Converting to Catholicism

Thursday, August 8, 2019


A trip to Mexico City to Our Lady Guadalupe in April 2018

Oh my Lord, help me, guide me, why am I such a mess hahaha?

Has been a quick prayer to God in the last 7 mos of my life. I knew early on of dating Aaron, that at some point we would need to talk about our same views of God and faith, but different ways in which we practice, what I refer to as religion.

Aaron is Catholic and I am Christian, and although in the way I was raised, I was taught we are both Christian, but Aaron belongs to a denomination of Christianity. He was taught that Catholicism is its own religion.

But this isn't the place to debate that.

We already have so many beautiful, but definitely differences - country of origin, language, cultural norms, flour vs corn tortillas - you know, the important stuff! The last thing we need going into marriage with the plan to have kids one day is to be different in practice of how we love God, aka our religion.

It boiled down to the fact that it was easier for me to convert to Catholicism in the sense that being a non-denominational Christian, I have more fluidity in how I practice. But Aaron does not, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I think it gives me an opportunity to grow and learn through study, practice, and connection.

I am openly sharing this because I get so many opinions, probably 3-4 messages a day and maybe a phone call a week about all the different opinions of Aaron's and my race, nationality, citizenship, age difference, and all the other things people seem to be experts in our relationship. Also, stop asking me if he is an American citizen; he is a dual citizen of the USA and Mexico, and it's none of your business. Let's not forget that I am the naturalized citizen, NOT born on this soil due to my adoption. I also get "you're so happy", "you're glowing", "you're so in love"...all of which are very true, but all of it has come like anything, with compromise, negotiating, identity forming and reforming...and everything else that goes into both an intercultural and interracial marriage.

So many people I know struggle with these, and I am so grateful they've reached out to me, I have felt less alone in this journey than the beginning.

We discussed at length of what we do agree on in terms of our different religious practices:
We pray to the same God.
We love people and believe and try as much as we can to practice the same scripture, from the same Bible.
We love our faith in God and what God has planned for our life.
We believe in the communion, baptism, and belonging.

So, becoming Catholic, will not change how much I love people. How much I value scripture/literature/devotions/journaling/praying and so forth in my roots as a non denominational Christian. It will not change the way I see the importance of Church in my life or in my future family's life.

If anything, it just enhances it. Academically and socially, I've always aligned with Jesuit values. I believe in assisting those in need, and I believe Jesus would want us to take care of those around us. I believe in heaven and hell...and guess what? Becoming Catholic doesn't change my beliefs in any of that.

Will it change the type of Sunday service I experience? Yes. Will it teach me about rituals, steadiness, and more structured learning? Yes. Will it give me the opportunity to understand the history Jesus has on this earth more? Yes.

I will never understand that in a stereotypical Christian world, Catholicism isn't deemed as "real Christianity", and I do not understand in a stereotypical Catholic world, that Christians are deemed as "Not real believers of Christ".

Me, and others, and probably people you know are living proof that we are tired of this vs them. If we are all of God, our denominations serve God, and speak, teach, and practice love because of God...you think when we get to heaven, God is going to care if I stay non-denominational or Catholic? ...

I believe God is so big that God doesn't put limits on how people worship, but has given people ideas in how to organize it so people can connect to it in modern time. I have found God in a multitude of ways, and it never had a denomination of Christianity tied to it.

Whether it was in college attending mass with a best friend and she would come to Sunday service with me later or post college and I'd attend another mass with another best friend and she would come to church with me later...it was just proof that our Sunday services and day to day practices are different - but our hearts, intent, and love for our Lord was the same.

I am so excited to start my journey here soon. Love may be a motivator for why I am converting, but anyone that truly knows me, my free spirit, and my extreme hard headedness, I don't do anything I don't want to do. No one is forcing me to do anything.

I am choosing to learn. I am choosing to be open for what God has for me. I am choosing to stay true to my values while understanding that a marriage is more than just my free spirit and liberty.

What an honor to live in a country where I can pursue a religion, the freedom to marry someone of a different race and culture, and freedom to marry for love and not for convenience or security.

Cathedral of Aguascalientes - Where we hope to get married!



Engagement Photos: Alki Beach

Monday, August 5, 2019

Aaron and I took our engagement photos this past July with my friend Melissa – Melissa Herold Photography + Design Studio. Melissa was a former student for me who has turned into such a good friend. She has worked for places like Lemonbug, lived abroad, and is an avid traveler. She understands moments and curating happiness. She was the best person to do an engagement shoot with for several reasons – She knew us, knew we weren’t the photoshoot type. But she created moments that made us look like we knew how to hit poses. She also made sure that we had a mix of traditional engagement photos and ones that were authentically us.

