Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ode to the Male Species

I like men, I'll admit. They've got some pretty cool things going for them. Here's a list that I've compiled in honor of some men in my life.

1. Muscles – They’re nice to look at, but I can appreciate them so much better when they’re in action (I like them more when they’re helping me).

2. A Strong chin – We can only really enjoy this if you actually take the time to shave.

3. Chivalry – I can get the door myself; yet, it’s so much better if you make a point to get it even before I’ve considered the fact that I need to go through that door. This goes for other things, too (“Let me take those heavy bags for you. Oh, they’re not heavy? Let me take them anyway.”)

4. “Wait, that’s your sister?! (you treat her so well that I know that you’d treat your girlfriend even better. Sign me up!)”

5. Intentionality – Choose one girl and pursue her. Don’t go playing with every available heart. Nothing burns like the anger of a woman (or many women).

6. A Man who cries – You get more man points for this because we don’t doubt your manhood. In my mind, you're identity as a man is sealed because I appreciate a man who can be real.

7. Cleanliness – I love a man who takes care of himself. It shows someone who’s serious about all realms of life. Also, the smell of such a man is real nice. I’ll stand near to him.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I'm not much of a memorizer. That was always my sister. This summer, I memorized this entire chapter from Isaiah. It was a different version. However, I decided that I liked the expounded version of this one compared to the one that I memorized. I think this chapter is rich because it spills forth the promises of God. He doesn't think like we do and still He promises so much to us. So be joyous for there is a God in Heaven who desires to fulfill promises to us.

"Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything's free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I'm making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
I set him up as a witness to the nations,
made him a prince and leader of the nations,
And now I'm doing it to you:
You'll summon nations you've never heard of,
and nations who've never heard of you
will come running to you
Because of me, your God,
because The Holy of Israel has honored you."
Seek God while he's here to be found,
pray to him while he's close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."
God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them.
"So you'll go out in joy,
you'll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
living and lasting evidence of God."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teddy Bears

My great aunt loves them. Children love them. We've got stores devoted to them such as Build-a-Bear and then all the knock off stores. We've got Winnie the Pooh. Teddy Bears (dubbed so after Theodore Roosevelt) are a favorite of America.


People love teddy bears. Honestly, we're trying to incorporate them into everything these days. Check out some of the following creativity.


Don't want a teddy bear coat? Well, then. You could get a teddy bear lamp.


If that doesn't sit well with you because you find it truly horrifying, we'll move on to a sweeter type of terrifying.


Now, if that was much too haunting for you, we'll go for a more European look. This teddy has a good if random life. I'm wondering if he's a photo-bomber.


Yes, I think I want to be this girl with her teddy in the woods with balloons. After all, anything can happen. Balloons grow on trees.


Although I know a fair amount of child-at-heart adults, I still think teddy bears look most at home in the arms of a child.


This may seem quite random to you. However, I visited my aunt this week and I admired her teddy bear collection. I thought it was only right that I might do a bit of blogging about these wonderful teddy bears. Of course, this post focused more on the fun and random. This blog is like my brain sometimes (but, not always - so don't freak out, mom).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Short Story: Tears

Once upon a time, there was a girl who hated to cry. Bad things happened in life, but she refused to cry. When her heart broke, tears refused to surface.


"I cry in my heart." Her plaintive, but pathetic voice excused her lack of tears.
Then times would come when she knew that she ought to cry. The girl wanted to cry, but couldn't seem to. In the quiet of an empty room, the girl whispered to herself, "It's okay. Now, you can cry." No tears ever came.

To this girl, tears portrayed weakness. Tears were for those who could not take care of themselves or who wanted to manipulate others to their own desires. And for vanity's sake, tears made one's skin motley, red, and puffy.

As this girl journeyed through life and continued to refuse to cry, she met many people. A curious thing happened. Some of these people were not afraid to cry and some shared the girl's own feeling of distaste toward tears. Yet, this girl found herself drawn to those who shed tears openly. They seemed freer somehow. These tear-shedders walked lightly and were not ashamed of their vulnerability.

