passerby

This song has really got me thinking.  Here are the lyrics:

I am a passerby
Half-smile as you cut in line
Hold the door to be polite
You’re on your way and I’m on mine

I don’t know the day you’ve had
I don’t know where your head is at
You’re not a friend of mine
I am just a passerby

CHORUS:
What if I knew your name?
What if we had the same home room?
What if the things that tie us are stronger than we knew?
What if we’d shared a pint?
What if we cheered the same team?
What if these moments between us mean more than we could dream?
Would I have grace for you and you for me?

Long days have made us numb
I don’t know where you’re coming from
I can’t look you in the eye
I am just a passerby

daily

I love the sky.  On many of our family roadtrips I would often spend time watching the clouds transform as they swept across the sky.  I am so in awe of the beauty of each sunset, all so unique, but every one breathtaking.  A great reminder of the beauty that can be found in every day, no matter what happened over the course of the 24 hours.  I’m thankful for new beginnings every day, and the graceful ending of each one.

self imposed homework?

Yeah.  I’ve just taken on the “task” of reading books that are nowhere near the fiction genre.  And I’m super excited about it!  I’ve missed reading for myself, something I haven’t seriously done in at least 6 years.  I’ve really missed that and I’m taking full advantage.  So without further ado, here’s what’s on my bookshelf:

 

FYI, I’m not reading this because I’m “battling unbelief,” I’m simply curious

Oh, I’ll also be listening to:

 

I feel smarter already

knowledge is painful

(click on the picture)

I have to say it, just to keep the record straight, I am proud to be an American.  I’m happy to be free and part of the melting pot that is our society.  But.  But I’m also ashamed with how consumerism has taken over.  I think about how much money is spent on the athletic industry, the movie industry and advertising and and and.  We’re a nation obsessed with stuff, most of it crap.  Really.  And I just finished watching “Food, Inc.”  Oh man.  If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do.  It is sad and heartbreaking, but it’s also eyeopening and I think it’s important to be aware of these very relevant issues.

Since moving up north, I’ve gotten more exposed to the idea of food justice and really being aware of what I eat.  I have a friend who is vegan and she’s exposed me to a lot of what’s wrong in our food industry.  After watching FI, I am more convicted to go vegetarian, if not full vegan.  It is disgusting to me that corporations are focusing on efficiency and making the most at the lowest cost when quality, ethics and health are falling by the wayside.  What is happening to our society when we are more focused on the bottom line than the results of our actions?  When did ignoring the basic nutritional needs of an individual get lost in “need” to make billions?  What is happening to our “third-world” citizens when they have to choose between spending hundreds on healthy living or spending hundreds on medication caused by their lack of healthy living?  There is something wrong with the system.  And these are just the kinds of issues that I’m so passionate about changing.  It seems so overwhelming, there are so many things that need to change.  And I have to remind myself that there’s only so much I can do as an individual.  But I can help educate others about these issues, get them fired up about them too and add to the number those who are fighting against a system that is failing.

Below are a few quotes from FI that I thought were really meaningful.  I hope they inspire you as they have inspired me.

“The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful.  They think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put out there for them to consume.  Trust me, it’s the exact opposite.  When we run an item passed the supermarket scanner, we’re voting for local or not, organic or not.”  – Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm

“To eat well in this country costs more than to eat badly.  It will take more money and some people simply don’t have it.  And that’s one of the reasons we need changes at the policy level, so that the carrots are a better deal than the chips.”  – Michael Pollan, Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma

“People think, ‘These companies are so big and so powerful, how are we ever gonna change things?’  But look at the tobacco industry.  It had huge control over public policy and that control was broken.  The battle against tobacco is a perfect model of how an industry’s irresponsible behavior can be changed.”  – Eric Schlosser, Author of Fast Food Nation

“You have to understand that we farmers, we’re gonna deliver to the marketplace what the marketplace demands.  If you wanna buy $2 milk, you’re gonna get a feedlot in your backyard.  It’s that simple.  People have gotta start demanding good, wholesome food of us.  And we’ll deliver.  I promise you.  We’re very ingenious people.  We’ll deliver.”  – Troy Roush, Vice President of American Corn Growers Association

justice

How is it June already?

