Monday, December 11, 2017

Magical Thoughts

I asked my social worker for a list of Bible quotes regarding waiting. That led to a list of quotes about patience. And upon further reading, the quotes are not a one stop shop for patience nor waiting. But that’s the way any reading is--it’s the blueprint to a deeper meaning. And sometimes that deeper meaning is only accessible with what we interpret around our lives.

The quote coming from the over-quoted passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 about love. Perhaps you’ve heard of love? Love is patient, kind, it does not envy; nor does it boast because it’s not proud. If you read further you will see another over-quoted passage that speaks about growing into adulthood by leaving childish things behind.

Have you associated both passages to the final verse in that section, aka 1 Corinthians 13:13? Paraphrased, Apostle Paul says that as an adult--or a mature being, we are to abide by faith, hope, and love. But of all three the greatest is love.

That’s magical in the child-like sense of magic...to leave childish worries aside to leave insecurities and doubt--could we just have faith, hope, and love? What a clandestine thought, if we just held each other in faith. If we just held hope for each other. If we loved each other. Well, if we did all three we’d have a very blessed world.

At its root. If we had faith in ourselves and our personal relationship in Christ. If we had hope in ourselves and our talent, treasure, and time. If we had love for ourselves to know that we are nothing more than clay refined by the flame of our Lord. Yet because we ARE molded by our maker we ARE more than just clay in the earth.

If I could open a box in my mind and be filled with all these magical thoughts. That I could be filled with faith in myself, hope in myself, and love in myself. If I had these, then maybe I’d finally reach the other end of this severe depressive and anxious crisis in my life. Then maybe I’d be magical inside and out. Shining even to myself.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Running on E


E is for Emergency? Empty. E is for empty like when your tank is empty in the middle of a fake gasoline crisis after Hurricane Harvey. These past few weeks I feel like I’m running on E. It could be that I haven’t had enough sleep. It could be the decrease in Vitamin D from the lack of sun on the streets. It could be stress. It could be that I haven’t been attending church regularly.

Whatever the case. I’m low on specific neurons that keep me bustling around. And I use little things to keep me running. Things like proper meals, chocolate, ice cream, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

It’s not an easy thing to run low. But sometimes I think that if you have the energy to do something, you do it. If you do not have the energy to do something, you still do it. The ends sometimes justify the means. Even if you’re kicking and screaming on the inside.

Or as my sis sometimes says: even if you’re dying on the inside...the last time she employed that phrase it was to say that we’ll never walk a narrow line between paying bills late and getting services discontinued before paying bills late. It’s a fine line.

Maybe a goal needs to be to NOT run on E. Even if I don’t want to, I have to. It’s what I’ve always told myself and maybe I’ve always been wrong. There’s only one way to find out. To gas up before I hit E. To keep up, keeping on.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Get it done.

Children of the 90s really enjoy a couple of things no other children do. Like high fructose corn syrup, tootsie rolls, Blues Clues, well and then some things like bumper stickers. Remember the age of bumper stickers and key chains sayings. The popular slogan, “Just do it,” motivated the masses. Made a billion dollars for multiple industries and kinda really reinforced a culture of motivational seekers.

Throughout all this phenomena… we’ve forgotten a motivational message that doesn’t not sugar coat things: Get it done or die. It’s clear cut, negative, and fear inducing but it’s the best kind of motivation. Get it done.

How can this motivational message be put into practice? Well, there’s something I’ve kicked around in my head. It’s this question, “how badly do you want something?” You’re going to want it so badly that you’d fight to stay alive for it. That was my answer after regurgitating the question, chewing it up, bring it back up--pretty awful sounding right?

But it got done. I found a insensible answer to an insensible question that felt like my responsibility to answer. It’s a do or die type of world and we’re either doing or dying. Don’t think that some are going to want something bad enough they’ll die for it. Some of us just want to do things so badly we will do them instead of dying.

It’s just something different. And it will be done.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Leaving things behind

It’s not always. But when I forget things at home, I forget things like my cell phone. My wallet. And sometimes--if not most often, my house keys. It’s kind of bad when you forget your cell phone but it’s absolutely worse when you forget your wallet. Money is super important. Lucky for me I leave spare money in random pockets of my wallets in case of emergencies.

It’s always easier to talk about tangible, physical object when approaching a subject like “leaving things behind.” It’s not always clear how to best transition between the physical thing and perhaps the emotional thing. Or time periods in one’s life. So I’ll quickly segway this conversation using scripture and societal teachings.

If you look at 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” You can see, well I can’t, I have seen many refer to this line as a grown up acceptance line. This line is something that Mexicans, as a society, reinforce with things like “you’re not a child anymore.” Or, “you’re too old for that,” or “act your age.” This line in Scripture and phrases clearly draws a line in between “adulthood” and “childhood.”

But nowadays, we have found a gray ground called “young adulthood.” That broad spectrum after youth and adulthood where one is not quite a child anymore and not quite an adult.I feel that I jumped into that young adulthood realm too early as a child. I didn’t do it alone.

I had encouragement from adults when my younger sisters could participate in children’s activities and I couldn’t because “I was too old for that.” Or “I wasn’t a child anymore.” Incredibly enough I’m only three and four years older than my sisters. But I left my childhood behind in between seven and nine years of age.

In a sense, leaving something intangible behind is the same as leaving something physical behind. You might not be reunited with it at the end of the day. But I can vouch that after a long and winding road you will encounter what you’ve left behind.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Drawing the Line

There comes a time in my life where I set my priorities straight. Usually every few weeks when I decide that I’m not doing enough with my life and that I do not deserve breaks. I do not deserve time to breathe and I most definitely do not deserve time to refresh.

It’s clearly not true and I’ve learned that I’m not the only one that feels that way. So I decided to set my priorities straight (again). My priorities as of today are pece, health, seminary, employment, travel, and having a dog. Though, I did hear a very convincing argument for owning a tortoise.

So where do I draw the line? Clearly a lot of the stuff I fill my time with are things I enjoy. I enjoy going to work, I enjoy helping people out, and I enjoy everything I do at church. But then...what are some things I can do to enjoy myself that are regenerative, peaceful, and nurturing?

Well that’s why I think that buying an elliptical is a great idea. Just kidding.

I don’t exactly wake up every day thinking “how can I change the world,” but I feel that I try to make at least ONE person feel like they are cared for. If I can make it my life’s goal to set aside a little bit of the day to make myself feel cared for… then maybe I’d be onto something. Maybe that’d be the fine line between doing things I enjoy for others and doing things I enjoy for myself. It might just work.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

H. A. L. T.

If you ever need an acronym to live by, it hast to be HALT. If you’re ever in a moment of distress or you’re seriously considering why you’re doing whatever you’re doing. HALT, is a good way to just stop. Stop. Ask yourself:

Am I HUNGRY? Am I ANGRY? Am I LONELY? Am I TIRED?

