Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It’s All Relative

I sometimes wonder about my parents. I can’t imagine what it means to be responsible for another person’s life, and not doing any of it for mere obligation, rather, for something more- because you love that person.

I know my parents love me. I think I scare them sometimes.

But I think it’s scarier for them to feel responsible, actually responsible for certain things, even if it’s something beyond their control.

Dad has really dry skin. His legs and arms look quite scaly at times, very leathery. It’s from always working outside, not caring much for sunscreen. In the last few years, he’s finally started to use lotion, but it seems to be too late.

Recently Dad asked me if my legs were like his, dry and scaly. He seemed truly concerned. I said no.

Truth is, my skin is on the way to becoming like his. Similar bad habits, I suppose; that, and the fact that I have naturally dry skin. I used to have rash spots when I was younger.

So last week, I bought a pumice stone for skin. I’m also using it this time, trying it on my legs for now to see if it’ll help get rid of some scaliness. I’ve also become more serious about using lotion.
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Also recently, Dad got some serious news. “Hereditary” is the word.



I’m just glad that he didn’t cry for the second time in my life, not for this.

I wonder sometimes, what else lies in my family history. For now, I’m doing my best to keep to God, so that this won’t become a tool that further separates me from others. Hunters often like to isolate their prey from the pack.

It’s a constant struggle, but perhaps strength of determination and hope are in my family history.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I: Your Favorite Movie.

I love redemption stories. I have no all-time favorite. Instead, here I’m going to list ones I would recommend to those whom haven’t seen them yet. [Caution: if you are particularly sensitive regarding questionable content, I suggest looking the titles up on a site like www.pluggedin.com or check a synopsis; most of these movies I would say are for adult audiences only].
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It’s a Wonderful Life
Classic goodness! I finally watched it a couple years ago. I finally know why people love it. I also want Donna Reed’s wardrobe from this movie. For all those times I wonder “What does it matter?” Well, it matters.

Life as a House
The story has a good arc and a redemption quality to it. This might be my FAVORITE movie, at least top 5. It shows what is possible if YOU decide to be different and how YOUR starting something can affect those around you.

In Her Shoes
This one is about doing away with some expectations, exceeding others, and redemption. This may be my favorite chick flick.

The Story of Us
A portrayal of marriage, unglamorous yet committed with love, rough and difficult but tough enough to withstand it all and worth it.

The Majestic
Jim Carrey’s character becomes someone he’s not, and it’s a good thing.

Big Fish
One of the few Tim Burton films that I enjoy. I think each part and each actor/actress were perfect in their places. It’s fantastically fantastical in its art direction and storytelling.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Good interpretation of the book, in my opinion. C.S. Lewis is a master storyteller. The acting is wonderful, especially by the children, the professor, and Mr. Tumnus.

Shawshank Redemption
Stephen King, another master storyteller- that alone makes me intrigued. I haven’t read the short story this movie is based on. The reveal near the end was done very well; it makes one appreciate every scene that leads up to it and the fine acting that brought it to life.

The Contender
A true polĂ­tical thriller, amazing casting, great acting, good intelligent script. The main story is about the President wanting a woman confirmed as the next VP and the scrutiny the woman goes through.

The Last Castle
A thriller about the difference between born leaders and made leaders as illustrated within a military prison.

Redemption
As I’ve said, I love redemption stories and this one has it for the title. It follows the story of Stan “Tookie” Williams, from being a founder of the L.A. Crips gang to prison to Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

August Rush
The treatment of music alone is worth the viewing of this movie.
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What movie(s) would you recommend?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Interview: Your Favorite Song

O Holy Night.

In high school, I was in the youth choir at church. We went Christmas caroling at the SC. Daida was in the back and sang the leading solo in “O Holy Night.” It was the most beautiful thing I’ve heard.

I paid attention to the words after that and I think it’s the most beautiful song of all time! I have at least three renditions of it on my player. I will sing it all year long. I cannot listen to the Dion version- it ruins it for me.

The original was in French. From what I can tell in finding literal English translations of the original French and in the hymn as traditionally sung in English, it tells of the birth of Jesus the Christ and the redemption of mankind that the birth brings.

I love stories/ songs/ acts of redemption! Don’t you?

So “O Holy Night” is my all-time favorite song. [Link to related entry]
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Other goods:

You Will Make It- Jem
A difficult song to listen to sometimes. To me, it’s about life; it’s about going through loss and depression, and then allowing oneself to live on.

