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I started this blog in April 2007 to have an additional platform to write, reflect, share, express, and hopefully worship God through. The vision was fairly vague and open, and it seemed to have a helpful role in my life. Recently I’ve grown more apathetic towards my blog and questioned its usefulness and impact. 7 years has been a really good run, in my opinion, so I feel justified in closing up shop at this particular url.
One thought I have moving forward is that if I start a new blog (and it would have to be a fresh start as opposed to resurrecting this old site, with all of its ‘baggage’), I will do a better job at diversifying and categorizing the post content. For instance, I would have tagged posts chronicling progress in my hobbies, or tagged posts sharing something I learned from the Bible, and etc. etc. It would be a much needed improvement organizationally, compared to my current state of blog affairs.
Then again.. me, organized?? It’s almost.. not really me anymore. haha.
Anyhow. Goodbye for now, my lonesome little ‘thinking log’.
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Remember when the Gospel meant this much to you? Or has post-college life changed you. Has it dulled you. You listened to this sermon multiple times in college and the only word I can think of to describe the feelings it produced in you was “fervor”. Oh, I hope that it still does that to you today, and not only that, but that it will lead to such bold life decisions as can be considered fitting to enter into the same conversation as this biography. Only then will I know that such feelings were not mere “youthful idealism”, but true conviction. Sincerely, yourself.
“An easy, non-self-denying life will never be a life of power.”
“Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing.”
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On occasion I’ll whine to myself that the constant number crunching and analysis of my technical job “stifles my creative genius”. However, if I really think about it, I think the greatest hindrance to creativity isn’t an engineering job or even a shortage of time due to the business of life, but my laziness.
It’s laziness that keeps me from committing to develop substantial skills or side hobbies and resigns me to “dabbling” in everything, or worse, “frittering” my time away on YouTube or other time-wasting media. I’m prone to going through phases – some new endeavor will catch my eye for a week or two, but if you ask me a month or two later, I’ve usually forgotten about it (case in point: my week-long beatboxing phase)
I dunno. Lately I’ve been feeling really discontent with how I use my time.. not that I think it’s wrong to relax and watch a movie or watch a show. But I’ve been running into a wall in terms of wanting to have recreational outlets that also serves as progressive/self-improving activities, and not really finding the will-power (or, “inspiration”, if you will), because it’s easier, well, to just do nothing, if nothing is required of me.
What skill would I spend my energy cultivating if it were not for laziness, you might ask? Hmm. Well, the thought of the moment is to pursue stand up comedy, but I’m already feeling a bit un-optimistic about that. I’ve started drum lessons, so once I find a used set perhaps I could say the drums. But I cannot pursue the drums past 8pm due to noise, so I need a second option.
Well, this self-discussion could go on longer, but the scope of my post was only to identify laziness as a primary obstacle to overcome when thinking about hobbies and my productive energies. I understand rest and relaxation is good, and that (on the other hand) recreational pursuits can turn idolatrous and self-centered, but I’d really like to improve in using free time to develop myself more intentionally over the long term.
I dunno, what do you, the silent reader, think? Is it selfish to think this way? Did the Apostle Paul have hobbies and recreational pursuits? Or did he only build tents and preach the Gospel like crazy, resting only to sleep? Comment belowwwww!!!!!!!
(Above: Some car speakers I installed as a Saturday DIY project)
Filed under: Thought
It sort of surprises me how many things have changed in one year. One year ago I was at a different engineering company. One year ago I was helping lead a bible study at Stanford which doesn’t even exist anymore today. Relationship statuses have changed. Friends have moved away and new friends have come; some have gotten married and others engaged.
Largely, things look different today than I might have expected a year ago. I think change still makes me sad, especially when I think about friends that move away, or how the dynamics of older friendships change with each passing year. But aside from the intrinsic melancholy of change, I am still satisfied with today. God still challenges and teaches me lessons: Lessons of my weakness and stubbornness to change, lessons of the sweetness of grace, and lessons in trusting that letdowns and disappointments are still for the best in His wisdom.
Not only that, I am hopeful for the coming year. Even though I still experience uncertainty at times about what to do with my life, I think God is clarifying things I am passionate about, and that makes me excited. There are a few potential ministry opportunities that I am currently looking into and I am feeling hopeful about them.
Other cool things that happened this year..
– I got my PE (Professional Engineer) license! Now you can look me up in the directory of registered engineers in California haha.
