12.29.2008

The Wordless Word


It's just one of those words that roams free; you can’t easily chain it down, trying to define it. That’s one of the things that make it so beautiful. In fact, I think it’s a bit funny how numerous people - theologians, writers, intellectuals, and others (myself included) - are caught up in trying to define the single word: Love.

Love is stunning - beautiful - and it makes us different. Different from the animals. Different from the plants. Different from the world that holds us. Love separates us, and by doing so, unites us. It makes us blind, but in being blind, we learn to see. It’s easy, it’s hard. It’s perfect, it’s marred.

A lot of people go to the, “Love is patient, Love is kind” saying when defining love. It is a nice phrase. But, when I decided to look it up in full context (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), it sounded a little more than nice – it sounded amazing. The words, they're kind of like soft chocolate flowing through your mouth. Or music, how if you listen deeper, you feel more:

Love is patient, Love is kind,
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, it is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

I stop & think. Why try to define something that's already been defined so perfectly?

12.27.2008

Life isn't a Story . . .

Imagine for a second: an employer refuses to hire you because of your skin color. Or perhaps a teacher hands you a bad grade, not for the sloppy work, but because she doesn’t care for you. Or maybe someone serves you a hard punch in the jaw because he disagrees. Or imagine a bank that borrows your money, but won’t give a penny back. What would you do? Complain, right? Because that’s wrong – because you deserve better. Of course, you’ll go straight to the source first. And if that doesn’t work, there’s the lawyer. But what if you couldn’t?

The only thing worse than having something terribly unjust happen, but being able to go complain for help, is watching something happen, and not being able to do anything at all. Like watching your brother sentenced to death for a crime you know he didn’t commit, or being emotionally abused because there’s no proof: watching something terrible happen, and being helpless to stop it. It feels like being locked up to a 8 foot chain link fence, and watching someone devise a bomb that will blow up the world. What would you do?

But what if you couldn’t?

12.24.2008

To: You

Hey! Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas! I know you've probably heard numerous people telling you that recently, but I really do mean it. I'd give you each a Christmas present if I could. Thanks for being my readers & friends! <3

12.23.2008

Traffic Light

Red, yellow, green
You’re not what you seem

You stop us
Control the lanes
You start us
And hold the reins

You make us late
Or bring us early
Miss the gate
Commanding clearly

Do you know your power?
Your controlling might
From up above your tower?
Lighting up the night

Who are we?
Do you know?
Are we a bit crazy?
Does it show?

Because you see people laugh
You see people cry
You see people live
You see people die

You observe so much
And yet can’t say
What happens during
Night and day

Red, yellow, green
You’re more than you seem

12.21.2008

Lighting Up the Night

For me, the Christmas season truly begins when there’s a Christmas tree inside the house. I love the feeling of waking up in the morning, knowing it’s cold outside, yet toasty warm inside, and not exactly sure why I feel so happy. Then I catch a whiff of pine needles, and all of a sudden it comes to me, “Oh, it’s Christmas!”

Christmas has to be just about my favorite holiday – there’s the presents, the tree, the lights, the food, the upcoming birthday. Then there’s God, the family, the friends, the love, the happiness, the meaning. I love trying to soak it all in.

When I was little, my Mom used to drive me around the neighborhood so we could peek out at the Christmas lights that neighbors decorated their houses with. We’d choose the house that was decorated the best, or pick out the house that stood out most. There would be houses with golden icicle lights, and others with electric blue lights. Then there would be the yards with giant snow globes, or the lighted reindeer.

And I still glance at Christmas lights now, whenever I’m out on a ride. I’m captivated by them, or rather the reason they’re there. Because some people put up lights because they want to have the best decorated house on the block or some because of tradition – something started in the family long ago. For some it’s to get attention or maybe because the kids begged. However the reason people decorate their house with lights is usually for others’ enjoyment – spreading cheer & happiness around. It's pretty amazing if we really think about it: someone spending a day in the cold up on a ladder to spread something to others. It's part of what Christmas is all about.

12.19.2008

How Well Can You See?

“Do you know how to tell when a teenager is lying?”

The question immediately sparked my attention. I was sick, watching TV, and had just happened flip the channel to land on a Judge Judy show. I have always been fascinated by her, because she never gives into passion or emotion. Rather, she’s usually quite crude of the plaintiff and defendant demanding, “Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – I don’t need to know the ‘whys’.”

So, “Do you know how to tell when a teenager is lying?” she continued with her authoritative demanding voice and then answered her question like it was almost a joke, “When he opens up his mouth.” My jaw flew down, and my fascination of her? Ended. I seriously wanted to get into that television and tell her what she really just said. Tell her why it’s wrong. Why she’s wrong.

So, why is she wrong? Do you know? Or maybe you agree with her? There are a lot of people who do. I’ve read on the internet how people agree with her on that statement. And there’s more – I mean, when I was starting out on my teenage life people would say to my mom, right in front of me, “Wow, good luck with her – she’s entering those years,” or “I don’t know how you do it, with a teenager in the house.” But really, how could some adults believe that that’s what teenagers do when they “talk”, or excuse me, “lie”?

First of all, yes, I am a teenager. Yes, maybe some will think I’m biased. Or hopefully they’ll dare to think that I could be representing another side. Sometimes I think the world needs to wake up – us teenagers, we mess up, sure. But for most of us, our aim isn’t to hurt, lie, and commit crime. We’re human – yes, human. And not too long ago, the people who are attacking us were teenagers too. And I’m not sure what some adults’ problem is – if they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be where we are, or if it’s that they do remember, and in remembering, they think we’re the exact teenager they once were.

However, maybe if some of these adults expected more of us, we’d give them more. Have they ever thought that the problems of some teenagers start with themselves, some of the adults? With their example? Do we, teenagers, shape all our perceptions of adults from the few who make it on the news? Then why do they sometimes do that with us? Why? Can’t they see that sometimes the nice polite teens are just that? Nice and polite? We are the future, and they’re already telling us that we’re failing?

We deserve better, because we are better than that. In fact, most of us are set on making the world better not worse. And even though some people may believe we're liars all the time, even if we aren’t, we have to keep on trying to show them that they are wrong. Not that we wouldn’t keep trying even if we didn’t need to prove anyone wrong. And yeah, they put us down, but we can keep going – don’t give up. Don’t give in. Just because people don’t expect anything from us, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give them something that they should expect. Chin up, you guys. Because we have each other. And we’ll be heard, because we’ve been underestimated.

And, in the end, it’s Judge Judy, and all those other people who believe we’re just liars, that are the ones missing out. Because, believe it or not, we are great. We rise above what people tell us, and keep going. We’re capable of such great things – we have done great things - and yet they choose to remain blind.

(feel free to comment! & thanks to all my followers!)

12.16.2008

la pregunta

Hey! So I was wondering if you could help me out with a little advice. I would like to know what you personally think I should major in college & pursue as a career. I'm a little lost about the whole thing, and you know a lot about me from reading my blog. You might even know more about me than I do myself ;)

You might want to keep in mind I'm not that fond of science & math. Also, I like the arts (singing, writing, photography, etc.). But, in addition, I like more physical things (taekwondo, ice skating, soccer, etc.). So feel free to just list some options you could see me doing & later on I'll post what you all suggested the most.

12.13.2008

Reeling in

Sometimes I feel like my heart is a marionette. A puppet controlled by strings – strings that do not belong to me. And instead of protecting those strings, I would rather give them away freely, as a fisherman flings out a line into the lake. Sometimes I forget it is the fish that captures the fisherman, rather than the fisherman catching the fish.

My big finals at school are over! And finally I have time to concentrate on Christmas, and all those other things. It’s been crazy; this whole week has been a whirlwind. Actually the whole semester has been like that: studying, studying, tests; reading, reading, writing. But although it’s been overwhelming, it’s also been pretty awesome.

I the feeling after a good semester - it’s like the feeling you get when it seems like you’ve been preparing for Christmas for months, and then all of a sudden it’s over. Or like a great book, that you’re enraptured in, and can’t put down until it’s over, no matter the length. Or maybe it’s more like cruising down a highway, and suddenly having to slam the brakes.

Because, although classes can roll us up in circles of studying and tests, when it’s all over and done with, I’m going to miss a lot of people – a lot of friends. And I hate that feeling; a feeling of happiness and sadness mixed together. I’d rather be able to concentrate on one emotion, than on two opposites, any day.

Of course, it’s not that bad. My friends and I will keep in touch. And I’ll be coming back with different classes. Of course it’s the people who make the place, but the place is what keeps the memories.

So do you know why it is the fish that captures the fisherman? It’s because although the fish is caught physically, it’s the fisherman who relies on the fish for his living, his whole way of life. Yes, on the outside I’m strong, but my heart - my marionette - does not belong to me.