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor- Bach [Baroque period]
I think it has to be the organ; I saw someone on YouTube play this on violin- doesn’t do it for me. What I like about T&F is that it moves; it has swells and foreground/background interplay and heavy/light sections. I don’t understand how anyone can listen to this and think that classical music [the genre, not period] is boring.

Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622- Mozart [Classical period]
If I mention T&F, I have to mention K.622. I played the clarinet. Not many concertos were written featuring the clarinet. It has three movements: Allegro, Adagio and Rondo. Adagio is the most recognized section. While T&F sounds furious at times, K.622 takes its swells at a much gentler pace.

Sweet Okole- Keola and Kapono Beamer
I’m not always serious about my song choices! This is a fun song, as is typical of “Hawaiian” songs, just laid back and talking story. This also has special meaning to me that I will leave for a possible future entry.

Tu Amor Me Hace Bien- Marc Anthony
I think it translates to “Your love makes me well.” Isn’t that a wonderful thought? The version I like is considered Andean I think, from the “Amar Sin Mentiras” album; there is also a salsa version.

I Enjoy Being a Girl- [Musical: Flower Drum Song]
I enjoy being a female. I don’t identify with most of the song but I think it’s lovely, as girls should be. Nancy Kwan’s performance of this song is delightful.

Under the Bridge- RHCP
“I don’t ever wanna feel like I did that day. Take me to the place I love, take me all the way.” Red Hot always has great bass in their music! I like the video also- I remember that he’s singing this while walking along the streets of L.A. [I think]. I think it’s another song about brokenness and going after something better, choosing to do better.

Strong Enough- Stacie Orrico
“Will my scars forever ruin all God’s plan?”
I like singing this song when I’m just… GRRRR!... inside. It calms me down and reminds me to focus on God because only He is in control.
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I think I would say that in general I like Rock & Roll and songs about brokenness. As you can see, I appreciate many genres, except for maybe scream-o music; I like being able to tell about what people are singing. There are SO many other songs I’d wanna mention.

What is your favorite song?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Elephant and Mouse

Elephant and Mouse are hanging out one day. Elephant begins to wonder, “Why… am I… so… big and you’re so… small?”

Mouse coughs. “Can I ‘elp it? I’been sick!”

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I was watching some special features from the “Pride and Prejudice” DVD. The lady who plays Mrs. Bennet tells that joke during a break. I thought it was funny. It’s a simple enough joke that even I can’t mess up!

Maybe it would help if you could hear the voices.

:)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Untitled [6.19.2010]

Oh God, you are in control. That’s what I’ve been telling my friends. When we can’t see what you’re doing, when we don’t care to see, when things go well and things are not as we wish them, you are sovereign. Nothing surprises you for you know all things. Nothing is done without your knowledge of it.

You said you wouldn’t give me more than I can bear. It’s difficult for me to imagine that I’m not near my limit.

I’m reading in Job. Could I be half as faithful? Is it at all possible for me? I would think that would be enough to get through this. If you would take it all, how can I do anything other than to follow in Job’s footsteps to say that it all belongs to you. All I have, all I am, all was only because you allowed it. I had nothing and you gave me life. I had no one and you brought me into a family.

Thank you for the kindness you’ve shown me so far.

It all belongs to you. You are in control of it all.

Please, be true to your promise that you will never leave me. Please, may I prove to be faithful to you, help me to be faithful to you.

As long as it’s you, God. May I follow as long as it’s you.

Sometimes It Is That Easy

So I hadn’t seen a friend in months. He asked to hang out with me. “It’s been too long.”

Also, our friend Chemist is leaving for a trip soon. So Broke, Chemist, and I hung out a few nights ago.

It was good and relaxing. Drama-free. I needed that.

We started out with gelato. I had Red Orange with Grapenuts. Broke got Mint with Chocolate. Chemist tried the Strawberry Lychee Tapioca in Green Apple.

I thought the RO was good. I tend towards having something crunchy with my ice cream-ish desserts, which is usually graham cracker crumbs. I don’t recommend the Grapenuts, unless you enjoy having your skull vibrate each time you crunch down. As for me, I think I’ll stick with the cracker crumbs!

I’ve missed hearing Chemist tell her stories about “The 100% Word” and the writing she’s working on and such. I’ve missed hearing Broke talk about sci-fi shows and movies.

