Category Archives: photography

each of us

 

“God loves each of us

as if there were only one of us.”

 

~ St. Augustine

 

 

 

  “No power in the sky above or in the earth below –

indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us

from the love of God

that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

~ Romans 8:39

 

 

 

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learnin’ is possible – even for an unedjumacated chick like me

“Then this little-kid voice, this Tweety-bird voice, said, ‘We need to pray.’  I sighed again.

Eventually I lowered my face into the palms of my hands.

‘I know you have bigger fish to fry, I said to God, but I need a little help with this stupidity’.”

 

~ Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

 

 

About a year ago, I had shared with y’all about the mom’s having made signs of the Multiplication Table on the walls of our house when I was a kid cuz I had really sucked at Math real bad during my school years.  The mom thought that she would help me to memorize those dagnabbit Multiplication Tables by her plastering ’em on our wall.

I use the word “help” loosely.  Cuz she had certainly clobbered my head countless times cuz of my failing grades in Math.

(p.s. I’d like to take this opportunity to do away with the cliche that Asians are good at Math.  Cuz I is a perfect example that that dumb belief ain’t so.)

The way she’d make those signs was by getting herself a permanent marker and ripping off some calendar paper.  Then she’d get on the floor, flip the long calendar sheets over, and write the Multiplication Tables real big on the back of ’em.  So one calendar would have all the numbers from 2 thru 10 that was multiplied by 2.  Another one would have everything that was multiplied by 3.  And so forth.  I think she went all the way to whatever was times 10.

Had I had any sense of humor left from all of the head-clobbering given to me, I mighta asked her, “How come you didn’t make one for zero?  Wuz zero times two?”

Maybe I still had a little bit ‘o wisdom left that told me to not ask that, or else there’d be an even harder clobberin’ comin’ my way.

Needless to say, those super-sized Multiplication Tables had done nuthin’ for me.  They were  just like boring numbered wallpaper of my worst school subject.

Thinking back on ’em, they kinda reminded me of Garfield and his osmosis thing.  Maybe the mom thought that I’d one day stare at those calendar sheets and have me a major “A-ha!” moment, and them answers would stick in my head permanently from then on somehow.  But nope.  Never happened.  ‘Til today, I’m still confused as to what times 6 thru 9 is.

Therefore, I immensely thank God for the existence of calculators.  I have ’em in every size.  From ultra-jumbo number buttons that you can practically jam with your whole palm, to teeny-weeny mini calculators that I hang on a keychain.

 

 

Although the mom’s head-clobbering cuz of my lousy school grades throughout my elementary thru middle school years really sucked, the pops’ clobberings were, of course, worse.

‘Til today, the sis and I have a sense of fear of phones.  Due to this phobia, both of us are not “phone people”.  Seems crazy in today’s world of smartphones and nonstop social media sharing via phone.

When the sis used to live in CA, she’d very rarely answer our phone calls.  We’d always expect to leave a message on her phone after all of the rings had gone through, cuz it was so rare for her to ever answer her phone.  Reason she didn’t answer was cuz the majority of the time, her phone was on silent, was sitting at the bottom of her bag, and she wouldn’t remember to check if she had any messages on it ’til about 12 hours later.

One time, when a friend of mine had asked me how come I hadn’t answered his phone call, I had answered that it was cuz I had left my phone at home.  He had gasped aloud and had an expression of utter shock as to how I could go on with my life with my phone having been left all alone in limbo back at my house. I told him that it was possible.  And my life could go on fine and dandy without no phone.

The reason the sis and I have a fear of phones is cuz the pops used to clobber us so often when we were kids cuz we didn’t answer our home telephone “correctly”.  His order was for us to make sure that we get the name of the person who had called while he was out of the house. Lousy for us, this was back in the day before Caller ID ever existed.

Whenever our home phone would ring, I don’t know about the sis, but my body would practically shudder.  Our home phone’s ringing was like the harbinger of my death (would lead to a good clobberin’ later).  We couldn’t not answer it, cuz it might be the pops callin’.  It seemed like it was always me ending up having to answer that darn phone cuz I couldn’t find the sis nowheres.  So I’d be the one to answer the pops when he came home later.

