New Blog Project & Interview with Emily

Hi friends, Debbie here. This year an idea was birthed of interviewing women in my wonderful church community and sharing it on my blog. One of the books I read this year talked of a godly woman who interviewed those around her she wanted to learn from and found as a positive influence in her life. She tucked these interviews away in a file and cherished the wisdom*

What a brilliant idea. Of course, I had to steal it. But in wanting to make in my own, I’ve decided to post them here on the blog so many more can gain from the wonderful wisdom shared in these pages.

So what to expect? All these women come from all different walks of life, they have impacted my life or someone close to me, are different ages and have different ministries… but they are all united in this: They are all amazing godly women and many are blessed by their lives.

I will try to share one interview per month, to get this thing going…

and where else should I start but with my friends?

(Who am I kidding, everyone is my friend. I love everyone you’ll read about in the coming months. Part of me just feels like I should name this blog series: “Meet my friends”.. Catchy? Yes? Eh, no. OK, I’ll go back to the drawing board… but for now, ‘til I come up with a better title… Meet Emily, everyone–)

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Emily is a joy to know and a deep well in her love for the Lord. I got to know her only early this year. Our new friendship taught me to take chances and be open to getting to know new people. Our first impressions or preconceptions of others may completely cloud how view we someone… you might have heard a story or something they said or did might have rubbed you the wrong way and you completely write the person off— I almost wrote Emily off and I was closed to new relationships, but God had a different plan. I’m really glad God didn’t let me get my way or I would’ve missed out on the best fun. I stepped out of my comfort zone and hoped the best in her and fast forward a few months after… and I’m a bridesmaid her wedding only a few short days away!

Whenever Emily and I are around each other, we are constantly laughing, teasing each other about how much we love our boyfriends (well fiance for her now) and how much we cry and love to sleep (the power nap is an art we’ve perfected) and how sassy and awkward we can get. We know each other from co-leading some of the high school girls at our youth group at church together, and we love our girls dearly and consider it a privilege to be a part of their lives. God has done so much in our lives through the youth ministry and through mentors living life alongside us that it is an honor to be able to give back in this way.

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Recently, I was able to sit down and ask Emily to share more about her and her testimony:

So tell us a little bit about yourself, about your family, how do we know each other?

Well I’m 21 and I moved to Oceanside (our city) about a year ago from Big Bear, CA. I’m from a wonderful family of girls with wonderful godly parents.

I have amazing parents– my dad is a detective, and naturally super protective poured into us growing up. He’s definitely the dad that run background checks on guys and made sure I was safe walking out to the mailbox. Haha. I was heavily involved in competitive dance all the way into my teens and by God’s grace I was able to start a dance ministry in my teens at my church that grew beyond my greatest expectations and I also started and sold a small business that I based out of my home in my teens. I had just always been really crafty and made these headbands that friends and family bought from me and it became really popular that I had started selling them online.

Can you share a little bit about how you got to the Oceanside area? I love your testimony.

After high school I felt God calling me to bible college, which was the best and I made so many amazing friends and grew so much in my faith, but after finishing in 2017, I kinda felt lost without direction and I felt God telling me “we are going to take a step in a new direction” and I was all– OK I don’t know what that really means [laughs] but okay. And soon after there was this opportunity to go to Peru and I was very against it– [laughs] I just, it was out of my comfort zone and very new–

I feel like all the best things God calls us to start with some of our stubbornness, right?!

Yes exactly! [laughs] Even the morning of the trip, I was crying telling my mom I didn’t want to go and she was all, you get out of bed and you are going! [laughs]

Shout-out to Mama King, YO [both laughs] your mom is great!

So I ended up going and God so changed my heart and we were able to help with a church plant and see lives changed– so while we were there a team from CCO were there and great people but I didn’t think much of it.

Director of the bible college in Peru did say said there was an opportunity to go back and work– which I was really excited about, but I came home and had been praying about it and God kept saying no.

Around this time, I was at work and saw a Google ad for Oceanside– never been there before– but there was this joy, and there was no other explanation than it was God pointing me in that direction.

