Eugene Cho

Stop believing in your own excuses. The eye-catching story of Christine Ha, MasterChef-to-be.

Have you seen this?

Un-friend me immediately if…

If this doesn’t move you, inspire you, or draw a couple tears…please unfollow this blog and unfriend me on Facebook immediately. We can’t be friends.😉

Seriously. I love these kind of stories…I absolutely love these underdog kind of stories.

Living lives as victims

Stories of good people with huge challenges and barriers and yet, they break through what could easily be “I’m a victim” mentality and absolutely crush it. Win or not. Succeed or not. They’re stories are inspiring because they go for it. They pursue their dreams and that in itself, is incredibly inspiring.

Several weeks ago, I shared the story of 9-year-old Caine Monroy of Caine’s Arcade. If you haven’t seen his story, please do yourself a favor and watch it.

Introducing Christine Ha

The story of Christine Ha is pretty amazing. She is MasterChef’s first blind contestant.

Read it. Watch the video. Let me know what you think.

Here’s a glimpse of her story from an article in People:

Chefs rely heavily on their sense of taste and smell to cook — especially if they’re blind like MasterChef contestant Christine Ha.

“I have to depend a lot more on the other senses to cook — taste, smell, how certain ingredients feel,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ll know if a piece of meat is close to being done by how it feels against my hand or utensils.”

Christine, 33, has been diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), a condition of the central nervous system that affects the optic nerves and spinal cord.

“The very first bout I had was in 1999,” she says of the condition. “It only happened in one eye then. It didn’t recover completely so I learned to adjust to seeing out of one eye. In 2004, it decreased to the level where I could no longer drive. In 2007, it decreased to where I am now. I have to use a cane to walk around or take somebody’s arm and be guided.”

Christine is ready to prove herself on the show, which premieres Monday (9 p.m. ET) on Fox. “It’s hard to see ingredients,” she says. “I have to figure out by smell and touch if an ingredient is fresh. Cutting with knives — fortunately, I’m pretty careful and I have a proper knife technique. Since I’ve lost my vision, I’ve cut myself once. And it was minor. I’ve never had to get stitches. It’s really about being organized, careful and using my other senses.”

And she won’t be getting any special help from the judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. “Joe, Gordon and Graham didn’t treat me any differently,” she says. “They told me what was wrong and right with my dish. There was constructive criticism. I feel like they judged fairly.”

Still, nerves were a factor for Christine when she began the competition. “I had never been this nervous in my life — even on my wedding day,” she says. “It was the most anxiety I’ve felt in a day. It’s already scary to be in an environment you can’t soak up visually what’s happening around you. It was challenging and scary.

We all have stories and excuses.

Perhaps, our barriers aren’t as pronounced as Christine’s bout with neuromyelitis optica and eventual blindness.

But we all have our own stories.
We all have our own excuses.
But the problem with excuses is that eventually, we start believing in them.

Break through. Believe in your dreams. Believe in your Creator. Don’t just tell a good story in your mind. Pursue it and live it out.

“With great character comes great reward.”

It is never easy to lose your vision. It will suck, and you will go through a period of grief and adjustment. It is stressful. And it is okay to cry and lament about it. This is all very normal and healthy. But after a while, you have to pick yourself up, learn to adapt, and move on and forward. Everyone in this world is dealt a different hand—some better, some worse than others—but what’s more important is how you play that hand. This is what builds character. And with great character comes great reward. ~ Christine Ha

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17 Responses

  1. Incredible story, and a brilliant reminder that I am full of excuses, and I am so ready to listen to them. It’s easier to believe excuses, be a victim, and feel sorry for yourself than it is to actually be an inspiration for other people.

  2. gar says:

    Saw the clip online via AngryAsianMan blog and was amazed. I give props to her husband as well, for being so supportive of his wife and her courage to keep doing what she loves despite her disability. Amazing!

  3. Janet says:

    Yes, we all have our challenges in life – and none can be measured against another, I have learned… I struggled for 40 years to find a diagnosis for my extremely rare genetic disease, and I can say it has informed everything I am today. I work now to help increase accurate and early diagnosis for others, and I see devastating patient situations every day, but Christine puts it well… we can all overcome. Thanks, Eugene…. in tears and still your FB Friend….

  4. Lillis says:

    I am truly inspired Eugene. I face challenges myself as I was recently diagnosed with degenerative joint disease in my neck. It is painful for me to lift alot of weight and sometimes even simple chores bother me. I also have osteoarthritis in my pelvic bones making it sometimes painful to walk long distances.

  5. Amy says:

    My son is visually impaired and wants to be a chef too..what an inspiration she is!

  6. Pablo says:

    When things happen to us we have a choice to let them make us better or bitter. I salute this lady and you for sharing this with us. There is something about taking heart inspired risks that also moves the heart and hand of God….

  7. Kenny says:

    I won’t have to un-friend you because I’m in sniffly tears here at work…..

  8. Peter says:

    I have known her for 6 years now and she went with us to Ethiopia in that condition as well. We love her for who she is at Pathways Church

  9. gridlockmanifesto says:

    I think the personal comments from people who know Christine are just as encouraging and uplifting as reading this blog was. Many of us will never have challenges to face as scary as loosing one’s sight, but Christine shows us how things can be if we do, and how to face the smaller challenges with courage too. I use her as an example to my kids all the time now. Our family started watching one day last year when a Dish co-worker suggested watching. The show is one of our favorites now on our PrimeTime Anytime recordings that we use for watching commercial free with Auto Hop. That way we can see more TV shows in one evening by saving over 20 minutes an hour. Sometimes it is fun to watch two episodes in one night too, which we did this week.

  10. jchenwa says:

    I like to see good things happen to good people,

  11. Hi Eugene! Sorry for the comment, but I couldn’t find any other contact information for you. Anyway, Mike Morrell and I really appreciate your blog, and think you would be an excellent candidate for our Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you would like: http://thespeakeasy.info

    You are not on any contact lists, I promise; if you do not respond, that is it, and the invitation is open as long as you are actively blogging. Hope you join us!

  12. Mike W. says:

    Eugene.
    Thanks for doing what you do!
    Strong the Ties!

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One Day’s Wages

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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