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Random, but: I’m reading this philosophy book by Bertrand Russell and one idea in it is “Who am I? What is the self?” You can’t trust your senses because they can deceive you. You shouldn’t trust your memories or thoughts either, even if neuroscientists say that consciousness is the string/collection of personal memories, because we are forgetful, wrong, and dumb at times.

Putting the philosophy aside, I wanted to ask/say that as twinnies who tell each other everything and seem to often be in sync in our intuitions…can you be the holder/bearer of my memories when it’s too heavy, too sad, too crushing for me to bear them on my own? Adn I want to be the same for you: the knower of your high school days and younger self…so that you (and I) can grow out of our shells and past selves…that we can die to those past selves and live in Christ, or at least in hope.

My quality of life improves when I stop living to fulfill other people’s expectations, or my own for my future.

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This Queen City charmed me with the promise of a long-term project and the freedom to chase sunsets and meet new people. Hope I’m ready to move on now.

charlottebooks

[The following is excerpted from a group text I’m engaged in with my new friends in NYC. I met them after I started working at Accenture.]

Alice: I’m interested to find out or at least try to find out where this whole “men are better than women” thing started. I’m pretty sure we will never find out exactly when and where it all started but I would love to look into what triggered men into thinking we are these irrational, thin-skinned, whiny child-bearers.

Jinyu: I don’t think it’s their fault that they think this way. Our thoughts and beliefs* come from the environment we live in. The female stereotype/expectation had been around for a long time and it takes time and effort to change it. Not all men nowadays think this way. I want to say that generally men with higher education tend to be more open-minded on*(?) gender roles,* but of course that’s not always the case. But I think education definitely helps.

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WATCH THE VIDEO, IT REFLECTS THIS POST MORE-OR-LESS PERFECTLY

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Just as King Herod beheaded John the Baptist, either you two are going to behead me or I’m going to behead you two. There’s a beautiful double-blindness to life, and the dual(sic-duel) unfolding explanation to it all.

At this fork in the road, I need to choose repentance and love.

But love is not necessarily parties and dances and laughter. I think King Herod could afford that, but he was still distressed and guilt-ridden

To some level, I know I need a desert foundation on the standard of truth.

Jesus loves me. my mom loves me. Lewis loves me. Jeff forgave me. Wing and Ginny and Jane, Vanessa, Jess^2, Victoria accept me.

“I”ll be fine”

But you need to stop lying to me. Please.

