Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014: In Pursuit

I am not one for making resolutions-- resolutions that go missing and forgotten as the new year hurrah crumbles then fades into an abyss of b l a h.

In lieu of such sorrowful traps, I started characterizing my years with a word that I wanted to pray over my life.

2012 was a year of settlement.
2013 was a year of joy.
2014 will be a year of love.

Now, this is a scary way to live out your year or so I have learned in pattern. In 2012, I became funemployed late September and had no idea where the year would end. And as mentioned in my last post, I never felt like I had to fight so hard for joy as I did in 2013. So what am I really getting myself into this year of 2014 as I pray for love in my life?

Before you go on to think that I am sulking in my singlehood and seeking to find Mr. Right during this fateful year, stop right theeeere. What I mean when I pray for such bold things as love is that I pray for the pursuit of love. I read this post on Desiring God and for the last few days of 2013, I let the idea marinate in my mind: make 2014 a year where I pursue love with more intentionality than I ever have before

I pray for my fickle heart that fears to mutter the word in hesitation of discomfort; I pray for this prideful being within me that fails to express it in my coldness; I pray for my inward & outward character to be covered by a grace that has set my heart to love so freely; and I pray that all this stems from my growing knowledge of the gospel that saves me from myself.

And as I reflect on how the last two years had ended, I remember that in December 2012, I started the job that I am still currently working at and also received a $500 check to use on myself from an anonymous giver; in 2013, Red Thread, King's Table Men's Home & Breaking Bread Homeless Ministry were yearlong projects that allowed me to exercise my joy in offering and in return, got more blessings than I could have ever asked for. Sighahh.

So I brace myself this new year and take a step forward with my eyes closed to dabble in this thing called love— to always remember & never forget our God who has pursued my heart relentlessly through my wilderness years until now.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Clog

Tomorrow is 2014.

365 days ago, I was on a NYE hike up Echo Mountain, overlooking the greater city into the new year with high hopes for the uncertain days ahead.

A year later today, I sit here at my work desk in an almost empty office and have little to say about 2013not to say it was bad in any way. The past year was goood for my soul. It was stretched, twisted, numbed and reshaped to its original form all at once; my heart. 

This year was also the least I ever journal-ed or blogged. Hence my title, A Clog. I feel it in me. I know all the thoughts that took residence in the entirety of 2013 and all the profound, deep quotes I could have written of this grand ol' life of mine. It should have been blogged out for my peace of mind. But alas, no evidence. The disconnect from there to here is a giant clog of internal sh!t and the struggle is real my friends! (Pretty much just Saehoon, Will & Cadengo-- hi friends.)

But really, the struggle is so very real. I got straight up dominated by my newest friend, Eczema, along with the company of old ones-- Cold Sore, Ulcer & Chan Hos—  all by the stressors of killjoy. Whatever it was, I never felt like I had to fight so hard for my joy, inside and out. I forget life before all these scars and scratches on my neck and stomach. Yet in the bigger scheme of things, the joy I gained through & through have never been this satisfying & this constant. 

Joy is above my circumstances. 
And circumstantial joy is but happiness. 

"...Remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.  
Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land..." (Deuteronomy 8:2-7) 

Do not be so quick to forget, Estefania.

To the good land we go-- goodbye to one, hello to tomorrow.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Humbly & Simply Put

This email keeps speaking life into my heart. For 2013, I decided to commit my selfish singlehood to become a season of selflessness. Mind shift— Singlehood is the only season I have to offer all of my time, energy, resources & presence to others. (How long this season should last is yet another wonder.)

Reading this email humbly put me in place. Nothing I do is ever in vain or even for any gain. When I commit to greater things than myself, God uses me; not as a do-er of good works, but as a witness to His works. 

My hands and feet are for His kingdom- Today I am grateful for witnesses. We all have the power to speak life to those around us.

Thank you, MW.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I scrolled down through my previous posts and noticed that the word "digress" has made repeated cameos. I personally do not like overkills, so it made me cringe a bit.

Digress, digress, digress.

Why do I digress so much?

How come our my social attention span is that of a 3 year old going through the early stages of brain development?

When does multi-tasking become destructive rather than productive?
Is it ever productive?
I am a self-renowned multi-tasker.
Does this make me unproductive?

Someone needs to filter my internal hard drive.
My Blogspot & all its unpublished posts.

My scatterbrain-
digressing again
and again
& again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I have once again neglected this blog for a period of too long. (surprise, surprise)

I spend less time on my laptop nowadays which is hardly a bad thing. But in the midst of my days and wanting to scream my momentary diarrhea flashes of words on top of words, by the time I actually open up my MacBook and click on Google Chrome, they are all but present in my mind.

