Testimony Tuesday

Write your story with honesty and transparency. Maybe you will get criticized, but maybe and most likely you will set the captives free.

I’m wondering where I should start but I have been having dreams about telling my testimony.

I’ll start from the beginning then.

I was born in Hamburg, Germany. My parents moved there to study. They both spoke German but we are Taiwanese.

I moved a lot growing up. In fact, my mom was a backpacker like me. We weren’t the traditional Asian family. In fact, our lives were riddled with traveling, but often not on a luxurious budget.

I then moved to Taiwan and lived there until I was 8. Then I immigrated to America. My parents got divorced then.

I didn’t see my dad for 10 years. When I did see him, he was older, frail, not what I remembered. God took me through years and years of healing and forgiveness.

I can’t tell you how hard it was to forgive people in my life, but I know it’s supernatural.

My journey of faith was lifelong.

I knew God was always with me but I accepted Him when I was 12. From then on, I was already an outcast. I was just different. I was different in personality and style. My wardrobe was eclectic. I couldn’t fit in anywhere. My mom made my clothes so I didn’t have any brand name clothes. I felt less than because of that, I wanted to fit in but I didn’t have the money to.

So I earned my own money. I was plagued with feelings of unworthiness and started selling toys in 3rd grade. I started saving my own money because I wanted to be significant. 

This post is really about finance, identity, grace and God (your Abba Father).

SO I worked my ass off to be significant and worthy. I was selling stuff in middle school, under the table, very literally…while the teacher was talking. I was always entrepreneurial you see….but I didn’t know my identity in Christ. I also wanted to help my single mother.

I went onto pursue Fashion Design and Business, I saw my life with expectation and vision. I would climb the corporate ladder and (be miserable) like Devil Wears Prada. I wanted fame and status. I didn’t know why I wanted it exactly but everyone affirmed it, everyone applauded my goals, everyone was also running this rat race. 

Achievement and accomplishment was so ingrained and embedded in my identity that it took years to break off.

You see, even in church my accomplishments and DOING was applauded. 

The more I did and served in church, the more people applauded me. 

“you’re a great leader” they would say.

Things kind of hit the fan when one leader pushed undue responsibilities on me. “You didn’t take care of this person”- they said. I was probably 18 then? I thought to myself, how could I take care of others when I can’t even take care of myself.

I was dry. I had been wrung out with no more soap to go on. I was a really dry sponge.

Then some other mentor that I thought I could trust basically cursed me out.

I was forced out.

I wondered why.

I wondered why me. I was hurt.

Then I went on a pilgrimage, and it took many years to see myself right. I walked into the wilderness and I was confused. I knew I had greatness on my life but I didn’t know why I kept getting hit over and over again. Why was life so hard if I was supposed to be winning?

There’s more to be said but I’ll continue with this….

After years of trying to make it on my own, trying to be significant…I found myself following Jesus when He said to sell everything and follow Him. I had packed up my stuff in my friend’s garage and flew over to Hawaii to stay with another friend. I had gotten rid of my apartment, gotten rid of my car, and was off the radar.

On the outside, people had no idea that I was just obeying God. 

But you see, sometimes your obedience looks crazy to others. 

A year later, I was in Thailand. I had a one way ticket and everywhere I went I was simply following Holy Spirit. I didn’t go to vacation, I was simply exercising my faith. Because it wasn’t like I saved money to go, I had $1000 that I basically used up in Thailand. So now how did I go to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, etc. I’m not sure, things always worked out. Did I do it with fear and trembling? Yes. But I saw God move and He used me to speak into peoples’ lives.

I found myself pushing a suitcase on the streets of downtown and staying in a Korean spa. I could have contacted people but God told me specifically not to. Why? He wanted me to trust Him, not people.

But God showed up in ways I never would have expected (I’ll have to write a book someday).

God taught me grace- that grace is not something I work for but something I receive and inherit because JESUS died for me to have it. 

I learned what it REALLY means to be a child of God.

