The Blues

I cussed at her. She threw up for what seems like the hundredth times. She looked at me innocently. I looked back in frustration. She was only one week old. All I wanted was sleep. It was 2:30 AM. I didn’t like this situation. I could not accept motherhood. I thought motherhood was overrated. God knew I did not sign up for this and so why did He put me through this?

***

Today you’re going home,” said Dr. Carrillo. It was my fourth day at the hospital after the C-Section. She continued, “If you feel a sense of sudden sadness, or close to depression and it is overwhelming, please contact me or Dr. Guiller, your OBGYN.” I had been feeling fine the first few days, so I said in confident that I didn’t think there was anything to worry and despite the incision soreness, I felt fine. Obviously, I didn’t know what’s coming.

When it rains, it pours.

We came home that day: my husband and I, and our newborn daughter, Bethany Sitompul Nieman. We barely had sleep at all the first night we brought Bethany home. She kept crying and crying. At home, we had prepared a beautiful bassinet for her. It is the same one her Dad used to sleep in when he was a baby. Bethany would not sleep in it. Everytime I put her down in her bassinet, she would cry.

My nipples were sore from breastfeeding. The skin got peeled and I dreaded any time I had to feed her because it was very painful. I also dreaded the night time because I knew I would not sleep. I knew it was going to be terrible.

You know how the media would show us the faces of happy mothers holding their baby right after they’ve given birth? That instant love a mother feels toward the baby? I had none of that. What I had was more of a nightmare. My hormones were so out of control. I had the baby blues. Love at first sight? I didn’t even like my baby. I cried all the time, sometime for no particular reason. Just tired and hormones. When I cried, I’d try to speak some sense to myself, saying, “Count your blessings, Kitty. Count your blessings.” But my hormones know no logic. I could not get them synchronized. It is out of my control.

Let me be frank: I hated everything about motherhood the first couple of weeks. I regretted being a mother. I blamed God. I told Him my life was just fine before, with just my husband and I. The peak of my baby blues was when I started having suicidal thoughts. I thought if I cut my wrist, I could end this misery. My husband asked me to contact my doctor. Thankfully, she wanted to see me and agreed to take me in without an appointment.

When it rains, it pours.

***

But God. When I thought He was nowhere to be found, He is everywhere. He is everywhere, I see Him through my husband who would always reminded me how much he loves me and that we’re in this together, who would happily watch and feed Bethany whenever I was not mentally capable to handle myself. I see Him through the friends He sent me, such as Kelly Chapman, who would go see me right away, any time I had one of my mental breakdowns. I see Him through the ladies from church, who set up a meal train and sent us dinner for a couple weeks so that Clay and I did not need to worry about food or grocery shopping while trying to take care of our newborn. These actions shown by the people in my life speaks louder than the best of Billy Graham sermon. These actions are God in action.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

***

My daughter is 6-week old this week. She is the most precious thing. I have felt so much better the past week and my meltdown is getting less and less. All the things that God has put on my way to sustain me, all those things work. Be it the support system from my husband and friends, the medicine, the prayers, all of those things work.

This morning I tickled her when she woke up. She smiled at me. She is the most precious thing.

Bethany Sitompul Nieman – this morning.

 

Omas, Mandra, dan Tonggos

Dulu zaman saya masih SMP – SMA, kulit saya gelap banget. Bibir saya juga tebal dan gigi gak rata (baca: tonggos). Jadi masa-masa itu, sering banget teman-teman ngeledekin saya dengan panggilan “Mandra” atau “Omas”. Ibu saya menyekolahkan saya di sekolah Katolik swasta yang terbaik di kota Bogor. Anak-anak yang sekolah disitu kebanyakan dari kalangan berada. Jadi kalau masalah meratakan gigi, mereka bisa langsung ke dokter dan pasang kawat gigi yang harganya jutaan.

