Testimony

Lost souls in a lonely world, staring out a window at the rain that never stops coming down. “Eyes are the windows to the soul,” they say. Shutters and curtains drawn, you can’t even see the faces through the glass.

Can you see me now? A whisper.

Do the stars know best what it is like to be alone, millions of miles away from each other? The insufficiency of planets and moons, the routine of rotations. Perhaps they feel it most of all…

But the stars sing, even though they have no voice.

Or perhaps we are little stars, pinpoints of light in the dark expanse of sky, drawn to each other by the weight of gravity, guiding each other through and through…

Because even a small candle wards away that much darkness.

And small stars together form an ever-turning galaxy, spinning away the night.

Inspiration: moonage daydream

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

starting on a road less traveled on

Why can’t you stay in your room five minutes in the silence?

I wrote this four weeks ago, as well. I didn’t have internet at the time. Just thought I’d post it anyway.

I’ll admit that sometimes I do have a problem with silence. I’m so used to having music playing all the time even when I’m by myself in the room. I need the internet to browse the web and connect with people and write blog posts and have people read my blog posts and comment on my blog posts and I’ll comment on their’s back, yes, yes. Or so that I can be an attention prostitute.

And now I’m without internet and I feel woefully deprived. As if something’s missing. The boredom is killing me, because without internet, I don’t have anything to do. I already practiced piano today, I forgot to bring a book just in case I didn’t have internet (because I assumed that I would have internet) and I have more than an hour until bedtime and I’m just sitting here with the computer open and music playing (again) and trying to think about stuff to write because I simply have nothing else to do. Plus no one’s here yet, so I can’t socialize, not that I am any good at that, either.

Then this song started playing. It’s a song called Five Minutes, by the Boston-based boy band (Woo! Alliteration skills!) Forget the Girl. I have no idea what they’re up to, but last I heard they were in the process of recording a new CD, which would be slow in coming because band members went to graduate school and got married and important stuff like that.

Anyway, it’s weird the way some songs will speak to you your own thoughts at the right time. Or even give you what amounts to a lecture on the very topic you’re thinking of, or trying to avoid.

This song is a little like the “forgotten song” I’ve talked about in a previous blog, and not just because I forgot about it for months and months. It’s reminding me of things I once knew how to do but forgot how to. Like sitting still and figuring it out.

It’s making me feel as if I’m so close to finally getting things right.

I can’t sit still. I need to be always moving, always running around, always feeling as if I’m useful. I do like being useful, and I do like helping people. At the same time, I realized that sometimes, my serving only serves as an excuse, a distraction. Something to keep myself from thinking too hard. Something to keep myself from postponing decisions to be made, and things to be figured out.

Like figuring out why I can’t stop thinking about past mistakes I’ve made, no matter how stupid they are. At some point, I need to stop worrying that I’ll make the mistake again and let go of it and just live. I can’t change the fact that it’s already happened, and all I can do is learn from it and move on.

Maybe we do worry too much at times about things like acceptance, and the question of whether we’re so messed-up that we’re beyond redemption, not to mention friendship. Whether people will leave our sides once they realize how much is churning below the surface — and because they’re afraid that we’ll draw them into our struggles.

Or because we believe that we’re such screw-ups that we’re afraid that we’ll fail those people as well.

We need to go on and live our lives how we were meant to live it.

Silence is good for me. I don’t have anything to distract me for a while, so I can confront that sense of wrongness that I’ve been feeling for a while. Perhaps I’m only five minutes away from finding the answer.

Maybe we keep on adding to the noise in our lives because we’re so afraid of figuring things out. Or maybe because we’re so afraid of the darkness we will find when we shut the music off.

But then, perhaps we can still become free.

‘Cause you’re five minutes from
Starting on a road less traveled on
Five minutes from
Knowing why you need distraction
You’re five minutes from
Five minutes from real life

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Places I want to visit

a waterfall at Yellowstone

(First order of business: I’ve been interview by my wonderful blogging friend, Tuesdai! Click here to read the interview.)

One of my friends has a list of things she wants to do and places she wants to go before she dies. She made a photo album on Facebook to keep track of the things she has done. Every time she checks off something on her (pretty long) list, she takes a picture of herself doing the thing or a picture of herself at the place, and uploads it to Facebook. Some of those things might be as simple as learning how to ride a bike, eating a certain kind of food, or as “hard” as visiting a different country or paddling across the Atlantic.