Many people become Christians but never activate and use their faith. They stay stagnant and unchanging because they don’t realize that faith must be exercised.

You will not receive the PROMISE LAND if you trust in your own efforts. You must go forward, empty handed sometimes.

I am stronger now in Christ than when I was strong in my flesh. 

THERE IS A BIG transition and change coming and I know that many of you (myself included) is wondering HOW GOD is going to do it. But I promise you that He will do it, somehow. Because HE HAS done it before. 

“In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure.

Apart from these external trials, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches….If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is forever worthy of praise, knows that I am not lying..” 2 Corinthians 11

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Amsterdam, Holland

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Amsterdam, Holland12184291_10156181977115603_7337344419047455587_o

Hanoi, Vietnam- 12182820_10156181978565603_8331432383287719801_o

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Melaka, Malaysia

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Melaka, Malaysia 13327544_10156986869925603_3062478034808944178_n

Morocco

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Morocco13335683_10156986868235603_4741235965022618524_n

 

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Why We Put Off Having Fun

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Nanjing, China

Today I was lying in bed and having a conversation with God. I’ve been back in LA for 2 days and I was feeling sulky. The conversation went something like- “I don’t feel like doing anything today”. “Why don’t you have some fun”. “Well I don’t think I deserve to”.

You deserve to have fun because you are my beloved.

You deserve to have fun because you are my daughter.

Why do we put off having fun, especially since I just went to China for 2 weeks, isn’t that all the fun I deserve? It’s because we don’t believe we deserve to have fun. Now this has everything to do with the curse of Adam and Eve. You’ll have to do your own research because it will be a whole theological post. And it has everything to do with knowing who you are as sons and daughters of God. 

Here’s what I discovered in the last 2 weeks, about sonship.

Grace was NOT a popular message back in the days, especially to the pharisees. So the pharisees were people who worked really hard to keep the laws, they were upright religious people. 

Then grace came. The disciples were not necessarily upright or even perfumed individuals….they were like, hairy and weird, hippies, ex-convicts, etc.

They said “believe that you are sons and daughters of God, that Jesus took upon your burdens and sins, and you are now FREE To ENJOY life as if you deserve, because under the LAW you don’t deserve to enjoy life, you have to work for it“.

As long as you come under the law (which in our society is “work hard, then you deserve to have fun”), you’ll never know what it means to be a beloved son or daughter of God.

A son or daughter of God believes “I am loved by God” and it’s not something I have to work for, I freely receive without conditions.

I don’t RECEIVE and then say to God, okay NOW let me work for it because I don’t feel like I deserve it.

May this message set you free to enjoy the life that God gave you.

Free food in china?

IMG_3807So I have one full day left until I leave for Los Angeles. I didn’t want to change $100 US dollars for such a short time so I have 1 something yuan left and my hostel key deposit which I get when I check out on wednesday. I figured I’d use my visa credit card. But guess what, it’s not widely accepted here.

So I decided to go to mcdonalds because like it’s from America right?

Everyone pays with their cell phone here in shanghai. No one carries cash…except maybe foreigners.

So visa was not accepted at mcdonalds in shanghai.

One of the employees tried to help me download alipay but gave up and just decided to give me free food. Like….I already ate dinner so I wanted cake.

So I can have cake and eat it too.

She even made me hot chocolate which is not on the menu. I will definitely remember her when I have some front row seats to my one woman show.

I tell people that I like slow travel….

Like sitting at a cafe drinking hot cocoa and eating cake.

And talking to a stranger…

who knew it would be fulfilled by a mcdonalds employee.

So there are nice people in china- because after some miserable experiences of rude interactions I thought “I’m so ready to go home”, but there is hope.

Thank you dear friend.

Shanghai Local Eats and Zoo

Besides the one time I ate yoshinoya and secret recipe, I usually opt for small hole in the wall eats.

Today I found a fish noodle soup place…and I’m including some photos from the shanghai zoo. I spent 4 hours in this place, my goal was to see pandas play and I definitely met my goal.

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

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

Top 10 Must-SeeTravel Destinations

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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