We moved over to the mall of the nearby SC, my old stomping grounds. So much has changed yet a lot is still the same. I got caught by a kiosk lady who proceeded to straighten my hair. Actually it was re-straightening, since I had already straightened my hair earlier in the day. The lady asked if I was Korean and I said no, Chinese. She said I was pretty. She couldn’t believe that I was [the age that I was last year]. I still walked away with all the money I had.

Chemist reminded me that I could have answered that I was Korean and would have been “truthful.” Broke didn’t get it so I explained.

We talked about God’s forgiveness: does God forgive everyone everything or does He only forgive once someone repents? I kind of think yes and somewhat no, that He forgives everyone everything while still setting consequences for us for our actions. I would think it hard to believe that He would set His redemption plan into motion if He hadn’t already forgiven. Then when we repent, He also forgives. It isn’t that He forgives again, but that when we repent, He joins us in the process of reconciliation and in that way forgives us.

I don’t know if that’s true or not. In the least, I believe that God definitely wants to forgive us. I caution about trying to understand His ways by our human ways, logic or experiences.

When we were walking back to the car which was parked on the bottom level of the parking structure, I saw this thing hanging from the ceiling. It was like frayed string or something. I thought it looked like a hanging chicken. Of course I had to point it out to my friends; how could I let them miss a sight like that?! There was a little fluff, a bigger poofier fluff, and then two straight pieces hanging down.

Later, we were talking about weirdness and what is normal. I told them how I feel so plain, so boring, so “average.” And then I will think differently or see things differently, like hanging chickens! So then I will feel so odd and strangely from everyone around me. I suppose I could be unique and still be boring.

Venues were closing down. We just kept talking in the car, so Chemist drove to my place. We stayed in the car in my driveway, talking some more. It started to rain so I had Chemist park in the carport [the family’s on one car for the time being]. And we talked a bit more.
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So, I told them that I think I relate well to Bella Swan from the "Twilight" movies, or at least to Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Bella. It somewhat bothers me 'cuz I don't like Stewart's acting. Anyways, I relate to how Bella seems quite unaffected by things and how she deals with personal torment on her own [in "New Moon," her nightmares and such]. It's sort of the "So you're a vampire. Okay. So you're a werewolf. Okay." I think that's how I would have reacted in that situation also, not in awe and not in fear of who people are.

I asked if "aloof" is the word for that unaffectedness. Chemist said that's not the 100% word, and also that "aloof" tends to have a negative connotation to it. I shrugged, I didn't think it had a negative connotation. Is that part of how I'm unaffected, I'm unaffected by connotations? I dunno.
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Broke was right. It had been too long.

I had a good time.

What Do You See?

Jennedy Lens

Sex: Female

Relationship Status: Single

Children:
Farquar Lens
Remedy Lens
Honor Vitale
Quake Develle
Interested In: Men



What kind of person do you see?











A] A loose female whom has had 4 kids by 3 different men and is probably going to end up with more.

B] A woman who adopted her sister’s kid after her sister was put into prison, had two children with her husband whom is deceased after a horrific accident, and adopted an orphan because she and her husband had always talked of doing so.



We might look at someone and see their stats or their job or their clothes or their friends, but we’re not seeing them. We’re looking at the whats and not past them to the who. We’re looking at minute details but not seeing the whole person.

What if Woman A, whatever her faults and trials, faithfully prays and takes her children to church? What if Woman B “collects” these kids in order to look good in front of people in public but abuses the children privately?
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I can’t think at the moment of how to formalize this into a whole piece. Maybe it’ll come to me later. [And yes, I made up the names myself and the names may or may not have anything to do with the “interesting” names of my future kids].

I just wanted to say, start having conversations with each other, real, meaningful conversations.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spoiled Fruit?

Even when I can get a grasp on something, the part about faith that is great, fascinating and sometimes frustrating is that element of doubt. Faith cannot be reasoned out, not completely. It’s all about heart. The Christian and the Atheist both have faith; one has faith that there is God and the Atheist has faith that there isn’t. It’s a matter of which way your heart is turned. At least, that’s what I’ve come to believe; I could always be wrong.

I sound somewhat sure in the previous post, but I’m not. I still have questions.

As in, if a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, does creeping sin and honest repentance have any effect on this analogy that Jesus gave us?

