metaphor / met·uh·fawr/ noun - A literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible or intangible thing, quality or idea.
meta / met·uh/ adjective - self-referential; referring to itself or its characteristics.

Friday, December 4, 2015

An insecure winter evening

Winter is in full swing. The wind, that rascal, is dancing around the trees, seducing them and stripping them of any remaining leaves struggling to hold on. Our dear old friend Jack Frost is paying another visit tonight, and the heater is roaring away, bringing cheery warmth to an otherwise dreary, drafty night. I'm up late, honing my burgeoning homemaking skills and browsing Pinterest for more cleaning, decorating, and homemade-gift ideas.

Cozy, but insecure.

That about sums up how I feel right now. I could curl up on this bed for hours and keep this feeling alive. It's a luxury, though. I pay for it by going to work a few days a week and budgeting like a madman. I'm blessed to have a wonderful roommate who not only shares the rent and groceries, but also shares her life with me. Furthermore, it's a blessing to live with a reasonable rent, great neighbors and a kind landlord. All of our basic needs are met. But it can't last.

My roommate is moving to another town and will soon be getting married.

Everything will change next month, and I can't stop worrying.

Even after all I have to be thankful for... I still haven't learned to control my fears.

So I must keep reading the following, because I desperately need to take it to heart:

 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:25-34 

Friday, July 3, 2015

The story of one finger and a world of change

Two years ago, I had an accident at work. I sliced up the tip of my left index finger and had to go to the E.R. After getting six stitches and a finger guard, I made sure to be extra careful with razor blades thereafter.

Never underestimate the importance of even one little finger. That finger has the great honor of typing eight middle keys: 4,5, R, T, F, G, V and B. For the first couple of weeks, my middle finger was working overtime and I made mistakes on every sentence I typed.

At one point if I put my two index fingers together, I looked like I was stuck in a Chinese finger trap.


If that wasn't enough, I soon developed a whole-body rash in reaction to the preventive antibiotic. What a lovely feeling. After two weeks, I had my stitches taken out. And so began the awkward stage of dry, peeling, nasty skin on my fingertip. Thankfully, now all I'm left with is a slightly noticeable indent running along the tip of my index finger.

But for a while, I couldn't even press a button with that finger. At the slightest touch, my shiny new scar sent a loud warning shot of pain through my nerves. Yet another temporary symptom of the healing process.

Again, it's been two years, but since then I've had many big, bad thoughts about that one teeny, tiny injury.
  • I keep wondering how long this scar is going to stay. It's still noticeable right now, and my fingerprint has been slightly altered. But my hands seem to change and heal much faster than the rest of me. I once had a mole on the very tip of my pinky - it disappeared over time, much to my chagrin.
  • For a short time, I experienced the palpable feeling of helplessness because of this one finger that I had to keep covered so that the stitched up end wouldn't get banged up. It made me realize that "mind over matter" is an altogether unrealistic philosophy to live out, because even the smallest physical change can cause a whirlwind of chain reactions that ultimately affect my thought process and even influence what I'm thinking about. 
  • I never noticed how many things my hands slammed into throughout the day before the injury called my attention to it. I found out that my limbs can take quite a beating when I'm not paying attention!
  • Scars are amazing. Not only does your body stitch itself back together using fluids specifically for that purpose, but while doing so, it ensures that the section of skin that's being repaired will end up much stronger than before. My finger is now reinforced with extra protection against unwieldy blades!
  • I'm pretty grateful that I still have all of my fingers. Such a multi-purpose appendage is certainly not the most important part of the body, but it does perform some useful tasks. It points—it can help lead someone in the right direction, or it can beckon someone closer. It pushes buttons—with one push, this finger can take me up 10 floors or provides me with cool, refreshing water. It grasps—my grip is average, but my grip with a stiff index finger was atrocious.
  • At times, I have felt like a bandaged index finger in the Body of Christ. Calling back to the useful functions it performs when it is working, I remember the various ways I helped out in my old church back when I felt that I was thriving spiritually. I sang in the worship team, operated the video booth, co-led a study group of middle-school girls and helped with VBS. But when that church split, I floundered. For a few years, I floated around in life, not committing to a church, self-sabotaging friendships, forgetting to study the Bible and forgetting to spend one-on-one prayer time with the most important person in the universe. But, you know what? I think the bandage has come off now. The stitches, too. They started itching ages ago and had to be cut. Now my new skin is setting, and I will be stronger than ever. God is toughening me up, and soon I will have a beautiful scar. I'm gradually getting more connected in my new church, and I think I'm ready to take the next step and serve. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On the necessity of rain

Rain is a bad reminder of everything I don't want to know
Rain is a backseat driver that takes me where I don't want to go

The sky matched my mood for most of the day. Grey and overcast. I've been thinking back on the past month, trying to count my blessings in the middle of unfortunate circumstances. Life is beautiful, amazing and painful all at once. I feel ungrateful for the wonderful moments of happiness I've had because I am finding myself easily blindsided by the really awful moments of sadness.