In time, the-girl-who-could-not-cry discovered that she had begun to respect these others who felt no shame in crying.

"You must learn to cry." These told her.
"I hate crying?" The girl tried to say emphatically but ended in a question. With the passing of time, tears began to entice her. Crying seemed to hold such freedom and release.

Life brought this girl pain after pain. Never did a tear slid down her face or fog her eye. She went staunchly on; yet, out of the corner of her eye, the girl wistfully caught sight of those who freely shed tears on her behalf.

She wanted that.

The girl desired to cry.

On rainy days, the girl sprinted out to meet the teardrops of the sky. As these fresh water tears splashed on her face, the girl pretended that these drops of water came from her own heart. The rain danced down her cheeks as the girl spun in the rain with arms opened wide finally accepting the crying of the sky. Her pain seemed best expressed through this sky encapsulating cry. Yet, only the fresh water of clouds cascaded down her face.


Still, salt droplets did not come from the girl's own eyes.

Life continued bringing the girl both new pains and renewing old ones. And yet, things had changed somehow. No longer did she face these hurts in the same way that she had before. Before, she had chosen to be strong and show no weakness. Now, the girl wanted to embrace the freedom that she saw in the tear-shedders.

Even with this desire, no tears came.

On a day with no rain but lots of wind, the girl climbed a hill and considered her life. Abruptly, she sat amongst the tall grass. Looking at her hands, the girl noticed a small yellow bud of a flower by her knee. The flower's petals were crushed, bruised, and ripped. Yet, the flower still sought the sunshine. Just like she did.


The girl's throat tightened as she stared at the flower. Her mind raced. Surely, she would choke and die. Breathing seemed difficult with this strange tightening of the throat. Emotion rushed to her eyes and a liquid warmth filled her eyes and spilled over. The girl let the tears come. She did not wipe them away. She did not laugh in embarrassment. She cried freely. Her skin became blotchy and red. Snot dripped from her nose. And you know what? This girl was beautiful in her tears.


"A princess's tears are prized the world over. For centuries, caravans and traders traveled across sand and sea looking for this rare find. Like invisible ink, they are used to compose the sweetest of songs, the most beautiful poetry, and the most adoring love letters. For break-up letters or insults, use crocodile tears."
The Secret Lives of Princesses

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Captivation: Perfectionism


(more on Perfectionism)

It eats my happiness.
Perfectionism creates a fear within me that I shall not be enough and that the work I do will not be enough to please those around me. Sometimes, it freezes me up so much that I can't move even a teeny tiny step forward.


I'd love to be perfect. To be perfect would mean no mistakes and no fear of anything - after all, I would be perfect.

Perfectionism - "a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less." (found at

The pursuit of perfection is life-draining, throat-numbing, failure-focusing, hand-trembling, brain-short-circuiting, depression-inducing, workaholic-making, and just plain unsatisfying.


Mistakes are rarely world-ending. After all, has the world ended yet? Nah, it still seems somewhat intact although it does seem to be hanging on by only a few threads in some places. Mistakes create learning experiences. Mistakes remind us that we are imperfect individuals (we can relate to complete strangers in our imperfections).


Perfectionism. It puts a bad taste in my mouth. I am not perfect. I shall never be perfect. My desire to reach perfection is like trying to reach Nirvana. Impossible.


I hate that I'm not perfect. I hate my brokeness. I'm not perfect and I have nothing to offer. And yet. And yet, a flawless and perfect God loves me. He chooses to pursue me, a girl who terrorized babysitters and teachers alike with my stubborn, pig-headed ways - a girl with a sullied heart. Although I was once a curse, He's has turned me into a blessing. This Creator God who could have turned away from His creation chooses rather to turn toward His creation with love. He bought my heart with His life (when I give it away for much less). He died for me. He scarred Himself for me.

