I hate variety packs. You know when you go to the store and I just need to buy little bags of snacks or chips so I can pack my children’s lunch for school and I buy those packs that come in 30 individual packs of snacks, but the only thing is that all those snacks are different! It’s like 10 bags of potato chips, 8 bags of Cheetos, 6 bags of BBQ chips, 6 bags of Fritos. Then all my kids want are just the regular potato chips and no I am left with 20 bags of chips nobody wants. Eventually, the kids will be forced to eat the others, but always left over seems to be the 6 bags of Fritos. So, I have to go to the store and buy the same variety pack, and eventually be left with another 6 bags of Fritos.
Just so you know, yes, I have a ton of individual bags of Fritos that is now just taking extra space. Why can’t I just find 30 individual packs of just regular potato chips! Just keep things simple right? Seriously, since my children won’t eat Fritos, I am working my way at trying to whittle down the surplus of them one bag at a time. But this is just such an inconvenience.
But then it got me thinking about how God has created, formed, and shaped our world. He created “variety.” Love it or hate it, or find it inconvenient, variety exists. As much as we wish life can be simple, it’s not. Not everything in the world can be like 30 packs of regular potato chips. And that is a good thing, right? I mean if there were only regular potato chips then life would get boring, and our taste buds would not experience anything new.
Variety is a good thing to have in our world, even if “variety” causes us to be in challenging situations. Our world is made up with different ways of thinking, that has different solutions to the same problem. Sure, that can be stressful, but I do believe that by challenging our comfort zone, we do become better people, maybe even the people that God intends us to be! When you think about it, we are given so much choice in this world. And even though the process of choosing can be distressing, it is an important part of our life that builds who we are. By choosing we learn what we are able to do, and even open the possibilities of new ways of thought.
Now sometimes, we will be put in a situation when we only have 20 bags of Fritos, and choice is taken away from us. We will be forced to do something that is unavoidable. And that is ok too! Because as much as we are forced in a direction, we are not comfortable doing, God is there with us, munching away at the pile of leftover Fritos. But once you get through these bags of Fritos, God will grant you the power to choose once more in the sea of Variety Packs of Chips. So, maybe next time when you begin with 10 bags of regular chips, 8 bags of Cheetos, 6 bags of BBQ, and 6 bags of Fritos, you can mix it up a bit. Instead of just going straight to your comfort of regular potato chips all the time, mix it up, maybe try to eat that Frito, and then maybe BBQ and then back to regular potato chips, just so you won’t be left with just one option.
So, if anyone reading this would like a bag of Fritos, let me know, I got plenty of them.
First Day of School
The First Day of School is exciting and scary for the kids and the parents. Last night I saw this in both of my children as we went to the Meet the Teacher Night. That night, Norah was super excited and Ben was so scared. Eunkyung and I had to hold Ben the entire time. And I realized that both of my kids have expressed the way that I am feeling inside. I am excited for them but also nervous. Norah was the excited half while Ben was the nervous half.
Norah is excited because she gets to be in a new classroom, see her friends, and be with a new teacher. Ben is scared because he doesn’t like leaving the comforts of home, being away from Mom and Dad. To be honest, I totally get both of their feelings, they are built up inside me. I am excited for the children to be in new classroom, expanding their minds, to learn new things, to be with a new teacher, and find connection with kids their own age. At the same time, I hate to see them go, and be away from me.
It’s quite ironic in a way because all throughout summer, all I asked for was some quiet time away from the kids! They were home all summer, and I had to deal with a lot of conflict between them, I had to serve them a ton, I had a ton of interruptions in my work and daily routine, and as much as I wanted to take a nice long nap, well, you can count that out!
But now is the moment in which God is giving me what I long desire. Time away from the children, a chance to relax, and sending them to a safe place that they will learn, connect with others, and be with a knowledgeable and skilled guide. And now I feel the loss of having noise, chatter, and falling objects in my house. Quiet and peaceful, while I still wonder at my desk if my kids are enjoying their time away from Mom and Dad.
Oh well, Norah starts on Wednesday and Ben still has a few more days before he starts. The only thing I can do is stay positive and pray to God that they will always be in good hands.
A Good Life
So, I came back from Cancun and took a couple of days rest afterward. For the first time in a decade, I had a full 7-day vacation! Pretty wild to think about. But I ended up totally sunburned and a fishhook in my thumb. All worth it!
Cancun knows how to take care of their guests. I was very impressed with the resort as they took care of each member of my family very well. Kids were happy, Eunkyung happy, and that makes me extremely happy! Food was amazing and all the comforts of the facility were top notch. We were treated like a king, queen, prince, and princess. It was really something else.
Then, we came back home, which was great as well. We returned home and went back to normal life. No longer feeling like we were living in a palace anymore, just back to normal, everyday life. It kinda sounds depressing, but it’s not! During vacation and coming back home and getting back to work made me realize that I am super blessed. I have a great family and I have a great church. I always have food on the table and roof over my head. I don’t need to feel like I need to be treated like a king, because I already feel that way. Now that sounds arrogant! I have everything I want and even more. God had shown me that I don’t need Cancun, Mexico to find my blessings. The blessings are all around us. Each day and every moment. And the Cancun trip was just more blessings to have now that my family does have the ability to go on a proper vacation, without worrying too much about stability.
