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Tapestry of Musings

Updated: 2018-03-06T04:40:29.091-05:00


The One Where Dreams Come True...


It was spring semester of my sophomore year at FSU – circa 1997.  I was in the thick of my college experience; loathing group projects and exams; dreaming of what my life would be like if and when I graduated.  All important things at the time, but not-so-important in the grand scheme of life.  One thing that got me through the rigors of college was music on CDs.  But let’s be transparently honest here, there were some cassette tape action interspersed in between all of that CD listening.  I remember one summer in particular - jogging in the evenings, and often thinking about how incredibly cool I was.  Cool probably isn't the best term to use here because the oppressive heat and humidity that beholds Tallahasseeis quite fierce and allows nothing to be "cool."  Maybe what's more apropos is "hot stuff."  Yeah...because by the time I finished tying my shoes outside, I was sweating already, but what set me apart was that I had a Walkman with a mix tape in tow – oh how the finer things in life have escaped through the cracks of aging. Back to the music...more specifically, “New Age” music.  I’m not referring to weirdo New Age religion; Wikipedia aptly describes “New Age” music as “a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism.”  So the artistic inspiration part…yea, not so much.  The relaxation and optimism aspects of it were the more sought after qualities.  I’d listen to this stuff, especially Jim Brickman (America’s Romantic Piano Sensation), for what seemed like hours upon hours in hopes of doing better on my exams and class assignments.  But these well-intentioned studying habits would often devolve into me daydreaming about an eventual idyllic life of being married to an incredible and loving wife; and then eventually growing our family by having super cute and bright kids.  So here we are…about 20 years later, I still listen to this music, now albeit at work on most days, and on occasion, with Meilyn in the car with me trying to convince her that this type of music is beautiful and that she should appreciate it because after all, this is “America’s Romantic Piano Sensation” tickling the ivories.      When Jim Brickman released his third album, “Picture This,” I rushed to Spec’s music to purchase a copy of the CD.  One song from the album was titled, “First Steps.”  I was enamored!  To the point where I thought I was going to make a killer family video one day with that song as a backdrop to reminisce about our awesome son or daughter.  Well…the overzealous idea birthed from the 20-year-old version of me is finally coming to fruition 20 years later.   In 1997, I had illusions of me being this great guy – deserving of girlfriend and wanting to settle down after college.  The next 10 years proceeded to be a long sobering reminder of how imperfect I was and how much I was in need of a Savior who would turn my spiritual infancy, quick temper, and OCD ladened tendencies into redemptive qualities that would someday compliment someone else's walk with Christ (cue Amanda's entrance into my not-as-awesome-as-I-thought life).  So since then, life has been clearer and more purposeful with her by my side.  She has shown me aspects of Christ through her kindness, gentleness, calmness, and loving nature.  I’m forever grateful that she has invested the last two plus years of her life raising our baby girl into a thriving and healthy 2-year-old.  Our daughter is everything I dreamed my first child would be like and more.  Amanda, through her words and actions, reminds me every day to strive to be more like Christ, and to love our daughter more gently, patiently, and graciously.There are many days interspersed throughout year, not just days leading up to Mother's Day, where I wish my mother was still alive to see our baby girl grow.  I would want her to [...]



Had the pleasure of going to see a movie with Amanda and my in-laws yesterday. We went and saw "The Help." If you're reading this and haven't seen it yet, I would highly encourage you to do so. As my mother-in-law said, the story isn't just about the racial hardships that people had to face and deal with, but almost more about the human spirit and how we ought to be treating one another with kindness and dignity.

I'm ready for Fall to come knockin' on our door...aren't you?


The One With Charles' Harvest...


(image) A summer morning dawns beyond the horizon. There's coolness seeping from the rising mist. The morning dew nourishes the undulating meadows. And the melodious sonnets sung by creatures here below resound into the soul of the weary. Laden with the burdens of the world no more, you rejoice forever in His promise.

For Charles

I had the tremendous honor and privilege of knowing my grandpa, Charles Romans. He was kind, caring, generous, quick-witted, humorous, and a man of God. His heart was full of gold. His love unwavering. His wisdom richer than any earthly treasure. There was one day where I got a chance to soak in those very riches. Amanda and I had traveled up to Albany for the weekend to see the family. While the rest of the family was inside the house, I took grandpa out on the porch and we rocked away as if we had known one another for years. He had a way of making you feel if you were the more important person. But I knew better that day. I knew at that very moment that he was sharing bits and pieces of his legacy. . . or better yet, his life's harvest.

We talked about a myriad of things that summer afternoon. But it was his childhood memories that I remembered most. He told me about how he grew up on a farm and had to work really hard as a young boy. The little boy inside of me wanted to be a farmer that day. I don't know what it was about his farm life that piqued my interest, but to me it just seems like those who have had that experience are better people. It could be their work ethic and humble background that separates them from the average Joe. Now I don't know this to be true or not, but I assume he was part of some harvests on that farm. It doesn't really matter that they were big or small...plentiful or not. I want to believe that those seasons on the Romans farm taught him how to sow the seeds of life. They say that a harvest usually marks the end of growing season.

Grandpa, your work here on Earth is done. Your harvest is plentiful. I feel it in the warmth of Grandma Mae's hugs. I see it every day in Amanda's eyes. I feel it in Tonya's love for me. I soak it all in through Buddy's teachings. And I see it in Chad's generosity.

