Suzie is disappointed in me. And I do not blame her. She refuses to come down and hang out with me while I do work because I didn’t spend enough time with her the past several days to take her outside and play in the creek or backyard. The weather has just been too wet and icky to really do anything. And I just don’t have the time to give her a bath afterwards. So, she has spent the whole morning upstairs in our bedroom, just pouting and huffing and puffing.
According to Suzie her play times in the past several days are not enough. And it really isn’t. I should do better, and I promised her on Friday and Saturday it would be better, and my life will hopefully be more balanced soon. But in the meantime… what I am doing for her is not enough.
Now you all might have felt like Suzie or maybe feeling like Suzie right now. Suzie is a good dog, always has been, does everything right, listens well, obeys every command, does everything we tell her to do. And her reward should be to get outside and play, but regardless of how well she behaves and everything she has done to please us, her play time never arrives, making her feel like she isn’t doing enough.
Breaks my heart that she might feel this way and it breaks my heart that people feel this way as well. Because sometimes no matter how hard we try, no matter how much effort we put into our workplace, social lives, and extracurricular activities, no matter how much passion we put in… the outcomes seems like it is never enough.
When you feel like the world is telling you what you do, who you are, and all your passion and ability is never enough it makes you feel unappreciated. Even if you do the right thing, even when you did a little bit extra, and have performed your duty to the highest of levels and yet it feels as if it was all for nothing.
In honesty we have all felt experienced what it feels like to be unappreciated. Sometimes talking about it can make you a pariah to others and they shut the door in your face or chose to downplay your feelings. But other times you actually run into sympathetic people how actually care about the way you feel. Hopefully we can all surround ourselves more with those sympathetic people.
If you are reading this and feel like you are unappreciated, feel like a pariah in your social, work, school, or community setting, I pray for better days. No one should treat anyone less than anyone else. No one should feel that they are unappreciated.
In God’s eyes, you are necessary, important, useful, worthwhile to be cared about and loved. And I encourage anyone who feels like the world is pointing the finger at you, you are feeling unappreciated, you are feeling worthless, talk to someone, anyone. Sometimes just talking to someone that truly cares can help a lot. I know what you might be going through is rough, but I know that it won’t last forever.
Sure, it is painful feeling this way now, but I promise you it is temporary, even if your situation and feeling has been going on for a while. You will find freedom; you will find what it means to be loved. Just hang on, keep grinding, talk to supportive people, and pay attention to what God might be giving you so that you can find your rightful place in this world.
Gosh darn it… Now after writing this, I better take Suzie out to play so she feels appreciated. God bless you all.
After gaining a bit of pounds from Halloween celebrations and candy, quickly had to get ready for Thanksgiving and after gaining more pounds, suddenly we move right into Christmas! Already? Wow, that’s fast, isn’t it?
This time of the year moves so darn fast. And for some of us it is exciting, stressful (not in a bad way), busy, and festive! This time of the year from October with Halloween all the way to Christmas and New Years is a time that we surround ourselves with our family. Fun.
But this is not the reality for some people. Some people that you see in church, run into while shopping, or in the gym. For some people, this isn’t fun, and this time of the year can be hard… very hard. Because these are people who may not have family around. In our midst we have people who have lost their spouse, and this time of the year can be rough.
Now I am not trying to kill your joy and ruin your holiday spirits. But sometimes a reminder and an awareness about the people around us can be part of the holiday spirit. And right now, we are just in the beginning of celebrating Christmas. Some of us have already decorated the house and some of us have already done some holiday shopping or started baking some yummy treats. And again, some of you may be just waiting for this time of the year to pass on by as quickly as possible.
But for all of us, this time of the beginning of Christmas season marks to beginning of the Christian theme of Hope. We have begun the advent year and this upcoming Sunday we start week one, which is to embody hope.
