Operation Cheesy Cat, Attempt #2

Our college days were over.  We graduated, got jobs and started growing up a little bit.  For Eddie, Lauren and I, our friendship continued in the form of a Facebook message thread and scattered hangouts.  At some point, Lauren would introduce us to the game Hearthstone.  An online collectible card game that was free to play, who could resist?  Not me.

Naturally, if I found out a friend played, I would add them to my friend list in the game.  One of these friends was Katrina.  She posted on Facebook that she played too, so I messaged her for her game ID.  I was a little surprised that she responded, I was afraid she would ignore me because the last time I spoke to her, we were sophomores.

Once a blue moon, I’d log on and see that she was playing too.  We’d chat a little bit, though it never moved too far from small talk.  It was kind of weird talking with her, because she basically didn’t exist socially from 2010 to 2013.  In those sparse conversations, I learned one piece of vital information; she had a boyfriend.  No, it didn’t mean she was off limits for me; rather she was off limits for Eddie.  At least for now.

Months would pass and the conversations continued.  And then something happened.  Since our conversations were usually 1 – 2 months apart, the question of “what’s new?” often had legitimate and fresh answers.  On this particular evening, I happened to ask how things were going with her boyfriend.  She said that they had broken up a while back and I expressed my sympathy.  At this point, a trigger went off in the back of my head.

DING ding DING! Operation Cheesy Cat Greenlighted! Go go go!

But I needed a catalyst of some sort..

Another grade hangout!

I just knew if I could get those two in contact again, something would happen.  All the magic, romance and cheesy stuff they experienced as Freshmen would come surging back.  I just needed them to look at each other again or something like that.

But first I needed to test the waters.  The next time I saw Katrina on Hearthstone, I talked to her about the idea of helping me plan a grade reunion.  She liked the idea too and I asked her to also help me hype it up and promote it too.  As soon as that Facebook event was made, I messaged Eddie.  Being upfront, I told him “I’m getting you back together with Katrina”.  I think he was skeptical again, but Lauren supported my idea.

The plan was simple.  Have a grade hangout, let them reacquaint and let the magic happen.  I even went as far as essentially structuring everything around her.  That is, scheduling the hangout on the only night and time frame she was free and such.

Little did I know there was still so much energy between them.

Again, not so much my story to tell, but before we even got to our grade hangout, Eddie and Katrina got back together and became official.  She ended up messaging him to make sure things wouldn’t be weird.  They met up for coffee and reconvened.  The grade hangout still happened, but it was now just a formal presentation of the new Eddie and Katrina.

Operation Cheesy Cat was a success.

After Eddie thanked me profusely, he told me I won the award for Wingman of the Year 2015.  I jokingly told him to commemorate that with a trophy or medal.  And now that they’re married, he did:

One of my finer moments in life, I’ll treasure this forever.


Operation Cheesy Cat, Attempt #1

When we were still in college, Eddie was never shy about telling the stories of his past.  Specifically, he enjoyed solemnly telling the story of how he dated Katrina during freshman year.  I won’t get into the details because it’s not for me to tell, though I’m sure he’d gladly tell it again if you asked him.  But basically, they met, they liked each other, they entered a relationship and it ended abruptly with Eddie having a dream/vision of God telling him “Eddie, I need you to be single right now.”; to which Eddie reluctantly obeyed.

Fast forward four years where Eddie and I are roommates.  We’re having tea with friends and I’ve finished hearing Eddie’s story for the third or fourth time.  As he finished, this time I couldn’t help but think:

“Your story doesn’t have to end here Eddie”

I didn’t say it out loud, but perhaps I should have for the drama factor.  Rooming together, Eddie and I learned we were both hopeless romantics.  Every now and then we’d come up with the silliest situations where one of us would be able to find that special someone.  For Eddie, sometimes a scenario would be dreamt up where he’d get back together with Katrina.  And it was only with those scenarios where Eddie would let out a big sad sigh and say “but that’ll never happen”.

Enter Josh and Operation Cheesy Cat

A small opportunity would arise in the form of an alumni friend visiting.  For whatever reason, I took charge and tried to get everyone together for dessert.  It was a shot in the dark, but I used this to reach out to the architecture majors (one of them being Katrina) in hopes that I could coerce them to come out.  After I made the Facebook event and everything, an idea popped into my head.  If the stars aligned, I could use this to get Eddie back together with Katrina; or at least get them in contact with one another again.  With little to no responses from the architects, I bugged Eddie to text her.