Thank you for the life you lived. Thank you for the love you gave. And thank you for letting us be a part of your harvest.


The One With Updates...


Just a quick entry after being on a long hiatus. If you haven't noticed already, Fixedfront Valley has taken on a new look. A couple of things have been added/edited/deleted from the sidebar to your right. I'm going to try and keep things a little more updated in the coming year. "Try" being the operative word here. At the minimum, I'm going to regularly switch out the music that's in the "Music For The Soul" player and change up the background scenery to reflect the seasons in life. Maybe also some good thought-provoking poll questions and the addition of pictures to the slideshow. Stay tuned for those updates and a meatier entry to come. In the meantime...

Grandpa Romans went to be with the Lord at High Noon on July 4th. Amanda reminded me that I had written an older entry talking a little about him. I will miss you, Grandpa. You're the only Grandpa I ever had and I'm honored to be called your grandson.

~KH (George)

The One With Legacy, Heritage, And Fall...


Out of the darkness and into the light. A long season of life has passed without much plight.That pretty much sums up the past five months or so. Life has been somewhat mundane but not without a few minor blips on the radar. A month after my last entry, I winded up purchasing a 2003 Mazda Protege5 and selling my 2008 Mazdaspeed3. With the generous help of my father-in-law, we left Albany on a Saturday afternoon and picked up the Protege5 in Atlanta. We got back pretty late that evening/morning (it was around 1:00 AM if my memory serves me correctly), and Buddy had to preach the next morning. It was an incredibly nice gesture and Buddy could sense that I really wanted to pick up the car that weekend. He and Tonya had just returned from a long driving trip from central Florida to see Chad. He had been away from home for days, but he was more than game to make this impromptu trek to Atlanta with me. Looking back on it now, it was a good time in the car just bonding and growing closer to him as only a car ride can do. Not only was that time invaluable with Buddy, it gave me and Amanda an additional $10,000 to put into savings for when we have little ones running around. I think Buddy even mentioned that it was an investment for him as he’s chomping at the bit to be a grandfather.In the beginning of July, I visited my dad and grandma in Southern CA. The stay was incredibly good for the soul and belly. Grandma's cooking was on-point and I had plenty of it. Dad and I watched 12 DVDs in a span of three days - Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks are very kind to the wallet...not to mention uber convenient. We also watched lots of World Cup soccer, baseball, and Wheel of Fortune. Grandma and dad had forgotten when WOF came on, so I reacquainted them with it. It was always one of their favorite shows when I was growing up. They both like the simplicity of seeing letters turn (a way to learn English), but even more so, the contestants being greedy and losing their potential winnings to the humiliation that is BANKRUPT. They marveled at how long Pat and Vanna have been on that show. It has been a REALLY long run. Remember when contestants could use their winnings to shop for different items on the carousels? Nobody ever bought that poor porcelain dalmatian.It's weird that when I'm out there I don't feel like I'm as much of an adult as when I'm back in Tallahassee. Maybe it's because both of them feel like they still need to take care of me like when I was younger. They update me on family current events, but what I find even more interesting and meaningful are the stories that Grandma tells me of when she survived the World Wars in China with all of her kids in tow. It's unbelievable the amount of sacrifice she made when she raised my dad and his siblings. She literally starved herself for days in order for her oldest son to buy shoes so that he didn't have to walk barefoot to school any longer. Hiding in trenches while bombs exploded with two children in her arms while being pregnant. The stories get repeated some times, but I don't ever have the heart to tell her. A part of me knows that every word spoken is a driving force to keeping the Kan family legacy alive. I am so incredibly grateful for the way she raised me and Tony when mom and dad had to work 70-80 hour weeks.When I look back on my childhood, I am sometimes astonished that Tony and I didn't turn out to be some hooligans on the street. We hardly got to see mom and dad during the week - except on Mondays, their day off, when they would pick me up from school and we'd go catch a movie, get some pizza, or go to the department store. They each had an important role in how we became to be, but that doesn't mean that I often forget all of the sacrifices they made. I think as I'm getting older now, I want to pry into the past more and more about the hardship mom and dad had to endure when they decided to come to the US. A few hundred dollars and four large suitcases are the [...]

The One About Cars And Dresses...