For instance, can a good tree become poisoned and, instead of bearing good fruit, begins to bear bad fruit? Can honest repentance be a metaphor for the gardener [Jesus] taking out the poisoned part of the tree so that it can bear good fruit again?

And if this were the case, the good fruit that was already harvested, I suppose they can remain good if it had been broken off from the tree before the tree became poisoned. Perhaps?

What about time? I would think it’s difficult to go through a day without sinning once. Would that one sin already poison the tree? Or is it only if that sin goes unchecked? I would think it’s more towards the unchecked sin that spreads because if one sin could ruin the tree, then there wouldn’t be any good trees for long, I would think.

I certainly believe that murder is worse than a white lie, it definitely brings about worse consequences, but I also believe that sin is sin. So would a white lie be enough to start the poisoning? Would murder ruin the whole tree all at once?

Are the trees people? Are the fruits people? I think perhaps the fruit might be people or maybe relationships or possibly the planting of the seed of God’s love in another’s life. I can’t think that good fruit is merely good acts because even an atheist can do good acts. Hmmm…character?

Is the goodness of the tree an analogy for the goodness of a heart towards God?

This is why I am not partial to pick apart a metaphor too much. Yet, I do it anyway.

Think about what you believe. Act on what you believe.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fruit Displays

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."[b] 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Life by the Spirit

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
[Taken from Biblegateway.com, NIV. Emphasis added.]
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I’ve been thinking about this deal of seeing the fruit of the spirit as the outflow or manifestation of a Christian walking with God. At this time I can only think of helping the illustration with some examples I’ve experienced of people who've displayed good fruit in my life.

I was upset while at church one Sunday. I found a quiet place where I could relax and calm myself. A few people passed by here and there but I was kind of off to the side.

Mr. D saw me and stopped. He asked if I was okay and I said I would be. He said I shouldn’t be alone and tried to persuade me to go where there were people. I needed more time. He repeated that I shouldn’t be by myself. He stood there, not quite knowing what to do. Then he walked away.

I thought that was okay, maybe he would pray for me when he gets home or something.

Not more than 10 minutes later, Jo came by. She sat with me, saying that Mr. D asked her to come for me. I didn’t want to talk about what upset me, so Jo talked instead. Then she prayed for me.

I believe Mr. D spends time with God. I don’t know Mr. D very well, haven’t had much interaction with him. He might just think of me as his son’s friend or the girl that used to help with the youth. From what I know of him, he seems like a socially timid man, a nature I can understand. I also understand a good man not wanting to do anything that would seem improper with a single young female. It’s uncomfortable to see someone upset and not know what to do.

Yet Mr. D cared for someone in need of care and sought a way to do something about it. He didn’t wait for a solution [another person] to appear; he worked urgently to find someone.

I believe Jo spends time with God. It didn’t take long for her to find me. She was gentle in her care of me. The big indication was the prayer. I didn’t spill my heart to her about the offense I felt yet when she prayed, they were words I needed to hear. The prayer addressed the specific situation I was in.

Both Mr. D and Jo were right: no one should be alone. God certainly doesn’t want anyone to feel alone, for He cares for each one of us and He is all around us, wanting our attention yet being gentle about it. I saw what Mr. D and Jo did as an outflow of their time with God.
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I think one can tell if someone’s been spending time with Christ. Again, A true spirit sensitive to God should become evident to those around them.

I try to think if people can tell that I’ve been spending time with God. I’d like to think that it’s starting to come out, yet I can’t answer that with any level of credibility.

Instead, I will give an example of how I learned from Mr. D and Jo’s example aided with the urging of the Holy Spirit.

A young friend of mine T seems prone to mood swings. I’ve seen him be down and have others shy away from him when he’s down; I understand it. I don’t know what to do in such situations any more than those others do. Still, I wanted to do something to show my care, so that my friend would know that someone [Christ] cared.

I asked T if he was okay. I asked if he wanted to talk about it. He shook his head. I saw his skateboard on the side. I have a slight fear of having wheels on my feet but I saw a possible opportunity to draw T out; I can only think the idea was from God. I brought T’s board over and asked him if he’d teach me how to ride.

He perked up right away. Oh no, I had to actually get on the board! I got on and T stood by to help me gain a balance. He still didn’t want to talk about what was bothering him but he was smiling his great smile again.