Things Aaron and I love to do – Eat, explore parks and nature such as the water, skyline views, and spontaneity. This was very true for our photoshoot with my niece, Gordo (Future brother in law), and my friend V in tow. We were laughing the entire time. We love hosting people and touring them around our city. So the first stop being Alki Beach in West Seattle was such an ideal place. It was gorgeous out that day, and we were able to walk along the coast, breathe in some ocean air, and make a fake engagement where people legit thought we were getting engaged and of course, me being embarrassed, had to yell - I AM ALREADY ENGAGED IT'S JUST FOR PHOTOS. Sweet, I know.

But what makes Alki so special and some of our other photos later on is that one day back in March, Aaron and I had a bad day…just one thing after the next kept piling up, and it became so much that we didn’t get to do anything fun like we had planned. So, as we were headed back to his place in South Seattle, all of a sudden we were on a road that was not familiar. I asked where we were going, and he said it was a surprise. Apparently he told his brother, Gordo, that he promised me an adventure that day, so he was going to keep that promise, even if it was 8pm. A couple hours later, we explored some of the most beautiful view point’s Seattle has to offer of the skyline. We ended up going to Alki at night to walk along the sidewalk and see the bright city lights shimmer on the waterfront. 

Enjoy our first set along the coast! 

Contact Melissa HERE.

Thoughts on being engaged

Sunday, May 5, 2019


Thoughts on being engaged...
I knew for me, committing to someone long term meant giving up some of my free time. To be able to make decisions for myself. To move, go, and be free without having to consider another person. Not that my roaming days are over, I just have more to consider.

So being engaged has caused several thoughts and feelings I wish I heard more about. Other than, "We are so excited!" "Can't wait to marry my best friend!"...I agree whole heartedly with all of these phrases, but I also wanted to post what's been in my journal for other people who maybe took a similar life journey to me - that it may also be normal to be having these thoughts and feelings.

So here it goes...

There is so much out there that tells us we aren't "complete" without a love interest. Which I find to be 100% NOT true, even with someone who I hope to love forever. At this point in my life journey, I know I'd be fine being single and I'd be fine with someone. I love A, he is my person, I don't want to do life without him, but I know I could. Because when your life is whole without someone, you know you actually want to be with them, because you don't necessarily "need" them. That if you build your life - socially, financially, professionally, personally...you have more to give to your life partner. I know that is a privileged statement, not every person has the opportunity to do so...but I am extremely grateful for my family and mentors who have sacrificed and contributed to my development in understanding the difference.

Other perks of focusing on your own life before someone enters it, is that outside opinions matter less, and these days, it seems like weddings are for everyone else except the people getting married. Having time to focus on myself first, also allowed me to experience many life milestones without someone in a positive way, but I'd say being engaged, this is the area that has affected me the most - the change of my identity. Thankfully in Mexican culture & as a bride, I actually keep my last name. So, I was really excited that I didn't even have to have that conversation with A, he already expected that my last name would stay the same.

And I didn't / don't have doubts about my fiance, but I had sadness of the thought of re shaping an identity that I have held so closely for so many years. Most of my home team would describe me as goal oriented, will do anything for my home team, and someone who pursues what I want. Not that I can't and will stop doing any of those, but bringing another person into my life re shapes how I connect to these parts of my identity. Yes, it is growth. Yes, your partner can be supportive and help you achieve and be all of these things, but it's still major change, and a change that you're doing WITH someone.

AND...what I am about to say next made me feel a little heartless, even though I am so overwhelmed with love and appreciation for my fiance. As a society, I think we over celebrate engagements / weddings....honestly...going through some life milestones solo, you know what else has been very fulfilling and life changing? Graduating, investing my time, money, and talent into people & projects, starting a business, getting out of a toxic relationship, my first job, making new friends in a city I just moved to, learning a new hobby or skill, making it through counseling....and MANY other things. So just because I am engaged and it is a major milestone, I also think we could clap a little louder for other life moments that get overlooked.

I wrote this choppily from my journal. Because unlike my fiance who is spontaneous, goes off the cuff, flows with what's next, I have a hard time not being calculated. Like let's eat at 5:35pm, laugh at 6pm, blink at 6:05pm, and let's make sure to dot all the i's, like every single one of them, like they better not look like L's. So, I wanted to take a page from my fiance's book, and be real from day 1 about this whole process.

I love A, he is one of the best thing's that's ever happened to my existence, but I also wanted to put out there that there is something worth celebrating at every mile stone...and there is also more to congratulate at every milestone.

Intercultural Relationships

Monday, April 8, 2019

A: “Linda”...
Me: WRONG GIRL..My name is JAYME (Thinking did he really just call me the wrong name, we've been dating for a week)
A: “I was calling you pretty...Linda in spanish is pretty, cute, etc”

A: “Haina” (Pronounced Hi-nah)
Me:...DID YOU JUST CALL ME A HYENA (Thinking of  The Lion King hyenas)
A: “Haina is Spanish street slang for babe”....

This is just a glimpse of an intercultural relationship with a slight language barrier, we laugh about it now. I’ve been in many interracial relationships, relationships with socioeconomic differences, and maybe slight intercultural differences, but not to the magnitude that my person, A and I are currently in.