Sometimes it’s too easy to not “halt” to “keep going” and to “not stopping.” And in my case I was just angry and tired. Angry because I had no control and tired because the lack of control took my ability to sleep at night. And the anger led to more tiredness and the tiredness led to more anger.

And instead of stopping things get shut down. If I like crochet; then crochet goes away. If I like to cook; then cooking goes away. If I like to write; then writing goes away. Everything that brings me joy seems so unbelievably unworthy because the cycle of anger and tiredness are the only important things in life.

And slowly I put everything about myself into a box.

And that box compresses everything until things leak out. And quietly things like hobbies ask, are you still interested in us? Sunshine, are you still interested in me? And slowly the box expands, disappears a bit. I recenter, refocus.

I just need to stop sooner. The roller coaster doesn’t need to end up in hell before the next spin.

Friday, September 22, 2017

This Day Made for Me

Four years ago on this day, I was baptized as Sopphey Vance. We had a small service in the Fellowship Hall of the church because the sanctuary received new carpet. You could say that the previous summer was the Summer of Love between Christianity and me. But it wasn’t without a fight, without drama, and without hardship.

At that time I had ended a big part of my social activist life and at the same time I hit rock bottom physically. If it wasn’t the nausea, the mood swings, the panic attacks, the fatigue, the constant upheaval, the tears, the arguments, the end of a relationship...it was that haunting and gnawing feeling that though I ran. I could not outrun God.

I had vowed to myself on the January of that year that everything would change. That I would never suffer like I had the past few months. And I still did, but through that suffering, anxiety, and indecisiveness I found myself standing face to face with God once again. The last time being 12 years before when I told God, without knowing if God was real or not, that He could stuff it because I was branching out.

Four years ago today I stood in that church professing my quavering faith to Christ. Professing my intent to do sin no more. I stood there reciting the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer--and I trembled with fear. Because through my physical illness I looked at God straight in the eye and I said clearly. “Do your worse. Anything you do worse than what you’ve already done in the past year, I will endure it! I will lift my aching, sick body, and will do this. Your agenda and mine will work together.”

That’s how I entered into covenant with God. Along the way I learned I was saved through Jesus Christ. And I learned to be in communication with the Holy Spirit for the good of others or for me. Nine months ago I decided to further my dedication and promise to God by expressing my intention to go to seminary..and to be ordained..and to proclaim repentance and forgiveness.

And now I’m having doubts. It’s not that I doubt God’s call, because I can’t put my Bible down and I can’t stop innovating and doing things at church. It’s not that I doubt that I can teach Bible Study or any number of things I do at church. I’m fighting with God. Maybe I’m not as bold as Jacob was when he fought with God. But I am a fighter before I am a lover.

And today, I fought. Today I didn’t lose but I changed my attitude. This doubt that I hold is not consistent with my beliefs. If anything it’s trying to rip the foundation of my core apart. Who I’ve been as an individual and who I am in Christ are not completely the same persons. They’re a mix of each other for better or worse.

And where does that leave me in my covenant with God? Well, there’s enough boat left to save myself as the rains flood over the earth. I’m not perfect and I’m not the best. But, to be a good follower of Christ I do believe there are some things that I could do better in. Then there’s stuff that I have no power over and I turn those over. I pray for the strength every day to continue my path with God.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Creating Blanket Statements

What do we mean sometimes when we go through the Bible and create blanket statements such as: "Well so and so never said this explicitly." Or, "you know, in verse so and so it says these things but what if that was just a cultural reference. Surely, God didn't ever mean that?"

I'm learning vocabulary to identify what we do when we discuss scripture at a verse level or line level. And like all good unreliable story telling, I've forgotten what those identifiers are.

I read the Bible slowly. Not because I'm a slow reader, but because I sit through the words and I categorize them into three categories:

a) is the statement a cultural reference
b) is the statement 'divine' and Spirit influenced
c) is the statement an individual or group's agenda

Makes for slow reading.

And it's not like I've not read some of the parts of the bible before. It's just that sometimes some things stick out and sometimes they do not. For instance, the following statement in Genesis:

"The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on earth, and his heart was deeply troubled."

Is this statement a cultural reference? Is this statement Spirit influenced? Is this this statement an individual or group's agenda?

Today in Sunday School as we read 1 Samuel 18:1-5 and 20:41-42 I used the scripture from Genesis to portray a point: God loves us SO MUCH. So much, He holds us in reverence above animals and land. We are made in his own image. We have the breath of life in us. How could he regret making us? He doesn't have wrath for us, he has wrath for the wickedness IN US.

Did God really regret making us in His image? Does God really love us so much? I'm still discerning. It's a slow process. But, it's something to think about.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Time Management Skills

My sis and I had a very serious talk one evening. She said, "Sopphey sometimes I feel like I'm living with a celebrity. Every time I text you, you take forever to answer. When I call, you always say you'll call me back. And when you finally call back, the conversation is quick."

And I was bold to say that even though it seems like I don't make time for her during the day. That's not completely true. Because even if I send her a short text after a long period of time... I still responded.

Even if I only answer the phone to tell her that I'll call her back... I still answered the phone. Making time for people is very important for me. Because there were times when I didn't answer the phone call right away. I'd hung up and call back two weeks later.

I value the people I have in my life so much. But I value myself more. It should always be like that. Though sometimes, even though I value myself more, it doesn't mean that these people become invisible to me. I know when I'm putting myself before others too much; when they are wanting my attention yet I can't give it.

When I close myself off. I know this, I see this. And so I wonder how I could better manage my time so that I can put myself first a lot. And at the same time have friendships with others. So that they can enjoy the person I am when my needs are being met.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Experiencing Loss

Sometimes I forget that I’ve lived through some things others haven’t. Like experiencing close friends die. It’s this huge unfathomable feeling of having a part of your life disappear overnight. Gone, nothing more scary than gone. But, day by day, some experience that feeling of loss slowly. You experience your day to day life differently. And I can most definitely say that some days it feels like you’ve made no progress at all and you’re back at that morning where that person was gone!

That’s how it feels for me even months after experiencing an incident of sexual assault/abuse/trauma. It feels like a lot of close friends are gone. At first it was just that close friend called physical contact. Where if someone tried to shake my hand AND HOLD IT, I perished under insecurity and panic. I still feel like that sometimes.

Another close friend I miss most is sleep. Falling asleep on the train is not the best or safest thing to do. Public transportation can be dangerous in big cities. And no matter how upgraded my space on the floor that I call bed is with foam mattresses and pillows...it’s still the floor. Sleep alludes me in ways that can’t be explained. I’m tired of waking up multiple times per night. I’m tired of waking up some days feeling like screaming...or screaming.