I’m currently visiting my parents down south, really missing my guy. Fortunately I get to see him on Saturday.  It seems like this trip has felt a little. . .off and I realized pretty quickly it’s cause my other half isn’t here.  While it’s sad to not have him around, it’s kind of nice to have the confirmation that he really does complete me, even if this feeling of loss isn’t so pleasant.

Lots of goings on in my head throughout this trip.  Some good friends from Texas were also visiting my parents and they just left today.  While they were here I was asked what my plans are for getting a job and I told them I want to get involved in “Social Justice.”  Then the question became, what exactly is meant by “justice?”  This got me thinking about how I would define it.  I realize that maybe my term isn’t exactly what is meant by the general public, but I feel that I didn’t adequately explain myself when the question was asked of me.  I need, for my own sake, to examine my personal beliefs on the matter.

To me “justice” is giving people the tools to improve their lives, it is empowering them to succeed, and it is encouraging them to try.  “Justice” in its truest form creates equality, an even playing field for everyone, and allows those less fortunate to be brought from the mire and given a second chance at life.  Now, I realize that not everyone is motivated to change; change is not an easy thing, even if one’s life is in shambles.  For some reason, we humans seem to be more content with continuing with our destructive ways then to shift our focus and energy to gain something better.  But I want to help people realize that they don’t have to simply except the cards they were dealt, it is possible that others care for them and want to extend guidance and love.  I want to be that person.  I also realize that people’s circumstances may be entirely their own creation, perhaps they made the wrong decisions that brought them to where they are now.  It is not my place to judge them for that, I am called to serve them, regardless of what brought them to there.  This word “justice” has nothing to do with politics and it has no hidden agenda to “persuade” someone into my belief system, I simply want to give someone the love and grace that I see Jesus extending to a broken, undeserving world.

That’s not all on my mind, but I’ll leave it there for now.

tide

Tides
Undulate
To and fro
Taking away
Bring back
Renewal
Tides

They are so much like life.  I think of those relationships I’ve had that I thought would last forever, ones that seemed solid.  And yet, somewhere along the line, we drifted apart.  Some have come back, some have not.  And there are people who became more important to me than I ever imagined possible.  I know that there are people I’ve yet to meet, maybe they will become lifelong friends, maybe not.  But there is beauty in each one.

calling

I heard them way before I saw them.  At first I thought I was imagining them, just hearing the fans or ambient noise coming from the building I was passing.  But as I walked on, the sound became more distinct and I knew I wasn’t making them up.  I finally found them in the quad, a line of people all in front of a different drum, each creating a different sound that all came together to create a beautiful rhythm.  People had gathered around to let the sound wash over them and I was disappointed that I had to go catch my bus.  Hearing and seeing them reminded me of fond memories in Golden Gate Park, with the long line of congas that are played all.day.long.  There’s something wonderful about such concrete rhythm, the kind that you can feel emanate from the ground and fill your whole body.  It was soothing (as ironic as that might seem) and I could have stayed there all day.

connections

I think, deep down (or not so deep for some of us), we all desire a connection.  We search for connections everywhere, amongst friends and even with strangers.  I love feeling even the small connection from receiving a smile from a stranger, a spark of joy when laughter is shared between us.  Even something as trivial as finding out someone else shares a love of The Office makes me feel a connection to them and they’re somehow an even better person because of it.  Maybe it’s shallow to feel this way, but I believe everyone feels it to some degree or another.  Think about your friends, there’s got to be something connecting you.

