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Black Hogg.

Black Hogg.

Dine LA, February 2014.

I eat out a lot, and I love food to death. I decided this year that I wanted to start a Fatty Foodie Club (please join if you want!) to gather all those – whether friend or stranger – who loved to eat to come together and dine. We had our inaugural dinner at Black Hogg during Dine LA and it was wonderful. The food was fantastic, but that combined with the company of wonderful people made my tummy and heart full. I’m grateful.

Black Hogg
2852 Sunset Bl, LA 90026

 

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mother.

tortoise-hareYou wouldn’t believe this, but I used to be a professional storyteller.

By “professional,” I mean that I used to enter these weird storytelling competitions as a child, and it was like any talent show you can think of, except instead of singing or dancing or juggling kittens, I recited a folk tale in Korean. The judges based your score on accuracy (word by word based on the manuscripts they had available), engagement (how well the child worked the crowd), and pure personality (come on, I had this one in the bag!). Now, each story is not like those ten-page books with the giant pictures and the Berenstain Bears running across the cover, but these were legitimately lengthy books.

I had done pretty well for a while, and I was being recognized by old, decaying men who would smack their lips at me and coo about how great it was that I was making a name for myself. I would be immensely grossed out, then feel the power of fame creeping into my heart like a fire. Then, the Holy Grail of competitions dawned upon me. Korean children would flock to this rickety church in Flushing from all the boroughs of New York, and they all desired the prize that was meant to be mine: A brilliant, golden trophy (made of plastic, but shiny gold plastic!) and a whopping one thousand dollars! I was assigned Tortoise and the Hare, and for someone who was at this time much more comfortable with English than Korean, I was one heaping mess of sweat. To this day, I believe I placed in the previous competitions just because the judges found my thick American accent adorable.

I don’t remember a word from that story now, nor do I remember the glitz and the glam of the photographers taking my photo a million times to be in the Korea Times (it was probably a local, unknown paper but I’d like to believe it was the Korea Times) as I held that 2nd place trophy proudly in my hands. All I remember from that experience is my mother, and how much she beamed proudly as she stood next to me on that stage. She looked like a movie star, with bright red lipstick and a chic black pantsuit. I also recall the numerous hours my mother put into helping me memorize my lines, and even as she relentlessly worked a few jobs each day and came home at inhumane hours, I remember vividly us laying in bed and telling the story to each other, line by line. I would swing my tattered puppy slippers over the edge of the underwater-themed comforter, contorting my tongue violently to pronounce each syllable impeccably. My mom would laugh, then slowly drift to sleep. That was probably one of the very few times I actually got to spend quality time with my mother, which makes it that much more valuable to me.

I sat across from my mother today during dinner, and couldn’t help but feel a swell of thanks for this woman who I had the hardest relationship with in my life, but she also blessed me in more ways than I can count, and she made me so very much who I am today. There were several times during the course of our lives that we almost lost each other, and I am so glad God kept bringing us back together.

To me, this Mother’s Day is not about mothers specifically, but I believe wholly that this is about celebrating the people who cared and sacrificed for us, as well as challenged us beyond the scope of what our mere eyes could swallow, all in the name of Love.

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homeward.

homewardI used to own the Homeward Bound VHS as a kid and watched it a crazy amount of times whenever I felt moody and was having my typical internal tantrums. My favorite thing about this story was that these three very different animals started off in three very different places, but through this arduous and treacherous journey to find home, they became friends with a bond that no one else will ever understand. I longed for that when I was a child, but because I was so busy hiding within the confines of my shame and wounds, I had no idea what it entailed to have my own Shadow, Chance, or Sassy in my life.

Even a year ago, I had a lot of trouble with this. I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint who I can really talk to if I was feeling down, and scrolling through my contacts to desperately find a human connection with no success really put me in an absolute shithole every single time. I somehow came to believe that maybe this was a matter of making new friends and hoping those wouldn’t disappoint me. But again, I just ended up adding more names to grievously browse through.

Then something unexpected happened. God started bringing in some friends who I had all along, but they were actually on the sidelines, even benchwarmers to the events of my life. They came in like ninjas and made themselves known through one little occasion after another, and soon I finally began to immensely love these men and women who, likein the case of our furry friends I mentioned, started off being close and around each other in proximity, but took quite a while to even really get to know each other.

With the rollercoaster I had been on recently with my health and matters of the heart, I have been so blessed to have wise and wonderful friends to cheer me on and pray for me. To even hear a resounding agreement among them of certain paths I should take or important accords I should consider, I take it as seriously as hearing the chorus of the angels encouraging me to act.

So thankful for these few, these amazing people who love and know me. My heart feels full, and I’m grateful you’re on this journey with me, and I feel closer to home every day that I think of you.

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reach.

ImageI was watching the sunset yesterday and one thought pressed deeply into my brain:

How is it possible that something that looks so small can touch everything around me?

The sun is obviously a massive phenomenon, but you’ll never really know that unless you’re floating in space and taking in the full view of its entirety. From what we see in our daily lives (perhaps moreso in California than others), the sun can fit in our hands and we can pinch it ever so playfully with our fingers. Yet it’s bigger and much more powerful than any of us can muster.

The sunlight was lessening on my skin now, and the cold was prickling through. As I got up to leave, I had to pause to imagine what significance this small, dust mite like me was making. How far was my reach when it came to my influence, how wide were my arms to give and collaborate on Love’s grounds, and am I living my days exposing to the world the brilliance that I know God had infused in me?

It doesn’t feel that way these days. I feel like there’s a lot of weariness in the way I move my feet, bitter complaints seeping through my heart as it pumps life into this vessel of a body just because it has to, not because it wants to. The thing is, many people can share inspirational quotes and shoot me encouraging high-fives, and I can experience so many things that show me the true beauty of the world we are fortunate to live in, but I am currently in a state of juxtaposed dysfunction between my heart and body.

This “happy medium” people talk about, that seems overly mundane to me. I don’t want to be “happy,” nor do I want to be in the “medium.” I desire an “overjoyed high,” but is it possible that I may be shooting for something so far up at all times that I’ll always feel like I’m stuck in the darker depths?