Tag Archives: Mason Jar Salads

Weekly Favorite Links (July 16-August 5, 2015)

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What makes you happy?

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot lately, both directly by others and one that I have been mulling over on my quiet drives to and from work. I guess part of it is because I had to take a workshop session related to happiness for work purposes and it was a really interesting experience. The workshop began with pop songs playing in the background (which did make us feel pretty pumped up) and after that, everyone had to go around sharing what was one thing that made them happy. I honestly didn’t think much of the question at first, so the first thing that came to my mind was GOOD FOOD ’cause I was hungry and…. I love food a lot. Y’all should already know that though.

As the session progressed, I realized that what seemed like an initial harmless, superficial question really was one of life’s most significant question marks that every individual must answer for themselves. Because we all strive to be happy; we may all differ in how we believe and see where happiness comes from.

If there was one thing that was apparent from that meeting, it was the realization that the world believes you are in charge of your happiness and there are concrete steps and goals to achieve it. By the end of the workshop, there was probably about ten suggested strategies that were offered to all of us to achieve the happiness we were looking for. We were also asked to publicly share and offer examples of ways that we were trying to achieve such happiness. For example, someone would be asked to share to the rest of the group how they were kind to someone else or one thing they’ve learned recently in order to improve their weaknesses. I was called on to share a recent event that inspired me and empowered me. Others were asked to talk about what they loved about themselves and areas where they had to overcome certain challenges. We were also given a worksheet to complete and take home and before we left the meeting, we all had to write down two commitments we were going to work towards.

On the one hand, I appreciated the workshop. There were a lot of good points made and some great practical ways for me to work on my weaknesses and further areas that I can continue to grow in. The personal sharing from everyone was also pretty relatable and we were able to bond better as a team. Furthermore, I felt more motivated to challenge myself outside of my comfort zone. And yes, making a commitment to something, striving towards goals, and successfully achieving them does bring about the feeling of happiness. But only to a certain degree. That feeling of accomplishment, the exhilaration you get from checking off something from a bucket list– it’s all temporary. So while I enjoyed the workshop, on the other hand, I also left that meeting a bit dissatisfied and not fully convinced at everything that was addressed. I think I was taken aback because for the first time in a long while, I was told that Self can make happiness happen. As if the greatest purpose in this life is to be happy with myself and come to terms with how great of a person I am (as if I need more reasons to be prideful of who I am).

However, I know that in order to find true happiness and lasting joy, everything that was suggested at that workshop were only fragments of what I know to be true. I think the workshop only addressed and scratched the surface level of bigger issues. I felt like the people leading the session and even the group discussions were trying to persuade me that a band-aid would fix areas that might need open heart surgery. There comes a point where we can try to do everything in our power to get what we want and it will be in vain since we’re limited as human beings. The biggest hole in that team bonding activity was that contentment apart from Christ is impossible because only in Christ alone will we find our everlasting happiness. After all, God’s creations were never meant to replace him as our Creator.

Self cannot be elevated nor is the individual Self reliable enough to deliver. I think if anything, Self only ends up disappointing more than impressing because we’re all fallen sinners. Honestly, I don’t even know what will happen to me in the next minute, much less a lifetime, so how can I guarantee my own happiness? I can’t. Instead, I believe and trust that true happiness is found when I surrender my life to Jesus, when my sinful desires are cast away and when my mind is renewed to be more like his. In Christ alone, my soul will be satisfied. Continue reading

Weekly Favorite Links (July 2-8, 2015)

MacArthur

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If there is one thing that always surprises and never ceases to leave me utterly speechless and in streams of tears, it is grace.

I have been the recipient of so much undeserved grace lately.

I am amazed at how loved I am by those around me. I suppose I’ve always had this internal struggle that I needed to earn that love and so throughout my life, I sought to please. But grace is something that I cannot earn, which makes it so much more precious when it’s given. God has placed people in my life that have seen me at my worst and ugliest moments. Instead of judging me and telling me that I’m a disappointment or that I should’ve known better than to fall into certain sins, their eyes have only grown more tender and compassionate when all is laid bare.

Most importantly, they have readily forgiven me when oftentimes I struggled to forgive myself. When I am feeling overwhelmed with shame and guilt, they have patiently pointed me to Scripture to help me train my thoughts to find comfort in what is true. Not only have they embraced me in spite of my failures, they have firmly reminded me of the grace that is found at the foot of the cross. By no means do they condone my mistakes. But they have demonstrated what it means to love in hard times and to bear one another’s burdens because we all fall short. Instead of allowing me to run away from my trials, these brothers and sisters of mine have cheered for me to press on and to finish well.