Sementara ibu saya itu orang tua tunggal, bekerja di kantor administrasi gereja. Boro-boro kawat gigi, untuk mengenyam pendidikan di sekolah swasta ini saja sudah berat untuk biaya bulanan keluarga saya. Tapi ibu saya ngotot menyekolahkan kami disitu karena beliau ingin pendidikan kualitas terbaik untuk anak-anaknya. Jadi saya cuma tertawa saja kalau ada teman-teman yang memanggil saya “Omas”, “Mandra”, atau “Tonggos”. Mau digimanain lagi, wong saya waktu itu masih remaja, belum punya uang untuk pasang kawat gigi. Dalam hati sedih banget sebenarnya. Saya cuma seorang remaja yang pengen banget dibilang cantik seperti teman-teman lain. Yah, namanya juga perempuan.

Tetapi semakin saya dewasa, semakin saya belajar bahwa semua remaja itu mengalami fase dimana penampilan itu belum matang atau masih dalam proses transisi menuju wajah dewasa. Karena itu banyak remaja yang jerawatan, hormon masih belum seimbang. Seandainya waktu itu saya mengerti, saya tidak perlu lagi diam-diam menangis sampai ketiduran karena dikatain “Omas”, “Mandra”, atau “Tonggos”.

Zaman pun berubah. Memasuki usia 20an, kulit saya semakin baik, rambut semakin subur, hormon semakin berimbang. Tahun 2015 saya juga bisa pasang kawat gigi agar gigi lebih rapi. Saya pakai selama 9 bulan. Kalau mengenang masa-masa itu, saya bersyukur sekali ketika remaja, ibu saya menekankan pada pentingnya pendidikan, bukan penampilan. Ibu saya mengerti sekali, penampilan bisa berubah apalagi masih umur belasan, tapi otak harus selalu encer. Ketika saya mendapat beasiswa kuliah ke Amerika, saya masih tonggos loh!

Saya tahu rasanya diolok-olok karena penampilan tidak sesuai dengan standard kecantikan masyarakat. Jadi, semenjak masih remaja, saya berusaha tidak mengolok-olok orang lain karena penampilan fisik mereka. Semua orang punya kesulitan mereka sendiri yang kita tidak akan pernah tahu. Sekarang saya juga mengandung anak perempuan, saya sering bilang ke suami bahwa saya ingin anak ini menjadi anak yang baik hati – tidak menertawai orang karena penampilan mereka, melainkan mengenal orang itu dari pola pikir dan wataknya.

Dan untuk teman-teman yang dulu meledek saya “Omas”, “Mandra”, atau “Tonggos”, saya hanya ingin bilang, Omas sudah memaafkan kalian semua.

Omas Sudah Memaafkan Kalian Semua

 

 

Love Is

1 Corinthians 13 : 4-8

Love is patient, love is kind.

That day I was really mad at Clay. Just like any other couple, we fight, we make up. But particularly that day, I was more upset than usual. I threw harsh words at him. Not wanting to get hurt more, he withdrew himself from the situation. We ended up not talking to each other for a couple days.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

There was a little part of me that wanted to break the silence. “But hey,” my heart boasted, “Haven’t I been the most patient here? I was the one apologize first the last time!!” I let my ego get the best of me. I recounted everything I have done for him while sitting on my throne. Looking back, yes, my attitude was pretty disgusting.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,

Still, wanting to win this fight, I got up and told Clay everything that he did wrong. I was blinded by my anger. I wanted to be right more than I wanted my relationship to sustain. After a couple days, I finally prayed. I softened.

it keeps no record of wrongs.

I asked God for forgiveness. I could feel God speak to me in my prayer, “What if every time you make a mistake, I treat you the way you treat Clay? What if every time you make a mistake I’d say, “Well, I forgave you the last time so what’s your excuse this time?” What if every time you make a mistake, it takes a couple days for me to listen to your prayer again? While we know how many mistakes you’d do in just a day. Why can’t you extend the grace I’ve given you to others? I even forgive you when you don’t ask for it.”