Instinctively, all I want to do is walk into a closed room and tell myself over and over that it’s time to be normal now. Yes, this awful and horrible thing has happened, but it’s time to be normal now. It’s time to act the way I used to be. It’s time to meet the demands of my housemates, of my friends, of my work, of my church, of everything. There’s too much going on to slow down. There’s too much at stake to let myself wander too long.

Time is endless but this life is so short. And somehow, I’m of the belief that no matter how many people die..no matter which parts of me don’t work well at the moment: there’s no stop. There’s only GO. And it’s so crazy because I just need to stop for once.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Power of One

I don't tend to throw scripture around, but I can't help myself. The essence of my being is now roofed in ministry. So allow me to throw scripture around on my blog and forgive me in the future if I don't proclaim warnings before scripture.

Scripture is fun though. And I'm a dork and such so I'll start with I have yet to finish my study of Jeremiah. If John is always touted as the first book to read in the Bible than I have this inclination that Jeremiah should follow. Followed by James, Job, and Genesis. I haven’t finished formulating the reason why, but my inclinations will have to suffice.

“Brother-in-law,” the nickname we’ve given to him as he is the brother-in-law of my sister’s boyfriend, had a very interesting moment of humor last night. He made a few jokes about God and the singular Atheist in the way some are prone to make Aggie jokes.

There was one joke, or more like oral teaching story that I wanted to reply with scripture. And the gist of the story, is that Jesus would have stood silent while a rich man beat up a student. The rich man had thought the student stole his wallet that rich man had intended to use for a virgin at a brothel. And because Jesus would have stayed silent, the student would have been too beat up to go on an overseas trip and not die.

At first, I immediately remembered a story from Genesis 18:16-33 where Abraham pleads God to not destroy the city of Sodom for the sake of 50 righteous people. Then pleaded for the sake 45 and finally 10. In that conversation the Lord refuses to destroy the righteous. And we would love to infer that even if there is only ONE righteous person, the city would be saved.

Going further into Jeremiah 5:1, there is a self-proclamation of ONE. “...If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks truth, I will forgive this city.” (NIV.)

Just one. Uno. Une. 1. I wanted to tell brother-in-law that it wasn't so much that Jesus wanted to stay quiet, but that Jesus would go to any length to hopefully save the one student. To hopefully save the one virgin at a brothel.

If that is the power of saving one can you imagine if we put ourselves in place of Abraham. Imagine if we could deal honestly and seek truth? Than we would all be able to save one. I save one, you save one...one saves another one.

1+1+1+1 ...n+1 = infinity = kingdom of heaven???

I'm just one person. You are just one person. One and one. And then one more. There's so much potential for justice, equality, love, and understanding for this world.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Timetables and Tambourines

I have a blogging schedule I don’t follow. To be honest, it’s a lot of starting of blog posts and not finishing them for one reason or another. This blog post could have been one of those, but it isn’t. I have a publishing schedule for my magazine that I tend to follow. It helps that I have the best Content Editor ever who really keeps me accountable. I have a meal regimen and medicine discipline that I follow for dear life.

But everything tends to follow a schedule. There’s daily schedules from that first moment I wake up to that last moment when I fall to sleep--or forcefully get myself to sleep with the aid of some calming music. There’s weekly schedules that dictate the beginning and end of my week such as church functions, work duties, groceries, laundry, and the occasional day of laze.

But is there a rhythm to my schedules? I remember one time I inherited a tambourine from the guitar store. It was a precious instrument to me because I received it from a good friend. And because through its unpredictable but controllable sound I could reflect emotions that I couldn’t quite put into words at the time.

Well I tried. I wrote this one poem that went something like… “Fire. / <incessant rattling of the tambourine>. / Silence.” Needless to say, I never heard the end of it and my ‘creativity’ or ‘lack of’ with my tambourine poem.

But if the rhythm of my life were an instrument, it most definitely is a tambourine. There’s an incessant rattling of thought and nervousness that wakes me in the morning. It vibrates and conjugates into actions that make together the events of my day. And not quite like my poem, the rattling doesn’t cease during the night. It simmers until it’s called into being in the morning once again.

And that’s why I don’t sleep. Just kidding it’s one of the reasons I don’t sleep. I should buy myself another tambourine.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Joy of Breathing

We all thought I had asthma growing up. But it must have been severe allergies. I’m not sure. I ran out of breath if I walked too fast. I ran out of breath if I ran. I ran out of breath if I slept in a cold room. I ran out of breath if I slept in a warm room. Any given year, without a doubt. I was sick with bronchitis twice a year when the seasons changed from Fall to Winter and Spring to Summer.

It didn’t help that I developed different forms of anxiety. Like the “I’m so nervous I feel like I’m talking but no one can hear me.” Or the, “I’m so nervous I’m going to pass out.” The really gross one...”I’m so nervous I’m going to throw up to feel better.”

I took a meditation class in college. I learned a lot about Chi--energy, and breathing as you meditate. Actually, I even learned about being mindful, being in a state of mindful meditation. I think after the class was over I stopped wanting to do guided meditations. I developed this pattern of “fast” and “now.” Kind of like our whole generation, we want instant results, gratification, news, social media...everything k thx bai.

I can’t sit still for too long and yet sometimes I can sit for hours crocheting. It’s a mystery. I can’t sit long enough for guided prayer either. I had to walk out of there so fast. It was just not going to work out for me. I can’t sit at the dinner table long either. I start getting up and proceed to finish eating my dinner while walking around the kitchen. What’s in the kitchen? There’s nothing of interest to my meal, that’s for sure. Meditation or mindfulness didn’t stick.

But my therapist tried to make me breathe. Breathe in through your nose, she gently said. Breathe out through your mouth like you’re pushing the breath out. Did she not know that I had sat in that chair for too long and I needed to go. Didn’t matter where I went. I just needed to get up and walk around. Okay I took a breath. It was a failure of a breath but she made me do it again. And then the next day when I totally spazzed out at work I tried breathing again. And when I ran around town I took another deep breath. My goal is to do my breathing exercises twice a day for five minutes.

And I can’t consciously do five minutes of breathing…yet. However, if I find myself breathing in through my nose, my body knows to push out the breath through my mouth. And that makes me so happy. A different happy, a fun happy. A peaceful happiness.

Monday, July 10, 2017

There are two people in this world who I could never forgive


Sunday School started with confusion. I didn’t plan enough, according to my students, I didn’t have a project lined up for everyone and thus there was confusion. But, if I’m allowed a minute of ranting, I don’t believe I need to have a project lined up for the students. Because, no matter what project I want a particular student to do...it won’t matter if that student doesn’t want to do that project! I have decided that I need to be a mind reader about choosing projects that I know my students will enjoy--that’s too aggressive.