12.08.2008

Fly Free

Fly away little bird
Fly away
Soar high

Fly today little bird
Fly today
In the sky

Because you can little bird
Escape your place
Who you are
Go far

Past the trees
Over mountains
You don't need keys
For ocean fountains

See the sunset never set
The sunrise always met
Little bird fly
Fly cloud high

Before you find
You can't escape the air
Before it's in your mind
That you're lost behind

Little bird
Don't you see?
It's too late for me

12.02.2008

Stronger

Have you ever wished you were someone else? It might be nice to be that girl standing over there, the hub of the conversation. Or for one day to be that guy, whose confidence makes us believe every word he says. Or perhaps it's that girl who's found her true love, or our friend who's so smart. Or maybe even that lazy cat dozing in the sun that doesn't worry about anything.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be someone else at some point? Wear someone else's shoes for a second, and see what it’s like. Escape our problems, our fears. Be someone else - someone we want to be - whether that's the great writer, or the scientist with the cure, the courageous fireman, or the famous politician. It would be so fun to be able to escape our own personal life.

Yet, sometimes we forget that everyone has problems and terrible things happen to them – not just us. All those people who look so great – who we’d like to be - they have problems just like us. In fact, if we saw what it was really like to be them, we would probably want to go back to our own lives in an instant. Sometimes we forget that people are simply people.

Besides, what happens to us – and the problems we have – is not what separates us from others. Rather, it is how we choose to deal with what comes, or how we decide to face our conflicts. Terrible things happen to people who never deserved them. Awful problems will come our way that we should never have to deal with. But it isn't the things or problems we have that define us; it's how we manage our setbacks that say who we are.

We each have a choice whether to let the bad things take us down, or oppose them because they exist. We can be depressed, slinking in the corner because we got what we didn't deserve. We don't have to care, we don't have to be. If that's what we want.

Or we could be the warriors who face the challenge, and become better for it. Because we have a choice to be that girl in the middle of the conversation, or the girl who avoids people, because they’ll just hurt her. We can choose to be the guy who speaks eloquently, or the guy who’d rather not use his voice because won’t do any good for anyone. That's what inspires the great writer, or makes the courageous fireman. That's what keeps the scientist searching for the cure, or what makes people love the politician.

We have to go past feeling sorry for ourselves, past what hurts us, and turn it into something more, something better. We can be so breakable, but in being broken, choose to become stronger in the healing. It’s like when we trip on concrete and fall on our knees, and blood starts pouring out. But then it heals, and there is a scar, but the skin of the wound is healed stronger than the skin was before. It’s tougher.

And in the end, when it comes down to being someone, no one could ever really be better at being us than ourselves.

{feel free to comment! :)}

11.29.2008

A Little More than Turkey

Hey, everyone - hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did. I mean, to me, Thanksgiving means a break from my classes, the smell of food cooking, a day of smiling, the laughter from my friends, and the hovering love of my family. And who couldn’t enjoy all that brought together? Of course, Thanksgiving is more than just that – it’s a day to remember what we’re thankful for, a day to be joyful that we’re alive. So I was trying to think of what I’m most thankful for . . .

When I was very small, my older brother and sister told me one night that they would love me no matter what I did. I looked up worriedly – there was something wrong. “Even if I stole something?” I asked wide-eyed. “Even if you stole something,” my brother replied nodding. “What if I disobeyed Mommy and Daddy?” I had to make sure. “We’d still love you.” I continued, “Even if I murdered someone?” I had a hard time believing that. “Well, that would be a bad thing to do of course,” my brother said in the dim light, “but I’d still love you. No matter what you do,” he said quietly, “no matter what you do, we’ll love you.”

And that – that amazed me.

{would love to read your comment!}
{& thanks to my followers ;) }

11.23.2008

Digging the Well

When I walked up to the cafeteria cashier, the first thing he had to say to me was, “Oh, here’s the girl with the beautiful smile!” I smiled, “Thanks.” Then he looked at the girl next to him and continued, “I was just asking my friend here what your name was, and she knew exactly who I was talking about when I said, ‘the girl with the smile’.” I looked over, and she nodded in agreement.

I’ve never told anyone, but when I was around seven, I used to pick out random people. I could be shopping with my mom at the mall, waiting inside an airport, strolling around the city, or looking at a museum, when I’d pick out someone from the crowd who looked really sad. Then, suddenly, I would just look up at their face and flash a smile.

Of course, I was probably a bit too smart for my own good – I knew someone wouldn’t resist a big smile from some random little blue-eyed girl. And somehow, when I smiled at someone and he or she smiled back, I’d feel like we shared some kind of giant secret from everyone else - like we knew something the others didn’t.

Although it’s interesting because the people I remember weren’t the ones who smiled back - they were the people who didn’t smile back. I suppose it was because I couldn’t understand them. Because I couldn’t find the exit to their maze. The people I can’t understand – they’re the ones I have to try to figure out.

Because, when we meet someone, it's like they hand us a non-descript box filled with different pieces of a puzzle. And it’s our job to find a way to put the pieces together - to see the whole picture of that one person. Then again, why go to the trouble? Seriously – does it matter if we try to figure out others? Yet, we can’t win a game if we don’t play it, and we can’t get a job if we don’t go to the interview.

And the smiling? Well, it’s more than an attempt to change someone's day. It is sharing a secret. Because sometimes it’s the small things that betray the inside. It's digging a well, to find the water. It's letting someone know I know they need someone for just one second.

11.16.2008

Look Both Ways before Crossing

My mom and dad love to talk about the troubles of the world. So, when I was little, I used to pray for a boy who I believed was around my age. A someone who would grow up to change the world and fix all its problems. It sounds kind of silly now, but I was praying for a great man to come along – I mean, it’s happened before.

And sometimes I'll think, “Oh, I’ll marry that man who’s going to amazing and do so many things.” I’ll say, “I should try to make friends in high places so I can get somewhere someday.” Or maybe, “I’ll inspire my friends to do this, and change the world’s view.”

But no – that’s wrong. Don’t you see? We can’t always wait for someone else to get us somewhere else. We can’t wait for someone else to fight our fight. Because they won’t. Because we can’t control someone else – we can’t make them do something we want. We can only control ourselves, only we can do exactly what we want.

And do we really want people to change things, instead of ourselves? Do we want to watch the soccer game out from the stands, or do we want to be out there in the middle of it – going for the ball – getting in the goal? Do we want to watch the skaters glide, and wait while our legs are itching to do the same thing? Do we really want to tiptoe, when we can run?

Because we can be the players shooting the ball, or the skaters slipping across the ice. We can be the runners flying through the race. We can be the person who’s amazing to marry, or the friend who’s in the high place. We can be the ones. We don’t have to be afraid; we can be the ones who people are afraid of - afraid of us changing the world.

Don’t you see? All along that someone else we’re hoping & praying for –

it’s you & me.

11.12.2008

La Nana

Never Alone

If you ever feel a tear
Know that I am near
Should you ever be hopeless
Know it’s you who has my kiss

When things aren’t right
Don’t worry
I’m with you through the night
In the midst of fury
To help you guard and fight

I’m with you
I always will be
Needing not one cue
I’ll be with you when you’re blue
Your silent guardian

Hush my fearful child
Forever I shall be
It’s for you I’m mild
Not a few
Just me and you

For you only a lullaby
For with me you’ll fly
It doesn’t matter
Ignore their chatter
You’re okay
There’s another day

Yet, if you ever feel a tear
Know that I am near
Should you ever be hopeless
Know it’s you who has my kiss

I’m with you
I always will be
Your faithful guardian

{This is a poem by me that I like to read when things aren't going so well. Even if you don't believe in angels, it's kind of nice to think someone's always watching over. Also, sorry about not commenting back as much - been busy with homework. But should have time this weekend :)}

11.10.2008

Deafening Definition

What do you think of when you first hear the word, “prisoner”?

Do we think of words like crime & punishment? Or do we picture drugs & violence? Do we hear danger, murder, or robbery? Or perhaps those old-time prisoners wearing the black-and-white stripes come to mind. In whatever way we think of it, the words we associate with prisoner usually are not positive.

Yet, recently I’ve been looking into volunteering at prisons to help prisoners. Which a crazy thing to do, right? Why would anyone want to help people who have committed dangerous crimes? Why would someone help the very people who’ve hurt other people? I mean, it’s natural to want to stay away from prisoners – from criminals. After all, there’s a reason they’re in prison.

But just because people are locked up in a cage, doesn’t mean that they’re animals. They are humans - they are someone’s friend, maybe a dad, this person’s cousin, or that person’s neighbor. And when a crime is committed, do we just help the victim? Do we just pray for the victim? Care for the victim? Is that who needs the most help? Because the problem didn’t start with the victim.

When a person commits a crime, maybe they’re doing it for a selfish reason, or, scarier yet, no reason at all. But sometimes it’s also a cry for help, a cry to be noticed; because that’s the only way they know how to get attention. Maybe something is wrong, someone treated them wrong. Of course, it's no excuse, but it’s a reason.

And that’s what I want to find out. I want to know prisoners personally, ask them why they did what they did and how they got to where they are. I want to show them – prove to them - that there’s a different way, instead of avoiding them. I want to explain that I haven’t given up on them, and they still have a chance to change their lives. I want to help the people who perhaps need the most help, and yet don’t get much of it.