“I deleted her number a long time ago” he said.

That didn’t stop me.  I got her number from a friend and texted Eddie this:

He declined; he refused to do it.  I’d say the plan was falling apart, but honestly this whole thing was tenuous at best.  It relied heavily on Katrina physically being there for anything to happen.  In the end, it was a failure.  We still had a good time hanging out with the grade though.

Take note that I tried.

Ignorant Savage

I learned a valuable lesson in college the year Man Lauren was my roommate.  I had just finished making dinner and we were getting seated to eat.  This was early in the year, where our schedules still aligned and we could have and cook dinner together.  He did something which I perceived as different.  Now, there are a lot of things that Lauren and I do that would be considered “different”, and to be honest, I don’t quite remember what it is that he did.  For the sake of example and story, let’s say he scooped curry into his bowl first and then scooped rice on top of it, to which I blurted out

“That’s weird.”

Without skipping a beat, he turned to me and stared straight into my eyes.  He began to sing:

“You think I’m an ignorant savage And you’ve been so many places I guess it must be so..”


That’s right.  He started singing Colors of the Wind.

We proceeded to eat dinner with light hearted conversation about how things are “weird” when it’s not what we’re used to seeing or doing.  It extended to cultural differences or being raised in a different environment.  This all stuck out to me, as from then on, I tried not to think of people as “weird” anymore, rather as unique or different.  You’d think this concept would be more accepted and understood as you grow up, but ignorance is everywhere.

I mean, I’m guilty of it too.  That’s just how normalized it is; people call me weird all the time, so naturally I’ll point fingers too.  Not that I’m proud of myself, I’ll often have regretful thoughts as soon as I utter those two words: “you’re weird” or “that’s weird”.  Sure, it’s probably fine in good company and joking is acceptable, but it can easily slip out in passing.

What am I saying?  Let’s change how we look at things.  After all, aren’t we all a little weird?

Just a thought.

Office Hours on “EPIC Alumni Day”

Months after I graduated college, I formulated an idea that I wanted to revisit my school, Cal Poly Pomona.  I would still know a handful of people via EPIC and I thought it would be fun to visit, hang out, have lunch and/or catch up.  Especially since the club meetings were at noon on Tuesdays, it was easier to make a day out of it.  The first time around, Eddie, Lauren and I took a day off from work to visit on the first Tuesday of the Spring Quarter.  It just so happened that day was April 1, 2014, so as you can imagine, we had some fun saying “April Fools” as we surprised old friends and familiar faces with our presence.  A fun day for everyone.  I enjoy the idea of legacy, so I kind of wanted this “EPIC Alumni Day” to be a tradition of sorts.  Not a huge tradition, because it might be weird if we visited too much.  I remember in high school, some of my friends would make fun of the college freshmen that came back to visit at the start of the school year.

We would go on to do it again on the first Tuesday of the following Winter Quarter (1/6/15), but this time I would get more Alumni to come out.  As a side note, this would be the last time we would do this.  With the whole thing of campuses not recognizing Christian clubs anymore, EPIC would (finally?) shift to meeting at night.  For this day, we had some down time that aligned with one of my previous professor’s office hours.  The professor I visited was Dr. Young.


He was a fun-loving professor that I had for a couple of classes.  He would always have these anecdotes and metaphors that he would reference during classes.  For example, on test days, he would say that we should spread out across the classroom, so that we can have plenty of elbow room, so that we don’t “accidentally” elbow each other like World-Peace did to Harden.

That was his way of saying “don’t cheat off of each other”

One day, he had a random rant about how he wanted to be able to silence his phone, but only have it ring if his wife calls.  Iphone’s do-not-disturb feature didn’t exist yet, and so he wasn’t satisfied with vibrate mode.  I remembered this as I stepped into his office.  I guess he was in first-day-professor mode, because he immediately told me that his classes were full and that he couldn’t add anyone.  When I told him I wasn’t here for that, he then asked if I needed a recommendation letter for graduate school.  Before he kept going, I told him what I remembered and told him about that iPhone feature.  If you didn’t know either, if your phone is on do-not-disturb mode, all calls will be ignored except for the phone numbers on your favorites list.  Even though it was a simple thing, he was quite grateful to learn about it.  He even offered to write me a recommendation letter if I ever needed one.  We chatted a bit more about the churches we attended before he had to run off to his class.

