Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Steamed Fish

The other day we steamed a fish. This is relatively newsworthy because steamed fish is one of my (Ben's) favorite foods and we've been wanting to try to cook it for awhile. Here's our first attempt:

If you're not Asian, seeing a whole fish like that probably freaks you out. But to us, it looks delicious. It actually was pretty good. Just add steamed fish soy sauce you can get at your local chinese grocery store, green onions, garlic, some hot oil and ten minutes in the steamer. The coolest thing was that we bought the fish at this big cheap grocery store near where we live (it's like the Massachusetts version of Houston's Fiesta) frozen for like $1 per fish (we bought two). And even though it was frozen, it still tasted pretty good. You gotta love cheap grocery stores where you can find cheap, unconventional food. In other words, food that minorites eat. :) Best $2 I've spent in a while.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Sleep-Talking

And now another tale of my husband's hilarious sleep-talking. (I apologize for those of you who might not find these stories as amusing as I do.) And this time I tried responding to see what he would say.

*Note: Unfortunately I do not remember all the exact words of what he said. But the following account captures the gist of it, and the last part is totally accurate.

Sleeping Ben: "It might be positive or negative...(gasp!)"
Awake Rachel: "What?"
Sleeping Ben: "But if you put two scoops together..."
Awake Rachel: "Scoops of what?"
Sleeping Ben: "Ice cream."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Lot of Snow

Our home under a white blanket - the snow is here!

Well, the snow has arrived and this Southern girl is getting baptized by fire. OK, maybe not that bad, but it's definitely a challenge!

As you probably heard on the news, we got a share of the winter storms that have been moving across the northern part of the country. We woke up Monday morning to a solid blanket of snow on everything - it looked like a few inches, but weather.com says it was only 1.16". I think the perceived depth was created by the plowing. One thing I didn't think about was how the plowing of the roads and the driving lanes of parking lots creates huge piles of snow on the sidewalks and in the parking spaces. This created two issues for me during the day. The first was that we didn't have a shovel, so I couldn't clear the area behind my car to back it out more easily. I ended up trying to just flatten out the area a bit by kicking and stomping the chunks of snow and ice and breaking them up with my ice scraper (which I broke later that night trying to do the same thing in preparation for the next morning). The second issue was that I had to do a lot of zigzagging on the sidewalks as I walked from my car to my office, because in some places the plowing had created 1- or 2-foot piles of snow, which were quickly becoming slippery ice blocks.

The driving itself really wasn't bad - it was basically like driving in rainy weather, but now that the ice and snow have started to accumulate, I'm finding the need to be more and more cautious (maybe I'm wrong, but you can't be too careful, right?). I got the most scared during the day when I got home and found the seminary parking lot to be somewhat slippery, and it took me about 15 minutes to maneuver the car into our parking space. It probably wasn't as dangerous as I thought, but once again, there's never too much caution for a snow newbie like me.

Before we went to bed, Ben and I ventured outside again to try and clear off our cars and the space around them to keep some of the snow and ice from accumulating too much at night. This morning Ben was a wonderful husband and went outside to clear off, warm up, and move the car for me (so I wouldn't have to go all-terrain on the built-up piles again) before he went to class. He also graciously went out and bought a big shovel, a new ice scraper, and a smaller collapsible shovel that I could keep in my car. Thanks, Ben!

Other comments on the first couple of snow days:
- My arms and hands were almost unspeakably sore from all the scraping and shoveling. I felt like I had just done Dragon Boat again.
- The snow is definitely really pretty, and I know it just takes some getting used to. But as one of my co-workers said on why she likes Texas more than New England - "At least you don't have to shovel humidity."
- Everyone at work obviously kept saying this was mild. Yikes. Please keep us in your prayers!

OK, enough rambling. Here are more pictures.

