Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 182 - bookmarking & bananas

I've been on a bookmark-making rampage the past week. So far, I've made 39 bookmarks and 13 (+1 failed) tassels. I'm gonna have triceps of steel from trimming 39 bookmarks twice (once to cut them out after printing, and another to cut them out after laminating). I'm contemplating making another 30. Thinking about it.

In an effort to utilize every last inch of perfectly good real estate on a laminating sheet (yes, I'm Chinese... I don't waste) for my last batch of bookmarks, I looked around for other things I could laminate. There were two post-its that Anderson wrote for me taped to my desk. They were getting pretty beat up so I figured, I'd just laminate them too.

Leaving post-its for each other was one of our "things". Ever since we first started dating, we'd leave each other notes all over the place for each other to find. Sometimes, I'd just flip to a random date on his planner and scribble a little love note. On the day of his graduation, I covered his desk with post-it notes (even put some in his graduation gown and cap). We'd always hide them for each other in places we knew we'd find them later. Sometimes I'd leave him notes in his toiletry bag before he left for Brazil so he'd get a little surprise from me when he got there. After some time, our post-its evolved to writing e-cards to each other and setting them to be sent at some random date in the future. We'd write them for each other and it'd always be a pleasant surprise when we'd "find" another love note on any given day. Always brought me a lot of joy and excitement. Still does.

Yesterday, I was thinking again that maybe I wouldn't get any more e-cards from him. :/ Sometimes I'll get one and I'll wonder if this will be the last one. Haven't gotten one in a while. They were going to stop eventually... I knew that. Anyway... remember a while ago when I wrote that God always finds some way to grant me the desires of my heart... when I went to laminate the post-its, I turned them around and I saw that he'd written another note on the back of one of the post-its for me to find one day... I think I'd read it before but when I read it yesterday, it was like I was reading this love note again for the first time.

It was dated May 6, 2007... written in his trademark girly-swirly script...

I love you more and more everyday. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you. -me
Certain things pierce straight through to the depths of my heart. This was one of those things. We'd been dating for 4 years already at that time. Did he know that a year and a half after he wrote that note that we'd be man and wife? Did he know that we'd spend most of our marriage in Houston, TX and most of THAT time living in a hospital together? No, of course not, but it didn't matter what we did or where we did it as long as we did it together. I'm glad that he did get to spend the rest of his life with me. It's little things like these that make me really really happy and appreciative of the man I had the honor and privilege of marrying. Someone asked me yesterday what drew me to Anderson prior to dating him. I haven't responded to that question yet... I guess I'll just blog about it and you all can read it.

He was such a good person. Everything he did and the way he did them... fascinated me. He had his unique "way" to do everything... the way he sprinkled parsley flakes on every single dish he cooked...the way he flipped a crepe in the pan... the way he side-armed a baseball... had his own special touch... it was smooth and graceful, precise and intentional. You could see it in his eyes. The way he reacted to situations... to people... the words that would come out of his mouth... his love and care... and politeness and courtesy... his calmness... how reasonable he was... oozed from his actions and his words. And he made me feel so safe and comfortable around him. He just let me talk my nonsense... whatever came to mind... unknowingly sending him mixed messages... but it was simply what was going through my head at the time... I didn't know or realize what he was thinking as he was soaking it all in... getting more and more confused with every interaction and conversation. He took care of me, he fed me... he cooked for me. Well, he cooked and set aside a portion for me. He cooked for his roommates too. He was a far better person than I. It intrigued me. In all my life trying to be a good person... here was someone who had it down... and I had the honor of being close enough to experience it. It drew me to him.

The parsley flaking...
His fishing "method"
I dunno what he's doing but he just had his "ways".
I know I have pictures of him throwing... but I can't find them. I give up. I remember taking pics of him while watching him play IM softball at UCI.

I don't know if he met any of my "criteria"... I know he didn't meet the most important one... at the time. I don't know if God drew me to him or if God just decided to have things end up this way because of my own weakness, but by God's grace, He worked it out so that Anderson and I could journey together, with Him, these past 6 years. He was destined and chosen to be God's child... and God used me, Ted, and whoever else to bring him into His sheepfold. Anderson ended up being exactly what I needed; the man of the dreams I hadn't dreamt yet. But he didn't become that man right away. It took our journey of sorrow... suffering through brain cancer, through treatment, through our relationship... and God's hand in all of it... to bring us to a place where we'd cry out to Him for deliverance... to turn him into the perfect man for me and me the perfect woman for him.

God has His reasons and purpose for the suffering we endure in this life. I don't have the answers for you and yours... but for me and mine... I know that it had a purpose and that God was glorified through it.

