Tuesday February 10, 2004

Okay, praise report:  =]

I was really blessed by what happened at Come and Pray last Saturday night.  That afternoon, I was taking my written exam for massage certification (Good thing I finished my Anatomy Coloring Book!)  After an initial fiasco with the grading which made me look like a massaging moron (insolent Osgood-Slaughter syndrome, why did you have to show up on the test?!), I was told that I passed!  Yay!  =]

Anyway, the massage exam really isn’t what I had intended to sing praise about.  I was really late to dinner, but still very grateful for the meal with Ryan and Fred and Brian.  However, I still wasn’t *that* excited about the event to come, since from the advertising, I had somehow gotten the impression that it was only going to be a little pack of alums huddling together in the little Old Union Clubhouse office to pray for faceless students in IV.  I was totally shocked to see the turnout of current students.  It was so encouraging!  The testimonies of Rene and Talah (sigh, have no idea how she spells it — someone tell me!) were just stunning; their sincerity and insights really moved me.  And of course, it was great to recognize some peers and meet new faces.  It was refreshing to be able to pray as part of this sea of believers.  I’m really glad I came!  The John Teter and Alex Gee book, “Jesus and the Hip-Hop Prophets”, from the raffle was really entertaining too!  =]

Speaking of books, the second highlight of the week arose last night as I nearly finished reading “Changes That Heal” by Henry Cloud.  3 weeks ago, a friend lent it to me, suggesting that maybe I might get something out of it.  By the end of the five minutes I spent “just reading the headings” I was unimpressed, suspecting that it was going to be cheesy and stuffy (“Four steps to a happier, healthier you!”), so I think I kind of snubbed it and didn’t really think I would bother reading through it.  In any case, what I wasn’t receptive to 3 weeks ago was like water for my soul last night, when I kind of randomly picked it up again after jujitsu and found myself reading it from cover to cover with a diligence and wakefulness I haven’t experienced in a long time.  (Then Brian got to talking to me about dating at 1:30 AM, so I had to finish the last 40 pages of the book this morning, hehe.)  I think I must’ve been in a weird mood too, because I definitely laughed out loud at least twice while reading this book even though it’s not intended to be particularly funny (unlike William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride”, which was darn funny, but I still don’t think I laughed out loud while reading it).

Anyway, having blasted through the book and found it fairly helpful in providing terms and definitions to mindsets and behaviors I see in my life, I am now preparing to go through it again and take some notes this time.  Yay!  I like identifying patterns and structures, and solidifying definitions.  This certainly beats paying a counselor $120/hour.  I guess I should’ve given it a little more credit, considering that Josh McDowell was even quoted, “Changes That Heal has affected my life more than any other book I’ve read” without the obligatory qualifier “other than the Bible”!  Hehe.  =P  God works in his mysterious yet impeccable timing.

So there they are — two reassuring and refreshingly bright moments (this week!) I’ve been blessed with in what was a dry time of spiritual emptiness and discontent.  Thanks.  * End Praise Report *

Other great books I’ve come across lately, but you can ask me about them yourself: The Science of Takedowns, Throws & Grappling for Self-Defense; How to Win Friends and Influence People (the classic human relations book); 101 WTF (title abbreviated to prevent some readers from flipping out, hehe.  Luckily, you will never ever guess what it stands for).  =]

I had another really extended dream two nights ago, but since it took me so long to write it down, I’ve forgotten nearly everything except for a few now-meaningless components that don’t bear retelling.  (And the crowds sighed in relief.)

Friday February 6, 2004

Had a couple dream sequences lately.  Two nights ago, I dreamed that I was in a simple one-room house with my family and tornadoes kept swirling in through the front door (uh, they were small tornadoes) and I think I was getting freaked out, but my family seemed disinterested (even though I don’t remember anything more interesting in the room).  When I made a big fuss about the tornadoes that were invading the house, some family member got annoyed at me, and then kind of whacked the tornado with his/her hand, and instantaneously the tornado turned into kind of a clear elongated bubble with a thick skin, almost like a inflatable cushion.  It would just kind of float there, and nobody seemed to do anything with them after they stopped being tornadoes.  Anyway, after learning that strategy, I think we all started walking around slapping tornadoes when we saw them come in.  Uh, and that’s that.  I don’t remember anything else.

Last night, I dreamed about some birthday party where we were at some game center and I relished competing against some guy (my brother?  Some Stanford classmate?) in this video-game-like racing game where you would start off looking at a screen, but somehow end up actually driving a go-cart out of this mountain-like structure that was only the size of a small tent at the end of the round (and this seemed totally normal to me).  There were all these matches we played, and each time I would totally smoke the guy at the start, such that my feeling was that he always got left behind and just quit, but somehow I would always fall short and fail the mission objective by the end of that round.  Anyway, the only round I remember is the final one, where I got stuck in tent-like thing, and I was surrounded by all these black balloons, and I took a long time to get out, so finally Brian got tired of waiting and he said something like, “C’mon, just pop them!!” and everybody came by to pop the balloons and I think I scrambled to get out of the go-cart.  *sequence fades out*

Then I dreamed about being in Hong Kong (not in a place I recognize in real life), and I was walking around in the streets looking for something (a restaurant?) or someone, but I don’t remember, except that I think I was pressed for time.  Either that or there was a stain on my shirt that I needed to clean up.  (Shrug.)  Anyway, on some busy street, one guy was asking the police officer for directions, and they were looking at a map, and I think I was either peeking over their shoulder or just eavesdropping.  In any case, after the policeman pointed out what street we were on, I suddenly felt much more confident about my whereabouts, even though somehow I was still pretty lost.  Anyway, next thing I remember is that I’m trying to get on the elevator to some high-rise building.  I think I’m looking for my dad one of the lower floors.  Somehow I end up on the TOP of the elevator, and it’s one of those elevators that are built on the outside of a building, so all of a sudden my acrophobia takes over and I’m hanging on for dear life, staring at the Hong Kong landscape rapidly drawing away below me.  Anyway, by the time we get to the top, the 22nd floor, I recognize enough of the landmarks below to realize that, to my horror, the building whose elevator I’m stuck on was just off the edge of the map of the guy on the street.  That makes me realize that I have no idea where I am, since it wasn’t on the map.  At this point, I entertain both the idea of trying to jump to the roof that is quite a significant distance away, risking certain death if I miss the roof and fall down, or of just forgetting about the whole roof thing and just jumping to my certain death, since I have no idea where I am anyway.  Then my mom just pops out of nowhere and is now on the roof, and next thing I know, I’ve made it safely to the roof (I don’t remember jumping) and I then turn my attention to my annoyance that wherever I am isn’t actually on the map.

Oh well, wish I remembered more!  I wonder if it’s better to just attempt to name names when I have a vague recollection of such, or whether I should just insist characters in my dream recollections remain nameless unless I am absolutely certain.


Friday January 23, 2004

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.  There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors.  I never criticize anyone.  I believe in giving a person incentive to work.  So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault.  If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”  — Charles Schwab