There’s only been one time I’ve tried watching the Super Bowl, it was the year that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performed during Halftime.  Yeah, not exactly something that gave me the desire to watch it again.  Anyway, I did watch it tonight with my Life Group from church.  Well, I watched the last half.  And it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, though I could have lived with less beer commercials and more Google ones, but whatever.  One thing that did strike me was the connection fans had to their teams and the way the team must be connected with one another.  How cool is that?  (I will refrain from commenting on the fact that 90% of Americans were apparently watching the game tonight.)

It’s important for humans to feel connected; I don’t believe we’re meant to be alone.  I know some people prefer to be alone, goodness knows I need my privacy every now and then, but I believe that everyone desires at least one connection.  I’m thankful I’ve found mine.

rhythmic strides

I’ve discovered there’s a simple joy in the act of walking.  I love feeling the rhythm of my steps sync to that of the beating of my heart and slow, steady breathing.  I love feeling connected to the earth and the wind whipping my hair into a frenzy.  I love knowing how much easier it is to hear the bird’s song or watch her take flight, the ease with which I can stop and capture beauty through a lens.  I know that if I were to shout, my words would be carried away from my lips the moment they escaped.  There is a beauty in these simple things.  Thus, I walk on.

powerless freedom

Last Thursday the whole school (actually, several cities) lost power for a few hours.  As soon as I arrived that morning, I went to the library to print out the powerpoint for a class.  The first thing I noticed was how dark it was inside.  None of the computers were on and there were people walking around with flashlights.  I even had to have my backpack checked before I could leave since the security sensors weren’t working.  I thought maybe it was just the library building so I went over to another building and almost immediately realized there was no power there either.  As I was walking to yet another building, I noticed the automatic doors of the bookstore were locked in place, open about a foot or so.  I figured the whole campus had lost power but decided to check one more computer lab just to be sure.  As I suspected, it had no power either so I made my way to my class. 

Everyone was outside since our classroom has no windows.  Our teacher decided to let us off for the day so a friend of mine and I went to check on the status of our other classes.  Her teacher wasn’t in his office and mine hadn’t decided if he was going to cancel class yet or not.  My friend and I decided to hang out in a quiet area while we waited to hear from our teachers.  As we sat, we enjoyed the silence of the campus and the freedom from technology for a little while.  I realized again how dependent society is on electricity and other forms of technology.  I was actually really bummed when the power went back on.  My other class was cancelled though.  I’m kind of hoping for another power outage today.  And that’s not because it means I’d have no class.

newvember

It’s been a crazy October.  I had a lot of projects, papers and presentations due but now that I’ve turned them in and completed them, I feel like the semester is winding down.  We’ve had some great fellowship in the last month and lots of good times.  I know what my last semester of college is going to look like and life is moving along nicely.  I have five more weeks of this semester left (not including Thanksgiving break but including finals) and I’m so excited for the end. So.excited.  Today also marks our three month anniversary, we’ve been married for a quarter of a year!

reminders

I think this is a great reminder to be thankful for what one has.  The irony is that this same day, right across the street from where this man stood, a woman ran her SUV into the back of a guy’s stationwagon.  I didn’t see it happen but they pulled into the parking lot where Jason works (where one can find me when he’s working and I’m not at school).  That really brought this idea home.

In other news Jason and I went to a Pumktoberfest Potluck Pumpkin Patch Pie Producing Party on Friday night.  It was a lot of fun; we went to the pumpkin patch and picked out two pumpkins (still have to carve them) and then went back to our friend’s house to a wonderful potluck and a night of socializing and making pumpkin pies from real pumpkin.  I had never made a pumpkin pie before but they were really tasty!  I’m hoping this becomes an annual tradition.

journeys

it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey.  — unknown

I’ve always seen life as a journey, an adventure to who knows where.  I love the open road; going on roadtrips is one of my favorite past times.  My family never flew anywhere, we always drove.  To Kansas and Texas and Louisiana and and and.  I love the open road, the unknown stories that lie on that stretch of pavement just ahead.  Most of the time it was the journey that I enjoyed the most, more than wherever we were headed.  For this, my life, I’m excited to see what God’s going to do in the future, what adventures are headed my way.  I feel like big things are coming, the culmination of many things, a focusing of interest and desire.  Patience does not come easily.

