Sometimes I write poems. Not really. One time I took a poetry class and that poem, an ode to be exact, was published in an art and literary magazine. A few of you were asking to read that poem. Here it is!
I am back! These past couple of weeks have been rather busy these past couple of weeks wrapping up my summer classes and tearing apart my room. Since I’m in the currently in the middle of a transition, I’ve decided to share with you my thoughts, and why I personally believe transitions are important!
Before I go any further, you should know that I despise packing. I’ve always been one to over-pack. It’s really silly because I could bring everything with me to wherever I’m going and still be convinced that I don’t quite have everything I need. For me, traveling is never enjoyable until the moment I actually arrive at my destination. Nonetheless, transition and change are very healthy. Moving is hardly enjoyable, but it forces me to re-evaluate my life. Putting my life into boxes is a wonderful reminder of what I value. Trust me, I’ve spent the past two weeks attempting to determine what I consider the bare necessities-turns out those items are practically everything in my closet. Ha! While discussing this with a friend she commented “it takes a move.” It really does. I’m not sure about you, but aside from a light spring cleaning, I don’t annually do a deep cleanse of square foot of my room. I’m just not a clean freak.I somehow managed to fit all of my belongings into the car. Well, my brother did most of the strategic packing, but I was an overseer of the whole operation. Trust me, had you been able to catch a glimpse of the trunk of our suburban, you would understand why this was such an incredible feat. I’m sure some of you resonate with my potential dilemma.
Change doesn’t scare me. I’m simply not in the habit of taking new risks and attempting new things. I constantly tell myself that this should not be so. I suppose moving out of the house that I’ve lived in for ten years is a perfect opportunity break open that cozy cocoon of comfort. I may only be six hours away from home, but I may as well be in a different world in Pullman, Washington. Over the mountains and through the woods to Washington State University I go!
Transitioning is not easy because there is no telling what the future holds. But I promise you, change is absolutely necessary. Necessary for growth and perseverance and also for fun! There comes a time to start fresh and move upward and onwards. When you’ll discover when that is, I don’t know. You may not know either-at least not yet. Undoubtedly, it will be both easy and hard and with its own ups and downs. That is obvious.
You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips.
Airplanes and passports and
New songs and old songs, but
People more than anything else.
You will need other people.
And you will need to be that
Other person to someone else,
A living, breathing, Screaming
invitation to believe better things.
People are important. I deeply desire for everyone to find community. I’ve learned a lot about those deep bonds and the importance of both having friends and also being a friend.
Thank-you for continuing to read this blog and be a part of my story, despite my inconsistency and imperfections. If you write, surely you understand how impossible some writing days are. But whoever you are and whatever you do, I really cannot express how much your readershipmeans to me. I’m excited to update you all on this exciting new adventure that is university! Knowing that you care about what I have to say is what keeps me going. If you’re going through a transition, embrace the challenge, you’ll grow and learn from these new experiences.
P.S. I’ll be continuing with my next reading list very soon. I’ll be back after my move!
Don’t. Be. A. Tourist. This is easier said than done. If we I was completely honest. As I stepped on a plane to board my flight to Oahu, the temptation to buy a Hawaiian print shirt and pack my own lei in my suitcase was very real. There is nothing wrong with either of these things, but my goal here is to give you a few basic know-how tips to use on any vacation. I would not consider myself a seasoned traveler. In fact, most of this advice is centered around the hilarious and poor mistakes my family and I made while traveling.
1. White socks scream “tourist!” They also leave a strange sunburn mark. Don’t wear them. On the other hand, if you’re arriving back in a from a week-long excursion to place like Seattle, chances are your lovely burn or tan marks will have faded before you can wear shorts again.
2. Don’t overestimate your poor and pale skin by sitting out in the sun for four hours straight–especially on your first day in paradise. It’s a bad way to set up the rest of your week.
3. Your Instagram can wait. If you spend all your time clicking away instead of soaking in the moments, you’ll soon find that your Instagram was more of a success than your actual vacation.
