Photography by Amber Asaly
Amber, we love you.
Southern California weather is like a woman on birth control: Unpredictable, moody, and something to gossip about. ZING!
The weather is not as cool as I prefer it to be, but according to the calendar, it’s the fall season. The leaves are turning from summer madness to fall fatigue.
The term “fatigue” comes to mind as if a break is necessary. I consider this time of post-summer/per-holidays to be just that for me; a time to just relish in another transition where perspectives are realigned. It’s only going to get busier and colder once those sleigh bells start jingling, making this slow transition of season something to be cherished.
I’m learning that though I can never control the weather, I can at least control my climate.
Here’s Mr. Lucas showing the world how to do this (29 seconds):
This morning, as my mother and I crossed paths in a hallway at home, she took each of my hands into hers, looked me in the eyes and said
“You inspire me to keep going.”
Before I could even think, I felt myself smile as my eyes filled with tears.
As we continued to hold hands in the middle of the hallway, we prayed for our family.
After an inspiring conversation with a co-worker about the excitement of fiction novels, I decided to stop by my local library. Every time I walk into a library, I’m immediately taken back to my school days as a child and high-school student. The smell of old books and worn-out wooden bookshelves and tables recall images of learning how to use a card catalog as we did not have computer databases to search for our book of choice. I remember not wanting to walk to the deep ends of the library in fear that the opening scene of Ghostbusters just might happen. I also remember how my mother raised me to habitually be in a learning environment like the library.
I wonder if parents still encourage such behavior. I wonder if the library is still relevant to our society. Mostly, I wonder what would happen if the library actually ceased to exist in my hometown.
Today, my local library has cut its hours of availability and operation due to lack of funding. It seems that almost every year, there is a proposition or local legislation act to either shut the library down or keep it alive.
I walked out of the library thinking of Ray Bradbury’s novel Farenheit 451. Ok…Maybe we’ll never see our world to be as post-literature as what Bradbury wrote in his novel, but I have to ask questions like:
With all of the digital technology, will we eventually become a society that makes books obsolete? What would become of the books in all the the libraries that do close down? Do they burn these at 451 degrees Fahrenheit along with all of the knowledge in them?
But we have digital books and e-readers now! Right?!
Hmm..Sometimes the words “digital” and “virtual” cause me to forget about what is tangible and actual. For example, how often do people print their pictures from a digital camera. It’s normally just uploaded onto a computer, never to actually be printed and held.
I could have easily found the book on the internet, but I wanted the experience of going into the library and searching with my own eyes and hands. It could have been for nostalgic reasons or even to save money, but I look forward to the experience of searching, finding, and actually touching. It renews a sense of reality. A sense of accomplishment.
All to say, I hope the library stays open so that adults can remember their experiences, and that their kids can grow in the same learning environment.
How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
This weakness I feel I must finally show
Awake My Soul – Mumford & Sons
I blame my job.
Lately, focusing on anything creative seems impossible, and it’s downright depressing when I compare my creative output now to how expressive I was during my unemployment stint last year.
It’s a wonderful job though, and I should never complain.
White collar? Yes.
The perks? Goodness!
It’s not like my job is 24/7. I’d say it’s more like 12/6, and it’s hard for me to be intentional with my writing. At the end of my work days, I’m exhausted and just want to numb my brain with TV or online social networks.
So yeah…This two month drought of blogging, writing, and vlogging has been a perpetual guilt trip in my gut for a few reasons.
Solution? Awake the messenger, and revitalize him.
People always say “Count your blessings.”
Yes. Do it. You just might be overwhelmed by how much good there is in your life.
Every day our emotions are elicited by world events, social drama, and pop culture. These things can chip away at us, distorting our identity and convictions, but how many elements out there actually build us up and hold us together?
Counting our blessings helps us stay anchored. You’ll be surprised that sometimes it only takes a few good things to keep hope alive in order to outweigh the brokenness in this world.
Paul, the apostle, writes how we shouldn’t worry about anything but should give our problems up to God. Paul then continues with:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
People also say “Be thankful.”
Yes. Do this too. In the midst of our thankfulness, we can actually give. We often forget this.