My bootprints

Trying to defrost my car

A freezing Longhorn

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving in Houston

I'm a little late in posting on this, but it's been a busy and tiring week since we returned from our trip to Houston for Thanksgiving. We were there from Thursday to Monday, and it was a great time of visiting with family and friends - it was the first time we'd seen most of them since we moved in August. The weather was cooler than we expected, in the 50s or so, but I discovered that I'm becoming a "cold snob" - that is, whenever I heard people talking about how cold it was in Houston, I wanted to say, "This is nothing!" And I'm sure in the summer, when all the New Englanders are complaining about temperatures in the 80s or something, I'll be like, "This is nothing!"
I digress. Aside from hanging out with family and friends, we also enjoyed eating some good food like Quan family potluck items, dim sum, Korean food, Tex-Mex, barbeque (REAL southern BBQ!) and Whataburger. I should clarify that decent dim sum and Korean food are available up here, but not easily accessible from where we live. We also went to a Rockets game. And we drove around in my mom's car and enjoyed the use of feeder roads (aka access/service roads) and the lack of rotaries/roundabouts.

As usual, here are some photo highlights from our trip:
Auntie Rachel and Victoria

Cousin Ben and Nate enjoying some Whataburger

Girls at Seoul House

Guys at Seoul House

Rockets game

Me and my friend Tamara from my Rockets days

Ben and CBC high school boys

Me and CBC high school girls

Our goddog, Russy

Tasty baby back ribs

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Church

One question we get alot is what church we've decided to join here in Boston. We've pretty much decided to become involved at Citylife Presbyterian (PCA) Church. How do I describe this church? Hmm...well, it's located in the middle of downtown Boston and it's main focus is to reach urban professionals. It's a new church, maybe like five or so years old, but it's grown to about 600 people already. The makeup of the church is mostly young, urban professionals in their 20s and 30s. It's about 50% Asian-American, 45% white and 5% other. Here's a picture I found on the website of the congregation.
So for you folks in Houston, the people are kinda like the folks you might find at Ecclesia, except more asian-americans. I guess that's because there are a lot of asian-americans living in downtown Boston, going to unviersities and what not. The musical style is similar to Ecclesia's -- an indy-rock or alt-rock vibe. The musicians are very talented. However, citylife is different from Ecclesia in that the theology and preaching is a little different. It is very intellectual and you might say scholarly (yet still very engaging and interesting). The pastor is this Korean-American guy named Stephen Um. He actually teaches some classes at my seminary. He has a Ph.D. in theology and you can tell (I mean that in a good way). Here's a fuzzy and tiny picture of him.
We chose Citylife for alot of reasons, but one reason its that we think it's a good mix of solid biblical teaching and actively reaching out to young urban professionals, which we're also interested in reaching. I think the church emphasizes the Gospel as the core of everything they do and I like that. It's a bit of a drive into the city, but we think it's worth it. Hopefully I can get involved in it a little more for some ministry experience as time goes by. We'll see to what capacity. It seems like there are alot of vibrant new churches in Boston. We visited the Boston Vineyard, Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, and Highrock Church. And from first impressions, all of these churches seemed vibrant to me. We just liked Citylife the best. Why not a Chinese church you ask? Well, we've grown up in Chinese churches all our lives (for me, I've never attended a non-Chinese church), and at least for now, we would just like to try something different. Okay, that's it for now! Hope everyone's enjoying the thanksgiving/christmas season!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Little Bit of Snow

Today it snowed! Not very much, but still enough to call it snow. I was leaving for work and saw precipitation falling outside, and thinking it was rain, I went back to get my umbrella. Then I got outside and realized it was snow! Thankfully there wasn't that much, so I didn't have to scrape stuff off my car or anything like that, and the roads were normal. But there were definitely some collections of tiny white dots all over my car. Too bad I didn't have my camera to take pictures, but I guess I'll just save that for when it really snows. I must say it's interesting being in a place where people don't run outside and make a big deal out of something like this.