Hope is about the anticipation of Jesus Christ coming to be born, Emmanuel, Christ with us, Christ to bring the message of God’s love to us all. Hope. Hope is coming to be with us. Hope is embodied not because of the Christmas decorations, the buying of gifts, but it is about wishing that the days to come will give us a sense of freedom. Hope is about freedom. Freedom from stress, hardship, and heartache. Hope is that whatever is causing you stress, hardship, or heartache will somehow find peace in these things, not necessarily the abolishment of these things. Basically, in anything that happens in life, good or bad, we hope to find peace, we hope that our tomorrows are better than our yesterdays.
So put your hope in God. What causes you stress, hardship, and heartache will not just disappear, but it will be always with you, and that is not always a bad thing… it is just a reality. So, in those things that make our life difficult we give is to God and find our freedom. We trust in God to be our anchor and guide is our messy lives.
Life is never going to be perfect, but if we trust in God, put our hope in God, then we do not have to worry about anything, or dread that unknown, stress, hardship, or heartache. If we truly believe that God will always take care of us, then we have nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. Hope is in God, who gives us freedom and peace.
Notice anything different? Look closely and there is something on the pews that we never had before! That is right! The pew cushions have finally arrived! Now your bottoms can find comfort and peace in our new addition tour beautiful church!
These cushions are beautiful! They match our sanctuary well and really do feel nice. They are a little stiff and you might notice that it doesn’t quite lay in the grooves of the pews well, but I was told that through time and use they will fit perfectly.
I am so happy that we got these pew cushions I am also told that they are very easy to clean and maintain. The company came on Monday evening around 6:15pm to deliver and install all the pew cushions.
So, I encourage all people to come to worship and see for yourself, and much needed upgrade to God’s house! I want to say special thank you to all the deacons and elders putting this all together. Also special thanks to Rob and Judy Halbritter for researching and finding the right company for the church.
It feels nice to get something for the church, especially as we are getting ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was peaceful and that we all found something we can be thankful for. God bless you all!
Well, it’s not a completely empty nest. I mean Norah, Ben, Eunkyung, and Suzie are still here, but now the house is just quiet. My life is quiet, and still…. Which isn’t a bad thing… it’s peaceful, but just feels empty now.
Eunkyung’s sister’s family just moved away to San Jose, CA to settle down. Which is amazing and I am so proud of them! But for the last 2 months, they were living with us as Eunwoo (the husband) was frantically finding a decent job. For two months they stayed with us, in this nice home in Altoona, PA. We wondered when they arrived if the living space in our home was going to be cramped, stressful, and hard to manage. But we were wrong. The space was cozy, but not crammed, the living was filled but not stressful, and the house was more than enough for all of us. As a matter of fact, the house felt alive for 2 months like a never-ending joyous party.
Noise filled the rooms, kids playing, the dog running up and down the stairs, activities, games, and great cherished moments. For 2 months they stayed with us and every day there was work to be done. In this short amount of time, they got their social security cards, got their two boys into the Altoona Area School District, got the boys settled in their studies, got their drivers licenses, and bought their first car. We went to Gettysburg for veteran’s day, traveled to State College, Pittsburgh, ate at amazing local eateries such as Tom and Joes and other fine places. We celebrated Suzie turning 1 years old. They celebrate Halloween for the first time buy going Trick or Treating and an early Thanksgiving with the proper sides and big juicy Turkey. Did cabin shenanigans at Canoe Creek State Park, went fishing at Glendale. A lot of things got done and accomplished in these shorty 2 months and there was never a dull moment.
While they stayed with us, they made an impact on church life as well. Eunwoo sang in the choir, the boys (Juhyeong and Sihyeong) went to Sunday School faithfully. Eunwoo also fixed up many things around the church property as well. The whole family also participated in all the church fellowship events. They just gave the church just a little bit of flavor, reminding us of all that as Christians we are the salt of the world, and they were the salt in the church and in our lives.