I like the way she thinks. It may sound morbid to some, rather like a bucket list, but considering how short life is, why not? We’re so busy these days doing the things we’re “supposed” to be doing, like keeping food on the table and making sure the kids get straight A’s. Not that those are bad things at all. What’s worse is if we purposely fill our lives with hectic stuff just to keep ourselves busy and doing things just because it feels weird and wrong not to be always busy and doing things.

There’s a certain joy to be found in going somewhere one has never gone before. Or for once, doing the one thing one has always, always wanted to do but didn’t believe she would get a chance to.

along Yellowstone river, in the park

So I’ve made my own list of the places I want to visit at some point during my existence. While these are only five places, the possibilities are infinite.

1. Yellowstone National Park. I’ve never been out west that far. And of course, the whole deal about how inspiring nature is. Absolutely gorgeous waterfalls, hiking trails, beautiful scenery, weird trees, rivers, and fuzzy bears. Don’t forget Old Faithful, which I do want to see.

While writing this post, I was curious as to the origins of Yellowstone National Park. According to the Yellowstone National Park’s site, Lewis and Clark were the first white people to explore such a region. Among them was celebrated hunter and woodsman John Colter. When he came back and told others what he had seen, they thought he was crazy. Eventually, miners tried to publicize the reason, to not much success. It wasn’t until the later 1800′s that an official trip was organized, armed with photographers and painters. They collected important data, which they presented to the public and Congress. A bill was then organized, with the intention to preserve this area for future generations to enjoy.

Petrified tree

After convincing their colleagues that this region held extreme value in its natural state, the bill was passed into law. Yellowstone became the first national park in the world.

One of the earlier visitors, Charles Cook, said,

“I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me it was 5 minutes before anyone spoke. Language is inadequate to convey a just conception of the grandeur and sublimity of this masterpiece of nature’s handiwork” Artist PointCharles Cook 1869 (bolding mine)

Tokyo Bay

2. Tokyo, Japan. I’m really not sure why I’m so fascinated with this city. I have never set foot in Japan, except for some flybys while on my way to Taiwan.

Once my parents got a tape from the library about Japan and the only thing I remember where the shots of the city, with the people walking shoulder to shoulder downtown. Just… fascinating.

3. Grand Canyon.

4. New York City. I recently visited New York City a few months ago during spring break. My great-uncle, Hilo Chen, is an artist based in New York City, and he had his first art exhibit in a relatively long period of time. He invited my family, and we decided to head up there for a day to look at his exhibit and catch up. More for the prospect of seeing long-lost relatives than the paintings, since my great-uncle’s specialty is nudes, especially at the beach. He is amazingly good at drawing such details as water droplets beading on a woman’s thighs. The texture of swimsuit fabric. A woman reclining on a beach towel while small figures in the distance play in the water. I am still rather uncomfortable with someone’s larger than life-sized boobies staring at me in the face, though.

It was my first time visiting New York City. I wasn’t prepared for how big it was. Providence seemed so dinky in comparison, with only four buildings that I think are too short to qualify for skyscrapers.

My great-uncle’s art exhibit was in one of those buildings. I’d never met him, and he reminded me so much of my grandfather, his brother, that I liked him at once. My mother went through the usually pleasantries, in Chinese, of course. The only thing I understood was that my two younger sisters were taller and bigger than me and my 10 year old brother was the spitting image of my father.

In the afternoon, we left the exhibit and went to Central Park. A group of street musicians were playing jazz. I also saw a creepy clown guy who had painted himself with gold paint. I don’t like clowns, least of all those who paint themselves with gold.

We ended the visit with a trip to a Chinese buffet. What’s not to love about all-you-can-eat?

This picture is like a postcard

Clowns or no clowns, I’d like to visit there again. And hopefully see more of the city.

5. London, England. A friend of mine was blessed with the opportunity to study at Oxford University in England for the equivalent of two semesters. Over there, she studied in trimesters: three semester type like things, except shorter, with about a month in between. She used those in-between times to sight see: places like Rome, Paris, England of course, and Scotland. I was rather jealous, looking at her photo albums, but I believe I’ll get my chance someday.

What are some places you’ve always wanted to visit?

Trees on Yellowstone River

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

I’m Standing on the Edge of Me

Things have changed.

And will change.

Rather drastically.

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I just walked off another chapter of my life. High school. It seems that I spent most of that time being emo and depressed (not that I’m not like that now) and caring about someone who didn’t care about me at all.

It’s as if during those times, those struggles defined who I was…

However, I have to remember that that chapter of my life is over and gone.

For in less than a month, I will be headed off into a new chapter of my life: college. I will get to meet new people, socialize, take part in clubs and activities, all the while learning skills that I will use in my decided profession (or not). For the first time in my life, I will be living away from my home. There won’t be anyone to tell me what to do. No one to tell me to fold my clothes, put away my underwear, and clean the garbage pile that I call a desk.

