Friday, December 18, 2009

simple sorrows and simple joys

"Even Angels Cry"

I whisper,"You don't have to worry, we'll survive"
Forced smiles underneath the brittle, frozen light
No proof that you're alive
Cold fingers find the curve below your tired eyes
No comfort in familiar places, not this time
You hold it deep inside

Oh sister, if you wake up in the night
Walls are falling, letting in the light
No need to worry
Baby, even angels cry

No flood warnings, still the waters rise
Flowers through asphalt, Diamonds in the pockets of your eyes
Turn your face and hide
I saw a woman with ribbons in her hair
Old and lonely, so beautiful I had to stop and stare
The well will not run dry

Oh sister, if you wake up in the night
Walls are falling, letting in the light
No need to worry
Baby, even angels cry

Oh sister, if you wake up in the night
Walls are falling, letting in the light
No need to worry
Baby, even angels cry

Cry Sister, if you wake up in the night
Walls are falling, letting in the light
It'll be alright
Baby, even angels cry

Baby, please don't worry
Not tonight

<3 <3 <3

it's okay to cry.
make sure you don't miss the simple beauty of a woman with ribbons in her hair, old and beautiful

Even Angels Cry--Jars of Clay (listen)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arise and be all that you dreamed...

Call me a nerd, but I'm a sucker for creative stories that go with music.  One might deduce from that statement that I am a fan of Broadway musicals or Bollywood films.  If that be the assumption, one would be CORRECT! However, that is not what I stopped working on my paper that's due tomorrow to blog about.  It's about a particular song on the new Flyleaf album, "Momento Mori".

For this album, the songs can stand well on their own, but they make much more sense if one reads the entire album booklet.  This is because there's a story of a "commander" of the "passerby army" that shares journal entries with "his dear ones" from the war with the "dread army" (you may be able to infer what some of the imagery and parallelism is, if not, that's too bad because i'm not going to include it in this blogpost)(okay, basically people who are followers of Christ are in the passerby army and those who are not are in the dread army...and I think the commander is someone like Paul while the King is Jesus...there are more characters, but I won't get into that)  Each "journal entry" by the "commander" is a song on the album.

Not gunna lie, some of Flyleaf's songs are creeps...too creeps for me to enjoy. BUT I do enjoy their music (not just for its evanescence/paramore sound) because everything relates back to God/a relationship with Him, sometimes not being afraid to mention darkness.  In other words, sometimes it requires a certain mood to get into them. Not all songs are "emo", like "All Around Me"...but one can find quite a few. Also, one must like headbanging a bit ;)

ALL THIS BACK-STORY, to share with you what is written in the booklet for this song called "Arise":

"This will be the last letter that I will be able to write to my sons and daughters before we enter by far the fiercest battle this conflict has seen.

Dearest children, my favorite ones,

You are mature now and you can handle hearing about the things I'm going to tell you, so brace yourself and be strong.  Many in the passerby army have been injured, killed, or captured, but none of us have surrendered to the dread army! I believe that we have already won as it has been prophesied, so don't lose heart! I know that everything good around you seems to be lost, but please stand firm! We have all committed to give our lives to bring peace, faith, hope, freedom, and above all love to the world because we believe in love, above all things! Don't give up on our world! It has enough hope in it to die for! If I do die here, it is so others will live.  Remember, a seed can't become a seed-bearing, life-giving tree unless it first dies and is planted in the ground.  Always know that whether I live or die, you have been called to fulfill your purpose and further our mission! I've watched you grow together as a family and you are more selfless now than you have ever been.  Because of this, your heart is now right for reflecting glory.  Momento Mori, my favorite ones, because your time on this earth is brief.  Arise and be all that you dream.  Encourage each other and remember to sing over each other, over your family, and over yourself, "Arise and be all that you dream!"

--- Love Eternally, The Commander."

That message coupled with the song's lyrics AND instrumentation causes me to move into a place where I feel like I have hope and purpose.  I know that Paul writes to the church in this way.  I'm by no means saying this song is a substitute for God's word, but rather it is a reminder and another way to connect to God in times when it is hard to crack open the Bible.
Anyways, this song also reminds me about Jesus' victory over death.  Jesus' resurrection is one of the hardest things for me to fully wrap my head around... not just because of the action, but its implications for my life and for this world.  I think this song reminds me of the resurrection because it represents where the world is now.  Because Jesus rose from the dead, evil has been conquered, yet it still exists in this world AND/BUT because of the resurrection we have hope knowing that Jesus has already defeated evil.  That sounds confusing... it is. It's also strange that that's what I think about because I think the "commander" is pointing to Jesus' death on the cross and how we also share in His death.  In fact, the album's title is "remember, you must die."

