Because Life Doesn’t Stop for the Rest of Us…

I’m a Children’s Pastor as a local church. One of my heart and passion is to support parents so they can raise spiritually and emotionally healthy children to know and love God. When Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened in 2012, I was quick to send out an email to parents in my church on how to talk to their children about tragedy. Fast forward to 2017. When Vegas shooting happened, I hesitated before sharing pointers on talking to kids about tragedy on social media. This week. I’m still wondering if I should share an article on talking to kids about tragedy. Why? Because I think to myself, “But I just shared an article on how to talk to kids about tragedy just few months ago. They can easily find it again if they need to.”

This is an indication that shooting are becoming a norm in our country, which is NOT OKAY! But today, I came across this post on my facebook friend’s feed who lives minutes away from Parkland, FL (all names have been changed to “{insert relationship}” for privacy; This was posted the morning after Stoneman Douglas School shooting):

Ugh…so hard to drop “son” at school this morning 

This was followed by the following post and photos:

Lord help us! “Son’s” school went on lockdown at the same time as his dismissal. “Husband” and “Daughter” were picking him up and were pulled into lockdown too. So scary but thankful they are all ok and home now.

Parkland Final

As I read the text exchange, my eyes started welling up with tears. I just had to stop and re-read these words again and again.

I have stopped posting anything political or controversial on my social media sites awhile back because my words felt cheap. I felt somewhat helpless in my actions… and I felt like posting about it led me to think I did something when I hadn’t. But as I sat in front of my computer screen filled with emotions, I realized that my life goes on. I’m still going to my next scheduled meeting. I’m still going to a museum with a friend tomorrow. I’m still meeting friends for dinner this weekend. My life goes on… nothing stops for me. But for someone who is living this tragic moment, life stops. Everything on their schedule is cancelled. Their focus turns to grieving and trying to put life back together. Cause of tragedy also becomes their life mission. When life doesn’t stop, it doesn’t become priority. We feel sad. We send our “thoughts and prayers” (I’m just as guilty of this one). We share or write a post or two. Then we go back to joking around… the norm… and we forget how strongly we felt about gun-control (in this case) when tragedy had just struck.

Right now, I still feel helpless. But reading this post on a personal friend’s wall hit home. I’m not a parent, yet as I thought about what my friend must have been feeling, I was overwhelmed with feelings of desperation, sadness, frustration, and anger. This is not a text that should exchanged with your child while they’re in school.

I don’t know anyone that says this violence okay. Everyone, regardless of political party affiliation, will say this is senseless tragedy. But nothing is being done, and I felt the need to do something. Today, I emailed my Representative and Senators. I made a donation (gofundme: Stoneman Douglas Victim’s Fund) to help cover the cost of coffee and drinks at grief centers, counseling funding, medical expenses, etc. I don’t share this to pat myself on the back… because to be honest, I still feel helpless… but I really need to do something! And even if life doesn’t stop for me now, I have made a decision to do what I can to push for sensible gun-control in our country. If we don’t take action now, I fear that one of my close friend’s life will stop due to this senseless violence… or even mine… so I choose to act now. If you’re moved to action, below are few places to start:

Living Boldly requires speaking up for what is right… and protecting our children.


2018: Live Boldly

live boldly

Well, it’s 2018… and it happened. I turned 45 years old a little over 3 weeks ago… and so far, it doesn’t feel that great! I’m experiencing some weird things for the first time:

  • I can’t read the menu in restaurants when the lights are dim. I’ve become one of those people who use the flashlight feature on her phone to provide bright light to read the menu. But I still refuse to get readers… I’m not ready yet.
  • I’m experiencing sudden weight gain that I can’t seem to control… I think I may have found the culprit (besides eating too much)… so we’ll see if my theory is correct, and I’ll write on that more later. I promise.
  • All I want to do is just veg! Okay, so that might not be that new… but I used to enjoy going out and trying new things whether it be food or experience… but I find myself just wanting to go home, change into my pajamas, and just park myself in front of the tv or a book. I think I’m starting to see indentation of my bottom on my couch… so I’ve started to sit in different spots along my 3-seater. But I fear that I’m becoming a bigger hermit than before.