It's 1:26 in the morning and I'm wide awake. I plopped myself down in front of the computer and felt like I needed to write something. Amanda hates it when I come to bed late...especially 3:00 AM on a work day, but I guess that part of me will never lay to rest completely. For the most part I'll oblige, however, those days when I lived with Howard, I'd be up all sorts of crazy hours writing or reading up on cars. Lately it's been searching for cheap cars on autotrader and craigslist. Hours upon hours have been logged because I have this grand plan of selling my current car; buying a cheaper daily driver; and banking the rest of the money into our savings.What's the reason? my head there are a few:The car I have now is really nice, but I only use it to go to work and backThe more money we have in savings, the longer Amanda can stay home when we have our first little Henry or HenriettaAnd there's something to be said when you find that really great deal! The hunt is fun, and the rewards of your labor can be quite satisfyingThe chances of this grand plan actually taking place are dwindling. I find myself more stressed and tired these days. It's been ongoing for about two months solid and nothing serious has really come along. Amanda has been super patient through all of this. At times, I flip-flopped my mind more than a ball on a ping-pong table. Oh well, if it pans out it pans out. I just thought it was worth pursuing. Only time will tell...I'll end with a semi-quick thought. While Amanda and I were in Walmart this evening, we cut through the women's clothing area to get some snacks and drinks. I saw this cute dress that I thought would look good on Amanda. I pointed it out to her, but she already knew I would say that. She knows me better than I give her credit for a lot of times. Anyways, I quickly looked at the dress and realized there was no way she would wear it because it was a little bit too revealing. What do I know? I saw the color and pattern and thought it was cute. Guys are simple-minded when it comes to that kind of stuff. She then proceeded to say that when we have kids (especially a daughter), she'll have to go clothes shopping with them. She asked if I would let our daughter wear something like that. I joked and said, "definitely!" She probably rolled her eyes down to her feet. OK she didn't do that, but if she could to prove a point, I know she would have done it right there. This little exchange of banter prompted me to think about what kind of father I would be when the blessing of a little one comes into our lives. You know, I'd like to think that I would be a pretty cool and hip dad. One that would make them laugh; one that would take them to skating parties (do people still do that?); one that would cook and make crafts with them; one that would take them clothes shopping (per Amanda's approval); one that would take them to get Fuzions frozen yogurt on a hot summer day; one that would see them graduate from high school and college; and one that would see them live a fulfilled life. All of those things are simple pleasures that make life more enjoyable and serve as potential memories. But the one true and honest thing that I dream and hope for is that when they're adults, they'll know that before they were even born, mommy and daddy yearned for them to know the Lord in such an intimate way that their lives would honor Him and radiate the beauty of His love. I see this beauty before me...right now...every time I look into my wife's eyes when we talk about having kids. The sanctity of life is beyond measurable. And as I close this impromptu entry, I am reminded of the life I have lived and how God yearned for me before I was born. Oh what a feeling!~KH[...]

The One With Georgia Snow...


I took this picture back in November '09 on the way back from our Thanksgiving stay in Albany. Every so often I like to drive up through Cairo and give my eyes a treat. There's a simplistic serenity that back roads offer to a human soul. We drove past many cotton fields on this trip. Some had been harvested, while others stood still at the doorsteps of Winter. I told Amanda how my dad was mesmerized by cotton fields when he made the trek up to our wedding locale just two year before from Tallahassee. He asked himself why a site such as this had avoided him all his life. I felt the innocence of his sentiment. It was refreshing to hear the childlike wonder from him. EDIT*** I wrote the first paragraph a few days before snow actually fell in south Georgia. So instead of cotton fields mimicking real snow, they got the real thing!The sight of fresh-fallen snow on a cold quiet morning brings forth a certain clarity to the human spirit. The white powder acts as a blanket for Earth, and the untouched cleanliness of it is ruined by footprints and tire marks. Soon enough the salt-ridden dirty snow wreaks havoc for a car's undercarriage. I draw this parallel to everything else that's pure in life. My life in particular. It's funny how there are days where I feel that my life honors God. But then there are days where I'm that dirty snow messing up things that are not meant to be messed up. I'm not really thinking of anything in particular per se...more of an overall theme attributed to a life of routine. That's the thing: I really do find comfort in routine, yet its downfalls never seem to detract me far from my programmed mind. The mess-ups come in various forms. They happen accidentally, purposefully, and randomly. But most of all...regretfully. Amanda tends to be the recipient these days of my mess-ups. And depending on the severity of them, her variance of emotion ranges from laughing it off to being quiet until I'm ready to come to her professing my false sense of pride. She picked up on my temperment early on in our marriage...although only two years and three months into it, it's most definitely a relative term. She knows to give me time so that my emotional gaskets can cool off and I can approach her with the decency and gentleness a woman needs to be talked to. In Psalm 51:7, it says "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." I wish I could be whiter than snow more often for Amanda. I wish that for all of the men that have regaled their way into a woman's life. To be a man of God this day and age has proven itself to be a very challenging task. Honoring women as if they're the glass menagerie of your life is the exception to the rule instead of the norm. The path I've taken to get here hasn't been one of ease. Suffice it to say that some major and minor hiccups have knocked me off the steadfast and narrow path on more than one occasion - and still does. The old adage of it's not the destination but the journey seems apropos here. But I believe there is more than just the journey to take in. It's true that wisdom comes from listening and experiencing. Every single person in this world has unique things that have shaped and made them the person they are. At some point in my life, I chose to pursue the truest of truths and the good things that God surrounds me with. Have I been incredibly blessed? There's no doubt in my mind. How did I get to this point in my life while others are suffering? Just look around can find tragedy overlapping tragedy. There's a time for mourning and time for growth. But joy is constant and unwavering. People just arrive at it in different times and places in their lives.In addition to the journey, the the close-knit group that I have held onto so dearly over the years - ranging from family to dear friends - have somehow impacted me to the point where I feel I owe tremendous amounts of[...]



A new post is coming soon (hopefully before February ends). I've been so lazy and have simply just struggled to find anything to expound on. My thoughts have been hanging out in a desert. But today, one sentence turned into a paragraph and I feel there's something inside me that I just want to get out into words. Hopefully I won't forget the thoughts.

Even in its dilapidated state, this blog will always be the home to where I did some major growing up; spiritually into a man of God, and ultimately where Amanda found truths about me that she hung on to before she chose to love me.

Before I sign off, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! Me and Amanda are heading to St. Augustine tomorrow for a two-day vacation. And then off to Annapolis/DC in mid-March. So glad we're getting to travel some together.


The One With Thanks...