Sunday School proceeded with more confusion as we read through the passage of the day. Genesis 50: 15-21, a story about Joseph finding forgiveness for his brothers. Which, also coincided with the pastor’s sermon on the Lord’s Prayer. You know, that bit about how we seek forgiveness for the sins we commit and the sins that are committed against us.

So we started with questions to aid in our discussion and somehow or another we asked the most daring question of all: “If someone came to you and offered an apology, and they didn’t mean it. Would you still forgive them?”

“Yes,” one student responded. “I forgive them in the spirit of them asking for forgiveness.” Another great answer included that forgiveness is something for the forgiver as it releases the hurt, anger, and pain received from the offending party. But I was brave to say that there are two people in this world who I could never forgive and one of them is dead.

So let me explain. I haven’t lived an easy life and I don’t sit around pretending that I didn’t. I have fears, I have pains, and I have “healing to do.” But for all the healing and praying and reliving of my past I cannot admit that I was hurt. Who would I admit it to? Will I feel less hurt after admitting it? Will it change the circumstances I was born in? Will the people who have hurt me decide to repent after hearing my hurt?

If anything, I will not always tell a person all the details from the abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, not having parents to rely on, not believing or wanting to believe in God ...being treated worse than a dog… and that’s just my childhood. I don’t find relief in reliving my past. I don’t find relief or feel better from letting things off my chest. I didn’t grow up with those coping mechanisms. Would it do any good to start learning those things now? Maybe. Am I willing to learn them now? Who knows.

I’m trying to live moment by moment right now. As an adult, the fears and pains I lived as a child are prevalent and hurting in the new fears and pains I’m living in now. Even now where I face the newest “assault” as labeled by the police. I know only how to live in the current moment until I’m ready to livin e the next. And maybe in the next millennia of moments I could forgive those two people who treated me less than a dog.

For now I can only ask God to forgive my sins as I attempt to forgive those who’ve sinned against me. I’m not perfect, God knows me too well to think that I lie if I repeatedly say “forgive me my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against me.” I only answer to one God, even if my answers aren’t perfect.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sometimes I just want to apologize

But I know that it's not possible to do so at all. Even though I want to apologize I have nothing to apologize for. I've never done anything 'wrong' per se or even dared to do anything to hurt anyone. Yet, if I had to apologize about something it would be that I'm very private in my personal life. I don't complain if I'm tired. Or if I'm sad. I don't let anyone know if I'm hungry or if I'm mad. And though I never verbally say these things, my body betrays me all the time. So I promised myself that I would stop hiding my feelings.

And even then, I have to apologize to myself because I can't stop hiding.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Defining barriers

If I do the math correctly, I spent the last 11 years defining and remaking my identity as an adult. One can say that it’s inaccurate to say that an 18 year old is an adult..or that as a child I was pretty adult-ish in behavior as bossypants of the family. However, neither age or behavior defines an adult.

I always explain to people that success in reaching children starts with treating them with respect and like adults without the expectations or consequences of adults. In a way, that’s a clue to my identity as an adult. I’m fully respected as an adult and I have the expectations and consequences to match my behavior.

Regardless, what does my identity encompass? I had a powerful reaction to the text we studied at the Pastor’s Bible Study on Thursday. So powerful, that I broke down crying. Something I do when a chain of emotions run amok in me. And if you’re going to break down at a Bible Study, might as well do it when the pastor is around. It helps to talk about it, and we talked briefly about what I was feeling. Which was tied to a painful memory, and after the discussion the pastor suggested to write a list.

This list, consequently, would define what I would NOT do for the church first and second will leave room for what I WILL do for the church. Meaning, that if my identity revolved around what I will and will not do, I’m seriously considering who I am by behavior.

It seems that identity is paramount to growth. And though I’ve spent the last 11 years formatting and defining who I am. There’s still a lot left for me to explore.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A new study

Sunday after lunch I lay in bed to do something. Probably to play my secret/guilty pleasure of a game titled Politicats. It's addictive and one day I'm going to unlock all the levels and going to win first place in a tournament. But for now I'm good with third place in a tournament and not unlocking all the levels.

At some point or another I took a nap. A six hour nap, which technically isn't a nap. But I used take long naps after church on Sundays in most of March and April. Naps after church are my thing. It's like a hard reset button. Instead of just restarting it's like turning off and taking out the batteries before starting up again.

It's ten o'clock in the evening. I played some more of my game and in between bursts of gameplay I turned to Youtube. I really wanted to watch a movie, but I wasn't feeling emotionally drawn to any of the characters readily available. So I thought carefully about the coming Pentecost Vigil occurring next weekend at my church. And my independent Biblical studies seem to go back to Acts and Romans lately. Particularly Romans, and anything related to the Apostle Paul. So Youtube helped me out and I found some great lectures, or talks from the Lanier Theological Library in Houston.

I noticed that there's a lot of people in the Youtube comments who have a lot to say about everything. But one thing I noticed is that though knowledge is freely available on the Internet, and further, in private libraries such as the Lanier Theological Library, I have yet to take advantage of that. I was reminded of the days where I poured over Wikipedia Articles over and over making a timeline of the dawn of humanity.

At that time, I wondered and searched for the earliest civilizations. I pin pointed the time frames from Neanderthals to the early Sumerians. Hoping, searching for an inclination that there was a God or a common theme in our human sense and yearning for religion. Though primitive a study, my findings led me to a woman god who's purpose was to create that cycle of life through birth. But then that led to the two faced woman god who could not only birth life but death (as seen through the birth of stillborn children).

Satisfied that I found a sort of answer I stopped searching at that moment. But yesterday that thirst for knowledge asked for a drink again. I can't discredit the arguments of people on the Internet as all of them being childish with no sense of what they're talking about. Because NT Wright, a New Testament Scholar said something very interesting in one of his lectures/talk and, I PARAPHRASE, the thing is that though not everyone is a theologian; some people have pieces of wisdom that the priest or theologian needs to hear.

Will I have to revive my prehistoric study of religions via more credible sources than Wikipedia? Maybe. There's something that I'm looking for and won't know until I find it. But, it's going to be great. I know that it will be.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Deception is the lost art of war

I haven’t finished reading The Art of War. Okay, I only skimmed it like twenty times. But never fully read it. But today I really understood one thing: deception. Deception, as defined by searching Google is a trick or scheme used to get what you want. Deception occurs when you deceive.

If anything, I struggle a lot when not to employ deception. There’s this societal rule that states that when asked “How are you?” one should always reply with something positive. “I’m good.” “I’m great.” “I’m fine.” There usually isn’t much room for a replies that state something like, “I’m not doing good at all. In fact, I feel like if you make any sudden movements I’m going to have a heart attack. Please, don’t even look at me. I might just rattle straight into this wall.”

