Beauty from ashes

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61: 1-3

New Year, New Me?

Whenever I write in here, since it seems like once per year, I feel like I should write alot to make up for everything – for instance, I want to write about my time in NY, but that should be for another time.

The reason I wanted to write in here is that – I’ve been realizing over the years (not just this past time I went home this weekend for my Mom’s birthday) – but over the years I’ve been noticing they are getting pretty old and it saddens me.

Then today, dad was saying something about in 5 years..and how if he’ll still be alive. Made me sad to think of that. And then mom was just saying that she hopes I meet a good guy. Then something that hasn’t occurred to me before and mom didn’t mean this when she was saying that – but it clicked that I should get married soon.

To be honest, I’ve been a bit selfish – I don’t want to date so I haven’t even been looking to date. I think its all a bit troublesome and I’m fine by myself. But I see my parents worry about me as they get older and I am still single. Also, I want to get married when my parents are both alive – I mean I never thought otherwise, but then tonight I realized, that might actually be something that might not happen if I wait too long. I was saddened by the thought if my dad wasn’t alive to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. That would really make me sad but I think also my dad if he wasn’t alive to even see me get married…

At the same time, its not like I can just snap my fingers and then I can get a bf/husband…if only it was that easy. But I think now I am going to at least try. Maybe do coffee meets bagel and who knows. But yeah, let’s pray and see.



Reflection ramblings

Another year has passed since I posted in here. Just the busy-ness of school- rarely have time to think and reflect. And I knew at that time that I needed to do more of that, but at the same time, there’s already a million and one thoughts in my head, it was impossible to take them all away and to just sit and relax. And whenever I did actually have time to sit and take my mind away from school – my zombie/sleepless state would try to go to sleep mode. It was really bad, but at the same time, I’m not sure what else I could have done to alleviate that.

Now I have graduated (which still seems surreal a month later) from 4 grueling years with blood, sweat, tears (literally all of those). It’s amazing that God has challenged me in the most difficult experience, yet still has given me such joy and happiness. Looking back, I had many times I was doubting myself- whether I was supposed to be here, there were times that I was confident that I should be here – that I loved what I was doing, there were times when I was at my lowest of lows, and would just cry – just a rollercoaster of emotions. While I’m thankful that is over with, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I’ve learned so much, not just about architecture/product design, but just about myself as well and what I tend to enjoy. Where my passions are (even in the design world). After being on the computer so much for architecture – I really started to love doing analog design – such as screenprinting, lettepress, riso, xerox, printmaking, etc. I love just working with my hands, away from the screen (although interestingly enough I like to type more than write when journaling haha). Overall though, I learned so much about myself and loved every minute of it.

Now I am at this point in my life where I’m in transition mode from school to work. I’m excited for the work world. And this past semester, my thoughts were new york new york new york. And while applying, everything is about trying to get to new york. And how much I want to be there. And I was so set on that even till just a week ago, but now that is wavering. I knew I would miss Philly – it’s my home and will always be. And even if I didn’t get to enjoy it as much in the past 4 years, it definitely grew on me, more than defining it just as “Oh, I’ll love Philly bc its my home” but more loving as just for what it is – the quaint yet growing city – loving its imperfections. But as I just hang out more and more with people and trying to make the best of it – I am getting a bit sadder and sadder. Because I know I’ll be leaving soon and all these people I’m meeting – I won’t really get to know them well because I’ll be leaving soon. And something a friend (Danny) said, not in relation to this but asked me if was the closest I’ve been to these people – and I said yes. I mean, I never felt not close, but at the same time, I did feel distant at times because time is such a key factor in getting to know someone and having such time was something I couldn’t give out freely before.

And a friend I met a couple weeks ago said this- “Oh I see that you are a relational person”. I never thought of myself that way – but once he said it, it was true. I like to meet up with people – I like to talk to them – get to know them. Sometimes my introvertedness gets the best of me and I crawl back to my comfort zone. But overall, I like getting to know people and their quirkiness and their lives. Everyone is the way they are through their experiences and their stories. Everyone’s got a story. When my friend opened up the conversation with “What’s your story?” – at first I was taken aback bc I never approached conversations / people like that, but its true- everyone’s got one and its interesting to hear how people got to where they are now.

Back to the topic of work / job prospects. I haven’t applied to anywhere else but ny / dc. I didn’t even consider Philly – telling everyone I need to get out and that I want to be in new york. Now I’m not too sure. Just in the past 2 days, I’m beginning to wonder if I am making the right choice. To be honest, I haven’t been praying for where God wants me to be. I’ve been praying about jobs in general but I think I’m a bit afraid of asking God where He wants me to be and what His plan is for me. I guess in a way, I figure if NY door closes, then its a clear sign, but should be praying about it earnestly.

