Kai-my keeper — September 14, 2016

Kai-my keeper

Today, my brother Kai is 15 years old. He was born on September 14, 2001, a few days after 9/11. He is my younger, but oldest brother. Almost 6 feet tall. A freshman in high school. I haven’t seen much of him lately because he’s back at home and I’m here in college a few short hours away.

When I think about my childhood, I can remember Kai playing with me and my dolls. Not because he liked dolls, but simply because I demanded that he played with me. I demanded that he watched The Fox and The Hound, Barney, Rush Hour 2, and Big Clifford over and over again with me. He never said no, even when he did not want to do something. He was always the one making sacrifices for me at the early ages of three and four years old. We are 3.5 years apart in age. And he has always been kind, smart, funny, lovable, quiet, energetic.

I was not as good to him, though. I treated him badly growing up. I never put him before me. And I have guilt about that now. I know I was the bossy older sister (and in most ways, I still am). I went from being the only child, to having a little brother. It was something that I did not understand at the time. And I think I never accepted it. So as time passed, and I got older, I held a growing resentment towards my brother. He did nothing wrong to me ever. To this very day, I still do not understand why I felt this way about him. He showed me so much kindness. No matter how many fights I provoked or how many moments I presented a sense of entitlement. He embodied grace. And for that reason, he has taught me so much about life and about the treatment of other people at my expense.14344071_1406095572737176_8305341614570560529_n10556378_833928636658880_7075010557289441177_n11947424_877009105710904_2237493515181090964_n10580809_809082575810153_4915917062769054421_o

I love him to death and I hope he can forgive me for the times that I was not loving towards him when we were younger.

He is growing up and it is bittersweet. He will always be one of my greatest teachers. He is my keeper.Have a happy birthday, Kai. I hope you get everything you want out of life. If anyone deserves it, it’s you.


9/11 — September 11, 2016


On September 11, 2001, I was at Head Start, and only 3 years and 9 months old at the time. And I would be lying if I said I remembered this particular day because I do not remember it at all. But something in me wishes I were some years older at the time. Maybe if I could comprehend the moments of the actual day, I would have lived my life completely differently. Not to be vain, but to be the exact OPPOSITE. I feel like I wouldn’t have wasted so many moments living in vain if I could have felt what the entire nation felt so strongly on this day in 2001. I feel really sad when I think about all of the innocent people who lost their lives. They in no way deserved this. And it’s just a reminder that life is valuable.

It is the simplicity in day to day actions that matter. It is not materialistic. It’s not even something seen. But it is the things that are unseen that are meaningful. Experiences, memories, love, grace, kindness, courage, happiness, family, and friendships. These are the things that cannot give away. These are the things that last forever. Even after it’s all over, the history of how you lived and how you loved are what can guide other people to do great things bigger than themselves.

The older I get, the more I start to recognize that 9/11 was not just a moment in U.S. history. It is was much more. It is the ultimate reminder that we are to live in a way that honors our freedom and opportunities in this country. And we are to do everything with a mindful purpose. Nothing should be half-assed or taken for granted. All of those people who are no longer with us, did not get to go home. They did not get to see their loved ones for an official good bye. They didn’t all get to grow old. They didn’t all get to see their children or grandchildren grow up. Some never got to travel the world or run that first marathon. Some never got to be the best version of themselves that they wanted to become.

The bravery of those gone too soon, will always inspire me. They were so brave in the scariest of moments. They are the real ones. They are the heroes.

So, I am going to forget about the things that do not matter. Like my broken cell phone. It’s just a phone. Life is bigger than a phone. Life goes by so fast. There’s more to be done here. Capture every moment as if it is your last because you never know.

I personally choose to do better. I choose not to waste another moment over things so small that won’t even matter in the next few days.

Life is strangely beautiful even in times of tragedy. Let’s learn from the ones that had to be brave.

#NeverForget this day in history because the lives lost in 9/11 matter forever and always.

no record of wrongs — September 6, 2016

no record of wrongs

The evening sky after a beautiful run last winter. Every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of God’s never-ending love for the earth He created. 

There is nothing more accomplished than the love of Jesus. And it is becoming more and more apparent in my life every day. Jesus is not conditional. He is unconditional. He has a strong love for my every heartbeat. I know it.

The Lord goes before me in my life. He sits right beside me when the sun is shining and even when it’s not. He is with me when I have no one, when my mom leaves my family, when everything hurts. He is there in the trenches alongside me. And He pulls on my heart strings. He helps me make better choices. He loves me through my mess.

In the Bible, it says that, “(4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

When I was reading my Bible this morning, my heart really started to palpitate when it said, “…it keeps no record of wrongs.” It is scary to think that I have kept a list of grievances. I have held a record of wrongs against some people. I have done this many times. Just in the last week, I had a fallout with one of my best friends. I took what she “did” to me last year, and I made it a problem this year. I brought it out of the dark just to hurt her. I’ve noticed that I do that as a way to make myself  feel liked I have “won” the dispute. But that does not come from a loving place. It does not come from a place of kindness or protection. It derives from a place of anger and evil.

I have lived my life the wrong way. I have held grudges and I have said mean things. I have not loved others like I am suppose to. And I almost feel sick to my stomach thinking about it. 18 years of my life, I have been the mean girl. I have hurt people. I have put myself before others. I have done things intentionally lacking the consideration of someone else’s feelings.

There is nothing I can do to make up for it, but to live my life in such a way that people forgive me for the person I once was.

I am working on loving people with all I am, keeping no record of wrongdoings because Jesus loves me this way. It is never based on the nature or quality of present conditions. He sees the sinner in me and loves me ANYWAY. Through the help of God, I choose to love AND forgive other people without limitations and without motive. I choose to love people unconditionally even when it gets hard because Jesus does that for me every day. He has shown me what love is.

fighting for joy — September 1, 2016

fighting for joy

I wake up, get ready for the day and tell myself whatever I need to hear to be strong enough to make it. I tell myself that I am loved even though my mom has walked out her motherly role. I tell myself that my little brothers can still achieve anything without a mom. But as the day goes on, things start to eat at my spirit and the sound of my strong voice deafens. The devastation found in the absence of the small things I’ve once taken for granted, remind me that I have lived my life wrong. Regret takes its turn and torments me. I reconsider the days that I had with my mom. And I start to wish that I had loved and appreciated her as fiercely as I could when I lived with her. But now she is somewhere out there hurting. And I cannot do anything but pray that she comes back home soon.

In the past few days, I have been searching for something meaningful, but beauty is and always will be available to me in every waking moment. The world can never be too joyful, too kind, too wonderful. There is room for more of that; it will never get crowded.

I recognize that a conscious decision to fight for JOY and everything that is good and wholesomely within my reach, is not impossible for me. Good things are not beyond me because I am going through something devastating. Promise dwells in my potential to choose happiness even though the circumstances in my life are telling me to give up.

Fighting for joy until I have it, is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But right before I go to bed, I think about the past 48 hours and I acknowledge that there is victory in endurance. (I have made it to see September! All the bad is being left behind in August.) Fighting for joy in the midst of trials is a marvelous fight that one should never get tired of fighting for.