But now they have left to go to San Jose, CA. They will be missed and now, I feel empty, but also delighted. I know that God will bless Eunwoo, Jieun, Juhyeong, and Sihyeong. I know that God will be with them to watch over them and guide them. Now they will make their American Dream happen on their own! Once again, we miss you and love you guys a ton! Godspeed!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
The past three days I have been in Bedford for a Synod Assembly meeting. It was incredible, encouraging, and thoughtful. In the assembly on Tuesday morning, Maureen Wright the Executive Presbyter of West Virginia, gave the devotional and she used Joshua 1:6-9 as the inspiration. It was very well done and helped me really get motivated to do ministry.
Don’t you think this is something we should remind ourselves of every day? We should! Such a great bible verse that fills us with hope, peace, strength, and self-assurance! This is what we need to live by!
Because no matter what, we are reminded that God is with us wherever we go.
Honestly, this is a verse that I tell my children all the time. I do not know how much they understand this, but I hope that maybe one day, it will enlighten them and then they can do their best to live as the bible verse suggests.
Be strong and courageous. I think too often we allow other people, other entities like the media, internet, criticism, skepticism, cynicism control how we feel and tell us who we are. I think there is just way too many voices telling us our value and that our dependence on value is based on people of these entities’ voices.
These voices can be discouraging to hear and can devastate our self-esteem. But we must be reminded what is said in Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous.”
Do not be terrified or discouraged. Do not let anyone destroy your happiness, your dream, your ideas. Do not be afraid of criticism or mean hearted people. Always remember your value is not dependent on these voices (entities) that we may encounter. They do not have a hold over us.
Remember that God is with you wherever you go. The future is unknown and to be honest we cannot predict what tomorrow will bring. We do not know what will happen. But whether does happen and wherever we need to go or do, have confidence because God is with you always.
This week and the days that follow into next week…. Remind yourself this bible verse in Joshua 1:9. When you feel like the day is too much to handle, think about God’s word in Joshua. When you feel overwhelmed by life. God is with you and read Joshua 1:9 and find peace.
I haven’t posted anything on the church blog website in quite a while. I will try to be more consistent, but I know that may be hopeful thinking. And there are many reasons why I haven’t been posting consistently.
There is a lot going on in my personal life. Nothing bad, however, nothing great either, nothing too stressful, but a bit annoying, but just a lot going on in my life. And honestly, usually when there is alto going on in my life it gives me a tonof material to write in the blogs. But the problem is because there is just a bunch of little things going on piling up on top of each other, I do not have to the time to reflect on my bits of ongoing life circumstances. I do have time to write, that’s not the problem, but it’s all about not having the time to reflect and be thoughtful. Because of this, I just haven’t been writing.
But I hope to give some clarity to my situation for you all.
So what has been going on!
Firstly, my wife’s sister’s family just immigrated to the USA at the end of August. That is probably the last time we had any kind of consistent uploads on the blog. They are currently living with us! SO that is a family of four living in our house in the time being. Which is honestly…. A HUGE BLESSING! I thought that life would be hard and that everyone would find themselves to get space, peace, and rest. But that is not the case. It is totally a full house! Ben, Norah and their cousins, Sihyeong and Juhyeong are some good mates together. And Eunwoo and Jieun do so much to help around the house by doing cleaning, cooking, and everything in between and behind the scenes. I cannot be more grateful for their presence.
But there is a lot of work to be done. Eunwoo is busy doing a ton of interviews, traveling, and posting more resumes. And since September they needed help adjusting to the USA and Altoona. Buying a car, getting a drivers license, social security card, bank account, registering their kids, and getting the kids adjusted to school, and learning English every day.
Despite all the work that is done and continues to be done, we have so much joy in our life. We feel that our house has a ton of space for all of us. Other than the food cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer… those are always being filled. A lot of grocery shopping, a lot.