  • After the hottest summer, it’s certainly a chilly autumn. I cannot get myself to come out from under the covers in the morning because it’s so cold. I know it’s really cold because the toilet seat is always cold now. Also, I’m sniffling incessantly
  • Family: My dad’s fine. He had an oral extraction done today (not his first and not his last), and it wasn’t covered by his insurance and I think it was ~$1000, but he’s not complaining. What a trooper. He’s the best, not only for what he does (wake up before anyone else to check the weather and wake the rest of us up; never fail to pick any of the rest of us up from the Stop+Shop near the bus stop), what he says (the guidance and example he gives to the NHP kiddos; by reading his Bible and Bible books with devotion all the time but especially early in the morning and with the dream/goal in mind of going to be a missionary in China, short-term asap but long-term as soon as he can retire safely knowing Chris and I will be fine with our futures; the career/life he gives me when I want to give up–and my mom, and Chris, now that I think about it), but obviously for who he is. I think Lewis kinda thinks my regard for my family and especially my dad is really heavy/weighty–and he probably notices it more clearly than I do because he can hear the words that come out of my mouth.
    My mommy’s tired, but enthusiastic enough to always tell me encouraging things with a smile and promise to study with me if I need her and does Chris’ physics problems for fun but also just to stay in the living room with us to keep us company as we do HW. She’s running for Stuy 9th grade parent rep, which is interesting because she hasn’t been super involved in the PTA (beyond donating) since I was in elementary school and she participated in the Chinese PTA. My mommy loves me and Chris so much. And I actually can’t say with much confidence that anyone loves me equally as they love someone else comparable to me (which is all sorts of horrible for me) , but I actually believe that my Mommy loves us equally and that makes me heart gush and swell.
    Chris is surviving Stuy. The kid’s commute…sigh. It’s all sorts of complicated because he has to coordinate with my dad afterschool. He has friends; more friends than I do, really, and goes to Seekers and some other extracurrics. But, man, the amount of back and forth and going from place to place is such a waste of time (in econ terms, high transaction cost? maybe actually opportunity cost if i think about it some more). on saturdays he has chinese and computer and something else back to back. This man is obedient, considerate, also funny. Thank God for him.
  • Other people: I just haven’t been talking normally. I think it’s normal to be able to laugh when someone tells a joke, respond when someone expects a response, and just generally be a social human being and engage in social interactions when they arise. I haven’t been able to express myself because “I don’t know how” but as I bury things deeper they really get covered and unrecognizable and I end up not knowing what’s wrong anymore. But anyway I have weird trust issues. Didn’t talk to Lewis even when he reached his hands back and clapped them together again and again to reach out to encapsulate some part of me. I’m stupid. I didn’t make any eye contact and couldn’t coherently answer Jeff’s question about “who helped me become Christian” even though he was listening and even expressedly wanted to hear my answer. I said some horribly garbled thing about once upon a time Jesus made my heart hurt. and then, when i tried again and was closer to target, once upon a time my parents met each other. what i really wanted to say was once upon a time someone told me “Jesus loves you” and I believed them. and once again. and once again. but as of 10/9/12, i can still count on my fingers the number of times I believe it when I hear it. I invited Jeff and Michelle to watch the Rumble with me and then cancelled on them and just offered them my email and pw so I could go home early with Lewis out of habit. I did nothing at home and felt horrible.
  • I talk to Karen, my bible study buddy, and I love her a lot. I love the time we spend together and I love that we read four verses and talk solely about just the Gospel for 2-3 hour blocks at a time. She’s a great friend. Even though I only meet with her once a week, I trust her so much that I don’t feel that neediness that I yearn from so many other people to be there for me at other times. It’s because I know and I trust that on Thursday afternoons, that time is for us and she feels the same way. She’s never distracted and she always listens. She’s not perfect or the smartest or the kindest or the funniest or anything, but she’s smart and kind and funny and so she’s perfect to me. So’s Homy. I’m sad she’s leaving. I’m also just kinda like blaaaah, why do these people have to be older than me?, which is such a silly question. But maybe it has to do with those trust issues. I trust them.
  • Yet I didn’t choose to go to body worship practice on saturday? so then i have no right to get jealous later. and i’m not–victoria and jane and the jesses and annie and vanessa texted and called me and taught me everything on sunday. and ginny bought me bao on sunday ^^ but gee. if i think i want to hang out with them, then when the opportunity arises, i have to do it, duh. this decision dissonance is something i’ve thought about and talked about before in regards to growing up. but i haven’t exercised it AT ALL. it’s so gross. because in my head and heart i want to be closer friends to them so badly. but my will is missing. i don’t think this is a textbook case of the needy friend from the four loves, btw, because i don’t believe i want friends for the sake of having friends. but it’s only one step removed which makes it pretty much as bad–i want to be friends with them because i perceive them as such great friends/friendly people/nice people to me. so, yea, i want to be friends with them for who they are, but maybe still for selfish reasons
  • selfishness: i can tie everything i do to selfishness now beyond generalizations. not just the email I sent Jeff and how i behaved at fellowship and how i walked home after fellowship and basically fibbed to julie to do so and how i keep crying for help (and literally tearing, too) and [just everything i do], but also my specific thoughts and my limited specific plans. feeling more wicked than i ever dared believed, but only as loved as i ever dared hoped for.
  • lots of things relate back to the Bible and Jesus for me these days. school, classes, lessons. every sermon i listen to when i run makes total sense and i can even apply and extend some things. i just can’t accept and believe them readily.
  • i’m so scared of Jesus. letting him love me is like letting a super buff good looking guy love me. or something like that. analogy in the works until I meet Him face to face. but since there’s always that circular reasoning of “He’ll deny me unless i really love Him,” this claim is easier to make in my heart and harder to make on paper without sounding flimsily feminine.
  • money woes: real estate tax hike, metrocard fare hike, time warner added fee, i take the express bus to sleep in later and avoid the morning 7 train which reminds me of last semester, i’m considering a new laptop that i can actually bring to school to do work and dorming and/or studying abroad. this all equates to more money going out while very little money comes in. i needed to stop fbc chinese school even though the teacher and the kiddos and the principal liked me a lot and they really grounded me every saturday morning–as you know, little kids can do that for you. spent money on a wedding gift for homy. and i’m committed to most of the costs of the care packages.
  • This weekend: we’re making the care packages, but michelle yeow decided she doesn’t want to help pack them anymore so that’s disheartening but completely understandable (and anyway, she’s been totally supportive and provided great guidance). but it means we have no car to go buy the stuff. so need to lift that and its costs up. also i wont even be at hope center friday cuz im helping with homy’s decorations. so i need to figure out how to get stuff where they need to be. wedding on saturday. im also doing ppt but that’s neither a blessing nor a curse but just a matter of fact that affects, but only indirectly, my happiness, which may be more dependent on my courage to be “myself”. body worship right after. then care packages.
  • midterms soon. 5 in 2 days. “no time to study”
  • stine is full of excuses.
  • dropped the Mad Love course (i liked the plato readings a lot but i really really didnt like the lectures because all the professor did was summarize, and his quirks started to bug me when i kept attending >< i have quotes and observations in my notes ><“) i’m going to try to take a bible literature course again next semester–again, because im hoping it’s like the ind study i did with dr mozes
  • thank God for metamucil.
  • so i guess the winding down whines would be: how is it that my family can’t afford the monetary cost and time to have enough/real food and why doesn’t our house have sufficient heat.
  • my brother needs pants to sleep in so he doesnt have to sleep in jeans.
  • i need more than $10.63 in my bank account so i can actually withdraw funds.
  • but ending on a happy note, cornea, mary, serena are all women who have recently saved me.
  • PTL for salvation, even lesser salvation.
  • being in a position to be saved is the more optimistic position than being in a position where you have to choose whether to die. #referring to that korean girl