I can see I need to get better at putting my thoughts in a blog-form.  I do know one thing though... I would be very sad if you read this whole thing, but did not listen to the song in its entirety, so I will post a link to it again: ARISE AND BE ALL THAT YOU DREAMED ... I'd also be sad if you don't listen to the other song below ;)

( on a side-note, if you like what you hear, my other favorite song from this album is "Again"-- "her heart breaks with every injustice, she prays like everything depends on God, but then lives like it all depends on her. even though she's strong,there are times when she tries to carry all the weight of the world on her own and she ends up crushed, brought to her knees. as she cries out for relief, she will finally let go, surrendering all the burden by believing that everything has a purpose and will work out for good...its only here that she finds air to breath again" )

So there you go, I have a broad taste in music...but today you get a glimpse into one genre I enjoy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
       so my soul pants for you, O God.

 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
       When can I go and meet with God?
 My tears have been my food
       day and night,
       while men say to me all day long,
       "Where is your God?"
 These things I remember
       as I pour out my soul:
       how I used to go with the multitude,
       leading the procession to the house of God,
       with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
       among the festive throng.
 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and my God.
       My soul is downcast within me;
       therefore I will remember you
       from the land of the Jordan,
       the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
 Deep calls to deep
       in the roar of your waterfalls;
       all your waves and breakers
       have swept over me.
 By day the LORD directs his love,
       at night his song is with me—
       a prayer to the God of my life.
 I say to God my Rock,
       "Why have you forgotten me?
       Why must I go about mourning,
       oppressed by the enemy?"
 My bones suffer mortal agony
       as my foes taunt me,
       saying to me all day long,
       "Where is your God?"
 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and my God.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

real children, real Jesus...

the preivous advertised blog will eventually take place, when i get some time

DISCLAIMER: we'll see how this goes as I wrote about this next post in my journal, not much background or detail, sorry! I'm leaving it in its original form for "my eyes only," so you may not understand it the way I do or you may get caught up in my personal communications style or grammar. Anyways, I thought I'd mix it up:

{Reflecting on a moment volunteering at Sister's of Charity (Shanti-Dan) in Kolkata...

[While there, I was overwhelmed by the reality of children who were craving love and attention. Specifically, the moment there were 6 or so children ages 4 and under sitting on the a sort of "circle," CRYING. Crying because they were sad, their world was not right. They wanted love. To be touched, to be played with... I looked at all of them in the eyes as I sang:
"Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world..."

repeatedly, as their sniffles began to disappear. They looked back at me as if they were contemplating the truth that came from my lips. It was a solemn look. No smiles emerged. Just calm. Peace.]

I began to cry as I reflected on this moment. It was so real. No documentary. No pictures. No commercial sob story. Not someone else's experience. Just me, Jesus, and those children--real children with no homes, but with names. I cried out WITH Jesus-- asking Him to reveal His love...for the children to feel it and know it.}

this is messy, but i think i'll leave my blog at that... unscripted, unedited :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

This Calming Place

natural sounds
of running water
trickling through the rocks
of chirping bugs
filling in silence
peaceful images
of drifting leaves
floating down the stream
of shimmering rocks
flickering in the sun
refreshing smells
of growing wood
standing very tall
of breathing plants
swaying in the breeze

In such a Calming Place
I know I see Your face in the...

natural sounds
of Your soothing voice
peaceful images
of Your living creation
refreshing smells
of Your pleasing fragrance

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bloggin’ for Jake... I'll miss him


It is time for me to call it a night, but I’m having a hard time falling asleep because I can hear Riley (my 18 month old English Mastiff) crying from the garage. She doesn’t like being by herself when it’s bedtime. We had to put my German Shepherd, Jake, down last night.

He bit my neighbor on the arm when my parents were around… he wasn’t critically injured, but the fact was that it was hard to control Jake when strangers were around that we didn’t introduce him to. My parents explored all other options (police dogs, give away, be more careful etc.) but found this was “best.” I trust their judgment and don’t blame anyone for this…it just sucks. The last time I saw him was like 10 days ago because my parents took him in the middle of the night.