I am imperfect meaning that I'm a bit broken in places. It's a good thing that this God who loves me is in the business of healing.


Instead of chasing perfectionism, I think I will chill in the presence of a perfect God who accepts me in my imperfection and is making me into something new.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Girl's Perspective on Rambo

A couple of nights ago, I had a date with John Rambo. Sitting in the guest bedroom that I’ve called home for the past three months, I sat riveted to the television as I watched Sylvester Stallone in First Blood. Truly, I’m a chick flick kind of girl when it comes to movies. However, I asked my cousin recently for his favorite movies. He proffered The Hunt for Red October, First Blood, and First Blood part II. I found The Hunt for Red October to be right up my alley (I like to think) – it was described as a giant game of chess with the chess pieces being the navies of the United States and the Soviet Union. First Blood, on the other hand, chilled my blood. As I told my cousin later, my stuffed elephant, Horton, ended up in my lap for the latter half of the movie because he was scared. Yes, this is my creative way of saying that I might have been a tad nervous – maybe scared.

For the past couple of years, I have noticed that my friends have a propensity to compare different people to Rambo. For example, “Dude! Did you see that girl? She’s crazy like Rambo.” Now, I had no idea who this Rambo was. Apparently, he is crazy. Obviously, he’s got great fighting skills and a bit rough around the edges. I didn’t know this. I was just assuming from the comparisons that had been made.


After watching First Blood, it all becomes clear. Rambo is a manly man. We’re talking muscles, deep voice, scars, a mysterious history, a decorated past, etc. Did I mention the muscles - as in Rambo has more muscle in his one muscle than I do in my entire body? He’s America’s favorite type of hero. He’s misunderstood. Rambo chooses to place himself against the world or perhaps it’s America that put Rambo in that position. We sympathize with this brooding, muscular man.

Will Teasle, the sheriff who awakens the inner beast of Rambo, is also a man. He’s a man with a family, a town, deputies, and a respected position. He wants to protect what he has. The sheriff hates drifters for the trouble they could stir up so he moves them right along. Although more common in America than Rambos, the movie displays Will as ignorant, discriminatory, and frankly just plain dumb. We don’t sympathize with this domineering, angry man.

Both Rambo and Will are overwhelmed by blood lust and pride. Their dispute with each other does not begin so much in words as it does with action. Rambo requests a meal and Will drives him right out of town. Will strips Rambo of all dignity and in return Rambo does the same to Will. Neither one is willing to let go of their blood lust and their pride. Throughout the entire movie, I kept thinking to myself, “Will is a dead man.” Rather than follow the advice of people who were familiar with Rambo and his nature, Will refused to back down (I suppose this is a quality that would make him a good sheriff). However, it marked him as dead and foolish for not following wise advice.

At the end of the movie, Rambo breaks down and speaks more than he did in the entire first hour and fifteen minutes of the film. His iron exterior hid a broken individual. I cannot help but feel awe for this character that showed extreme ingenuity and strength throughout the film. It is appealing. However, a lot of trouble, death, explosions could have been saved if Rambo had simply started the movie with vulnerability and humbleness.

I suppose this would not have made much of a movie, though. Rambo is the epitome of masculine inspiration. The less talking, the more explosions, the better! Rambo might be able to go through his movie existence like this, but I sure hope men aren’t taking their cues from Rambo. Life will be less difficult if they share a bit more and drop the iron exterior more often. As a girl, I definitely found Rambo pretty amazing. No, I don’t wish to have his muscles nor do I want his voice (neither do I find super-muscle men very attractive - ever heard the phrase "all brawn, no brains?"). However, that savvy nature knowledge I could go for. Yet, I think Rambo and Will reminded me the snares of pride, judging by appearance, and the necessity of vulnerability.

Don’t worry about my stuffed elephant, Horton! Although he got nervous at parts, I know he’s excited about watching First Blood part II. I, on the other hand, might be hiding under the covers of my bed.