Walking In Faith Always Requires A New Level Of Trust

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(Catba Vietnam)

Whenever a new challenge comes my way and I have doubts and feelings of lack, I remember how God delivered me.

For one, as I was walking home, I thought about how whenever God called me to something, I never actually had the finances or resources for it. It required faith and trust and follow through. I had to obey and walk through the steps. I don’t know why God has given me this kind of faith or why He has required it from me, but maybe because I was born into situations that required me to have faith.

When I went to Thailand I had a one way ticket and $1000. The paycheck I was “relying” on never came through and as much as I chased down that client, I had to learn to let it go and forgive him. 

I would hear a country, a city, and go. One way tickets. There were times I pretty much ran out of money and then something would show up like the idea of selling an old tablet, which afforded me one week at a 10′ by 5′ prison celled size room.

Or how I would be dancing at a bar and a Vietnamese lady would offer to pick me up at the train station the next day and I would learn about their lives while I lived with her.

Or how I would forget but randomly mention my blog and be offered rooming for my marketing and writing skills.

But at the end of the day, God always called me to people.

He never showed me exactly what would happen, but He would tell my heart to trust Him. And I would be petrified, but I would walk forward, trusting that I wouldn’t be stranded on an island.
And that has almost happened too.

But then I’ll be eating my last $2 and then a group of travel agents would join me and ask me to drink with them. And then somehow I would become friends with people I would have never met if I wasn’t out there eating alone at Catba Island, Vietnam.

MY life is full of stories like this.

And so when I am feeling challenged, I would remember, God did this and that….and I would never fail to be in awe once again.

So whatever new challenge you are facing today, remember how God delivered you then and how our whole life is a series of trusting for the next level. 

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My couchsurfing host in Hanoi, now a sister.

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Saigon, Vietnam

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Biking in Melaka, Malaysia

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Dancing at the temple, Melaka, Malaysia

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Catba Islands, Vietnam

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From Solitude to Relationship, My Path To Healing

Part of the CHALLENGE of life is finding your voice, finding what you want, and speaking forth those things...this includes finding your own boundaries and emotional space.

I was up late booking hotels for Vancouver and the rockys. And I got really anxious and then I couldn’t sleep, and then I got hungry and had to face some fears I had.

I felt out of control, but suddenly I realized maybe that’s where I needed to be. Out of control.
Sometimes things need to be out of our control so God can work. When we are gripping so hard on our plans and how we think our lives should work out, we have no room to hear God.

He said….you are enough. Dont worry about making the wrong decisions.
I get decision phobic when there are other people involved because I fear their disappointment, especially when it comes to my mom.
I am good at making decisions when I am alone, maybe that is why I like being alone. I have no one to disappoint. It is a lot of pressure to travel or even be with other people.

But I am learning it is not my responsibility to make others happy. Other people’s emotions are their responsibility.

I have been learning to set emotional boundaries for my whole life.

I like being alone. I’m good at it. I spent most of last year alone to heal. I could think clearly when I’m alone, I don’t have other peoples’ shit clouding my atmosphere.

Being alone is a safety net for me.

I know what to expect. I’m in control.

I think I’ve been so used, or perhaps I have ALLOWED myself to be so used that I no longer trust myself in relationships.

Could I speak up or stand up for myself? 

It got to the point where I just had enough and had to cut people out without explanation. I assumed that people knew my boundaries without my having to say so, but life is verbal….you must speak up for yourself and your voice matters. 

Part of the CHALLENGE of life is finding your voice, finding what you want, and speaking forth those things…this includes finding your own boundaries and emotional space. 

Emotional Intelligence includes learning how to communicate your needs and wants. 

So I was driving back from Palm Springs with my mom the other time and she kept talking and talking…my head space was getting foggy and I was WORN OUT. I was not in the space to just download crap into my mind. 

 

I said “mom, I need to rest. I don’t want to listen anymore” and she stopped talking. I was amazed by how I just simplified my life by speaking up. I thought she was angry that I spoke up but eventually I realized she did respect my space.

Relationships are not easy…with parents, with friends, with partners, lovers, spouses.

It takes work to find clarity within yourself – to see what wounds need to be healed, to see what fears have you sweating at night or stress eating (like I was last night)….but when we find clarity within our souls, it is healing, it is redeeming, it is freeing.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord. He will not allow your foot to slip” Psalm 121: 1-3

I had fears that God will not be there for me to help me stand up for myself.