SO that’s a big change in our life. The other stuff is as my kids are growing up, they are getting busier. Norah is very social at school and since September she had a ton of birthday parties she’s been going, as well as Ben with his friends. Norah also celebrated her birthday, now 9 years old. And both Ben and Norah have a lot of school activities going on. Also needing to get ready for all holidays coming up… for Ben and Norah to enjoy.
And speaking of holidays, I have to start thinking about Thanksgiving. And expect my sister’s family and my mom and dad coming over. Im wondering if our house can handle more people! But I feel confident that everything is just going to be very nice, it’s just a lot of work to be done. But it is exciting.
And also in work at church I find myself doing more and more visitation than expected. Which is never a problem, but something I enjoy doing. My working hours are getting longer, but again, I enjoy every moment of working in this church and doing everything I can to always serve God first.
But not everything is all roses and sunny days.
I am also dealing with my son constantly getting sick and missing school and also apparently battling with the schools evaluation of my son needing to attend ESL classes. Which is funny, because English is his first language. Not this situation is messy. It is messy because I think the way the ESL screening is done is wrong and really messes with self-esteem. Listen. PA state, I am sorry that my kindergarten son cannot spell “GRASS” correctly… he missed a letter. Sorry he couldn’t write a story…. He’s in kindergarten. I’m sorry that he couldn’t read the book by himself completely…. He’s in kindergarten, right? It’s funny because I know first graders that are just learning to read on their own…. But why my kid is getting screened for his English ability? Ahhh… that’s right… we speak two languages in our household…. And apparently that is a disadvantage. We are planning to change our household for English only, so our kids don’t feel that they are in a disadvantage from the rest of their classmates. Shoot I didn’t want to write this much concerning the subject of ESL…. But to be honest.; it weighs heavily on my mind.
Eunkyung at work a few weeks ago got stabbed with a needle by a convict (not too sure if that is the politically correct work for prisoner). Luckily after taking a blood test from her and the “person in prison” everything is ok, but it was a worry that lasted for about a week.
Ok… I think that is enough…. Yeah, a lot of things and stuff going on right now.
Oh.. one last thing…. I found a tick on me that according to the internet has been attached to me for at least 72 hours… which makes sense because I went fishing 3 days ago. The bite area is red and swollen and I am told to keep an eye on it for the possibility of Lyme disease. Apparently, I have a 50% chance of getting Lyme disease. But I’m ok… I think that’s treatable… just have to wit to se if I get a rash, fever, muscle aches and whatever…
But this I life isn’t it. Life is supposed to be busy, and with our busy schedules and life circumstances comes joy and annoyances. Life what the Bible says, rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous alike. So I accept everything this is going on and will continue to accept all the wonderful things that life throws at us. I always feel that when I make a list of all life situations, many times the good experiences always outweigh the bad, and many times the bad isn’t really bad, just hiccups.
When life gets busy, we need God to be our guide and that faith in God be our foundation. When I think about my life being in God’s hands… I feel at total peace. It doesn’t change how busy I am. But it gives me the assurance that God is with me through it all. And that I am thankful.
Suzie Mango, our 87lb yellow lab is now officially 1 year old. Man, she grows up fast. Really fast! And apparently according to the vet she is still going to be growing more! Makes me wonder whether she is going to be like Clifford the Big Red Dog size!
Well we are happy that she is now 1 year old and we celebrated her birthday is some delicious food and a pinata that was filled with doggie treats, and even had a cake that is safe for dogs to consume.
And I learned something. Just because the cake is dog safe, it does not mean that humans can also eat it. Well, I guess you can…but you will be surprised by the taste. It doesn’t taste good to the human tongue.
I mean you could eat it, but you really don’t want to! It is definitely… for dogs only… maybe cats too…
So… all that cake went to the neighbor dogs as well. According to Suzie, it was delicious.
But we do have to realize that sometimes what is good for some people, or a person, is not always good for others. And that isn’t what people have preferences or choice over “things.” What I am talking about is about a person’s overall health. For example, pregnant women may need certain vitamins or nutrients, or healthcare compared to other people who are not pregnant.
