peace, love, and having a mind of your own

i refuse to look at life through the lens of tradition.
i refuse to believe everything i am told.
i refuse to live a life that doesn't promote peace, love, and having a mind of your own.

04 April 2012

ethiopia shirts!

Thank you to everyone who has helped support my Ethiopia trip! I still have a lot of money to raise and I'm leaving in a month... So if you haven't hopped on the bandwagon yet, you can still support me. One way to do so is to get a Tshirt!

I have two different kinds of shirts to sell: black women's v-necks that say "we have A HOPE" (A-Hope is the name of the HIV+ orphanage I will be working with in Ethiopia) and white men's tank tops with an original elephant logo that say Ethiopia on the bottom.

 Oh, you don't wear shirts? You could just give me like ten or a hundred bucks, I'd take it ;) On a serious note, I would love to tell you more about the trip if you're interested in praying, donating, or just hearing about it.

26 October 2011

the burning ones.

i wonder if God cheered when Kerouac wrote On the Road. i know, this is a cliche quote and it has been since high school, but read it again...

"[...] the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars[...]"

i wonder if God read that and said, me too.

i mean, he loves every single one of us. but don't you think he gets excited when he sees someone light up and take advantage of all the freedom, the weightlessness, the ecstasy that he has to offer?

mad to live. 
fully alive,
that God promises
we can experience.
mad to be saved. 
free from
that holds us back,
that destroys our souls.
burning ones
who trust with abandon
and live without fear,
lives that will
bore us to our graves.

doesn't that sound better than being a watery Christian? or is it just me?

19 June 2011

a video for the dads.

my boss asked me to make a video for Father's Day. so i asked a bunch of people, "what's one thing you really appreciate[d] about your dad?"

guess what the most common answer was?

"he's always there for me."

dads, if you only ever do one thing for your children, just be around. your role is irreplaceable in a person's life. your kids probably aren't aware of how successful or popular or athletic you are. they don't care about your job or your hobbies or your friends if those things take you away from them. just be there. know your kids. love your kids. it will mean the world to them.

i am lucky enough to have a dad that stuck around.
he likes to hang out with me.
he tells me about old cars and music.
he likes cool movies.
he reminds me that i'm beautiful.
he also tells me he likes my hair better "natural" ha. what does he know about girl hair? ;)
and the older i get, the more i realize how much like my daddy i am.

thanks for being there, dad.
i love you!

12 June 2011

for the gentlemen: how to get a girl in 3 steps.

notice that i didn't say three "easy" steps. we're talking about a girl who's really worth it here. and nothing worthwhile will ever just be handed to you, there's this thing called fighting for what you want. if you're only interested in a one-night-stand with a slutbag, please go to your nearest trashy bar and don't bother reading this. [and stay-the-hell away from my friends.] [and also, maybe, try and figure out why you're chasing after ass instead of love, 'cause that's a problem.]

you need to know that i am not a sugar-coater or a fan of pretentious bullsh. [<-- yeah i just made that word up.] i pretty much say exactly what i'm thinking, and sometimes it comes off as harsh. just so we're clear, this is not coming out of a place of anger or frustration. no recent experiences have fueled this post. but if you can't handle the truth, you may need to leave.

without further ado, i present three simple-but-not-easy steps to having a much better chance at scoring a sexy, smart, awesome lady.

1. don't make her the star of your show.
what? girls don't want to be the center of your universe? NO. have your own life. have goals and hobbies and friends and skills. have an interesting existence that someone might want to be a part of. she doesn't want to be your adventure, she wants to be taken on your adventure. 

this is the #1 boyfriend skill* you must acquire: having a personality. we don't want a man who has spent so much time trying to find someone to be with that he hasn't figured out who he wants to be. figure out what you're passionate about, and start doing it. have good stories to tell about cool things you've done. [examples: traveling, near-death experiences, and decent literature that you've actually read.] learn everything you can about being a better man. become the person that you want to be, not what you think anyone else wants.

*other boyfriend skills include being funny & nice, taking showers, and not spending all day playing video games.