For the first time in my life I will experience independence. That is, in the sense that I will be responsible for my own needs. I will be responsible for eating meals at the correct times. I will be responsible for my clothes, my use of time, and more. My parents won’t be watching me every second. It’s exciting, but scary.

It’s especially crucial that I learn how to manage things well. I will be a double major in both psychology and music. I will most likely be practicing piano for hours a day, while studying psychology and various other electives. Not to mention my blogging responsibilities, as well as the clubs I will join.

Will I actually be able to manage my time properly? Or will I fail at it?

I do know that college will change me in ways I can’t even imagine.

Forgetting him will take a while.

But that’s life for you. You do what you can with the time that’s given to you.

You follow the road that unfolds at your feet.

393284631_afc229790e

So I’ve been away…

I’ve been away for a couple of days doing Vacation Bible School with the kids at my church, which is why I haven’t been blogging regularly. I’m sorry about that. I had no internet connection as I was at a friend’s house for most of the time when I wasn’t at VBS. And right now, despite the fact that I’ve been very much blessed by the whole crazy experience, I’m very tired. I didn’t get enough sleep. Sleepovers will do that to you.

Plus chasing after five active individuals is quite… strenuous, to say the least.

Plus I ate a lot of unhealthy stuff. Gah. Stomach feels funny.

But I shall blog about it. Never fear! Five posts coming up all about it! Stay tuned!

I have to get some rest first.

Meanwhile, below is the logo for this year’s VBS. Pretty cool, huh? That crocodile is really something.

Note to self: Check out Jars of Clay.

Gummy Bears

Over the years, I’ve changed in my candy tastes. I used to like anything that was sweet, sugary, and totally bad for a little girl with baby teeth. My parents knew this, and they only allowed us to eat candy on the weekends. Because otherwise, we’d eat them all the time and that would be bad for us.

In fact, and my sister denies this ever happened, my sister ate too much candy when she was very small and threw up.

LAFFY_TAFFY_SUNDAE2.JPG

When my dad talked about it in church, she was not so happy.

However, when I got a bit older, things started to change. Candy that I enjoyed, like Laffy Taffy, were now intolerable. It was too sweet, too sticky. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I started disliking milk chocolate. KitKat bars were too sweet now. I couldn’t eat white chocolate because it made my stomach feel funny. At around that time, my devotion to dark chocolate began, and has persisted to this day.

However, something remained. My love for gummy bears.

My parents would buy a whole bag of gummy bears from the local BJ’s. At BJ’s, you can just about get anything and everything in bulk sizes. For a family of seven, that meant huge savings. Including candy.

0004142074508_L4The bag was huge. About five pounds in weight, it contained loads and loads of chewy perfection. Every single color of gummy bear was there. Red, yellow, white, green, and orange. For some reason, each bag contained more red gummies than anything else. My favorite flavor was the white one. (I think that’s pear? Not sure.)

In fact, it was pretty easy to eat a lot of gummy bears in one sitting, and not realize it.

The first bag of gummy bears we consumed took a year or more. The no-candy-on-weekdays ban was still in effect. Besides, we children went to a lot of extracurricular activities. The directors thought that candy would be the perfect reward for good behavior, so we ended up coming home with lots and lots of candy. (At that time I still liked Laffy Taffy.) Eating all that candy took a while, and often the gummy bears would sit in a musty closet, alone and forgotten, with only each other for company.

As a result, by the time we remembered to eat them, the gummies were hard. They didn’t have the stretch potential that they once had.

I still ate them gladly.

They still tasted good.

By that time, the ban had been lifted. We were free to eat candy any day of the week now, provided we did so with discretion.

Happily, no one threw up.

In fact, for my last birthday, my parents bought me a whole bag of gummy bears. I was so happy! Or maybe that’s a gross understatement. I was in ecstasy. It didn’t take me that long to finish up the whole bag. With the help of my family, of course.

However, my true appreciation for gummy candy didn’t begin until many years ago…

gummybearsEvery couple of years, my parents would take us all the way to Taipei, Taiwan to celebrate Chinese New Year with my mom’s side of the family. I loved it. Taipei was awesome. There were so many sites to see, including the excitement that came with having no idea what everyone else was saying. My Chinese is awful, at best.

And the awesome thing was that my aunts and uncles would take us sight seeing all over the place. There were temples, hiking trails, restaurants, malls, stores, and outdoor markets.

The outdoor markets.