I am so thankful for these individuals.

But you know what’s even crazier? These dear friends of mine are testaments of God’s faithfulness and work in their lives. More than their love for me is the mysterious love that my Savior and Lord displayed on the cross. In order so that I could be freed from the bondage of sin, He who knew no sin became sin in my place and bore my weaknesses. In this life, I will never be able to understand why Christ would die for someone like me. I will never be worthy of God’s love, of His Son’s sacrificial death on my behalf. However, if it was not for the grace of God, if Christ did not bear my guilt and shame, I would still be in chains today.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 

Romans 8:1-11

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Weekly Favorite Links (June 11-July 1, 2015)

NO CHURN blackberry chip ice cream I howsweeteats.com

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I have been trying to start this post days in advance so that I’d have adequate time to finish and post. But here I am, sitting in front of my laptop and I can’t even articulate everything that I feel into words. (Is this called writer’s block?) These past two weeks have brought about so many changes. Some foreseeable and expected, others came out of the blue. There have been numerous adjustments to my daily routine, relationships, and priorities. And need I mention that the clock doesn’t stop.

Even though I’d like to think that I have a personality that can adapt and get used to new situations quickly, I readily admit that change is something I dread rather than embrace. However, I know that God uses surprising circumstances to remind me that I’m not the one in control and to cause me to trust in him more.

Lately, I have been reading The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions that was put together and edited by Arthur Bennett. Reading these prayers on a regular basis prompts me to strive for a God-centered perspective and a humble attitude throughout my day. I read it often because it speaks so much truth — truths that I need to repeat over and over again because my heart is just fickle like that. I’d like to share one prayer with you, which is my current go-to favorite. Also because I think this prayer kind of captures how I’ve been praying for myself.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty thy glory in my valley.

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Weekly Favorite Links (May 7-13, 2015)

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Well, I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend celebrating and commemorating our mothers. Is it just me, or has May been a busy month so far? I feel like my days are just zooming by on fast forward.

Instead of writing about my week or something that I’ve been learning, I decided to share some random facts about myself so that you can get to know me better. I’d be curious to know if my friends knew some of these facts already, or if they’re all new information.

EIGHT FACTS ABOUT ME:

  1. I need a consistent and solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If I don’t get those hours, I must either endure the suffering of sleep deprivation or take a nap. Usually after a consecutive 3-5 days of not sleeping well and no naps, I get sick.
  2. I hate green onions, but I love green onion pancakes. If necessary, I’ll still use them in a dish to add more flavor, but that’s rare. It’s weird, I know. I’ve been told that I’m not a true Asian.
  3. I like to turn off my Wifi or Mobile Data whenever it’s not in use. Not just to save my battery power, but because I don’t want to be bombarded by notifications or to constantly be checking my phone all the time. I also don’t like to get onto the internet on Sunday mornings until after attending church. It just doesn’t feel right for me. I think there’s freedom in turning off our technology. It can wait.
  4. Eight is my favorite number. In elementary school, I used to practice writing my “8’s” a lot. Hence, eight facts.
  5. David Platt’s book, Radical, changed my life and how I viewed Christianity. I would highly recommend his second book as well.
  6. I like to watch Korean dramas in my spare time and I used to blog about them on another website, which is no longer active. My first-ever Korean drama was Dae Jang Geum and I watched it with my parents. While I don’t watch as much as I used to, I still follow what’s airing in Korea and am pickier about what I choose to watch. There’s a motto that my friends and I go by, and it’s “Life is too short to watch bad dramas.” I guess you could probably also argue that life’s too short for Korean dramas as well, but then it wouldn’t be half as fun. If I had a favorite Korean drama, based on how many times I’ve re-watched it, it’d be Answer Me 1997.
  7. My favorite Classic author is probably Jane Austen. It shouldn’t be hard to guess what my favorite Austen book is. I also love the film adaptation to this particular book. (Hint: Mr. Darcy)
  8. I have the utmost respect for Tim Challies and his blog. He’s been blogging every single day for years now. I think we’d get along well. He is definitely on my list of top five all-time favorite and most-read bloggers.

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