And– at this point, Emily, you had never even visited Oceanside!

Yes, and it could have been terrifying but God just gave me so much peace and so much joy and I just felt really content in this.

So I contact the one person I knew in Oceanside and saw if they knew any people I could rent from and I had contacted the missions pastor from Calvary Oceanside that I met while in Peru, and he had offered me a job, and internship at CCO… and next thing I know I am renting a room from a lady I had never met (she is so nice and sweet) and working at our church at the Children’s’ ministry. It was such an incredible experience. I learned so much.

So talk about how it felt like working in a church was it what you expected?

Oh man, I had started this internship thinking “Oh I’m gonna do so many awesome things, God orchestrated my move and everything and this is going to be amazing” [laughs] but I literally spent the first 3 months of my work filing paperwork. It was really humbling and God changed my heart and my mindset and I realized how selfish I was and thought the year was going to be about the great feats I was going to accomplish things.

And I don’t blame you for expecting that– you’ve done some pretty amazing things in your teens– its sort of been these past years of incredible highs: starting and leading the dance ministry at your church in big bear with 70+ girls, the small business that you started and sold in high school It was one “great” thing after another.

–Yes, and God really taught me so much about just being faithful in the little things and giving in the glory in the smallest things and not seeking to be in front of people and serving Him to be seen. He really just humbled me. I’ve always struggled with being this perfectionist, and many times when I am serving the Lord it slips in me trying to serve Him to get more love which is not right. God showed me that when we serve others it is an outpouring of deep knowing His love for us so that we can share it with others. That is what true service is.

That is so beautiful, Emily. What a beautiful testament of how God works in our lives. I’m still not over it! Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty too, it is one of my favorite character traits about you.

Ok, now to the boy stuff [both laugh], since you’re now “almost engaged” you say– what does that even mean? [laughs] tell everyone about your man and how you met him.

[laughs] Lately, when people ask how I’m doing I say “I’m almost engaged” I will vote is an acceptable status. [laughs]

I vote it is too, I mean you’re practically engaged. I’ll run with it. Almost engaged; it should be a relationship status on Facebook [laughs]

Haha. So if you’ve ever been a single woman new to a church you realize the single guys kind of just pay more attention to you. Or actually, a lot of people do, trying to set you up. [laughs] and there were definitely a few failed attempts at setups that were really awkward and we had dinner at the pastor’s house and yeah, it was a little awkward. And it’s hard when you all work together and go to church together and know each other on all these different levels.

I mean to be fair to the guys and everyone else, I remember the same feeling when a new single godly guy shows up at college group, and now being part of a successful set-up with Matthew (my boyfriend) I have the strong temptation to set up people [laughs]

Oh no, matchmaker Debbie. I still can’t believe you tried to set a couple up. [laughs]

You and Matthew are like the 1% of successful set-ups so that’s different! Oh, Debbie [laughs]

I can’t believe it either! Who have I become? I’m happy and I just want to spread the happiness. [laughs]

So I met Caleb when I least expected it while on a missions trip to Mexico at our church (if she never moved to Oceanside she wouldn’t have met him!) and that’s all it took and I could seem to think straight anymore. After getting to know each other for about a month, we started dating, and it couldn’t be any clearer that this relationship was from the Lord. He loves the Lord and is full of His joy. We have such a great friendship, we are both such dorks and laugh all the time and we just have so much fun together. It’s been a great year together with him, we’ve walked through a lot of highs and lows and he knows me so well. He is a constant reflection of God’s grace to me. I love him so much.

Awww so sweet. Thanks for sharing Emily. And thank you for your sweet friendship. I love you a lot and I am so grateful for your influence in my life. I’m so glad that we get to do life together and share many laughs in between.

(if any are you wondering, Caleb proposed to Emily later the same day we did that interview and 3 months after… in less than a week… the two are getting married in her dream December wedding)

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*I read about this idea in a “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. An incredible book.

Perspective.

 

“No height too high

No valley too low

There is no distance that His love will not go…

I look behind me and what has been done

I look before me to what is to come…

No tear drop has fallen, no trial known to man

Slipped through God’s fingers when He stretched out His hand.”

