Sunday, August 24, 2014


It's a very dark and rainy afternoon. I'm alone in my office on the completely empty fourth floor of my school. I know there are others in the building because there are cars in the lot. Every now and then I hear some distant thunder. I sit and stare out the windows occasionally. I'm still in a slight fog. A result of the nap I just woke up from a few minutes ago.

I spent the morning researching books. Since the spring semester ended, all I've been doing is research. Researching schools, degrees, books, franchises, and how to do this and how to do that. Sometimes its fun other times its a little boring, but it all seems necessary enough for me to keep at it. The fall semester starts in two days and I want to launch into it. I don't want to roll over in a sleepy fog (similar to the haze I'm currently in) into it. I want to LAUNCH into it.

I'm on a mission.

I've hit and gone past the middle mark of my stint in Korea. It's home stretch. It's finish the mission. Part of that mission is to study up on business and entrepreneurship. Something I've always been interested in. Something I realized my love for when I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

So I found a handful of books I'll get from Amazon Kindle and Gmarket and get to studying. I'm always reading at least one book. At the moment it's two. But I've a feeling it'll be more than that once the books start arriving and I really delve in.

I've got a lot to learn but I'm really motivated. I don't feel excitement for classes resuming. I feel excitement for what's beyond the classes. For what happens when there are no more classes to teach. But I'm called to live for God today, so I need to stay in the moment (while still planning for a future).

So my prayer is that I wont miss out on what God is doing around me today. All while keeping the vision and preparing to launch into what's next.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Website and other ventures

As some of you are already aware, I have started a website. This site will host a selection of fiction and spiritual growth books. It is in its earliest phase of creation, but does already contain several sample chapters to read. However, until I am ready to launch, the address remains a secret:)

Why a website? I needed a break from writing and querying agents/publishers and found building a website to be an enjoyable yet important venture. I want potential publishers to see the initiative towards marketing my first story and the stories I am currently working on. I also have a vision for this site to be a collaboration of artists, both writers and designers. I am excited to say that I have two contributors to the site already.

Another thing I've been working on is cleaning up my youtube channel. I've had two channels for a number of years, but always uploaded to the same one. I'm in the process of making one a personal channel and the other one specifically for my compilation videos I so much enjoy making.

Here's a link to my compilation channel:

Here's a link to my personal channel (still being updated):

If you have a youtube account (or google+) be sure to subscribe to both. I'll be reuploading the rest of my personal videos this week, Lord willing. I'll also be adding some more material to the website.

While I am largely finished preparing for Summer English Camp, I do have some materials I need to print and cut. I wont have many classes this week, giving me plenty of time to work on that.

God bless!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That moment you realize...

...that you can never go home.

This feeling really sunk in for me only recently. I realized I can never truly return home. The problem is with the word "home." What does it even mean?

When I first arrived in Korea, I didn't want to call my new apartment "home." I just called it my apartment and cringed if anyone asked me, "are you going home?" when referring to going to my apartment. Now I don't care anymore. Largely because everyone has differing ideas about what home is.

If home is a physically building (much in the sense when we call a building church) then I have several. There's my apartment home in Korea, my house in Superior, and my parents house in Minnesota.

If home is the place where you grew up, as in the physical house you spent your childhood in, then that place is long gone. Ten years ago this year since I moved from that place out on my own.

If home is where your biological family is then I am as far from them as I could possibly be. Haven't seen them (other than Facetime) in almost one year.

If home is where the heart is, then it's been spread all over the globe. I've given my heart to many, loved much, even at the cost of it being broken. Besides, the heart "is deceitful above all things" and has lead me astray more times than I can count.

So that being the case, I've had to accept there is no such thing as going home, because I no longer understand what home is. However, regardless of whether or not I find the answer, one thing I know for sure: I will always carry this feeling, the longing to go home.

And I think I know why.

Because my real home awaits me in life beyond this one. My eternal home, my final resting place. I must accept I will carry this feeling until I reach the last destination. But it will be worth all the toil of getting there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Done With Debt

I have paid off so much of my school loan since coming to Korea that I've cut my monthly interest payment in HALF. It's exciting to watch the debt go down and I look forward to putting all this extra money into savings very soon. 

That was originally going to be a facebook status update when I realized it sounded too haughty. So instead, it goes here! To a place most people will never see, save for those really curious. This post is an update on debt and, despite the misleading title, I have not finished paying off my debt yet. The title reflects an attitude towards debt that I've taken. In the future I will not pay for something I do not already have the funds to pay for.

I have almost hit the halfway mark in my debt payoff plan. I don't think this post is premature though. In terms of number of months in my payoff plan, I HAVE reached the halfway mark. 6 months to go and I started this plan over six months ago. 

I will put an update here as soon as I reach the end. The end is in sight. Thank you Lord, for giving me this opportunity to destroy this debt so quickly. You provided for me and continue to provide. Thank you.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Big Changes

Well, Saturday came and went and I met my goal, just not in the way I expected to. While I added 4,000 words to the story, I rewrote two entire chapters. So while the cumulative story amount is shy of 64,000 by 5,000 words, the total amount of words I wrote is over that mark. Nevertheless, I carry on, intent to surpass the 64k mark sometime in the next two weeks. Gotta have a goal or it will never happen.

