Perspective

NewCom Pastor Peter Hong 6/4

God’s silence is not his absence. His seeming hiddenness is not impotence or abandonment. The unbelievable truth we’re challenged with is, when things seem to be going the most wrong, that God is most working in our lives. So if we reject God based on the surface of our lives, because we can’t see what he’s doing underneath, we may be making the biggest mistake of our lives.

When life interruptions happen, we tend to ask:
1. Why is this happening?
2. When is this going to end?

But I challenge you to instead ask God:
1. What do you want to do in me through this life interruption?
2. What do you want to do through me in this life interruption?

God is less interested in my comfort than he is in my transformation. God will rarely give me what I want, but he will often give me what I need, in just the right time, in just the right way, in just the right proportions, to make me more like Him.

He gives grace to shake my confidence in me to put my confidence and trust in Him.

The story of Joseph is how a young 17 year old man grows up to be an emotionally and spiritually mature adult. Joseph, who started out an arrogant egomaniac, tells his 11 brothers who tried to kill him and sold him into slavery, “Now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves for selling me here b/c it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance — so then it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Joseph is able to say to his brothers that what you did was evil, but God is so wise, so loving and so powerful that he took your evil and turned it into good.

You and I cannot have that perspective apart from the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 50:15 – when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they wondered whether he would pay him back for all the evil they did. So they told him their father gave them last words for Joseph to forgive them. Joseph then wept, b/c he knew they were lying. In weeping, he genuinely grieved and mourned the sadness and brokenness of his family.

True forgiveness can only come out of honest grieving.

Spiritually emotionally healthy people understand how their past affects their present ability to love people and to love God. The problem for most of us is that we don’t want to go back – some see it as a waste of time, or as too painful and would rather live in the denial they’re in today. You cannot truly and honestly forgive unless you genuinely mourn and grieve.

Joseph’s brothers came before him and threw themselves down and Joseph refuses to put himself in God’s chair. Here are the ways we put ourselves in God’s chair:

  1. We assume we can be our own moral authority.
  2. When you let people look to you to meet their deepest needs.
  3. Excessive worry – it is a refusal to give God kingship.
  4. Keeping a grudge – he only knows the facts by which to judge, and he’s the only one who is able to judge w/o being able to become evil himself. When you hold a grudge, the evil that was done to you moves into your heart.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended for good, to accomplish what is now being done — the saving of many lives.” Joseph is taking God’s view about the interruptions in his life. Viewing it from the top of the mountain, instead of from the bottom of the valley.

Joseph was able to ask, “Is there something God might be doing in the midst of this?”

How do we know that something people intend for evil can be meant for good? Look at the CROSS. The people meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, for the salvation of many lives.

If you ever lose hope b/c you just can’t make sense of it all, look at the cross. This means even we can’t mess up our lives. God will use even our sin, detour and mistakes to bring about good.

“The nexus of sin is man substituting ourselves for God. The essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” – John Stott

We put ourselves where God deserves to be, God puts himself where we deserve to be.

Composting

Our good friends posted about composting in NYC on their blog and it got me inspired!

Peter and I are currently attending our church’s Midtown East home group, and in addition to all the thought-provoking and deep conversations we have while digging into the Word, we are also a passionate group of people, and several of us share a common interest in protecting the environment. Naturally, composting is part of that!

What is composting? Well, first and foremost, composting is nature’s way of recycling! Nature naturally takes decomposed organic materials and turns them into a rich soil known as compost, which allows the cycle of life to continue. What it means for city dwellers is either having your own at-home composting operation or, more likely, dropping off your food scraps at a collection site like Greenmarket (which will then take it to one of several NYC composting sites to be broken down). The resulting matter can then be used for local urban farming and gardening projects.

Finished compost (looks like ordinary soil – but is much more nutritious)!

According to a 2013 Huffington Post article, food scraps accounted for 33% of all residential trash in NYC (and were the #1 material sent to landfills at large). The article estimated a potential annual savings of $100 million if we were to return our food to the soil instead of to landfills.

What’s so bad about food scraps going to landfills? Doesn’t it just break down once it’s there? No. Oxygen is needed to facilitate the decaying process, and because food scraps are mixed in with all the other inorganic junk/garbage at landfills, the oxygen can’t reach the compostable waste. Thus, their fate is the same as the rest of the garbage – landfill waste, which will be ultimately burned and/or buried. Landfill is responsible for ~20% of the nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases (as anaerobic decomposition produces landfill gas, which is comprised of ~50/50% of methane/carbon dioxide – significant contributors of global warming b/c of their heat-trapping properties), and the incineration process releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and leaves toxic ash waste.

Understanding that food scraps are the #1 material sent to landfills, this means that a significant amount of this yucky, horribly unfriendly landfill is stuff we could prevent by composting. Not only will we reduce the amount of landfill in general, protecting our earth, but the resulting compost is good for the land and soil — for the plants and other things we grow. Plus, we spend less on commercially-produced compost and lawn/garden products, whose factories depend on fossil fuels to quickly make commercial amounts of compost.