Some might think I’m the little do-gooder who goes around thinking that everything is good, until the day where everything builds up to a crescendo, and I break. But push hard enough through skin, and there’s hidden steel. A heart, it’s something that loves, but it’s also a muscle strengthened by use.

So, what do you think of, when you hear the word, "prisoner"?

11.07.2008

The Warrior's Story


I was the conqueror
I dared to a thing
And more
I was the one who held the ring
The key to the door

Yet something stopped me right standstill
On my way up that hill
Something that stopped kings’ fury
Something I should’ve known more
Something that halted thousands’ kills
Something in the old folk lore

Why couldn’t I see that if I dared
For what the others did
I could also be stopped too
From what they sometimes hid

Love I could not understand
For it takes two
Not one
Not few

Two who work side by side
Leaving nothing not to hide
How could I be disarmed?
I the warrior
To be harmed

My daring shaken from inside
What was this to take my hide?
It was then I understood
What I never could

To surrender is to forever succeed
To share is to gain the world
To follow is to hold the lead

It’s better than a thousand men
To love is to be loved
To be conquered is to win

And now I see it is the fools
Who never can be stopped


{Hey! Just wanted to say that this poem is about how stunning love's power can be. I find the idea intriguing that love has stopped wars - has stayed the hand of hate. I know the wording of this poem is a bit like a tongue twister, but I love the way the words fit together :) Also, I did take the picture - if you click on it, there's a car in it so you can see exactly how huge the mountains are. Let me know what you think!}

11.03.2008

Opening the Door, not Staring at the Paint

History books are amazing. Open one up, and you'll discover why the world has become what it is. Peek inside, and you'll find stories of the glorious kings and queens of old. You can see the past, how it's influenced the present, and how it will change the future.

However, there are some problems with history books. For example, I'm studying England's break from the Church: how King Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon to marry the infamous Anne Boleyn. While doing so, I've met King Henry VIII, but only by what he's done - not by who he was. I've seen Catherine, but I can't know her favorite game, or hear her whispered secrets. I'll read history, but Henry is a king far away, and Anne Boleyn is just a woman who bewitched him - they're nothing more than characters in a mixed up fairy tale.

And maybe that's what makes us important - what we do. Because in the end, what we do, shows who we are - even if there's so much more. If we're in history books someday, maybe we'll just be remembered as someone who has to be studied to pass a test. Or maybe we'll be remembered because the artist is famous, not because it is us in the picture. Maybe that's it.

But then, dig deeper. Because maybe we'll see King Henry instead as a man who became enraptured with a woman he could not have, and Catherine of Aragon as a woman who gave away her heart to man, to have it shamelessly broken. We'll see Anne Boleyn as someone who wanted to be queen, not a mistress, because she saw how her sister was used.

History books will tell you Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine because she couldn't bear a male heir. Other books will state that Henry VIII believed that he was not rightfully married to Catherine, and that he believed his marriage invalid. But I know he wanted a divorce because of Anne.

And how do I know? Because Henry kept looking for approval of divorce, no matter how many people gave it? Or maybe I know because Henry could have gotten another woman who didn't demand as much as Anne? Maybe so. But mainly I know because, when I try hard enough, I can see that Henry VIII was a human, and not just a character from far away.

And when we see that all these people of facts are just people, then history becomes a storybook which we're trapped inside. And that's what happens when you see history for what it is, and people for who they are. Because time - it doesn't always change things as much as we might think.

10.27.2008

Trickling Tangles

All of us have friends. But what kind of friends do we have? People, especially parents, remind us all the time to choose our friends carefully. They tell us we become who our friends are or that our friends show our true colors.

But if that’s true, then who am I? Because I have my best friends who are deeply religious. People who would try to do anything for God. Friends who would stand up for God against anyone in just about any situation. The friends who see God in everything.

And then I have the friends who don’t care – who you either like or don’t - people who don’t really think twice about language. I have the friends who drink & smoke. The friends who like to party. So who does that make me?

Yet it’s more about what I believe. I mean, in every human I see a unique person. But I also see more than that. I see my parents argue with people who don’t believe in religion, and shun people who strongly disagree with them. I see how my friends who believe in God avoid the people who party. I see people who use foul language & drink hate religious people for telling them that they’re wrong – dislike them because they don’t try to understand. I see that they think religious people don’t care about them – just about what they do. I see that – all of it.

The problem is, how can we be religious and then avoid the people who aren’t? Or can we be the "bad guys" and block out the others? How can we condemn people without knowing them – without knowing why? How can we change anyone's views if we act like that?

It’s like in the movies, where someone’s in a tough spot, and their friend says, “It’s not that bad.” And the other person replies, “What are you talking about?? You don’t know what my life is like – you’ve never been in my shoes!” We can’t know exactly what it’s like to wear someone’s shoes, but we can’t shun people without trying first. I guess the problem with me is that I wanted to see the other side, and so I did, and I didn't just see the bad.

So if I’m really judged by my friends, who am I? Because I see the good & the bad, the black & the white. But I also see that I can't be ashamed of the people I love.

(comment if you'd like!)
&thanks to my followers :)

10.24.2008

Our Time

Do you know what you want? In school we’re striving for the good grades, trying to make friends, maybe taking a shot at being the social butterfly or playing some sports. Then we’re applying for colleges and moving into a new world where we’re expected to balance studying & partying. Soon, before we know it, we’ll be graduating, getting a job. There’s time to get married, maybe buy a house. These are goals we’ve set up – or expectations others have set up for us – things we’re supposed to do to get somewhere in life. The things we’re supposed to want.

But then what?

Once we’ve done all that, once we have a steady job, a family & house, – then what? Is that it? When we’ve done everything we thought made life worthwhile, are we really supposed to be settled & happy for completing the world’s goals that define life?

Because there’s more than that. I mean, don’t we want to be remembered - change the world? Or would we be happy with the settled dust after building a house – our life. Planted like a tree with roots, not a bird that soars above them. Do you know what you want? Why you’re living? Do you? Are you going to make a difference – be different?

Are we going to use our voice? Our words? Are we going to make our life a life worth living? Because a voice is there to use, words are there to wield. We can change the world for the better, as others have changed it for the worse. We can help people, because people helped us. We can use our voices because we know how. We can fight with words, because they’re the puppets of our minds.

Do you know what you want?

Because there’s more to life than just being happy with worldly success. There’s a reason you’re alive – and if you don’t think so – then make one. We have to make our lives count, because it’s our turn to face the world.

(comment if you'd like!)

10.22.2008

Just to let you know what's up . . .

I did it! Last weekend I finally took my black belt test. For the first day I had to demonstrate nine memorized forms, basic punches & kicks, sparring, and board breaking: the regular stuff. Then, the next day, I had to spend two hours straight just running, jumping, weightlifting, and doing push-ups & sit-ups. It's not exactly as easy as I first thought it would be – getting a black belt. I mean, a few failed the test and three people actually got sick during the workout.

But it's over - and I can hardly believe it's over. It's a little like preparing for Christmas, how it can take weeks to get ready, and then suddenly it's gone before you blink. But I have to admit, even though someone couldn't see it from the outside, I was a bit nervous.

And it's crazy how some challenges, like a black belt, are just goals made by people for people. It isn't like our lives depend on them - it isn't even like a job, a marriage, or someone dying. Yet we can get so worked up about them. It's kind of funny. But even so, these little challenges we get so worked up about - they're something from this earth that I might just miss in heaven.

Because when you complete the challenge - give it your all – there's hardly a better feeling. You know, the feeling where you feel like jumping up & down, or singing from a rooftop - or dancing in the rain. It's the feeling where you can't have a bad day, even if you do. It's when you feel like running - like laughing at even the stupid jokes. And that - that feeling - can sometimes make any challenge more than worth the risk.

(feel free to comment!)

10.17.2008

Shining Candles

Isn't it amazing? Whether we're in a train station or a doctor's office - in a traffic jam, or a mall, we brush past hundreds of people every day. People with different pasts, unique presents, and strange futures, all brought together in one place for a little time with various reasons. It's amazing how different we people are - strangers to each other - and yet, something has brought us together in a single place. I mean, we'll probably never see those people again, probably not remember who bumped into us with a shopping bag, or passed us up an escalator.

All those strangers are just that - strangers. Which is why we don't really care about them, which is why it doesn't matter if we see them or not. But sometimes it just feels like my heart wants to burst. Because I know everyone wears a mask. And I want to know what's underneath – I want to dig deeper.

Because under the mask, beneath the face, is someone who has troubles that they don't know how to confront – that they don't want to show. There’s someone who has a heart. Someone who can be hurt. Someone who wants to be seen. Someone who can be loved. Maybe someone who wishes they had a friend. And no matter what someone has done, I believe that they are beautiful because they are so vulnerable. I believe they are beautiful because they are human - they can change – because they have potential.

We sometimes like to think that we're tough, that we don't have hearts that can be easily hurt. Yet people are so helpless sometimes, even if every day they pretend they aren't. And that's why I want to give away my whole heart sometimes – just to help strangers. I'm not sure why – maybe it's because I wish someone would want to do that for me. And I want to hug them. I want to tell them it'll be okay, because it is.