It’s the simple things in life.

The Best Worst Distraction

I meant to write about this a while back, but I was a little embarrassed.  Anyway, this untold story and nostalgia trip is brought to you by this YouTube video:

It was Spring 2013 in school and we were about half-way through finals week.  Eddie and I were gearing up for our last finals of the quarter.  For me, it would be my last final ever; for Eddie, he still had Summer school to finish up a couple of classes.  The two of us were diligently studying as dinner neared.  Finished with finals already, Man Lauren stopped by to visit/bother us.  In typical 140E fashion, the door was unlocked anyway, so there wasn’t much impeding him.

He didn’t stay for long, but before he left, he told us of this anime called “Attack on Titan”.  He even convinced us to watch the first episode with him.  It’s hard to turn down his charming smile, and besides, we deserved a break leading into dinner.

Long story short, Eddie and I watched the next episode as we ate dinner.  And then we watched another one…


And another one…

Until next thing we know, it’s like 9pm and we’re all caught up with the show.  Joe, Rachel and Ann stopped by later (with pizza) and inquired about what we did all day.  To which we shamefully described this same story.  And then we hurried back off to studying, distracted with the same thought on our mind:

“I can’t wait for the next episode to come out next week!”

A for Effort

As you may know already, I have very athletic and fit friends.  In their own right, they are a pantheon of fine specimens.

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You might think I would be right there with them in terms of skill, agility and strength, but the reality is.. I’m not.

But I’m a different type of strong.

What I lack in up front brawn and speed, I make up for in endurance and persistence.  I can try really hard, but my friends are always better.  It’s to the point where I sometimes give my 110% just to keep up with them.  I’m not mad or sad about it; it’s just really interesting how each human body can vary.

Let’s look at some examples:

Turkey Bowl


Once a year, on Thanksgiving day, FCBC LA gathers together to play some tackle football.  For some, it’s their only exercise and activity for the year.  For others, it’s an excuse to keep their body fit passed the Summer season.  Matt, Stu and I are regular participants.  One year, as early as August, we began training together.  Nothing intense, just passing the football around and running.  What has happened in the past though, is that around October, those two call it quits on the exercise for various reasons.

But I’ll keep going, so that I can at least look competent on game day.  I’ll be sprinting copious amounts of 40 yard dashes and running through the agility training I recall from my high school football days.  I went as far as doing some two-a-days.

Game day comes around, and it’s as if I accomplished nothing.  An out of shape Stu can outrun and outmuscle a very much in shape Josh.

SD Century Ride


One year, we collectively wanted to bike the Solvang and/or San Diego Century rides together.  It would eventually trickle down to only Caleb and me going.  After a few intense rides together, I had to begin training on my own, cause the rest of them had to back out.  Every weekend, I would wake up early to ride 30+ miles.  In addition, on weeknights, I was doing a ridiculous amounts of squats and some cardio.  I invented a squat set called “Squashes”.  One repetition would be 50 squats, 50 lunges, 50 backward lunges, 50 pulse lunges; and I would do 8-10 squashes every other night.

Caleb biked ~60 miles the weekend before the San Diego ride and he was good to go.  Nothing else.  On game day, it only took him a couple hours more to complete the century ride (100+ miles, I only did ~67 miles).  Also, he has no gears.

LA Marathon


We were advised to ramp up and be able to run 20 miles before the actual marathon.  Though we started training late, we had enthusiasm and determination on our side.  Diligently, I ramped up to 18 miles before game day (though I wish I could have run more).  Due to time constraint and other obligations, Matt and Stu were only able to due ~13 miles as their longest run before marathon day.

They still beat me by a long shot.

Perhaps the most humbling thing was the couple times Spencer ran with us during our training process.  This guy has asthma and he was lapping all of us!