On another note, the tables have turned. Last week I talked in my sleep on at least two nights. The first time, I think I said something about a couple of friends of ours, like maybe I was asking Ben if they were coming over or something. The second time I had been dreaming about watching a movie or something where a leprechaun fell down, and I thought it was funny, and I asked Ben to go back so we could see it again. Both times Ben woke up and asked me if I was talking in my sleep, and I actually semi-woke up as well and tried to explain what I was talking about. Because my dreams and accompanying explanations were a little weird, especially the one about the leprechaun, he thought I was continuing to talk in my sleep.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Reading the Whole Bible

About a month ago, Rachel and I decided to start a bible reading plan to read the whole bible in a year. We are using the M'Cheyne plan which is a classic plan (from 1842) that includes portions from all parts of the Bible every day. This is actually the first time that I've actually tried to do this. A month into it, I'd really like to recommend it to everyone. These are the reasons:

I realized how much of a "New Testament Christian" I have been -- by this, I mean basically ignoring the Old Testament. Though I've tried to read the O.T. for devotions, I think I always find myself reading more of the N.T. in my devotions, and I think undoubtedly in church, we hear more from the N.T. than the O.T. Why? I think it's much more difficult to teach and read the O.T. We have a hard time dealing with a God who commands Israel to make war on its neighbors, then who is so wrathful against Israel in the prophets, we have a hard time seeing anything "to apply" from the stories, and the Psalms and other wisdom literature seem repetitive to us. We love the grace and love explained in the New Testament. While it is definitely true that Jesus is the key to understanding the Old Testament and God, I think we have an anemic view of God and his love by ignoring the Old Testament. What is God's love without his wrath? In my opinion, it is not really love. We want to believe in a God who just loves everyone, who accepts everyone, without punishing people. But is that really love? Does a father love his children if he "just loves them" no matter what they do? Does he love them if he just lets them eat all the sweets they want until they get sick, go out and party and become addicted to drugs, and then later in life when they are messed up and come back to him he just tries to ignore their problems and tell them he loves them? Actually, the more someone truly loves us, the more it hurts them when we hurt ourselves: If someone truly loves us, he or she will HATE the sin in us.

If you read the O.T. with this in mind, I think you will see a God who loves Israel and saves and delivers them even though they continue to mess up their own lives. Because God truly loves them, he is wrathful against their sin. The Israelites can't escape themselves though...they keep messing up. But throughout the O.T. you see a God who promises to love Israel. And in the Prophets and some of the Psalms, he hints at how he will love a people who is always messing up. How can God love us in spite of our sin? Only through pouring out his wrath on his very own Son on our behalf. All that wrath in the O.T. was poured out on Christ on the cross so that we could be loved and accepted completely by God and truly become his children. And that changes us from the very core. The law can finally "be written on our hearts." What did it cost my God to love me? Everything. He took hell for me. I will stop trying to save myself. I will stop trying to please everyone. I am free because my Father has called me his child by dying for me.

God's love is so much more electrifying when I read the O.T. I hope you will read the O.T. too.

Friday, November 2, 2007

God's Provision 2 - A New Job!

As some of you have heard already - after many weeks of resume and cover letter writing, prayer and some tears, I have been blessed with a new job!

Starting this Monday, Nov. 5, I will be a Marketing Assistant with a non-profit hospice organization that provides mostly in-home care and services to patients with terminal illnesses as well as emotional and spiritual support services to families of patients. They also have a 12-bed in-patient facility where they provide these services.

A few brief answers to some questions you might ask:

- What are you going to do? I will basically serve as a support staff member to the Marketing team, so my duties will include anything to help implement the marketing programs set up by the Marketing Manager and VP, as well as some general administrative tasks.

- What do you do to market a hospice organization? From what I know so far, education is the emphasis - primarily, educating patients and families about the services offered so that they will use the services, and educating healthcare providers so that they will refer their patients. Other target groups would include potential volunteers and donors. The tactics are more like community outreach and public relations (e.g., speakers' bureaus) - not as much things like broadcast or print advertising, although there is some of that as well.