Now those were amazing.

gummi-sharksMy aunt took us to this outdoor market which was unbelievably devoted only to candy and other snacks. Dried fruit, chewy pieces of squid, and MORE. What awed me was the stalls and stalls devoted entirely to gummy candy. It was gummy heaven! There wasn’t just the ordinary ol’ gummy bears that I had been used to stuffing myself with. There were little gummy sharks, gummy eggs, and gummy root beer bottles. You name it, it was there. Even better, they gave out free samples. I must have eaten dozens and dozens of gummy eggs, sharks, pizza, and bears.

301-Gummy-Bears-Sour.a.zoomOh yeah, the bears. They had little bears, big bears, sour bears, and bears with little bits of sugar on top. Some of the bears were funny looking. Others were cute.

Seeing how much we all enjoyed the gummy candy, my parents decided to buy lots and lots of them. So we flew home from Taiwan with bags and bags of everything that you would ever imagine under the sun that were gummy.

I was 10 at the time.

Now I can’t find gummy eggs or pizza over here in the States. It’s been a source of much frustration to me. The drugstore shelves only have the regular worms, sharks, and bears. No eggs. No pizza. Definitely no root beer bottles. That saddened me. The nearest to exotic gummy shapes were the lobsters for sale at Bar Harbor, Maine. Those lobsters, however, cost a flipping three dollars for three lobsters. Otherwise I might have bought them.

hatops$77202310Someday, I promise myself, I’m going to go back to Taiwan and find those outdoor stalls. And buy bags and bags of those heavenly gummies and come back to the States with those. Then I’m going to eat them. Slowly. Savor them.

And remember how it felt to be a 10 year old, mouth open, awed by the rows and rows of gummy candy in every imaginable shape and form. Remember what it was like to take joy in the simple things of life — like gummy candy.

Streams in the Desert (Part III)

Anger has the potential to create and to destroy.

3393616499_f62d11983dPeople like William Wilberforce used their anger to good purpose. William Wilberforce was angry at injustice, and spent his energy making the slave trade illegal. The movie Amazing Grace talks about his work on this. He was a man who knew what to be angry at, and how to use that anger.

Nowadays people, even church leaders, say that anger is something that is a bad emotion. A “bad” thing. A good person shouldn’t be angry. At all. All anger is bad.

I disagree.

I think that a person should get angry — at the right things. A person should be angry at injustice, oppression, and abuse. Not at the lady on the road, or the clumsy cashier at the nearby grocery. Anger is a double-edged sword. You can hurt someone with it. But you can also hurt the things that need to be hurt. Like injustice. Like child abuse. Things like that. Those things could profit by our anger, like when we turn our anger to our children. But they could also fall.

2286441601_99d4038045The pastor on the radio station said that most of us have no idea how to direct our anger. So we turn it on ourselves, and on others. The world is filled with a lot of angry people who have no idea what to do with themselves. Churches are filled with angry Christians who have no idea what God wants them to do with themselves. We’re angry, and we can only explode and burn out.

Some kinds of anger is good. Not other kinds. The destructive kind that only serves to tear down friendships, marriages, and other people? God hates that kind of anger.

We have to learn how to direct our anger at the right places.

Otherwise, we will fall.

Remember my friend in the first post whose anger is like a well that slowly overflows? He has to learn to be careful with his anger, otherwise he will hurt himself and ruin several friendships. However, a well can also water the flowers. It can be a refreshing drink to those that need it.

Autumn, Acadia

Autumn, Acadia

Similarly, a desert storm works the same way. It can bring fertility and new life into oceans and oceans of sand.

Or the forest fires that are so destructive? One time Acadia National Park had an enormous fire that persisted for days and days. No one seemed to be able to do anything about it. It burned up the huge mansions that the rich were so fond of having. It burned up the forests completely. However, after the vicious forest fires ended, people found that new life was growing where before there had been none. Once acres of forests of only pines and shrubs, the park became a place of oaks, and of maples. Of birches and of a variety of trees that had never grown on the land before.

I’m personally glad the mansions got burned down as well. Well, let me expand on that. I’m not glad that they burned down because those could have been the homes of people. I do not mean malice in any way or form. However, that fire marked the return to a simpler time. Everything happens for a purpose that God intended. I believe that maybe God meant for that to happen, as unwanted as it was. Maybe if those enormous mansions had still been standing, people would have gone there and looked at the mansions and the rich living in the mansions and not at the nature which pointed to a Creator. I don’t know. But I do know that if they had stayed, things would have been very very different.

Similarly, anger directed the right way can be a blessing. It can bring life.

Maybe I should learn to turn my anger on the things that need it, instead of turning it on myself.