I don’t have the strength to always know where my boundaries are, but that is why I lean on God’s grace to help me. He will never leave or forsake me. I’m right here, He says to me. I’ve never left you. I will not leave you to fend for yourself. I love you. 

We must learn to communicate our boundaries if we are to be healed and come into healthy relationships. May this journey to be a fruitful one for you. Love and healing is worth it. You are worth it.

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The Value of Trying

Today I met with a publicist. She was incredibly nice and kind- unlike the many people I have met in LA. She offered me advice on putting together a media kit and showing companies my numbers on social media and blog.

To be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed. Because I’ve done all that before. I’ve put together media kits before. I’ve tried to show people my value….but at the end of the day, if people really truly know WHO I AM, I wouldn’t have to try so hard. Because I know what I have to offer- me. 

Not the numbers, not the views.

Me. The authentic, the imperfect, the enough me. 

Instead of being gripped by fear, I did approach some of the past opportunities that I felt like “it wasn’t the right time” to pursue last year….and even though I knew the “numbers” weren’t there. Yes, I don’t have 80,000 followers on instagram. I have over 1,200.

So I got no’s. 

But I felt relieved. 

I felt like “you know what. I actually don’t want to go down this path”.

Because I know what I have to offer is greater than numbers, followers, views.

It’s about authenticity.

I write and live out authenticity. 

I am not better or less than. 

I am who I am and I want to write about the imperfect, complicated and simple life that I have. I want to write about how I get rejected, how I get no’s, how even though my numbers and qualifications don’t add up, God’s grace is enough for me. 

And so if God’s grace doesn’t open that door for me, I know God’s grace isn’t on it. 

I want to write about the fear that is so real and makes my arms numb, about the belly fat that I sometimes loath, and how I try to do yoga at night but realize I just need to love myself for what I look like now, fully and completely. That NO I can’t get abs in one week.

Self- care.

Self- love.

Self- acceptance.

Take it or leave it. That’s me.

I’m not going to figure out how to get more followers so I can go on a press trip, because I’m more than that.

I write to change lives, to tell people, it’s okay to be authentic and imperfect…to speak your mind, to speak the truth, to be politically incorrect, to be insecure, to make mistakes. 

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I’m going to keep doing what I love and what I’m good at.

I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole of trying to be good at something I don’t like doing.

Trying and getting a “no” is better than not trying and living in fear.
Because when you get a “no” or a rejection letter, you feel relieved.

You know you can move on and no longer have to be thinking about it. You know something more SUITABLE is ahead for you.

It’s like closing a chapter and knowing that another is coming.

What doors are you leaving open that needs to be closed?

Sometimes those new doors won’t open until you say NO firmly to the last door.
If you claim it’s a new season, why are you still flirting with the past. If you claim you don’t want to, why do you keep doing it. Do your words mean anything if you don’t stick to your own intention?
Half ass intentions leads to half ass results.

Let your no be no. Let your yes be yes. And last of all, say absolutely YES to yourself.

This is me. All of me. I believe that if it’s meant to be, God will open the door. It doesn’t mean you just wait on your ass for manna to fall down from heaven…you still try, but you try knowing that rejection is just an open door to the next good thing.

Let the spirit lead. Everything has already been completed.

Planning a Vancouver, Canada Trip

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2 days ago I saw a really great deal on roundtrip flights to Vancouver and immediately texted my mom. It was $195.11 per person. I know! RIGHT! Anyways, I subscribe to Airfarewatchdog, Tripadvisor and several other sites for good flight deals. I input cities I want to go to and watch my inbox as the year goes along.  I get flight deals sent to me so I don’t have to search. 

The great thing is that my mom is just as spontaneous as I am, but we’ve been wanting to go to Vancouver for a few years.

I know that deals like this are rare. I hopped onto American Airlines directly since it was the same rate and I heard customer service is usually better when you book direct (also complaints are heard). While I was waiting for my mom to reply, and every SECOND MATTERS WHEN IT COMES TO GREAT DEALS, the best return timed flight WAS TAKEN. I was left to book 6am RETURN flights, which is a bummer because you have to wake up at 3 am or even earlier. And I HATE waking up early because I feel like throwing up but I can’t. 

We are leaving in about 2 weeks. That is the reason I NEVER tell people where I plan to go, BECAUSE I really don’t know! It’s true.