This may be a result of my 4-month inauguration as a new iPhone user. I drafted an ode to my late-BlackBerry Style named Neo after my crossover, but that never got posted either. With that, the iPhone was a bit of a disappointment and not as life-changing as I had expected it to be, which made my separation from my BlackBerry flip that much more (de)pressing. [Insert "first world problems" hashtag here]

I digress.

Anyway, the purpose of this post and my subtle return to Blogspot is, ironically, all thanks to my iPhone 5; for the extensive world of worldly apps that gives me access to everything I (n)ever really need in life.

So, goodbye BlackBerry. When you return with an HD camera, we will reunite again. Until then, I am blogging on-the-go; toilet, traffic, cubicle & all.

Hi Saehoon & Cadengo.

I lied. The iPhone did change my life.

Monday, October 22, 2012

ggpwn3d #13- Mustard Seed of Mine

I promised myself not to write any more posts about Stefghanistan and all the twists & turns my life has experienced since then, but this is a story that I cannot keep to myself. It is one that I would want everyone in my life to hear & witness because it marks one of the most remarkable encounters I have had with Christ.

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you may be familiar with an incredible story that I have shared on behalf of myself & my dearest friend, Sabera, who was my Dari tutor in Afghanistan in the summer of 2011.

When I moved to Afghanistan, the org did not find the local security in Kabul to be safe enough for me to attend a language school. I was then introduced to Sabera, a local Hazara villager, who dropped out of high school at age 17 when her father passed away to support her family of 9 younger siblings and their mother. She had been trained to teach Dari to expats which is how we got connected to one another. In that time, I was already falling into my pit of loneliness & shedding my weight along with my joy in my physical & spiritual state of defeat. However, every working morning, my day began with Sabera knocking on my door, which triggered a sense of relief from the waking moments of anxiety.

In our sessions of broken English & Dari, the focus would always digress from household & marketplace vocabulary words to our lives— our two lives from complete opposite worlds in wonder of where the other one came from; connecting in our own longings to share our stories.

When I finally conceded to my own pride & realized that I had to leave Afghanistan, it was Sabera & our relationship that tugged my heart. I felt the burden that my presence was a sense of hope for her, the way that her's was mine. In our last session together, we spent the entire 90 minutes in laughter & tears. We fantasized about our future, going through every area of our lives from dream jobs to inviting the other to our wedding. It was all a make-believe, but neither of us wanted to be the first to admit to reality. What the laughter concealed was the actual pain of hopelessness, convinced that our lives would never realign in any moment in time.

My faith, smaller than that of a mustard seed.

You can say otherwise, but Sabera was living in a 10x10 small quarter with her family of 11. They had no electricity in their space & my words of comfort to her were solely that— words. I had no real solution to ever bringing her, let alone her entire family to the States.

Receiving a phone call from an unknown number this past June & hearing a distant yet familiar voice on the other end marks a moment in my life that has taken God & his supremacy to an unimaginable level. Sabera is now living in the outskirts of Chicago with her entire family, together, pursuing the American dream.

How can I say this in any better way.......  I suck. My words will fail to really display the true glory of God.

Just watch this video & may it tug at your heart to believe in a God who goes to an extent far greater than that of our hearts & minds.

Continue to keep Sabera & her family in your prayers. Our friendship is only the beginning to what the Gospel truly has in store for this fantasy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Falling Forward

I have so many thoughts that need to be written.

This blog-esque life is so blasé— why.

Xanga used to be soOoO eAsY foR mE to wRiTe my rAmbLinGs of tHe eVeRy dAy.

I made an unspoken resolution with myself to "actively" blog (aka, at least one entry a month). The year's end is coming close as we enter the last quarter and by the looks of my log, my writing career is yet a career.

Fortunately, I am past the stages of Denial & Depression (of a failing blogger) and now at Acceptance, so I would like to continue this post by moving forward.

This day began early this morning, in a chilly lodge in Big Sur with my parentals & Jona. Currently, I am winding down the night back in our home in La Cañada, rooting on this dying massage chair from letting me be the last of its decade run: If you die on me now, I will forever be that family member. Please, not yet, not now.

As of last Friday, I finished my work at my first job since Stefghanistan. I then survived a sleepless week & coordinated my first wedding of two friends I love on Saturday. It was a BANG, BAM, BOOM kind-of week where thoughts were screaming in my head alongside the droning pounds contained in my heart.

When such weeks depart and days of absence follow, I need time to regroup myself and catch my off-beat step. Except I went on a mini-family vacation for the past few days, making stops in SF, Napa Valley, Big Sur, 17-mile drive, Salinas, Pismo Beach and back to home sweet home.

