Remember that our lives matter. Remember to be more human – to loved ones, neighbors, and strangers alike.

EUGENE CHO

robin-williams-cover-ftr

It feels awkward and even a bit inappropriate to be talking about ‘celebrity news’ when so much is going on around the world: Iraq, refugees in Syria, children stranded at borders, Michael Brown’s death and Ferguson, Ebola, Ukraine, and the list tragically goes on.

But then again, it feels appropriate because it’s another reminder of the fragility of our humanity.

By now, most of you know that Robin Williams past away today (August 11). His life ended way too short at the young age of 63 – apparently because of suicide. While this was news to me, Robin had been struggling with intense depression – especially as of late.

To be honest, I don’t get caught up too much on celebrity happenings mainly because there’s not much genuine connection. I don’t really know them personally. Make sense? Robin Williams’ death – on the other hand – just felt like a…

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Dance-The Secret Place

As some of you know, I often find myself dancing when I am in church. I started praise dancing when I was young-perhaps about ten. It is something that I stopped doing for a while, and then when I got to college going to a charismatic church in Kenosha it has been drawn out of me more. A friend once asked me what goes through my mind when I dance. Another friend has asked me why I dance. I often hear people say that dancing is fun. And it is very true. When I have been really stressed or not doing well, often times dancing makes me feel all the more better. But that is not why I get up and dance on Sunday mornings. For me, it’s so much more. It’s a way of praying, but at the same time it’s beyond that as well. When I dance, I hate that there are people watching me. I really do. Granted, I have never enjoyed such attention. Recently, a friend of mine wrote a song called, Secret Place. It’s about finding that one place of intimacy with God that is a place for just you and Him. In a lot of ways, that is what dancing is for me. It’s about being in that secret place with God where no one else is. It’s about declaring a love for Him that goes beyond my words. It’s about ushering in His presence in a way that I cannot express with lyrics. It is a psalm in itself; it is a most intimate prayer. It is where my heart and soul find the most freedom. It is where I can bring every care, every petition, every need into the throne room of God. It is where every fear I have and once had is faced, conquered, and melted away. It is where I am born; it is where I die. It is a language I long to learn; one that I long to teach others. This may seem overly romanticized, but this is what dancing is for me. It is my secret place. It is my loudest declaration. And I hope that someday, dear friend, that you will join me in finding your secret place and dancing before the Lord. 

Give More Hugs Daily

I vote we all take this as scientifically accurate. 🙂

But really though, as someone who has a love language of physical touch, whether I’m happy, sad, or neutral, hugs are a great way to communicate to me that you care. And they’re a great way to communicate in general and the world needs more people who hug as opposed to give handshakes or head nods to say hi, bye, I love you, I’ve missed you, I care about your well being, I’m glad we’re friends, I’m sorry for your loss, etc. (this is not to say other love languages or expressions of physical touch are less than. This is just a promotion to give more hugs) 🙂

Recovery From Perfectionism

Perfectionism says you’ll never, ever be good enough no matter how hard you try, but you should keep trying cuz why would you willingly accept less than perfect? Less than perfect is not THE BEST and you have to get THE BEST even though no one can. Yet you think you can. So when you can never get there, you start to get down on yourself. You start to feel worthless. You start to feel like you will never be good enough for yourself, for others. You start to feel like a failure even when you’ve done a kick butt job. Others around you will tell you to stop being so hard on yourself. But they don’t get it. They don’t understand. YOU NEED TO BE PERFECT!!!!! It’s engraved in your thinking you can’t just stop! No, it’s never that easy; never that simple; it’s always a process. It’s a process we need to start. Cuz if we don’t, we’ll stay in that pit of worthlessness and depression. We’ll stay in that feeling of thinking “we’re never good enough” or “we’re never enough, period.” If we don’t start, we’ll continue to miss the numerous successes that we’ve had and will have in life because we counted them as failures when they didn’t live up to an impossible or downright ridiculous standard. (Notice the words IMPOSSIBLE/RIDICULOUS STANDARD.) What if we replaced the word impossible with realistic? What if we stopped agonizing, obsessing and cringing at every single mistake? What if we started accepting our flaws and shortcomings? What if we started celebrating at bringing home an A or B instead of crying because it wasn’t an A+? Isn’t it better to love yourself for being human than hating yourself for not being God? 
(Thoughts from a recovering perfectionist. Do with them what you will.)