Even among friends, sometimes there is a limit to all the weary and dreary talk. Sometimes some people just don’t want to hang around with that negativity. They feel immobile to always hearing the same talk. And yes, constant negativity can be draining.

But then. If there is no space to be negative in. If there are no friendships that allow for the discussion of these feelings. What do we really have left?

Deception. Deception is that smile you give to people before you turn around and hide in your sacred place. Deception is the 5-hour energy drink, the shot of espresso, the caffeine fix in the a cup of coffee. Deception is the beer, the wine, the shots of tequila, the salt rim of a margarita. Caffeine, alcohol, sex, money, POWER.

None of those mirrors will get to the true reflection of what is inside of someone. They’re merely the deception, the cover-ups and symptoms to the underlying disease: we can’t be ourselves even to ourselves. An individual can’t face himself or herself. And in turn as individuals, we can’t coexist with other individuals.

I just want to be myself. At the rate things are going and judging by the amount of things I want to accomplish--I can’t be myself. I can only deceive.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sometimes I remember the kind of person I used to be

I can’t stress this enough: people change. I’ve certainly changed for the better, but sometimes I catch an odd glimpse of what I used to be like in the mirror. For example, today at work I walked into the kitchen and looked over at a cook and blurted:

“My food better be hot.”

Or else.

I barely remember the last time I used the implied Or else with anyone. But that wasn’t the only implied sentence in my apron. I also had the:

Did you expect me to teach you how to do your job?

Or the infamous line, which I reserved for special occasions:

I understand you did XYZ and ABC happened. But what were you supposed to?

Throughout my shift today I developed a new one. It’s one that I don’t think I’ll ever use again, because I don’t like the kind of person I used to be. The newest look:

I’m not here to be on your tail so that you do your job.

I wish work would have gone as smooth as I was told it would be. You know, the schedule read one thing, but life dictated differently. Yet, I take so much pride in the work I do. I really enjoy working in the food and beverage sector for now. I really enjoy seeing the guests enjoy their meal to the fullest.

I do enjoy running back and forth in between my small kitchen and the main kitchen to exchange entrees or bring missing desserts or to go that extra mile for another bottle of red wine when only one person would drink from it. It’s my job, and I do it well. Nothing but a smile and best for the guests. That’s what it takes to be a great employee.

And because I hold high expectations for myself. I’ve held high expectations for those around me. I just have to find a way to hold those expectations without being a total jerk.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Needs of students

Sometimes I think my Sunday School crowd attracts everyone. But mostly, I think it offers a mix of things for different people. It definitely satisfies a different need for everyone. For example, today we acquired four Bibles to add to our repertoire. Instead of reading the passage from the study book I read it from the Bible. It was different.

For one, it’s a version I’m not too familiar with. Second, the print is SO TINY. Third, I really wasn’t sure if changing the class format would work out. Usually I just ask a question that gets discussion going, but this time I didn’t. This last Sunday in April we started with John 10:1-15, and a few extra lines afterward for good luck.

And we had a very powerful discussion or the first 10 minutes of class. Just scripture, no yarn or plastic bags. No talk about new knitting techniques. Nothing else mattered but the scripture. And it’s great, give it a read on Bible Gateway. Bookmark it, stare at, and really ask yourself:

Am I following thieves or am I following Christ?

That’s the question we didn’t get to discuss this Sunday because I had to cut class short because I had to sacrifice my Sunday afternoon to work. I did a lot of reading and every law out there says that if I’m on the schedule I’m obligated to work that day. But why does my work create a wedge in between my church life right now? Why can’t I just live humbly with my God everyday versus just on Sundays?

I ask myself these questions and think about them very much. And because of these questions I decided that my class needs to start with scripture. Because without scripture and without the passion and joy and comfort and warmth we find as a class we can’t continue to create our projects. Scripture satisfies my needs in this Sunday School class.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I’m so tired a I prayed for a nap

I started drinking coffee again. Everyday, around 9 o’clock with my breakfast. 8 ounces pre-blended coffee with creamer and sugar. Twice I mixed my coffee with almond milk for a total of 8 ounces of coffee and 8 ounces of almond milk making 32 ounces of liquids and effectively not leaving much of an appetite for breakfast.

Not that I had that much of an appetite. I’ve sported a stomach ache all week. Everyday before my shift starts at work I attempt to take a nap. But, I’ve been drinking coffee again so it’s been very hard to sleep at night. Interrupted sleep leads to auto-mode life where smiles are short and every other moment is spent making a cowl. And that leads to stress. And stress leads to minor injuries or overworking of oneself.

Which led to today. I bounced back and forth between clinics, ERs, and phone calls to clinics in the past two days to find someone to reassure me that the pain in my right knee was nothing major. At first, I couldn’t be seen because my insurance, or the specific program it is designated for, doesn’t allow physicians to bill me for care outside of the program. When I finally saw someone for a “band-aid” relief I ended up with a prescription that didn’t help completely. AKA wearing off in the middle of the night and landing me back in square one. Interrupted sleep.

Today. A few hours after lunch. Urgent care room with the trash can overflowing. I closed my eyes after an injection of “fast acting pain relief.” And I prayed over and over again. Nothing fancy, just the Lord’s Prayer. At times a pause would stumble in between the words. Each pause followed by a small question, “what goes next. It’s…”

Quiet.

I had been given 15 minutes to not worry about my knee. To not think about going back to work on Wednesday. To not wonder if my phone will have reception enough to contact my sister. To figure out how I would pay for every last needle and hospital minute.

Just 15 minutes of me and God. And a third of a minute afterward to nap, because my blood pressure was significantly lower than when I first entered the building. Maybe this new medicine is going to work. And maybe the following few weeks will create a change for me in terms of finding a better insurance or a way to find a primary care provider. Soon, I’ll have uninterrupted sleep.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Seven eternal lives

Sometimes I write something that seems too silly or corny. For example:

A love that survives
7 years and counting
Is one that exists through reincarnation
Ever lasting
Ever changing
From one life to the next
Together


I used to get myself into self-repeating relationships. You know, the type where it doesn’t matter the person, but it’s the same pattern. Lifespan of two months, because any longer than that then it wouldn’t be exciting. Because ultimately after two months, nothing really meaningful or long-lasting would develop.

Then there is my one true love. I guess you only find one love that continues to grow like a saga. For some it could become that love that got away. Or for others it could be the love that they live with until they die.

For me, this true love is the love that knows me at all times. Knows what I really mean when I say certain things. My true love knows my likes and dislikes. Knows my strengths and my weaknesses. Through the years, has even known things about me I was never aware of. Yet, as true as this love is, it’s also an impossible love. Tragic love. A love that can never be realized in this day and age.