What to compost? For those dropping off at sites in NYC, Greenmarket’s guide states that accepted materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, non-greasy food scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc.), coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, egg and nut shells, pits, cut or dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil.

(Note: There are definitely more materials than listed above that can be composted, especially in your at-home operations, but these larger community facilities request that people leave out certain items that make it more difficult for these sites to maintain/handle the scraps.)

But doesn’t it smell? Peter and I collect our food scraps in gallon ziploc bags and leave them in our freezer = no smell, no mold and our food-free trash can doesn’t smell anymore! When your ziploc is full, simply transfer the frozen scraps to a paper bag and you can drop the whole bag, contents and all into the compost bin at a drop-off site. If you prefer to take the scraps still in the ziploc, just note you’ll have to empty the ziploc at the site, since ziploc isn’t compostable (then take it home and you can reuse the ziploc for your next round of scraps!).

Where to compost in NYC? Here’s a list of all the drop-off sites in NYC! You could also buy a composting bin to DIY at home, but that’s next-level stuff I won’t cover here :p

For now, we will try to minimize our contribution of food scraps to landfills by dropping off our food scraps at Greenmarket. We hope more New Yorkers will do the same! And all of earth’s inhabitants in their own accessible/feasible ways. 🙂

Places to Eat in LA :)

People often ask me what to eat in LA so I figured I’d make a list of all my faves. I’ve added each place’s Yelp page — I will note that a lot of these don’t have that great of ratings on Yelp lol but I am passionate about them and would take my friends there (and they would enjoy them too loll) 🙂 so take that however you wish.

  • First of all, of course you must eat IN-N-OUT b/c it is a STAPLE of LA life
  • Noshi Sushi on Hobart and Beverly, note it’s cash only and closed on Mondays – get spicy scallop sushi, spicy tuna roll (but don’t expect it to be like any spicy tuna roll you’ve had before cuz it’s very different! but delicious!), and stuff off their specials :]
  • Thai Original BBQ (fave location is the one in Glendale) – so I think they have the typical popular thai dishes here (i.e. pad thai, pad see ew), but I’ve never tried those cuz this place is most delicious for its Thai style BBQ! I always get S8 (sate beef plate) 😀
  • El Taurino (Mexican fast food) – tortas and tostadas with RED SAUCE (fiery spicy like halal guys red sauce haha)
  • Mario’s (Peruvian) – lomo saltado + GREEN sauce 🙂
  • Lazy Daisy Beverly Hills (healthy) – I love getting the turkey avocado wrap and asking for their chipotle sauce with it. They also have an AMAZING BREAKFAST BURRITO, and their burgers are also really good!
  • School Food (Korean school lunch-like snack-ish food) – fave items include the kimbap with squid ink in it, carbonara ddukbokgi and gil guh ri ddukbokgi (this latter one is mad spicy!!!). free unlimited refills of odeng soup broth 🙂
  • Cafe Korobokgur on 8th and Hobart, get “Mega Ddukbokgi”
  • Curry House (Japanese curry and katsus), multiple locations – corn potage, chicken katsu, omelette rice, and they also have surprisingly good pastas!
  • Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo – amazing lunch special, super fresh tasting fish (was $15 last I tried but maybe has gone up since inflation)
  • Daikokuya (Japanese ramen) in both Little Tokyo and Sawtelle (West LA) – combos are really good (i.e. tuna bowl, fried rice, gyu don)
  • Furaibo (Japanese comfort food) on Sawtelle
  • Din Tai Fung (soup dumplings) in Arcadia, also Glendale (& prob bunch of locations by now)
  • Panda Inn (Chinese) – original restaurant in Glendale before they made Panda Express! If you know me you know I love Panda Express so… ya. Panda Inn is pretty diff though, nothing similar on menu. but delicious! I liked the Pasadena location b/c the Glendale one is temp closed until Feb 2018
  • Raffi’s (Armenian) in Glendale
  • Zankou Chicken (Armenian fast food) – several locations, I used to always go to the one by my high school in Glendale 🙂
  • Wako Donkasu in Koreatown (2 locations)
  • Mapo Galbi (Korean chicken ribs) – dak galbi!
  • Boiling Crab – several locations including Koreatown and Alhambra
  • Kang Hodong Baekjung (Korean BBQ) on 6th and Kenmore in Chapman Plaza, Koreatown, get the Pork Combo! (new locations in the OC and such too)
  • M Grill (Brazilian BBQ) on Wilshire and Western in Koreatown

and I am sad to learn that my fave pho place, which was in Alhambra, closed.. but you basically have to have a bowl of pho in LA. You can go anywhere for the most part.

Non-restaurants but other faves:

  • Porto’s Bakery (original bakery in Glendale, but other locations) – cheese rolls, potato balls, tres leches cake, yassss
  • Blockheads Shavery on Sawtelle – Taiwanese shaved ice :), can free valet park (just tip) in the parking lot to the left of the establishment
  • Sul & Beans – Korean shaved ice
  • and my friend is opening a soft serve ice cream place in Ktown in May so I’ll update this to add that b/c it’s gonna be booomb 🙂 here’s a preview

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or comments! 🙂

Overcooked!