So anyway, it’s been hard being around the house. There is now some sort of huge void. Like driving home from the Hillsong concert tonight, I couldn’t help but think about how I used to be greeted by a groggy Jake who’d stretch and soon be ready and energetic. Or MY FAVORITE was when I’d be on the computer late into the night and he’d be sleeping on “his chair” or by the front door. I’d go to say goodnight to him, and with his tired eyes he’d look at me and plant a few sweet licks on my nose.

This morning when I woke up, it was a shocker and I was obviously upset. It’s just not the same. Jake had this aura of energy around him at all times. I’m so used to walking around the house with him by my side trying to anticipate where I would go next. I’m used to opening the back door to let the dogs out and have him bolt out there. I took Riley for a walk into the woods today and that’s not the same either because there was no dog running 100ft ahead or dropping toys at my feet. She’s just lackadaisical and clumsy, which is fine, but I’m used to there being a balance. It’s funny how my dogs would walk the same trail in the woods at least 4 times a day and Jake was ALWAYS excited to be out. He loved to run. He was so lean and athletic and could catch any flying object in mid air and look like a champ catching it! He was fast enough to catch deer.

Jake was so loyal. He’d fight a grizzly bear to the death for me if he had to. No matter how far away he was, if he heard my voice he’d swivel around quickly and obey my commands. With one noise form my mouth “mmmMMMmm” he’d go directly to his cage. He’d always do what I said or what he felt was best for me ;)

We loved each other the first time we met. Not in a romantic way of course, but that kind of love that “pals” have. I remember the day we took him home on my lap. Surprisingly, he actually could fit his whole body on my lap. I remember comforting him for his first of many car rides. When we got home, he’d follow me EVERYWHERE. He was so cute with his oversized-ears that flopped to the side and his HUGE paws that he clumsily ran on. The first night, Ricardo and I slept by the little cage we had him in so he wouldn’t cry all night. As a pup, he took many naps…but you had to get the energy out of him first. I used to just run around the house a few times and he’d chase me because he wouldn’t want to be alone. Finally, we’d go inside and he’d fall asleep on the A/C vent. When he was still a puppy, we used to take him over to my neighbor’s house to play with their black lab. He was smaller and not as fast, but that didn’t last very long! He grew big and fast AND SMART: I remember, it took me ONE DAY to teach him “sit,” “lay down,” “paw,” and “up.” ONE DAY. Then like one week to get him to go in his cage on command.

I knew he was attached when every time I came home from school, without fail, he’d greet me at the door of my car. For most of his 2 puppy years, he’d pee all over the driveway because he was so excited to see me. Another good and silly thing about Jake is he wouldn’t JUMP on me…he was a LEANER J Even when in the house, Jake had to be in the same room as me.

He just loved to play and run around. He loved fetch and was amazing at it too. Rocks at the lake were his favorite. He also loved swimming. One quirky thing he’d do is drop a ball under a table and purposely get himself stuck so you could grab the ball before he’d be tempted to snatch it up again. I loved playing with Jake in the winter because I could get a little dirtier and play on the ground. He had a huge affinity for gloves and hats though! When we got lazy ol’ Riley, I was surprised to see how he put up with her following him around and bugging him. He was so patient with her. Though, he did establish an alpha-dog position for himself…understandable, he was there first and was older ;)

There are 2 funny stories about him I’ve shared and will share again as well as record for future reference. One time, my mom and I were working on a puzzle on a coffee table that was giving us some trouble. On the last day, we were missing 2 essential pieces and just wondered at where they could be. A few hours later, I was sitting in the study and heard Jake hacking something up (he was still puppy-ish). I went over to comfort him and looked to the floor to see the pieces that my mom and I needed! They didn’t quite fit, but I was excited to share this with her. J

The other story involved flatulence. Everyone knows dog-farts rank…but that’s not the worst part, they’re silent so you can NEVER tell when they’re coming. BUT THIS ONE TIME, not too long ago, Jake let a few go that created some noise. He cocked his head in confusion…I was as confused as he was, but I literally laughed out loud for a good 5 minutes because of his expression.

