A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. I look back on this picture and remember the events that surrounded this engagement photoshoot. It’s really easy to be in the midst of… More
My February series was a doozy for me, but I keep thinking about how much I learned about discipline in my writing from it. I’ve also been reflecting on what caught people’s eye the most.
Here are the most popular posts of the alphabet:
5. B is for Books – 4 Reasons to Pick Up a Book Right Now
4. C is for Change – How to Make a Change Right This Second
3. S is for Start – What You Need to Do Right No to Jump Start Your Passions
2. F is for Faith – The Beginner’s Guide to Writing About Faith
1. A is for Asian Americans – What You Need to Know About the Asian American Identity
Which one of these stands out to you the most? How about in the rest of the series? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Zest: an enjoyable exciting quality.
What does it even mean to have a zest for life?
I’m not sure. But, in writing diligently and expansively and purposefully on this series, I am beginning to see that I can have a zest for life even when all of my days don’t necessarily give me space to do that. I can feel a zest for life when doing things that cause me to wake myself to life.
It’s bittersweet that this series has come to an end. What I thought to be a daunting task was both a great discipline and joy for me in the past month. I’ve realized that without changing any circumstances, having a zest for life is a quality that I can grow and cultivate all on my own.
Here are some highlights from the journey.
10 things I liked about writing and publishing everyday:
- The deadline got me going. Without the pressure of a daily deadline, I don’t actually write much of anything. If I didn’t have a post planned for that day, my fingers got flying and my head got a bit more centered as I tried to come up with SOMETHING.
- I liked that I had something to look forward to throughout the day. Not that stats and feedback fuel me, but it was cool to see my blog have more activity throughout the day and to have something to look at it and towards gave me a reprieve from my daily grind.
- The exposure that I gave myself through my social media channels like Instagram and Twitter made people around me know what I was doing. I appreciated the people who mentioned to me in person that they had been reading my blog and even reference certain points.
- Following up on that, I liked that I was able to share more of myself with people close to me. The people close enough to me to pay attention to what I was doing showed me that they care about this small passion project and dream of mine.
- I realized that not many people are watching closely enough to be ready to pounce on my ideas and get me down. Nobody is actually out to get me. And, maybe there is pride of self-importance present in thinking that other people would be thinking that much about me to hate on me.
- Meeting my writing goals each day gave me a sense of accomplishment. I really felt my own progress as a writer and as a blogger through this process.
- The confidence that I grew throughout this month is significant. I feel more established as a writer and blogger. The more that I posted things, the more my bravery and courage was built up.
- Going through the alphabet wasn’t as cumbersome as I thought, it was actually helpful. It gave me topics to write about that I probably wouldn’t have thought to write about. It brought back things from the past that I could press into that I wouldn’t have really felt like approaching if I had just been focused on writing the present.
- I see that there’s different types of writing and it’s okay to have different purposes. For example, journaling may be for the purpose of self reflection, self care, and processing. Writing for a blog is for the purpose of sharing, connecting, informing, or encouraging. It’s okay for my writing to not always be for own processes. It’s a new way to approach writing, though, as I’ve almost always written for myself.
- Making a series gave me a guideline to follow along with. But, it also gave my readers something to follow along with and to expect from me.
So, there you have it! Thank YOU for following along this journey and giving me the gift of your time and readership. Can’t wait to show you (and myself) what I have in store for MARCH! See you then! 🙂
I’ve been so excited for this one all month long. I want to talk about you for a second. Whoever you are, I’m not sure. But, I do want to know who you are. You are important.
My dreams for this space are about you. I want you to breathe a sigh of relief when you happen upon these stories. I want your story to be given light and the justice it deserves. I want you to feel empowered to go out and do justice. I want you to feel enlightened as you read the stories of a diverse group of people, and that this would spark understanding and varying levels of reconciliation amongst racial groups or political groups. I want you to feel heard in your struggle, and validated that you are not alone. The only way this blog is about me is that I’m writing it, but mostly I want it to be about you.
I’m still trying to figure out who you are. But, what I do know, is that in you reading and scoping through words of the internet, you are someone who is thoughtful, kind, and empathetic. You are someone who wants more than just to go to work, watch TV, get married, repeat, and then die. You are someone who wants purpose in your days, and in your life.
You want to do justice and seek mercy and walk humbly. And even if you don’t believe in the book those words just came from, and even if you never do, you are someone who wants to do that anyway.