- Are you going to work with hospice patients? I will rarely, if ever, have direct contact with hospice patients because I will be on the administrative side of the organization and in the administrative offices. But of course I still have to understand their needs and situations as best as I can.

That's a quick overview - I'll probably have more details after I get started. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement during this job search process. I'd greatly appreciate your continued prayers, specifically that this new job would work out well and that Ben and I will make the necessary adjustments in our daily schedules to balance work/school and personal life. Above all, thank God for His faithfulness and provision! His love never fails!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Almost Meeting Tim Keller

I'm a really big fan of Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. If you've heard me speak, you've probably heard some ideas from Tim Keller because I've been so influenced by his teaching. I truly believe he is one of the most important contemporary evangelical voices. Today, he spoke at the church we are attending here in Boston, Citylife Church. I was looking forward to maybe talking to him and maybe even putting a picture of him and me on this blog, so Rachel and I began looking for him after the service, trying to get a chance to introduce ourselves while he was talking to other people. Alas, when at last there was only one person in front of us, he had to catch an elevator. Foiled, I noted that if we were meant to meet him, we would run into him later. Coincidentally we saw him in the lobby but he was surrounded by a few people. Curses! So we never got to meet him. In any case, it was still really cool to hear him speak in person.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ben's Sleep-talking

I had heard this from his roommates before, but since Ben and I got married, it has been confirmed to me that he talks in his sleep from time to time. It doesn't happen every night - probably only once every few weeks or so - but what is so amusing about it is that he usually speaks very clearly. It's not just this semi-conscious, unintelligible mumbling; it's very distinct words or phrases. I first experienced this during our honeymoon. Ben sleep-talked at least twice in that eight-day span, and being new to this phenomenon, both times I was faked out and thought he was actually saying something to me. I kept waking up and replying, "What?" and upon getting no answer, I realized he was just talking in his sleep.

It happened again last night, so I was inspired to blog about it. (Don't worry - I made sure it was OK with him.) Here are some examples of what he's said so far, along with a little background on each:

1) "But we already got a cutting-in-line pass!" - this was during our honeymoon at Disney World, where we often took advantage of the "Fast Passes" that allow you to come back to a ride at a certain time and get in a faster line. Once again, though, they are called "Fast Passes," so I'm not sure what prompted Sleeping Ben to refer to them as "cutting-in-line" passes.

2) "Um-ba-rella" - yes, just like the Rihanna song "Umbrella." This also occurred during our honeymoon. We had been at a beach earlier in the day where another group of people nearby was playing that song on their sound system.

3) "Help put Rachel in my situation" - wow. This was quite telling, because it happened on a night when we had just had a fairly lengthy argument. Don't worry; we had resolved it before going to bed, but I guess he still wasn't sure if I understood him? Or perhaps he was knowingly using his habit in a sneaky way? Hmmm... :)

4) The one that happened last night - I'm going to cite the whole "conversation" we had, because it was more interactive:

Sleeping Ben: "It was almost like one-zero...could be five thousand-zero!"
Awake Rachel: (snickering somewhat uncontrollably)
Half-Conscious Ben: "What?"
Awake Rachel: "Do you know what you were saying? About numbers?"
Half-Conscious Ben: "Something about thirty thousand?"
Awake Rachel: "Uh...yeah...sort of."

I asked him about it in the morning, and he remembers being half-conscious but doesn't know why he said what he did. I haven't figured it out, either. My first thought was that we had been watching the World Series Game 2 last night, where the score was 1-0 for a while...? And then maybe something to do with the fact that Game 1 was 13-1 - a blowout similar to a score of 5,000-0? I don't know.

Does anyone else have interesting stories of spouses or other people you have shared sleeping quarters with (for appropriate reasons) talking in their sleep? I would love to hear them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicago Receptions/Cutest Nephew Ever!