When I contemplate my regular normal life, I am thankful to have a supportive wife, energetic kids, an amazing job, and supportive people all around me. I just feel right. I feel that I am in the right place, the place that God intends me to be. I can’t ask for anything more.
Well, there is one thing I can ask for. There is still an old smoke smell in my home when I returned. But I can live with that. Not a big deal. But, God, it would be nice to totally get rid of the smell. But, big thanks to Rob Bottenfield to give me advise to help get rid of burnt fish smell. It helped a TON!
So everyone, count your blessings, you may realize there is more to be thankful for than you realize. God bless.
Burned Fish, Flies, and a Bird
What does burned fish, flies, and a bird all have in common? They were all somehow invited into my life last week. Where to even begin…
Tuesday, Eunkyung and I wanted to cook ready to eat Korean side dishes, so we don’t have to spend so much time cooking. So, we started to make a dish that’s main ingredient is young anchovies. That is when everything went wrong. As we started roasting the dried fish, Ben started acting up and I got frustrated. I decided that he needs to go out of the house, so I decided that we do some shopping for some cooking needs. Well in a haste we left and forgot to turn off the stove.
Now this probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if we only left for a few minutes, going to the grocery store and back. But after grocery shopping, we went shopping to prepare for our Cancun trip. But instead of going home, we did more! It was getting near evening, and I decided that we should just go to a restaurant and get something to eat. We went to Panera and ate. So about 4 hours later we return home. As we came home and I started to make my way through the side door, I can tell something was off. I could already smell that something was burning. That’s when I ran into the house and found out the food totally burned on the stove. It smelled so bad! So naturally we opened all the windows and all the doors. What happened next was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
I learned that flies love the smell of extremely burned fish. I felt that every fly in Blair County found their playground in our house. So, if you are wondering if there seems to be a decrease of flies in your area and you live in Blair County, you’re welcome. I know I killed at least 50 flies that evening. And about 20 more the next morning. It was freaking gross.
Even with the fans blowing and windows wide open, the smell was nauseating. Also, the rain started, which also meant our house had the humidity at about 80%, according to the temperature monitor in our home. So, on Wednesday, our home smelled like burnt fish and had the humidity of 80%. Also, the lights weren’t working well, my computer was running subpar, and the printer had a hard time working due to the high humidity.
Also, if you are wondering why there is a shortage of candles at TJ Maxx, that is because of us. We didn’t have any candles in the house, so Eunkyung bought all the candles that were in the clearance isles at TJ Maxx. Also, there might be a shortage of air fresheners at Walmart as well. So, by Wednesday evening, our house was in darkness, with a ton of smelly candles, baking soda and vinegar. It seriously looked like we were doing some sort of weird ritual.
On Thursday, the smell was around, but it stopped smelling like burnt fish, instead it smelled like we have been smoking for about 10 years. Our house smelled like old cigarettes. The smell was so bad, that I found out it got on to all of our clean clothes! My clothes, Eunkyung’s clothes, Norah and Ben’s clothes. I mean, Norah and Ben smelled like that took on a new habit! I can’t take them to school smelling like a chain-smoker! Somehow that smell got into all of our dressers and closets! So, I took down all the curtains and drapes, took out all of the clothes from everyone’s closets and dressers, and decided that I will do laundry nonstop.
So, by Thursday evening, our house, still in darkness, candles lit, no curtains, windows open, fans on, baking soda, vinegar, and intensely humid. If you were to look inside our house that night, you would think that we are continue this weird religious ritual.
Friday rolls around, the smell is getting less, and laundry machine on the entire time. Clothes and curtains getting washed. It was a war against this smell. Fast forward, it is now Tuesday of next week. The smell is still unfortunately around, but not bad. The windows are closed, the candles are off and baking soda is still around in a couple of places, and the laundry is done. Curtains are going back up, if I can remember where each one goes. And tomorrow we leave for vacation.
Oh, I didn’t mention that on Saturday night, a freaking bird entered in our church sanctuary. Nice. That’s all I really needed this week! By God’s grace I was able to capture it on Sunday morning. But the dang bird knocked off all the dust from our high ceiling and covered the pews and organ, piano, and carpet. I spent Sunday morning from 6:00am vacuuming, and cleaning bird poop. But didn’t have time to wipe off the pews. So, if any church member that got their clothes ruined because of the dust on their pew, sorry, the turtledove/ mourning dove really messed up a lot.
So, where is God in all of this? Well, I can laugh about the week. The ongoing battle with burned fish, the flies, the humidity, the bird in the church, the laundry, the candles, and every emotional distress tells me that sometimes, when life goes off the rails, it takes time to get back on your feet. Sometimes there isn’t a quick fix to problems we face in life. The “smell” lingers. But it all gets better, we just need to roll up our sleeves, and get to work. And even when we are in the middle of a messy situation, we run into a “bird.” It seems that life just keeps on getting more and more frustrating. One thing after another. But again, God has given us the ability to do hard work, and the spirit of perseverance.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).