Better phrased, a love that cannot be realized without first changing everything and abandoning everything that we know of in this time. And I know that I won’t be able to sacrifice everything for this true love. In the same manner, nothing will be sacrificed on my love’s end.

In the end. I will end up sacrificing this true love. Though I know it’s only temporary, I’m sacrificing very valuable time with my family in South Texas. And through all the sacrifices I’m finding important answers that cannot reincarnated. In the end I won’t have everything I want, but in the end and since the day I was born I’ve always been so fortunate. So blessed, and because I have that assurance and gratitude it is an honor and joy to help my world.

And that’s the best eternal life to have.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The future is uncertain and changing

The minute I decided my work schedule was great and my meal prep was a great beginning success. And the minute I decided to open up to my pastor about my intentions as a publisher and teacher and in some ways a trendsetter..

The minute I began incorporating 20 minutes of extra activity into my mornings before starting my day. That's the minute I accepted the challenge to engage in the creation and production of my next poetry book. The book that exists only as an outline and portfolio in my Google Drive.

The book that I printed over 50 pages of poems written in the past seven years. I circled and crossed out the chosen poems, the poems that would reflect my skill and intuition about the craft. It would be the easiest book to publish, since most of it is already organized and some of it has received acknowledgements through publication.

But that all changed this morning during breakfast right after sunrise service in Urdu. My home church being a multicultural entity, loving and exceedingly talented, of course there is a South Asian community in its fold. Engaged in humanly conversation we talked under the guise of breakfast. And the discussion resulted in the statement that we have one eternal life through Christ as opposed to seven lives through reincarnation. I admitted, "I wish I had seven eternal lives." And took a big spoonful of my breakfast.

The moment I admitted to wanting seven eternal lives I understood what the real challenge in the book is going to be. See I ended up laying in bed after church and lunch and laundry. And I slept. And then the final dream in the sequences of sleep thoughts unfolded. And finally, after 11 years of not existing in the physical world, my childhood home burned down. If in this physical world the grasps of a bulldozer couldn't bring it down, then in the metaphysical world it couldn't go any other way than with the flame of rebirth.

As the fire began within the oven and leaped into the cabinets on the right, spilling onto the floor and to the left over the kitchen sink. We ushered first the children. Screaming to all my siblings, "It's time! It's time to go now!" My voice carrying through all the narrow rooms and broken doors.

Of course I really woke up because I slept right into dinner time. Or because my homie Paul in Acts was being too loud and just no one can get any decent sleep when he starts. Please keep my new book Straight from the Heart in your thoughts as I use the ashes of my childhood home as ink.

Friday, April 7, 2017

I read a poem aloud

I decided to talk to one of the coworkers I had never spoken to since starting work. He always kept to himself, writing during the lunch break. One day I even asked him why he was quiet, but it wasn’t because I wanted to talk with him. I just thought it was polite. But that changed, we talked on a one-to-one level. Just us two in the break room. So I told him about my magazine and that I was a poet. And he told me that he wrote song lyrics.

And I thought it was weird, that two poets could sit with each other and talk words. I can’t tell you the last time I talked to a writer. Weirder thing, I decided to talk to the coworker again. But this time he read to me one of my songs. And I absolutely downplayed the whole writer thing. I sat as if I was hardly moved by the words (which were good, and I said so). I downplayed myself as a writer.

But the words spoke for themselves. I read a poem aloud. I, the writer, made an appearance.

And all the downplaying and all the relaxed talk about writing a literary and art magazine editor became thin air. The air thinned and thinned until I found myself into a human trap. My coworker shared his hardships with his grandmother and I vaguely told him about my hardships with my grandmother. And he spoke of the grandeurs his art has provided for him and lamented at the lack of a partner and Queen. And I became quiet. The candid and pressing discussion opened a pocket door into a world far unimaginable and endless.

The world inside of pain and hurt.

There are two words that I roll my eyes to without thinking: pain and healing. And somehow I have the personality to deflect both at all times. I could be proud sometimes that I conquered my the different obstacles I’ve experienced in my life. But, I wouldn’t say that I’ve healed from the experiences. If anything, the pain and agony of each situation replays itself. It grows and grows and grows, like a volcano that’s constantly evolving and erupting.

For the first time in the whole of my life did I finally express reasons why I closed my first magazine. I told my coworker that being an editor and poet led me to seeing a lot of people going in and out of total despair. That I had seen a lot of people get sucked in and flown out of habits that aren’t so easily medicated or cured. That I just can’t always sit there and help people go down the sharp staircase into their most intimate feelings and experiences for the sake of art. Because I can’t do anything about those feelings and experiences.

So back to the words pain and healing. Two of my hardest challenges as I walk this path as poet and editor and future seminary student. How can I heal myself? How can God heal me? How can I help a writer, artist, or friend go down that staircase and build pocket doors into a world we can’t always deal with?

Monday, April 3, 2017

This day that was made especially for us

Of all the Sundays I’ve had at church, nothing had ever compared to this previous Sunday. It must have been the thunderstorm, or the closeness we feel as church goers. Whatever it was, it was OFF THE HOOK.

I had three objectives Sunday. One being laundry, y’all know how much I LOVE LAUNDRY. The other two were start the crochet phase of the plarn mats and attend a workshop. Boy, did I forget it was also Family Table, the monthly luncheon and combined worship. Totally mind blown about my forgetfulness I arrived at church exactly at 9:35 am to teach Sunday School.

Oh, and this teacher forgot to read the lesson before class AND forgot to bring the lesson book to class. So we improvised. But, because the normal space was taken up by Family Table, the class sunk into the corner of the room. And the bags came out. And the folding began. And the talking began. And I grasped at thin air for a lesson for the day.

So I started with a question. “What does it mean to be Christ?”

“Don’t you mean Christ-like?” one of the attendees asked me immediately. But, of course. I wasn’t aiming to know what Christ-like means. We talk about being Christ-like every day all day. I’m not sure if it ever sticks or if people are just tired of wanting to know how to be Christ-like! So what does it mean to be Christ? I asked. I stopped innocent bystanders and asked them as well.

One of my innocent bystanders kept coming back and forth trying to answer the question until he sat down and joined us in the creation of plarn. And then he asked very pertinent questions that led to the conclusion that the only reason we fold the bags is so that we can cut them into strips so that we can join the strips together to make plarn. Of course, being an engineer of sorts he made a list of how to speed up the process.

And then someone came around taking pictures of the class and their flash was so bright that we thought it was lightning. Not once, not twice, but three times the flash of the camera spooked us as the hard sounds of hail and rain came down over the church roof.