This has been a difficult week for me emotionally. Honestly, it's been a difficult month, but this past week finished it off with a vicious twist of the knife. But my pain, though real, still feels somehow vicarious through my roommate.

I knew her brother. He stayed with us a few times this year. One time he was here for a week and started feeling almost like a surrogate little brother. But I'm not the one who changed his diapers, who soothed his tears and exchanged secrets. I'm not the one who lost her father from cancer only three weeks before losing her brother because he wasn't wearing his seatbelt. I'm not the one who had to step up and take responsibility for her mother's well-being while ignoring her own. I'm not the one who could barely walk after hearing that there was nothing more the doctors could do to stop the swelling in his brain.

No, I'm not the one whose baby brother has been ripped from her life because of one crazy car ride with his friends; that pain belongs to my roommate.

And it looks like the sky is caving in again
I'm dry and cracked, the sky goes black
And tut, tut, it looks like rain

Oh, Switchfoot, my faithful friends. There are times in my life that my soul needs music to help compose itself, and in those times I fall back on this dear band. I always find at least one song that speaks the thoughts and feelings I scarcely realized were there.

To think... I had assumed the low point of my year would be leaving my job without having found a new one yet. To be sure, I was a mix of sad, scared, and excited after the conversation with my boss that led to me leaving. I was sad that the business was struggling, disappointed with myself for not having the ability to become what my boss hoped I could be, but hopeful that the shop would be able to thrive. It pained me to admit that they deserved someone more capable than me - but it was true. I was in a skilled trade - but the only skills I have ever excelled at are in a far different kind of trade. I was scared of what the future would hold. Scared of not being able to find another job. Scared of being forced to move back in with my parents. Scared to be alone with my own thoughts - for I can be my own greatest critic and I remember far too many of my own mistakes. Scared that being jobless would negatively impact my new relationship. Scared that I could never be more than just competent at anything I tried to excel in. But still, I was excited. I was excited by all of the possibilities I was now open to explore. Excited to have a little more free time to finish projects I had neglected while working full-time. Excited at the possibility of actually using my Communications degree. Excited to be able to write, edit and design to my heart's content. Excited to catch up on new developments in my field and to brush up on old skills.

How very shallow the pain of being jobless is compared to the pain of losing two family members within a month. Needless to say, I want to be there for her and support her in any way that I can, but my human failings get in the way. I try my best to show empathy, but I haven't lost a sibling or parent. I simply cannot know how deep her pain is. All I know is that I also hurt from his loss - and it doesn't rationally make sense to me - I knew him very briefly in comparison. But now I don't have a chance to know him more, and my roommate won't get the chance to continue sharing life with him and see what kind of man he would have turned into. I hurt because of lost chances; I hurt because my roommate hurts.

Oh, Spirit, fall like rain on my thirsty soul
Oh, sweet erosion, break me and make me whole

We need God more than ever right now. My roommate and I may not be quite on the same page in terms of faith, but a couple weeks ago she schooled me! She reminded me that while Jesus took on our sins at the cross, He wiped away all record, as though we had never sinned at all. How amazing is that! My roommate, who for so long claimed agnosticism, who dated an atheist, who is currently dating a Taoist. I love this girl. And I hurt for her because she feels alienated from the Church. I'm only recently getting back into being involved with a church. It's been a long time coming. I hadn't realized how badly I took it when my old church split up. But like the song says... break me and make me whole. I think my old wounds were set badly, like a broken bone allowed to heal crooked. God is breaking that bone again to allow it to heal straight within the structure he is setting up for it. He's making a cast now, just for me. And healing will come.

The thirstiest grounds can't take the rain
My undecided vices washing on down the drain
And it looks like the sky is caving in again
My heart is cracked, the sky goes black
And tut, tut it looks like rain

I have so many flaws. As I said earlier, I am my own worst critic, and I can clearly see the majority of my own vices and flaws, even if I can't do anything about some of them. I'm constantly being overtaken by fear, and the thoughts of being inadequate, incompetent and incapable of holding down a good job. But those thoughts are lies! I can prove them wrong. I have held down good jobs, and I've been darned good at them! I just need to get back into the swing of things. When I have the confidence and the drive to get things done, I get things done right!

But I have yet to regain that confidence and drive. Somewhere in those three years I spent working in retail, I lost it. And I can see only one person who can truly help me regain what I lost... for what is impossible to the being who created all matter out of nothingness? NOTHING is impossible for God! and I can do all things through Him. Oh, how I need Him right now.

Oh, Erosion, would You wash away my sins?
Oh, Erosion, I need a second shot again
Oh, Erosion, would You break my heart again?
Oh, Erosion, I am a broken-hearted man

It still amazes me how God insists on giving second chances. And again, the song reminds me of yet another way God's mercy shone through. I've been seeing a lot of rainbows this past week, but the original rainbow appeared right after the rain. It showed up right after the rain, which washed the earth clean of its wicked and despotic rulers and brought about the chance to start again. The rainbow appeared not only because the atmospheric conditions had changed, but because God orchestrated those changes, and because God meant it as a sign that He was not going to give up on this second chance.

