Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Most people who used to read my blog or followed probably have moved on since its been over two years since my last post.
A lot has happened since my last post and I will try to catch up in this article, but I think I have enough material to write again.
Anyways, the reason I decided to blog again was because of an awesome church retreat that I just attended. I now feel very rejuvenated and it also made me realize that I should start blogging again.
Anyways, originally I didn't want to go on the retreat, but my wife (yes I got married since I last blogged! More on that in a separate article!) really pushed me to go...and boy am I glad she did. She is such a blessing in my life!
Anyways, my attitude was not the best on Friday night. But after a good night sleep, my attitude improved greatly by Saturday morning. Our head pastor was our "guest speaker" for the retreat and he talked about holiness. One comment in particular that surprised me was that "Holiness was meant to be practiced as a community". I always viewed the word "holiness" as a personal or individual basis. Anyways, my mood was still improving by the time we got to evening service.
Our new pastoral intern gave the talk for the evening service, and he gave his testimony. Then he showed us a card board sign he had made that had his struggles on one side and the end result of what God has done on the other side....kind of like the "end of the world" sign guys in movies. He then challenged us to make one too.
So as I started, I thought this was going to be a really dumb exercise. Little did I know that it would really change my life...that it would change the dynamics of our entire group!
As I sat there trying to figure out how to do this, I was originally frustrated because I have always hated giving my testimony since I was raised in a Christian home and had one of those "boring" testimonies. Then I thought, you know what, my entire life has been what my pastor calls a "Grace Story"...not necessarily how I became a christian but how God has shown his grace in my life. At that point I realized that I have cheated God out of his "Grace Story" in my life...and so I decided to make my cardboard about adoption.
Even though I centered in on the topic, I struggled for over 30 minutes on what to say on my cardboard sign. I brainstormed through ideas like:
I was adopted.....
.........But God gave me a family
I was adopted and stuck between two cultures
.......but God gave me a place to belong
I kept struggling with ideas like this....but what really nagged at me was the word "adopted"......was being adopted really the struggle of that I wanted to represent on the cardboard sign? I kept thinking about it and I realized that I use the tag "adopted" no different then like telling someone that I graduated from college. I realized that I use the word "adopted" so that I didn't have to face what really happened. I mean, I think it is great that I did this, and I think it definitely helped me through my childhood. But at the same time...waiting until I was 33 years old to really face this, may seem odd.....
That is when I figured out the correct word for my struggle: "Abandoned"
I struggled for another 10 minutes on whether or not I really wanted to use this word....I actually felt shame at first....it was a very difficult decision and I kept scratching the word out on my scrap piece of paper.....but at some point of time, all of sudden I got this sense of peace and an urge to use it and for some odd reason the strength and resolve to decide that I was going to use it and I was going to share with the group.
My final sign said: "I WAS ABANDONED.....BUT GOD ALWAYS PROVIDED A "HOME" AND A "FAMILY"!
What made the night the best experience ever though, was people were invited to share (not forced too) and what happened was amazing. Apparently I wasn't the only one who felt either convicted or the had the strength to share things as personal and as raw emotion as this....people kept going to the front and sharing. People shared some extremely personal information that I have never seen or heard people ever share that type of information about their past...the amazing thing is that it wasn't like momentum where people were trying to "top each other's stories" but these were all things written down on our cardboard signs.....we all decided earlier that we were going to share something extremely personal and expose ourselves before the sharing occurred!
If you have never experienced something like this, being involved in a group where people are willing to expose themselves for who they really are and not afraid of being judged and just being supported by each other.....You really need to seek this out! It is an amazing feeling!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
So my fiancee (Yes, I am getting married!) is from Korea and has been begging me to learn to cook Yang Nyum Chicken which literally translates to Chicken with Sauce. Anyway, the sauce is sweet and spicy, but is more on the spicy side with a hint of sweet. I have been kind of shying away from trying this because it requires deep frying chicken, which I have never done before, but I envisioned it to be messy. (I was kind of right)
But this weekend my fiancee hasn't been feeling well...she came down with a cold. So I finally broke down and made this dish for her. I basically followed a recipe that we had found on facebook
you read my comments, you will see the changes that I suggested. I thought the original sauce was way too spicy and not enough sweetness so I tripled the sugar and corn syrup. I also had to use more water than the recipe called for because the batter was like bread dough. I also fried the chicken at 350 F for 6 minutes both times. I cooked it longer because I used chunks of chicken instead of wings.