2. be honest.
don't ever trick a girl into going on a date with you. don't ask her if she wants to "hang out," unless you really mean just as friends. if it's a date you want, use the word date. it's okay if you want to hang out just as friends before you decide to ask her on a date, just be clear which category you're going for. i can't stress this enough. guys these days are so good at being vague, and it makes a lady feel quite manipulated when she finds out his intentions were not what she thought.

learn how to give a compliment. don't beat around the bush with vague text-flirting and smiley faces on her facebook photos. that's cute, but not as a substitute for the real thing. bring flowers to her front door. look her in the eyes and tell her she's absolutely gorgeous, or whatever it is that you're actually thinking about her. then, if it's my door, don't bring flowers to it, because it's what i told you to do. do something you thought of yourself. [although flowers to the door is seriously always good. haven't you seen Big Fish?]

being honest requires taking responsibility for your feelings and intentions. it involves risk, and yes, that's scary. but if you're not willing to own your feelings, then we're wondering, in what other ways are you copping out? man up and risk the rejection of getting shot down.

3. don't whine.
so let's say you've asked out the girl of your dreams, and she shot you down.* now what? are you gonna cry in front of her and beg her to change her mind and tell her your life is incomplete without her? nothing will make her run away faster. clearly, you haven't proven yourself worthy of her time, and i guarantee crying about it is not going to help. *note: this also applies to when she breaks up with you.

re-evaluate your approach. go home and work on your boyfriend skills [see step #1] and come back when you have something better to offer her. maybe you just need to work on your presentation. if you feel you've already presented her a genuine offering of everything you will ever be able to give her, and she still ain't havin' it, then, my friend, it's time to move on. don't waste your life agonizing over a girl who will never be into you. she obviously doesn't know a good thing when she sees one.

like i said, these steps are gonna take some effort. but a gentleman is okay with working hard. he pursues his dreams with tenacity, and fights for what he believes in. he is brave enough to say what he means, and humble enough to admit when he is wrong. he is genuinely kind and knows the art of sincerity. he wins with humility and loses with grace. a gentleman's worth is not found in a woman, and he won't look for it there.

to peace, love, and gentlemen.

02 June 2011

i’m complaining because i’m too rich.

i drive a car that's older than i am, talk on a hand-me-down cell phone, and i'm getting a need-based federal grant to go to school this fall. by the standards of california living, i feel poor.

the truth is, though, i have too much stuff. i’m sick of looking at it, thinking about it, cleaning it, moving it, updating it, arranging it, protecting it, losing interest in it, and replacing it with more stuff.

i believe that there are enough resources for everyone in the world to have what they need, but not enough for anyone to have excess unless somebody goes without. and those that have excess are not the lucky ones.

i’ve had all kinds of stuff, and it never made me happy. i’ve had all kinds of money, and i was selfish with it, and i always wanted more money. i’ve dined at a table where thousands of dollars of food and liquor were prepared for a total of eight people. you know how i felt? suffocated. [besides, do you know how many children could have survived on our breakfast? maybe all 24,000 that died that day.]

i’ve also lived out of a backbpack for eleven months. i’ve put everything i owned into the trunk of a car. i’ve given 36 pairs of shoes and 80% of my wardrobe to goodwill, and you know how i felt then? free.

i think that by cluttering my physical life with objects and property, i miss the intangible fortune of the spiritual life. i have traded pure Love and wild Freedom for new shoes and electronics.

besides, Jesus totally said it wasn’t cool to be rich.

time to de-clutter. here are the questions i am asking of my possessions: is it necessary? will i use it all the time? is it beautiful enough to look at every day? if not, i’m getting rid of it.

goodbye, bottom drawer of clothes that i “might wear someday.”
goodbye, spare anything.
goodbye, books i haven’t bothered to finish.
goodbye, random objects that remind me of good times. i’ll keep the memories without the random stuff, thanks.

comment if you think i’m crazy.

This is day 3 of #Trust30, prompted by this:
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Emerson

31 May 2011

today, start living the life you love.

stop whatever you are doing right this minute. make no excuses, just pause, clear your mind, and ask yourself this very important question.

am i living the life i love?

ask yourself if there is a deep reservoir of joy in your soul that you may draw from at anytime. because, trust me, the reservoir is there. the question is, what’s in it?

ask- and be honest when you attempt to answer- if anyone knows the real you. or is there a rift between your exterior and the silent, suffocating beast within? if all of our bodies disappeared, would anyone’s soul recognize yours?

the things you do every day, do they bring you fulfillment? your job, free time, and the education you’re currently earning- in or outside of a school- are they it? do you ever feel that you’re wasting your time? or that your life is missing some essential ingredient?