We all have different needs and I think this is why God has a very complex job when it comes to providing for all individual humans. Just as we all have different health needs, we all Also have different paths in life. And God knows this.
We will all have different life situations, and we will all have different circumstances. Even though we may feel that we run into similar experiences, the outcome will vary. We may wonder why one person has a different result to similar life experiences… and sometimes one may have a “better” result than you, and we can feel that life is unfair.
But this is not true. Life isn’t necessarily unfair; it is just really freaking hard! And every individual’s life has its own plan. Plan that we have no idea what will happen. What is important is several factors that make our life rewarding or make it a struggle.
First is having a trust in God. Whatever, good or bad that happens in life, we must trust in God to be with us. God is with us when we struggle and is there is hold us in His loving arms and God is with us when we are in joy, celebrating with us when life is beautiful.
Secondly, when life does give us lemons, our attitude, our self-esteem, our actions, our steadfastness, and resilience is going to matter. What we do when our backs are pushed against the wall is going to matter. It is so important that we stay strong, mature, and never give up.
Life isn’t unfair, its hard, and that is why God must be our foundation. Our trust in God helps give us peace when life throws us curve balls. Remember never to compare your life with anyone else, because everyone is different and every life has isn’t own path to success. And it is God that is influencing and guiding us to our rightful path.
Since the end of May I have had this issue in my mouth. So, since May I have felt like one side of my face was hit with a baseball bat. Tooth pain is never easy to deal with. And the problem with me was that the earliest I could see a dentist around here was August 31st.
Tomorrow is that day! Finally! Oh man… I am so relieved that I can get some help on this tooth and hope that I can get a root canal and crown and put this thing behind me.
It’s crazy to endure pain, but I honestly couldn’t do anything about it. Just be patient, wait, and pray.
But what’s crazy is that what if you were living in so much pain and suffering, and there was a way out of it, but you choose not to do anything about it. That would be unheard of. But think about it….
We have all done it before… or some of us are still doing it…
Sometimes we do not ever realize the pain and suffering kind of life we live. It is disguised as a life without excitement, joy, and adventure. Living a life that is the same thing repeatedly. A life that is just draining our will because it is so mundane, boring, and lacks stimulation.
Occasionally, when I am doing pastoral counseling, I will be told by people that wish that their life was different. That they wish that something more would be happening in their life.
I always tell them… well it could be different, and you could be doing more… but it involves you trying to seek adventure, and to deviate from your everyday life. And that is tough for anyone to do.
It is so easy to do the same thing repeatedly. Things just get comfortable. But sometimes we must realize that the patterns, routine, and comfort that we surround ourselves with may not be enough as we get older, go through change, or mature.
Just when we were little babies, we eat mushy baby food, but as we get into adults, no longer do we eat mushy baby food. Just like when we were little kids and we are taught about Jesus, God, the church, and the world, well that message gets more sophisticated as we get older, and sometimes feels complicated if we choose not to grow in our understanding of the Bible and how God works in the Bible so we can relate it to our life.
Just be open that at some point in our life God might be telling us to change, or at least try or think something different. Think about like how God called Moses to lead the Israelites. Moses began his youth living a nice comfortable life in Pharoah’s palace. Yet, Moses listened to God to tell him to lead the Israelites and to be their leaders. I do not think that the young Moses would ever imagine that he’d be the future leader of the Israelites.
So, I urge you all to be open to God’s voice. Be mindful about how you are feeling. And if something doesn’t feel right, and you just feel the lack of enjoyment in life, then think about the possible changes that need to be made. Remember, God wants you to live a joyful life, and thankful life, and a life that you feel can feel peace.
