Digital Short: People Getting Punched Right Before Eating

Despite that i am feeling kind of crappy,

I am thankful for

Friday, 12/12
--- my awesome costco membership card because they have all kinds of delicious snacks/sweets
--- getting some work done
--- having lunch with Rachel

Saturday, 12/13
--- Ciara appreciating my noodle soup
--- hanging out with friends and watching comedies
--- smooth drive to my dentist
--- getting to know Bhramara

Sunday, 12/14
--- breakfast buffet at Weber's
--- Christmas concert at NLC and my friend Karen's beautiful voice
--- bumping into my eye candy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

--- staying at home and catching "the office" & "30 rock"
--- delicious noodle soup for dinner
--- getting some work done

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

--- free breakfast and coffee, thanks to Brian (and congradulations!)
--- free lunch at Weber's, thanks to Brian's family
--- free dinner thanks to my friend Xin

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I am grateful for
--- the growth of Christians and churches in China
--- a friend getting interested in Christianity and asking to borrow the Bible from me
--- the precious baby panda at Atlanta zoo
--- getting all my medical appointments before the holidays (it usually takes a month to get those appointments!)

how to love a friend

Last night I had a long talk with a friend, which reminded me of the pain and frustration I had had in my relationships, especially some of my friendships.

Although I don't ever want to go through the same emotional drainage again, I am glad that my experience helped me understand my friend's pain better. Sometimes I still have similar struggles, but I can see clearly how God has been using my past to help me have a more mature view on my relationships.

It seems awefully easy to love a friend. The truth is that when God uses some incident to reveal the weakness of both parties in a relationship, the easiest thing to do at that time seems to be walking away. It takes a whole lot more strength and trust in God to just hang around, not to mention that you actually need to love that person.

The biggest lesson I learned is that not getting what I need from my friends does not mean that they don't love me. It sounds easy, right? But there is more behind it.

First, it might be true that they don't love me as much as I want them to. And there is nothing wrong with wanting them to love me more.

Second, it might turn out that they don't quite know me as who I am. It doesn't matter how long you have been knowing each other. The fact is that it is way easier for me to know certain people than others.

The last is that every human being is selfish and none is perfect. What our friends can offer us is often limited by their own capacity, and sometimes tainted by their own brokenness. So no one can offer us the love we yearn for from the deep of our heart. I think it is God's trick.

We won't be able to stop beating ourselves up or start forgiving the other party until we accept those facts. Then we need time to heal over our wounds, with the help from God's words and other friends.

On the other hand, if we see a friend in pain, we need to respect their feelings. It doesn't matter whether or not what they say to us can be justified. Their feelings are real. We need to see through their words and understand their brokenness, and love them for who they really are. We should try our best to comfort them, show them our support and at the same time help them see the truth. The truth is that we have many flaws but God still thinks we are worthy.

Relationships are messy. If a conflict can be handled gracefully, in general mutual understanding gets deepened. Unfortunately it is not the case most of the time.

I wrote a log long time ago and I want to repost it here.

how to forgive a friend

I have to admit that it still hurts. A friend whom I hold dear to my heart said something to me the other day that makes me deeply doubt my ability to maintain the sincerity and depth of this friendship.

Also, since I will be leaving, it will be another long-distance relationship in my life. I am not optimistic about that, in general, so I wonder whether it is worth all the effort especially when the other person in this relationship acted as if it was a waste of time.

What is worse is that it was not the first time that I felt this way in this friendship. There are definitely some old scars that triggered my anger and frustration.

Sometimes it seems much harder to forgive a friend than some other people. Because I love my friends and trust that they will love me in return, it makes me more vulnerable to what they say or do to me. Once the damage is made, it will take me a long time to rebuild that trust.

Does it mean that I did not forgive them? No, it is not true. I am not holding grudge against them. But things won't be the same, at least for some time. There is this fear. How can I know when I will get hurt again without any warning?

I don't know how God did that. When Jesus walked on earth, he knew his dearest friends were going to betray him. I guess he was heart-broken.

And I guess the only solution is to keep loving God and obeying him. If forgiveness is what he requires of me to offer, I should forgive with joy and peace a friend or an enemy. And if love is the greatest gift, I need to keep loving, fearlessly, for his love is never failing. My love for my friends and family is not even comparable to what he has given and will be giving to me.

keep it up

12/8/08, Monday
I am thankful that
--- I had a good accountability group.
--- God kept my attitude positive.
--- I am able to see, hear, walk, touch and feel. (Read the book "the gift of pain" or "fearfully and wonderfully made" before you say this is not something we should be thankful for.)
--- God is in charge.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I am grateful for

(Ciara gave us a homework last week asking us to write down 3 things we were grateful each day. It actually made me realized that I had had a pretty good week. So I'd like to share the list here.)

--- my husband's safe trip back to NY
--- the delicious noodle soup for lunch
--- a good life group

--- the deep conversation with a guy at the conversation connection
--- free dim sum at the Great Lakes restaurant
--- free ticket to the Messiah concert
--- no snow on the road

--- being able to write a long blog
--- not having to go out at night
--- getting some work done during the day

--- having lunch with Brian
--- $1 calendars at Michael's
--- the purchase of some wii games

--- being able to return Sam's membership and get a full refund
--- my boss being out of town
--- delicious turkey noodle soup from costco for dinner

--- a relaxing day (with coffee, pancakes, reading, a good movie, hanging out with my roommate)
--- safe drive to and from the concert
--- my blue parking permit that allowed me to park for free near Hill Auditorium

--- my husband buying a wii
--- enjoying the sermon on Lord's prayer
--- my new blue scarf bought from Ann Taylor

Thursday, December 04, 2008

be truthful

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

---Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis