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MOVING

Hey guys,

I don't know how many of you still keep up with my blog, but I've decided to make the switch over to WordPress, to commemorate the new year and a new stage of my life.  I guess I wanted a more grown-up blog to chart my foray into grown-up life.  Thanks for reading and see you on the other side (meaning my new blog: http://lynnettewoo.wordpress.com/)!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Lynnette
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Domestically Challenged

So today, I cooked garlic mashed potatoes, and even peeled the potatoes (the first one took a little while, but I got the hang of it).  And I baked a custard pie.  Oddly, I feel more accomplished today than I felt when I graduated from college.  I really need to learn how to cook.

::tangent alert:: Wow, I just watched my mom take a swig from the sparkling pomegranate juice bottle we bought from Trader Joe's.  And then when Garrett questioned her, she said, "Well, that's what you were gonna do."  No answer for that one.

In other news, I'm seriously thinking about switching to WordPress for the new year.  Might encourage me to blog more consistently if I have a site I like.  I just run out of things to say sometimes (hard to believe, I know).  But I do a lot of journalling and writing already, so blogging takes a backseat.

This weekend has been crazy.  I'm beginning to get worn down.

Wednesday - worked in LA, cleaned the house, home prayer meeting
Thursday - drove to Beverly Hills and back, drove to Gardena and back, worked, guests for dinner
Friday - worked, shopping with Garrett, ROCK Christmas party
Saturday - Aryn's graduation breakfast, cooking (right now), KALEO Christmas party
Sunday - Sunday School & 2nd service, Christmas program
Monday - KALEO small group social

Then again, my boss has four parties in one night, so I guess I have nothing to complain about.  ::sigh::  I really need to get back into the gym.
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Your opinions...


Funny moment of the day: My mom just asked me if I liked "koala pie" (she meant Kahlua).
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Maybe it's because I've been looking at website layouts for work, but I've become increasingly discontent with my blog. I tried a new layout earlier today, but it was too frustrating trying to customize it the way I wanted (I really don't like editing html). I've thought about making it more of a personal website--a blog, about, resume, contact info, portfolio of work. Then again, perhaps it's easier to just maintain a simple blog. Anyways, I could:

a) find a new blogspot layout and try to customize it myself.
b) switch to WordPress.
c) use Lifeyo.
d) stick to what I've got.

What do you guys think should I do?


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Food Adventures: Penang Malaysian Cuisine

Dad was kind enough to finish his rounds and drive me to Koreatown today. On the way, we discussed the possibility of stopping off in El Monte--directly off the 60 freeway--to try Little Malaysia Restaurant. I haven't had good Malaysian food in a while (since London, strangely enough), so I've really been craving something, anything related to Malaysian cuisine.

After a productive meeting in LA, we headed back towards home. Using Dad's trusty Blackberry, we Yelp'd the location of the restaurant. Fortunately, Dad thought to call ahead and find out whether or not they close for the afternoon. And sure enough, they were just about to close. So we changed plans (and freeways) and headed towards West Covina. Dad is something of a human compass; so despite my faulty sense of direction (I'm completely lost without a GPS), we made it to Penang Malaysian Cuisine.

The restaurant is tucked into the corner of the very randomly-located Hong Kong plaza (South Glendora and Vine). Since it was already almost three in the afternoon, the place was pretty much deserted. Not that we minded--Dad doesn't like crowds, and as long as the food's good, I don't care either way. Needless to say, Dad and I were the only patrons in the restaurant.

Penang Malaysian Cuisine is definitely a far cry from the usual humidity, dustiness, and buzz of the open-air hawker restaurants. But I don't expect a southern California restaurant to exactly replicate my travel experiences. It was clean, quiet, and nicely decorated; the ambience was somewhere between a modern Thai restaurant and a Mexican cantina (if you can imagine such a place).

I think I surprised the waitress because I ordered without a menu: teh ice, roti canai, satay, and char kway teow. She actually asked me if I was Malaysian. I suspect most people just look at the pictures and point at what they want, or "point and click" as my dad calls it. Weirdly enough, the waitress is Thai, the cooks are Chinese and Mexican, and the owners are Burmese.

I don't think exported cuisines will ever be as good or authentic as the original, but the roti was still pretty good. It was flaky and thin and the sauce tasted almost exactly like what they served us in Penang. Dad had never had real roti before, so I was pleased that he finally got to try it (I'm dying to take him to Penang myself).