Later that same day, we were walking from one area of the church to the next, following behind the rest of the group. He told me what was bothering him. He’s opened up to me about things ever since. I hardly have to say anything but “What’s up?” Recently I’ve started bringing God into our conversations, gently and as prompted by the HS.
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A Tree and Its Fruit
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'


[Emphasis added]
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So I’d like to think that in a few years time, it will be more evident to others that I’ve been spending time with God. I know how much I love God but it’s of little use to God if others don’t know it. If I don’t allow God to make a difference in my life, why should others want to give God a chance to make a difference in theirs? Yes, God could get their attention on His own; I can’t account for why He often chooses people to minister to each other and it’s an amazing opportunity that I have recently started to enjoy.

There are hungry people in the world, Christians and non-Christians, I believe. They’re looking for the fruit, even if they don’t know that’s what they’re asking for.

Who are the people you would say are good Christians? What about them makes you believe that they are so?
What are the fruits of those around you? Are they displaying good fruit or bad fruit? What are they and why are they good or bad?
Are you recognized for good fruit or for bad fruit? What kind of fruit would you like to be recognized by?
In what ways could you display more of the Spirit in your life?

God empowers us to display good fruit. Ask Him to guide you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Near Hopeless

So I confessed a hurt recently. It had to do with receiving an invitation yet when I asked for a ride, the inviter found none for me. The second part is that soon after, the inviter made a gesture of offering an unconditional ride to someone less connected and lives just as far. I admit some of this offense I felt acutely because of certain previous grievances I’ve had with the inviter’s friends.

It’s not really the inviter I felt hurt by but the friends more so.

There was a question posed; was the second invite about a ministry thing? When I heard that question, I knew there was something off about it.

Now given some breathing room, here’s what I find off about it. What does it matter if the second part was to a ministry event or not? Definitely, we Christians should make every effort to get people to a ministry event so that they can meet God. That’s not the part that would upset me.

Taking both parts together, why would it be more important to get people to a ministry event than to give a friend a ride to hang out with the group? Ought people to care more for acquaintances than for friends?

Take the second part out: what conclusion could someone make other than that it wasn’t important to the inviter and the rest of the group to make an effort to pick a “friend” up for the friend outing? In light of this, should I be faulted for believing that they are not my friends?

Can someone help me understand this?

Now, it was wimpy for me not to say anything to the inviter and offenders about it. It’s a very tough position, feeling outnumbered one-to-a-group. There are more of them than there is of me. Yet that could have been an opportunity for me to trust God rather than distrust people. I'm a work-in-progress.

The two others in that particular group who I trust would have given me an unconditional ride if they knew, didn’t go that night.

So I don’t know what to do. I don’t usually think of myself as a sensitive person. I’m usually not so aware of my feelings. I’m not usually an openly emotional person. I’m very uncomfortable.

I still have no sense that they care that I was hurt by this.

Others who were not a part of the offenses [there are other examples of how I was hurt by these particular people] have and continue to be the ones that say they care. They not only say it, they’ve acted on it. The attitude I perceive from the offenders is that either I conform to how they are or tough luck. I'm not a fan of that.

They don’t have to care about me. They don’t have to care that their friends care about me.

So I think… at this moment… I’m still going to stay back from the group socially. It sucks that people will feel in-the-middle. I’m choosing to find a better place for me. Ministry-wise, I’ll do what God tells me. Social-wise, I can take a heart-crushing and pride-bashing now and then but I don’t hear God saying that I have to continue in this harmful situation with people who don’t care.

I can take myself out of this. I still feel a deep concern for the other outsiders. I think I’ve also felt this situation so personally because I’ve seen the group do the same thing to other outsiders. I can’t think of another group I’ve known who were so closed off. I feel a deep concern for the offenders, more so I guess because they profess Christ yet don’t seem willing to portray Christ.

So I will do this much: I will continue to pray for all and in that lies the remnant of my hope, my hope for them and my hope for myself, and I know that I need A LOT of hope. [Ezra 10: 1-4… a portion of this passage reads “But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel”].

It’s tough. I feel poorly about those in the past I’ve been insensitive to or mistreated, intentionally or unintentionally. I guess I can get some comfort in the people who’ve sought me out to reconnect and hang out, people who’ve surprised me, people who I wasn’t very close to but then, who am I ever close to. I guess that’s one way of seeing that I did something right- all credit to my friend Holy Spirit and to my parents who raised me to look out for what’s right and to do it.

I can’t be all bad, right?