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

I was convicted. Truth is, this is my best friend that I treated badly. This is the man who would stand by me when no one else would. This is the man who would fight for me, the man who never complains about how hard he has to work to provide for us, to keep us living comfortably. This is the man who would give me surprise travel to see the world, who would take me to his office, who enjoys being around me. This is the man whose seed I’m carrying inside me. This is the man whose loyalty I won’t deny. This is the man who has brought me so much joy, filled my days with laughter.  Sure, he’s not perfect, but I’m not either. Nobody is. The more I think of what he is to me, the more I realize how minor this issue is.

What have I done?

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I reached out to him. I told him how sorry I was, that he didn’t deserve my hurtful words. I asked him if he could forgive me. It took some time for things to get normal again. Thankfully, Clay is emotionally more stable than I. No, don’t get me wrong – he was not exactly laughing with me right away, but he didn’t do what I did to him: He did not burst out harsh words nor chasing me around to tell me how awful I am as a person. He dealt with the hurt I caused him in his own way while forgiving me along the way.

A few days later, as I’m writing this, he is playing with his Xbox. I came back home from grabbing a coffee with a girl friend of mine. I shared with him how my day went and I got to listen his’. We may not always have the fanciest dinner or the most perfect romance; it’s the little things like this that make our lives fulfilled. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love never fails.

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Stay Thirsty, My Friends!

Good Morning Everyone!

When I visited my family in Indonesia last week, my sister (bless her heart) gave me a pregnancy book called The Complete Pregnancy Workbook by Philip D. Sloane, M.D., Salli Benedict, M.P.H., and Melanie Mintzer, M.D. Inside it I found a high-protein drink recipe that is so yummy that I’d like to share with all of you! Of course it is found inside a pregnancy book but hey, we all could use protein! Protein is an important factor in building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. According to the United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), the recommended daily intake of protein for adults who are at an average weight and activity level is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women (A little Google goes a long way). The book says this drink has approximately 550 Calories and 26 grams of protein. That means, this drink alone covers a little over a half of women’s daily intake of protein and close to a half for men. I know the majority of my blog readers are from either Indonesia or the United States, and these ingredients can be found easily in both countries.

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Blend together:

1 raw egg (if you’re a hippie, brown uncaged organic egg. For everyone else, any chicken egg)

1 cup of milk

2 scoops of Vanilla ice cream (in this picture I use fat free ice cream. I’m a hippie in training).

6 tablespoon (Tbsp) non-fat dry milk

1 Tbsp honey (I know I’d call Clay “honey”, but in this case, don’t be mistaken. It’s not Clay. It’s the actual honey).

1 or 2 drops of vanilla extract (to cover the smell of the raw egg).

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It is great to drink in any situation but will taste even better if you drink it with a happy heart!

See you in the next post! 💋

As 2017 Approaches

As the end of the year approaches, I was thinking to write about the emerging situation that is currently happening in my country, Indonesia, as my closing 2016 article. It is about the inter-religion conflict, where money and politics are also added to the mix (maybe just like it has always been anywhere else?). But then I reconsidered it again. I don’t want to add more fuel to the already-heated situation, so I only share my views and thoughts to some of my closest friends whenever asked, knowing that they would understand where I’m coming from since my views and thoughts are not pop-media friendly. However, just like the U.S post-election 2016, with the recent conflicts that have been happening in Indonesia, I drew 3 conclusions when it comes to opinion sharing: (1) Emotions have no intelligence; (2) Do not rely our knowledge on Internet memes, do our own research, read some real book; (3) Should we find ourselves too busy to read some real book, always refer to the rule of thumb: Even a fool looks smart when they keep silent. Which is why I don’t share my political thoughts too much on social media, because I’m just a fool with still a lot to learn 🙂

Just one message, if I may, to all my Christian brothers and sisters in Indonesia: we don’t need a “Merry Christmas” greeting from others to validate the joy of Christmas. If for some reason, others don’t believe they should say it, or they believe it is against their principles to wish you a Merry Christmas, let them be. It’s ok. No need to attack anyone for what they believe. Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s not all the greetings you might expect to receive. I know some of you have wished me a Merry Christmas – I sincerely thank you for that. I hope you enjoy this holiday season as well!

