[Dang Yang] The First Eight Weeks

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It has officially been eight weeks since Matthew left for military training. Longest eight weeks of my life. But praise the Lord, who uses all things to his glory and our benefit. While it has not been easy God has been growing us both in our dependence on Him as well as really testing Matthew in his faith!

Many of you have been asking about how Matthew is doing, what he’s been doing, and how you can pray for him. So here I am, the trusty girlfriend with an update probably more detailed than you’re expecting. But I can’t help it – I’m just get real excited about all the stuff he’s being doing! So I hope this give y’all a bit of insight into the life of Second Lieutenant Matthew Yang.

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The training Matthew is currently at is called iBOLC – Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course. It’s about a 17 week course where future officers learn all the ins and outs of how to be a quality leader! There are about 150 people in his company (or his class), which is broken up into 3 platoons, which is broken up into 4 squads. He spends most of the time with his squad consisting of about 10 other officers. The structure is pretty similar to a typical school schedule – day starting around 5:30AM for physical training (PT) and ending around 4 or 5PM. Depending on the week, the day either consists of classroom time learning or on the field training. Sometimes the on-field training can be up to 4 days where he is continuously out there with no contact. Evenings and weekends he has to himself so he can spend it freely! Usually since the day is pretty packed and intense, he rests earlier in the night or studies for tests/evaluations that he has coming up.

Physical training in the morning is more intense than my hardest workout days. It switches up every day but every other week, they have to do a ruck which increases by 2 miles each time. A ruck is a run-walk at a 15 minute/mile pace while carrying anywhere from 50-80 pounds on your back. So far he’s done 4 miles and 6 miles (doing very well at both) and will eventually work up to 16 miles by the end of the course.

This is all the stuff that each soldier gets assigned and he carries the majority of it on his back the days he’s out on the field. Intense huh?

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Field training has been pretty stinkin’ awesome though. I mean it’s definitely intense and difficult physically, but Matthew has gotten to do some crazy cool stuff that I’ve only ever seen in the movies!

He’s always shooting different kinds of cool guns.

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Everyone gets to blow stuff up together.

 

And Matthew even got to use a ROCKET LAUNCHER.

So sweet.

Anywhoooo!

One huge answered prayer is that Matthew got plugged into a church super quickly. And get this. His church out in Georgia is called Berean Covenant Church, aka BCC. God sure is funny sometimes….Berean is very focused on importance of the Word and sharing that Word with those who have not yet heard it. Unlike the Berean here in California though, it is a smaller church (around 50-70 people) and is predominantly an older, Caucasian crowd. So Matthew brings a whole lot of diversity to the mix!  They have welcomed Matthew with open arms and in great Matthew-like fashion, he has also immediately integrated himself with Berean. It’s been a huge source of encouragement and avenue of growth for him during this very trying season.

Overall, it has been quite the journey the past several weeks and it is only going to get more intense and grueling as the weeks continue – both physically and spiritually. As God puts us through challenging circumstances, he refines and purifies us, which is exactly what God is doing with Matthew as well as our relationship. Praise the Lord for his good and sovereign plans to make us into his image and to use us for his kingdom work!!

 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1) How often do you and Matthew get to talk?

 It’s not as terrible as most people think it is. We get to talk pretty much every day, unless he’s out on the field for multiple days at a time. Usually just on the phone but a lot of the times when we webcam, we’ll watch our fav TV shows together and stuff. Nothing beats being together in the same place though so we’re still adjusting to making long distance work! 

2) How much longer is Matthew’s training?

 IBOLC will go until the later half of August and then afterwards, he’ll have a short break until he’s off again for Ranger School. That’ll be about 2-3 months of no contact training until he finishes and then goes off to additional specialty training! Then he finally makes his way over to Fort Drum, New York. 

3) Can he communicate with other people? When is a good time for me to talk to him?

 YES! Like I said, he has his evenings and weekends free so he can talk to people anytime then. Even though he’s all the way across the country, I know it always means a lot to him to hear from people back home. So definitely give him a call, shoot him and email, send him a text! It’s a 3 hour time difference so when he finishes training over there, it’s about 1 or 2PM in California and he usually sleeps by about 6 or 7PM in California (which is about 9 or 10PM over there). 

4) When are you planning to get married and how is he going to propose if he’s all the way over there?!

Beats me. 