Christmas commercials are out in full force, and those unused holes on your belts will soon be unused no more. This time of year seems to fly by too quickly. I still remember when back-to-school stuff was on sale in the beginning of July. Adulthood can’t seem to slow down enough. Amanda and I celebrated our two year anniversary just a couple weeks back. I’d hate to see how all this fast-paced living will be accelerated when we have a child (or two) of our own. I’ll be on Metamucil before you know it and Amanda and I won’t be able to get out of those new rocking chairs we got unless they’re at full momentum. But before we jump ahead too far, I’d like to jot down what I’m thankful for currently before we make the mild trek up to Albany for our Thanksgiving holiday break. I hope all of you who read this will have a joyous time with your respective families and a relaxing and peaceful mini-rest before the hustle and bustle that is Christmas comes a knockin’.

This list has no particular order of importance except for the first one…

Things/People I Am Thankful For

1. Jesus - my eternal best friend who cares more about me than my sins and failures
2. AmandaLyn - you care about what I care about and do so with no complaints
3. Tony - being a brother to you has been such a privilege over the years
4. Julie - thank you for not being jealous of me and Tony spending time together
5. Howard - your unwavering friendship doesn't go unnoticed to this day
6. Harris family - if there were better in-laws in this world, they would be flukes
7. Bruce - your wisdom and friendship continue to make me a better human being
8. Dad - your examples of generosity and selflessness has helped incredibly in husbandhood
9. Dad's trip to Florida back in September
10. Savings account
11. Being a part of a great worship band
12. Friends and family that understand that I am not run-of-the-mill
13. Hobbies and interests (drums, racquetball, spinning wrenches, ping pong, golf, bike riding)
14. A year that hasn't been too eventful
15. Stability and consistency
16. Cranberry juice
17. Crock pot meals
18. Target shopping trips with Amanda
19. Our fireplace
20. Lake Monkey Business
21. A job that has kept me employed for over 11 years
22. Del Monte Fruit Chiller Tubes
23. DVR

The One Where Autumn Rocks...


I was just telling Amanda the other day how I’ve wanted to write something of worth for quite some time now. There have been persistent hints put forth by my racquetball master, Bruce, and heavy tugging from my guilt-ridden conscience. With us being two weeks into the autumn season, I figured there would be no better time to do it than now – although one can’t really tell by the temperature we’re all sweating in. However, I did enjoy the couple days of cooler weather last week. It has been my practice to have an entry of some sort whenever it’s this time of year. Even though it’s only temporary reprieve from the humid and balmy weather that is summer, it’s something that brings a renewal of sorts to my complacent life. Most of the time I can attribute it to the commercials on TV, storefronts with autumn decorations, and the changing of colors, but this year it was kick started by the visit of my dad. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it was for my soul to have him visit all of us for almost two weeks. To have him see his two sons’ lives in full motion with the wives in tow, it was truly a blessing. I have always been fond of the simple moments in life where laughter and dialogue are in the forefront of memories. On one particular evening, me and dad just sat and watched football together while I asked him question after question about our family when mom was alive. What incredible circumstances they went through just to secure the future, which is currently an enriched and plentiful life by the world’s standards, for me and Tony. I wonder sometimes if I had even an ounce of bravery of my mom and dad how much of a better Christian I would be. To be as brave and sacrificial as they were and not know with any amount of certainty what the future would hold for all of us, they sure did make some incredibly hard decisions dating back to our days in Taiwan. I won’t go into details here (I've got in the back of my mind that I'll write a mini-autobiography some day, so stay tuned for those aforementioned details), but I know that every day there are these kinds of stories being unfolded in the world. Not that the Kan family is any more special than the next story, but this was a beautiful story told through my dad’s memory, and I took it all in as if I were back in the days where childhood curiosity filtered all of the cares in the world. There will never be a day where I won’t attribute my best and visible qualities to my mom (my liking of things being clean) and dad (humor), but some missing pieces of the puzzle of how I came to be were revealed to me even more. I am convinced that some of these newfound attributable qualities are what made me even more compatible with Amanda. I am not going to delve into any of these gloat-able qualities, but suffice it to say that I’m glad I was smart enough to let Amanda see those sides of me while we were dating. Enough on this stuff – let’s move on to another subject matter if you will…While I was preparing dinner one evening this week, I remember Amanda saying in a proud but funny kind of way that the world would be handing her an extra hour of sleep on her birthday. Soon we’ll all be experiencing the short-lived days of autumn sneaking into winter, and I will greet those cooler and crisper days with open arms. The week prior to my dad’s arrival, me and Amanda embarked on this little dream of ours of having rocking chairs in our front porch. On our first date in Albany, we talked for hours on the rocking chairs at my in-laws’ house. And it just so happens that ever since I was in college, I had dreamed of either having a wraparound porch with a swinging bench, or rocking chairs on a porch at my first home. How old and senior of me eh? Well the latter came true as of a few weeks ago – only two years a[...]



Amanda and I are all about saving money these days (except when I spend a junkload of money on my car-modding habits). See how you fare in this money-saving quiz.


Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (viewed on 5/25): 8 Turkey Legs

The One With Cholesterol...


