Beautifully Created

I told myself, “At least five pounds.”

This summer, I wanted to lose at least five pounds. So, I adjusted my meals slightly and made a work out schedule. However, three weeks into my summer I had this thought: “I do not want to lose at least five pounds anymore.”

I enjoy grocery shopping, meal prepping, and eating! I also really like sweating and feel my body be stronger and faster. My focus shifted from losing at least five pounds to simply taking care of myself.

I was challenged with the thought of why I wanted to lose at least five pounds. Yes, it was to be more fit and toned but it was more than that. I projected this image of what I wanted to be. It came to my attention that the image I was trying to achieve was socially constructed by today’s definition of beauty.

There was this voice in me that said, “Lisa, you already like your body: Your hair, your smile, your form, and your lines are already beautiful to you.” That’s true. Then this tension and frustration grew in me. Why am I so fixed on losing at least five pounds then? I was trying to sculpt myself in what was beautiful in society’s eyes.

Then, that made me ask: Where am I putting myself my source of worth in? Clearly, not in God. I want to live a life that honors God faithfully and to live each day with love, gratitude, and compassion. I must know who God is and who I am in order to live my purpose I was made for. (And that is another topic for another day!) When my worth is not in Him but in other things (like in people’s thoughts about me) then how can I live the purpose my life is to fulfill?

Losing at least five pounds is no longer my goal. My goal is to be “Lisa healthy.” That means that I continue to eat three meals a day. Meals that I love to eat but I can consider portion size and my sugar intake. I can enjoy my workouts that make me physically stronger and mentally happier! I can learn how to take care of myself. If along the way I lose five pounds, then I lose five pounds.

Instead of focusing on a number to look forward to, I look forward to loving myself more. Planning my meals, grocery shopping, cooking, eating, and working out wisely are just some ways that I can myself.

I do not want today’s culture to bring me down and convince me that I need people’s thoughts (or even my own negative thoughts about myself) to warp me into someone that I was not supposed to be.

I am beautiful from day one–beautifully created and beautifully being molded.



P.S. I realized that I wrote a similar post back in August 2017. Beautiful we are. Imperfect we are. What an amazing thing that our God loves us the same.


Kuv Yog Hmoob (I Am Hmong)

“Our culture, traditions, and livelihood are stitched into the seams of our embroidery, orchestrated into our traditional songs, spoken by our tongue, and seasoned into the meals we share.”

— Nakita Chyalia (Tshiab Liag) Vang


I have not been vocal about my cultural journey, specifically my journey in finding what it means to be a Hmong-American and adopted woman.  I think that a large part of it is due to my insecurities and fear of being wrong.  Why do I want to learn about a culture and people group that I do not have top-notch great memories of?  Can I really know the Hmong culture if I do not speak the language that often anymore and not follow its traditions and customs as much?

Before I begin, I want to emphasize that my identity is not strictly being a Hmong-American and adopted woman.  The categories that we label ourselves as is not who we are at the end of the day.  I am a daughter of God, and I declare that truth!  At the same time, I acknowledge the ethnicity God made me: Hmong.  I could have been any other ethnicity but God thoughtfully choose to design me to be Hmong.  With that, when I left for college I tried to be more intentional about finding what it means to be a Hmong-American.  However, I also recognize the importance of my adoption and how much it has impacted me and how I long to unpack its messiness and beauty.  So, I packed up all of what I knew–my experiences, the wisdom that was given to me, and the truth and lies that I believed–and embarked on this journey.

Here I am.  It has almost been two and a half years.  *stare to my left and right*

Did I even take a step yet?  I still see myself at square one as I hold onto the straps of my backpack…  I was stuck, and often times I feel stuck.  Where do I go?  How do I go about this?  In short, I learned that the work begins inside of me first.  My heart is where it needs to begin.  I need to grieve.  I need to ask questions.  I need answers.  I need healing.  Those things, my friend, are not easy to do and they take time.

In the midst of those things, I have recently began to immerse myself in the Hmong communities more.  If I want to learn more about my culture, then I must go where the Hmong people are.  I co-founded Asian Student Fellowship on my college campus for the Asian community to come together and have fellowship and discuss topics and issues related to the Asian narrative.  This was an initiative to develop a wider understanding of what it means to be Asian and to be with those who may share similar experiences and stories.