Last weekend we went to Chicago for two additional wedding receptions hosted by Ben's parents for their Chicago friends. It was a fun but exhausting weekend. Saturday was filled with preparations for Reception #1, followed by the reception itself. Sunday we got to spend some time with my parents, who had flown in from Houston for the receptions, during a casual family worship time and lunch at the Puns' home. We also got to hang out at the Yees' house - home of Ben's best friend Andrew and a place where Ben spent much of his formative years (for those Houstonian friends who have known me forever - this would be analogous to Laura Moon's house for me). This was great because some of Ben's old friends were also staying there - Elton and Sarah, and Jon and Abby, along with their baby son Jona. The guys mostly watched the Bears game and the girls mostly watched Season 1 of The Office. Also, Sarah was a HUGE blessing because I was in great need of a girl who could create an "updo" with my hair for the Sunday night reception - I had gone to a salon for Saturday night but did not want to shell out more money for someone to do it again. So we turned Jessie Yee's bathroom into an impromptu salon and Sarah worked her magic. Thanks, Sarah!

Side view of Sarah's handiwork. I liked the little twisty part at the top.

With Elton and Sarah

We also got to spend some time with Ben's brother and sister-in-law and our new nephew, Caleb. Cutest nephew ever! (Except maybe if Pat and Brenda ever have another son - then he may have to share the title.) We had a fun time playing with him and seeing all his little "tricks." It was also good to hang out with Pat and Brenda, and they were a tremendous help in preparing things for the receptions and just providing a calming force in the middle of the busyness. Wish we lived closer to PB&C so we could see them more often.

Look what happened in Chicago! Just kidding, it's our adorable nephew, Caleb.

Here are a few more photos of Caleb. Unfortunately we don't have any photos of the receptions yet - since we were so busy, we didn't take any ourselves. But we should be getting photos from other people who did. We'll post a few of those as soon as we get them.

This is my fist!

Come play with me!

Uncle Ben makes me laugh!

Here is one last photo of Caleb - this was not taken during the weekend, but we wanted to include it just to show how darn cute he is. Thanks, Pat and Brenda, for letting us show off your child. :)

In a bear towel

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Help, I'm trapped in a Christian Bubble!

I've enjoyed my time at seminary so far. I've found the lectures and reading to be both stimulating to my mind and edifying for my soul. But one thing that I keep on thinking about is how seminary students can be so easily secluded from the "real world." I live on campus, because it is convenient and more affordable. There are great on-campus accommodations here, so many students live on campus. And if Rachel were to get a job on campus, our whole lives would be lived among Christians and seminary students: we wouldn't have to leave this "holy hill." I'm in two small groups with other seminary students (one required by a class). Sometimes, I engage in stimulating discussions about a theological topic. I read extraordinarily articulate, complex books written by classic Christian thinkers. But I wonder if you were to put a non-Christian or for that matter just an ordinary non-seminary Christian layperson into our conversations, would he/she care about anything we are saying? Or would he/she understand anything we are saying? My point is not that theology is not important, I think it is. But it seems as if we train ourselves to talk to ourselves. Not to communicate these deep truths to the world that is lost, to ordinary people who have ordinary struggles, fears and anxieties. But don't misread me, I'm not saying seminary education or theology is inherently impractical; I think when it's truly understood by mind and heart (with the help of the Holy Spirit) it is immediately practical -- let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Rachel and I would really like to build relationships with non-Christians, and we are looking for ways to do that. And hopefully I can find a way to really flesh out deep, careful theology in ordinary language and relationships, in ways that engage our deepest fears and everyday struggles.
P.S. On an unrelated note, we saw a mouse in the Chinese grocery store we go to, Super 88. It was gross and frightening. What will happen next at the Super 88?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Joel Osteen and the Prosperity Gospel

Joel Osteen is huge. He has one of the biggest churches in the U.S., and he has been voted as the most influential Christian in America. I think he's popular because he always preaches a positive message; he aims to give hope to those who are downtrodden. But the hope that he offers is false, and the most upsetting thing is that it is down right against what the Scripture teaches. In the clip below, watch a clip of Joel Osteen and Mark Driscoll's critique.