But the conversation of the class wove itself into the production of the plarn. We came to a conclusion that being Christ is like being a servant to the will of God. And though we could be servants to everyone else, helping everyone else, if we don’t do so for the Glory of God then we’re almost doing a bunch of nothing. Yet, I counteracted. “Do we really think that when we are only doing things for our glory that we’re not subconsciously doing some things for the Glory of God?”

I’ll stop my story about last Sunday here. So much more unfolded. Many laughs were shared. At the end of the day I crawled into bed around 3 o’clock and napped the most glorious nap ever. And I woke up with the assurance that I’m at the right place at the right time. I just have to learn about what is like to be Christ (not Christ-like). I have to learn that deep down, there is this assurance. There is this strength and confidence. And that every day is a day made especially for us to live in.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

If today was the apocalypse

If today was the apocalypse, or if the apocalypse were to happen tomorrow, or if it happened Monday and I was unaware; then I'd be in sad shape...

In fact, it feels like the apocalypse is nearing. It's inching over the horizon and not only do I know it's coming: I'm unprepared. I haven't been able to get a grasp on some things. Sometimes I don't know how to sit out and rest. Especially at work, where sometimes I'll skip a quick minute to drink some water or to catch some air or to sneak in a protein shake...because I'm caught up on work things. Running around things; only stopping once to take care of a nose bleed.

What if I'm in a too stubborn to see that I pick challenges that are just about too challenging for myself? Why would I have led myself to believe that I have to operate at 150% all of the time? It's impossible. And as I grow older, I feel like I only like doing impossible things.

So maybe I need to consider the spoon theory. Or something, to pace myself and not burn myself out. Or maybe I need to religiously take my medication. Which means working more to afford my medication. Which means not working in a super demanding job? I'm not sure, but if I don't stop and change something the apocalypse be here sooner than expected.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My first question about the Presbyterian Church

Setting: Presbyterian church in Spring, TX.
Inner climate: Incredibly dispassionate about life in general, but holding on to the excitement of going away to college in another state.
Outer climate: hot and sunny.
Forecast for change: nill.

I had the honor to attend my first Presbyterian worship service in the summer before my freshman year in high school. At the time I closely associated myself with atheism, maybe a whitewash of pantheism, but mostly ignorant and disobedient to God. In fact, just five years before I had a very long conversation with God and told him that women are superior than men. He’s undoubtedly full of it if he thinks he could just get along with being perfect and holy while the rest of us had to work, pay bills, stay up late, fight for our rights--Just exactly who God thought God was resonated in the opening sentence to my argument.

And God didn’t really answer me back so I kept going. What was the point of being on this Earth as imperfect people if we are surrounded by imperfect unloving people. Just where did God think God was while the rest of us were sold and murdered by our neighbors for greed, power, and money.

Again silence. I grew angrier and just about had it with God. How dare he not honor my existence by answering some simple questions about eternity with his vast knowledge. I was in no mood to put up with that kind of attitude. I progressed into my closing argument: You know what God. You sit there and watch me. I’m going to take care of all the people that hurt. I’m going to be there for all the people that experience loneliness. I’m going to grow to understand people so that I could be understood. I’m not going to let anyone else get sold or murdered. And I’m most definitely never going to talk to you ever again.

I was thirteen. Clearly, I knew all the answers to the world.

But the summer after high school, I had the most wonderful opportunity to learn about Christianity in a home setting. A family opened up their home to me and let me into their lives so that I could nurture and take care of their four children. I received my first bible I actually looked into, which I left at home. Because it’s more than a bible, it’s a treasure. And not only did I have this wonderful opportunity to learn; but I blew it. Well, because there was a nill forecast of change.

My one and only question during that summer was: Why does the cross have a circle around it?

I’m aware at how enlightening the question is. I can’t tell you what answer I received. Also, I’m not going to run around looking for the answer at the moment. But that question felt so important to me. Through my previous knowledge of popular culture it felt like I was an imperfect unloving person sitting in an imperfect loving church and that cross was a bullseye pointing me out. That’s the one. The one that can’t give of herself because she can’t love herself. How untrue it was, if anything it was a bullseye pointing the way in. The target on the cross should have been the focus of my question.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Crash Landing

I’m going to theorize that it’s not always a smooth transition when a person ups and moves over night. I don’t think I really thought of what it meant to just “up and move.” I think I just tried to conquer one part of the process at a time. It’s semi-officially a month and a half since I started this move. There’s been ups, there’s been downs, and mostly there’s been a lot of “oh--that’s what that was supposed to--ooo.”

And then there’s been the situations where I’m at loss and I can’t get a handle of things. They’re prompting this blog post. It’s a mix of big and little things. For example, I can’t deal with the dishwasher at work not cleaning all the food off a plate. Hosing it down makes a bigger mess; and just throwing it in the washer again pisses me off.

Church is great and all but I can’t decide if I like the contemporary worship or the traditional version better. Nothing is ever going to compare to the church back home, but somehow I’m thinking it’d be cool to go to both of them. But, who goes to church twice?!? And listen to the same sermon...actually I have done that a couple of times…

But sometimes I just can’t deal. I go to work, serve food, clean up-do dishes, sweep & mop. Then I go home and cook food, clean up-do dishes, sweep & mop. Then I volunteer at church once a week to serve food, clean up. Is that what they call passion?

Is wanting a relationship and being in a relationship the same thing? Is being in a relationship and loving someone the same thing? How does a boyfriend affect my relationship with God?

I don’t know the answers to these situations. My old book of answers aren’t equipped for these situations. And that just makes this move that much more difficult because the big things like missing friends and family are my first priorities. I need to find ways to keep in touch with my friends because I miss them so much! I’ll figure something out.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

In the middle of things

Today I experienced something I didn’t know: a community at worship. It was cool because I wasn’t the only one late for worship. I wasn’t the only one coughing up a fit, too. Allergies, the struggle is real.

I began this year with a big adventure to NYC to find employment and start a new life. I realized that it wasn’t for me, yet. One afternoon, while suffering with my spotty GPS, I walked around a block and felt a different sense of peace while passing a grocery store, a church, and a town house all within walking distance. It wasn’t till after much meditation about my trip that I understood what I needed to learn from my trip. I needed to learn to let God.

For all the plans I can make, and all the plans I can execute, nothing is truly in my control. I left NYC on the 7th of January with the plans of beginning work paperwork on the 9th. That wasn’t God’s plan. I arrived to my destination by the 10th and shortly after had to take care of a sprained ankle and allergies that turned into a severe sinus congestion.

I had to wait. I’m definitely not one who can wait peacefully, too. But, two weeks of waiting has led me to the understanding I have now. I know, though stubborn and slow, that my path back to Texas was for a larger reason. It’s not for the end-goal of a life of living near the perfect grocery store, church, or town house. It’s for the purpose of helping those in need through a larger framework that starts with local communities.