The satay came out shortly after; we ordered combination chicken and beef. Dad couldn't help saying over and over, "it's the best satay I've ever had." And he's tried a lot of different satay. It brought back very fond memories of trying satay from the vendor off the side of the road on the way to Tesco in Penang. The meat has a nice sweet glaze and a smoky flavor, and the sauce that came with it was great. Those who know my dad know that he's a sauce person; I suspect the sauce is what won him over.

Finally, we split the char kway teow. The noodles were actually the kind normally used in pad thai, so that was a little disappointing, and it wasn't as flavorful as I was hoping. It did have a spicy after-kick. I think it's probably pretty hard to match the char kway teow I've had in Malaysia, but it was still edible.

I was telling Dad about how people in Penang are fiercely proud of their food. Although I was only there for three weeks, by the end of the trip, even I was ready to defend Penang's cuisine against anyone from KL or elsewhere. It's been over a year now, and I still miss all of the food and all of my friends in Malaysia. I wasn't blown away by this restaurant, but it was still really fun to go adventuring with Dad and re-eat some good memories.

Penang Malaysian Cuisine
971 South Glendora Ave.
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 338-6138

Sun-Th 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri-Sat 11:00 am - 10:30 pm

For those who might be interested, they also give you a 10% discount, a song, and a free ice kacang (think shaved ice) for your birthday.
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DBC: Shall We Dance?

My friend Aubrie linked this video on FB and I was curious enough to watch. President Dr. Barry Corey (also known affectionately as DBC), discusses the no-dance policy and community standards/contract issue during a Biola chapel. I think he displays a lot of wisdom as well as a healthy sense of humor. Shawdy fire burning on the dance floor...

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Comma

ONE WORD: Comma

I hate the overuse of commas, as well as the incorrect use of commas. People use them as an excuse to be long-winded. Or as a way to skirt the real issue--to be vague or indefinite. Sometimes, you just have to say what you mean.


Usually when I do OneWord, I don't bother reading what everyone else has written. But today, for some inexplicable reason, I did. Some of them are incredibly entertaining, others are completely off topic. Interestingly enough, I noticed many people mistook "comma" for "coma." Is it careless reading or ignorance? Check it out here.

Call me a nerd, but I love grammar. So few people these days understand proper grammar; I'm probably included in that category. More often than not, we see celebrities on TV abusing it mercilessly (to the point where I have to change the channel--it's that painful).

Last week, I was sorting through some of my old schoolwork from elementary school when I stumbled upon my Daily Oral Language composition book. Basically, the teacher put up three or four sentences on the board, complete with grammar mistakes. We were required to copy them down, correcting them as we scribbled onto our wide-ruled paper. That was how we learned correct grammar. I don't remember learning a lot of hard and fast rules about what makes a sentence work. We listened to the sound of each sentence, the clarity of the words and ideas, the fluidity of the words off our immature tongues.

In sixth grade, I did Academic Pentathlon (again, I'm a nerd). The legendary Coach Cooper was probably the first person who taught me how to really write. She taught us to organize our thoughts, to construct an argument, to support our ideas. Then in seventh grade, Mrs. Campbell taught us to "show not tell," to be descriptive and colorful and visual in our writing. Mrs. Hertzig in ninth grade taught us sentence diagramming and showed us how to construct more complicated sentence combinations. And several of my Biola professors (Buck, John Mosqueda, Tamara Welter) taught me a lot about editing and refining my writing.

I think what fascinates me the most about grammar is that it's such a powerful tool, and yet it's so widely neglected. We may appreciate it in its various forms: we enjoy reading good books, we laugh at cleverly-worded advertisements, we arrange our schedules to watch excellently-scripted TV shows. But do we ever take the time to think how important a parenthetical can be, or how much a couple of m-dashes can add? How often do we think about the importance of subject-verb agreement? Do we appreciate that a misplaced comma can completely change the tone and thought of a sentence? Do we acknowledge that some of most powerful people in our day and age wield their power through the written and spoken word?

We sometimes complain about international students having better English grammar than those of us who grew up speaking English as our first language. Grammar, however, does not come intuitively. We often understand grammar through years of experience--reading, writing, hearing, and speaking the language. We know how to use it, how to navigate in the grammatical world of English. But try learning the grammar of another language--Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Spanish--and it's suddenly complicated, convoluted, and foreign. It's no longer intuitive.

Language is, perhaps, one of the things that convinces me that there is a God who created the universe and who sustains all things. The ability of human beings to manipulate language, to construct sentences and paragraphs and books, to communicate through combinations of letters and characters (I can hear Ariel now, "Lynnette, I need to consult you on a matter of semiotics")--who can explain that?