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PRAYER REQUESTS

  • For Matthew’s continued spiritual growth and strength. It’s been hard, especially as the weeks get harder and more tiring for him to be on top of spiritual disciplines and maintaining a cross-centered focus. Pray that he would continue to put Christ first in all things and rely on the strength of the Lord to get through each day.
  • For Matthew’s physical strength. Needless to say, military training is no walk in the park. It’s not even a sprint through the park. And this section training is only the beginning of a long road ahead of him. Please pray that God would sustain him physically – especially as some minor concerns are surfacing that we don’t want to turn into bigger concerns – so that he can perform excellently. Not for his own sake, but so that he can show his officers all the more who his God is.
  • For more opportunities to Matthew’s main purpose in joining the military in the first place is to share the Gospel with his fellow soldiers and he really sees the army as his mission’s field. He’s already taken a lot of opportunities to share, be intentional, and bring fellow officers out to church with him. There’s a lot of people he’s already praying for but pray that God would continue to give him boldness in his faith and an even greater desire to proclaim the good news!
  • For him to fit in better with the other guys in his squad/platoon/company. It’s not always easy, especially since a lot of the things the other guys talk about are not exactly uh…appropriate conversation. As a Christian, he sticks out a bit in a way that makes it harder to build relationships with them in order to share the Gospel. “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23
  • For long distance not to be so gosh darn awful. Just kidding! But also kinda serious haha please pray that Christ would continue to reign supreme in our relationship. Any one who has been through it knows that everything is more difficult with long distance so pray that we would be all the more patient, all the more considerate, and all the more reliant on the Lord in order that He would shine clearly through us.

 

Matthew and I thank you for tuning in and for your prayers 🙂

Over and Out,

Juang

[Foodie] Vanilla Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

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Hey there guys!

Not gonna lie, this past week has been a bit of a rough one. Missing Matthew, missing home, missing working, missing friends. It’s hard when it really gets to you all of a sudden but even in just that week, God showed me how quick I am to look to my own needs instead of to His goodness. When my eyes are focused on me instead of on the Lord, it’s insane how fast my heart grows bitter and I start worrying about everything. How silly of me to fret when I have an all-knowing, all-mighty, all-loving God who knows me and his plans for me better than myself.

I memorized this a long time ago, but I need to meditate on it more often. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalms 139:13-16

So as I’m getting over this funk, I decided to make some pancakes for dinner because breakfast for dinner always brightens my mood! Why not?! Some good homemade pancakes make everything a little better. My good friend Meghan re-introduced me to the wonder of lemon and poppy seed as a dynamic duo and I’ve been meaning to make a pancake version with them ever since.

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Meghan also introduced me to the wonder of substituting maple syrup with Agave nectar – PURE GENIUS. Add some diced strawberries on top of those bad boys and you are rockin’ and rollin’!

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My roomie usually responds very positively to basically all food that I make for her but when she had a bite of these pancakes, she went buck wild crazy over them. I’m talking jumping up and down, making yummy food noises, snapchatting it to everyone, making a whole stack disappear in 30 seconds – the whole nine yards.

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And I gotta admit, these are one of my better creations. So grab those aprons and give them a try! They’re perfect for any Saturday brunch, morning breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, and pretty much any occasion you can think of 🙂

 

Happy munching!

Juang

 

Vanilla Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • One Cup of Flour
  • One Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • One Giant Pinch of Salt
  • Two Eggs
  • Three Fourths Cup of Whole Milk
  • One and One Half Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • Two Tablespoons of Coconut Oil, melted plus additional for
  • One and One Half to Two Tablespoons of Poppy Seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps! We don’t like lumps. And then mix in the coconut oil, lemon zest and poppy seeds.
  4. Use coconut oil to grease the pan. Drop in about two tablespoons of batter per pancake and cook on medium-low heat. Flip the pancakes once little bubbles start popping up.
  5. Top generously with fruit like strawberries, blueberries or blackberries and agave nectar/maple syrup.

 

[30 Day Challenge] 10 Random Juang Facts

List 10 random facts about yourself most people do not know. 