I’m gunna miss my Boo-bah, my Jakie-poo. I loved him a lot, kind of like a toddler. I’m not equating the life of my dog to that of a human’s, but he was more than just a pet. He couldn’t talk, but he could communicate and had personality. He loved unconditionally and was dependent on us, but did all he could to return the favor to our family by protection. It’s unfortunate he has to be remembered for biting someone…like he’s some aggressive monster. But I knew a sweet pup who had protection of the pack built into his nature. I’m going to remember him this way, and hope all can too! My life will go on, I’ll be sad only a little while…but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. I haven’t felt this way about loosing a pet in a while because I never knew a dog like Jake. It sucks that just because he did not fit into the world of humans, he had to leave a world and people that he loved. I was blessed to have him in my life as long as he was. I hope he’s at peace wherever dogs go.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking back on '08, Looking Forward to '09

i apologize...i dont know how to fix the formatting :(
Looking back on '08
The most important/memorable change...
On July 4, 2008 for the first time in my life, I met my biological grandparents. (for those who are reading and are a bit confused by what I mean by that, I am adopted and my mother and biological grandmother have been mailing letters back and forth since October 22, 1989 when I was adopted) This is one of the greatest things to happen in my lifetime. I already have a big family as it is (mom is 1/11 kids and dad is 1/8), but there's always room for more! I'm not saying this because I think I'm awesome, but I know this reunion has been a huge blessing in the lives of my biological grandparents as well (because they tell me all the time). They are the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. Not to mention they're old...and old people are cute and get excited about everything!
I was also fortunate enough to meet my great aunt and a second cousin as well! Both were also awesome and caring.

Looking Forward to '09
The most important change...
This month, I will be meeting my biological aunt (birthmother's sister). I'm flying out to Colorado to spend a few days with her and am really looking forward to it!
My grandparents are slowly, but surely finding a way for me to meet my biological mother.
My uncle has yet to show interest in meeting me, but maybe it will happen!

Looking back on '08
Best trip/vacation
This is sort of a hard one, but I think the best trip I took this year was during spring break. I went with
InterVarsity Christian fellowship on this thing called the Urban Plunge. We basically spent 6 days in SE
Washington D.C. living and learning together about the city and the injustice that exists there.
We participated in various activities such as volunteering for a day at an elementary school, touring SW
(about "urban renewal" and such), GED tutoring, Anacostia river clean up, etc. When we were not out
serving and learning about the community, we either played games :) or discussed how our experience
relates to Jesus and how God cares for the city. Then, of course, we related it to our lives and our personal
response to injustice that could occur outside of just being in the city doing volunteer projects. Things
such as how we spend our money, what we do as a career, how to treat the environment, recognizing
racism ,and many more topics. Though there were sometimes (okay many and still are) disagreements,
it was great to be a part of a group of students grappling with these issues with our God in mind. But
most of all, I was greatly impacted to discover just how much Jesus cares about "social justice" and
the broken people of Washington D.C. It broke my heart to see the injustice while I was living in D.C.,
but it was in a good way. I feel my eyes just opened a bit more to the world around me. And finally, we
still were able to find plenty of light in D.C, shining through it's people and the good things that are
happening there (such as when churches like St. Teresa's reach out to their community, or Peace fellowship
that welcomes diversity into it's simple meeting place). I am still challenged by many of the things I
learned on this trip, but am thankful for such a life-changing experience.

Looking Forward to '09
The Urban Plunge...
So guess what? I'm going on the plunge again this year!! I really look forward to seeing what I learn the
second time around. I feel like I've grown so much, I'm a new person and will be going with a different
mindset (that will probably be shattered once again) and go with a different purpose (last time, I had heard
good things about it, and had nothing else to do for break).

Looking back on '08
Eight Randoms/favorites, no order
1) Got a new puppy (who's huge now...english mastiff)
2) Author: Shane Claiborne (books that open my mind and inspired me a lot)
3) Awesome old roommate transferred (sadly), but have another awesome one this year!
4) New Fave Musicians: Jars of Clay, Sigur Ros, Hillsong, Black Violin
5) Cape Cod (fun con mis primos)
6) Going to the lake house with friends (before chapter camp and new student retreat)
7) Growing friendships
8) Fridays

Looking forward to '09
Nine looking forward to's that haven't already been mentioned, no order
1) Thursdays
2) Growing friendships
3) Changing business major to psychology (keeping crim)
4) Re-reading the inheritance series (eragon, eldest, brisingr)
5) Possible abroad trip in summer or winter
6) Getting baptized
7) Learning how to cook
8) Continue to build my guitar skills ('08 was a great year)
9) Growing in my faith through cwazy experiences, friendships, and fellowship

Okay, so Resolutions?
Didn't even think of anything yet...i need more time to think. so, no!

Sorry for a longish post. this is another "deep"ish post
by me. i promise, lighter/fun ones are to come