I went in for my annual physical yesterday. Amanda and I promised one another that we would do this every year to make sure we're doing our part in staying alive for one another as long as we can. I know there are a bazillion other factors when it comes to good health and longevity, but we're trying to be responsible adults. Yeah, hard to imagine – at least from my half – the word adult associated with yours truly. It’s something I don't usually practice nor do I advertise too much. Moreover, I'm an aging 32-year-old Chinaman who grew up on rice. They say Asians typically live longer. I eat all that gross Asian food and then some, but some of it is actually quite healthy for you. During a stroll around our neighborhood last night, me and Amanda compared our dietary habits. It was friendly husband and wife banter – no gun slinging allowed. She loves herself some Dr. Pepper, French Fries, and potato chips. I like those, too, (sans Dr. Pepper) but I like some not-so-common foods also. Take Kimchi for example: It's sour, spicy, full of garlic flavor (and stank), and is basically rotten/preserved cabbage. A Korean lady told us that's it's one of the healthiest foods in the world. That tidbit of info was somewhat suspect and made a skeptic out of me, but according to this Web site, it's true. Amanda can't stand the smell, but if it aids in me being healthier, I suppose her complaint can’t be 100% warranted. And you can bet I’ll expose our future kids to this fine delicacy.Not to be a walking advertisement for the fine folks at General Mills, but Honey Nut Cheerios really does help lower cholesterol. My level is the lowest it’s ever been since partaking in the activity of getting annual physicals (159 to be exact). My thanks also go out to Mr. Quaker Oats Peaches and Cream Oatmeal and the new dark horse, Kimchi. However, it's "All (isn't) Quiet on the Western Front." My HDL (aka good cholesterol) is lower than it has been before. My theory consists of a couple of things. First, I’m just flat out not exercising enough. I’m not pedaling the bike as much as in the past, but it’s picking up again as the longer days are upon us. I’m not fatter according to the scale, but I have to get that HDL up by getting in more activity. Secondly, my cranberry juice intake has diminished in the past few months it seems. I used to drink a glass every night, but I started to fear the notion of calories before bedtime promoting weight gain, but then I also read that sleeping burns more calories than being fat on the couch. So the juicing at night will return - effective immediately - since it also raises HDL. All this isn't to say that I'm Mr. Healthy or rubbing my cholesterol levels in your face. But I sorta am by putting it in front of you to read. It's more of me letting people know that health is somewhat in the forefront of my life. I eat unhealthy more often than not (Krystal, Chinese food, KFC, Papa John's, Wendy's - you name it, I'll eat it), but I do try to balance it out with good foods and exercise. Being married has given me a different perspective on life as far as taking care of myself from a health standpoint goes. We only have one life to mess up or take care of. Keeping your cholesterol in check is one of those teeter-totter things in life. It doesn't have to rule your world. Nor does it mean just eating celery and carrots any more. Next time you're shopping, check out Buzz in the cereal aisle. And while you're there, pick yourself up some oatmeal since it's good for you, too. Or if you dare, give the Koreans a shout out and infuse some Kimchi into your diet. Hank out!~KH [...]



So here's a musing for you:

I’ve allowed this to marinate long enough. I heard it today and it reminded me of how much I loathe this coined phrase. Thankfully, I wasn’t on the receiving end of it – but have been too many times. You’ve all heard it: “To make a long story short.” My utter frustration lies within the perplexing question of why do people still insist and proceed to tell you a super long version of whatever they’re telling you? This after they’ve given you a glimmer of hope that the suffering is going to be over soon. And yet, the word count continues to climb from their mouths, all the while I’m thinking to myself that I’d rather experience symptoms of the Swine Flu. At least that way I could maybe find slight reprieve for my ears. I think this phrase is a tremendous ploy to get the listener to stay and listen instead of showing disinterest. But the end result is always exactly what they tried to avoid in the first place. You realize that about 20 sentences in from the point of them saying that phrase, you’re just beating yourself to death inside – so upset that you just got suckered into another convoluted story of miniscule details that don’t amount much to anything. The frustration is strong with this one, young Padawan. Here’s a tip to the talker: Next time just tell the story, and let me suffer naturally through it instead juking my mental state. So this goes out to all of you who have been on the receiving end of this fallacy of a phrase. “To make a long story short” – you’re no friend of mine.


Fast and Furious (viewed on 4/5): 6 1/2 Turkey Legs
17 Again (viewed on 4/25): 7 Turkey Legs
Earth (viewed on 4/30): 8 Turkey Legs
The Soloist (viewed on 5/3): 8 Turkey Legs

The One Where East Meets West...