I want to be there for the people who don’t think they have anyone – people who think no one really cares. Because, as impossible as it may seem, I do care. I peek past the mask, and I always see someone beautiful. I lift off the armor, and there’s a heart.

10.13.2008

A Little Something just for You


What can I say that’s not yet been said?
When I can’t seem to get you
Out of my head

You’re amazing
But that hardly describes it
You’re beautiful
But there’s so much more to it
You’re marvelous, wonderful, and incredible
You’re funny, smart, but also unforgettable

What can I say that’s not yet been said?
When I can’t seem to get you
Out of my head

You’re only everything to me

10.12.2008

A Story or Two

“Jo, hurry up! It’s time to go.” Dad called from down the hallway.

“Now? But we don’t have to leave for another twenty minutes!” I called back.

“I’m hungry, I want to go eat during your gymnastics class & get a head start - hurry up!”

Oh, well. I started getting ready, packing up my bag – getting my water bottle. I wished he had told me earlier.

“Come on – time to go!” He was getting more impatient by the second.

“Okay, just a minute.” His frustration was rubbing off onto me. I heard footsteps coming to my door, and a hard knock.

“You know what? If you don’t hurry up, I don’t care whether you want to go to gymnastics or not! I’ll just go eat and leave without you.”

“Ok, go.” Maybe it was better than getting upset – maybe I wanted time to cry.

“I might just do that.” He couldn’t stop. “What are you doing anyway?? Trimming your toe nails or something?” He stormed away from the outside of my door. I gave up. I didn’t want to be in a car with him. I’d rather cry. I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself, I hate doing that. But the mind can’t always control the tears.

Two minutes later, “Honey, come on.” It was Mom. The one who watched. The one who saw. A mirror without a reflection.

“I don’t want to.” I brushed away those stupid weak tears. How could I be hurt again? I should be numb to it. It was stupid to cry over something so small. But the something was wrong.

“Sometimes, when you’re hungry, you say things for emphasis.” Mom was right. Because when you’re hungry, it’s okay to lose your patience. When you’re blind it’s okay to hurt. When people are being mean to you, it’s okay to pass along the mood. When you’re deaf, it’s okay to say anything. It’s okay - all of it.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

“I’ll have lemonade and a brownie please.” I smiled at the cashier.

“That’s all?”

“That seems to be all that Hannah’s been eating lately.” Mom wanted to explain.

“I know what you mean – these teenagers don’t like to eat what’s good for them.” The cashier threw a look at me. Cashiers were only supposed to do that in the movies. I wanted to say I wasn’t hungry. I just wanted the lemonade, but Dad had said to get a brownie. Mom didn’t remember.

I took a sip of the lemonade, and hid the useless brownie in my purse.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

“Hey, Joannie, I was thinking-”

“What??” Dad interrupted. He was driving the car.

“I wasn’t talking to you, I was talk-”

“Then don’t talk at all, Karen! I’m paying attention to traffic.”

“Dad, please don’t talk to me like that.” Say what you feel, right?

“HERE! Take the map – you tell me how to get there.” He threw it back at me.

“But I don’t know where we are or where we’re going.” I felt helpless.

“Too bad.”

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

These stories have their own voice – don’t assume they’re me. But also don’t assume the stories are fake – that something like them never happens – because they do. They have. They happen to kids all the time, and it’s so sad. I hate it – I hate how some parents forget to treat their kids as people. I hate how many kids are abused, especially with emotional abuse, because children can’t run away from it. I mean, first of all, kids think that they’re the ones doing something wrong. Secondly, even if they realize their parents are wrong, they can’t escape. They’re stuck – they can’t prove with physical bruises that something is wrong.

So please don’t say that Jo, Hannah, and Karen are overly sensitive. Don’t tell me they’re being silly – crying about stupid things. Because that – it does hurt. And when the people, or parents, that children love & look up to the most, put them down - it’s devastating.

Do you know what it does? It makes children want to do anything for anyone to make them feel accepted like they never were by their parents. It makes it so hard for a person to believe when someone tells him or her how great he or she is, because the children are used to the parents saying “I love you,” while their actions say something different.

Children or teenagers, they – we - deserve better than living all the time like that. We all deserve more than scars ingraved inside - than bruises flowing through in our blood. We deserve more than keeping journals - journals that make our hearts crumble.

(let me know what you think)

10.09.2008

Round & Round

My sister used to have a hamster, and we would be so captivated just watching it. Around and around, over and over, in circles he would run the race inside his little wheel. He seemed to enjoy making our eyes dizzy while he scrambled along. We’d laugh, thinking it was so cute. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it: put a wheel in a hamster’s cage, and it runs automatically. You don’t have to teach it, train it, reward it – the hamster just willfully runs towards his endless destination.

But why do the hamsters run? Don’t they realize they’re going nowhere – getting nowhere? Or maybe it’s because the running wheel is the one chance for the hamsters to feel free & wild inside the cage of metal. But it’s a sort of hopeless hope. Those silly little hamsters.

But if we’re laughing at the hamsters, who’s laughing at us? Because sometimes I’m the hamster, running for my life, round & round in circles, never getting anywhere. Running in a wheel, not even realizing that outside my race, there’s another challenge: breaking through the bars of my own little world. Running, but not moving. Free, but captured.

We keep running for our goals, for freedom, for change. But sometimes it seems like we're going back to the same place - back to the start. So we run faster & faster - that's what we need to do, right? When we can't get something, we chase after it more. But so often we don't realize that dreams can't always come true in a week - that we can't change the world to perfection in one day. And then, when we do realize we can't achieve something immediately, we can loose our passion - loose our fight. It's so easy to give up.

So instead of running, sometimes we have to wait. Wait with patience by the door of our cage - not run within it. Wait quietly. Wait carefully. Until the door opens. Because if you can get in, you can get out. Because if dreams couldn't come true, then we wouldn't have dreams. We can't give up because it's easier. We can't quit because we want the miracle now - because we can't wait. We can win. We can do it. Hold on a little longer. Because the only things worth winning, are the things worth fighting for.

And I still shake my head - those silly little hamsters.

(would love to hear your comment)

10.06.2008

Stolen Secret

I've never told anyone this before, but when I was little, like around five, I started a prayer list. I'm very good at making lists – all you need to do is ask my big brother :) I used to keep a list of ten or fifteen things he did that made me mad (he's never let me forget it either!). Or you could ask my old driving teacher: I could remember all the rules he gave, one by one, on how to parallel park. Chat with my old camp counselors, they'd describe how I could memorize everyone's names after hearing them once. Question my Mom – all I had to do was study a spelling list for ten minutes, and I could take the final test. Yes, a memory is such a gift – even though it can also be a terrible curse.

My prayer list isn't ordinary – actually it's a bit peculiar. It started when I was shopping in the grocery store with my family one day, and heard a little girl screaming. Actually, she was my age then. Her parents were yelling at her right back – hitting her. It struck me as wrong; it struck me as terrible. So I decided that I owed that memory to her – that I'd never forget her.

Then there was the blond girl & her boyfriend outside the restaurant in the bright red pick-up. I was absolutely fascinated with them – they got stuck on my list too. And there was the boy who won a game, picked a prize, but then traded it back for something an elderly lady wanted. There was the man that opened the door & gave up his seat, and the person who needed more money for his family. And the guy with the fluffy shirt in the doctor's office.

They're engraved in my head – my prayer list. They're people that I thought were extraordinary in extra ordinary ways. I can remember all of the situations vividly – I can tell you where, I could tell you when. Every detail imprinted, carved onto my mind, on purpose – with a purpose. People I noticed, who never noticed anyone noticed. That's me.

So when you think no one's watching – don't overlook the little girl in the corner. Yeah, she looks too young, and yes, she's pretending not to soak you up in detail. But she could just be remembering you – praying for you – forever.

(feel free to comment)
(also, follow my blog if you'd like)

10.04.2008

Just a Little Ant

My Dad finally bought some ant traps.

Normally I might be against the traps, but this year the ants chose to create chaos. I mean, you can see the masses of tiny bodies swarming up the columns of the front porch – trying to slyly sneak in the windows. They'll crawl along zigzag – starting to go one way, and then instantly deciding the other way looks better. It’s like they have a little creek to follow, with its own twists and turns, ups and downs. They’ll bump into each other like boats, and then back up, keep going. Yeah, they love to keep life exciting.

But even though the ants are crawling all over, it’s so easy to get rid of them. Of course - most of us know that. I mean, it’s no big deal: we step on them & they’re dead, right? Seriously, it’s not that hard to crush a bug - or swat an annoying fly.

But have we ever thought how easy it is to bring them to life? Kill an ant and it's dead forever, it’ll never come back – do we ever think of that? Of course it’s just an ant, but that’s why it’s amazing. Something so small, yet once we kill it, it’s gone, and we can’t even bring it's life back. We have such power over death sometimes. But that’s the reason we have to be so cautious over that authority - because we don’t have such a power over life.