I often times will cook foods that I grew up eating.  I do not think I can get sick of eating Hmong food (although most of the foods that we eat are from other cultures).  The aroma of the foods do not only fill the kitchen but it also escapes beyond my senses and into my heart where memories of gatherings are shared over a meal are kept.  I am insecure about speaking the language because I no longer have the muscles in my mouth or tongue mastered to accurately speak Hmong.  Yet, I understand it for the most part, and I desire to surround myself in an environment that will encourage me to speak it more.  My goal is that I can speak Hmong more and establish a stronger sense of self-esteem in this area.


Recently, I took on a new hobby: Hmong cross-stitch or needlework (paj ntaub).  I actually remember being taught by my biological mom and older sisters how to cross-stitch.  Typically, Hmong cross-stitch is done to make traditional Hmong clothes.  Currently, my goal is to learn new designs and maybe someday I can learn how to make Hmong clothes!  It has only been about a month since I began cross-stitching, and I find so much peace doing it.  It takes a lot of patience and time to complete a finished product but as I insert the thread into the needle and count the number of squares there are, I am entering a semi-loss tradition of mothers teaching their young daughters to paj ntaub.  I cannot seem to articulate this part of my journey yet and that is okay with me.  The sensation and mystery of it all only shows me how beautiful and meaningful this tradition is.

This past weekend was the Hmong New Year.  The Hmong community come together to celebrate the Hmong culture through food, selling merchandise, a pageant, and performances in three days!  It is also one of the few times out of the year that I get to wear Hmong clothes!  It is always an exciting time for me because I get to be around a big crowd of Hmong people which is not a reality for me throughout the year.  I get to taste delicious food, hear the Hmong language, and bask in the beauty of our clothing to the cultural dances and songs.












I am thankful for my older sister for dressing me in Hmong clothes and for giving me an opportunity to wear apart of my culture proudly.  I cherish the tightness of the clothes wrap around my waist and the weight of the xaus (Hmong necklace) hanging from my neck.  Despite the pain from my black heels, I walk in the Hmong clothes with a lot of confidence and joy.  The clinging and jingling of the coins and metals are only an echo of the story of the Hmong people, and the vibrant colors symbolizes the values that we get to represent.


So, this is where I am.  Maybe I am at square one or two or three!  I do not think I have a description of what it means to be a Hmong-American and adopted woman yet…or if I will ever put words together to explain what it is like.  I do not know how long I have to keep discovering the Hmong culture and myself.  I know one thing for sure: I will commit to discovering what it means to be a Hmong-American and adopted woman regardless how difficult it is.  I can celebrate and share my culture–everyday!   I can keep leaning into what God has to reveal to me, and that, my friend, is the journey He offers to all of us.  Lean in and hear the heartbeat of His so that you can find the way that your heart will beat in this world, and most importantly in His kingdom!

Happy Hmong New Year!

Creating Space

Do you have a space in your home, dorm, or room that gives you complete rest and time to reconnect with your thoughts and heart…and most importantly, God?  Do you take the time to tell yourself to breathe?

Inhale.  Exhale.

I created space to do so.  I decorated my part of the dorm and bed that best fit how I saw my heart and mind.  The white sheets and walls, light shades of cream, and green calms the chaos roaming inside of me.  The numerous pillows rested at the head of my bed comes up against my skin and fills the gaps to give me the comfort that I need.  This is the space where everything else seems to slow down.  I can take a look outside the window and see the wind gently move the branches.  I can see the leaves dance across the street and the cars rushing by.  Beyond that I can see the clouds sliding by across the smooth, blue sky.  Here, I remind myself to take a deep breathe.  In this space, I find stillness.

You might ask, “What’s the point of making a physical space to reconnect with your thoughts and heart?”.  I learned that my heart communicates to me.  No, it is not its own because it is apart of me.  However, I often go with the motions and the busyness that I wrap myself in that I ignore or overlook my feelings.  By the end of the day when I get to my space, I realize that I am actually down or sad or irritated about something.

Another question to ask ourselves is: Do we take the time to reconnect with our heart and thoughts?  Do we create space in our schedule to spend time in our space?  I struggle with this more than I want to admit.  I have come up with multiple strategies to make time, and when I do not I beat myself up for it.  I learned that during those times I have to love myself the most, and instead of looking down at myself I can find myself at my space in the presence of God waiting for me there.

My Physical Appearance < Quality of My Heart

When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you say about yourself?

“Oh, Lisa, you’re acne scars/blemishes are so noticeable–ew!  Why is your nose so big?  Aw, I wish I had smaller hips.”

Learning to be comfortable with ourselves and our bodies is not an easy thing to do when we’re influenced by social media, our friends and family, and pretty much the world that we need to look better–whatever what that means.