this is your life. you only get one of them. you will only be twenty-four years, one month, and three days old once and dammit, you’ve got to get this right.

if something is wrong, you must fix it. do not walk away from this screen until you have taken an active step in improving your situation.

call the person that hurt you and tell them you love them, because it’s more important to be loved than to be right.

sell every possession that you don’t absolutely love or need, and do something amazing with your money. go to Europe. check something off your bucket list. better yet, find someone who is really in need and give it all to them.

get a job you don’t hate. until then, find something positive about your current job and meditate on how lucky you are that you get to do it. i heard a story once about two guys who were building a cathedral. one called himself a brick-layer and the other a cathedral-builder. they both had the same job. be a cathedral builder.

go for a walk, leave your cell phone at home, and don’t come back until your heart is at peace.

and remember, this is a journey. you will never achieve perfection, but each day will bring you either closer or further away from the real thing, the life you are meant to live. choose closer. this is your life, and it matters.

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

11 May 2011

there's gonna be a showdown.

On Easter Sunday, you just don't expect to have a gun pointed at you. Right? You expect pastel dresses and chocolate bunnies. And perhaps a sermon about the resurrected King, if you're the church-going sort. [Side-note. I usually avoid church on Easter, as well as the entire month of December. Something about the all the decoration and festivity just really takes away from the sincerity of the Jesus that I imagine...]

Anyway, back to my Easter/gun story. So I'm polishing off a typical 4-hour coffee date with my good friend Kailee, at our usual rendezvous: the Starbucks near my house. It's about 10:30pm and the employees are dragging the patio tables in and closing up shop. This is the time Kailee and I go outside and have cigarettes before parting ways.

So we're standing by her car, smoking and talking and loitering, when this 20-something gangster looking kid with a hood over his head comes around the corner of the parking lot and starts walking directly towards us. Since there's nothing in our direction except us, we both decide it would be a good idea to get in the car. Apparently he was walking really fast, because by the time Kailee got her car unlocked, Baby Gangster was a foot away from me, with his Glock pointed at my stomach, saying,

"Gimme your bag, bitch, before I shoot you."

Now I should note that he sounded exactly the way I would imagine someone saying it in a dumb movie. Like he was trying to make his voice extra scary. Naturally, this made me think he was joking. Because who would do that in real life? So the thoughts running through my head in the half a second between him demanding my bag, and me responding were as follows:

That's a really nice looking gun. Is that real? How old is this kid? Is he serious right now?I feel like I'm being punked. Like, any second he's gonna start laughing and give me a hug, and be like "Remember me, from high school?"

So of course I turn to him and say, "Is this a joke?"

He informs me [still in his scary-deep voice] that no, this is in fact very serious, and he will shoot me if I don't hand over my beloved vintage carpet-bag immediately.


I've always wondered what I would do in this situation. I always imagined I would do something he wasn't expecting. Like turn slowly to look him dead in the eye and ask in a serious tone, "Is it really worth it, man?" [Because, has there ever been anything in a woman's purse that was worth more than, potentially, her life? I think not.]

Or stand my ground and confidently announce that I'm not afraid of him or his gun, because I fear only God.

I mean, I do, right? It's silly to be afraid of this guy. No matter the scenario, all I do is win. Let's say God protects me and I walk away unharmed... I'll be glad I didn't waste my time worrying. But what if I get shot and don't die? I'll have a badass story to tell and probably become a stronger person because of it. Worst-case-scenario, I get killed. Big deal. Everybody dies.

So clearly, I've got this all figured out. I'm brave. I'll just trust God and refuse to be intimidated or give into fear. Mm-hmm.

It's a lot easier to think like this when you're not looking past the barrel of a gun to a kid thinking he's The Man With The Master Plan. Sure, when everything's normal, I can say I don't fear death or any man, but when that statement is tested...?


I close my eyes. I'm too scared to look him in the face. I throw my bag on the ground in front of him, somehow get into the car, and hold my breath as he leans over me to take Kailee's purse and cell phone, then orders us to drive away before he shoots us.

The rest of the story is pretty basic: went home, called the cops, couldn't stop nervous-giggling because that's what I do in situations where most people would cry, and eventually went to bed scared shitless that this creep with my house key and driver's license in his possession was going to come and kill me in my sleep.

So that's the story of the Easter Showdown: Fear of God versus Fear of Man. This time, Man takes it. But I'm glad it happened that way... nothing is ever perfect the first time I do it.