And on a bigger scale, look at us. It can be so easy to die: crashes, poison, diseases, guns, knives, etc. Humans have the power to kill & and humans can be easy to kill. But how dare anyone kill for no reason, especially since when someone’s dead, they’re dead. They can’t be brought back to life – the same person, the same personality, the same time. It's crazy how some people abuse this, but it’s just because they don’t understand.

When I was younger, I heard all the time about people dying. “Three people died this morning in a fatal car crash,” the emotionless radio would tell me, or “Hundreds died in a gun fight” in another country, the journalist would write. And I’d be like, okay. They died. I don’t know them, they’re people - faceless people - and they’re far away.

But, if I really thought about it, I’d be amazed at how strangely terrible the news was that I heard. I mean, I’d imagine that people who died in the news, were people I knew. One was the loyal friend; always there for me, the other had the biggest heart, another always joking around & lighting up the dullest party. And if we think about hearing people die, if we imagine them like that, we can grasp reality just a bit more. Someone’s gone who will never come back, that unique personality lost forever. We need to recognize what power we have over death.

Because life – it’s so precious.

(let me know what you think!)

10.01.2008

We think we know . . .

Have you seen a child cry?
Have you ever been alone?
Have you ever wished you might die
In a single moan?

Have you ever been rejected?
Left out on the street
Have you never had a friend
Who turned on you to cheat?

Have you heard your parents fighting
Like there is no end
Have you never wondered
If you’ll make it ‘round the bend?

Have you ever had a broken heart
Beating, thrown away
Felt it being torn apart?
Hoping for one day

Have you seen an orphan
Sitting by a can
Wondering where family is
Captured in that white van

Have you ever known an addict?
Ever seen the pain
Ever wanted to help out
If there was a way

Has there ever been a day
Where there was no food?
Or maybe the worst for you
Is just a terrible mood

We think we’ve been dealt
The worst of life
But have you been threatened
With a knife?

Life's been blown away
We say
But some have only one way
For today

Don’t you see what hate can do?
Even to just a few
Don’t you see that selfishness
Can ruin not only you?

Can’t you see that we can make
Even a better world
If we just stopped to take
One look

One look at what
We might have missed

(feel free to comment!)

9.28.2008

Breakable Wall

Sometimes it's so frustrating when people who are considered higher, more learned, or more experienced than ourselves, give opinions that we don't really agree with. Like today - some of my friends and I heard about a person who did a some pretty offensive things. So we decided to bring it up with an older experienced adult for his suggestions. But his advice was that he was glad we were stirred up about it - happy that we wanted to do something about it - yet he said that things like that happen, and sometimes we just have to accept them.

But I disagreed. I wanted to say that there wouldn't be a fire of opposition in us, if we couldn't do something about it. I wanted to say that we don't just watch the world burn - we're in the world. I wanted to speak up but, he was the type that wouldn't care about my opinion - I'm not the expert like him, how would I know better? In fact, a challenge might be looked down upon, even by my friends.

It's like there's this level - this wall - of power in the world. There's the child, there's the adult. This is the worker, that is the boss. Here's the experienced person, and here's the new man. There's the president, and look, here's a citizen.

But sometimes a child can see things the adult overlooks. Sometimes the worker knows what's going on better than the boss, and would tell the boss if given the chance. Sometimes the new man knows a better way, sometimes a president forgets he needs the vote.

So when we're the adult, the boss, when we're the experienced person, or the president, we have to remember what - or who - makes us great. We have to remember who we were before we were great - remember to be open-minded. Because are there really adults if there are not children? Bosses if there are no workers? Presidents if there are no citizens?

And what makes a great leader so great is that he or she recognizes that fact - sees through that wall of power. Knows that no matter where people are in "rank", we're all created equal - that we're all human. That even a child can teach a significant lesson. That there might be a wall, but it's on the same land.

{there's no such thing as too many comments :)}
{thanks to my followers & commenters - it means a lot.}

9.25.2008

the little message

My history teacher was talking about the Black Death a few days ago. And he made me think - what if an epidemic suddenly came here, now, and saw to the death of thousands? What if death was a fact, if every day people we knew and loved were dying? What if we had to suddenly face death ourselves?

And, of course, we know that isn't going to happen - it couldn't happen. Which is precisely why it would be so terrible if it did happen. What would you do? What would disappear from our dreams, what would we see as really important? Would we start praying every second? Would we cry? Or would we live for the moment - and meet death with nothing more than acceptance?

And that's what my story, in the post right below this, is all about.

My 14th Century Shadow

The woman breathed in deeply and let the crisp cold air surround her lungs. Suddenly, mid-breath, she came to a halt in the dead center of the street with the confronting realization.

Yes, she could smell it.

Or rather, she could feel it – feel it curling in-between the dress folds, feel it slapping harshly against her cheeks, and feel it brutally stinging her heart. Yes, she could smell it – she could feel it: that mingled cry of fear hanging above like a mass of clouds. It had come: the Black Death. The townspeople had known it was coming – had waited for it even – until the day it came. However, it was only at the plague’s arrival that their minds changed from the silent patience to panic.

The woman continued walking briskly. Her total body was still numb with shock – it felt like she wasn’t human. There was no more sense of time. No, none at all. Death haunted, and death watched. Suddenly all the material wishes she had ever dreamed of having – money, clothes, a grand house, even servants - had surprisingly disappeared. They weren’t important, they didn’t matter anymore.

Now, she only wanted to survive. She wanted hope, yearned for life, and everything beautiful to be found in it. Now, she only wanted her daughter to recover from this hovering death. But she was just a mouse cornered by the serpent. She slammed the door.

The next thing the weary woman heard was her daughter’s feeble voice calling to her, and she then rushed to her bedside, but stopped. The stench – it was unbearable. And to see flesh rotting - dead flesh - on a live human, her very own daughter, to see the glassy eyes, and the bleeding rashes - yes, she always hesitated for just a second, before going on.

“Yes, darling?” She held back just a little.

“I’m dying.” She whimpered.

“You don’t know that, you mi–”

“Nooo.” Hurting tears gushed out. “I’m dead, look at me. Mama . . . tell everyone I’m sorry.”

“What? You have nothing to be sorry about.” She tried desperately to calm her child.

“Yes, I do. I’ve done everything wrong. I’m scared - I don’t want to die. Why do I have to die?” She moaned. “Why didn’t we run away from this, Mama? Why didn’t we spend our money to live like the nobles, while we had the chance? Why, Mama, why? I don’t want to die. I’m too young to die. And in a few years no one will even remember my name.”

“Darling, we couldn’t leave – you know that.” The daughter tried to speak, but her mother put her finger to her lips. “Papa’s work is here, besides, where would we have gone? Where could we have fled? As for living like nobles, how could we be remembered as the people who lived only for the moment? It’s okay, you’ll be all right. You don’t need to be remembered as someone great or famous, what’s really worth living for, is being remembered in a heart that you have touched. And you’ve certainly accomplished that. Darling, it’s all right, I love you.”

The mother didn’t care anymore about the smell, about the sight or the feeling of her child. She cuddled her daughter gently. “Hold on,” she whispered.

(please comment!)
(& feel free to follow my blog)

9.21.2008

Just the Shards

So I was wrong.

Our dreams - our goals - they do not always come true. And it doesn't seem right to say, and it doesn't seem right to hear. But people can - and people will - crush us. They can hurt our souls, they can make us cry. And sometimes it's better to acknowledge, than to hide, the facts. Sometimes it's better to open up the bottle, even if you have crash it against the wall & watch while the glass shards fly, than to keep it all inside. I have to say, the hardest part about our dreams is trying to distinguish between whether they can become reality or if they really are something we need to give up on. But I always like to say, before you give up, remember why you held on.

When I was around seven, I took ballet. I loved it. I would practice with my friends, I would twirl around the house, I would make my little sister dance with me: it was what I would do forever. And somehow I knew that with all my heart. But suddenly, my parents made me quit because of schoolwork.

When I was ten, I was playing on soccer teams. I loved it, running around with the ball at my feet - at my command - and maneuvering quickly around my opponents. I still have my awards and trophies to prove it. But I had to quit again to focus on studies.

Throughout this, I was ice skating every once & a while (I started about when I was five). And I started getting really good. I could jump, spin, and complete the arabesque to perfection. People told me I could go places. I put my heart into it - it was my life. But, about ten years later, my parents wouldn't drive me to the rink any more. That did break me.

And what do you do, when the people who are supposed to love you the most, don't believe in your dreams - don't let you follow them? What do you do? I realize that they wanted my sister (they made her quit stuff also) and me to focus on our studies. I know that they thought they were doing what's best. I know that. But also I know that if they could see just an ounce of how much they hurt me, they might have done something different. But how do you tell someone more than what you've already said? And ever since I've always noticed that the first thing a gold medalist says, after winning, is that they owe it to their family.

So yeah, it's not the biggest issue. I wasn't starving, no one was trying to kill me, I didn't have a fatal disease. But the big problems always start small, no? Anyways, you know I didn't go to the Olympics - you have to have start young & stick with it. It's out of reach. Dream gone. But dreams can go - can be ruined. Yet, sometimes we forget that we can dreams new dreams. If we can't do something one way, we can do it another way. Just because someone crushes one goal, doesn't mean we can't just think up another - because we can. We can have new dreams, we can keep going.