– we had our first successful summer college fellowship! Even though the Stanford bible study during the school year didn’t work out, we had a great turnout at our church over the summer when it was opened to collegians from all schools, and we plan to do it again next summer.
– I traveled down to Santa Ana for a worship conference with 3,000 (I think) other worship leaders and musicians (of which I am neither).. but it was still fun and refreshing!
– God has continued to grow my heart for missions efforts. We put together a prayer night/info session for unreached people groups with two small groups at our church, and I hope to do something thing like that again. I also attended several missions prayer nights and networking opportunities.
– I visited Western Europe for the first time! It was great to experience new sights and tastes and see what the hype was all about.
With that all said, it’s time to put one foot in front of the other and trudge – I mean, journey – forward into 2014. Maranatha, for goodness sake!
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A weird thought has been nagging me ever since I was on and since I’ve returned from vacation. It was perplexing to me, and at times even seemed to sour my two weeks of rest. I think I’ve finally been able to process and articulate it in my thoughts. It’s not groundbreaking and may not surprise a single person, but it’s this:
Vacation is not ultimate. Grand sights and historical structures, exquisite tastes and new experiences, are exciting, but not ultimate.
I don’t know that anyone would argue that they are (some would say, “Sir, you are placing too much expectation on these grand sights if you say them to be ultimate”), but I think a part of me would feel let down when I saw cool things, maybe because a part of me was expecting something more fulfilling.
Instead, I found more richness in the first 10 minutes of my day, reading through the Gospel of Matthew..
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
I would read something like that, relish it, and then put on my jacket to face the freezing weather to walk 10 miles around Paris to look at “interesting things”. Granted, part of this melodramaticism might be due to sleep deprivation, fatigue, and the cold weather (that’s what you get for vacationing in November). But this was an irony that bothered me and one I had trouble shaking off at times.. 10 minutes of satisfying meat, and then 10 hours and 10 miles of only shadows of such glory.. and yet these 10 miles were the “main attraction” – what I saved up for months for – what I would have to tell people about when they ask about my vacation highlights. And yet.. just shadows.
I hope this doesn’t come off as a humble brag: either that 1) oh, I was in Europe and it wasn’t ALLL that, or 2) I’m soo holy b/c “I would rather read the Bible than be on vacation”. I mean, I’ve wanted to travel to Western Europe for a LONG time, and I was super excited to do so. But I dunno.. this was a genuine sort of dynamic that I experienced while over there. The irony that I traveled so far to see such rare and acclaimed wonders in the world, and yet the greatest and most satisfying thing to me was something I could experience while even at home. It’s like something from a sappy love story.
Well, anyhow, I’m glad to get that off of my chest. Now it’s back to the grind of daily work, and Lord willing, I will still “relish” what I previously called “the most satisfying meat” and not be ungrateful to be back to normal life. Perhaps this was just a manifestation of a pious-discontent: “the grass is always greener elsewhere” or something.
Or maybe to wrap up my vacation in a positive light: It was nice to see wonderful sights (common graces) which remind me of the splendor and glory of God.
PS. The title “The Irony of Vacation” probably suggests I would write about something to the effect of, “Oh I went on vacation to rest but came back even more tired”.. so apologies for a misleading title. This sentiment is only partially true – I do feel a little tired/jetlagged, but I also feel rested and ready to return to work. yay!
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Well, my attempt to recap each city in real time as I left has failed. Things just got so busy and what with trying to keep up with sleep, I did not have the time or mental energy to create posts. So I’ll try to recap each city briefly in one post:
Some or the highlights in Paris were getting to try duck foi gras for the first time, seeing the Eiffel Tower, and walking up and through the Sacred Heart cathedral. I thought that foi gras would be sort of gross since I’m not a fan of liver, but it was actually incredibly smooth and rich. It basically tasted like meat flavored butter over bread, and I’ll take that any day. As for the the tower and cathedral, I think it’s going to be a theme for me to appreciate really big and grand structures. Its completely awe inspiring seeing such massive man made creations. I think “awe” is the most transcendent feeling in the human experience…definitely a favorite. Anyhow, our time in Paris was basically lots of walking in really cold weather and then stopping to admire big stuff, or to eat. I also almost got my backpack stolen. But besides that a good stop.
