once upon a time

Four years ago today, we got engaged. It simultaneously feels like it was only a year or so ago and way more than four years ago. Time is odd like that.

"...i love jason, and i don't care if i'm a sap about it right now. do you know how weird (in a completely good way) it is to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that something is right? and this is right. he's so good for me, in so many ways. i second guess everything. everything. everything. but not this. why not? i know rarely is a thing perfect. and i know something that can span decades like a relationship leaves plenty of room and time for a flaw or imperfect moment. yet the thought of spending my life with him excites me. to no end. in all aspects. i know i'm supposed to marry him. and for once, i want more than anything to do what i know i'm supposed to do. God loves me. isn't it awesome?"

I wrote that four years ago and every single bit of it is still true (which is really saying something for me since usually when I look back at what I've written [three or more years in the past] it just makes me laugh at my own silliness/stupidity [which isn't always a bad thing]). Every single word is still true.

The absolute feeling of "this is right" rarely comes to me, frustratingly enough. And because of this, I tend to avoid the responsibility of as many life-altering "big" decisions as possible. That was always one of my worries, that I wouldn't know for sure when it came to big decisions. Because, likely as not, I would probably just decide not to decide and in doing that possibly make a huge mistake. Or take the 70/30 chance of choosing one of the options and, again, possibly make a huge mistake. God truly blessed me in that He not only gave me a best friend but He also let me know that he was to be my best friend for life, which I almost appreciate just as much.

The feeling of just knowing something with complete clarity and peace is exhilarating. I wish I had those moments more often, especially since knowing there is such a feeling makes all decisions that much more apprehensive if the feeling isn't there. But that's life. I suppose it might get boring if there wasn't some sense of unpredictability.

Anyway, that's all I wanted to write. Jason has a homework assignment due tomorrow so it may be a long night tonight. Oh, and speaking of Jason, his birthday is coming up. I had a perfect/funny/awesome gift for him, but it's not going to get here in time. This saddens me. Oh well, a late gift is kinda better than no gift, right?

This kitten doesn't think so. I am thoroughly reprimanded.


the day of celebration

Ah, the day of celebratory adventures in honor of the past 11 months dedicated to Careerstep's course. 

So, the much anticipated (and dreaded) MTE final was conquered unofficially on September 28th (as soon as I hit the little 'Submit Exam' button at 10:33 am, 7 minutes before the 48-hour testing period was over) and absolutely, positively officially owned in the face on October 5th (after returning to the apartment from a super long walk with Jason to find the scary email in my inbox). I graduated with High Honors on the first go. I had to read the email twice before I got up the nerve to tug on Jason's shirt sleeve, asking him to verify what it actually said. I hadn't really had any doubts that I'd graduate (even though only about 70% graduate on the first try, one only needs an overall score of at least 85% so... I wasn't worried), but I was pretty sure that if I got anything but High Honors (overall score of at least 95%) that I would be looking at a retake of the final, for my own sake. Ahh, but it was all unnecessary planning. No retakes for this korean. She did it. :)

On the 4 straight transcription files I got a 98%, but once it was averaged with the score from my 2 editing transcription files, my overall grade was a 97%. The highest grade that I know of personally is a 98% by another Careerstep student, so I am more than pleased. A couple other neat percentages:
  • Currently, Careerstep's hire rate for High Honor graduates is 96%.
  • Currently, Careerstep's hire rate for their MTE graduates (the specific course that I took) is 100%. 
 It's most definitely comforting.

So, after Jason read the amazingly exciting email, he picked me up and spun me around the apartment. There may or may not have been some drooling involved. (You try having someone sling you over his shoulder while you're laughing giddily and being spun in [seemingly super fast and tight] circles... Drooling happens. I've learned to live with it.) Puma even joined in the celebration by jumping on top of his perch and whining at us, wanting to know what all the excitement was about. We made the night an official celebration by breaking out one of our 'For Special Occasions Only' drinks, the Grapefruit (or was it the Clementine...?) Izze. It was a celebratory night. 

Obviously, one night is not enough of a celebration for such an occasion, so a weekend adventure was planned for the upcoming Saturday (though of course, now it's just this past Saturday so... yea) to be filled with Longwood Garden wanderings, a super cool corn maze "fun park" (I've always wanted to get lost in an all-out corn maze, so I was super stoked), and dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Even though Jason has been stupid busy with homework the past few weeks (literally, nonstop), he told me he would take the whole day off for me. I still can't help but think that I don't deserve him.