My mom wanted to go to the rocky mountains and lake louise, but now I had to do my research.

When I backpack on my own, I usually book one night at a hostel or hotel and then wing it from there. Since I don’t usually have time restraints, I ask around the hostel what and where I should go to. To be honest, when I was healing from some heart wounds, I literally walked around the city, wrote in my journal and drank coffee. Sometimes I would make friends with people and travel with them. It was very laissez-faire.

I started by googling “how to get from Vancouver to Rocky Mountains”. This led me to several tour sites. One was deceiving well-priced at $354 for 4 days. I knew immediately, “this is an ASIAN TOUR”. Of course, when I plugged in the dates it was actually $700 or so.

I HAVE HORRIBLE experiences with ASIAN TOURS. I hate them. I really do. I don’t care how cheap they are….the only thing I remember is HOLDING MY BLADDER YO!

They won’t let you piss on the bus!!! Every two hours you get a bathroom break, but as a paranoid bathroom person…the whole time I’m on the bus, I’m thinking about the bathroom (I think it’s a safety thing for me). Even though there is a bathroom on the bus, they don’t want you to taint it with your smelly piss.

And then you are rushed like a herd of cows. Last time I went to San Francisco with my mom, we had like 30 minutes to eat and look around at Solvang. I literally waited 10 minutes for my food, ate for another 10 and was rushing back to the bus afraid to be left behind! LOL. Also we usually had to wake up at 6am or 5:50am and some of the stops were not vital for us to see. We finally had enough and told the tour guide we wanted the afternoon off and NO we did not want to go on the city bus YO! 

I think the most enjoyable moments of our day was going to Philz Coffee.

I will continue this later….I haven’t eaten breakfast and I’m getting hungry.

SO far, I have decided renting a car is the best, easiest and most affordable way to travel to the Rocky’s. I google mapped it and saw that there was a HOT SPRING PLACE so WE ARE DEFINITELY GOING. HOT SPRING IS MY THING!

I hope you look forward to everything I’ll be writing about for my SUMMER EDITION!

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Ecuador, My Life In The Jungles- The Sequel 1

This day brings into remembrance of my time in Ecuador. I wrote about my first leg of the trip on Kiss From The World but of course, time and perspective holds even more colorful stories.

As I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep because it’s 7am on a Saturday, I suddenly saw myself on a truck riding to the jungles of Tena. My mind replayed my trip in vivid details as if to remind me of all the adventures I’ve had in my life. For some reason, people accuse me of my inexperience and youth because I look young….but if they heard what I’ve been through. But it’s really none of their business.

So here goes.

Backpacking solo as a women.

  1. Do research, but don’t RESEARCH TOO much. Don’t ask too much of other peoples’ opinions. It was my first time backpacking in a “3rd world country”. My last backpacking trip before Ecuador was Australia. I asked a few Asian women and was filled with more fear than excitement. My boyfriend at the time gave me pepper spray and told me to hold onto it at all times. My experience was contrary to those opinions…I met the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met.

A kind man offered to help me translate, my Spanish was quite broken. I finally arrived at a local hotel, it was $10 a night with 2 beds. One for me, and one for my backpack. The plastic walls separated me from the grandma who owned the hotel and was watching some drama. I could see the technicolor bouncing to my wall, as if to welcome me. My bed sheets were thin and crinkled from the 1970s and hot red florals covered my second bed. Please excuse the quality, I don’t think I had an Iphone back then.

My days in the city of Tena was a blur but after visiting my sponsored child, I roamed the streets and attempted to eat street food without getting sick. I was successful. Ecuadorian salsa is BUENO. Almost as good as Mexican salsa out here in LA. They also love animal innards, and as a Taiwanese person, I could get with that, no problemo.

I decided to visit the jungles, there was another $10 hotel over there. I asked my new buddy whether he wanted to go with me. He was hesitant as he was very American, even though Ecuadorian American…and also he had gotten robbed once at an Ecuadorian bar. Oh I meant, he got roofied and robbed, and woke up in the bushes without his Iphone or wallet. So he was pretty petrified at the thought of going with a strange Asian woman to another city hours away.

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First we were to wait in front of my hotel for a yellow taxi. We waited. 1 hour, 2 hours. Wow. Okay, we called a few times and finally taxi came.

Second, we were dropped off at a bus station where tons of people played volleyball or was it basketball, I can’t remember. Now, we were transported into a truck but we had to wait for the tour guide. Now, this was another hour or so.