In a way, I'm getting a second chance. I'm getting the opportunity to do what I felt helpless to do right after graduation: Decide once and for all to commit to my chosen field. I was made with the innate desire to write. I was born with the innate ability to spot spelling or grammar errors after just a quick skim. God also gave me the sense of art and design needed to create many visually pleasing things. This is the work I was meant for.

And as for my roommate, I know part of her feels that her life as she knew it is over. The sense of deep loss from losing a close family member is not something to be taken lightly. But if her life as she knew it is over, then her life as she now knows it is just beginning. It has been and will continue to be tough for her to cope. But her broken heart will heal.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Knowing and believing

Scientists say humans speak an average of 10,000 words in a day. I guarantee you that on any given day at least one of those words will be a form of the root "know" or "believe."

I often pause before saying either of those two, because in my mind, there is a subtle but important difference between them. Whoever I'm talking to may not notice a slightly different shade of meaning, but I'm a stickler for being as accurate as I can be.

"I know this as a fact" versus "Yes, I believe that is true" is a very crucial division that can mean the difference between ending a discussion amicably or parting as enemies. Making the effort to consciously communicate that you don't hold all the answers works wonders toward actually convincing people that what you have to say might actually be valid.

On another level of interaction, think of what line makes someone feel more confident: "I know you." versus "I believe in you."

Belief wins, again.

And here's why I believe it does: belief is an investment. Knowledge, on the other hand, is an accumulation. One gives, while the other takes.

So, consider being a more giving person today. I believe you'll enjoy the benefits.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Wild Thought Appears

As I huddle
in front of my laptop
on my bed
space heater blasting
heat blanket toasting
kitty nearby
wrapped up in his own tail

think to myself
"This is not such a bad life"
I am blessed
Like the cat, I have food to eat and a roof over my head
unlike the cat, I've had to work for that food and that roof
I am blessed
to be in such a city, in such a country
where I can afford my basic expenses
and then some
Oh yes,
and then some

So I do not worry anymore
about tomorrow
for tomorrow
take care of itself

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Times gone by and Times to come

Well, it's a new year now. I've got a blank book to fill now with 364 more gloriously pristine pages. Now, will I fill them with beautiful pictures and warm fuzzy thoughts, or soil them with furiously scribbled out attempts and mistakes? Who knows... but either way, It's my book to fill, and by December 31, 2015, it will be like the last one - complete.

Speaking of last year, I think it was a pretty good one. There were definitely a lot of transitions in 2014, but they were fairly well spaced out so it wasn't quite as overwhelming as previous years have been for me.

Here were some major developments:
  • My first full-time job
  • My first freelance job in a long time
  • Finally finding a church I can call home
  • Switching bedrooms
  • Becoming a board member of the local Swing Dance Society
  • Getting a new roommate, losing an old roommate, and getting a new roommate again (who used to be an old roommate)
  • Rediscovering my personality type by re-examining my cognitive functions
All of these developments have far-reaching implications that will continue to affect me in this new year, and that is fantastic. But with each new development, I must find a way to improve how I interact with the world.

So, here are some New Year's resolutions!
     Image courtesy of
  • I'm going to get my sleep schedule back on track. I don't know entirely how right now, but this needs to happen. I've been losing far too much sleep because of my crazy holiday schedule (retail is the worst possible sector to work in over the holidays, by the way), and I need to take back control so that I can function better while awake.
  • I want to recreate some of my old pieces of art (or just one in particular that has some sentimental value) to see how much my drawing skills have improved.
  • I am going to use my healthcare plan for all it's worth. I have dental work that needs taken care of, I need to have my thyroid and vision checked, and I might look into seeing a counselor for a couple of lingering issues I'd like to resolve. I'm very thankful for being full-time with health insurance right now. No matter how much free-time I'm sacrificing in the short term, it's going to be worth it in the long-term.
So these are my resolutions. Not a long list, I know, but I think it's fairly manageable. I've set some lofty goals and some very realistic ones, so there's some balance to it.

Stay tuned, it's gonna be a great year!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What a month!

It's the last day, folks.

Of the month, that is. Not of this blog.

Nevertheless, it's the last day of this crazy month-long writing experiment. I do believe it was a success. I learned a few things from it, such as how quickly I can get burnt-out when I haven't written this much in two years. I learned that however short a post appears from my edit field, it looks a whole lot longer when published. I learned that videos don't get a picture preview when I share them on facebook (sadface).

I relearned that I still have a lot of improvements to make on being able to balance home/work/social life/personal projects.

And I'm consistently learning new and better methods of expressing myself in writing. Each sentence is an improvement from the last. It's a gradual uphill walk toward the pinnacle of communication. I may never reach it, but I will always take one step closer each time I write.

So, will I continue to update this blog regularly? I sure want to, because it's started me on thought processes that I want to continue in for a while. But I still need to figure out how often "regular" needs to be. I definitely can't do it every day like I did all of this month, because as the last two weeks have shown, I can't quite handle that continuous streak of writing. Once a week might be a good plan, for now.

So long, July. You've been good to me, but now it's time to kick back and relax a bit, satisfied in a job well done.