Story aside, I did some big thinking on Sunday as I took the day off from writing. I came to realize that beyond thoughts of a certain Supreme Being, most of the time I spend thinking can be categorized into three things: one of the stories I'm writing, finances, and women. I can't believe I'm even admitting this, but it's true.

Now, God is at the center of my life and He always will be. I owe my life to him, recalling a time when I was in dark despair and he saved me, and I told Him then and there I would never doubt again. (This is a post for another time) I just wanted to clarify this, because if all I thought about were the three aforementioned things, well, I would lose my mind. Don't worry, my sanity is intact.

The whole reason I was even able to realize that about my thought process was due to some big changes that have happened and are happening back in the States. I don't want to get into details, but when I come back to the Twin Ports some day, nothing will be as it was. Less is as it was now anyways.

It causes me to think about my future, which led me to think about what I think about most of the time these days, and how my future isn't in those thoughts as much as I think it would be. WOW. What a sentence. You might need to reread that. I had to.

Anyways, all this to say, the future has never been brighter. This is because I am refusing to limit myself to living in one particular place. I don't know where I will end up and that is kind of exciting.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not too shabby

Over a thousand words in one day. For me that's not too shabby.

Sometime after I picked up writing my story again, I got obsessed with word count. I searched around the internets to see if other people who write (notice I didn't say 'writers', for one, because I am not a writer, and for two, because people who talk about writing are not necessarily writers*) have similar obsession. As it turns out, quite a few people are talking about how much they write in a day in terms of word count.

I have heard everything from the more (seemingly) normal 500/day to the outrageous 10k/day. One lady (who is published, btw) said she writes between 10k to 15k in a day. That is pure insanity. Even if you are a published writer who writes that much, you could churn out fifty books a year at the rate.

I've also heard of authors who write only a handful of words in a day. What they do with the rest of the day I don't know, but I imagine that it takes the majority of the day just to pen that handful of words. I also imagine them laboring over a single sentence, writing and rewriting and finally deleting it all together.

As for me, I do set goals for word counts, but those goals constantly change based on what kind of writing I'm doing. If I'm making something brand new, I generally shoot for a low 200/day mark. (I have a full time job after all). But I also set goals for the week too, what I want to have written in terms of story, or how many chapters I want to have edited, or what 'act' I should edit that week. But my favorite goals always involve word counts. I am beefing up the entire word count of my current story (doing some much needed fleshing out of the characters) with a goal of adding 10k words in the final act alone. I am well on my way to meeting that goal.

I like keeping a log of word counts too. When I started my first entire edit, I went from 46k to 54k in three weeks, which for me, again, is incredible. I surprise myself often when I write. I also keep a log of word counts for each chapter and I love seeing the increases on a smaller scale. Sometimes the increase is only twenty words and other places it's almost a thousand.

I could go on and on about my obsession with word count, but instead, I'll just leave this weeks goal here and come back at the end of Saturday to see if I met it.

64k total by the end of Saturday.

*I personally only know one writer (my friend Cherrie) and probably a hundred people who write. I consider a writer someone who is published. Not anyone can lay claim to that word. And that is why I'm not a writer.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I'm respect you.

I just returned from a dinner of various seafood with Sunday school teachers and pastors and family from my church. These are some of the nicest people you will ever meet should you come to Ulsan. I told my friend Grace that I finally feel like I belong (though I expect I will never feel like I fully belong in Korea) and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for always making me feel at home there.

It was Valentines Day on Friday, and in Korea, that means the women give chocolate or gifts to their significant other. I am the only male in my office at work (and one of two on the entire floor of my building). So my coworkers surprised me with a chocolate cake (which I shared with them of course). It was a very kind thing for them to do. However, the most special thing to happen that day, and to happen in the last month really, was a receiving a small container of chocolates with this note on the back from one of my fifth graders:

This particular student, a girl named 유진, also goes to my church and I occasionally teach her Sunday classes. If this is the only student who ever says "I respect you" (or in this case, "I'm respect you," but hey, close enough) then I will be secure in knowing I have done something right.

So many days I have so many doubts. I wonder about my future. I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. More than anything else in the world, I just want to do the right thing. I am so grateful for something so simple as this note. It helps take remove some of the doubts.

These students will have so many native English teachers over the long span of their schooling as children. So many will come and go and it's very likely that most will not remember me. So I am reminded of my pastoral training at this time: we should never go after the multitudes, but instead look for the one or two that we can be friend and mentor to. 

I want to make a difference in just a few lives. Besides, the multitudes will forget you. They will not remember what you said or even what your name was. But the individuals, they will remember how you live. They will remember you by what you did for them.

And you will be changed by them too.

Forever, your friend, Jeremy

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Two posts, One day.

This is something I never do: 2 posts in 1 day. There is a reason, however, as I have two themes running in my life right now. My real life, and the one I push the to. My real and the story that runs through my mind always.

