Rangers Lead the Way

So Matthew left for Ranger School yesterday and to be honest….I am a mess. I’ve cried so much the last few days that I think I’ve literally run out of tears. As much as we talked about it and I mentally prepared for this day to come, it’s still surreal that it’s all happening and that we will be spending the next 2 to 4 months in silence. But times like these continue to test the foundations of our relationship and ultimately our faith to see how our response is rooted in Christ.

Naturally, to deal with my copious amount of feelings, I have decided to channel them into a blog post about Matthew leaving for Ranger School. Bear with me…there are a lot of feelings to be felt! To make it easier for those reading, I’ve broken up this post into two parts: a general Ranger School outline and my personal thoughts/reflection leading up to this point. Both, I feel, are important pieces of this chapter of life God has given to us and I hope that both can be give you clarity on what it’s like to be an army relationship.

 

A Ranger School Breakdown

Ranger School is approximately a 2 month course where soldiers are pushed pass their limits and then some. Any soldier can get a slot at Ranger School but it’s pretty difficult unless you’re a part of the Ranger Battalion (basically means you are or are going to become a Ranger) or you’re in a heavy combat arms branch, like the Infantry. For Matthew, being an infantry officer with no Ranger tab pretty much means you get zero respect and we can’t have that now can we? So he’s gotta brave through this treacherous course and prove that he’s got what it takes to keep up with the toughest of the tough.

Ranger School is essentially divided up into 3 phases: Benning, Mountain, and Florida (Swamp). During Benning Phase, the first week is called RAP week (Ranger Assessment Phase) and it is where 30% of people fail. Why is RAP week so hard? Very simple – they try hard to smoke you out. Within these short 5 days, soldiers are expected to complete the following: a RPFT (Ranger Physical Fitness Test) consisting of push ups, sit ups, and a 5 mile run; a 5 hour land navigation course, the Malvesti course (just imagine the hardest obstacle course conceivable); a 12 mile ruck; and unending missions practice. And if that’s not enough, they only get 3-4 hours of sleep a night with just enough food to keep them functioning. If you fail RAP week, you get kicked out and have to wait until there’s an opening in the next class of soldiers going to Ranger School.

Once you’ve passed RAP week, you only have to repeat each individual phase if you don’t pass. This is called “recycling”. You can only recycle each phase twice before you get kicked out of Ranger School. This is why it can take up to 6 months to pass Ranger School – very few people make it through Ranger School in one-go because most repeat or recycle each phase at least once. Some other ways you can leave Ranger School is for medical reasons or if you get peered out (or voted out by your fellow soldiers).

The nice thing (army girlfriends and families, you will be overjoyed to know this) is that they actually have an 8 hour pass in between each phase (if they pass) where they are able to leave the training grounds if someone picks them up and takes the home. While this means a sweet reunion for loved ones, for our soldiers it means getting laundry done, supplies replenished, and as much sleep as possible on an actual bed. But it’s definitely better than nothing and offers a little bit of hope to get you through to the end. Soldiers can also receive mail & care packages throughout Ranger School, but they don’t always get them until the very end and it’s pretty hard for them to write back. BUT you should absolutely write to them, encouraging them to push through and reminding them of how much they are loved. You have no idea how much a simple letter can mean.

[If you would like to send Matthew mail or a care package during Ranger School, please reach out to me and I will get you his mailing address.]

As you can tell, Ranger School is pretty hard core. The one piece of advice Matthew got over and over from soldiers who have already been through the course is to bulk up as much as possible before you go because apparently, guys can lose up to 30 pounds during their time there. It ain’t pretty. This isn’t completely accurate anymore but if you wanna see a small glimpse of Ranger School, check out this clip from the show, Surviving the Cut. You can find the full episode here.

Oh and I forgot to mention – Ranger School only has a 48% graduation rate which you better believe Matthew will be a part of. Rangers Lead the Way!

 

The Girlfriend’s Perspective 

Before Matthew and I even started dating, I knew that our relationship would not be an easy one and that difficult seasons like this would be inevitable. Yet I made the decision that this fine fellow was one worth taking the risk, trusting in the fact that our sovereign God knew what he was doing. There were times when we would sit down to talk about the reality of what’s to come and I would freak out because seriously – what girl wants to be told that their boyfriend and potential husband will have to spend months at a time away, could very possibly be absent at milestone events in your relationship, and might go to war but not come back? No girl, that’s who! But a wise sister in the faith reminded me that God gives us sufficient strength for the day and when the time comes, he will give us sufficient strength to overcome whatever He gives to us. And so over the past year or so as we prepared for what was ahead, God taught me how to continually cast my burdens on him, to give my fears over to him daily, and to trust in his sovereign plan for me and for my relationship with Matthew. Now, I need to remember that more than ever.

As the day drew closer, the reality of what we are about to endure through started to get the best of me and it became nearly impossible for me to hide how I was feeling to Matthew. It was like a waterworks show every night for the past week -_- I can’t even imagine what Matthew must be going through as he prepares to leave for Ranger School but in our last conversation before he left, he said to me, “We’re going to be ok. We’re gonna make it through this together. Remember the joy you have in Christ who will never leave your side.” SERIOUSLY? He’s comforting me and reminding me to persevere and to cling to the truth as he is about to leave for possibly the hardest course of his life. I am a lucky lady to have such a loving lad.