  1. I have a big ole scar on my left knee and I like to make up wild stories of how I got it. Holding onto the back of a car on my bike and falling off after a sharp turn. Tripping over rocks on a Girl Scouts outing while running away from a hive of angry bees. Crawling under a fence during a neighborhood game of Hide-and-Seek in the dark. Pretty B-A huh? But really I got it because when I was 5, I tripped over a twig on the ground while I was walking through the park. Not as wild….
  2. Most people know that I’m pretty involved in the orphan care ministry and that I have a huge huge heart for adoption because physical adoption is a beautiful picture of the spiritual adoption I’ve had through Christ Jesus! But I actually really want to adopt at least two children myself once I have my own family. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it’s become one of my heart’s greatest desires to adopt once I got the chance to visit Kenya and see what a difference having a loving family makes. I want to adopt so much so that it was actually a deal-breaker if a guy wasn’t open to adopting! So I am very lucky that Matthew not only is willing to but really supports adoption 🙂
    “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:5-6
  3. So my boyfriend’s name is Matthew and he’s quite simply the best. When I first told my mom that I was dating him, she paused for awhile and then responded, “Did you know that if you were born a boy instead, I was going to name you Matthew? That’s pretty funny huh? You should tell Matthew he’s lucky you aren’t a boy.”
  4. When I was a kid, my life goals were not too ambitious. While most kids dreamed of being a firefighter or doctor or astronaut, I legitimately aspired to be a professional ice cream scooper and the owner of my favorite local ice cream parlor was my hero for the longest time.
  5. I hate crying in public. Or at least I hate being seen crying in public. Ugh I hate it so much. There’s a lot of times at church where I cry during service or worship and I will remove myself until my face has stopped being red and puffy. Or times when I’ve pushed back or even cancelled hang outs with people cuz it’s obvious I’ve let a tear or two go. Even crying at movies makes me embarrassed and I like to blame my sniffling, red nose on the horrible allergies that always seem to come right at the perfect time.
  6.  I am notoriously horrible at responding to text messages and emails. I always liked to think that I was so great at communicating through technology but I really just suck at it. There’s this thing that I do where I look at the message and then I respond to it in my mind and so I think that I have already responded to them and I actually get upset that no one has responded back because common guys, are you not able to read my mind yet??? Or sometimes I read messages while I’m doing other stuff and it doesn’t even register in my mind that I read it until it’s like 5 weeks later and I’m wondering why I have all these open messages that I don’t remember. Or sometimes I just don’t feel like texting someone back because my fingers feel tired.  I am so sorry if this applies to you. Please be gracious.
  7. I’m proudly 100% Chinese (Taiwanese for those of you who are picky) but I have managed to convince people over the years that I am part Filipino, Mexican, Cambodian, and my personal favorite, Jamaican. The best part is when people respond by saying “Oh my gosh I can totally see it!” heheh. Sorry to disappoint!
  8. When I was a little kid, I was a TOTAL bully. And not bully towards just anyone but exclusively towards boys [who obviously had cooties so it’s ok]. I think it came from growing up with a bunch of boys since my parent’s friends all had boys that were around my age so you know, I had to stand my ground! It got so bad that when we were 4, my friend Kevin didn’t even want to come play at my house anymore because I would always beat him up or take all his food and then get him in trouble for something he didn’t do so that he would go away [sorry Kevin!]. When I was 3, my parents gave me a gift to give to my friend Clifford for his birthday and after I saw what it was, I took it back and kicked him because I wanted it for myself. I’ve definitely grown up a lot since then and have learned treat my main man much better 🙂
  9. I never cared much for my last name until I got to college. Actually, I never even really liked my last name until I got to college. It was always a nuisance because no one knew how to pronounce it, no one had ever heard of it, and it was just kinda weird sounding. But somehow my last name became this big thing in college where people would just refer to me as Juang or give me weird nicknames based off my last name and I came to really appreciate how unique it is! Now I love love love and am super proud of my last name. I’m kinda bummed I’m gonna have to change it once I get married. No more Juangle Fever :/
  10. I think anyone who’s ever met me know that I’m an extrovert but it’s to a pretty extreme extent. I love being around people whether in large crowds or even just one other person because being around people just gives me so much energy! Being by myself is actually more tiring for me. It’s surprisingly hard for me to be alone for extended periods of time and I’ve realized it’s something not a lot of people understand because I’m just such so people-oriented. For example: when I moved into an apartment my Junior year, my roommates would have take turns being in the apartment with me at all times because I would get super sad if I was by myself for more than like an hour. While most people need a day to themselves every week or two to refresh, I only need one once every few months and it’s only if I’m feeling really overwhlemed. When I think about it, that’s probably why I loved being in UCI Housing for three years – you’re never alone for even a moment! It’s taken a lot of time for me to get used to and to enjoy being alone, and even now, I get really antsy and start feeling pretty lonely if I’m by myself for too long. So pretty much, just come hang out with me, everyone!