Osteen says that having victory/freedom in Christ means that we should have victory in all spheres of our life: relationships, finances, anxiety and health. If we truly have faith, we can defeat bad relationships, poverty and even chronic illness. Jesus will give us these things if we have faith in him.

The problem is that this makes Christianity no different from what our culture offers us: happiness is found in money and comfort. Driscoll points out that Jesus himself does not qualify as a "champion" as defined by Osteen because he was hated so much by people that they killed him (relationships), was born in a manger and was homeless (poverty), and was tortured and nailed on a cross (physical health). I would add that Paul and all of Jesus' disciples except for John (who was exhiled because of his faith) were also put to death for their faith in Jesus. And I wonder how Osteen would explain James 1:2-3: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." Christianity gives us hope, yes. But a hope that we can have beyond what comfort, health, and money can give us.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Religion vs. the Gospel

I was just reminded of the difference between religion and the gospel again recently when I happened upon an article on the web comparing a life lived based on "religion" and one based upon the gospel, adapted from Tim Keller. Here's a little snipet:
"Religion: I obey -- therefore I’m accepted.
Gospel: I'm accepted -- therefore I obey.
Religion: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
Gospel: Motivation is based on grateful joy.
Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God.
Gospel: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.
Religion: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
Gospel: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.
Religion: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble, but not confident-I feel like a failure.
Gospel: My self-view is not based on a view of my self as a moral achiever. In Christ I am simul iustus et peccator—simultaneously sinful and lost yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling. "

Saturday, October 6, 2007

God's Provision

As you can imagine, lately we've been thinking a lot about money since Ben is in school and I am still searching for a job. Thankfully, we are not in a situation like a lot of seminary couples are, where they have a lot of school debt from undergraduate years and/or may be coming straight from undergrad and have never earned a full-time salary. God has already given us a lot in that we both worked full-time for a few years and have been richly blessed by wedding gifts and love offerings from many generous family members and friends. But graduate school is not cheap and there are always the regular expenses of rent, insurance, food, utilities, etc. Today we had to pay a very large credit card bill - probably the biggest either of us have had personally - and one of our bank accounts became the lowest we've seen in a long time. It made me uneasy, even though I know God will always give us what we need.

Later, as I was continuing my work on the endless wedding thank-you notes, I found a wedding gift check that we had accidentally left in the card and had not deposited. While it was only a small fraction of the credit card bill we just paid, it was still a nice amount. And it just made me really thankful to God because to me, it was a small sign of how He gives and provides in ways that we sometimes don't expect.

Just a little testimony I wanted to share that I hope you'll find encouraging. We'd greatly appreciate your continued prayers for us in this job hunt, as well as for Ben's studies and for our marriage. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Our Second Visitors!

This past weekend we welcomed our second visitors - my mom and dad. It was a nice reunion as it was the first time we'd seen each other since Ben and I moved. They had been to Boston before for a relative's wedding, but we spent some time touring the city some more on an Old Town Trolley Tour. Our friends who came before (see last post below) went on the O3T and recommended it, so we thought we'd try it out as well. I agree, it's a nice way to see many highlights of the city, and of course you can hop on and off whenever you want. We also celebrated my mom's birthday early with some more delicious clam chowder and other tasty dishes at Legal Sea Foods.
On the trolley

On the USS Constitution

On the USS Constitution

Ben trying to get comfy in a hammock like the sailors

So that's all for our scheduled visitors - who's going to be next? It could be you - come see us!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our First Visitors!