Freely you have received, freely give. – Jesus Christ
We get so caught up in “I’m thankful for this. I’m thankful for that. Wow, I’m so blessed.” And it stops there. We do nothing but say that we’re thankful, and we take no action to show that we are. We don’t pay it forward or give back. Such an opportunity to impact lives here! Imagine the actions driven by the gratitude and passion…
So when you’re feeling down, up, or leveled, settle down and take the time to literally count your blessings. As a result, being thankful should come naturally. But don’t let it stop there when you can actually give in thanks.
It was just two weeks ago when every news source, media outlet, and social network had Japan in its headlines and ticker. I can already feel the level of urgency to help Japan dwindle as we get caught in the whirlpool of other world affairs and entertainment scandals.
As I’ve been using Twitter as a news source for the latest headlines and opinions, these are the tweets of others that impacted me the most in regards to the crises in Japan, urging me to support and continually pray for Japan.
Private ProfileModern technology allows us to be exposed to suffering all over the world; may our generation, in turn, become the most compassionate. (March 13)
@JapanPhotos DO NOT send money to Christian charities for Japan earthquake. We need blankets and food, not boxes of bibles & Fundamentalist propaganda. (March 11)
When I first read the tweet from @JapanPhotos, I was offended, but then I just had to shake my head and laugh in absurdity. Yes, though I am a Christian, sadly a lot of religious organizations exploit situations like these and waste resources while people are in need. So I’ll just leave it at that.
I’ve marked these tweets as “favorites” as reminders that Japan and many other countries are in need of prayer and support, and it doesn’t take much out of us to help.
We have so much here in America, and our resources are so accessible with today’s technology.
If you text often, here are a couple of easy ways you can still contribute
It takes less than a minute and costs little compared to what we spend on entertainment in a week.
So if you’ve already given to another organization or are planning to give then that’s great! If you’ve been meaning to get around to it, but need some direction, here’s your chance!
Just follow the directions above (and below).
This past Sunday, while hanging out in the coffee shop at my church, I read to my peers the latest tweets from my Twitter feed regarding the tragedy in Japan. An elderly woman whom one can assume to be in her 60′s or 70′s listened intently as she hovered around us and mixed her sweeteners and cream into her brew. To our surprise, the elderly woman interjected with:
“Well they (Japan/the Japanese) deserve it after sneaking up on us 70 years ago at Pearl Harbor… This is what they get.”
Yes, it was silent for a several seconds with our mouths to the floor from the disbelief. It was like the “spirit of Pat Robertson” all over again.
Someone broke the silence with “I’m not even going to get into this right now,” trying to show self-control by diverting their attention to their cell phone.
I responded with a snowballing “Rrrreally?? Umm…This has NOTHING to do with anything that happened seventy years ago, and it’s actually quite tragic, and NO ONE deserves to be going through any of this right now…”
That’s all I could say as I found my voice rising, my vision blurring, my head and hands becoming hot, and my body inching towards the ignorance personified before me. My heart rate increased. My blood boiled, but I had to remember my place and behave rationally.
I was surprised that she didn’t bring God into the picture with us being at church and all. If she did, I probably would’ve ended up in prison…or on the news…not really…but yeah….no…
In situations like this elderly lady and her view on why Japan got what it “deserved,” it takes a lot to not jump down someone’s throat, fingernails first. I’m wondering what kind of ignorance is going on out there right now because when tragedy hits, people are so quick to point and blame, hindering help and healing. Though this situation still haunts me, reminding me of the mess Pat Robertson left last year his comments about Haiti, I know that I have forgiven her. It wasn’t easy. Heck, she’s set in her ways in her 60′s or 70′s, and who knows what she has experienced? She’s been corrected, and it’s between her and her Creator now.
I mean if you were in that coffee shop with me, what would you have done or said to her? Nothing? Anything?
It was one of those “A-HA!” moments that I just had to share.
When I first saw the design of this bathroom I thought: WHY would they put privacy dividers between each urinal with the exception of the kids’ one? Seems pretty inappropriately designed! FAIL.
As I humored myself while rocking on my high-horse, I thought that at any moment someone could’ve walked in on me in a men’s public restroom taking pictures of urinals thinking: What kind of pervert takes pictures in a public restroom?
Lesson learned: Don’t be so quick to judge.