A is first gen Mexican, and I am a Korean that grew up in South Dakota with a White family. We were bound to have quite a few differences. There are the days when our language barrier, social norms, gender norms, Christianity & Catholicism, and about everything catches up to us. I remember we had a weekend where we were snowed in days in a row where it seemed like every cultural difference from beginning to end was popping up, including food. We couldn’t even agree on what type of food we could both make that was something in both of our households growing up.

Except pancakes. If anyone ever asks the “Waffles or Pancakes” question to me, pancakes have always been my pick. While A grew up with La Leche dripping off his pancakes and he learned to make them from his beloved Abuelita (Grandma). So that snowy weekend, Pancakes was the food item that made us feel less of a worlds difference, and it also allowed us to shop at either grocery store - because we definitely do not shop at the same grocery places...which that could be its own separate post!

So, we have made pancakes a weekend ritual. Saturday or Sunday you can hear the pancakes on the fryer, or when we don’t know what to eat, or can’t agree, pancakes come in for the win.

I still know/think/feel I have SO much to learn about the world. 30 isn’t a magic number into adulthood where I think I’ve entered this - been there, done that mindset - I hope I never feel like that. There are so many things I haven’t done, so many goals, dreams, and life skills that are still waiting for me to discover. I never thought I’d learn to dance Nortenos, or make tacos that don’t look like taco bell, or learn conversational Spanish and actually understand it. And I definitely never thought pancakes could bridge cultures and solve disagreements, but apparently, the theme of 2019 is, I am still learning :)



Choosing Margin

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Made it to Alaska to see the Bestie celebrate her 30th and to cross it off my list! 8 USA states left to visit!

"Outside of my career, I only love xyz"...this was such a common phrase for me for so long. For years, I kept saying I could only love a few things outside of my career, because my career took the biggest space in my life for so long. I hid behind it, like most ambitious (and insecure/haven't dealt with their ish) people do. As many (not all) are too scared to see if we could be good at anything else. That we could be capable of having lives that we do not feel we need to work to deserve.

Let me tell you, this is the season I've been needing for years, but finally chose to take. 2019 is a year of Rest, Roots, and Progress, and I have been practicing since December. At first it felt weird. Numerous times a week, I would tell home team member and roommate - "I feel so off...I want to rush and do 1,000 things to feel 'normal'"....and she would say, it's the shock to your system of leaving a career of stress, emotional emergencies, and high risks behind...Welcome to life, enjoy it.

And it's true. Nobody is going to force you to rest. No one is going to force you to stop valuing your humanity and self through money and achievement.

It's been such a humbling year, and now that I have 7 months of hindsight of what I was doing to my body, my brain, my heart, my relationships...I can't imagine going back to a life where I am constantly running myself into the ground.

I went from having 0 weekends free for 4 months, to leaving weekends free on on purpose. For the first time in probably ever, I can hear and see things without worry of "Am I doing / being enough". I just know I am enough. I am good enough, doing enough, being enough. And my enough may be a different measure to someone else's enough...and that is 100% okay.

Over the years, my career took precedent over literally everything. I missed my brother's wedding. My nephew's birth. My friend's funeral...All for work...for work I don't even remember, for days I can't even get back.

And this year, I've cancelled workshop after workshop. Even removed myself from a keynote speaker list to officiate another friend's wedding in May. I've declined projects to go to concerts and to attend birthdays and welcome visitors to my home. I've made time for family and the few friends I've made in Seattle.

These days, I am choosing margin. Thank God for home team members that have been blessed with words. KD, thank you for giving my current life chapter a title. I'm choosing margin. Choosing simple. Choosing little. Choosing what I do intentionally, and what I just don't care about, and not feeling guilty about it. I even started telling people who call me in crisis mode that they can set up an appointment with me through my side hustle business. I charge people for emotional labor - I am not your counselor, the person to solve your own issues, and I am definitely not your idea generator because you're too lazy to do the work yourself.

This season, I've enjoyed long drives. Walks. Reading. Writing. Attempting to learn Spanish. My work, but not the point of obsession. I enjoy sleep and water. I love, or try to love the growing pains of my home team and what it means to connect with the people we are today, not the people we were 6 mos ago or even 16 years ago for some.

Because I was "too busy" in my career, my bestie from high school / college has lived in Alaska for 7 years, and I had not visited her once, even though she has visited me twice in California. For her birthday 2 weeks ago, I made it up there. To see her home, the people who make her feel at home, and to meet my nephew kitty. I know I won't forget that trip, but that's a different post for a year when our parents won't read this blog - HA!

I just am enjoying the slowness of life.

My aunt, my friends, my family...said it's the happiest they've ever seen me and the wisest I've ever been.

And even though I am about to turn into another chapter of "busy", it's comforting to know I have a baseline of when I am leaving the margins of what I have chosen for this season.

Slow, steady, and kind. Here is to have Chosen Margin & to keep choosing it.
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