Most of the time this is related to women, but many men also struggle with their self-image also.  I can testify that I struggled to be content with how I look like.  Most of the time I do not even realize that I put myself down because it had become something I did daily.  Isn’t that crazy?  I would put myself down every time I saw another person, in particular a woman, with thinner legs or when I noticed that someone did not struggle with a lot of acne like me.  I kept believing in the lies that I was never enough and that I could never be enough.

It was around this time last year (August 2016) when the Lord convicted me of my self-talk and how I saw my body.  My comments I had in my head or in front of the mirror did not align with the truth that I proclaimed to believe in.  Little did I know that throughout this past year, God was working in my heart to see my body as beautiful and to not be ashamed about what is on or not on my body.  In addition, I also reflected on my overall appearance: make-up and attire.


I was not into make-up during high school.  I explored it during middle school, but I got tired of it and I wanted to embrace my natural self.  I told myself that I would not wear make-up until I became comfortable with my natural beauty.  I realized that many girls would use make-up to hide themselves.  I did not like that because it meant that girls were pretty much denying themselves and how they were created.  (I am surprised that I had this thought as a middle “school-er”!)  I had the mindset that “You don’t need make-up to be beautiful.” I still agree with that.  I did not begin to wear make-up until after my first semester as a freshman in college.  I had a lot to learn about make-up!  Besides that, I am proud that I took about four-and-a-half years to just be my natural self.  I have a lot of acne so you can only imagine the mornings and nights I would stare at the mirror and wish that I could just have clear skin!  Eventually, I started to not care about how my skin looked.

The reason why I decided to wear make-up was mainly due to curiosity.  I started to learn about the different types of products!  Wow, is it an investment!  I started to not have a negative perspective on make-up.  I learned that it is not bad to wear make-up to enhance specific features or to want to look nice.  Wearing make-up actually made me admire my natural side more.  When I began doing my make-up, I started to notice the small things on my face and then it “hit” me: God thought of these small things when He created me.  I was able to admire the way God made me.  If I did not wear make-up and went on with my former thoughts, then I would have never took the time to look at the small features on my face and be where I am at now: to love my facial features (and body) for the way it was created.

Before I decided to buy some of my first make-up products when I wanted to wear make-up again, I told myself I wanted to still to be comfortable with myself even without make-up on.  I am so glad that I can go out my door without any make-up on.  Most of the time, especially during the school year, I choose to wear make-up daily and to special occasions.  In addition, I can still make a grocery run or go in public without any make-up​ on.  I think this is where all woman or men who wear make-up should be at.


I really enjoy shopping for clothes and to dress up!  It is so fun!  Many people will think I dress up for attention, particularly from guys, but I do not see it that way. I dress up because it brings me joy and I see it as a way to take care of myself.  Dressing up also prepares me for my day since sometimes my days do not end until 10pm during the school year!  I feel good and prepared in a nice outfit and confident in some good shoes!

So, when I go shopping, I always look for the small and medium sections because I am able to float between those sizes depending on the brand on the clothes.  I will be honest with you and share that I get afraid when I have to look for a size bigger, especially when it comes to jeans!  I have bigger hips and thighs, so I already have to get larger sizes than most of my friends.  When I try on clothes or find myself in front of a mirror, I critique my body.  Most of the time I am telling myself “I wish this and that”.  I would listen to a lot of the lies in my head and then tell myself I need to eat less of something and that I need to work out more.

I am glad that I can say that I do not care too much about my diet, my exercise schedule, or what size I am.  I still make sure I eat nutritious food and allow myself to splurge on something sweet and yummy quite often!  I am patient with myself when I go work out.  I am quite inconsistent on how often I go to workout.  When I do workout, I do not push my body too much but challenge it just enough to do better than I last worked out.  Lastly, I have come to peace about the size of clothing I have to shop for.

Despite my desire to want to look nice, at the end of the day it is about the appearance of our heart that matters.  God does not condemn or get angry at me for putting make-up on, doing my hair, or putting on something cute.  He has given me the freedom to do so, but I must be aware that my physical appearance is not what matters at the end of the day and that it is my heart that does.  So, as much as I take care of my physical self, I want to take better care of myself spiritually.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
— 1 Peter 3:3-4

So, as I embark on another school year, I want to commit to only saying positive comments about my body.  I will rebuke any lies that will try to make me believe any negativity.  Most importantly, I am going to make it a priority to examine my heart so that whatever is flowing from it is good and pleasing to the Lord.  I want to invite God to continue His good work in my heart.