It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

The only thing I hate is that I always feel like I let them down.  Whether biking, hiking or anything active we do together, I feel REALLY bad when they have to wait for me to catch up.  Or worse yet when they basically carry me or push me cause I’m really lagging it.

I guess it’s a good thing we’re friends!

Beer Money

It’s not what you think.  Beer money is extra cash made on the side for your miscellaneous needs.


I was introduced to this concept while I still lived with Cheeseburger Eddie.  An avid Redditor, he studied this concept in the subreddit of the same name.  Since we were poor college students, we hopped on board, hoping to make some money though passive income and taking surveys.

We scoured the subreddit finding what worked best and eventually we found a system for ourselves to follow.  We tried a myriad of things.  At first, I took the passive approach.  I would do things like run ads on my computer, recieve text spam (forwarded to a Google voice account), and run a program that watches YouTube videos for points.  I had an old computer dedicated to running these things 24/7.  Normally, the money made (which was basically pennies) wouldn’t even cover the electricity costs of running it.  But we lived in an apartment that didn’t have an electric bill, so I thought I’d abuse it.

I took the time to run the numbers and found that I would, at most, be making $10 dollars a month; which was pitiful.  I decided to take a more active approach from there.  This was the routine Eddie and I went through:

Bing – use their search engine and you get points which you can redeem for gift cards.  In our case, we would always cash out the $5 Amazon gift card.

JingIt – watch ads for money.  Money could be cashed out either by a Debit card they send you or you could buy music with it.

Quirky – Vote on inventions.  If the inventions pass, you gain a very small percentage of the overall revenue.  If you actually contributed to the invention, that percentage increases.  It might seem pointless, but 0.05% of a million dollar idea is still $500.  And it was totally passive too.  I never voted on an invention that hit it big though.  I’ve only made $9 off this website.

Mturk – Amazon’s service where you simply take surveys for money.  The efficient surveys would come out to be $0.10 / minutes; which translates to $6 / hour.  You can’t making a living off of it, but it was certainly substantial.    You couldn’t really do this for hours on end though, there were only so many cost-efficient surveys in a given day.  Sometimes you would get lucky and find a 2 questions multiple choice survey that rewarded you $0.75.

Mturk would be the brunt of our ‘income’ allowing us to rake in about $250 in just one academic quarter.  You would think, “Why would I waste all this time making pocket change when I could be studying and stuff?”.  But really, it was like 30 minutes a day of “work”.  I would spend most of it on Christmas presents for friends and family though.  Though not much time passed since we first started this, payout rates would decrease significantly and websites got smart, blocking bots from doing the work for us.  Still, it was a fun time for us.  We would get back from class and hop on our laptops to go through the routine.  I would do this thing where I yelled “beer money!” at my desk and wait for Eddie to respond with same phrase.

I stopped doing this after I graduated college and got a real job.  I just can’t seem to justify sitting at a computer essentially “working” another hour for just $6.  In theory, I could do it while I work, but that doesn’t sound too cool.  If you’re looking for some extra spending money, feel free to ask me or hit up the Beer Money subreddit.


Beer Money!

Joshiba’s Game

College, 2011 – 2012

During my fourth year of college, I lived in an apartment with Man Lauren.  Though they were rare, there were a few nights where we had nothing to do but let the creative juices flow.  It wasn’t long until we decided that we wanted to invent some sort of game together.  We wanted it to be simple.  We didn’t want to deal with creating a board or cards, despite my initial thoughts.


Lauren said he wanted it to be able to be played any time; similar to the concept of rock-paper-scissors, chopsticks or hot hands.  Something to be played while waiting for something.  We agreed that we wanted it to be played on a table, as waiting for your food to come after ordering is something people often do.  We mixed concepts of Chess, Checkers, Dungeon Dice Monsters and Warhammer before we came up with our concept.

The goal of our unnamed game was simple: Touch the opponent’s side of the table with one of your objects first.  A game is declared when the two people sitting across from each other make eye contact and place their first ‘piece’ onto the table (usually their phone or wallet).  From there, an imaginary line of scrimmage splits the table in half.  Everything on your respective side of the table is a piece for you to use and move.