Here is my setup for frying the chicken:
Here is a picture after the first frying (It is important to double fry the chicken so that it is extra crispy!):
Here is the final product:
Here is a better picture, but of leftovers!:
I have pictures of my fiancee eating the chicken and a picture of her after she is done eating and full....but I do want to get married in December, so I think it is best not to post those pictures...sorry!
I ate the leftover chicken the next night, and I microwaved it to reheat and amazingly it was still very crunchy! That double frying is an absolute must!
Friday, February 12, 2010
I travel a lot for work....A Lot....Every Friday through Tuesday I fly to Corpus Christi and Houston.
I also work in a fabrication yard (similar to a construction yard), so if I want to enjoy a nice cup of joe from Starbucks, I have to drink it in the 15 minute car ride to the yard. As most of you know, those paper cups they give keep the drink warm for a whole 20 minutes? If were lucky?
So last week I went on a "shopping" spree and bought 3 different highly ranked travel mugs. The first one I am trying this week! It is by Brugo, and has this "innovative" feature called "Tip and Cool", where you tip the cup backwards and side to side and it stores a small amount of hot beverage in the top of the mug to cool down faster.
So when you take a drink, it is the right temperature for drinking. This is a cool feature, however, I found it annoying having to tip backwards and side to side after every drink. It would be much better if they figured out a way to do this without requiring any additional motion. Sure you can say that I am lazy, but if you ever try it, Im sure you'll agree!
It also has a "Lock" and "Sip" option. The "Lock" does not work perfectly. I found out that if you tip it upside down, it still seeps out the liquid (not a gushing stream) but enough that I wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis. But it is definitely better than a cup without the feature. Also, if you use the "Tip and Cool" feature, the small amount of liquid that is cooling down is outside of the lock feature so it will spill like a normal mug if tipped over. The "Sip" option makes the mug like any other mug where you can drink unlimited amounts of scalding hot beverage. Switching between the modes requires two hands, by turning a dial on the top...but once switched it is one handed operation to drink!
The big factor for me is how long it will keep my drink hot. An hour after I purchased my Starbucks coffee this morning; I open up the "Sip" feature and scalded my tongue...yup still blazing hot!
As for looks, it gets a 10! I even got a compliment on it from the Starbucks person who filled up my mug! That's pretty impressive since it's not one of their products!
If you are looking for a 100% sealing/locking mug, this is not it. It will let a little spill out. However, it won't let liquid splash out from a brisk walk/run or even a fast tip over. I would have to admit that it is a really good mug. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't 100% leak proof, but you can't have everything in the World. I would definitely recommend the mug as does an excellent job keeping the beverage hot. Plus, the "Tip and Cool" feature will save your tongue at the beginning half of any hot beverage!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Many of the sentiments were along the lines of "well, we didn't do it", "we wash our hands of responsibility", "let the birth parents know annonymously, and send some photos, and letters occasionally, but annonymously so the birth parents can't search for them", "it's in the best interest of the child", etc...
What made it particularly appalling to me was that just weeks earlier, many of these same commenters were arguing to me about how "there is only one mommy, and that is me". They were explaining to me how they are the only "mommy" or term of endearment, because the birth parents gave up their rights to that when they "put their child up for adoption". But when discussing this scenario, the parents never gave up legal rights, but yet this group of commenters didn't seem to care.
It seemed very hypocritical? It's ok to "strip" the birth parents of any terms of parental endearment when they "put the child up for adoption"; but then to have total disregard for the birth parents when the child is stolen (ie...never "put the child up for adoption"). Using excuses such as those listed above to justify their excuses of totally denying the birth parents their rights.
This is an interesting question/scenario, but it shouldn't be as hard as these people seem to make it. Sure, emotionally it is very difficult, but ethically and morally I don't think it is very difficult. I can't imagine how this scenario could be anything but black and white. Also, I know some people may view this discussion as a matter of only thinking of Birth vs. Adoptive parents and totally leaving out the adoptee. However, the point I am trying to make is the fact that the birth parents were disregarded, and the decision was made without their input.
No doubt, this is a very hard scenario. However, I think the decision should have to be made by the birth parents and the adoptee. Obviously every scenario is different. Im not saying that a 16 year old, who has lived in the US since they were 1 years old, should automatically be sent back to China or Korea. Obviously what age someone was adopted, and how old they are now, plays factors into these. However, ultimately is not the birth parent's decision to make? I would hope that birth parents would be able to realize what is in the best interest of their child to let them be in the US, if it has been too long since their "adoption", but now they can have communications. Yet at the same time, if the child is young enough and not much time has ellapsed, then would it not be best to have the child grow up in their native culture with their birth parents.