But he’s completely right. The way my response to this difficult time differs from others is a huge testimony to how as a Christian, my hope is found in Christ. To remember that there is a great joy to be had in the face of struggle because Christ is greater than these passing days and his unwavering love compels me to seek out a greater purpose through it all. Yes, this I know. And this, I hope one day very soon I will be able to share with you that are truths I can personally attest to. But in this present moment, I am quite frankly having a very hard time. Please pray for me to know with my heart and not just with my mind the hope that I have in my sweet savior Jesus who always provides a joy unmatched by anything on earth.

The hardest part, I think, of being an army girlfriend is the complete uncertainty of what to expect. Sure, ultimately everyone is uncertain of how their relationship will play out in the future and to a certain extent, we can only plan so much. But in an army [and really, any military] relationship, you have so little control over what or when things will happen that it gets hard to plan even practical decisions in a relationship. During IBOLC, we didn’t know if Matthew would have to go to Ranger School right away or if he would have a break to come back and rest. As we prepared for Ranger School, we had to plan with no idea if he would actually pass each phase or how many times he may have to recycle. Even now as I am mentally trying to prepare, I have no idea if I have to wait patiently for 2…3…4 months…or longer until he finishes. And after that, we don’t know how many speciality training schools he will be placed in before he goes to his station. I literally don’t have any answer for anything but as mind-numbingly frustrating it is, I know that this is exactly how God is answering my prayer to trust him more. To entrust him with all that I have and to not rely on my own strength or plans. To live one day at a time, not worrying about tomorrow but being diligent with what God has given to me today. The pruning hurts, but the fruit will hopefully be much greater.

 

Now the countdown begins. Only 68 more days until I can see my best friend again. But for now, I remember and am thankful for the happier times we’ve had and I look forward to a joyful reunion ahead.

And if anyone wants to be a friend and eat away all my feelings with me, holla.

 

Over and Out,

Juang

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[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

Joyful Unemployment

Throughout college and even in the years before, it was always hammered into my mind that it was essential to find a solid job in the field I wanted in the dream position I wanted right out of college. Not having a career-oriented job was unacceptable. Not having a job at all was unthinkable. In a society where one’s success or worth is often measured by the size of our paycheck or how quickly we are able to attain a reputable career position, it’s no wonder that so many people have tunnel vision to getting a job the second you have your diploma. I was definitely no different. While it is by no means a bad thing to have a great job as a college graduate, God has shown me that all is not lost if I am unemployed by taking me on a vastly different career journey than I originally planned.

When I got my first job a week out of college, I felt like I was set. It was in the field I [thought] I wanted to be in, in a higher position than I had expected, and I was making enough to keep up my California lifestyle. As someone who has always been really involved and busy with work, there was such a fear of the unknown future when I became unemployed and even more fear that came from realizing that I wanted to be in a different field. Great embarrassment and shame from telling people I wasn’t working but God used all those things to give me a more joyful unemployment by teaching me to trust in Him.

There are obvious benefits to being unemployed.

  • I don’t need to work. Enough said.
  • I can catch up on all that sleep I missed in college. And then some!
  • There’s no need to fight for machines at the gym when everyone else is at work!
  • Being able to meet up with other people with off schedules is way easier, especially students, family, or church families.
  • I can actually go outside to enjoy the beautiful SoCal weather instead of being bundled up in an office with the AC blasting.

But even greater than those, God has revealed to me that this time of unemployment is beneficial and even necessary for me during this period of my life for a purpose. Over the last few months, God has slowly taught me these joys in unemployment, too.

  • To find contentment in this season of life instead of always looking to be somewhere else. It’s really easy to wish I was working, wish I had a full-time job, wish I was anything other than unemployed but that brings so much frustration and sadness!  Instead, I’ve been trying to make the best out of this season God has given me and it’s showing me how important it is to find contentment not just in unemployment, but in all things! The grass is plenty green right where I am 🙂
  • There is no better time to be unemployed than right NOW. It feels like the world is coming to an end and I’m never going to make it but honestly,  I’m young, I don’t have any real financial obligations, I don’t have to worry about taking care of anyone other than myself, and I’m not set in one particular career path. There are clear financial concerns that arise from being unemployed but at this point in my life, they are no where near as serious as what they could be later on. If there’s ever a good time to explore, adventure, and be jobless, I’m glad and thankful it’s now!
  • Being unemployed gave me so much time to spend with Matthew before he left. Sounds so simple but it was really such a blessing to be able to do spend time with Matthew as he prepared for his training and to go our road trip together without having to worry about taking time off or not being able to work. It was difficult enough getting ready for him to leave for the military and although I’m sure we would’ve made it work with work, I am beyond thankful for having precious time to spend with him without it getting in the way.
  • Having the freedom to spend my time as I wish has revealed to me where my heart is in regards to my time with the Lord. When I was working or even busy in school, I always felt crunched for quality time in the Word or in prayer and thought that it I “just had more time”. Well now that I have all the time in the world, it is becoming more and more clear where my priorities are based on where I spend my time.
  • Learning to trust in the Lord is much more difficult but much more freeing than I imagined. How easy it is to say that I trust God completely but actually trusting him when I have no clue what my plans are is a whole ‘nother story. It’s been a painfully slow process but learning how to entrust the Lord with everything my future holds has been so sanctifying and has made clear to me that the Lord’s plans are indeed good.