Today's Twittering, Facebooking, socially-networked and Blackberry-dependent culture has shown us a lot about grammar and about writing. We bookmark someone's blog because a) they have access to the information we want or b) they write in such a way to capture our attention and affections (by this I mean emotions, passions, interests). On one hand, our short snippet and tiny keyboard platforms have lead to the abuse and complete ransacking of our grammatical structures. I think MTV culture has only added to the dissolution of English grammar.

At the same time, the need for people to become adept communicators is overwhelming. Whether in corporate business or a simple site in the blogosphere, our increasingly shrinking, globalized world requires that we have people who can write--people who understand that grammar is the fuel needed to give power to their words. So next time you read a great book, or bookmark an awesome blog, be inspired by the beauty of good grammar. And don't forget to how to use a comma.


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Testimony

Just as a follow-up to my last post on Jin:

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I should be asleep...

This evening at ROCK, we talked about the sufficiency of God's grace, particularly in suffering--times of the "thorn in the flesh" (I'm not going through anything as difficult or painful as that, but I am learning what it means to really depend on the Lord for each day). So Tony asked the question, "Are you aware of God's grace during times of difficulty?" But I think it's appropriate to ask, "Are you aware of God's grace each and every day?"

We talked about how God comforts us (2 Cor. 1:3-4), delivers us (2 Cor. 1:8-10), and shows us how He is at work (2 Cor. 7:6-9). One ROCKer suggested that we can experience God's grace in times when He allows us to feel His presence. And then I mentioned that sometimes I read or hear words (from the Bible, from a wise friend, etc.) that seem perfect for my situation--as Tony said, a "word from God."

After our lesson, we broke up into pairs to discuss the lesson and pray for each other. As luck (or "destiny"--providence?) would have it, I ended up with George. It was so encouraging to see how much my "little brother" has grown in the Lord, in discipline, and even just in his view of life. I was able to share some of my own recent anxieties, and the words he gave me were full of both wisdom and concern. Even his prayer for me was a real blessing.

And then when I came home, one of the girls that I'm teamed up with for projects at work messaged me. She gave me a lot of encouraging and sage advice about adjusting to work and finding out what God is calling me to do. Maybe even the feeling of, "Oh, I'm not alone," made me feel a lot better about what I'm doing. I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for me and how He will direct my life, and I'm thankful for the grace He has shown me even tonight.
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On self-control

In Kaleo Sunday School, we've been studying the book of Titus. In Chapter 2, we discussed the importance of teaching "what accords with sound doctrine"--the behavior and lifestyle which is above reproach (2: 1). Paul repeated emphasizes the need for Christians to be self-controlled (or 'sensible'). There are so many areas of my life where I lack self-control; I seem to always be coming before the Lord asking forgiveness for my constant failure. This week, in fact, I've been a little discouraged at my own shortcomings.

As I've had the topic of self-control on my mind, I've also been thinking about what it means to live a life that "adorn[s] the doctrine of God our Savior" (2:10). It seems to me that sound doctrine and a holy lifestyle are inseparable in Paul's mind. Born-again Christians, as Kevin so deftly put it, will naturally put on the good deeds that are characteristic of one who has been transformed by the saving work of Jesus Christ. But that transforming work is--for all intents and purposes--built on the foundation of God's Word. So what we teach, whether or not our doctrine is sound, and how much we read the Bible are all incredibly important.

Okay, back to the main point. I was thinking about self-control and its relationship with holiness, and about my lack of (probably both) self-control (and holiness). Another point Paul reiterates in his letter to Titus is the importance of being above reproach for the sake of the reputation of the Gospel. What can I do, I asked myself, to pursue self-control and holiness in my life? How can my life be an adornment for the Gospel? Anyways, with all of these thoughts floating around inside my head, I came across an article in one of Piper's books, in which he writes:
That is the key to purity and holiness, the key to lasting effectiveness in all of life: constant contemplation of the glory of Christ.
Maybe this wasn't entirely the answer I was looking for, but it struck me as a particularly practical approach to my problem (I apologize, that was WAY too alliterative). To contemplate the glory of Christ is to bring my perspective back into focus; to fill my mind with sound doctrine--about Christ, about my salvation, about who I am in relationship to Him--and let that motivate how I live. When I have a correct view of God, then I can also have a right view of self-control and holiness.

So then, what does it mean to contemplate the glory of Christ? In what ways do you contemplate the glory of Christ?
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Job-related...

...sort of anyways. I've been researching and listening to a whole new genre of music lately--expanding my audial horizons I suppose. Stumbled upon this (though it's not entirely coincidental). Have a listen.


I'm curious; what do you guys think?

For those of you in the UK who are interested in seeing him perform, Jin will be in London this October. I was told to invite you. So click here for more info.