I do not share this area of my life journey to boast about myself and my achievements, but to testify that God is alive and at work in the hearts and lives of those who choose to follow and remain faithful to Him.  Personally, I would not choose to work on this area in my life, but it mattered so much to God that in the midst of my other “heart work” that He sent individuals and truth my way so that I can believe that my body is not ugly or disgusting.  I am wonderfully and beautifully made simply because God loves me so much (Psalm 139:13-14).  I want to live a lifestyle that honors the way that God created me.

So, I will ask you again: When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you say about yourself?

“Hello, gorgeous!”


1, 2, 3, GO!

Work is not work if you love what you do.  Lately, I have been working on a number of things preparing for another school year.  As I compiled my to-do list and began checking the boxes, I realized how I lost track of the time and made my blanket all wrinkly!  Even though I may have had a bad posture and I forgot to consume some water, I loved the variety of things I was doing because of my roles as an Assistant Resident Director (ARD) and president of Asian Student Fellowship (ASF).

I am happy that I have found my niche on campus and, most importantly, I am so glad that the roles that I am in I am passionate about the work that I do.  I hope and pray that I do not lose sight of that and that I will continue to serve others with a joyful heart.


Love is complex.  I am guilty of trying to describe it but every time that I do I fail to put words together to even begin to touch the surface of it.  Love has no limits and cannot be contained.  Lately, I have been thinking about the love between parents and their child(ren), an aunt and nephew/niece, siblings, friends, mentors, colleagues, etc.  Each time that I reflect on those relationships and the love that is (and is not) embedded in them, I always find myself at the core of my love for God and, most importantly, His love for me.  An indescribable Love surrounds me and there are no words to describe the intense ache of love in my heart.  Love is not just a feeling but it can be felt, and it is the experience of Love that has captivated my days:

“It’s extravagant, it doesn’t make sense.  We’ll never comprehend the way You love us.  It’s unthinkable, only Heaven knows just how far You’d go to say you Love us” (Extravagant, Bethel Music).

Despite what I have done wrong and the adversity in my life, God still shows His love.  There have been so many times I asked, “Why God?  Why do you still love me and show goodness to me?  How can it be…ah, it just doesn’t make sense.”  Then there is a part of me that says, “Lisa, you already know.  That is who He is; it is His nature.”


Another kind of love that I have been thinking a lot about that I did not mention above and implementing is self-love.  It is not selfish to love yourself and to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally (all of the -ally’s).  It becomes selfish when that is all you take care of.  I believe that in order for me to love others well then it requires me to love myself too.

I am still learning on what it means to love myself but from what I know it is a beautiful thing.  It requires of me to get to know myself, to connect with my inner child, and to respond gently to my needs.  So, loving myself can be small like wiping my own tears, singing a phrase over myself, or having a cold cup of soy milk.  Loving myself can be going alone on an adventure and finding solace in the gentle breeze that slides by.  Loving myself can be putting on music or it can be turning off the music and wi-fi.  Loving myself can be when I am wrapped in my favorite blanket sitting alone and surrounded by my green plants.

Take the time to love yourself a little extra today.  It is a wonderful thing, my friend.


I have said it before, and I have to say it again.  It is not easy.  In this (or my) case, it is not easy to admit your own faults and mistakes to God, to your loved ones, and even to yourself.  This mistake is not like when I double-booked a lunch “date” with friends or when I overslept when I had a six o’clock appointment.  It is a matter of compromising my values and integrity.

These past few weeks I have been very intentional about confessing and reflecting on a mistake–something I knew should not have been done but I somehow convinced myself it was okay.  This process has taught me so much.  I never thought that processing my mistake would take me where I am at now, and I believe I am not even at my destination yet.  God has more to reveal to me.

Usually when we make a mistake or sin, one of the first things we feel after the act is done is shame and guilt.  For me, I had a lot of emotions flowing at once so it was quite messy to break it down but shame was definitely in the mix.  There was also sadness, disappointment, confusion, and I have to admit there was even enjoyment.  I acknowledge all of these emotions because each emotion is important to the process of healing and moving on.  When I was moving past from feeling shame and guilt, a friend reminded me of this wonderful truth:

“My prayer is that you are able to walk alongside God with this and not feel any guilt or shame but walk freely, knowing WHO YOU ARE as God’s child. As children of God, we do not walk with shame and guilt. That is not who we were made to be and God does not want that for us. What, then, would be the purpose of the death of Jesus? Wouldn’t it all be in vain? Jesus already paid of all of our sin on the cross, so if we ever feel guilty, we need to bring it back to the cross, right where it was already paid for. God has the power to redeem and restore us, therefore I do not doubt or lose hope. Lisa, I share this with you because I know you feel shame and guilt, but Jesus does not want you to be chained down to them anymore. It may take time until you are really released from it, but I know you are well on your way there.”