So this post is just an update for my eight readers.

As you know, I am involved in a Presbyterian Church in my neighborhood. It's a big church as church's go, though the people that attend regularly will say it's not big.
I don't attend service because it's in Korean and well, I don't know enough Korean for it to be worth attending. I do however, volunteer every Sunday.

You can find me in the building next door, 2nd floor, teaching Sunday school classes in English to fourth and fifth grade children and then leading a Bible study for the adult teachers of that same Sunday school. I really enjoy it. I enjoy hanging out with the kids and some of my students from my school go to the Sunday school, so it's a great way for me to get to know them beyond the once or twice I see them in school and in the halls. The Bible study is also great. We are studying through the book of John. I make handouts with questions, and we talk about the questions and any other questions that come up as we go along. There are really some amazing people who give their time at this church and they have really made me feel like I belong. I am very grateful to them. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to do this, seeing as I don't know enough Korean to truly be a part of this culture. (On a side note, I don't think I could ever learn enough Korean to be a part of this culture. No amount of learning would ever make me feel like I truly belonged, but that's another post entirely).

So I have been given other opportunities to volunteer but I have to turn them down. There is only so much I can do with all that I am trying to do.

If you have any specific questions, I invite you to email me or facebook me. I love questions. Don't hesitate to ask. Thanks for your support and prayers. I appreciate them very much.

Learning the hard way.

I want to live life to its fullest every day.

That is so hard to do.

I recently reached over 50k words in my story and have brought it to its close. I need to smooth it over and then send it off, because my fear is that I will get sick of it. Before I can do that, I must make sure it makes sense to the reader. That, I think, is the hardest part. So the hardest part lies ahead and just when I thought the hard parts of writing were behind me, I have yet another task to complete.

I make writing sound like a chore. Well, sometimes it is. Other times its enjoyable. I vow to make my next story writing experience a much more enjoyable one. It's not that this one was so bad, but I just didnt have the discipline or the know-how. This was my first book after all.

I have learned a lot since then. I will learn A LOT more, too. As I finish this story, I will learn so many more hard things, but that's okay. It's how I've always learned. The hard way. Like that DC Talk song. Man, what a song that was.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The end of time well spent

Tomorrow I go back to teaching regular classes. The old routine of trying to get students to speak English and afternoons of deskwarming. I dont mind it, it's just that I got so used to the way life has been, for the most part, for the last six weeks.

I got to experience life as a full time writer. I wrote almost every day, with a few days off deservedly so, as I wrote nearly six hours every day. I never actually kept track of the time, but I do know that it was a minimum of six hours a day. My brain is a whirlwind of thoughts and at times all I had going through my mind was this darn story.

I also spent my first Christmas and New Years ever away from my family and friends. That was unusual. I hardly had that Christmastime feeling I get that time of year. In some ways it was sad, in other ways it just made me realize that I place to much emphasis on traditions. I missed my family and friends of course.

Finally, I experienced God's peace in the midst of a lot of questioning. How long do I stay in Korea? What will it take to make my life after Korea successful? I have decided that, as long as my school rehires me, I will stay in Korea one more year. I know my family will have a hard time accepting this, but I know its the right thing to do. I have peace about it. For those who might struggle with this, I will pray He gives you peace as well. And remember, nothing is ever definite. Things can always change. We just have to be open to the Lord's leading.

Well, I'm off to bring my story to its conclusion. After which I will spend the next week or so editing before I finally send it off to my brother. It'll feel strange to not be working on something that I've invested so much time in.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grieving a Loss

I have lived a blessed life. Why? I have gained far more in my life than I have lost.

Yet, even the losses I have experienced were turned into gains, but not without a price. I have grieved over the loss of romantic relationships, the death of a dear friend and brother, and loss of my childhood. It was the latter that I had no idea I lost it until years after it was gone.

I grew up in a loving family who provided for my health and well being. I had an earthly and spiritual father who "guided me in the way I should go." I was given time every day to create and explore my imagination, and boy did I ever do that. Hours spent building snow forts, forts in the forest, awesome fort in the backyard and forts out of legos. I had friends to create and explore with too.

Years into my adulthood I used to have visions of being young and free again; a child with no concerns of money, loneliness, or even future. I could see myself in the field across the street from the house I grew up in, the grass there grew up taller than my head. It was summer. Warm.

Several years ago I revisited this place in my memory. Not on purpose, but because a friend of mine described what he saw in a vision. Me standing in a field, young and free, with no concerns. I wept when he told me what he saw and I still tear up now as I think of it. I wept because what he described is something that is no more. In that moment I wasn't sure what was happening. Months later I realized what it was. I had grieved the loss of my childhood. Something I had not done up to this point in my adult years.

A loss of innocence.

I wonder what it's like to be a parent. Do you get to relive some of that freedom and innocence through your children? If only for a short time of course, as our children grow up and turn into adults themselves. Yet, our children our apart of us, so it makes sense to me.

Anyways, check this out if you have some time. I think it captures a lot of what I am trying to express in this post.