This is not a matter of who can provide the best lifestyle. Money doesn't make better parents. Who are we as humans to determine if parents in a 2nd World country is worse than parents in the US? If this rationale is used, then what is to stop of "taking" children away from their parents in 2nd and 3rd World countries and giving them to parents in the US or parents with money. Obviously the World would be up in arms if this happened.
I can't imagine the elation of birth parents if they were told their stolen child was found years later, and then having to make the decision of what to do. Do they decide to leave their child to the adoptive parents, and have an open relationship? Do they take their child back to raise? It's an incredibly hard decision to make, and I think the World would have to accept the fact that the parents would hopefully make the best decision....just like the World accepts the decision of every other parent in every other scenario.
However, I can't imagine the elation of birth parents who are told that their stolen child was found years later. Then to find out that the "adoptive parents" refuse to communicate openly and stay anonymous. No parent in the World should have to experience having their child stolen, but especially no parents ever should be held "captive" like this. This has to be worst torture and horror one human being can do to another human being. I understand the emotional ties and difficulty for the adoptive parents, but I can't imagine being so selfish to totally ignore what the birth parents would be going through.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
She brings up a very interesting topic that I never thought about before. How food is often overlooked as an "problem area" for adoptees. She wonders if food was used as a soothing mechanism, and that it was used to show how she would never have to worry about a basic need again. It really has me thinking about it.
The earliest memory I have of my grandparents was the first time my mother let them babysit me. Growing up, my favorite food at the time was fruit. I loved all fruit, even more so than candy (I actually didn't even like candy). Well my grandparents always had a big bowl of fresh fruit on their kitchen table. When my mother came to pick me up, she found a distraught grandma and me rolling on the floor moaning and holding my stomach. The following discussion followed:
Mom: "What happened??"
Grandma: "I don't know..."
Mom: "Did you feed him anything?"
Grandma: "Yes, he wanted some fruit"
Mom: "Oh ok, that's not bad. What kind?"
Grandma: "Well, grapes, apples, pears, and oranges..."
Mom (just noticing the empty bowl): "You let him eat the WHOLE bowl of fruit??"
Sheepish Grandma: "Yes....I thought since fruit is healthy that he would just stop...."
Yes, I don't know how much I weighed, but I know I was very small for my age (5 years old) because I was malnurished prior to be adopted, and that bowl of fruit was probably about 10 lbs.
My grandpa bless his heart never had enough to eat either growing up. His father kept food from him in what we would call today abuse. As a result, he can't get up from the table without knowing exactly when and where the next meal would be. He also instilled into the grandchildren what he called "Clean Plate Winners". He was always proud of his grandchildren who had healthy appetites and would finish everything on their plates. I know he did this out of his own difficulty growing up.
Looking back, I definitely think my past history has affected the way I view food. I am a self proclaimed food-ie. I love food, and I love cooking it. However, I know that I have a long history of over eating frequently. Everytime I go to order food, I know in the back of my mind I am always making sure there will be enough food. Even to the point where I will order way too much food (enough for two people) just to be sure that I have enough.
I order a large pizza (yes for myself), and am disappointed when I leave half of it. Occasionally I get the craving for Popeye's chicken; and order a 12 piece meal which includes 2 large sides and 4 biscuits (yes again for myself only) which Im assuming the company thinks is enough for 4 people. Again, I am slightly disappointed in that there is food left over.
When I cook food, its always way too much. I have never cooked and didn't have enough food. Even to the point where I'll cook 2 packages of Ramen, even though I know I almost never eat more than 1 package. But when its time to cook, I just can't bring myself to cook just 1 package.
As Paula mentions in her blog, this is a very difficult topic. Obviously parents want to make sure their children have enough food growing up. Especially with adoptees like me who were severely malnourished. It's not that I was abused, but there just wasn't much in terms of nutrition in the orphanage I was at. At the time, orphanages in Korea received very little/if any government funding and was mostly privately funded. One of the few things I can sort of remember from that time was eating rice and kimchi, besides that I can't remember eating anything else. For those of you who don't know, kimchi is fermented cabbage that is very popular in Korea (even though these two dishes are at almost every meal, there is always other dishes).