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This where I need to stay. God’s unfailing love.

Why do we hope in Him?

Because his hope will not disappoint.

Why should we abide in his unfailing love?

Because his love is unfathomable, indescribable.

What if the answer was not found looking around anxiously and pining for achievement, fulfillment or status?

What if the answer was found by looking to the One who has the best perspective because He has written our stories before the beginning of time?

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I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[image taken from tumblr; quotes taken from sherri youngwood’s song All I Need to Know and Psalm 121]

Potsticker Pity

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This was originally supposed to be posted before Christmas… But things got busy. (And I may have been not ready to re-live this experience, just yet). Anyway, here it goes.

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I work for a really nice couple somewhere in San Diego- I keep the Mrs.’ sweet ol’ mom company, and pretty much hang out with her a few days out of the week. We watch Shirley Temple movies, take long walks, exchange silly stories about our childhood, and talk about good-looking Cary Grant is. And sometimes, when we are feeling a little rebellious, we might go to McDonald’s and order some senior coffees.

Who knew a 19 and a 91 year-old would have so much in common?

Ok, I will admit… Not exactly your typical 19 year-old.
I also have a collection of cat sweaters.
I’m kidding. Really.

What does this all have to do with Potstickers, you ask?
Read on, lovely person.

So, one night, I had to whip up dinner for myself and sweet “Alice” (not her real name). Lemme just tell you- lunch was a hit. I heated some rotisserie chicken, mixed veggies and rice pilaf with almonds (it wasn’t from scratch- but “semi-homemade” as the young ones are calling it these days).

With the freezer door wide open, as I peered into the icy plethora of frozen foods that had the potential of becoming my next masterpiece, I smiled and recalled the earlier success.

I’m pretty sure my eyes twinkled (like in the movies) when I saw the bag of frozen potstickers sitting on the 2nd shelf. “Booyah!” I thought to myself. “Wife material. Right here.”

Disclosure: I’m Asian. And potstickers are an Asian thing, yeah? my little niece loves potstickers and, My sister, her mom, swears by them.

My parents on the other hand, don’t buy frozen ones cause they have preservatives and yada yada yada- they are sort of health nuts, and it gets a little annoying sometimes, but these days- I’m turning into one (Shhh. Don’t tell them).

The bottom line is: heating frozen potstickers was a foreign concept to me.
(Still is)

So I yank out the bag- it read- “ready in 10 minutes!”

“This can’t be that hard”

Cue the scary music.

10 minutes later, I have a huge ball of half-cooked, half-not cooked potstickers on the pan- all soaking butter and 1/2 cup of water. Picture this: uncooked brownish, pinkish meat, oozing out of slimy dough. I felt like it was gonna come alive and jump out of the pan… All Frankenstein-style.

I started to panic, knowing that the people I work for were in the next room (with their cats and dog)- not that they would fire me or anything. I just thought that I was gonna impress them somehow.

While I poked the “evil blob” (I named it, yes) with a fork, trying to relentlessly salvage my wounded pride, I tried to think of the positive side of things.

“If this thing attacks me, at least they’ll hear my screams.”
“Who needs a wife who can cook anyway?”
“My kids will just have to learn”
“At least the dog won’t be hungry tonight”
“One day, I will laugh about this”
“Today is not that day”
“Darn it, should’ve worn the cat sweater.”
“Pride cometh before the fall”
“I wonder if they have cat sweaters that ‘meow'”
“The Asian community should disown me”
“Heck, I’m going to disown me”
“I will never touch a potsticker in my life”

Somewhere among those musings,
the pan turned black.
Something started to smoke.
Someone entered the kitchen.

And I was going crawl under the dining room table.

They held their composure, but I could hear a nervous laugh, here and there- and I’m pretty sure they wondered if the smoke alarms were on.

I mumbled a few stupid things I’m sure about how directions on frozen food packages lie, and how I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy started by the government.

But the one thing that I cannot forget was when I thought I seemingly found a loophole out of my misery: “OH look!” I said in jubilation, “it’s expired! It expired a month ago!”