Growing up with 2 brothers, I have had my fair share of video game interestedness. The earliest game I can remember is this like old school 80s looking volleyball game they used to always play with their friends. And super mario of course.

My brother Joe confirmed it was Super Spike V’Ball on NES. Lol to the I ❤ NY signs in the bg!

Near the end of elementary (for me), my brothers (adults in their mid-to-late 20s at this point) and their friends were into the SEGA Dreamcast (and, not a v-game but, WWF, WWE, The Rock, etc). I remember being super into Super Puzzle Fighter (which, happily, we have on our PS3 today so I still play from time to time!).


Then came Counter-Strike. My brothers would throw LAN parties in our garage. And this is before laptops. I remember seeing up to 10 desktops in our garage at one point with all my keun oppa’s church students playing CS together. Naturally (or maybe not), I got into it too, and at some point I think I joined a clan. Lolll. I remember spraypainting my webcam picture onto the ground and walls of de_dust. HAHA.

ANYWAY fast forward to high school when I no longer lived with my bros, I think I was pretty much over video games, or they just didn’t really cross my mind. Aside from a short stint of playing L4D2 for maybe 1 month in college, and I guess your recreational facebook games (which I don’t really count), I never played games again.

Or so I thought. Enter Peter Kim, gamer (and coder? haha sounds pretty cool. VIRTUAL yo~ (i’m using that like “RADICAL yo~”)). At first I thought it was a turn-off that he played so many games. But then he eventually sucked me back into gaming too. Ughhh.

So since we’ve met, we’ve had obsessions with Killer Queen, Super Puzzle Fighter, Ni no Kuni, Don’t Starve (& Don’t Starve Together), Tricky Towers, This War of Mine, and as of late, Overcooked. Let’s not forget his long, ongoing relationship with Overwatch.

BUT OVERCOOKED IS REALLY FUN!! It’s basically a team game where you’re racing against the clock (and often the map itself) to fulfill the endless stream of orders. Completing one order entails gathering the ingredients, chopping them, cooking them (in a pot/on a pan), putting them together on plates, sending them out, and washing the dirty dish to have your next clean plate on which you’ll do all the above all over again. It’s not for the easily flustered or overwhelmed, but definitely so much fun for ones who love multi-tasking, efficiency, strategy, and intensity (i.e. me and Peter).


The upper left shows your orders and their necessary ingredients. The bottom right is the ultimate timer. Each order has its own time limit as well though, and the earlier you submit the order, the higher tip you receive. The bottom left is the score. In the above image, you see that the kitchen got split in half and the upper left pan has meat on it with a red triangle with an exclamation point inside. This pan has been left unattended and none of the cooks are able to get to it right now b/c of the temporarily split kitchen. The longer you leave it on, the faster that red triangle beeps and flashes until eventually the range catches on fire. You have officially OVERCOOKED that meat. Ha ha! Then you need to get the fire extinguisher (here, on the right side by the outgoing orders area) and extinguish the fire before it spreads all over your kitchen.

I’m sure eventually we will move on to another game, as we have in the past, but for now, I really enjoy this game. 🙂

A life-changing lint remover

My friend Angela helped me start this blog, and I told her about this lint remover shaver thing (not sure what it’s actually called) that removes fuzzies, like those bumps/balls that form on your sweaters, your fleece blankets, etc. after some use, and she said it was literally life-changing. So I said I would make a post about it and dedicate it to her ^_^ this post is dedicated to you Angela!

So I guess this lint remover shaver – or “LRS” as I’ll refer to it for the rest of this post – is really unknown by the general population, but it’s a gem! It removes the fuzzies that the commonly known and used standard lint roller cannot, for the life of it, remove. You know, those little balls that you have to pick off individually with your fingers for hours–but not with the LRS! The LRS will have those off in no time, like seriously seconds for a big patch of them.

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Basically it has a little rotating blade encased inside this silver porous contraption, with a little vacuum behind it, so as you move the shaver along your sweater, it shaves the fuzzies and sucks them up into the duct. Once the duct is full, you just empty it out like you would your vacuum (but without all the crazy mess and dust involved, since these are just small little fuzzies).

Lint remover shavers are portable, battery-operated and quite inexpensive. I got mine at Bed Bath & Beyond over 10 years ago for $8 and it still works perfectly. It seems there are many different options online. This one from Target seems decent for $5.99. This one from Walmart is $7.68 and looks pretty similar to the one I have, except mine’s unbranded. Just try searching “lint remover shaver” and you should get a bunch of options. If you have a Daiso near you, I think they sell them too.

Word of caution: don’t use it on things like spandex leggings or things that’ll knack, because then it can ruin them and make holes in them. This accounts for most of the negative reviews I’ve seen on these products online. But for things like fleece or wool, and I think standard cotton also, it will perform miracles. And make your life better.

Goodbye, fuzzies!

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