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming our first visitors to Boston/South Hamilton! It was great to see the familiar faces of our Houstonian friends Laura, Audrey, Teresa and Arlene. They had an action-packed trip, touring all kinds of famous Boston sites, and we were able to accompany them on adventures to the Salem Witch Museum, the Boylston/Arlington street area, the Boston Public Garden, the New England Aquarium, Legal Sea Foods, the North End and various other sites along the way. A few fun photos (last two courtesy of Audrey - thanks!):

Fun with hats at the Salem Witch Museum

Fun with hats at Marshalls

Part of the women's Bible study group reunited at Boston Public Garden

Hanging out in the hotel

Monday, September 17, 2007


A big question on both Rachel's and my mind these days is "what is my calling"? For me, I worry alot about my future...do I have what it takes to be a pastor or to plant a church? What kind of ministry is God preparing me for? Now that I'm surrounded by people who are pursuing the same goal, I am so tempted to always be comparing myself with others: would I be a better/worse pastor than him or her? Rachel is also struggling with this question as she seeks to find a job here. She is unsure about her career and what she wants to pursue, and her worries go even deeper: what is my purpose?

We went to a seminar at the seminary last week, and the leader led us through passages in Scripture in which the word "call" appeared in the New Testament. Maybe surprisingly, the word usually does not refer to a specific vocation. Instead, I noticed that usually it referred to being called simply to follow Christ. Romans 1:6 puts it this way: "you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." We are not primarily called to a career. We are called to belong to Jesus Christ. I was reminded of the tremendous freedom that really understanding that gives me. Instead of striving and grinding my soul in the pursuit of finding my "call", trying to prove to myself and to others that I really do have a purpose, I can instead just focus on my first call: to belong to Christ. I can rest; because no matter what I do with my life -- if I die tomorrow and never accomplish anything or if I become a pastor of a 10,000 member church, I belong to God -- my status before Him does not change. So instead of second guessing all of my decisions and wondering if I'm following God's will, I can just rest, do my best with the gifts God's given me, and let God do the rest, taking steps of faith along the way. God, help me to live each day with that goal. What an incredible freedom it is to just let go and to rest.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Boston Plunge/Football

One of the things that appealed to Ben about Gordon-Conwell was its emphasis on urban ministry - reaching and meeting the needs of the populations of city centers. Today we participated in a GCTS-organized event called the Boston Plunge! where we went to Boston with other GCTS students and spouses to hear from urban church/ministry leaders about what God is doing in the urban areas and how we can get involved. We visited the historical landmark Park Street Church and heard from leaders of ethnically-targeted churches and ministries, and also went to GCTS's Boston campus, the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) and heard from leaders of ministries aimed more at meeting physical, educational and social service needs of the general urban population of Boston. God is definitely doing great things in the city -- among both ethnic minorities and young professionals -- and it's exciting to think about how we can get involved. I think it made us wish even more than we do already that we lived in the city. We'll probably consider moving later on, but we'll see how God leads.

On a completed unrelated note, I am very happy that football is back, both college and pro! We're back on the fantasy scene, and I am still keeping up with my beloved 'Horns from afar. It's sad that I can't watch the games live, though. :( But at least they're winning, even if the games have been much closer than I would like. I attribute much of this to the loss of our defensive coordinator, Gene Chizik. Upon discussing this with our friend Preston, I just learned that as the new head coach at Iowa State, Gene Chizik is now commemorated on a coin in Iowa. Check it out. I feel like this belongs on Jay Leno's "Headlines" or something.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weekend in L.A.

This past weekend we took a VERY brief trip to L.A. for the wedding of our friends Anthony and Tina. Having both lived in more centrally located cities, we were sort of dreading the length of the flight from the Northeast to the West Coast, but it wasn't too bad (despite the fact that we got to the gate a little late on our last leg back and had to board in the C group, meaning we didn't get to sit together - argh). It was great to celebrate with Ant and Tina, as well as hang out with many of our Houston friends. We also saw some interesting sights during our stay. No, not Hollywood or anything like that. See examples at the bottom.