What struck me the most was the fact that I was reminded that I am a child of God–His daughter.  Honestly, I forgot about that because I was so consumed with the shame and guilt.  That, my friend, is satan’s goal.  However, if we call God our Father, Christ our Savior, and believe that the Holy Spirit is alive in us, then we must never forget our identity as children of God.  I hope that this encouragement and prayer from my friend gives you hope and a reminder of who you are, regardless if you are carrying any shame or not.

I am so glad I can say that I am no longer carrying any shame or guilt.  I also do not feel any confusion; however, I think I will always feel some shade of self disappointment and enjoyment about this particular situation.

When I confessed this mistake to people that I care about, I was sad that I will disappointment them.  Even though they may have been disappointed in the circumstance and my decision, their overflowing love, kindness, acceptance, and grace comforted me so much.  There was not an ounce of judgement that came my way.  I am so grateful for encouraging and loving individuals who still love me.   That, my friend, is God’s love being displayed in others.  It took me a while to finally confess to God even though I knew He knew the situation so much better than I did.  There is still importance and value to confessing my sin to Him though.  It was a big step into my ownership of my mistake and sin.  It was a big step into this journey with God.  Oh my, it has been so time-consuming and quite challenging yet so beautiful.

I realized that I would put myself at the same level as God–how could I?  I realized that I am not near to God’s level.  As I took steps onto this journey, God first showed me that I am not the great person others think that I am or even the great person I think I am.  He was not degrading me at all because that is not what He does, but He first showed me of my skewed perception of Him.  God is far greater than we think He is.  I am so grateful for this because it broke my images that I have tried to live up to because of what others have said about me and it forced me to accept who I am: someone who needs God.  It is one thing to know that we need God, but it is another to actually believe and allow God to give us what we need.

It is one thing to know that we need God, but it is another to actually believe and allow God to give us what we need.

This mistake is not something I am not too proud of because it has caused a lot of confusion and hurt, but it has derailed me to see so much love (from others and God) and has given me a new perspective and rewarding journey with God.

It is quite difficult for us to admit our wrongs.  It may be our pride, ego, selfishness, etc.  Whatever it is, it does not feel good to admit a fault.  Our stomach churns and we will stumble on our words and feel faint until we say it aloud.  Regardless of these very uncomfortable feelings, I have found that it is quite lovely and satisfying to take ownership of our faults.  So far, it has made me accept myself so much more and lean into God’s embrace so much deeper.

If you go to my About page on this blog, you will read the purpose of this blog:

My blog, Always a Daughter of God,  is a result of my passion and enjoyment to encourage you, and even myself.  So, lets taste, love, and encourage together.  Most importantly, I hope that you will join me to keep seeking what it means to be a child of God and to run after the heart of God, no matter what our circumstances are in life.

This process that I decided to partake on with God has given me a wider glimpse of what it means to be a child of God…and I just made that connection as I was writing this blog post.  (Ah, I love it when I type and God reveals something cool to me!!)  I learned that being a child of God does not mean I need to be all put together but that I can depend on my Creator to show me why He put me together and to put me back together.  I knew this with my head knowledge, but this time it sunk in deep in my heart.

This blog post is not meant to bring any light on me about how “good” I am because I think I explained why I am not above.  I pray and hope that this is a message and encouragement to you that no matter what mistake or sin you have done you are still worthy in the eyes of the Lord and that He still loves you despite anything that you have done wrong.  He does not condemn you nor judge you because He is pouring His love and grace over you.  You can accept His invitation to go on a journey and to encounter the beauty of His work being done in you.  It will not be easy but you are never alone because He is there…and I am here.  I understand some things, and if I do not, then I will try to.   The beautiful thing is that I do not have to completely understand to be here for you.  Do not hesitate to send me a message or prayer request on my blog.  I am open for those anytime!

The beautiful thing is that I do not have to completely understand to be here for you.

My friend, thank you for reading this blog post.  I was quite hesitate to even share this online, but I had to turn down my own doubt and negative thoughts because the Holy Spirit’s prompting is always so strong and compelling that I had to share!  I trust in His good work in me and that is what we must do.  Trust.  I know that I am encouraging and challenging you to do a lot of things that are not easy to do but we were never called to live an easy life.  We are called to live a life with God.