4. Waking up early is essentially an enormous waste of time if, in fact you don’t actually leave your hotel room until mid-morning. Drag your beach bum self out of your hotel room and get where you are going.
5. As I said previously, granting that your desire is to maximize time during your stay, planning beforehand is important.
6. So, you want to go snorkeling. I know from experience that mid-morning is NOT the ideal time to arrive at said location. Different marine life come out to explore, depending on the time of day and corresponding tide levels.
7. *This tip is specific to Oahu, Hawaii.* Assuming a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial-renamed World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument- is on your list of “to see” locations, careful planning is in order. My party of seven aroused from our restless slumber at 5:30am. Unfortunately, this is necessary for picking up tickets. What we failed to realize, is that although we appeared one of the first groups to arrive, we were told that we had a FIVE HOUR chunk of the day to enjoy.
Visit the North Shore
Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck–I’d fly back just for another taste of shrimp.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
We had a limited amount of time on our hands once we drove clear to the North Shore and back. However, we decided that on our next trip, this is a place we’d explore further.
8. Hopefully this is a given, but coffee–or, if tea is your cuppa–indulge in your go-to drink. Everyday. Sure, your hotel probably has a Starbucks, but fuel your obsession with new flavors by experimenting, and tasting a few coffee brews.
9. I almost always regret packing to many clothing items. Never do I leave enough room for purchases, completed books, or bedraggled and dirty clothes.
10. Airplane movies are dreadfully boring. The radio is static-y. Bring your own tunes and shows.
“Wishing I Were Traveling” in Sunny Seattle
Did I miss any important travel tips? Do you possess any wise words worth sharing?
First of all, if you don’t plan on reading this entire post read this —>waffles are much different from spaghetti. In fact, I think the only characteristic the two foods share is the insane amount of carbs.
If you remember this concept, I predict that any sort of relationship with any woman you have in your life will improve drastically. Maybe all it means is that you understand your mom better. Or your friend. Or your sister. Or any individual belonging to the female species. You do not need a survival guide. Or a book. Or a list of rules. Spaghetti must become your new favorite food. Second only to the Bread of Life. (Cheesy pun intended).
If you failed to notice, girls are really good at not giving away anything. You could be talking to her about one thought while she’s thinking through a million–at the exact same time. This is called multi-thinking. To play it safe, assume that if you haven’t thought it, she’s thinking it.
Let’s create a scenario to work with. You’ve just met this girl? You start the small talk etc. Now imagine this, she’s already thinking about whether you’ll be simply friends, or if there are deeper intentions. She’s thinking of the possibility of a first date. Here’s a glimpse at the female brain:
“Does he like me?” “Is he going to ask me out?” If so, “when?” “Where will he take me?” “What will I wear?” “How tall is he?” “Can I wear heels?” “Has he dated another girl? If so, “who?”Is he still dating her?” If not, “why?” “Does he have certain standards, boundaries, and expectations?” “What is he passionate about?”
The list goes on and on and on and on and on.
She’s thinking of every detail.
NOW, that was an example of multi-thinking. I hope I didn’t scare you. I’m only being realistic. Another thing, this IS NOT to say all a girl ever thinks about is her future wardrobe and dates. This is not true at all. If I asked these exact questions with every guy I met I’d be in an even more complex state of mind.
She needs your help, but she forgets to ask. Multi-thinking is a habit that is constantly occurring. It occurs in the subconscious and conscious. It’s exhausting. If you would be a gentleman and lay out your intentions-whatever they may be- right away, she will be eternally grateful. She’ll only have to think and inquire about what you haven’t brought up. Her brain will be less likely to explode. Girlfriends have trouble assisting their girlfriends think about one thing at a time. It’s nearly impossible.
If you’re still with me, AWESOME.
As my friend McKenzie would say, “Does that make you feel…good about everything?”
Since you have the enviable ability to think things through slowly and thoroughly, and even one thought at a time, let this marinate your thought process for the next 24 hours.
P.S. I’m writing a post just for the girls too. What do they need to know about guys? How are waffles distinct?