Lims and Puns


Puns and Hammills

We searched for an extra outlet in our hotel room to plug in our phone chargers, laptop, etc. and we could only find one way up high.

A sign in the window of a Chinese business. So, where did they actually move to?

If you can't tell, those are spiderwebs coming off the hubcap. Amazingly, the car had not yet received a citation for violating the posted 3-hour parking limit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Adventures at Super 88

You know you've matured as an Asian American when you start wanting things that can only be bought at a Chinese grocery store. As Ben and I have been getting settled in, we've made a list of Chinese groceries that we needed to make some of our favorite Chinese dishes (or at least attempt to). At the recommendation of one of my MA relatives, this past Sunday we found Super 88 Market in Boston's Chinatown. I remember actually looking at Ben and saying, "I'm so excited!" as we entered the store and breathed in that half-disgusting/half-delicious aroma of fresh fish, dried herbs, and various other products unique to Asian stores. We were happily filling our basket with lop cheung, sriracha sauce, dried black mushrooms, steamed fish sauce and more when all of the sudden the lights went out! It was about 6:30 pm, so it was still light outside, but since the windows were only at the front of the store, it was pretty dark in the back aisles where we were at the time. Everyone was a little startled and there were some Cantonese exclamations heard, but mostly everyone continued shopping in the near-dark, including us. We used our cell phones and keychain flashlight to look for more things. Then the manager announced that everyone needed to come up to the front and pay for their stuff and leave as soon as possible. So we went up, and I stood in line for several minutes (Ben ran off to find dumplings), until finally a security guard told us they were closing down for the day and everyone had to leave their groceries there and just leave the store. So, we were pretty disappointed that we couldn't take our treasures home with us. Oh, well. Just another day in Chinatown, I guess.

A quote from a crazy greek/hebrew professor heard by Ben during new student orientation: "We treat homework like quizzes, quizzes like exams, and exams like...the end of the world!" Goodness gracious. I think he was only half kidding, unfortunately.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Boston: First Impressions

In our new apartment. Do we look any different now that we live in Boston?

Hello and welcome to our new blog. We figured this is the best way to keep people updated, so please pass this blog along to others who might be interested.

Here are some quick responses to FAQs:
-We are doing well.
-Ben starts school on September 7.
-Rachel has not found a job yet, but is on the prowl. (for a job, that is)

One thing is for sure: Boston/New England is a very different place from Texas. Here is our quick list of first impressions:

Things that are plentiful in the Boston area:
-THICK New England accents - e.g., woman scolding her son overheard in ladies' restroom (by Rachel) - "nevah, evah touch things that ahn't youahs, caleb!"
-Seafood. So far we've had the best clam chowder we've tasted and fried clams. Ben is looking forward to trying lobster rolls.
-Dunkin' Donuts. There is literally one Dunkin' Donuts on every street corner. We don't see that many Starbucks, but Dunkin' Donuts are EVERYWHERE, probably because they're based in Canton, MA.
-Red Sox apparel. Our approximation is that 1 in 10 people we see here are wearing some kind of Red Sox apparel.
-Cool weather. Last week it was in the 60s and we busted out the sweaters. Rachel felt like she needed to go Christmas shopping.
-Koreans. This is at the seminary. We think our on-campus apartment building is about 25% Korean families.

Things that are NOT plentiful in the Boston area:
-Hispanic and black people. At least in the places we've been so far. Or maybe that's just compared to Houston.
-Things within a 15-minute drive. We miss being able to drive to every kind of good food. Here, we have to take a train and the subway into the city to get good ethnic food. Though, the subway is pretty easy to use.
-Air conditioners. While it's still sticky at times, Rachel found it hard to believe she could actually be comfortable in an apartment without AC.
-Acceleration lanes. It can be a little scary to enter the highway up where we are.
-Redboxes. We really miss $1 movie rentals.

Thanks for reading. More later. We miss you all!