You are a reader. Maybe you are a reader of tons of books, or no books at all. Maybe you are a reader of blogs and the internet. Maybe you don’t read much at all, but just so happen to be reading this. Whatever it is, you are a reader. You are a reader who takes the time to slow down and to think. To really consider who you are, your strengths, and what you can do.
So, thank you for being you. In all of your complexities, uniqueness, and struggle. Thank you for bringing your true self to these stories and reading to connect and to think. You are thoughtful, insightful, and engaging.
I’m thankful for you, dear reader. You are giving me the gift of having a reader. You are allowing all of us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And for that, my heart is thankful.
Please tell me who you are and maybe even share your story!
I would also love to feature some your stories relating to justice and identity. Please fill out all sections of this form if you are interested.
Words come slowly sometimes, and sometimes you have to let that happen. I can’t expect myself to crank out words on demand. They will come to me when they’re ready. Sometimes you can’t demand them to come two weeks before the deadline, and sometimes you have to wait until the night before your writing assignment is due to realize what you have meant to say all along.
Words come when they need to, often with a deep pounding of my heart, a tension in my shoulders, and a chill that run from my lungs to my mouth. My body steadies as my fingers race across the keyboard, desperate to record the words on the page before they run out or run away.
The real, true, good words that I need to come out of me will always come. But, not always (or ever!) right away. They come after I wrestle with others words that I force to come out of me. They come after I’ve sat through this struggle.
And, when the words come, they flow. Like an overflowing lava pit of feelings and insight. Like the swift overflow of tears that come upon you after you watch a sweet, sweet video of reunion and love. These words come quickly and swiftly and it’s a joy to be a writer in these moments.
It’s a gift to be a writer in these moments.
It’s a privilege to be a writer in these moments.
I never knew myself to be a writer until I realized that these moments come. They always come. I will them to come and they don’t. I pray for them to come, and they don’t. At least, not right away.
But, eventually, they do come. And all is okay. And the struggle was worth it. And posting something that I didn’t love writing or reading was worth it. Because the worth comes from not giving up. The worth comes from knowing that my best work is always ahead of me and that the work I’m doing today is today’s only chance of doing work.
I wrote this sometime last year. I’m not sure when, but it must have been during the spring of my second year of teaching. I like this version of myself because it shows the highlights of the year and it shows me that life is not all bad. It makes me remember the small victories, and those are the most important of them all.
TLDR; Claim victory anyway. Search for it, find it, and claim it. You can find it in almost any situation.
Can we just be real for a second? There were and there are days where I resent God for this calling. I remember crying hysterically days before my 2nd year of teaching began, just realizing how upset I was that God gave me this calling. I’ve questioned it. Mentally run from it. Lashed out in anger because of it.
But, in the past few weeks, I seem to be finding my footing again. Inspiration is on the horizon. Dare I say, even excitement?
Today, I praise God for this calling that has stretched beyond what I ever imagined, challenged me beyond my own strength, convicted me of the sin within, shown me parts of myself I never knew existed, given me a good dose of reality and awareness of my smallness. I praise God for the fire and how He’s walked me through it, despite all the kicking and screaming I’ve done. And, that is more literal than one might expect. What an honor to be disciplined in this way, said my friend Sharon. And maybe God’s not taking this trial away anytime soon, but maybe I can walk in peace & joy in that anyway. Do I want my life and my days to go back to being easy? Stress-free? Relaxing?
YES. YES FOR THE SUMMER. But, for the other 9 months of the year. My days are filled with tears that aren’t my own, shouts for approval, acceptance, and love. Repeating myself for the hundred millionth time. Demanding that kids take risks, while also quietly knowing that I must do so also.
So, today I walk forward in victory because I know that at least in this one snapshot, I am rising above the waters. I have built a small kayak for myself and I’m ready to start paddling. I’m ready to start dreaming, vision-casting, and hoping. I’m ready to take steps of inspiration & risk. I’m ready to map it out, dream it up, and live it.
I hope that today you are able to see the small victories in your life. Maybe it looks like being happier today than you were yesterday. Maybe it looks like going on a 1 mile run even though you always swear that you hate running, but at the same time you know that it’s the only thing that is going to make your body feel better. Maybe it looks like going the extra mile in your job even though your job is kicking your butt already and you feel nothing but tired of it. Maybe it means texting a friend and connecting in a fun and surprising way. Maybe it means doing those small responsibilities that you’ve been putting off.