Passion

When you are passionate about something, it is not merely something that you care about. It is something that strikes you to the very core of your being. It is something that strikes you in the pit of who you are. When you are passionate about something, seeing it decimated causes cracks to form in your heart. Sometimes you get a mixture of white hot fury, sadness, and even joy. You become angry when people tell you to “chill out” or when they call your something “less than,” “not important,” or “not that big of a deal.” You can feel sadness and even pity because of those around you who cannot see its value, and deep down inside you cannot shake the thought that they are missing out. When you feel joy it can be because either you see other people around you start to get ahold of the untamed fire that’s been raging in your belly, or you start to see positive change happening in that thing you love so dearly. Passion is so powerful, because even if the emotions fade, you still hold the convictions of your thing, whatever it may be in the forefront of your mind and in the marrow of your bones. Even after the sun has gone down your mind will not let you stray from that conviction that holds you so tightly to what it is you do. Passion goes far beyond caring about something. You can care about something and not have a passion for it. E.g. I care about the fact that our education system in many ways fails its students. But I am not passionate about it. You don’t find me at the rally of every PTA meeting. You don’t find me in the classrooms teaching, to try to make a difference that way because that is not where my passion lies. Passion is like love. You don’t do it for the feelings; you’re not in it for the untamed fire. You do it because life without it isn’t much of a life. You do it because you’re driven to like a compulsion. You do it because it is your obsession in the core of your heart, and in the depths of your soul and mind. Passion is what pushes us forward despite the doubts and questions and fears.

A Fair Question

In many ways, I feel rather unqualified to give any type of relationship advice given the fact that I am now almost 23 years old and still single. However, I like to think that seeing so many failed marriages and relationships around me has given me some insight. So, perhaps you won’t write me off just yet, dearest reader? 

In college I was surrounded by girls who were in love with the idea of relationships and love. I wanted to slap all of them. I wanted to slap them because the way that they talked it made it seem like love/marriage/romance was this shiny toy that they had to have. So many people talking about “getting a ring by spring!” or meeting their future spouse at a conference. Whenever people around me start talking about this I never contribute to the conversation. It’s just not something that I like talking to a group of people about, even if I’ve known them for a couple years. It’s nothing personal. Just, not a me thing. But one thing that I’ve noticed and I feel bears some thinking about is the romantic way my friends, classmates, co-workers, and society in general through movies and books, etc. present love. I once heard it said that our society doesn’t love love. It loves the idea of love. I find this to be very true, and one question I feel is fair to ask is meant to challenge our mindset. Yes, part of being in love is going on romantic walks on the beach at sunset (if that’s your thing), going to the movies, a warm kiss at midnight, etc. But the part that is often swept under the rug is the fact that relationships are work. Relationships aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes there are cloudy days. Sometimes there are cyclones. When you’re in an intimate relationship (intimate as in one where you truly show who and what you are, not having sex), you’re going to find yourself in these cyclones. And you’re not always going to handle them with the grace of a ballerina. Sometimes, the cyclones bring out a side to you that you may prefer to keep hidden. As opposed to putting up a front or a mask to try to make yourself seem “perfect” to the person you are involved with, what if we tried something different? If you are single and thinking about being in a relationship with someone, here is a fair question to ask yourself before you ask them on the first date: can I share my demons with this person? I’m not saying share as in you’ll both have them. I’m saying share as in will you be honest and say there is this side of me, there are these dark things in my past that I’m not too proud of. Now, granted, it’s probably not a good idea to share all your skeletons on the first date. But it is a good idea to enter into a relationship knowing that there are going to be times when the side of you that you aren’t so proud of is going to come out. And it’s I think healthy to confront that right away lest you give yourself or your partner the idea that you will have this perfect relationship because the only thing you’ll ever have to worry about is the occasional white lie.

 

Disclaimer: In terms of the skeletons in our closets, one should always use discernment as far as when to share what. I’m not going to tell you what is or is not acceptable to be upfront and share right away. An example of when or what kinds of things would be talked about would be in the “boundaries” discussion.