Christine

I was listening to “From The Ground”(song) a lot because it’s so cute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb9ByWrXOlk

In the first verse Lisa sings

“love can happen easily / but l*s* when it’s done purposefully

It can make a heart feel free or captive by its boundaries”

One of the first few times I listened to the song, I was a little surprised by the word “captive” because I didn’t expect it.

I’ve heard variations of “love can make a heart feel free,” but I haven’t heard about love’s boundaries in quite a while.

We sing about being “captivated by love,” though, so it took me a second to realize that’s not what her lyrics mean.

I know enough to know that boundaries are not “bad”; people just don’t like the idea of being restricted.

How about you, though? Have you thought about the boundaries of love at all?

Now that you’re thinking about it at least a teeny tiny bit from reading my question,

What do you think they include?

If you love someone/thing, you can’t hate them?

If you love someone/thing, you shouldn’t hurt them?

It can’t be that simple. I just don’t know what determines the lines. lalala.

I know that in that line of the song,

“captive by its boundaries” serves as a contrast to “a heart that feels free”

As indicated by the word “or”

But, just extending the thought some more,

I can imagine an untethered heart that feels free but is actually captive to selfish desires.

I can imagine a bounded heart that is perfectly content

I’m reminded of the ‘fish outside of its fishbowl’ metaphor from Reason for God

I know that boundaries necessarily form borders

And that, again, it’s not “bad” to be within the borders of something.

I can imagine there are love-analogies for

Country borders vs. town borders, maps,

Borders that change over time due to natural change of the landscape or because of politics and war

Border patrol and illegal immigrants

The line from later in the song, “is it true that love is done when the line’s crossed over” then becomes more nuanced.

Anyway, the other interesting thing about the song I want to share would be the “l*s*” thing you probably noticed.

The first million times I listened to the song, I really thought she sang

“love can happen easily, but less when it’s done purposefully”

And that would have made lots of sense to me.

First of all, more and more I see that “it’s not unusual to be loved by anyone”

But, also, from my perspective as someone who has never been in a relationship,

it seems like every relationship starts unpurposefully

It’s always a coincidence, an unexpected blessing.

And anyway, it’s not like I haven’t been affected by Disney and Asian dramas.

So, again, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the lyrics are really

“love can happen easily, but lasts when it’s done purposefully”

This made little sense to me at first, but then I thought about it and realized

-my parents love me unconditionally but purposefully; I wasn’t an accident baby as far as I know

-I’m easily impressed by people, but the people I truly love (to different degrees) and not just admire are people I do things with, people with whom I share common goals (regardless of whether they’re explicit goals)

I don’t love them because of the purpose, but I couldn’t love them without the purpose.

-also, the triangle thing

 

Why does God love us?

I know it’s part of His nature

I know His love never fails, that it’ll last

But that means it’s probably purposeful.

Even though he’s a prodigal God,

I don’t think He’s reckless about His love.

That He loves me is more than enough for me.

But if I knew why He loved me,

I’d understand Him that much more.

My self-centered nature makes it so difficult to grasp that

He loves me not because I’m me but because He is and He loves

If I don’t get this right, though,

I’m going to want to run away and be replaced again and again.

I don’t really know where my theology starts swerving.

(I emailed this to Mike, btw)

My supervisor told me about this lost historical beauty today

Pennsylvania Station (1910-1963)

  • Station in 1911

  • The concourse and steps down to the tracks

  • The concourse in 1962

  • The East (7th Ave.) exterior facade

  • Main Waiting Room

  • The Corinthian columns of the Main Waiting Room

    The sprawling concourse in 1962 – demolition was two years away.

    Interior of Penn Station, ca. 1935.

    Pennsylvania Station in 1962

    View from the northeast, circa 1911. The sheer size of the structure in comparison to the surrounding buildings is notable. Very little of this scene survives in modern Manhattan.