And he continues to teach me more and more about how to love God through his love for me. That simple love note that he wrote to me... that's the love we are to have for God. To love Him more and more everyday... and to be eager to spend the rest of our lives with Him. To feel what it feels like to be loved with a passion by my husband has taught me how to love a man... and has opened up my heart to learn how to love God.

It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately... to love God. It is His greatest commandment.

Matthew 22:36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
To love God. It sounds so simple... because it is...and it is lovely... but at the same time... it is a high calling... a great commitment... but SO worth it. To be loved by God and to love Him colors my world with a brilliance and beauty I never thought possible. It moves my heart in ways I never thought possible... it stirs me to passion, something I'd never known or experienced. Ambivalence and negativity is what I grew up with and what I'd grown accustomed to. I'd been hurt by so many people and experiences growing up... I had a motto of pessimism and self-reliance because I couldn't rely on other people, they will always let me down... I'm better off doing things by myself and on my own. This was my lonely existence... with a heart and attitude that didn't care for others in the interest of self-preservation... driven by fear and in an effort to avoid additional pain... a life full of jealousy and discontentment at what others seem to have but had somehow passed over and eluded ME. I was a wallflower. A nobody. Until I was loved. Until I was chosen. It was only then that I had a name because I meant something to someone else. I dunno where I was going with that one.

Oh, probably about my heart. Something I've noticed lately... I've had a passion and fascination with God's people. I'm intrigued. I'm interested. I think it only happened after I fell in love with God and started to love the things He loves. Through reading the Old Testament, I've come to have such a love for God's people... including the Israelites. I've been doing a lot of thinking about why I love the Israelites. Lately it seems like I'm fascinated with everything about them. Couldn't put it into words. Drawn to them.

Something I read lately... a book dedication... helped me start to understand a little bit why I'm so appreciative of them.

to the Jewish people, for preserving a faith upon which my own is built. - Ann Spangler
In reading more and learning more about them, their history, their culture... how God set up the law, their festivals, things they do in remembrance of what God did for them... I'm awestruck at how wonderful it all is. To think... having your culture and God be so intertwined... it adds so much richness and depth to the history of your people and to your relationship with God. SO awesome! I was so jealous!

I'm also reading up on rabbis and how they teach by example. They invite others to live life with them... to do what they do, eat what they eat... such an awesome way to learn... a much preferred way than lecture, in my opinion. And I was also learning about haverim/haverah... they're like student partners... study buddies... to enrich their learning by having conversations and intense discussions about scripture. I think this is all beyond awesome. Hope I didn't get it wrong. Feel free to correct me if you know more about it than I do.

I can't remember if I blogged about it before... but as I was reading Romans, I kinda LOL'd. Here, I'll put it here for you and then tell you why I laughed.

Romans 2:28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
I'm an inward Jew! I'm a Chinese/Jewish banana! LOL.

OK anyway, seriously... I've been hearing Ruth's words in my head... Ruth the Moabitess who married into a Jewish family... when her mother-in-law told her to go back to her family after her husband passed away... she said no. Ruth 1:16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

Your people will be my people and your God my God. Dang. So powerful. Such commitment.

This applies to us too... us, Gentiles, as we're adopted into God's family... we're also God's children... and His people are our people, and their God, our God. My God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob... the God of Tiffany Chen. OK I'm not like all that important compared to Abe, Izzy and Jake. But same God. They're like... my family too.

John 10:16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (for the BSF ladies/men)

So it makes reading the Bible and learning about the history of the Israelites a lot more interesting when you think of it as MY history too. I can't get mad at them because... well... I do the same thing. Human nature hasn't changed. What they did then is the same as what we do if we're all the same... what lessons did they learn that I can also learn from... what mistakes did they make then that I shouldn't make now? It's not only that God delivered THEM from oppression and slavery... He delivered US from all that... slavery and bondage to sin. Enslavement. I'll save it for another blog entry.

K... getting long... I'll end this (soon) with an excerpt from my own musings after I read about the 10th plague (death of the firstborns of Egypt), the Passover, and the memorials that God established so that His people would remember what God did for them that day.

I keep thinking about it and it's not like we're reading about THE Israelites... we're reading about OUR ppl. OUR God. God delivered the Israelites from Egypt... He delivered all of us from the world. Must always keep that in mind. As God's children, we are ALL God's children, then and now. And we are also to remember and take seriously the Passover and its meaning... and its fulfillment in what Jesus did for us on the cross. It should be on our hands (in everything we do) and between our eyes (in everything we see) Exodus 13:9. It is our duty to remember and to pass it along to our children as well. God knows how easily we forget so He sets up these things to help us remember. Love it. Thank you, God!

Proud to be a banana... and off to finish some more bookmarks...

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