I’ve been in Silicon Valley for 2.5 years now… and I recently heard that it takes about 3 years to feel settled upon relocation. This is starting to make sense… I’ve accepted the fact that Silicon Valley is my home… but I also see myself becoming a suburban dweller who doesn’t get out… and I’m freaking out… because I used to have a life before aside from work. Now, i drive all of 5 miles a day: home to work then back home.

As many of my friends know (actually all of my friend should know…), I’m a big Wonder Woman fan… and I follow everything Wonder Woman on social media… including Gal Gadot. At the end of 2017, I saw that she was selected for Revlon’s Live Boldly campaign. For some reason, “Live Boldly” caught my attention. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live boldly… As I sat with this phrase for few weeks, I came up with few thoughts:

  • LIVE BOLDLY for Jesus! Stand up for what I believe in… and engage in conversation about what it means to follow Jesus.
  • LIVE BOLDLY for equality and justice! Stand in the gap and speak up for what is right, just, and for those who don’t feel heard.
  • LIVE BOLDY relationally. As an introvert, meeting new people is what gives me energy. But I’m in the business of relationships… with God and with others. So my goal is to intentionally invest in relationships: my neighbors, people at my church, even my current acquaintances/friends.
  • LIVE BOLDLY by being adventurous. Stop being a hermit… and get out! Be willing to try new things even if I’m trying them by myself, whether it’s new restaurants, exploring new places, travels, or even exercise (I know, I don’t exercise… which is why I added it here).

I want to keep growing as a person… and in the words of Jojo Moyes, I need to “Live Boldly. Push myself. Don’t settle.” And that’s exactly what I plan to do throughout my 45th year of life… even if my body refuses to work the way I want it to.

How do you forgive someone who isn’t sorry?


I’ve been trying to forgive the same person for the past 20 years… and for most of that time, I thought I had forgiven this person…. but then something else happens and then I’m right back where I started.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my unforgiving heart… and I finally understand why it’s so hard for me. I’m quick to forgive someone who is full of remorse, someone who repents, someone who apologizes. But this person, no matter how many conversations we’ve had, has no remorse, no apologies… in fact, this person plays the victim and sincerely doesn’t believe that they’ve wronged anyone else. Therefore, it feels like a never-ending cycle.

One side says “just forgive and forget”–but have you tried forgetting pain? It’s really not that easy. The other side says “just cut that person out of your life and don’t even care about it.” Once again, it’s a lot harder when this person is in your life not by choice. I always want to do what is right… what is just. And I finally realized that this is going to be a life-long process for me. This may be something I struggle with for the rest of my life… and I have to accept that.

Couple years before my grandmother passed away, she told me that it took her over 30 years to forgive a relative of hers. At the time, I thought “that’s ridiculous… how horrible of my grandma to hold a grudge for so long…” But now I totally understand her heart, and her struggle.

I used to think forgiveness was a one-time deal… but I’m now understanding that it’s a process… it’s a journey. I don’t have the bitterness I once did… I’m more compassionate and patient towards this person… but I think I can safely say that I haven’t completely forgiven this person because it really doesn’t take much to take me back to that dark, hurt place. Before, it used to bother me that I couldn’t just get over it… but today, I understand that it’s okay for me to have these crazy feelings about it because I see how God has slowly been putting my heart back together one piece at a time. Forgiveness is a journey… and I’m not a horrible Christian for not being able to “forgive and forget” because I think God is the only One who can really do that in the purest way!

2016: the year of mourning

Definition of mourning

1:  the act of sorrowing


Mourning is often associated with grief over death of a person. Death is one of the most painful experiences in life. I’ve experienced mourning over loved ones. But this year, I also learned that mourning happens when you experience loss in other ways… and it’s even necessary. Nothing super catastrophic happened this year, however, 2016 felt so yucky. I’ve been thinking and processing through why I’m so eager to get rid of 2016 for the past few months, and I think it’s because I’ve spent great part of this year mourning, or sorrowing over loss of people, places, things, and ideas.