On to a lighter note, a couple of months ago, Clay and I found out that our baby is going to be A GIRL! 🎉 🎉 We are so excited but particularly me, I’m a little anxious knowing all the troubles I had caused my mom while growing up. I’m anxious about what’s coming back at me. Let me give you an example. My parents have 3 children: my oldest brother, my sister (the middle), and me. When we were little, this was our initial attitude whenever our parents told us to do something:

My brother: “I will think about it. If I find it makes sense, I will do it.

My sister (a.k.a The Saint): “Of course. God wants us to obey our parents. I will gladly and wholeheartedly do it, Mother/ Father.

Me: “No.”

The attitude got me into a lot of problems while growing up. Whatever my parents asked me to do/not do something, I’d make sure that I do just the exact opposite. Oh, I also ran away from home once in high school (or was it twice? I’ll double check with mom). And Clay..  let’s say during a family Christmas gathering, Clay’s grandma shared stories about Clay growing up and if anything, it only adds more anxiety to me – because those are not the story of the greatest kid on earth. I mean, who kicked their grandmother as a way of trying out new boots? And play dead by holding the breath so hard when he’s about to get punished? So yeah, I’m A LITTLE ANXIOUS about this baby girl we’re about to have. The only thought that is somewhat comforting me is that I share the same genes as The Saint (my sister) – so there’s a bit of hope there. You know what they say, never lose hope.

That’s all from me. I hope you all have a promising new year and may God listen to every prayer and answer it according to His timing and plans in our lives. Take care everyone, xx

What To Expect When You Were Not Expecting

For some reason, it feels very hard to write this piece. Maybe because I don’t want to look like a terrible woman? Or maybe I’m afraid my future kid would read this and be disappointed? But I feel like I have to do this. Everyday I think about writing this. I remember the reason I started blogging is not for you, I blog for me. I blog for myself. I don’t try to impress you by showing how good or edgy or bad I am. This blog has been some kind of my therapy where I could be the realest. Sometimes I look at my old writing and see how far I have come in terms of my own maturity and emotional growth. I could point out in some of my past writing where I could have taken the higher road. I blog for me.

Where should I start? From the beginning of our marriage, my husband Clay and I had decided that we wanted to spend our marriage life just the two of us. We didn’t want any kid. My closest friends know that I have never been a fan of kids ever since I was a kid myself. I didn’t hate them, I just didn’t want them. The only kids I love are my nephews, Aaron and Sada. I love them like my own. You don’t mess with them.

So when I found out that I got pregnant, it was not like in the movies where it was a blissful experience. Clay and I just sitting down confused, frustrated, and I was even disappointed. I asked God, “Why me?” I could not help thinking “what about my plans”? How about my career? Being a stay-at-home mom is the last thing I want to do! I never dream that for myself! How about my study? And then, are we able to support a kid financially? Then I remember every morning before we start our day, my husband and I would pray for God’s will to be done in our lives. I tried to convince myself that this is the answer to the question, “What’s your will in our life, God?” Still that little voice in my hard-headed self asked, “Why me.”

The moment that completely changed me is when I saw the obstetrician for the first time. I was taken to the Ultrasound room by one of the nurses to determine how old the pregnancy was. Then I saw it. The fetus. It’s there. Puzzled, I asked the nurse, “So I really have a baby inside me? Like, a little human?” She decided to ignore my question and carried on. I think she was on a mission. She moved the ultrasound stick around and she said, “There it is.” I looked at the monitor and saw something beating. I was completely clueless, I asked her, “What’s that moving thing? Is it like my kidney?” She said, “That’s the baby’s heartbeat. It’s beating, looks good so far.” It took me a couple minutes for everything to sink in. Lots of thoughts came running through my mind. I have another person inside me. It is alive. Who could create another life but God? We, human, tried. We tried and we failed (with Dolly the cloned sheep). Some people try their whole life for this magic called pregnancy, but only God could start a heart to beat. I looked at the monitor and I see God’s hand at work in my life. Clay and I are honored to be chosen to take care of a life. I learned so much about life in that few minutes in the Ultrasound room than I have my entire life. That moment was the first time I love somebody before I see them, before I touch them, before I talk to them.