A piece may only move the length or width of itself at a time.  In addition, you could always spend a turn rotating one of your piece for better positioning or movement.  Objects may block other objects by simply being in their way (you couldn’t go through things).  To add a fun aspect of the game, we agreed that any movement made to objects from outsiders (whether they were aware of this game or not) would be deemed fair game.  If a friend moved your phone or a waitress cleared your fork, it counted.


Though we spent the time to create it, we only ever played it twice.  We got some good laughs out of it since no one knew what we were doing.  I won both times just because friends decided to pick up and look at Lauren’s phone, which opened up a clear path for me to score the win!


Try it out yourself!


Meet The Couch, The J in JEL

So I debated with myself how to write this post.  I knew that if I left it to me to write about it, I would end up with one of two results.  Either I over complimented myself and seem vain or I passive aggressively knock down on myself such that I would come off that I lack self-worth.  While I was brainstorming how to humbly write about me, I asked my friends to write a little something about they thought.  I didn’t give them any constraints, and I have to say that what they wrote was better than anything I could come up with.


Cheeseburger Eddie wrote:

A man of great discipline who is able to dedicate himself any task he sets his mind to. A great sense of humor if you appreciate the style that he presents. A loyal friend, who will help move mountains and even points out that it may be better to use a shovel instead of a spoon.  And this is my favorite favorite picture of you.


The Wall wrote:

Mmmm. The couch. A man of reliability and utmost discipline (insert your before and after picture). He went from more of a couch to a wooden chair in that picture.

Kevin wrote:

Josh Yuan. Yoshi! He’s a well caring, extremely disciplined individual, and a trailer blazer.

Well caring. You can go to Josh for anything. He always has a listening ear or ready made bed if you’re too tipsy. Always had a cooked meal ready when I visited him in college. Through all the ministry I have seen him serve, it’s without a doubt that God gave a huge heart to serve and love on others.

Disciplined. Once dropped ton of weight in college and kept it off. Finished the bible in less than a year. Maxed out units credits at school and beasted through every course. He has a amazing job at Flavorus because of his disciplined and work ethic. When he sets his mind in something he will achieve it.

Trail Blazer. From ordering the most ridiculous meal dishes to serving in ministry despite whom may serve with him. Bought a hybrid bike when all of his friends were buying fixies and road. He doesn’t follow the path of many others before him but rather creates a new one.

It’s true that I’ve only known Josh for a couple years but our friendship has been built for a lifetime. It did start with me turning in an essay that I called my own, got 100% (Thanks Josh!) but it grew into late night talks after commuters, biking with all the guys, serving in ministry together, and growing as brother of Christ.

I’m lucky to call Josh my friend!

me beforeme after

They both asked for these pictures.  June 2009 on the left, June 2010 on the right.  Dropped 40 lbs. altogether.

Fedex wrote:

This is Gimli son of Groin, I mean Gloin.


As you can see, Josh and I go way back. We’ve grown up together since we were just babies at church. If you’re reading this and have never met Josh, well you better cause he is an amazing guy! What I would like to say about Josh is that he has a genuine care for others. Back in high school I remember he would take the time to learn how to do something and then teach me what I needed to know. Whether it was learning how to play a game, how I should write research paper, or what I should say during an interview, he would take the time to teach me cause I was so lazy and hated reading. Also during our senior cruise and an outing in Vegas, he was the one to make sure we were all okay.

One fond memory I remember of Josh was up at our summer church camp. It was the last night and some of the guys (Matt, Stu, Cameron, Marty, Josh, Me) had our friend Barrett tell us scary stories in the middle room of our cabin. We were seriously freaked out after hearing them that it was very tough for some of us to sleep. Our friend Cameron (who is pretty gangster-ish) was the only one out of the six of us that was sleeping on one of the bottom bunks in the cabins. Cameron was so scared that night that Josh, the caring guy that he is, got out of his own bunk and shimmied his way into Cameron’s sleeping bag so that he wouldn’t be so lonely. This instance shows that Josh has genuine care for all his friends.

All in all Josh has a huge heart for the people around him. He is a great dude, and brother.

X-deF wrote:

This is The Couch


Some other names I might know him by are: Squash, Yosh, Yoshuay, Yung Yau, Gimli son of Gloin, Gimli son of groin

I knew Josh growing up at church and didn’t realize we lived in the same city until middle school. Our elementary schools, Carver & Valentine, would merge into Huntington middle school. I also didn’t realize what good of a friend Josh would become.