It seems as if most married couples we know these days are either having babies or getting pregnant. I can’t count the number of times people have asked when me and Amanda are going to have little ones running around. There’s no specific time frame, but we know it’s not in the immediate future, unless God has something else planned for us. We realize you can’t ever totally plan for a child to come from a financial standpoint, but goodness, we’ve only been married a year and few months…so we’re really trying to enjoy our marriage without the responsibility of a child or children. Not that having that responsibility won’t come with its own set of rewards, but we certainly are enjoying our state of marriage at this point. We’re trying hard to cement a solid future for not only ourselves but the little Henrys- and Henriettas-to-be. Not that we've picked names or anything, but those are only used as a mock setup type situation. Because our kid won't be from, "How you say...France." Instead I'll beg and plea for something like "Wang Chung Fuey" for a boy and "Fuey Chung Wang" for a girl. Or who knows, we may enact the ancient Chinese tradition of throwing a wok across a room, and naming the kid whatever sounds come from the wok. So yes, there is that chance of little Henry or Henrietta being aptly named, "Ching-Chong-Kang-Kung-Qwan-Tang-Wong-Wang-Ting......Ting...Ting..Ting. Wuo...Wuo...Wuo...wuo.wuo.wuo.wuo.wuo.wuo." I'm just saying, be ready. Amanda’s dream is to be a stay-at-home mom. That’s probably a common dream for a lot of current and future mothers. Time will certainly tell as to how things will pan out for us, but in the meantime, we’ll keep working not only to pay the bills, but to save, save, save. I had this vision of getting all deep and sharing my thoughts on what it means to have children, but I fear that since we're still a little ways out from that actually happening that I would wait and let emotions and true feelings culminate at the proper time. Instead of boring you with those details, I have something MUCH better than that to offer. It's something that will not only knock your socks off but will stimulate you more than any stimulus plan will from D.C. You see, I have a wonderful treat for you fine folks paying a visit here at Fixedfront Valley. Amanda and I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Chinese Christian Church again (ala me and Howard back in June of '06), and I asked her to share a little bit about her experience there. I think it ties in with what I rambled about in my first paragraph. So enjoy and be prepared to be enlightened by my lovely wife…~KH On January 25, Henry and I went to the Chinese Christian Church in Tallahassee. Henry didn’t plan on playing the drums and I didn’t plan on teaching Sunday School, which is a rare occasion. Henry suggested we take the opportunity to visit the Chinese church. We didn’t go there with the intention of finding a new church. We wanted to experience some of the Chinese culture immersed in faith. The service started with praises and hymns to God. The words to the hymns were projected on the wall in Chinese and English. I couldn’t help but refrain from singing at times so I could listen to both languages being sung. As Henry pointed out, the service revealed how God can break down language barriers.After we praised God with a few hymns, a group of children came up to sing Amazing Grace. One child played along with the violin and one played along with the piano. They sang in Chinese and English. At that moment, I lost it and the tears started to flow. I didn’t want to get a tissue because I didn’t want to miss anything. Henry had no idea why I lost it. After[...]

The One With Buddy's Picture...


The remaining moments of 2008 are quickly distancing themselves from my languid mind. On the forefront of 2008 was the assimilation of marriage. And aside from minor adjustments here and there, the bliss that many people tried to convince us of…or sometimes convince us out of, were fended off with me and Amanda’s will to just make this marriage ours and not anyone else’s. I feel 100% successful. God’s role in all of our challenges and successes was clearly defined and felt. And as we traverse the uncertainties of 2009, I am comforted by the factions of Christ Jesus who declares that He was, He is, and He will be. This is not to say that things will be a cakewalk – how incredibly naïve that would be. But having the mindset that reality is a perpetual force that hands you a mixed bag of ho-hums, cheers, and fears will continue to be the driving force of these baby years of marriage. As a follower of Christ for close to 14 years now, I have come to the stark realization of how the fragility of my faith can easily be manhandled by the toils of my ambition. I set out to be the best husband I could be from November 10, 2007 forth, however, many a times I have fallen short and have had to ask God for renewed vigor to battle the weakness that always seem to follow a prideful lapse. And even though I was without Amanda for almost 30 years of my life, I know now that I function better as a servant of Christ because of her. We continue to define our roles in this marriage, and I hold close every moment that passes us by. The promises of what tomorrow brings excites me because I know God will continue to use us to enrich one another's lives, but also reveal ways that we can do the same for people that we come in contact with – be it family, friends, or strangers.This past Christmas, we were handed one of those ho-hum types of moments. We knew heading up to my in-laws that Granny wasn’t doing well. Stage four bladder cancer was what she had been battling for months, and a quick decline occurred the weeks prior to Christmas. We all knew in the back of our minds that this Christmas wouldn't be what we were used to. But Buddy's experience was an entirely different story since he took on the role of primary caretaker for her well being. I won’t go into too many details of it, but I know without hesitation that this man of God, who I proudly call my father-in-law, is God’s grace and mercy personified. Seeing him carry out God’s message at church on Sundays is something to behold. The conviction to which he preaches baffles me because when he’s at home with the family, he’s the coolest dude in the house. He's calm and steady; devout and loving; and all this tucked gently behind his manly facade. Residing mostly to his shed to twiddle out a project or two (you know, easy things like shelves, pedestals for washers and dryers, decks, an add-on dining room, handicap accessible ramps) is his therapy and method of solitude. I’ve told Tonya and Amanda before how cool it is see these different sides of him. Don’t mistake what I’m saying here. Buddy is not an actor of Christianity. He practices what he preaches so vigorously that every time I visit Albany I’m left with a raw emotion that writhes within me…making me want to be that good of a husband, man of God, and father-in-law one day. But in this instance, he was simply a loving son who took the love of Christ and weaved it into every single thread of Granny’s remaining life. Not just reluctantly, but in the most delicate of ways keeping in mind the fragility of her precious life.And then there was Tonya’s quiet, yet, unwavering and resounding support during this huge undertaking.[...]



Doubt (viewed on 12/25): 8 1/2 Turkey Legs
The Tale of Despereaux (viewed on 12/29): 7 1/2 Turkey Legs
Marley & Me (viewed on 1/2): 8 Turkey Legs
The Secret Life of Bees (viewed on 1/2): 8 Turkey Legs
Valkyrie (viewed on 1/3): 7 1/2 Turkey Legs



If haven't, you must. Do it...and do it now for your own good. You owe it to yourself. And plus, it's not Christmas until you have.