One thing I realized from this trip: 1) Family vacations are never really a vacation. 2) Being a parent must be so exhausting. 3) My parents should have Road Trip 101 Tutorials for Koreans. Driving tips, restaurants, coastal & national routes, the whole shebang. 4) Childhood memories last a lifetime & parents pave the way.

With that, I digress my night back to this muttering machine (that had to be restarted 3x since the start of this post) and let my vacation commence.

"I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me."
Psalm 3:5

Thank you, Jesus. You sustain me, entirely.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Weight It Out

I started this post in April, but my thoughts were still a jumble, so I left it as is, without any written words; just a lurking reminder to myself to write it out like this:

What I have come to realize as I am no longer a girl, not yet a woman– an awkwardly disproportional adolescent continually growing disfigured before my own eyes– is that every girl + woman, no matter her size, age, race, relationship status, social class, etc has an ongoing battle in her own mind, that distorts her identity.

I am guilty. I have been, as long as I can remember from the time I wore my first swimsuit to the person who walks out of the shower every day. At my stature, I can be considered "small" or "petite" by my height measurement, but the calculations of the rest of my self punch out to be a "big, small girl". And you can totally judge me at this point, by telling me otherwise, but that is that. I am not saying that I always hate the way I look & feel, because what girl does not have a fat day? In my defense, there will always be another girl who would want what I have, that I would want in someone else. (Though, there are some girls who I can stare at endlessly and not find a single flaw in their outer appearance... from which then on, I would train myself to think, "God is fair. She probably has bigger insecurities than my muffin top & gelatin thighs.")

Where am I going with all this?

I hate to keep bringing up my time in Afghanistan, like every single previous post, but it marks such a crucial point in my life thus far. So, I have to.

In my complete misery that lasted from June to August of last year, I reached a point where I was mentally, emotionally and physically distraught with barely any spiritual strength left in my being; though being in a third world country was really the last detrimental issue. I remember calling my bedroom a prison cell, where I would do reps of 100 sit-ups & 10-min jump ropes while making up any creative exercise that I found effective. Mind you, I was going diarrhea 15-20 times a day & surviving on less than 700 calories in my daily intake. It all began with the salmonella, which led to Typhoid fever & so on & so forth. But I think that all took me to a place where I was so lonely & messed up in the head, that the only thing I had control over was my lack of appetite & durability work outs.

Though I lost 12 lbs in those 8 weeks, I remember looking at myself in the mirror & seeing someone so ugly. At any other point in my life, I would have been so ecstatic for finally getting past my goal weight, but I was genuinely dissatisfied in my situation & my conditions.

"I would rather be 12 lbs fatter & be happy than the person looking back at me right now." My thoughts reflected that statement & much worse because why? Because there really is no satisfaction in such things!

Now fast forward to this new year, where I was those pounds heavier & now, happy. I really was happy, in my circumstances and all the events that followed my feeble return. Then, I realized my words became reality and for some reason, when it clicked to me, I became unhappy again. How come there is no balance between the satisfaction of my weight & my happiness??????

That is the state that I have been overcoming in the past 3 months; wanting to find contentment in my true identity rather than the calculations on a scale. There is no end goal to what I want to look like at the peak of my joy. My end goal is Christ and my joy is found in Him. And guess what? It is everlasting. Then, who is this being that I keep exercising in my thoughts?

As a girl/woman/whatever level I am in this so-called 'womanhood', I have found that my self cannot be based on the standards that I created in my twisted mind. He has redeemed me from such a place that there is no longer any separation from who I am in Christ and how I should view myself.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again, I will build you, and you shall be built.
Jeremiah 31:3-4

How can I say that I am praising God for his works when I cannot find peace in my very own self-worth in Him? I am His new creation, worthy to call upon His name. Say whaaaaat? His work in me is truly beyond my comprehension, that it overtakes me; all of me, in entirety.

Then, Stef, why would you not value who Christ has redeemed in you?

What makes me ugly is not who I see in the mirror, but what lies deep within my soul– my unending sins. What makes me beautiful is then found in my restored image, created in the likeness of Christ himself.

"Above all else,
guard your heart, 
for everything you do flows from it."
Proverbs 4:23

With that all said, LADIES, treat yourselves right & well. Be good to your heart, mind & soul. Let yourselves be the pursuit of Christ before any guy. Be healthy, in your thoughts, actions, and standards. Do not let this world be the determinant of your joy. Join my efforts of living a balanced life, by feeding our heart, mind & soul with the Word & feeding our bodies with what is good. (Portion control is good, too.)

"She is clothed with strength & dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:25,30

Now, that, is beautiful. I want to be just that.