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The trip took 2-3 hours, riding on dirt, rocks and rickety paths. Towards the end, we were pretty much off-roading and the sky was getting dark. We finally parked and the tour guide took out his flashlight. In these photos I think they were carrying gas into the hotel.

We walked into the jungle and I thought “that’s it, I’ve met my time of death”. (No, actually I was a lot more positive back then since I was young and inexperienced (LOL)). A huge castle jungle house appeared before my eyes.

I was in heaven.

The individual rooms were not fancy, but it was enough. Mosquitoes roamed around me as I quickly sprayed myself. The bathrooms had concrete gray walls and straw walls surrounded me in the bedroom. All I could hear was birds, bugs, snakes and whatever else was out there. I could feel my soul spreading into the jungle and saying hi to each creature. I was becoming one with the earth. 

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The one part of the jungle that had reception was on this outdoor patio on the second floor. You had to put your phone on one point of a statue.581041_10151770635875603_255176119_n

The next day, I was expecting my friend to be there but after some looking and asking, I found out he had left. YEP, I am not kidding. My new friend left the jungles early in the morning, I think he was SO scared by the whole journey that he decided to leave. 

And yes, he was a male person. And yes, I am a female. And it just so happened I was the only person staying there. So I had a whole castle to myself. SO please LORD, do not judge people based on gender.

“hey what the fuck? you left?” -me on the phone.

“yes, well my mom needed me for something, so I had to leave right away”

“oh okay, whatever. Have fun!”- me

So my friend for the next few days was the tour guide, who I was not paying because I did not want to go on a tour. However, as a friend he still showed me a few things like how to cut down cocoa.

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He had escaped from a life of American gang -hood to live in the jungles. He saw friends get shot, and the most horrific of all, children being trafficked in crates. There was nothing he could do about it because he could get gunned down right there and then. This was no Narcos, this was real life. Then we talked about Jesus and I showed him how to hear from Him directly. Jesus and gangsters all in one day.

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To be continued…..

The Language of No

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I had a dream where I was going to Japan and then I couldn’t find my passport or was paranoid that I didn’t bring it because I had to leave my house really quickly. The trip was a planned tour so we were rushed and didn’t even have time for the bathroom. I started yelling, I need to use the bathroom! Cut scene. Next scene, there is a creepy man who is hitting on me and I’m very uncomfortable.

The language of no. Why does that relate to anything. Well, I realize whenever I dream of Japan, it usually relates to “politeness” or the culture of politeness. Japan is probably the most polite culture on earth, I remember feeling a bit suffocated. I loved the people, I love the cute things, but I was NOT big on “don’t talk on the subway”. NOT big on polite culture. I’m not big on it because I used to live “polite culture”.

I lived “fake smile” culture…again especially at church. For some reason, no one seemed to notice that I was actually very depressed. No one knew the turmoil I was actually facing at home.

And then when I actually decided to say no to the elders of the church I was excommunicated with “you should be a better leader”. 

Sometimes we need drastic overstepping of boundaries to learn that we need to set boundaries.

Sometimes that means a really creepy guy breathing in your face and saying your pretty and you slapping the shit out of him, sometimes it’s your mother guilt tripping you to the point you explode, sometimes it’s your boss abusing his power so that you lose it and quit your job. 

Here’s a real story:

I was on an airplane flying home from Europe or Asia, there was a man on my left and within the first hour I knew there was a problem. ARM REST PROBLEM. 

He kept shifting his arm and ebbing mine out. So I had to push his. This probably went on for….well 11 hours. I’m not kidding. Okay yah I slept and all but this went on for a long time. During the 11 hours, he (and I) were so PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE that he decided to drink his way home. He probably ordered over a hundred dollar or more of alcoholic drinks and shots.

He got sloppy drunk, it was gross. His face was red and as he was talking to his friend on his left, he started spitting everywhere, just saliva all over the seat, in the air, in my face, everywhere. 

In my NOT knowing how to just ask for what I needed, I withstood this. I thought “okay I am learning perseverance, I am learning longsuffering”. 

It finally got SO explosively bad that he yelled “WHICH SIDE OF THE ARM REST DO YOU WANT?” and I started saying shit I don’t even remember.

The flight attendant came quickly and asked what was going on. I explained and she said “do you want to move?” YES I EXCLAIMED. The guy was still asking “just tell me which side you want and we can work this out”. No.