So why me?

Because

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55: 8-11

Because God said so.

At 8 weeks. My pregnancy is a little over 3 months now :)

At 8 weeks. My pregnancy is a little over 3 months now 🙂

 

Still

HELLO. Good afternoon everyone. What’s good? 😉 I miss writing my blog. Lately I have been very much occupied with school and work and just life in general but it’s all good. I got this 😎 (well not really, but fake it ’till you make it). I would like to take time to thank everyone of you who sent me emails and sharing a little bit about your life with me. Since time is expensive, I truly appreciate you taking the time to sit down and write to me. In pop-culture term, I’d say you guys are rare Pokemon. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish one day I get to grab coffee with each and every one of you. I live in Lexington, KY and here’s my email: NSitompul@ufl.edu, so if you’re in town, email me maybe? 😉 Note that if you’re a man, I’m coming with Clay #Security101. Lol.

I just checked my last blog entry. OMG I haven’t put anything up for almost 2 months! Early this month Clay and I had our 2nd year anniversary! July is always special, because Clay’s birthday is July 2nd, our anniversary is July 3rd, and America’s birthday is July 4th. Fun facts, Clay turned 41 this year and America turned 240. America is only 199 years older than Clay. That’s not very many. 💋

A couple months ago I went to Crank & Boom for some ice cream with my girl Catina. Catina’s been married for about 15 years, while me, I’m relatively new in this. I love asking couples who have been married for years the one thing they would suggest for the newlyweds like me and Clay. I would ask them basically the secret to a happy marriage. I love listening to wisdom from those who have been through it and still happily stay. Catina shared with me this story:

You know I always want to work as an interior designer. When I was young, I thought probably working in a furniture store would be helpful to get me to understand the business better. I could suggest to people the kind of furniture that would look good for their room. So there I was, working at a furniture store.

You asked me my advice for new couples like you. One day there was new product, a new set of couch came to the store. I looked at it and fell in love with it. I wanted it so bad. It would go beautifully in my living room. But the couch is expensive. I only made so much as a store assistant. So I talked to my boss. I asked him not to sell the couch to anyone because I wanted to buy it. I asked him to cut a percentage of my salary to pay for it little by little. My boss agreed under one condition: I could take it home after I paid at least a year worth of credit. I wanted it so bad, so I agreed.

My boss was so nice, I think after 6 or 7 months, he let me take it home. I took it home. I put it right in my living room. Every day before I went to work, I would stop and looked at that couch first. It was so beautiful sitting in my living room. I would even invite friends over just to show them I have a new beautiful set of couch in my living room. Days and months went by. After a year, I didn’t even look at it anymore. I even forgot that it’s there. This is still the same couch that I was willingly spared my salary for 1.5 years to own. It is still beautiful but I appreciate it less now, for some reasons.”

In my marriage, sometimes things become routines and I appreciate it less. Don’t forget to remind yourself when you look at your husband, this is the same person you fell in love with. Still the same person who would fight for you. Still the same person you made a vow of life and death to. So much more than what a couch could do, in this case. Imagine how much you should appreciate every single day with him.

I thought about what she said for days. I tried to look for areas where things become routines and I pay less attention.

I had a friend came to visit me during his backpacking trip. He stayed over at our place for a couple nights. One of the nights, Clay, him, and I went to grab dinner. Clay always opens the door for me, to the car, in the restaurant, anywhere I go with him. He’s always full of chivalries like that. My friend saw it when Clay opened the door to the car for me and he said, “That is really nice of him.” Not understanding what he meant, I asked, “What?” He said, “That is really nice what he did to you! He opened the door for you! That’s sweet. Not every man would do that.

Routines make what’s special becomes what he’s supposed to do. Catina, now I get it. Thank you for the advice. After two years of marriage, he’s still the same person I would rather be.

A Good Name

The thing that I want to talk about this time is this particular topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. It can be sensitive for some but please understand that I don’t write this to belittle anyone/ group/ religion. This is merely my reflection in a hope that maybe this could enlighten us of what is going on in the world today. I want to talk about a good name.