---> CLICK HERE <---


Your Neighborhood Karaoke Association



I'm getting old. The thoughts keep getting backed up. I enjoy sleeping earlier these days like normal human beings. But the day will come when a new post will be up. Hope y'all had a good Thanksgiving. Come see our third go around of Behold The Lamb of God on December 14 @ 7:00 PM at First Christian Church of Tallahassee. Remember: It's not all about the presents. It's about being broke and not being able to buy presents this year. And...don't go changing your driving habits just because gas is cheaper than it has been for years. Until then, I'll keep procrastinating until a real post comes to fruition.




The whole election fiasco is over. Now we can transition into the holiday season with no money - how glorious. Check out the new poll and a new link of interest for the folks in Tallahassee. If you don't live in Tallahassee, don't despair, I believe they have a Web site set up for other cities, too. It sure has helped me and Amanda save more money the past couple months. New entry up soon about Thanksgiving or something like that (hopefully).




Please, O' Lord, end the bombardment of all the hateful ads and skewed perspectives in the media of both right and left wing people. Only 11 more days of this muck and then we'll all have to face the aftermath of whoever wins. You think it''s ugly now? Just you wait. We all lose in the end no matter who gets picked. I HATE POLITICS!!!




"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty." ~ George Washington circa 1796


Fireproof (viewed on 9/27): 9 Turkey Legs

The One About Cosmic 9/11...


Out with the old and in with the new. My beloved Subie of six years was sold on August 16 to a rescue diver in Pensacola. I still can't believe the Subaru isn't my car any more. 76 months and 104K miles later, I am now an owner of a 2008 Mazadaspeed 3 in Cosmic Blue Mica - aptly named, Cosmo. Having two Mazdas in the garage now was not an intended goal but more of a serendiptous occurence. Hopefully Cosmo won't disappoint. The Subie left a legacy that is and will always be second to none. Onward to the Cosmic Blue skies... Pardon the unsmooth segue here, but I couldn't help notice that we're on the doorsteps of Autumn. If you have read this blog in the past, you know that it's my favorite time of year. I won't go into it ad nauseum again - you're a smart crowd and I trust that you will figure it out soon enough. Just for fun, go ahead and vote in the poll as to why you like Autumn - sorry no choices for disliking it, you can find something about it that you can tolerate.This past week was the seventh anniversary of 9/11. You couldn't help but see lots of media coverage on this horrid and tragic day in American history. There are tons of stories, essays, memoirs, and I'm sure blog entries about the subject, but I felt compelled to write something - even if trite - about this. I, in no way, expect my short take on this to be groundbreaking or epiphany-esque. I guess it's more of a "I've come to terms with it" type of musing. I've realized over the past few months how truly bombastic our country can be with its press and media. With the presidential debates coming up and the imminent election to follow, it is nearly impossible to avoid the ugliness of this world. I absolutely abhor the coverage of the candidates but yet somehow find myself intrigued, enamored, and being caught up in the thick of it. After all, they're human beings just like us. We all mess up in life. But being in the public eye of scrutiny sure does splat your life for everyone to see. Whoever winds up being the President of this grand ole' country will have his hands full. I do not for one second envy what lies ahead for them. But kudos to each of them for being so courageous and having the human make-up to head up this grandiose task of all tasks. I'm not going to use this space on the Internet as a platform for my political views (or lack thereof). It's rampant everywhere else so I'll spare you the eyerolling ( it too late?). I have never been one to really get into politics. Some people love it; some people hate it; I'm in the latter group. I hate it like Howard hates pineapple and coconut...or if you wanna go that far, Amanda's dislike for hot dogs. Just don't touch it! I guess my emotional and spiritual toil at the moment is something that a lot of Christians and non-Christians have pondered at some point in their lives (some many a times). How could something like 9/11 happen? The families that lost loved ones on one of, if not, the darkest days of America. I'm not even going to pretend to know how they all felt and how they still feel to this day. And how about the families that lost or still have loved ones serving in the Armed Forces? How come it's them and not me worrying and feeling all that pain and heartache? I know if I were them, I'd be questioning my King all the time until I found an answer. Probably mad as all get out, too. But in my little and many times, insignificant world, I feel like there will be more unanswered questions than the answered variety when I cross[...]

The One That Shook...