There’s so much to say about this perfectly picked squash so here’s just a snippet..

So squash is a cool dude. Ice cold. Maybe not in the normal sense that you’re use to– this isn’t a normal guy. He gets a long with anyone he meets and has this dry sense of humor that will make you wet your pants instantly. This guy’s annoyance tolerance is off the charts…whenever I’m being immature he keeps his composure…even if I’m being the biggest hot dog at the moment. He will love a hot dog no matter how big or small. The only kind of love that comes from above.

Josh isn’t afraid of being himself. He will cast a fishing line if everyone else has nets. He will wear a plaid shirt, plaid shorts and plaid shoes…at the same time. If everyone was going 80mph on the highway, he will go 65mph. The confidence he has to not be pressured into normal worldly things shows where he places his identity. His identity is in Jesus.

I’m trying to think of story that shows his heart of gold. But all I can think of is about how he threw-up one time in children’s choir, how he dared someone to wipe the socks he’d been wearing for 5 straight days over their face at church camp, how he let my brother throw frozen peas at his face, how he gave me advice when I was having a hard time in college, how he never hesitated to pray for me when I was feeling down in the dumps..

In all seriousness though, he’s a great guy and a good friend.


The Rainbow Wrote:

Meet The Couch


It took me a while to write this blurb about Josh because, let me tell you, Josh is one amazing dude, and I didn’t want to write anything less than he deserved. I’ve known Josh for our whole lives, which means my analysis of Josh is based on a more-than-competent sample size of data, giving my conclusions about him a minimal confidence interval and a maximum confidence level. (That means they’re really, really accurate.) So listen up.

First of all, Josh’s discipline (which he blogged about previously at least once) is always the first mesmerizing thing that I think of when I think of Josh. We live in a time and generation of increasingly “flaky” and non-committal young people overloaded by all the possibilities open to them in our “connected” technology age and ironically paralyzed by “FOBO” (Fear of Better Options) and “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out). But Josh is not your typical flaky young person. No, sir. Josh is made of finer stuff. He is not afraid to make a decision and go with it. When Josh sets out to do something, he will not stop until he gets it done, no matter what the cost. This resolve, perseverance, and unrelenting commitment are absolutely standout qualities, rare and precious jewels that set him apart from the crowd. It is this quality that I most admire about Josh and seek to emulate in my own life.

Josh is also one of the most logical and reflective guys I know. A lot of people these days do not have all their screws on quite right. They just don’t make good decisions, swayed by all kinds of subjective, emotional impulses. But Josh makes decisions with great rationale. He does not have “knee jerk” reactions, even when something shocking and/or offensive happens. He takes everything in stride, considers all the factors, and then commits to a well-polished response. This makes him one of the best people ever to go to for advice, which brings me to the next quality of Josh that I wish to highlight…

Josh is a great, genuine people person and a true friend. I’ll admit, I didn’t always think so. Maybe that’s because it wasn’t always true. (Remember, I’ve known Josh our whole lives, so, like all of us, he’s grown and matured a lot over the years.) But it sure is now. For me personally, I am no stranger to awkward silences. I have seen and continue to see my fair share when I’m talking with someone and then suddenly I just don’t know what to say. In great contrast to me, Josh seems like he always knows what to say to make you feel like he gets you and he values you. I’m always reminded of this when I hang out with Josh in different group settings. He’s always able to adapt to different social settings to connect with people, but never in a way that compromises who he is and what he believes. As a friend, he’s not afraid to give you the hard truth when you need to hear it, but he also is a great encourager when you need that.

No one’s perfect. In theory, everyone knows this and most people will admit it. But it takes a real man to live the implications of his limitations. Josh is that real man. What I mean by this is that Josh isn’t afraid (1) to ask for help and (2) to admit when he’s messed up. On his own initiative, he has asked me for advice countless times, and he’s shared his prayer requests with me countless more. This is not an indication that he is excessively needy but an indication that he is incredibly humble. He lives the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” Pride is a huge struggle for any man, but Josh has a better handle on it than most guys I know, definitely something to be desired.