Chil. Friendly. Crazy at night. Slightly forgettable. Those are some phrases that describe our time in Barcelona. We stayed in a pretty safe area, and as I walked around I saw school kids running about as they got out of school. We were sort of confused as to why it was so deserted around the city. I think even given that we suspected many people to be on siesta in the afternoon, I think we also lost a bit of the excitement since we were not there during the weekend. Some highlights were trying varying “tiers” of tapas, and just hanging out with friends late at night, eating and dancing. The “tiers” of tapas (oh, tapas are different types of small plates of Spanish food, and it’s the conventional style of eating in Spain. You order many small dishes with friends, and share them) refers to the fact that we ate at more cheaper grungy tapas bars, as well as more fancy fusion tapas restaurants, and everything in between. Since that’s pretty much the only thing we ate there, I feel like we had a good sense of what tapas is all about. For some reason, the group of us all agreed that as much as we enjoyed the sights and experiences in Barcelona (sagrada familia is this impressive gaudi church, and it’s AMAZING), for whatever reason we felt it was slightly underwhelming. Maybe visiting on the weekend would change that.
Our last stop. My impression was that to experience lisbon is to take in the landscape of the stone streets and sloped old style buildings. (And maybe the beaches, but we came in the winter) Aside from visiting a few lookouts, st. Georges castle, and Jeromimos monastery, what I enjoyed most about lisbon was walking through the older districts: alfama, chiado, baixa. Lisbon is cheaper, which means that even in tourist areas, the price sort of balances out to something more reasonable, which was good enough for me. OH! Actually, my favorite things were stopping at Oriente station (designed by this architect named Calatrava! I saw another Calatrava structure in Redding, CA too and enjoyed both) and seeing the Vasco da Gama bridge and also the Portugal pavilion! I guess for the same reason I became a structural engineer, I’ve always appreciated really cool structures and architectural/engineering accomplishments. Did I mention I like big structures? Yeah. Anyhow, Lisbon was pretty chill.
This sorry summary wraps up my two week trip through Western Europe. I’m not extremely well traveled, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to visit and see sights in a different part of the the world. There were also less glamorous portions of the the trip.. Sleep deprivation, force feeding yourself and your schedule with sights since time is a precious commodity, when you’d rather be sleeping in your bed.. Seeing a lot of homeless people on the streets of the big cities we visited, and feeling burdened but knowing there’s not really anything you can do for them.. Even just moments of us getting irritated with each other, with six of us traveling in close quarters (it wasn’t too bad though actually, just sort of normal life stuff) .. It sounds dumb, but just being reminded every day that even when you’re on vacation, you’re still a sinful fallen person prone to messing up and making mistakes. It reminded me often of my need for the Gospel. I found myself frequently thinking, “God, I’m supposed to be on vacation, but I’m really tired. Please help me rejoice and satisfy me with Yourself”. Haha. This probably isn’t most people’s vacation experience, but please know that I am super glad I got to travel, and I had fun.
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This November i was fortunate enough to get two weeks off from work to vacation with some friends in Western Europe. Our trip moves from London, Paris, Barcelona, and Lisbon. Ive decided to try to make short entries summarizing each place as we go along, mostly for the sake of some sort of perceived virtue and self-betterment in doing so. Or at least I’ll have some sort of record of how the trip went. We just closed out our time in London and arrived in Paris last night, so it’s time for the first update!
Some of the highlights for me from London were experiencing an English Breakfast and a Bombay Breakfast (bacon naan roll is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted!), walking into St Pauls cathedral (so majestic!) and visiting the oldest Twinings tea store in England (307 years old!). Overall, people we encountered were friendly, and especially in museums and restaurants, the staff was always extremely professional and polite. I think something I took away was how much of the UK’s identity is rooted in its regal tradition, and how inseparable the Church of England/ Roman Catholic religion is from this identity. Even though the country is most definitely post-Christian and the average citizen is probably atheistic or agnostic at best, everyone still seems to derive this immense national pride from the Royal Family (although what do I really know, from spending three days in London). From observing the Crown Jewels and video footage of the coronations, to the changing of the guard outside Buckingham palace, I felt like I could see England’s history of regalia and religion were still very much a part of their contemporary culture and identity. Maybe an analogous comparison would be how much we still tout a spirit of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the US.
Something else I appreciated was that language barrier was not an issue. As we’ve been in Paris, it’s been noticeably more challenging. I mean, it hasn’t been hard, but its harder to feel like you fit in and you definitely feel like an outsider. But these are thoughts for next time!