So, about a few weeks ago I went camping at the amazing Shenandoah River in Virginia. Our campsite was right up on the river, absolutely stunning! Kids were able to go into the clear shallow waters and have a ton of fun. Everything was amazing. Caught a ton of smallmouth bass on topwater. Always amazing to see fish jump out of the water to get your fishing lure. Such a rush of emotions! We had some Korean pork belly for dinner, such a great evening. It was a lot of work, setting up camp, playing with kids, making sure they are happy, getting ready for dinner, cooking, and cleaning up, just a lot of work that goes into “enjoying” camping.
Sleeping was great because it was so quiet, kids fell asleep better in the tent than in their beds at home. Which makes me wonder if all I have to do to get the kids to sleep easily is set up the tent in the backyard and have them sleep in sleeping bags. Or maybe they are just more comfortable sleeping without a bed mattress? I have no idea.
I remember praying and falling asleep praying. Yeah… it was that comfortable of a camping experience!
Then came very early in the morning. And all I remember was hearing a crow yell in my ear, “HEY!!!!” That’s what it sounds like. It sounded like the crow was just right outside our tent. It scared the heck out of me. I figured, ok, that crow is gone right? Wrong! Once again, “HEY!!!” By this time our dog Suzie is up, Eunkyung is up, and I am trying not to get up. But this dang crow was relentless! “HEY!!!” OK! I am up!
I quickly got dressed and opened the tent. And I saw a glimpse of the pesky crow. What’s his dang problem! No need to yell right?
But to be honest, I am glad that crow rudely woke me up, because I had a chance to enjoy the river, the smell, the sun, the fog that is over the land, and again the peace and quiet. Amazing.
It makes me wonder that sometimes to get to the point of quiet and peace in our life we need a bit of a wake me up. Or maybe we need a loud interruption so that God can redirect our attention to something amazing. That something amazing is the peace and quiet we sometimes need but do not know where to find it. All we need is something to yell, “HEY!!!” to us so we can wake up from our slumber and see, feel, and sense something else; that is peace.
This screenshot is a picture from Chris Rudella’s phone. I do go by Pastor Brian Choi, that is my name and title. And Carole is Chris’ wife. SO this text of “me” is getting to Carole, through Chris’ phone number.
I DID NOT WRITE THIS TEXT AND THAT IS NOT MY PHONE NUMBER (ON TOP).
What is bizarre is that I do not have Chris’ number saved anywhere on my computer, email, or phone.
So, this scammer is using me, has knowledge that I am a pastor, and knows that Carole is a congregation member, but has used Chris’ number, which I do not have. That is so strange and also scary.
How do they get all this information? I have no idea. Honestly, if they hacked my phone or email, then wouldn’t they just use Carole’s number that is saved in my contact list? SO that is not something they did. Somehow, they scammers figured out I am a pastor, which isn’t hard to figure out. But they also found out that Carole is a church member and also somehow connected that Chris’ number (Carole’s spouse).
I have seen this kind of text message or email being sent around. So be careful!
I am writing this blog to everyone. Do not get scammed. First off, pay attention to the number or email. If it isn’t a number or email address you recognize, they it might be a scam, even if the message or email says the person you know and recognize, it’s still a warning.
Also, even if it is a number or email you do recognize… but the message sounds bizarre like “a matter or request that needs to be handled discreetly” and also that “I can only be contacted through this text or email.” And “do not call.” These are all warning signs.
I would never make a text message like this. And typically, whatever the matter is, and if it is serious, I always call-in person. I never handle sensitive matters through email or text. I would never ask anyone to just text me or just email me. Even if I have a meeting I am going, just call, even if I can’t pick up, I can call you back as soon as I can. It is not a big deal.
Again…. Don’t get scammed. I am assuming that if you respond this this text, then the person posing to be me is going to ask your help to give me money, possibly through gift cards or some other matter. I would never ask you for money. And even in the off chance I do need to ask you for money, I am not going to ask you in text or email! I would ask you in person or give you a phone call!
Be careful and be alert and do not get scammed. Honestly, if you receive any email or text from me that is asking for money. Always call my cell number even if I insist not to call. Always good to make sure and be careful.
Be safe everyone and God bless.
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).