 

Whew. Hats off to you if you already knew a good chunk of these! But you learn something new every day right?? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

 

Have a beautiful day!

Juang

30 Day Blogging Challenge

My dear friend Sharon recently started a 30 day blogging challenge and challenged some of her friends to tackle the challenge, too! So, here we go 🙂 Get ready to learn probably more than you’ve ever wanted about me!

30 Day Blog Challenge 

  • List 10 random facts about yourself.
  • List 10 random facts about yourself that people might not know.
  • Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
  • Describe your relationship with your spouse. (if unmarried – describe your relationship with your best friend).
  • List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
  • What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
  • If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
  • What is your dream job, and why?
  • What are 5 passions you have? 
  • List 5 people who have influenced you and describe how.
  • Describe your most embarrassing moment.
  • Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
  • Describe a typical day in your current life.
  • What’s the hardest part of growing up?
  • Describe 5 weaknesses and strengths you have.
  • Describe when you knew your spouse was the one or how you fell in love. 
  • What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
  • What is the one thing you wish you were great at?
  • What do you think your spouse loves most about you? 
  • Describe your perfect day.
  • Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
  • Describe your relationship with your siblings.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
  • What’s your favorite holiday and why?
  • What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about this season in your life?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
  • What is your favorite part of your home and why?
  • What’s your favorite quality in your spouse?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
  • List 10 things you hope to be remembered for.

 

 

I know it’s going to be an abundance of posts, but I’ll be alternating between some of these and other random posts too so bear with me! And enjoy! If you love to blog, I welcome you to join me in this blogging adventure too!

 

Juang

The Juang Family Reunites

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Oh gosh I never appreciated having the whole family together until this year when my sisters grew up and left for college while I stayed down in Irvine after college and my parents became empty-nesters up in the Bay. No more family trips to different places, no more family trips down to visit me. Boo. Guess you never know whatchu got till it’s gone!

That’s why being able to visit home and my sisters up in Davis was such an incredible blessing. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to enjoy a full week at home with the fam and it was….just so good. I didn’t realize how much I needed it and it really felt like God just refreshed my entire soul.

My parents wanted to me get home by Thursday night so that I could wait in a ridiculously long line with them for the opening of 85C Bakery near our house….which I could easily go to whenever I want in Irvine. But it was good to see them happy over little pastries 🙂

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I even got to go shopping with Mama Juang and see how vastly different everything in Palo Alto is. The Apple store at Stanford Shopping Center is literally the largest store I have ever seen with my own two eyes.

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Spending time with Vera and Djebbie brought me so much happiness I don’t even know how to put it in words. These two ladies are practically family to me. I would literally move home just to be closer to them because God has truly blessed me with these two sisters who have been there for me ever since our diaper days. The princess, the powerhouse and the problem apparently we have been named!

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Finally finally I got to visit my sisters up in Davis – literally cow country. My twin sisters have faithfully visited me every year in college and I was extremely bummed that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do the same with them once they went off to college because of work. Yet another joy of being unemployed is I get to run around and visit whoever I pleased whenever I please!! Heheh.

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They bring me so much joy. Truly, I am the luckiest sister in the world to have these two lovely seastars!

Adventures abounded immediately as Isabel took me for a tour around Davis….in 95 degree weather. Thanks lil sis. But right after Angela brought me to her favorite place on campus that sells the best ice cream sandwiches of all time. We pigged out and then poured our hearts out to each other about how God has been growing and challenging us over the last few months.

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I got to see visit their fellowship, their dorms, their favorite foodie spots, meet all their friends and future roomies, use up all their meal swipes and spend time with my two favorite weirdos.

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For the first time in almost half a year, our whole Juang family was reunited in one place when my parents drove up to spend the day with us in Davis. As an early birthday celebration for Papa Juang, we went on a walk through the Arboretum at Davis and saw an entire flock of baby duckies! Definitely a first time experience for us and they were so so cute!

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Mama Juang told us to open our eyes for the picture but apparently only two of us got the memo.

image_7So pretty much, this was a fantastic week and I love love love our Juang family 🙂 Already counting down until we are able to reunite again!!

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Juang