It was a lovely day, a little bit on the warm side at times and ridiculously sunny at all times, and we exhausted ourselves with adventuring. The highlight for me at Longwood was their lily pad exhibit. It was ridiculous. They had so many kinds of lily pads, varying from really small pacman-like pads to super awesome, spike-lined lily pads that I'm pretty sure could support a small child. (*After further research about these lily pads, it turns out that if the weight distribution is done correctly, a medium-sized child may even be held. Definitely going to keep this in mind for the future...) Also, throughout our Longwood wanderings, I had Jason test the sharpness of all things prickly, and he definitively stated that the spikes on these lily pads were by far the sharpest of all the other test subjects.

We also discovered a really cool pepper plant (its edibility [that's a word, right?] was debatable) with yellow, red and purple peppers. I would love to put them in a salad just for the color (regardless of the taste [almost]). We wandered through a meadow and saw a groundhog-type animal eating lunch. We even got to see a pomegranate bonsai with 2 pomegranates ready for the picking. I really wanted to pick them... We took a small smattering of pictures, some of which can be seen in the haphazard collage below, and it was a pretty sweet afternoon. The only drawback was that we didn't get to watch the fountain show... but that'll save until our next visit.

Smattering. To see them enlarged, feel free.

After getting our fill of super cool plants, we headed to the corn maze, which was about an hour's drive away. I loved it. Since it is close to the end of corn maze season, the corn was the drab brown/yellow and not the lush green, but it didn't matter. The maze was still plenty intact with the corn stalks well above my head. The maze was rather daunting, but we only got turned around a few times and made pretty good time once we figured out where not to go. It was such a large maze that, even though there were a ton of people there, you only ran into other people every now and again. At the beginning of the maze, the park gave us these flags made of a felt square and long pole. The purpose of said flag?
If you got frustratingly lost, you could wave your flag above the corn stalks and someone would come lead you out (there was a lookout tower where an employee stood watching for any such panicky waving flags). Jason didn't want to carry the flag around the entire time though so we didn't bring it with us. I think we got a little lucky in that there were several paths that, when taken, would lead you all the way back to the beginning and we didn't take any of those paths (which was good, since it's one thing to realize you've gone in a small circle and it's a whole other thing to go from 60% complete to 5% complete).
Once we finished the corn maze, we went on to do some of the other mazes that were available. These included a rope maze, a bamboo maze (I love bamboo, but a maze constructed of it really makes your eyes go crazy. I highly suggest subjecting yourself to this.), and some other random mazes. Overall, it was a really cool time. Next year though, I think we'll go a little bit earlier in the year so as to see the corn maze in all of its greenness.

By the time we left the mazes, it was late-ish and we were pretty tuckered out from the hours of walking in the sun, so we called an audible and decided to save the Cheesecake Factory for later on this week and just go make dinner in bed at home. It was a perfect way to end the day.

So yes. Good weekend. Life is good. I'm as content as this kitty...

...well, maybe not this content.



I think I've heard that if you do something every day for 3 weeks, then you've made it a habit. Now, obviously you can still change that habit again, but it's harder to stop doing something (or easier to keep doing it, depending on what you're attempting) if it's a habit. That's good news for Sharayah and me (yes, "me" is the correct word there), because we've made it well past 21 days in our read-the-whole-Bible-in-one-year schedule. I believe we're on day 35 or so and we're still doing well. It's been really nice so far. I don't think I've read very much that I hadn't already, but most days things will hit me in a different way than they have before, or I'll catch a detail that I didn't remember. It's just a nice, peaceful 20-30 minutes we can spend together each night before bed. I'd really advise everyone to try it out. If a year or the whole Bible sounds like too long, there are shorter reading plans on the website (youversion.com, if you're too lazy to scroll down to find it again).

I've also been trying to start playing my guitar again lately. If I've ever had a habit in my life, it was playing guitar. People who knew me at ORU may have seen me with my guitar as much as without it, and may have a hard time believing it, but in the past couple years I've barely played it at all. It's strange to me how something can be such a passion for me for such a long time, and then it can just disappear. While I was at ORU, I think playing my guitar was one of the most important things in the world to me. I really miss feeling like the guitar is just an extension of my arms. Now it's a foreign object that I have to actually hold to play. I can no longer sit for hours and rattle off 30 or 40 songs in a row without checking the chord charts like I used to do on the honors and wing retreats. I can't even think of that many songs, much less play them without music. However, I'm making an effort to get it back. I think it's all still a part of who I am, it's just been asleep for a while. It's time to wake up.

it's Your mercy