We had one of those rotary phones.  Beige-colored with a thick cord.  Used by turnin’ the dials round and round, one number at a time.  Click click click, around it’d go.

Just like in the horror movies, whenever our home phone would ring, I’d creep up to it.  Then I’d pick up the hand receiver ever so slowly, like I was scared someone on the other line was gonna tell me that I had to pay a whoppin’ amount ‘o ransom dough if I ever wanted to get my puppy back.

(Had that ever happened, I’d never see my puppy again, cuz I sho didn’t have a single penny to my name ’til I was 19 years old.  Good thing the parents had never let us have a puppy.)

99% of the time, the caller was a male friend of our pops, which made the much-feared phone calls so much the more terrible.  All those old dudes seemed to have the same loud, booming voice as they told me to give the phone to my pops.  I’d then let ’em know (in my witto school kid voice) that my pops wasn’t home.  (Had they been real macoy robbers, we woulda been robbed many a-times for reals.)

Then the caller would tell me he’d call back later.  But right before he hung up, or even as he was tellin’ me that was gonna call back later, I’d hurry to ask as loudly as I could, what his name was.  99% of the time, the dude would say, “My name?”  And then he’d either:

a) Say it so fast, that I’d have to ask if he could repeat it again.  Even though he did, I still couldn’t hear it for some reason, that I almost always wrote down the wrong name.

b) Totally ignored that I had even asked him, and he’d just hang up on me.

In either case, I was dead meat when the pops got home later.  And I’d again get whooped for not getting the caller’s name.

Why didn’t I just tell the pops that no one had called, you ask?  Tried dat.  But many a-times those lousy, non-name-leaving dudes would call back, and let the pops know that they had called earlier.  Then my booty would get into even bigger trouble.

So ever since childhood, a phone’s ringing sound (whether landline or mobile) has always caused for me to have a sense of fear whenever I’d hear it.

 

 

Just about everyday, I think of sumthin’ to write about.  Sumthin’ would happen or I’d be somewhere, and I’d think to meself, I should write about this someday, yup.

But then that thought would just go up in the air cuz:

a)  I had forgotten all about it, along with everything else I had told myself to take mental note of.

b)  I’d put off writing about it over and over again, cuz I didn’t know how to start the story without it soundin’ too ultra-boring for even me to read.

When I had begun my so-called writing years ago (’bout 13 years now; wid my grammar not havin’ improved much), I’d reread what I had written and try to make it even funnier, if that wuz at all possible.  If the sis happened to be passin’ by, she’d holler at me, “Are you laughin’ at your own writing again?!”  And then I’d try to quiet my crazy self-chucklin’ into little held-in snickers.

~ ~ ~

One of those topics that I had been wantin’ to write about for some time now, but had kept puttin’ off cuz I didn’t know how to begin it, was of this topic, which I’m about to share widcha.  It’s the topic of my havin’ learnt how to read Korean from the pops.

I know.  From da topic alone, talk about a dry read.  So after some jammin’ on my keyboard earlier, I had figured it out.  I decided to start off this story by recallin’ to y’all about the mom’s Math memorization tactic for this ever so unedjumacate-able chick.

Then I’d share about the pops and of his havin’ been an even stricter parent who had clobbered me for other stuffs outside of my pathetic school report card.

Finally, (if ya haven’t fallen asleep yet) I’d reach to the end of my story and its grand finale point of how the pops had taught me how to read Korean.

~ ~ ~

What had made the situation oh so immensely, humongously, miraculously incredible for me is cuz it had contained no head-clobberin’ whatsoever to me for my lack of containing any sense of mental knowledge (my denseness) for the very, very, very first time in my life.

How it had happened:

One day, the pops told the sis and I to go get our bums over to where he was in the livingroom. He then pulled out a small chalkboard that I had never seen in my life.  What wuz even stranger was that I had never seen that small chalkboard ever again.  Maybe he had borrowed it from someone and had given it back to ’em after having finished givin’ to us “his lesson”.