And I was oh so close to adding, “so this mess is not my fault! I am still wife material!”

Then, my false hopes were shot down when the Mrs. responded, by telling me that it’s fine to freeze stuff before the expiration date and she just had some potstickers the night before.

I knew that. I do that at home all the time.

“Shoot me now,” I thought to myself. Right about then, I was ready for “evil blob” to jump out of the pan and kill me.

Actually, The Mr. was kind enough to help me salvage what was left of the bunch of potstickers. And, thus, some of my pride.
Maybe the 2% that remained.

A little part of me likes to think he did that cause he knew I was embarrassed.
But a big part of me knows it’s cause he was afraid I might burn his house down.

Well…The Mrs. did seem a little jumpy that next time I put a pan on the stove.

~fin~

Hello Fall, Where did Summer go?

Yep. Last time I checked in was July… and now it’s October. Crazy. I entered my password wrong quite a few times logging on, and realized that’s been way too long since I’ve “blogged” about everything and anything.

 

Since summer, I’ve wrapped up a NA program, started college and a new job, and had a birthday, got more involved in volunteering; some family has moved away, some friends as well… lots of change.

Last night I was just thinking how if you told my 13 year-old self how grown up I would be at 19, I would’ve gone hiding someplace you could never find me. Responsibility can be scary, man!

Maybe that’s apart of why God doesn’t give us all the details. We would probably faint to hear of all the things He has planned for us- I’m sure some are pretty exciting and amazing, and some are just plain scary if we try to tackle them on our own.

Lately, I heard someone say, “God gives generalities because He wants the daily dependency on Him.”

That reminds me that it’s not all about our life goals, or the “American Dream” (happy, successful, happy) but it’s about getting to know God; Going where He leads us, because we get to learn more about Him and experiencing new life because He gave us new purpose and hope through Jesus.

And once you take that step to follow Him, make sure you hang on tight- ’cause life will be quite a ride!

I’m not enough and that’s okay

It’s the best news I’ve heard all week…

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Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, (II Corinthians 3:5 NKJV)

“Our sufficiency is of God; let us practically enjoy this truth.
We are poor, leaking vessels, and the only way for us to keep full is to put our pitcher under the perpetual flow of boundless grace. Then, despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.” (Spurgeon)

I find so much comfort in this truth. I am definitely a poor, leaking vessel. We all are. That’s what sin has done to us.
we can try to apply band-aids, bandages, maybe some krazy glue… make-up and designer clothes… nice cars… Pretty houses.. education…

But in reality- still the same poor, leaking vessel.

and then because of Jesus-

I get the privilege of being “under the perpetual flow of boundless grace…despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.”

Bad news: We are sinners; we are broken.

Good (GREAT) news: boundless grace in Christ!

//the difference a dot makes//

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“Brain damage? Say what?”
 
Ok, let’s back it up a bit.
 
I was home alone babysitting my teen nephew and 6 year old niece. Their parents are in another state, by the way. And my parents are at work.
 
Little niece wakes me up in the middle of the night, crying, complains of being dizzy and wanting to throw up. She’s burning up.
 
I give her some of the cherry medicine which tastes horrible (but makes her feel much better).
 
I make a mental note to buy a thermometer that actually works (Ours was broken!) once I get up in the morning.
 
 
Here comes the hard part (or so i thought): I have to keep the kids away from each other. Nephew cannot get sick. He has a heart procedure in a few days(!).
 
(Which would actually work if our house wasn’t so tiny…. hah)
 
Ok, so we are back home- I take her temp. (with the brand spankin’ thermometer we bought from CVS– i took her with me)…. wait half a minute… 
 
“BEEP! BEEP!”
 
I think to myself, 
“This can’t be too bad, right? People get a hundred-something fever.”
 
next…. I calmly pick up the phone at call her mom.
 