Of course, this incredible humility is rooted in his faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He understands that he is a totally depraved sinner, capable of nothing good except by the grace of God alone. Despite his many outstanding qualities, Josh points glory not to himself but to his Savior and his Lord Jesus Christ. Ask him more about this!

Single ladies, hear me. If I were you, I would do everything in my power short of being creepy to try to make Josh my husband because I know that he is the most committed, reasonable, authentic, personable, humble, and God-glorifying man whom I am likely to come across in my lifetime. Word.


I won’t go on and mar what they said by adding anything of my own.  Rather, I’ll just close with some pictures that I feel I look good in.

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Blessed and honored to have such great friends!

The L in JEL

This is Lauren.


Some other names you might know him by are: Tom Tolado, Man-Lauren, Matt, Yoshiba-inu, Liquid Gold


The words I would use to describe Lauren are wise, calm and gentle giant.  I have to choose these words carefully, because Lauren takes every word spoken very seriously.  I once told him to “hold on”, as I needed to finish something really quick, to which he grasped the nearest pole until I was ready.  Jokes aside, whenever he speaks, the words he uses are well thought out and constructed (most of the time anyway).  As such, he is someone who you love being encouraged by, who you wouldn’t mind being reprimanded by, who you want to pray for you and who you wouldn’t mind having pillow talk with.  And he loves pillow talk.


Unless Lauren is joking around or trying to have fun, he is always in a state of calm.  Master of many situations, he never loses his cool or his temper.  It’s such a morale boost to be around him cause you can never tell if he’s panicking, distressed or furious.  The only thing you can tell is that he is analyzing a situation or problem, before he goes ahead to solve it.  If you look into his eyes, you can tell that behind that gaze lies a vast sea of wisdom.  Within that pool, he’s learned from many fought battles, many tears, many triumphs and many struggles.  The coolest thing about Lauren is that he is always reading his Bible.  He is always quoting it and referencing it to the best of his abilities.  The way his Bible cover is worn out is a testament to how often he opens it (and/or never closes it).  No surprise that that is the biggest source of his wisdom.  He isn’t afraid to say things like it is.  He doesn’t beat around the bush, rather he beats the bush to a leafy pulp; which is in turn suitable to be used to make paper.

When he is joking around though, he is extremely animated and a joy to be around.

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He sometimes likes to play harmless pranks on people.  They range from turning on the hazard lights while someone is driving, to turning everything upside down on one’s desk, to changing a calculator’s settings.


You would think that people mess with him a lot, since he has a “girly” name (since it’s spelled Lauren, rather than Loren), but one look at him and you know he’s not one to be trifled with.

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He more than looks the part.  Every now and then he would tell me about a fighting style he knows.  Kickboxing, wrestling, boxing.. it wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled a sword one day to expertly chop something in half.

A servant at heart, he is always doing random acts of kindness.  Though he doesn’t enjoy driving that much (similar to me), he always volunteers to drive anyway.  He’ll randomly foot the bill when no one is looking.  And he’ll send encouraging messages to you over Facebook.  This was especially apparent when I lived with him for a year.  He would wrestle me to do the dishes, because he didn’t want me to do “his” dishes.  And when it comes to fighting Lauren to do the dishes, there’s no winning, he just allows you to lose.  He would pour chips into a bowl, as if for himself, but somehow get me to eat them all.  He would ask if I was the least bit hungry, to which he would cook me something and put it in front of me.  And he always insisted on pouring my tea for me.



Lauren was actually the one that played a large part in convincing me to be a small group leader.  A lot of our deeper conversations came in the moments we were in bed but not asleep yet.  Being involved in EPIC was one of them.  Though I deemed myself unfit for the role, he spent many minutes reassuring me, as much as I was just trying to fall asleep.  Some nights were spent going into detail about our dream world.  Some were spent talking about the blessings God has showered on us.  And some conversations were just utter nonsense.

The greatest stories I have with Lauren usually involve us inventing something; as you know, we were already proud of the concept of “Joshiba”.  We invented a game that is able to be played at any table and is initiated when an object is placed.  We invented some pretty good food concoctions when we lived together.  We were also good at fabricating stories that girl-Lauren would believe.

Oh, and all those times he came over to cuddle with Eddie.. without Eddie’s consent of course.

It goes without saying though, that he is a great guy and a good friend.