Who knows if my over-eating and the way I view food is due to my past or just psychological. It is definitely something to think about. Im glad Paula wrote about this, because this is yet another area that I will have to think through.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Like I mentioned in my previous post, Diane (Author of the blog: An-Ya) recently asked me to comment on her blog. So I did, and the topic for some reason just resonated in my soul....it just hit that right nerve. Anyways, I commented on her blog and I also commented on the blogs that were referenced in her blog. You know that feeling when you do something and as your doing it, you have a weird feeling that you might regret it? Yea...its usually best to listen to those feelings....LOL. Im still an amateur and I still like a good debate!
Unbeknown to me, the blogs that I left comments on were filled with adoptive parents that strike deep fears of feelings of: "head beating on the wall/desk", "talking to a brick wall", and "reminders of elementary school where the best logical argument you could make was 'Oh yea...well your stupid.'", into the hearts of a lot of adoptee bloggers. (note, not all, and not necessarily all adoptees...I have to put this legalize in here, because one of these people who cause these feelings of angst Im sure will misquote it out of context somewhere if I don't have a discalimer). It didn't take long before I received my first ever being labeled as the "Angry Adoptee"...DUN DUN DUNNNNN......
Back to the Chicken and Egg:
So all of these events made me ponder what I was going to write about first, then I was struck with the "light of genius"!.
I would like to put my own twist to this age old question to be used in my scenario:
"What came first? The "Angry Adoptee" or the "Self-Conscious, Over-Emotional, non-logical, take things too personally, name calling/labeling AP" (or some combination thereof)?
I think this is a much easier question to answer than the chicken or egg question.
The "Angry Adoptee" is an adoptee who write blogs or comments that dare to publish that life is not all "peaches and cream" for adoptees. I was never in this crowd before until this week. Like I mentioned above, Diane helped me attain this lofty mark for the first time!
The "Self-Conscious, Over-Emotional, non-logical, take things too personally, name calling/labeling AP" (or some combination thereof)" is an adoptive parent who is blogging on the internet claiming to want honest, safe, discussions about adoptions, but then releases the "wraths of hell" upon anyone who might disagree with them. I can't be part of this crowd because I am not an AP.
AND THE WINNER IS!!!!
The "Angry Adoptee" label has been around much longer than any label for APs. This should not surprise anyone who is familiar with the adoption blog world. The term "Angy Adoptee" has become universal and is frequently used to try to discredit an adoptee's comments or blog.
Sadly, the race isn't even close. In my short, but full imersive blog experience, I have yet to come across any label that has the frequency of use as "Angry Adoptee". The simple fact of the matter is, most of these heated discussions I have seen and been part of, the adoptee bloggers tend to try to make logical arguments and refrain from labels while I have seen way too many times to even count someone throwing out the "Angry Adoptee" label and actually use it to discredit a post or comment.
Sadly, labels exist and they are used frequently. Sadly ones such as "Angry Adoptee" are used by the ignorant when they can not form a logical argument in response in a heated debate. Sadly, those that use this tactic are usually the ones who need to read the discussion the most. I have heard this label in conjuction with rhetoric that suggests that "Angry Adoptees" are a small faction of "squeeky wheel" adoptees and that the "normal adoptees" don't blog or comment. I am still confused as to why or how this is grounds for dismissing the comments of people?
If you really think about it, the adoptee blogger who is active in commenting on adoption blogs really has nothing to gain, yet they have so much to offer in terms of sharing with AP's who are trying to do their best. I imagine to the AP's who see these insights and comments for exactly what they are; personal experiences and opinions; are able to gain more insight and understanding of what their children might or might not be experiencing.
The next time an adoptee posts a comment that is absolutely different opinion than yours, instead of labeling them an "Angry Adoptee" and dismissing them, maybe you should read their comments and realize and understand that yes, there is at least 1 adoptee who feels or thinks this way. This can lead to much more productive and useful discussions where more information can be shared.
(Im sorry if its not totally coherent, its really late now, and I realize I need to be sleeping. I'll edit this in a day or two!)
Sunday, January 17, 2010
If you really hate my blog, you can thank Diane for that! LOL
Diane recently asked me to come out of retirement to comment on a new article of hers.....it was a ambush I think. Anyways, it has got me all fired up, and I'm ready to get back on this.
I don't even know if anyone even follows my blog anymore, but I'll keep writing, and maybe it'll make a difference to someone some day.