One reason is yesterday, a friend told me why he thinks God wants him to be in Philly. And his reasoning – man, it made me ashamed of myself. Made me think, man, I’m so so selfish. His reasoning was to minister and evangelize to his parents. While my mom is Christian and goes to church, I’ve noticed over the years, some of her foundation views are skewed and doesn’t know the whole Gospel (I think partly because the church teaches more on Prosperity Gospel). I don’t doubt she is a Christian, but I do think her views could be more grounded on the gospel. And then there’s my dad. Who is the typical stubborn Korean father – that doesn’t speak much and even when he does, its about being successful, financially stable, etc. Even asking him what he believes in is hard for me – and when I have done so in the past, he would brush it off quickly and change the subject. Having a serious conversation like that with my dad is rare – almost to none. Its quite sad – I feel like at times I don’t even know him. So in the past, I have prayed for him – many many years. I think my heart has hardened to him changing – even the tinyist bit. It’s so hard to keep praying for 10+ years when you see almost little to no change. But God, you can do the impossible – you can change stone to flesh:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26

Even though I know this is true to the core, it’s still so difficult. I wonder as well if my father is one of the chosen ones, but that is not for me to know and/or decide. This is in His hands and I need to trust and be obedient and pray. It’s been a while, but today I prayed for him. I prayed that his salvation be put into your hands and that I, as his daughter, would show him who Christ was.

When my friend said he was here to evangelize, I was thinking, man what have I been doing these past 4 years? I came to Penn – honestly to please my parents and make them happy. But have I really done that? Sure I accepted Penn but did I do anything else for them? I selfishly done many things over the years – and selfishly was working hard on my school, and not thinking too much about my parents. It’s sometimes so hard – as an only child – to carry the burden. Whilst I of course want to be there for my parents, I also am conscious of my own life and want to live it out and sometimes, being an only child means having to sacrifice those ambitions because of those burdens. I have sacrificed in the past and maybe I sometimes hold that against them (subconsciously), so I would get easily frustrated or annoyed. And not just that, but did I do any evangelism to them? I’m the best version of Christ they know and if my words/actions don’t show that, how can I be intentional/missional elsewhere? It saddens me that these 4 years were wasted in that sense. And made me think, maybe I should be in Philly too – to be that Christ to them. Ah I’m not sure.

And today too – another person I met from church – who was deciding between NY /Philly, but really wants the Philly job and would be satisfied with that. Also staying close to family (who are in NJ). And how they love Renewal. Man, Renewal was my 2nd reason for picking Penn – I knew Renewal was a gospel-centered church with a loving community and firmly grounded reformed theology. I’m wondering, man, am I going to find that in NY? I’ve been thinking about that alot lately – that I’ve been served so well at Renewal and now that I am able to – I want to serve. Well I still want to be served (as in being fed the gospel/being prayed for/loving community/etc), but I really want to give back what I have received and serve back, so I want to go to a church where I can serve in some way. And also maybe a multicultural church where I can invite anyone of any race. Church is such an important aspect in my life, that I am a bit scared/unknown what NY has in store for me. While I am a bit anxious, I know God will make the best of every situation and that I don’t have to worry, bc he’s here every step of the way.

Even relationships – I say I’ll start looking once I’m in NY, but I guess at the same time, who knows? Just talking about the future with an unni today about what we would like to see in a future husband. How to see someone so Christ-centered is so 매력있어…but we rarely see it and when we do, the person is way younger, or way older. We wanted someone socially adept (no deadweights pls, haha), someone “normal”- whatever that means to unni haha, someone that is close with their families…etc. And how timing is key. You would think finding someone like this isn’t hard, but man, it truly is. At the same time, am I ready to date? I have truly enjoyed being single and for the past 4 years, I’ve rarely, if all, wanted to date (mainly bc I wanted to focus on school). Now that I am getting more serious about wanting to date, I remember back to my relationships, I just wish I could just get married – go to the finish line first. Another sister and I were talking and wished God would just point out who we are marrying. Relationships can be so messy, so broken, and shed sometimes the worst in you.

Just so many thoughts running through my head at the moment. Nothing is really set, and everything is up in the air. Just feeling a bit bittersweet about my time in Philly.

And also re-read my last post and oh man, how I forget so easily. I’m so glad I wrote it down and am able to be reminded of it again.

That’s it for now with my random reflection ramblings.

Top 1%

Another year has passed since I’ve written in here.

After today’s sermon, I wanted to write in here just some thoughts I have been having over past few months/years and just even from just today.