This year, I’ve mourned end or change in relationships. Some people come and go based on circumstances, proximity, or life stages. It’s hard to accept that some friendships change over time… and some even end. but I’ve had to accept the fact that some people who was once very close to me is no longer in my life for various reasons… and it’s okay.

I’ve mourned not being able to call myself an Angeleno. I moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13… and while I’ve lived in Northern California for few years during and after college, Los Angeles became my home. I thought I was ready for change and move to the bay area… but after having established Los Angeles as my home for close to 30 years, I realized how LA I’ve become… and how much of a city girl I’ve become. I still think Los Angeles is over-rated, but I’ve grieved over my familiar taken out of my life. I’ve grieved over not being able to go to the beach to clear my head, for Gloria-days, and just because I love the ocean. I’ve grieved over not having access to my favorite restaurants, museums, theatres, and even Disneyland. But most of all, I’ve grieved over not having my close friends and family at my arms reach. Texting and calling is just not the same as face to face interactions… and that was harder than I had ever imagined.

I’ve mourned aging of my grandfather and my dad. My last-living grandparent is 99 years old. He was so lucid and active even until couple years ago. But he is no longer than grandpa I’ve known and loved for so many years. He doesn’t remember that I’ve moved. We’re no longer able to talk about ministry nor life. Our conversation now consists of “please eat,” “are you well?” and “i love you.” And because he doesn’t remember our very short conversation 5 minutes ago, it’s groundhogs day for 2 hours that I see him whenever I visit LA. I miss my old grandpa who inspired and encourage me. My dad also turned 74 years old this year… and now that I don’t see him regularly, I see how much he has aged each visit. My heart aches as I see his physical ailments that come with aging. I grieve as I see him struggle through life of modern technology which is not-so-friendly for the aging population. I sorrow as I see the heartache he endures caring for his aging father and the frustrations of his family. He’s grown impatient. He’s grown less considerate. I have to work harder to recognize him because he’s not the father I grew up with. He used to take care of me… now he’s grown dependent on me. He’s aging… and that means he’s changing in ways that feels unfamiliar.

I’ve mourned over feelings of disappointment after disappointment after disappointment this past year. As cynical and pessimistic as I am, I still expect more and better of people in my family to people in my life to people in this world. I expect people to be loving. I expect people to be kind. I expect people to extend grace. I expect people to think of others ahead of oneself. I expect people to be honest. I expect people to have more empathy. I expect people to be more forgiving. I expect people to be responsible. I expect people to own up to their mistakes. Although I know that we’re all broken, nobody is perfect, and in need of redeemer, I expect people to try harder (I’m sure I’ve disappointed many people as well). Perhaps my expectations are too high or unreal… but as I’ve grieved over my feelings of disappointments throughout the year, I’ve had to reassess my expectations of people… and that was hard to swallow.

Throughout the year, I’ve learned that when something changes, whether it’s relationships, people, location, or even ideas, it’s important to mourn the loss of what once was and face new reality. It’s not easy… in fact, it often felt painful and sucky. But one can’t live in the past because that feels suckier. All this mourning throughout this year taught me more about myself… the way I think, the way I feel, the way I process, the way I react. I don’t expect 2017 to start off great all of a sudden. I expect to stay on this journey of mourning the loss but learning the embrace the new… and live each day with hope that comes from Jesus.

22 years later in KidMin


My very first paid position in children’s ministry was in August 1994. I was only 21, and I had no idea that I even wanted to go into ministry. However, my college pastor saw the potential in me, and hired me as an intern… to run preschool – elementary of about 80 children. Honestly, I don’t know what he was thinking… but I’m glad he gave me this opportunity. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I’ve changed as a children’s pastor over 22 years.

22 years ago, I felt the need to prove myself. I mean, how is anyone going to take a 21 year old seriously? I was obviously not a parent, so why would parents trust me? I immersed myself in creating the best events–Fall Family Festival (man, college students really do have lots of time… we transformed our sanctuary into the inside of an airplane and handmade 100 luggages, luggage tags, passports, etc. We transformed our sanctuary into a castle, a spaceship, etc.), VBS (2 nights/3 days of VBS Olympics–seriously, what were we thinking?), field trips, not to mention “Summer Camp” for 8 hours/day for 6 weeks. Man, I must have had lots of energy back then. And to be honest, they were great events because I was fortunate to have an amazingly talented and committed team. They really made me look good. Parents and volunteers gave me praise for a job well done.