He held that chalkboard upright on his lap, and it was about a foot and a half wide.  I had no idea what he was up to, but whatever it was, I was shlumping myself down for another head-clobberin’.  Cuz I knew without a hint of a doubt, that I was for certain not gonna have the right answer to whatever he was gonna ask us.  (Unlike the smarty pants sis who always had the right answer.)  So I braced myself to get whacked, as I listened to the pops as he held that chalkboard.

“Today, I’m gonna teach the two of you how to read Korean”, he said.

Just fabulous, I thought. I can’t even get a decent grade in my English class yet, and now I gotsto learn how to read a whole ‘nuther language.  Great.  Just great.  Somebody please shoot me now.

One by one, he wrote down the Korean characters and told us how they each sounded like.  Then he explained how if one character was written down, then how another character would move on over to the spot below, or to the right of it.

To my recollection, his whole entire “lesson” had probably been about a coupla hours.  Maybe 3 hours at the longest.

As to how in the world the sounding and writing of each of those characters had been able to stick in my mind (when those dagnabbit wall calendered numbers never had for years) is only by this reason: by the great, grand grace of God.

Cuz there is no other answer for how that coulda happened for a person like me.  A school dunce like me.  A poor student for like forever like me.

 

Korean written characters

 

While in middle school and as an adult, I had taken the Japanese language several times.  The Arabic language just a few years ago.  But neither of those languages’ alphabet characters had ever stuck in my head.  They’re all Greek to me now.

But for only by reason of being God’s miracle, I had been able to learn how to read Korean with just a coupla hours of havin’ been taught it with a little chalkboard that day by the pops.

Folks would often tell me about how they had taken up learning the Korean language cuz they had an infatuation with watchin’ Korean TV dramas.  Just about a week ago, it was in the news of how the language is being taught more in the colleges in the Middle East.

So if perhaps you too have ever had the desire to learn how to read the language as well, then I’d like to tell ya friend, that if a dunce, much-penalized for being a poor student like me can do it, then so can you.

 

“I pray that God, the source of hope,

will fill you completely with joy and peace

because you trust in Him.

 

Then you will overflow with confident hope

through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

~ Romans 15:13

 

 

Abnormal Summit is a popular television show in which about 11 foreign expats residing in Korea share their opinions about the various topics of the day.  In this particular episode, 2 of the guys from one of the longest-running Kpop groups called Super Junior appear as guests on the show.  Click cc for English subtitles.

 

 

 

bringing us back

 

“All of us must die eventually.

Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground,

which cannot be gathered up again.

 

But God does not just sweep life away;

instead, He devises ways to bring us back

when we have been separated from Him.”

 

~ 2 Samuel 14:14

 

 

 

 

 

fears in the morn

 

It’s really sumthin’ how the verses in the Bible are applicable to one’s life, even today.  Considering that they were written years upon years ago, oh how God has blessed us with such a tool to have.

Many of us have more than one.  I read somewhere about how just about every home in America had a Bible.  For myself, I have more than 3.  So with that being the case, I most definitely should be reading way more than I do.  For that reason, I thank God that He still gives me blessed reminders in His Word, even when I just open up the pages to read the day’s devotional pages.

Yesterday, the verse that I couldn’t help but to keep reading over and over again was in 2 Corinthians 7:5.

“When we arrived…there was no rest for us.  We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.”

Many times in my life, I pray to ask God why I’m having to go through a particular trouble again.  Family arguments, car troubles, financial troubles, work place hardship, and times when I’ve felt I’ve been wronged, cheated, or spoken and treated rudely to.  Too often, I forget to remind myself of the lesson that I’m having to remind myself of over and over again by reading God’s Word: that God helps us through our troubles, instead of just taking them away.

 

Reading that verse in 2 Corinthians reminded me of how even the Apostle Paul, (God’s “super-messenger” to His people by writing and preaching most of the New Testament in the Bible) had himself unrestful days, had such major problems, that they were happening to him from every direction.  And to top it all off, he too had what we all have: fear on the inside.  Yup, that dagnabbit thing called fear.

 

 

I read somewhere about how the most things folks fear about might happen in their lives never actually ever happen.  They just end up being fearful thoughts running through their minds and causing unnecessary worryful heavy dread in their heads.