This weekend was the mission conference at Renewal, and of course, today I didn’t want to get up for church – due to sleeping at 4am and being very tired. (Thankful to my friend who picks me up from time to time and keeps me accountable through that method, and thus today was one of those days). But every. single. time. I feel like…man I don’t want to go, that’s when God is like…let’s remind her again why she’s here. He always does this to me, so I’ve begun, slowly, but surely that I should go when I don’t want to go. But of course, I do forget, and my tiredness prevails and I don’t go. Also, couldn’t make it out to Friday’s part of the conference which now I’m like…bleh, I should have tried to make it..but I didn’t even try.

I think ever since I was young, God has put in me the desire to do missions. I don’t know exactly when it started but I remember my main motivation to become a doctor..was to help people overseas. To my mind at that time, the one way I could help people was to become a doctor, and it helped that I ended up loving Biology in high school, but ultimately that changed in college.

And today, I was just reminded of that calling that God has put in me. I remember it, but then I ignore it. I want to ignore it, I want to just live out this “american dream” -whatever that is.

Micheal Oh, the speaker for this year’s conference- who has a family of 5 kids, have been a missionary in Japan for 14 years. He reminded me with his powerful words that, first, I have been using the term “missional” incorrectly. I would say that I am being “missional” here right where I am, but actually that’s not what I am doing. I’m being an evangelist here and saying that I am “missional” is actually undermining what missionaries are actually doing.

Also, the fact of this “american dream”. Is it really all to this life is to …go to a good college, make money, be comfortable, so that our kids can go to a good college, make money, be comfortable, so that their kids can go to a good college, make money, be comfortable…and so on. He said if that’s what life is all about, Christ wouldn’t have come down and died for our sins. Why would he?
And yeah, is all there is to this life about making money and being comfortable?

Don’t get me wrong, I do want those things, which is probably a good reason why I ignore His calling for me or make excuses.

But even this past summer, when I was working at this great firm. It really is a great firm, but I just realized how a bit pointless everything is. The only people that can really hire architects is the top 1% and I am just helping the rich get richer. But that’s exactly what I don’t want to do. When I started this whole design career, I was so inspired by MASS design and what they do and ultimately that’s what I want to be doing–building for the 99%. I still have the heart to go overseas and build hospitals/schools/churches in areas that have no such means. But I do know that before I can reach that point, I will have to obviously learn the trade and work at places that I don’t want to work at, and who knows, maybe I can lead that firm to doing more pro bono work? Maybe I can even make a small difference there…maybe.

I think one thing that also struck a chord with me from today and that is one of my biggest reasons why I think I give myself excuses …are my parents. One thing Micheal said was that when he told his father that he is going to become a missionary, his father flat out said no. That’s the thing, I know the answer will be no (eh, I guess not 100%), but also, in the end, I want to be close to them (physically and emotionally), but also I want to give them what they need/deserve/want. Be that daughter that lavishes them and take them on vacations and buy them things that they’ve always wanted to have but never could buy it themselves. And being an only child does give it a bit of more burden. Micheal said the same thing that he wanted to send them checks, and be with them with their grandkids growing up near them, etc. I wanted to ask him after how he got past that? Because we are supposed to honor our parents, but how can we do that by being so far or not even being able to help them out in times of need? I don’t know, that’s a struggle for me personally, I think I’ve had my entire life, whether it was also for selfish reasons, but also for reasons like this.

I think the time will come when maybe I will have to make a decision, or maybe the doors will be set just right and will open up (like in Grace Chung’s case). Whatever the case, I leave my life in Your hands Lord. There’s a reason why I’m here and maybe someday I’ll know it, and maybe I’ll never know, but I’m here and all that matters is that You are here with me too.

Thank you Lord for giving me this heart, giving me these reminders, and whatever may happen, let Your will be done.

A year…already?

I just noticed, it’s been a year since I last posted on here.

It’s been so long that I cannot find my way around WordPress anymore. The UI has changed..pretty dramatically. I guess alot can happen in 1 year.

Alot definitely has happened. My last year, my 2nd to last semester has ended. And man has it been a whirlwind. This year was tough, but in many different ways from other years.

This is the first year I started the other master’s program : product design. At the same time as my architecture program. Two design studios. It was a bit harder than I thought it would be. Also, every one of my classes required a physical model. While physical models are not as taxing, it is when it takes much time and when its for 5 models, it can get rough.