Every writer has this defining point in their writing journey where they ask themselves the questions:
“Why am I writing?” “Is it all worth it?” “Who should I write for?” “Should I write for high stats, or what’s on my heart?”
I’ve been blogging for a year. I haven’t even reached 2,000 views. I’m pretty sure I get the most views when my mom shares my posts on her Facebook page. My fan-base is limited. (I’m not sure it even qualifies as a fan-base). I’ve signed up for about every suggested social media site one could think of. And, consequently, I haven’t seen much change in my stats.
I continue writing. If I don’t write, I feel as if part of me is missing. Still, it’d be nice for a complete stranger who is more successful than I have been to recognize my work. There is no denying that wishful thinking.
I hate sounding cliche, but no great thing comes easily. Good things come with hours, weeks, even years of hard work. That’s what I missed when I first began my journey. I missed the tears, the calloused fingers, the rejections, the failed attempts. The ceremonious burning of drafts. The promise to get up, leave, and never write another word. Those are defining moments in any artist’s life. The rise to fame hardly compares to the time spent laboring to arrive at that point.
So if it’s not easy, why do it? I’ll tell you why. Because that one person who is impacted by your writing, makes up for the lack of viewers, the low stats, the rejection letters.
One of my Twitter followers responded to my post stepping away for awhile with these words: “You shine.” Folks, that’s why I keep writing.
If you write for numbers, there’s good chance you might not write anything great at all.
I’ve always loved this concept. The church is not a building, rather, it’s a community of Christ followers. However, I came to the realization yesterday that the only place I’ve ever heard this concept discussed, is at church. The building. The sanctuary. In the pew. The irony of that fact hit me hard.
I was at college.
I attend a public community college. I wasn’t in chapel or in a theology class.
God moves everywhere. The bible study at my school, Ignite Fellowship, meets multiple times during the week. I haven’t been able to attend often because of a wacky schedule.
By God’s grace I was able to attend yesterday. It was beautiful. We met in a study room. Put our bibles on the conference tables in front of us.We sang a few worship songs and after that, we shared communion. We borrowed a small table and set it up in front of the small room and covered it with a table-cloth. A plate and goblet were set out.
In that moment, I had a revelation. When Jesus communed with his disciples as they were partaking in the Last Supper, they weren’t in a church building. No ordained pastor officiated it. I doubt anyone was dressed in their church clothes.
The last supper wasn’t pretty. I imagine the filthy dirt floors and Jesus and his devoted followers sitting around. I’m sure they were weary from going everywhere on foot. A steak dinner surely would have been accepted without a word. Nonetheless all that sat before them was a loaf of bread and some cheap wine. These twelve men had been everywhere with Jesus. And yet their going away party was anything from glamorous. In fact, right off the bat, Jesus puts forth a disclaimer: “one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:21).
Their meeting was somber. Tears were shed. I’m sure some felt a sense of abandonment and definitely confusion.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Why do we create limitations? The church was a body of believers long before it was a building. Jesus is the head of the church, not a building. If we forget the people part,we forget Jesus’s heart. He loved people.
I find it hard to see how the true gospel will effectively be shared if we (if I) don’t live the gospel.
If we try harder to envision Jesus’s last supper, maybe then we will fully understand how important it is.
As I was cleaning out my Keurig coffee maker this afternoon, scraping out the buildup of coffee grinds, and disabling different parts, I experienced a revelation:
Our spiritual lives are just like a coffee maker. If we let sin build up in different areas of our lives, we break down completely. It doesn’t take long either before we stop functioning completely.
In order to receive an overflow of all that is good and healthy, all parts must be clean and up to par. The act of cleansing ourselves from impurities is easy to put off. We think,”I can hold on to this habit a tiny bit longer.”
Nothing is more detrimental. Some may say it’s simply laziness, I think it’s an excuse. Cleaning is hard work. It takes time. And we hold on tight to our time. It also take sacrifice. And sacrifice requires us to let go of something we clutch close to us. I know for me, I’m afraid of sacrifice. That’s right, afraid. I find it hard to believe that God could bless me with something better, or that worse, my sacrifice won’t be replaced, and that I’ll have given it up all for nothing.