NO.

No. No. No. No. I was like a dynamite ready to explode. I finally moved.

And guess what? I had an empty seat next to me and a like-minded friend who I talked to for the rest of the 2 hours. I COULD HAVE HAD THAT COMFORT AND FRIENDSHIP FOR THE LAST 11 HOURS IF I HAD SPOKEN UP instead of thinking “I’m learning patience”. 

Maybe God isn’t teaching you patience, but The LANGUAGE OF NO. 

Because if we learn to confront what we don’t want, we can actually get to the other side of yes…of what we do want. Why do we negotiate with the things we don’t want in our lives? Why do we partner with it, why do we accommodate them?

If your boyfriend is really so bad, why don’t you break up with him? If you job sucks that much, why don’t you quit? If your mother keeps stepping over your boundaries, why don’t you say something?

Don’t get me wrong. You might not have a lot of friends for awhile, you might need to break up with a few associates, you might be lonely for awhile, you may have moments where you doubt why you said no to that opportunity and why everyone seems to be thriving and you are still waiting for the right type of opportunity.

This is just part of knowing and growing in your worth. Same goes with dating. You don’t just date anyone you see on the street right? Why go to bed with every opportunity that has a $ sign on it? Know your worth and you will attract the right level of genius, love, hope, people peace and opportunity into your life. 

But first, you must learn to say NO to the wrong things that does not resonate with you.

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Embracing “Badness” In Ourselves

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(photo from the internet)

I had a dream last night. I was in a competition but the leader expected perfection, I was having an argument with my mom and yelled “SHIT”…the leader immediately canceled me (or outed my from the competition. I was eliminated completely. The leader in the dream used to be a leader in a christian group I was in.

I was so angry when I got outed. I couldn’t believe that just by being authentic I was outed. Then in my car outside, I saw a few other members of the competition come to my car. They sat in my car and I asked “you got outed too?” Yah they replied. I started driving but reached a beautiful land where I actually had to carry my car because no cars were allowed and we had entered from a side that didn’t have a parking lot (the wilderness). 

I believe this is a prophetic dream about where I have been, the wilderness and in the beginning being outed for revealing my “badness” or imperfections especially in the church, or in my previous hidden persona of “always being the positive one”. 

Imperfection wasn’t really accepted in my household, I was the strong one, you know the rock that people leaned on…even in my group of friends…and perhaps the institutional church encouraged perfectionism even more. So when I started to say no and started to show weakness, I was outed. The thing is I have always been different, I always had differing opinions, but for some time I pretended to agree, I tried to love the unlovable, I pretended to be patient when I was a boiling pot inside. 

I woke up from the dream with a knot in my heart and a strained neck. Yes, perhaps I had been hard on myself as well…being polite, not knowing how to say no, forcing myself still to go to things I didn’t want to when in reality I needed to accept and embrace the badness….

The badness we all have:

Being judgmental, mean, harsh, bitter, angry, sad, depressed, ego-centered, selfish, sly, manipulating, lazy, lustful, indulgent, unforgiving, loveless, discouraged, unhealthy, etc.

The badness represents a part of ourselves that wants to be loved but we often hide those parts of ourselves because we have not met people who have had enough grace to love us in spite of our “badness”. I have found that God completely loves and accepts us in our most baddest self…in fact we have to acknowledge and love ourselves in our baddest self in order for grace to heal us.

Because if we continue to hide our “weaknesses”, we will actually starve from love-malnutrition. 

I remember one time I was feeling really shitty and my ex said “I thought you were the positive one?…You are supposed to be the positive one and I’m supposed to be the negative one that you encourage”. It hit me. I hated that.

I don’t want to be the positive one.

I’m tired of it. I want to be able to be the weak one. I want to cry, I want to be weak. I want to be sad. I want to be angry. I want to hate someone. I want to feel those authentic emotions because it is relieving and it is real. 

When your real emotions are pent up, you feel tension in your body. I have been experiencing late periods and now dealing with healing my low thyroid (hypothyroid). I quit caffeine 4 days ago and have also realized that I used to block out negative emotions, tiredness or spiritual weariness by drinking coffee.

I have been learning to love myself through it all. Because grace is sufficient in our weakness. Living the authentic life means being honest with yourself. Find people that can love you despite your differences. 

In our culture, we are applauded for being good at something, but when was the last time you embraced your badness?