And you know what? I forgive them, because you have to let go to hold on again. Because somehow, it makes me stronger. We can lose dreams, but we never ever lose the ability to dream new ones. Just believe in yourself, even if it seems like you're alone. Because people will love you for it. Because you owe it to yourself.

(would love to read your comment)

9.20.2008

It's Who

You know how they say it's who we're with, not where we are? It's so true. Wherever I am, the place may seem great - but it's nothing compared to the people who might be there. Or, in other words, the people are the ones who make the place. I seriously don't know what I'd do without my friends - ranging from people I say "Hi" to everyday from my best friends, and to the people I hang out with each second, from even to, you, my blogger friends :)

Like today - I had my black belt pre-test, and I was kind of nervous. And you know how sometimes we tend to think the worst under stress: which would be failing for me. But many of my friends were like, "Oh, you'll just blow them away, girl." And I love that: being able to borrow confidence outside of myself. Kind of like how music can make us dance, even when we don't want to.

And I did great on the test - I knew I could - I just wasn't sure if I would. It was kind of crazy though - the whole pre-test. When I first entered the room, where a dozen of us were testing, you could smell almost the pressure and hear the whispered fears. I hate that - going from the blue skies outside to an atmosphere where no one smiles. Probably not a good thing - considering how much my friends playfully tease me about how I can't not smile. But the only thing we should fear is fear itself, no?

So here is something for you. It's not too polished, but you'll get the jist of it :)

To All my Friends

Old and new; young and old;
Stayed and left; gone and remained;
To the ones who laugh with me;
To the ones who laugh at me;
To the ones who think I’m cool and clever;
To the ones who will stick with me forever;
The friends who think I’m absurd and weird;
To the ones who never ever feared;

For the ones whom with I’ve cried,
During the times when I’ve been tried;
To the friends who’ve shown me the way;
To them who never let me forget how to play;
To the friends who forgive;
The ones who taught me how to live;
For the ones who are always there;
For them who constantly care;

To the friends who carried me over valleys;
For the ones who’ve shown me the deep dark alleys;
For the friends who make themselves well heard,
Flying free like a bird;
For the friends who’ve been there through thick and thin;
For the friends who value me as much as I do them;
To my close friends; and to the ones I barely knew;
To the friends I’d want to know more,
Deeper and deeper to the core;

For the ones who are honest;
For the friends who demand respect;
The ones who make me smile,
For ones who helped me go the other mile;
To the ones who showed me beauty;
To the ones who’ve made clear my duty;

For the ones who never backed up from a fight;
For my friends who were humble with all their might;
To especially my best friend;
To the friends I’d die for;
To the ones who truly help me amount
This is to you, my friends,
Who I’d die without

(please comment and follow my blog if you'd like!)

9.19.2008

Shining Darkness

"Life is like hiking up a mountain." There he was: off and away on one of those talks again.

"And what's drives us up, past the scheming rocks and lurking snakes, is the view of the sunset at the top." The man from my church thoughtfully finished his grand sentence.

Yes, the notion did sound beautiful, but the idea didn't seem to sink in. I mean, what happens after we reach the mountaintop? Do we die from the magnificence? I doubt. For we climb up in life to go back down, and we go down to climb up once more. Life's like that - filled with twists & curves, ups & downs.

So really it is not that we have one mountain - or one sunset in our lives - it is that we have many mountains to climb, and numerous sunsets to see. In other words, things may bring us down in life from our mountain top, but we always go back up to glimpse another setting sun. Because it's worth it - it's worth getting through the tight spots to get to the amazing ones. Though sometimes we wonder why couldn't we just stay up there on the high mountain forever.

But if we could, would we? For the bottoms of our mountains - the hard parts of life - make us realize how great the sunset really is. Without evil, we wouldn't fully recognize the good. Without the sins, we couldn't see the mercy. Without hate, we couldn't understand the greatness of love.

For example, the grass is green, right? Well of course, I mean everyone knows that. But, what if it wasn't green? What if the grass was gray all year around except for one week - one chance - to be green? We would definitely notice that the grass was green for that one week - for one week we would marvel at it's color. But because the grass isn't gray, we hardly notice the luscious green stalks crying out the delicate dew drops. It's just a fact to us usually, and nothing more.

And so, without knowing what it's like at the bottom of a mountain, we would never be able to feel the complete beauty of the radiant setting sun on mountaintop. Without the downs in life, we would never recognize the ups - never fully know the beauty. So while we may despise our downfalls and heartbreaks, they in fact show us realize how great life can be.

(would love to hear your comments!)
{thanks to my followers :) }

9.16.2008

Porcelain Wings

Ah! sometimes I feel
like a mariposa
Yes, a butterfly
Made: porcelain china

My beauty lures
They touch my wings
They know not better
For hurt - it stings

Yes! I should be a mariposa
Flutter up
Now down
No straight path
Yet painted like a clown

Ha! I could be a mariposa
In a cocoon
Finding who I am
Weaved in a loom

Ah! I am a mariposa
For though confronted
With many things
Once a time misled
I still have my wings

Free to fly
Up in the sky
Yes, a butterfly

{please comment :) }

9.15.2008

Tall Atheist Asian Male

Tall atheist Asian male. Can't you see him? Right there. Do you think we'd like him - maybe become friends? He's tall & skinny, but maybe we can't believe he doesn't know faith. He's dark & Asian - not Caucasian. Would we talk to him? Or ignore him for what we've seen and heard? Because he's different? Do we want to converse - see what's inside? Or keep our distance, maybe hide. So would we see him differently?

Should we see him differently?

We automatically judge by the outside - and that's okay. I mean, we express ourselves by what we wear, how we present ourselves, what we believe in. But to judge someone only by the outside - that is the problem. There are so many differences in the people of this little world: race, gender, faith, culture, origin, and more. However those things I just listed are not everything. It's not how a person thinks, or what he or she might dream, or what he or she values about life. We have to dig deeper, I mean we might not know how someone is so scared that she won't be accepted, or how he just wants to play with the other neighborhood kids. And maybe we have a problem with the religion issue - can't understand it. But is that really Christian like, to think so?

It can be so crazy how different we are - our perceptions are like our fingerprints. Yet how similar we can be in the inside. I used to think I was so different. I would do anything for my friends, I wanted to be accepted, I wanted to fulfill my dreams, I wanted to love. Yet now I see that, although we may be vastly different on the outside, we are all so alike on the inside. I know: we're far from identical, we aren't anything near twins, we are each unique. However what's inside is similar, it's not just me; many of us would do anything for our friends, most of us want to be accepted, we want to love, and please raise your hand if you don't want your dreams fulfilled.

That tall atheist Asian male. Can you see him? Right there - there in our mind. Are we going to hate him because he's different? Because we're different too. Are we going to introduce ourselves & then maybe chat?

Let's try.

(would love to read your comments!)

9.13.2008

The Art of the Hands & Feet

So yesterday was board breaking night at my Tae Kwon Do class. And board breaking is always interesting - interesting to see, to watch, and even to do. There are several ways someone can break a board, but usually you use your bare feet or hands to smash through [& I won't lie - sometimes it can hurt!). So last night I decided to do a side kick through three boards, a round kick through two, and an elbow smash & palm heel (2 boards each). And I know, it can sound like a lot, right?

But I’ll let you in on something: just because we’re able to break boards at Tae Kwon Do, doesn’t mean we can. And at first I thought this was just one of my ideas, but then another black belt thought it also, “It’s your mind – it's what you think that is important,” not just our body’s ability. I mean, “Tae Kwon Do” means the art of the hands and the feet, but what controls the hands and the feet?

In other words, if we think we cannot break a board, even though it may be effortless to do so physically, then that will affect - and can make harder - the board break. But, if we tell ourselves that we can break a board, even though it may be difficult, we can usually break it with ease. That’s kind of amazing, when you think about it - how the mind & confidence hold the potential to make us so much stronger than we might be otherwise.

And this isn’t true just for Tae Kwon Do – it’s true for life. Sometimes we think we can’t do something, so we don’t - or we don’t accomplish something, because we can’t. It’s as simple as that, right? But it’s not. One of my favorite quotes (from “Batman Begins”) is “Training is nothing; will is everything.” And it’s true. Not that training is useless or meaningless – it’s not. It's just that training without being driven by the will is useless. We can be trained to write a poem, but if we still think we can't - then we probably won't. We can be trained for a job, but if we don't want to do it right, then we probably won't.

We can probably each make a list of what we think we can’t do, but we have to realize that’s what we think. And we have the power to change what we think. And, consequently, what we think is what we "know." We can all break through our boards if we know we can, even though it may hurt. We can do anything, as long as we believe we can - as long as we hold onto the thought that we can.

And so the art of the hands and feet is really the heart -
& not only what it believes inside of us, but also what we believe in it.

(Would love to hear your comments!)
{Become one of my followers if you want :) }

9.11.2008

An Insignificant Power

If love is friendship set afire, then song is poetry brought to life with a beating heart.