When I last left off, I was stung, itched, and battered if you will. The scars of all seven bites still serve as reminders of just how fast I need to mow the grass - at least in the summers. Did I ever mention how much I dread the middle months of the year? Well, add yellow jackets to the ever-growing list of things I despise this time of year. Last time I checked, there were none of these demonic things flying around our yard, but I have also been away for almost a week now...perhaps they built another nest underground? Let's hope not.I'm coming to you this time all the way out on the west coast. As the minutes tick away in this early morning, some of you on the east coast will be waking up shortly to the reprieve that is TGIF. Most of you just got paid - and that means most of you will send that money right out the door to bills and such. Not so fast. My dearest friend, Bruce, has been slipping me his copies of Money magazine as of late...and I must tell you, it inspires me to be even smarter with our money. Especially in these financially trying times. At what point in history did spending become easier than saving? I'm first in line as someone who is guilty of that. Most of the time I find no shame in that cold hard fact. But let me tell you somethin', perspectives sure do change when you're thousands of miles away from home; a wife that I miss and love ever more today than yesterday; and routine. Gotta do what pays the bills though. When work calls for me to travel, I've got to suck it up and do the best I can. I suppose it's not as bad as I make it out to be, but come next business trip, my better half will be joining me - I'll bet a hot dog on it!!!Even before I made the trek across country, I still felt unsettled. Maybe it was the busy weekends; or the days where there just wasn't enough time to eat, take care of the house, work on the car, and ride my bike. But when I get back, I'm hoping I'll absorb all the familiarities of living in a warm and loving home. All in this little corner of my world called, Killearn Lakes.For the past week, I’ve been setting up camp at the Sheraton Hotel in Anaheim. Right smack dab in the middle of all the summer tourism next to Disneyland. I was just out here in May with the Tallahassee Posse - excuse the "gang" term, but I've been stuck with 1,600 law enforcement officers learning about gangs all week. The first couple days were great as I got to spend some quality time with dad and Nai Nai. Today I’ll be able to spend more time with family, but the in-between time was hard to bear. These gang conferences take me out of my routine. Add my newly-wedded wife into the equation and that just makes it downright brutal. Some folks thrive on travelling, but this kind of stuff just doesn't amuse me as much anymore. When I went on my first out-of-state business trip, it was all cool cause I was a man travelling all by myself and doing work-related stuff. OK, in no way is there a written rule that you have to do the aforementioned things to prove your manhood. It's not even remotely close to being a rite of passage, but for the sake of being dramatic, just pretend. Travelling is just such a hassle these days. Muse with me if you will for just a moment. I want to bringforth an issue to all of you. It's the almost-for-certain predicament that you're put into when you sit on a plane between two behemoth-sized men (or women) and their BO is kicking more than soccer players do at the World Cup. Add som[...]

The One With Whine...


Just wanted to check in really quick. I've realized over the past few months that there just isn't enough time in a day to accomplish everything I want to. The lingering gout problem is not fun to deal with; hopefully I'll have this cyst removed from my wrist soon; and the seven yellow jacket stings I suffered last week will subside and take these hives on my body away. I went out tonight amid this steamy Tallahassee weather in baggy sweatpants, a hooded thick Biltmore Castle sweatshirt, gardening gloves, and two cans of wasp and hornet killer spray to do a premptive strike on what I assumed was the yellow jacket underground nest. I killed the guard and another one came buzzing around me while I was dousing the hole with the two cans of spray. I shoveled dirt over the hole and jammed as much as I could in. I hope all those suckers die and that none of them will dig their way out. Maybe...just maybe, I'll be digging out the nest tomorrow and in it I'll find the queen. I know I'll still be paranoid when I mow the lawn next time. I can't begin to tell you how utterly afraid I am of these things.

I've been meaning to sit down and write for at least a couple weeks now, but I'm afraid I'm in the cycle of going to bed earlier than my single days. It's probably a good thing, but I do miss the silence of staying up after midnight and just typing away. Hopefully I'll be able to do that one day not too long from now. In the meantime, sleep calls in the form of Benadryl. More whining to be continued...


The One Beyond A Shadow Of A Gout...


Well welcome back my inquisitive friends and family. Come one, come all...A pang of guilt resides within me as my last entry seems like months ago, but, alas, it's only been a month and a couple of weeks. Time has indeed flown by since the new year, but recently I'm wishing it would slow down a bit. About a month ago, I came down with this horrible condition called Gout. For those of you who know what it is, I commend you because the ones who didn't thought it was some kind of horrible disease that was contagious. Now who am I to blame them since this form of arthritis brings upon this sense of putridity and a plain and simple "ewww." Why anyone would name something that rhymes and sounds like the stuff you use to piece tiles together and always eventually gets all grody and nasty is beyond me.My brother had run-ins with this horribly-pained condition before and I remember making fun of him for limping at one point. I know...haha jokes on me. I learned quickly the effects of having gout and how that cripples you to no end. When it's at its worst, the throbbing pain plays second to nothing. Supposedly this whole gout thing happens to older people. My boss gladly informed me that this was an old-timers condition. So much for that "Asians age gracefully" bit. It almost seems as if life is passing me by and handing me things to deal with that I normally wouldn't at this age, but we all know life isn't fair sometimes and you just have to roll with the punches. The pain hasn't completely subsided - it's been a month and a half now - and it crippled me for a few days last month where I couldn't even leave the house. Good thing I have a lovely wife to take care of my every "whining" need. Enough of this harping on gout business. Let's venture down to a more serious matter. I had the glorious opportunity to write the latter part of this entry in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains the other day. It was late in the afternoon and I found a perfect spot to bring a laptop and just write away. It seemed wrong to bring a laptop to where I was - in the middle a stream with trees all around - but it sure did lend a helping hand to getting out some emotions I didn't know were there. So here goes nothing...Nestled in the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains is where I currently reside. It was over eight years ago where Howard and I took a trip up here to God’s country. For the longest time there was a huge picture I hung in my office of this tub mill in the Smoky Mountains. I would often stare at it wishing I could be there just resting in God’s arms…taking away all the cares of the world. Between the years of 1998 – 2001, I often found myself void of this world and wanting to be so close to God. It was the only comfort I knew. It meant that I was close to Mom, too.In 2000, Howard and I took a trip up here to go camping and ride some trails. One afternoon we stumbled on this motor nature trail along the Roaring Fork River. It was a beautiful retreat for the heart, mind, and soul. Shackled up in my Yellow Xterra, we took in the crisp mountain air, the beautiful colors of a perfect sunset, and the rustling stream that accompanied us. Towards the end of our idyllic journey, we came up to a tub mill that reminded me of the picture in my office that had long been my refuge of sorts. Howard was also familiar with this picture and we both thought that this could very well be The Tub Mi[...]