“Yep she definitely has a fever…. a hundred-six…
yes, that’s what I said… a hundred-six… No, I’m not kidding… do you want me to take a picture?… Yes, ok, I guess you don’t need a picture….
 E.R.?! WHAT! She looks fine to me! Brain what?….. Ok, I’m going to wipe her down with some cool water first… Yes I know its serious… Nevermind, I’ll take her now.”
 
I dash to the kitchen, leave out some lunch for the nephew and warn him not to open the front door to anyone.
 
Niece (with an ice pack in one hand and ice water in the other) and I hop into the car and head to the urgent care down the street.
 
We pray out loud–I told her to “repeat after me”– i needed to know if she was was conscious! And we most definitely needed God’s help and peace!
 
 
quick heartbeat… shallow breath… 
 
yes. that was me. Please, she had to be ok.
 
The medical assistant was taking my little niece’s temp again (the MA dashed to get the thermometer right when i said “a hundred six”).
 
“One hundred POINT four”
 
Me: “OH THANK GOD! it went down!”
 
 
I call my sister on the phone again,
 
“It went down… a hundred point four… what do you mean?.. no way could it go down to that from a hundred you say?… well, it’s either the thermometer is broken or I am blind…. Well, I guess all that matters is she is fine… ok… It’s new… I guess we’ll return it now…”
 
Well, the MA overheard our discussion, and sheepishly said… “Maybe you…. maybe you…. read 100.6 to her as 106.0… thats why she told you to rush her here. Because if my thermometer pulled up 106.0– I’ve would’ve told you to get out of here and go straight to the E.R. since they are better equipped to deal with children her age.”
 
OH MAN.
IT WAS MY FAULT.
I HAD A FLASHBACK TO AN HOUR AGO.
POINT SIX.
POINT SIX.
POINT SIX.
I SHOULD’VE TAKEN A PICTURE.
 
 
I didn’t even have the common sense to blame it on the thermometer and told the MA about my error…
bright red and flustered… like I was talking to a priest at confession (!) except for…. 
 
1) I am not Catholic
2)The waiting room looked nothing like a confessional box (at least you don’t show your face at confession!)
3) She ain’t no priest
 
 
 
THE END. That’s it. We aren’t laughing about it yet, but I do have a fever right now (ha) and
i make a point to read every “point” (YES-PUN INTENDED) I see on the thermometer screen.
 
You may be asking, “Why in the world did she write a blog about this?”
 
Maybe I am doing everyone (and by everyone I mean the handful of people who read this blog haha) a public service to remind them that a dot (or a period or a point or whatever) definitely makes a difference. 
 
Sentences would go on forever, no one would ever get any spare change, and you’ll make a complete fool of yourself.
 
 
Or perhaps the makeshift confession with the stranger at the urgent care wasn’t enough, and I wrote this in hopes of further embarrassing myself.
(Kidding!!)
 
(But seriously, especially in the medical field, points are of utmost importance! Oh the things that could go wrong if you don’t chart them or misread them!)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Clinicals: Day One

A “clinical” is basically when students get out in ‘real healthcare world’ and put what we’ve been learning into practice. It’s a great way to see what you’ll be doing when you get hired.

Nursing Assistants (a.k.a. “CNAs”) usually work in long term care facilities and get to interact with the residents the most.

So… One of the highlights of the experience thus far- and one that will stick with me for awhile-

Here we were, students- awkwardly walking around the dining hall for the first time; we were trying to find ways to talk with the older residents without freaking them out (yes, we were happy to see them- but a little hyper due to our nerves acting up, I believe. At least I was!).

Then a sweet old lady, with beautiful auburn hair, called some students (including myself) to her table. She leaned back comfortably in her wheelchair, and gently clutched onto the blanket on her lap. She greeted us with a smile, introduced herself to each one of us, and asked for our names- then proceeded to tell us about herself.

“I was a nursing assistant for 20 years, before I had a stroke and came here. I enjoyed my job very much. I would do it all again. But I am happy now; I have been walking with The Lord all these years and I still am now. I want to wish you the best in your journey.”

Oh kindred soul, why you gotta make my heart melt!

Thank you for shining your light and being courageous and sweet. You are truly an example of one who has sweetly walked with Jesus!