When I started seminary and became a part-time staff, I thought I knew all the answers to the tough questions of ministry. I was excited about all the things I was learning, and I desperately wanted to impart my newfound knowledge to those who didn’t have the privilege of attending seminary. Each Sunday, I taught elementary kids on the theology of prayer, the Trinity, survey of Old & New Testament, etc. These weren’t all that bad… but I was focused on the knowledge.  Parents and volunteers gave me praise for a job well done.

Everything I did 22 years ago wasn’t all that bad. But when I look back, I was often driven by my insecurities. I did’t have a firm grasp of why I was doing what I was doing. I simply said “I want to teach kids about the Bible!” However, I rarely shared the gospel. I rarely talked about God’s grace. I was focused on knowledge and great events!

I still believe knowledge and quality events are important. However, the most important is giving kids Jesus! I want to share about the sacrificial love of Jesus every chance I get. I want to share about God’s undying love every chance I get… because my calling is to bring kids to Jesus so they can live for Him as soon as they can. It’s not my job to convert these kids, but it is my responsibility to seize every opportunity to share the gospel… afterall, we never know who’s experiencing and hearing the gospel for the very first time. Now, my events and lessons are based on giving kids Jesus… and not driven by having to prove myself in any way! I still feel the need to prove myself–don’t get me wrong! After 22 years, I still feel the need to make sure parents and volunteer approve of what I’m doing. I want that praise. However, our mission of bringing kids to Jesus has to be #1. Our value of investing in relationships has so we can share Jesus has to be #1. And that has to drive what we do… because Jesus said “Let the children come to Me.” So 22 years later, I find myself very focused. I find myself discerning more about what we provide in our ministry. I find myself unapologetic for not pleasing everyone. Thank you God for the last 22 years of this journey so I can bring Jesus to kids!

Today’s Warm & Fuzzies

I love getting warm & fuzzy stories from parents! This one landed in my inbox this morning!

Hi Gloria-  I have to share a quick story for you to pass on to M’s teachers at church.  Her teacher told me that yesterday, on the playground, there was a little girl who was crying because she had to get off the swing because her turn was over.  M went up to her and said “Listen, it’s OK because at church I learned that the first shall be last and the last shall be first!”  

This is especially precious because M is a super shy girl… who has only said “HI” to me once! We just learned this lesson couple weeks ago, and for her to have the boldness to comfort another girl with what she learned at church gives me the warm & fuzzies all over!  Have I said lately that kids are the BEST?


I Can’t Make This Stuff Up…

Me:  I happen to log in today, and I see a charge on my card that I know is NOT mine.
CC Customer Service: Would you like to add an authorization so it goes through?
Me: Uhm… I’m the only one authorized to use this card. I think there might have been fraud.
CS: Are you sure?
Me: yes because I would never spend $700 on a wig.
CS: I’m sorry there are no other authorized users.
Me: Wait… do you understand what I’m saying?
CS: Yes… but we can’t do anything because it hasn’t posted. Why don’t you call them?
Me: Huh??? I don’t even know who they are… and there isn’t enough info for me to know who to call.  There is no  number… it just says “India Hair Int’l in New Jersey” and when I google, I don’t get a business under that name. And why isn’t the fraud dept calling me? They called me for a $15 charge last time because it was made in Pennsylvania… This is for over $700 in New Jersey. 
CS:  Yes… can I help you with anything else?
Me: WHAT??? are you serious? 
CS: Yes… I can’t help you at this point unless you want to cancel your card then none of your pending transactions would go through. 
Me: (having just made 5 travel arrangements with pending transactions… and just baffled…) So you’re telling me the best thing for me to do is just wait… and then file a dispute after it posts?
CS: Sure. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Me: I don’t even know… Bye…