That’s fear intermingled with doubt. Two very dangerous emotions. If we trust the little black specks to disappear on their own we have some serious heart matters to deal with. If we doubt that we will be content with what God provides, or fear that He won’t provide at all, we’re choosing to settle. We’re choosing to settle than less than God’s best.
This fear and doubt is very real in my life right now. One thing I know for certain is that once I take time and care to clean up the mess I’ve made, I won’t regret it. Once we wipe away all the cheap and cast away ingredients, what’s left is rich and unlike anything we’ve ever tasted before. Why is it so hard to accept a taste of what we’re already thirsty for?
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?
C.S. Lewis voices my sentiments not just about my blog, but about life in general. It’s incredibly easy to get caught in the daily grind of life that I almost forget where I’ve started and how far we’ve come. I’ve come a long ways in one short year. And no, I don’t mean in the past year I’ve become an expert blogger. But that was never really the whole point. I wanted to share my thoughts with the few people who wanted to listen. Not receive hundreds of views daily. (I wouldn’t complain if that happened).
Here’s to another year of more ideas, writing, more coffee dates, new people and new adventures. Another year of stepping out of my comfort zone and slowly but surely sharing my thoughts to close friends and complete strangers. Another year of risk-taking and introspection. Another 365 days to live and breathe and love and laugh and even cry. A toast to new risks and living for the moment without living in fear of what tomorrow will bring.
Thanks to YOU my readers, for motivating me and continually encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone!
I’ve tried. Tea is bearable. I’m not biased. Sometimes I boil water in my room and brew a strong cup of tea. Typically, I only feel so inclined when I’m sick. Only then do I believe in the power of extra vitamin c, additional supplements, cold medicine. You name it. My conclusion that if I believe the stuff actually works then I’ll overcome whatever bug it is that has inhibited my body.
Coffee is where it’s at. Like others, my college budget doesn’t allow for a four dollar latte from Starbucks every day. That kind of reckless spending is hardly economical. That’s fine with me. I can do with another leisure: my Keurig coffee maker. One of the best birthday presents throughout my twenty years. Most people don’t need the extra calories pumped into most drinks elsewhere. And yet, on the rare occasion I treat myself—often out with a friend—I still laugh when they order a regular cup of Joe. I mean, for all I care, we could have just enjoyed a cup of coffee in my dorm. That’s just how my brain works. I’m practical and frugal.
There is an analogy between the coffee and my writing. My writing, the writing I share with social media anyways, is a compilation of thoughts similar to discussions I’ve had over coffee. The range of topics is broad. Occasionally, I meet with a friend to say “farewell for now. Enjoy your adventures globetrotting. Other times I find myself in deep theological discussions. Often, the theme is hardly complex. Small talk at best. “How is school?” “How is work?” “How is your relationship with that special guy of yours?” Coffee Shop Talk. The atmosphere in most coffee shops I’ve run into are welcoming. Mostly laid back—well, except for maybe those that are within a 3 mile radius any mall. Hardly formal. Definitely energetic.
This ideology is what gave me the inspiration to start my blog. I wanted a platform where I could be wrong. Make mistakes. Leave behind my grammar Nazi tendencies. And hopefully, make an impact. Be it big or small. This is my exhortation. If you are able to carry a conversation over a cup of hot liquid, I do not doubt your ability to write. One must not write to be known, but understood.
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
I don’t mean to bore you. Rather, I desire to inspire you to begin your own adventure. In all honesty, life in words is may seem dull at first. But then, you look back on that first page you wrote. Your thoughts will probably vary. You may laugh, you may cry, you may feel inspired. I never write to grab the attention of a highly esteemed audience. Elite wordsmiths. That group is small. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. They are the ones who take risks. This group doesn’t let the burden of conformity shape their voice. I raise my mug of coffee—your choice of drink is entirely up to you—to the underdogs, the creators of mistakes, the adventurers, the risk-takers, the beginners, the aspiring wordsmiths, the coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. May you take note of the people and experiences who become a part of your writing adventure.