In our family business, I’m the first one to get to our shop in order to begin prepping up the things that need to be prepped for the day.  Depending on the amount of customer orders we have, I go to our shop between the hours of 1:00 am and 4:00 am.  Our shop unit is within a building that has other businesses on both sides of it.  Some of those businesses are bars or restaurants that run as bars during the evenings.  So when I’m parking my vehicle outside our building, there’d be a buncha cars and folks kinda huddled together on one side.  Who knows what’s going on there, but I ain’t gonna stare to see.

Because I’d like to get into my business unit safely in one piece, I park right in front of the door.  Then I open up that front door as fast as I can.  Considering that it’s during the hours when it’s still dark outside and there’s no street lights to brighten up the parking lot or anything, it’s not always easy for me to get that front door locked again right away from the inside.  Sometimes I feel like I’m running too many seconds too long, as I’m trying to get the key inside the key hole.  Yes, I admit that I honestly feel like I’m kinda in a horror film and I’m tryin’ to get myself locked safely indoors before a buncha gory zombies come bang on the door to chow me up.

As soon as I’ve got the front door locked, I turn on the back room lights.  That’s where I need to do all our prepping.  The lights from there (about 6 of those long bulbs) are bright enough for me to see the front section of our unit.  So turning on the front lights is not needed, which is good, so that any folks lookin’ in won’t be able to see that well, that I’m workin’ in there by myself.

The next thing I have to do is to turn on our water from the back of our unit.  The problem is that there’s no light back there.  None.  Unless there’s a bright moon, then it’s pitch dark back there.  So needless to say, that’s when that dagnabbit thing called fear comes back to creep up and flare within my insides once again.

Right before I open up that back door, I say a prayer for God to protect me.  Then I turn on my flashlight and step outside.  Because there’s 2 big locks that hold the door shut, I make a big slamming sound in order to hopefully scare off any bandits back there.  Cuz hey, even bandit thugs can be afraid of the dark too, right?  So I slam my way out to the back.  Bang-bang!, I slam the door and the screen door.  Then I try to walk nonchalantly to the water control thingy on the wall, turn it on, and walk back calmly back to the door.  As soon as I slam the door back shut again from the inside, I give out a big sigh of relief, turn my flashlight back off, and begin the day’s prep work.  This is my daily routine and those are my 2 big fear times in the early morn.

 

 

I praise God that He has been with me and has given me safety each morning for the past 2 years that we’ve been running this family business of ours.  As I was reading that verse about Paul’s troubles and fear, it was the very next verse that always gives me joy to see.

“But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us…”

Oh yes, it is God who gives us safety, peace of mind, and joy again.

 

 

 

growing through failure

Growing Through Failure by Chuck Swindoll

 

refuse to compare yourself with another person.

We look at the neighbor who’s never lost her job or our fellow Christian who found Jesus later in life but seems to exhibit a spiritual maturity that exceeds our own.  We compare ourselves to them, and we are unwise in this comparing.

Look to the Lord, and gain the right perspective.  If your prespective is based on the Lord’s loving-kindness that goes from everlasting to everlasting, you won’t compare yourself with others.

Even when you fail, God promises to use those failures to make you a better person.  Jesus sees people not just as what they are but also as what they will become.  That leaves a lot of leash for failure.

Finally, remain obedient to the Lord.  When you blow it, your tendency may be to toss it all and tell yourself, This whole business of Christianity doesn’t work!  Forget it!  I can’t pull it off. 

We tell ourselves a lot of lies when we fail, don’t we?  We’ll say, Why try again?  God is tired of hearing that same line.  I’ll never get it right.

But instead of listening to ourselves, we need to listen to God.  Scripture says clearly, “Serve the Lord, do His will, obey Him, stand firm.  God knows what He’s doing.”

 

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.

For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.

Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here.

But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.

 

~ Psalm 103: 12-17

 

 

Chuck Swindoll has a ministry called Insight for Living , which has a wonderfully encouraging program on the radio,  This excerpt was from his Gospel of John, Psalms, and Proverbs.