I don’t know what it looks like for you today, but I know it’s there. Somewhere. Hidden away. Waiting for you to find it. Go find it.
The underdog is important to me. I’ve always felt like the underdog. Being the smallest and youngest child in the family, being the less dominant friend in a friend group, being 2nd or 3rd chair and not first in band, being less athletic than almost all of my peer counterparts, being a hard worker of a student but not naturally gifted or inclined to understanding difficult mathematical concepts, being a late bloomer and someone who never had the attention of the opposite sex…the list could go on.
I’ve always compensated for this feeling of being the underdog. Many people may not even be able to imagine me feelings this way, as I’ve compensated for these feelings by working harder, looking stronger, achieving more, and acting more and more confident. But, these things are just pretend.
I still feel like the underdog in many ways. I’m the youngest staff member at my job. Also the least experienced. I’m not great at logic and reasoning, and my ideas often fall short in intellectual conversation with the “real” intellectual adults. I seek excellence in meticulous ways for some things in life, but not as meticulous as others in other areas of life. I have no idea how to parallel park or navigate in my own city and have no chance in a new city. I get tired easily and seem to always be sleepy. I can’t handle too much social interaction, and quickly get fatigued spending extended amounts of time around other people (even the people I love!)
All of these things point to my weaknesses. Things that I fall short in. And, to be honest, it’s so easy to stay in this place of zooming in on all of the things that I can’t do, and that everyone else in the world can seemingly do better.
This is why being the underdog is important to me.
We must remember our weaknesses because they point to a need for value and worth found beyond what we can or cannot do. We must remember our weaknesses to stay humble, but we can’t stay in that place and dig into self-loathing or demoralization. We must take our feelings of being an underdog as the parts of us that make us empathetic, equal humans to the world around us.
And, this is why when I see the underdog in different contexts, I love them with a love I can’t explain. Part of it is because I see myself in them. Part of it is because…aren’t we all the underdog? We all have weaknesses and we all are incapable and unable to meet the demands of perfection that we expect from ourselves and that society ever so presently pressures us to believe that we need.
I see the underdog in my students who are strikingly smart but socially invisible. I see the underdog in the children running independently down the streets after school, probably going home to an empty house. I see the underdog in the untold stories of the physically and mentally disabled. I see the underdog in the seemingly perfect, powerful, and wealthy CEO of some important company, because when you pour your life into money, other things in your life have to give and often times it happens to a family that becomes broken by the chains of corporate greed.
I see the underdog in each of us, because I know that we all feel unworthy, inadequate, and meaningless at many points in our lives.
And, the underdog in each of us needs to stop and say “This image of perfection is pretend,” and we are all human.
Let’s be more human.
On this dreary Wednesday night, there’s nothing more fitting than a good old fashioned Thank You post!
10 Things I’m Thankful For Today & Everyday:
- Good Old Green Car has been a trusty companion for the past several years. I’m thankful it’s still running and doesn’t have any of that modern technology like power locks or power windows.
- Franklin the Dog’s jumping to come home to. His ever wagging tail and excessive panting always put a smile on my face the minute I walk in the door.
- My Students – between the good and bad, easy and hard, empowering and draining, funny and serious, energizing and tiring – there is always something to be thankful for in who they are and what they are learning.
- Coffee – Need I say more? Coffee is always there for me when I need her most. She gives me a false sense of energy and a false sense of confidence, but it’s all I need on any sleepy-eyed morning.
- Snapchats full of bitmojis with friends who get me and the true authenticity that these tiny pictures share.
- Josh’s hugs. Comfort and safety and love all wrapped together.
- Morning Time Bible Reading – no matter how groggy I am or sleepily I scroll the my Bible app, I’m thankful for the power these words and the
- The gift of words. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know the ways that I’m learning to embrace words strung together for others to read.
- The power of reading – the escape it brings, the diversity it shows, and the freedom it gives me to imagine and believe.
- Laughter. Always laugh. Find something to laugh at. If nothing else, just laugh at yourself. It makes everything better.
- Choice. The opportunity to make a choice on my thoughts, feelings, and attitude. The opportunity to choose what I do and where I go, what my future could hold and the steps I might take to shape it.
- Connection. I wrote about my new word(s) for the new year, and this was one of them. Connecting means being present with the environment and people I’m in right here and right now. Focusing on connection – when I remember to – has changed so much for me in my day to day life. I need to remember that more!