Would I very much like to find a job right now? Absolutely. Am I still eagerly seeking for job opportunities? For sure! Because as the Word says, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4 But I rest assured knowing that God has a sovereign and good plan for me in all things, even if it’s difficult for me to see or understand. Being unemployed at any time is a hardship and is not meant to be easy, but I believe that the way we respond to this season that God may give us shows where our peace and our worth comes from. What a joy and a comfort to know that my identity and worth is not found in the place that I work or the success of my career, but that it is found in Christ alone!

 

Back to the job hunt 🙂

Juang

[D.I.Y.] Happy Happy Birthday Cards

A HUGE Happy Birthday shoutout to my two fabulous twin sisters – Isabel and Angela!!!!!!

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It’s unbelievable to me that they are already NINETEEN. What the heck. In my mind they are forever 10 years old. But I have seen that God has been so faithful to them both, perfectly orchestrating every journey they’ve had to point them back to Christ. They are one of the biggest testaments of God’s faithfulness to answer prayers and redeem the lost. After seven long years of praying for my little sisters, I saw God’s sovereign and gracious hand in bringing them to a saving knowledge of who he is. In his perfect timing and in his perfect way, both Isabel and Angela came to know and love Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior [and within two weeks of each other! Twin power to the MAX]. What a sweet, sweet moment to be able to finally call my Juang sisters my beloved sisters in Christ 🙂

So happy birthday to my dear sisters who I love so much!!! And what better way to celebrate than to go to the happiest place on earth?? DISNEYLAND!

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I was fortunate enough for them to visit me the weekend of their birthday and have a full day to play in Disneyland!! Even though I went to UC Irvine for undergrad, this is the first time in FIFTEEN YEARS that I’ve been to Dland. How sad hahaha but at least I got to go with my two favorite girls 🙂

Ok so all that just to say that my sisters’ birthday was the inspiration for these lovely little birthday cards that started taking over my creative brain. I hate having to pay for cards in general because I feel like I can just make them and so I did! Plus, I feel like anything you make yourself immediately is more personal and more meaningful 🙂

This definitely satisfied my crafting cravings this month. It started with just these two for their birthday…

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…and ended up with all these!

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I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a lot more to come soon 🙂 Hope you guys enjoy and it inspires some card crafting of your own!!

Happy crafting!

Juang

Well, hey there.

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Thanks for dropping by! If you’re here, you probably already know me – Christine Juang, the wild child that God has blessed with 22 years of life, who cringes at the thought of being normal and loves the thrill of anything adventurous. Saved by grace through faith alone, my first love will always be Jesus Christ only because he first loved me by laying down his life on my behalf. Born and raised in the glorious land of NorCal, I’m now taking advantage of the SoCal sun after graduating from UC Irvine this past June. But enough of that. Learn more about me here if your heart so desires :))

When I told people that I wanted to start a blog and the general reaction was, “Oh…I thought you would already have a blog!” I figured it was time to get one going. After all, there are so many thoughts and ideas in this crazy head of mine that I gotta put them all somewhere. Please be gracious, as writing is not my forte and this whole blogging thing is relatively new to me, but hopefully it will serve as an encouragement to you and a way to keep up with this ridiculous life God has blessed me with.

The goal of this blog is really to give God the glory in everything that I do. Why? Because he is the reason for everything I do. Yes…you’ll find copious posts about cooking everything in sight, turning the most random things into glorious crafts, and finding adventure in every corner…but all of these things are nothing in comparison to having life abundantly in Christ Jesus. As my pastor once said, you can exist without Christ, but you can’t LIVE without Christ. Amen to that!

* * * * * * * * *

One other main inspiration for my blog is Mr. Matthew Yang. This handsome fellow here is the sun to my shine, the peanut butter to my jelly, my God-loving, God-fearing, army lieutenant boyfriend. [I know we’re super gross and mushy…you’ll learn to love it kekeke]

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God has placed Matthew in the army as his place of ministry – being a light to his soldiers and fellow leaders – and I have decided to go along for the ride, God-willing. Being in the army is no walk in the park, but dating someone in the army isn’t either. Through this blog, I hope to provide better insight into army life from a Christian perspective so any of you ladies considering dating [or potentially marrying!] an army man can know what you’re getting yourself into, understand general army terms, and know how to better pray for and support your man.

For those of you who know me and Matthew, I am seriously so thankful for all your support already and hope that this blog will also help ya’ll get a better glimpse into where God is taking Matthew in his army career as well as how you can better pray for him. Trust me, he needs all the prayer he can get!!

Well, that’s all for now! Here’s to a fantastic new year and a jolly bloggin’ time!!

Juang