Life is full of moving parts and now I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of things. The future starts in 12 hours. New job orientation, new worshiping community, new yarn adventures… tomorrow is going to be a big day. But waiting for tomorrow is a bigger task. We build our world through the quiet moments even if we feel stuck in the middle of things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Feelings about the presidential election of 2016

Some could say this post is late. But it's not. I've had a lot of time to grieve and to grow since the election. I'm not going to go into detail about the candidate I voted for. I will say, that I voted for the party that would secure and benefit the most of my personal interests.

Keeping that in mind, these strong feelings began the evening of November 8. I worked in a polling place that saw a stream of people consistently since 6:45am till about 7:30pm. Though in Texas polls do open up at 7am, the line had started at 6:30am with the first brave voter who ventured through the rain. It was only till after 10pm that I was able to turn in, sit down, and maybe eat my first formal meal of the day.

I skimmed through news articles for a few minutes before the exhaustion took over. All the issues I had experienced throughout the day replayed backwards like a scratched VHS tape.

It's no secret that the Republican party took the election. Took, not won, not fairly elected because both the Democratic party and the Republican party played dirty for the past FOUR YEARS. Politicians have made a sport of public policy and we cheered them on.

I woke up November 9 with disdain for people, my people--my friends and incredibly, almost rudely OPEN supporters of the winning party. It was like a personal attack, the results had wronged me. My friends had aided in this.

We have to be gayer than ever--I proclaimed at the kitchen table. I guess we could say that I live in a closet. But I sometimes regret not attending PRIDE events sooner. I have always been secure in my sexuality, but I never proclaimed it. I quietly attended every lgbt event I could, but I had never openly discussed my role in the lbgt community. It’s time to wave our rainbow flags--I added that day. It was a deciding day for the rest of my life.

The next day I observed reverse racism while riding the bus. “See that girl over there,” one of the young Latinos on the bus laughed in regards to a light skinned person, “she thinks she can look at us like that because Trump won.”

I continued to mull over this life event. Then, I found a snide joke on a forum about which actor would make the better president. It stated that Ronald Reagan was great in some movie...thus he could have been an OKAY president. However, Donald Trump played Donald Trump convincingly well in several reality tv shows and a feature film. Thus he’s going to be a better president.

That joke helped me heal and move on.

The sheer fact that the country is going to be run by at reality tv star really puts it into perspective: it’s a joke. It’s a joke, I’m moving on. Just because he’s going to be the President of the United States of America doesn’t mean that I need to take him seriously. In fact that means that I have to be super critical and disapproving and careful that he takes the job seriously.

And then there’s just being trusting. John Nieder says a lot of stuff on his radio show..but he had a point today. All of us distrusting and watchful citizens just need to take into consideration that either “God allowed or caused” Trump to become president. That’s hard for me to believe, but then again I have my own faults and troubles with my faith. Overall, the inauguration is happening. If I wake up January 20th with a big “surprise, Trump’s not the president,” newscast--that will be alright. But if I wake up with a “this is what we, the citizens of the United States of America have to do to protect our rights, will you join us?,” newscast--that will be alright too. Both? I could handle that. I can handle anything because I have FAITH and I have PRIDE.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Letters, 11012010

For some odd reason, I decided to send my sister a letter. I’ve always thought letter writing was a lost art form, maybe I’ll start writing letters again. The importance of this letter, though is that I wrote it a month in after having started the On Impression Network. I edited two publications and gave support to three other publications at the time.

In the letter, I write to my sister, “I know this writing thing isn’t paying off right now.” And it hadn’t, hasn’t, I actually don’t refer to myself as a writer as much anymore. Because to be a writer, one needs to go around calling themselves a writer. To be a writer, one must be in publications. To be a writer, one must write periodically. To be a writer, one must have a writing mentor who edits them and guides them toward being more of a writer.

My mentor and I parted ways early last winter. I don’t always check in on the people I mentored when I was a publisher. I struggle a lot to sit down at a desk. There’s always something I need to do, want to focus on. My drive and ambition as a writer lies dormant except for when I update my blog.

But now I’m thinking. What would make writing pay off right now? I’ve only been writing to almost 20 years now, at what point do I let myself pursue it freely? Things to think about.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A long way from home

I started blogging the summer before my senior year in college. I can admit it, at first I only blogged about my people watching experiences in one of the cafeterias. People fascinated me in a different way then. There were always my "friends" and then there was the unexplored population of people I encountered, watched, listened, and eventually sewed into stories.

Friends are what made my college days the wild, havoc filled days they were. Oh, and vats of caffeine and alcohol. Okay, maybe the occasional pizza fest. There was never a time my freezer did not hold pizza. It was college, that was life. During my second year I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with two other roommates. One had furnished most of the place with artist decor including infamous Andy Warhol pop. The other was my roomie, aka we suffered late nights inside the same room for a good 2.5 years.

And we built a home. I had an inkling for cooking then and collected my first kitchenware including a black set of measuring cups, bright green emerald mixing bowls, and an assortment of plates and bowls. Yet, college only lasts four years. At the end I passed on my first kitchen to another friend, one who I always believed was amazing. If anything, he's one of my heroes! Even if, I was his editor for 2 years in our school literary magazine.

Seven years later, I find myself away from home in my hero's kitchen. An assortment of pots and pans lay around. Cutting boards through the roof. Some darning little black measuring cups and bright green emerald mixing bowls. Though I hadn't seen my hero, my friend, in the last seven years. I hadn't realized how the friendship we had in college still lived. Quietly, preparing nurturing meals for himself, his loved ones.

For me this time around. I may be a little bit far from home, but I've found myself in my first kitchen. Home is where the memories lie.

Friday, January 6, 2017

I'm on the titanic

Back to the Titanic metaphor, but this time with people (not a race against time to bake a cake). Everyone has their own scars to wade through. Some have less, some have more. Some have figured out how to heal them without picking at them so much. But we all have baggage. We all have levels of anxiety, sadness, and loneliness.

And we're all on the Titanic together. That's the most important thing, that even though we don't express it all the time, most of us have each other. It's what we're here for. To latch on like chains on molecules and experience life.

I wish I could do more. As a quiet activist the majority of what I do is listen. I listen to the words of my peers. I sit with them and read their body language. We interact with each other, and it's from these experiences that I can understand how to do more. If there is a need, I will find a resource for it.

But there's only so many rescue boats. A life vest in this example is time. And there is hardly any time, the Titanic is sinking. Fast. Life happens so fast. The people we choose to fit in our rescue boats, are the most wonderful people we could ever have in our lives. And I really hope that I can continue to fill my rescue boat with these amazing and incredible people.