5

5 years ago today is when Jason and I became Us.  True, there was a year or so when we weren’t officially Us but I think all throughout that period we never really let go of each other.  Of course it isn’t always perfect, but I can’t and don’t want to imagine life without him.  Our relationship has been such an amazing blessing and I’m so thankful for our mere five years.  I look forward to our forever shared future.

may day

Happy May Day!  When I was growing up (okay, I know I’m still growing, but you know what I mean) my mom, brother and I would celebrate May Day.  After buying a bunch of flowers, we’d make makeshift vases with handles out of construction paper.  Then we would go to different people’s houses (mostly from our church), hang the vases on their doorknobs, knock on the door and then run away before they came to the door.  I miss those traditions.

laughing at myself

I’m a pessimist.  But over the last few days I’ve focused a lot of attention on trying to change that. Part of that effort is not getting annoyed/angry at stupid situations, especially ones that I have virtually no control over.  In an attempt to get over myself, I’ve decided that I will laugh at myself as much as possible.  And laugh at a situation that I would have previously gotten angry over.  It’s been wonderfully refreshing.

artistic nostalgia

Going through an old notebook that I carried with me in Japan I found these poems in random spaces.  They’re not my favorite ever but I didn’t want to lose them in the shuffle of moving stuff around.  Yesh. . .

March 22, 2007

Burn the edges of my heart
Drown the sorrow ’till it’s numb
Ignite the flame when it’s time
No feeling. . .senseless
Guarding me from pain
lock it away
Deep inside
Where no one can see it
Time to say goodbye
And my heart shatters again
I could cry, but what good would it do?
It wouldn’t take away the pain
let’s raise a glass to heartache

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

March 23, 2007

And if I told You that “the sun won’t rise tomorrow
We’ll soon be underwater
Oxygen won’t give us life
the flame won’t burn
and my heart has died”
would you believe me?
What if I told you that
My love has flown away,
I’m hollow; empty; Numb
Goodbye

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

April 21, 2007

Stupid desire
Something so beautiful

How can it become so vile?
Take this heart of mine
Silence the voice
Home soon
Trouble follows

sometimes

Sometimes
I miss that age of innocence
When all was new and pure
When the world was mine to have
Sometimes

Sometimes
I feel ashamed at what I’ve done
To hide my face and take it back
That’s all I long for
Sometimes 

Sometimes
I wonder at Your love
How you could forgive one
Such as me
Sometimes 

Sometimes
My burden feels so heavy
I just want to give up
But You are there
Every time

rain-swept


This is what my rear windshield looked like on my way to school last night.  Rain swept across the freeway and since my back windshield doesn’t have a wiper, I couldn’t see anything but vague blurs of light when looking through it.  It was really scary when I had to merge into another lane.  But God is good and He kept me safe as I drove.  Granted I arrived 10 minutes late to class but even then I made it to class right when the teacher asked if anyone’s name hadn’t been called.  I guess I wasn’t really late then.  w00t for answered prayers.  And happy February, everyone.

abilene, tx pt. 1

So it turns out we didn’t do the 30-hour drive; it only took us about 22 hours from L.A. to Abilene.  We arrived at about 5 am PST (making it 7 am here).  Driving through Arizona (on my shift) Dad took lots of pictures of the gorgeous sunset (quite reminiscent of a sunset I took pictures of two years ago on this same trip).  Our God is amazing.

two words

Another oldie but goodie (in my opinion, anyway).  This was written on April 7, 2005 during a very boring Chemistry class (wait, that’s kind of redundant. . .anyway):

Sweet desire
Tired pages
Frayed edges
Scattered thoughts
Wanting freedom
Dying inside
Slowly dying
Love lost
And found
Your lips
Against mine
Kiss me,
You fool