I learned so much this year. This

Favorite architecture buildings

I wanted to make a list of my favorite architecture buildings so far, of course this is a list of the architecture I’ve seen up close. So there are far more in general, but, for obvious reasons, I love the buildings when I actually get to experience the space and see the architect’s intentions:


1. Maison de Verre – Pierre Chareau with Bernard Bijvoet in Paris, France 1931  (Visited June 2014)

Much influence from Le Corb and follows his 5 points of architecture, but honestly, in my opinion, does it better. All the details on the doors (my favorite is his detail for the doctor’s door to the assistant’s office). The detail in the door being pulled out, letting his wife know he is home. The window panes- one of a kind- cannot be remade today. The lights in front of the building so that people cannot look into it at night. Rotating screen. Different stairs for different occupants (doctor stairs had mesh, but for the wife, since she had heels, there were diff stairs for her). And so much more. Design was in collaboration with Pierre Chareau (furniture and interior designer), Bernard Bijvoet (dutch architect) and Louis Dalbet (craftsman metalworker).

2. Kentuck Knob – Frank Lloyd Wright – Dunbar, PA 1956 (Visited Nov 16, 2013)

All about the details

3. Kahn buildings- Margaret Esherick House (inside) and Fischer House (outside) – (Visited Oct 9 2014)

For each, I love certain aspects. Fischer house- love the exterior of the house, while the Escherick, I love the interior. It was in collaboration with Wharton Esherick, a craftsman and artist. One of the beams is a huge repurposed beam to hold up the mezzanine level, which has a certain level of quality/detail within the wood that gives the house more character. I love the T motif that Kahn uses with the windows and also in small details around the house.

4. Barcelona Pavilion – Mies Van der Rohe (Visited May 2014)

No brainer. It was absolutely wonderful to actually see how the space worked after seeing the pictures all too often.

5. All Gaudi buildings and Park Guell (Visited May 2014)

-enough said


Favorite areas from the summer

1. Olympic Park -Seattle,  Marion Weiss and Manfredi

Even in the park, loved the concrete details. Loved that you forced people to walk all the way around to get to the end. Art installations along the way. Next to the river.

2. Pike Place Market -Seattle

Loved the hustle and bustle of the market, and that you could get anything from there basically.


Noticed some consistencies- love detail. its all about them details, ahha. And I seem to like the projects that have some sort of artist collaboration involved, hmmm.

That’s it for now, but this list will build as I visit more places 😀

“If you believe in one, you have to believe in the other” “If you believe in the one, you have to reconcile the existence of the other” – in regards to God (heaven)/ Satan (hell) – “criminal minds”

It’s been on my heart (for awhile) to be praying for D. It was the night before D left for a business trip, and I just happened to be home. And I was driving back to school, and I thought that this would be a good time to bring it up. I remember talking about it before (long time before) when I was a kid. I remember asking if he believed in a God, and I think he thought there was a higher power, although I am not sure how accurate this is.

I asked him if he thought there was a God, and he said that it was a made up story so that people could deal with the things that happened in their lives. He said no one saw him, heard him so he doesn’t exist. I asked him next where he thought we went after we died. But he just said to keep driving and that its not good to talk while driving (which obviously was just an excuse to not talk about it anymore)

That is the first attempt. And even this one, I mustered up enough courage …almost most of my life. And I fear the next time, there might be anger involved. But I do want to keep trying. I want to keep trying. I hope that even though I didn’t say much, I hope that maybe he will think about it or maybe it opens his eyes to at least something or someone out there.

I will keep praying about it.

One joyous thing that happened– which I dont know how I didn’t think about before was video chatting with M. Since D is gone, she’s by herself. So it was nice to vchat face to face. She was so amazed at the technology. I showed her the different visual effects- the hats/crowns/beard/hearts, etc. She was laughing and just happy overall. She was happy to be talking to me and even said I seem to have lost weight (versus what she said when I went home, haha). It seemed like she just needed this, you know? Some things to be happy about. It doesn’t take much to make her laugh, but there aren’t many instances where she can laugh and be happy, so anything counts. Even something little/trivial as video chatting.

Even this Sunday, He was reminding me about “forgiveness”. Since I’m not around D, I think its really easy to think I have forgiven him somewhat, but I know in my heart that I haven’t. But God is constantly reminding me to forgive and love and care, even if that person hurts us. Pastor talked about how it is hard to forgive because of a sense of finality “You ruined my life, you destroyed my life” but they don’t have the final word, only God has that. He talked about how Jonathan Edwards in “Christian happiness” lists 3 important/crucial points:

Point 1: Our bad things will turn out for good.

Point 2: Our good things can never be taken away from us.

Point 3: The best things are yet to come

Out out ashes, comes beauty.

Out of destruction, God will turn it into good.


Amen to that.