“If you must choose, take a good name rather than great riches; for to be held in loving esteem is better than silver and gold.” – King Solomon, as documented in the Bible, Proverbs 22:1 – The Msg.

***

Do people associate your faith with some negativity? Let alone your faith, what do people associate your name with?

I’m a Christian. From time to time I would hear people associate my faith with hypocrisy. I don’t blame them. There was a time when I actually was a hypocrite. The thing with us Christians is that sometimes we are busier applying what we believe on others instead of ourselves. We judge people, not because we don’t sin (or at least that’s what we want it to appear), but because we sin differently. We are too worried about removing the speck in other’s eye and not too concern about a board that is blocking our eyes. Little do we realize that haughtiness (arrogance, pride) is the number #1 on things that God hates. We judge people on their political views, on their sexual preference, on things they post on their social media, on the numbers of times they get married, on their tattoos, on just other’s life in general because we think our life and the choices we make are much better than anyone else’s. Hey, we read the Bible, right? We pray, right? We’re THAT GOOD, right? No. We’re only committing the number #1 thing that God hates: Thinking we’re better than everyone else. That’s number one, bro. Number one. Let that sink in. Lucifer was one of the angels who got thrown out of heaven for committing that number 1 thing that our God hates. Let that sink in.

And when someone call us out because apparently we’re not mistake-proof, we’d throw Bible verses here and there, saying “God says to me that…” – just anything, anything except admitting that we’re wrong. Anything except admitting that we’ve mistreated others. Hypocrisy is heavy on this one.

Everytime I travel somewhere for work, I would set my alarm at 6 or 7 in the morning so that I could get up and get ready. I’d wake up early everyday. The thing is, in the weekends I wouldn’t set my alarm because of course, no work in the weekends. I would love to sleep in. But guess who wake up at 6 or 7 diligently on Saturdays and Sundays? Your girl, Kitty.

What I’m trying to say is our mind creates pattern. We can’t help it, it just naturally does. So when people deal with hypocrisy over and over again and it comes from people of the same faith over and over again, our mind can’t help creating a pattern. Unfortunately, this pattern applies to your religion, your race, your family’s name, your job, etc. Our mind can’t help but creating a pattern that associates certain behaviors with certain group/race/religion. Just like my biological alarm associates “Kitty” with “Waking up at 6 AM every single day including Saturdays and Sundays”.

We can argue all we want that not all Christians is hypocrite, or not everyone from this group is criminals, or not everyone from that family is a mess. We can even come up with legit proofs and in-depth research to support our arguments. We can scream unfairness! We can say we are being treated with such stereotypes!

But our opinions don’t change the world. Our action does. A lot of times it takes a lot of action to proof otherwise.

Christian, to some people, maybe you are the only Jesus they see. Maybe you are the only Islam representative that people know. Maybe you are the only black American friend people have. Maybe I am the only Indonesian you know.

Make it good. Choose a good name. Pave a different pattern.

Like Falling From The Sky

Some parts are blurred for confidentiality.

Some parts are blurred for confidentiality.

It was like falling from the sky. I had not even left the parking lot of my day job yet that Monday when I checked my phone and saw the voice mail. The lady on the other line said that there is going to be this training from the U.S. Department of State where they are going to need Indonesian interpreters. The lady asked if I would be available from a certain period of time at this location and she also stated the agency where she is from. She wanted me to give her a call back and inform her whether or not I would be available. Which I would. I’m writing this from my hotel room away from home in Lexington, KY. I still have 3 more weeks to go.

Instead of giving her a call back immediately, first thing I did was looking up her agency since there is always a possibility of this opportunity being a scam. I figured I have never sent out my résumé to them but then I found out that they aren’t a scam either. From people’s review about this agency that I read on multiple sites, they seem to be pretty legit. When I’m sure, then I called her back.