Today I had my first voice lesson this semester, and it went pretty well. It's been a while since I've taken voice lessons, but, starting it up again, I can feel song tugging at my heart once more. Music is sometimes so hard to explain, maybe because we don't usually just hear it. We feel it. We feel it vibrating within our body, and soaring through our mind. It's so powerful - beautifully powerful.

A lot of people have been asking me what I want to do with my life, but, to be honest, I'm not quite sure yet. I'm afraid of committing to just one thing, and then being stuck with it. Sometimes I wish we were given more than one life. I mean, I want to live when the Egyptians built their mighty pyramids - I wish I could see what it was like to live in a drafty medieval castle. I want to try one life as an actor - and maybe another as a lawyer. I want to live in different cultures - see what's it's like. But I can't, and that's something that makes life beautiful - it gives us one try. However, it's also a reason why books are so great: they can take us there, to different lives through others' eyes, with just words.

However, I've realized how poor our rich meaningful words really are. I almost hate saying that, because words are powerful. Don't get me wrong - words can take us back in time: let us see what the world was like, what it is like, what it can be. We can read about being in a deep green meadow with nearby trees towering to lend their shade. We can read about running to feel the gentle breeze batting at our hair & smelling the sunlit roses, or seeing the strong horses prancing by with their rippling muscles. We can read about dropping a pebble into the river, and watching it clash against the water with a bubbly thud. We can almost "see" these things. We can almost hear them . . . feel them . . . taste them. But somehow it's not the same as the real thing.

Words create images - but being there, really seeing it - only then can we know the absolute beauty and detail of something. Sometimes words are just copies of what's really there. I mean, we can read about a wedding - the smile on the bride's face, the emotion on the groom's. But really being there - it's something else. It can touch our hearts & somehow we'll never forget it. You can read about me describing music & songs, but it's nothing like feeling your favorite song surge throughout you. Words are so poor compared to the real thing.

And I know, the pen is mightier than the sword, right? I know the pen's strength and the ink's might. I'm thrilled with writing and I truly believe that stories, poems, and everything built with words can be unbelievable. I'm just pointing out that it's different experiencing something for ourselves, than learning it through others' eyes. Maybe the best way to make myself clear, is love. Trying reading about love - a father & mother's love, a sibling's, a friend's, a husband & wife's love - and then comparing it to the real thing.

{Thanks to everyone for the comments! Please keep them coming :) }
{And feel free to add yourself to my blog as a follower}

9.10.2008

Simple Beauty




Sometimes I get lost
Just so you will find me

And sometimes I run away
Just so you can catch me

And lift me off my feet again
Just because it’s so great

And then I’ll know
That you are mine
And I am yours





Don't have time to write much, so I posted a poem by me for you to read & critque. While it's the shortest poem I've written, it's just about my favorite. I guess because there's a lot that can be said with just a few lines, no? Also, I posted a picture that I snappped while traveling a couple months ago. Would love to hear your comments! Enjoy :)

9.09.2008

Unlimited Limits

So yesterday my English teacher was chatting with my class about all the rules you have to follow with literature and grammer. She talked about the rules we have to use to define literature, about the rules that make a story a story, about the rules to use when writing. And she went on & on explaining them to us. But then she stopped and suddenly challenged us by asking, "Why do we have to know the rules?" Maybe she wanted to perk up the class a bit. She then answered her own question by stating, "We learn the rules so we can break them." And I was like, "What?" That totally isn't something you expect to hear from an English teacher - especially an English teacher. She went on, "Why have rules if we can't break them? Why do we have rules, if we can't challenge them?"

At first, I was thinking that's wrong - we don't have laws just so we can disobey them. There are rules in place to help us - they're there to follow as well. But I realize now what she meant. She meant more that when people set boundaries for us - for what we can and cannot do in life - we have to learn them. We learn what people tell us we can't do, so that we can show them that we can.

And on a bigger scale - people have told me that I'll never suceed, that I'll never get a job, or even get married. Those are limits people have set for me - leashes hooked to collars around my throat. Those are sores people have tried to cut into my skin. Those are my boundaries, and I'm going to break them. Because people can tell us what we can and can't do, but only we get to decide if they're right.

9.07.2008

Why not?

I still find it funny how simple things - like choices - can be when we're younger. When I was around five or six, it was my total & complete dream to have a horse. And I know, that's a wish many girls share :) So I would play "horsies" with my best friends around the yard, I would draw horses, and I would even read/look at pictures about horses. So one day, the big question came to my parents. And I asked them (in my high-pitched voice at the time), "Can I please get a horse? Pleaasse, Mommy?" My Mom would just look at me and say, "Honey, our yard isn't big enough for a horse." And, of course, I had what I thought was the perfect simple solution, "Well, why can't we just move?"

Then, six years later, I met a girl who was five and wanted a horse with a passion like I once did. And she really liked me - she'd follow me around and tell me all about her life - which I thought was so cute. She'd even tell me her deepest secret, with her little hands cupped around her mouth, "I'm getting a horse. I'm saving my money all the time. Every week I get a dollar, so when I'm big as you, I can buy my own horse." And I kind of wanted to give her all my money right then & there, just so she could get closer to her dream.

So I think it's kind of amazing how we can know exactly what we want when we're younger, and then, when we get older, we're all of a sudden wondering about all these choices we have. Of course, all the choices we have now are more life-changing than they were before. But, sometimes I think that we don't know what we want, because we're not sure if we can get it. Whereas, when we're little, nothing seems to have boundaries to what we can accoplish when we're older. But if you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be? If you could do anything you wanted, what would that be?

Because you can be who you want to be, you can follow what you want to do. And even if you can't, it's worth a try, because there's only one life that we're given. As Les Brown's famous quote says, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

(Please comment if you'd like!)

9.04.2008

The Other Side

My first week of college this semester is now finished! And I have so many great new friends to show for it :) The first week is always the hardest, I think. Just getting used to the new schedule, the new places, and the people can be hard.

So with my Spanish and Communication classes, I was thinking about the immigrants who come to live here and don't know how to speak English well or even at all. I've seen them work as cashiers, build buildings, etc. And I've noticed how quickly customers can lose their temper at people who don't speak English well. How English-speaking people sometimes get frustrated when asked to repeat - how they don't like it when they can't understand what's being said - or even how they dislike when immigrants talk to each other in their native language, and therefore can't be understood by English speakers.

And I know, it can be easy to ask why they here if they don't want to be? If they can't speak English? So often it can be hard for us to look past what we think, and try to see what the other point of view is. For example, most of our relatives are actually immigrants, even if we have to look way back in time. And if we ever went to another country we'd expect to be treated with respect, and no less, right?

So close your eyes for a second and imagine: you need to go to a foreign country and find work. Your parents are sharing those worried looks; your little brothers and sisters are starving. And so, despite the challenge of going to a totally new culture, a new place with a different language, you go because you need to - because it's the right thing to do. It can't be that bad, can it?

Then you arrive, and discover how hard it can really can be - to find a job with no English skills and to find a place to live without being cheated. Then, not only is it a huge change, but people treat you like you're beneath them, like your culture doesn't matter. People don't care how hard you're trying - it isn't good enough. And you want to go home where you're appreciated, you want to give up, but then you remember your family. You love them, and you're going to take care of them & send money to them no matter what it takes.

So it does make a difference how you look at it. Everyone is created equal, and always should recieve the respect they deserve. Just because someone is different doesn't mean they're stupid - it never means that. In fact, many are completely courageous to do what they've done. So no matter where someone comes from, what they believe, what they look like, each human is human, and deserves to be treated like one. In fact, trying to see someone else's point of view, makes us, in a way, more human.

So try closing your eyes and imagine the other side of the people in you own life, even if for just a second.

(Would love to hear your comments!)

The Windmill

Okay, so today I have a poem for you to read & critque down below. I love poems, because they can illustrate strong feelings with just a few words. They can totally distract our thoughts & minds if we let them - even if for just a second. There can also be that maze of puzzles and emotions hidden between the lines, that we'd never know about if the authors didn't tell us.

This poem I've written is about a person who wants to hate, who battles with hate, but he instead he loves. He choses to love, despite any consequences. Let me know what you think of my poetry skills, if you'd like!

The Windmill

I feel to kill
But it’s holding me back
That slow beating of the windmill
It makes me feel like an empty sack
It’s playing its part
This human heart

I want to scream
I want to yell
I’d rather have another dream
I beg and plead
But it’s a curse
That will take me ever near the hearse
It’s what it is - a tasteless tart
Oh, take the burden
Of this human heart

I can’t explain it
I want to hit
Yet something stays my hand
Oh, isn’t it so grand?
But yet please spare me the art
Of this dreadful human heart

There’s a cause to all my crying
There’s nothing left more to give
It’s the reason that I’m dying
Yet the source that lets me live
It’s an unfailing chart
This sorry human heart

Is it a fate?
Or destiny to doom?
Some might say fortune
It’ll take me away soon
In a uncovered cart
For it’s not to hide
This persistent human heart

It’s why I’m alive
It’s why I’m dead
A bees’ hive
In my head

I yearn to hate
But instead I love
It’s tearing me apart
This fatal human heart

9.01.2008

Dare to Dare

I heard once from a writer that sometimes you can find more truth in a story, than when you read about a real life experience. Maybe that's because when we write about ourselves, and even talk about ourselves, we don't always say everything. I mean, we can write & talk about what happened, what people said & did - even about some thoughts going through our heads. But you have to be daring to lay out the deepest thoughts of your heart, where someone could see them. And I think it's mainly because we're sometimes afraid to let people know who we really are (& sometimes we might not know ourselves), and what we think. Revealing deep thoughts is a little like love - giving away your heart, and trusting the people who hold it, not to break it. Or maybe it's just me.