I’m glad you are available,” said the recruiter, the same lady who left me a voice mail. She continued, “I’m going to put the contract together for you and by Thursday we should have your flight, hotel, and rental car booked for your stay. Seems like you’ll be leaving next Friday.” I didn’t know what to think. One, because it all happened so fast, and second, because what I made one week in my day job would be what I’d be making one day in this job.

As I said, I have never sent out my résumé to them. The opportunity was like falling from the sky.

***

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. – Deuteronomy 8

When I first got my contracts to teach the Indonesian language to the U.S. military personnel in Montana and California, I thought my career would just take off from there. It was all good, it served me and my husband well. We both got a chance to see different parts of America through the job that I had. I started to get comfortable.

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God..” – Deuteronomy 8

Well, it all stopped just in time, just in time to keep me humble and to remind me to be humble. The way I see it now, probably if I kept getting those contracts regularly, there was a possibility for me to get a little arrogant. I stopped getting those contracts after San Diego. Once in January there was this similar opportunity coming up but for some reason, the door was closed. But now your girl Kitty knows better! I have learned not to complain and do my part instead. I’m not one to sit around and do nothing at home. I love being productive. If I couldn’t get the work with the pay that I want, I don’t mind starting somewhere else. So there I was, applying for an entry-level administrative job. That’s a good thing about immigrants: we understand a thing or two about starting over and swallowing pride. I got the job and excitedly went to work the next Monday. It was in February last month.

Friends, if God were a person, He would be a really good person. Seriously. God has planned it so well that my waiting period was a breeze. My two bosses in my day job were really nice and supportive and my coworkers, they are a blessing. We all would sit together at lunch, sometimes even shared our lunch and just talked to each other. As a matter of fact, I miss them. They are great people, best coworkers ever. I think there is a power in not complaining 🙂

My day job was entering its 3rd week when I received the call. I did not resign right away. I waited until everything was fixed. By Thursday I had my plane tickets, rental car and hotel room booked so I went to talk to my boss when my coworkers were out on the coffee break. I told him next week Thursday would be my last day at work, I’d be leaving Friday. Paul, being a great boss that he is, said, “It sucks you’re leaving us. But see, I have your résumé with me. With your background, sometimes I think to myself – why is she here? If anything, I’d say this to you: I admire how you treat your work with integrity, the smaller-pay ones or the bigger-pay ones. This is an entry-level job but never once you came in late and I notice every time you come in in the morning, you always look all put-together. Always prepared. You gave us quality. Good luck with your new gig. Sucks you’re leaving but I see you’ll go places.”

Thursday, the last day of my job, came really fast. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be with during this waiting season. I hugged all of my coworkers good bye.

***

16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8

It is ok if life is not always awesome because that’s the time we need a lesson about humility. And when it actually is, we don’t take it for granted.

Once again, I have never seen God failed me. He never has, He never will. Watch.

When In Popeyes

Do you know that there’s a new Popeyes Chicken restaurant in Lexington, KY?

As I was driving around today, I passed it and figured I’d stop by for lunch. It was packed! The amount of people waiting to order was as many as the people waiting for their food. It was finally my turn and I ordered. There is this half-a-circle table for 6 by the cashier. There were a girl, her boyfriend, and a group of 2 elder men and an elder lady. One of the elder man told me, “You can wait here,” pointing at the only empty tall chair left at the half-circle table, “We’re all waiting for our food, too!” So I made my way there.

The lady asked me if I were a student, which then triggered a conversation. One of the men shared his story about his grandchildren that he’s visiting in town for the holiday, followed by laughter from all of us at the table. The lady told us how she came to know the two men she was with. One by one our food was ready and we continued the conversation as we ate. The girl and her boyfriend said the chicken was worth the wait and she also likes Chick-Fil-A (great minds think alike. AHEM.). Honestly, if you were there, you would think we were a family eating out. Conversation kept flowing as we were having our meals.

Three elder people, a young couple, and me – a very random combination of strangers enjoying each other’s stories and sharing laughter. The only one thing we had in common is the fact that none of us pulled the ultimate conversation killer out of our pocket: the smart phones.

It was like the good old days when people were more genuine, more sincere, more human, and of course, smarter than the smart phones.

I had a good time.