So anyways, I don't think anyone should be afraid of who they are - because who we are is beautiful, no matter what anyone thinks & says. And it doesn't matter if people judge, because no one is just like anyone else, because of the fact that no one has had the same trials, thoughts, or experiences as someone else. If we pretend to be someone we're not, how can we expect people to love us for who we truly are?

(Feel free to comment)

8.31.2008

the little note

Hey! Down below is a short story I wrote about a week ago (and below that is my "daily" post). Let me know what you think & comment as much as you'd like - enjoy!

My Western Cowboy Story

She opened her mouth to release a sharp cry, as he held her back - a prisoner in his iron arms. He satisfactorily pulled out the gun, looking around at the rough outline of the west he knew so well: the dry dirt, the rocky mountains, and the blazing sun. Too bad even the birds didn't dare sing farewell to the end of this damsel in distress in his presence. He smirked with his crooked smile, and raised a bushy eyebrow. It wasn't as if he had anything against her exactly. It was just that he held hate in his heart, and he loved to kill. Better yet, to kill someone who loved. Who could - no, who would - lose something valuable in death, unlike himself.

She wasn't prepared for this, although she thought she had been. She'd remembered the countless defense movements taught to protect herself from crazy men - practiced them even. Yet she had forgotten a man's brutal strength, not shown to her from the many gentlemen she knew. She threw herself from him again, only to be pulled back, and this time the hard cold barrel of the gun sank through her golden curls to her dainty head. Even if he didn't shoot, she knew the hard imprint must be left in her skin. His laugh sent tingles up her spine and she prayed for another moment. Screamed for another moment. The gun's patience was tried, then released. The sound of a rocket pierced the air in half. The sound of death.

Yet, her round blue eyes opened with astonishment as the man with the iron grasp tumbled to the ground in her stead. Behind him, the man she loved, her rescuer, stood placing his used gun back inside its cage. His soft worried eyes flew to her, almost as quickly as his feet. He bent his head gently down as he used his fingers to wipe away her tears of desperation, until he stiffened coldly with the realization that the hateful man had stirred. He spoke his dying words, the words most important to a man.

"You'll never understand, but that's why I'm telling you." He gasped out, while holding his side.

"You're crazy, man, to try and hurt her! To be killin' the way you do in this town. Just tell me why? WHY? Why you got to be hurtin' men who you have no problems with." He raged out, in protection of her.

“When I was young -" It seemed he was being dramatic.

"SHUT IT! Get to the point."

"It's the point all right - it all starts when you're young . . . everything. Hate, being locked up, being cheated when you finally love someone. That's what hurts the most, trying so hard to please everyone - anyone, but some people have it all handed to them . . .and some people don't. Who decides who lives what life? Who has the luck, and who loses it all? . . . It all starts young." He continued, his breath slower. "It's like . . . like a boat that's sinking, and no one notices until it crashes. It's like a bird . . . that's falling, but it doesn't matter until it starts flying into the other birds. It's dying but not . . . caring because you're not losing anything." His was whispering by the end of his long rant.


The man who had shot persisted, while keeping her safely behind him, “And you take it out on someone you don’t know? I don’t care if you have had so much pain that you’re numb to it. I don’t care what you’ve been given. What matters is what you do with what you receive in life. Maybe the world can be cruel, but then defy it with your being – don’t join it.”

She suddenly hooked her arm with her rescuer. "Some people have roses with thorns, and others have thorns with roses. But it isn’t exactly like fate has been chosen for you - it’s also the fate you have chosen.”

Death silently closed the iron man’s eyes.

And maybe you don't get it - but that's why I'm telling you.

World of Color

Hey! So first of all, thanks to everyone for the comments - I love reading them :) Yesterday was extremely busy, so I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to write anything, but I guess that just leaves more for today, right? So I was visiting my older sister in N.Y. recently, and we went to the Frick Museum (which has paintings by the European masters) and the MoMA - or the Museum of Modern Art. And I always think that it's a little crazy how hard some people try to decipher the meaning of a particular piece of Art. They'll go into such depth explaining why the painter did this - or why the painter maybe did that. What the shapes & colors mean - what the fluid movement or lighting is saying. Then someone else comes along with a total different interpretation of the same art piece.

I do realize that many paintings obviously have a meaning - or a reason in the painter's mind as to why they exist. However, my theory is that some painters just paint to paint. In fact, I think some painters could be devious enough to paint something that is not meant to have meaning, just to see what people could come up with in their interpretations of it. In addition, I think some paintings are just meant to be enjoyed and not critiqued - that Art is meant to open the mind as music is meant to open the soul. What do you think about it?

Okay, here are four fun facts about me:

1. My favorite color is purple. And I know, it's considered a girl color, but purple's been my favorite color for basically my whole life. My Mom says it started when I was about two - when I had this purple dress I loved to wear all the time (I was very paticular about what I wore, which is funny for a two-year-old).

2. My favorite car is the Corvette. Yeah, wishful thinking, right? Maybe someday . . .

3. My family has three cats. And this is partly my fault - okay, all my fault :) I just really like animals, and the thing is, there were a few stray cats running around in my neighborhood. They were pretty shy, and didn't really like people. However, with me and my determination, I started taming some - and my family then kept them as pets.

4. What touches my heart: When a someone does something unexpectedly kind for someone else, and expects nothing in return.

8.29.2008

Trying not to Fall

So enough of the literary stuff for now . . . time to talk about what's going on in my life :) Today I'm kind of stuck and don't know what to do. My friends often say they wish they could be me, live my life, be in my family. But everyone has problems, even the people - especially the people - who appear not to.

So I'm starting my semester of college next week - I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I'm getting an associate, or a two-year degree. However, I found out that to get my degree in two years (and transfer to a larger college) I will have to take five classes each semester and, in addition, have to take classes in the summer. So I figured I would have to take all these classes while earning my blackbelt (testing for it this fall!) taking on a little job, and applying for colleges to transfer to (which includes figuring out what I want to do with my life, where I want to transfer to, writing, getting recommendations, etc.) which is a huge task, not to mention stressful. All of a sudden, everyone thinks I should know exactly what I want out of life, and what I want to do. Very crazy, but I'm prepared to take the challenge.

But wait, there's more. While my older siblings and I were waiting in line to reach the top of the Empire State Building (which is a very long line in more ways than one, I might add) my siblings started questioning me about the outlook of my future. They've always been concerned about my schooling because I've been home-schooled my whole life up until college now. They asked me the typical questions about what I thought I wanted to do, and where I might want transfer to when the time came, etc. Then they came to the question, "What about taking the SAT's and the GED for the college you transfer too?" And my answer's always been, "Mom says that college's won't care that I've not taken the SAT and the GED because I'll be considered a transfer student." (The small college I'm going to this fall doesn't require those tests.) My siblings responded, "Really? I wouldn't believe everything Mom and Dad say - they might be a little mixed up." And I could have sworn I had told my siblings before about this.

A couple days later, my older sister looks up on the internet to find that most transfer students DO need a high school diploma & SAT/ACT scores. So now I'm crushed, because I was just preparing myself for a meltdown - but for the different reasons. It's so hard when you see a glimpse of what could be, and then it's snatched away. I was hoping so hard to move out - planning & planning and now it has to change and wait a bit longer 'til I study and take those tests. I just wish my parents could have paid more attention to what I'm really supposed to be doing. I do love my parents, it's just harder trying to figure things out on my own.

(Please comment if you'd like to)

The Quest

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?"

~William Shakespeare (Hamlet)

When I first started reading a play by Shakespeare, it didn't take me long to stop reading it. Who could ever understand what he was writing? None of it made sense - why was he so important if he couldn't even write right? However, a few years later, I recognized his eloquence in writing - how he wove puzzles into words, and left us to find them. His readers have to work to understand, and therefore his writing is much more valuable. What makes Shakespeare so great though, is not his writing (although that is a part of him), but his thinking. His ability to put thoughts - deep thoughts - into writing is beautiful.

So today I ask, "To be, or not to be?" To live and bear the hardships of life? Or to die and risk the unknown? Or rather on a smaller scale for you and me: do we just stand and watch what is wrong with world - with our lives? Or do we fight to live (if life is indeed worth fighting for)? Yet what will the future world think of us if we remain silent? Why live if you can't - or won't - fight for what you believe in?

That is my question.

(Please feel free to comment!!)