Wednesday, January 14, 2015

. . . on my Maid of Honor speech

Hello everyone! My name is Edrina, and I'm the sister of the Bride.

I am so very honored and ecstatic to be here celebrating the nuptials of Chuck and Diandra.

When Diandra and I were growing up she had always wanted to love on me, even when I wasn't having it. She would do whatever it took to make sure I knew she loved me. Loving deeply is her bold spice of life.

When Diandra first started talking about this guy at work that she gets along well with, or that she enjoys talking to; our ears started percolating. Chuck is the right blend of light-hearted charm and wit. And, we pondered if he was just the cream and sugar she needed.

We saw great potential when they started attending church together. We knew it was true love when she told us he would eat anything she cooked for him... Their relationship started brewing. Chuck and Diandra saw greatness within each other, and we took note of the fresh aroma it left in the air.

We knew Chuck was a keeper when he started coming around to family functions. In fact, he got in so well with us that we sometimes mistook him for an uncle of ours... Together, Chuck and Diandra found their Church family within their lifegroup, and their love became rich and full-bodied. I love how well their blending of flavors go together both smoothly and complimentary.

This hot, fresh, cup of life that God has to offer you is at your fingertips ready to be drunk, my dear brother and sister. So, drink it up, drink it in.

And now, as we lift our glasses I'd like to toast the happy couple ... Here's to a lifetime of love, happiness, laughter, grace, forgiveness, and many years of joy. Matthew 19:5 says: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

Cheers to the happy couple!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

. . . on being a tree

i was like a tree in the forest ready for my transformation
each year seemed to be a year of cutting and trimming
every strike the Man struck on me hurt more and more each year until i felt like there was nothing left in me
but that night -- 
when my family gathered around me for dinner to celebrate my years of hard work and dedication -- 
my eyes were finally opened
i took a look around and saw that i was transformed into a dinner table
where warm hearts gather, share a meal, and spread love

Thursday, November 1, 2012

. . . on excessiveness

it occurred to me more than several times over the past weekend just how excessive we are. we say we live in the "land of possibilities", but really it's just a land of excessiveness. get what you want, when you want, and there's no looking back.

we demand our lattes every morning. we complain about not having enough *name your store* in our areas. by our thirties, we have paid more for our college education than probably anything else we've owned (does anyone else think supply and demand got a little out of whack here, or is it just me?). we think having a wedding under $10k is a good deal. and then, we turn around and teach our children to share in this attitude.

we have a million different versions of what a shirt should look like.  for all different body types, frames, and styles. you can find EXACTLY what you are looking for if you look hard enough.  take for example this H&M store we came across while walking around Vegas. it's literally THREE stories tall.

do we really need a three story H&M? probably not. did my friends and i really need to do a detailed comb through of all three floors? probably not.

okay, okay, i know what you're thinking. you're thinking that i am a walking contradiction because i gave in to this excessiveness. going to Vegas merely adds to precisely what i am talking about here -- granted it was to celebrate my birthday AND my friend's birthday... (and, that's just efficiency, in my opinion).

i mean, Vegas is fun if you like people, gambling, drinking, smoking, shopping, clubs, spas, swimming pools, museums, and seeing pretty lights (EVERYWHERE).  then there's the other part to Vegas; the not-so-moderate-nothing-but-excessive-and-addictive gambling, drinking, "gentlemen's clubs", nude pics; and the like.

and then i realize under all this hatred for all things excessive, i find within myself my own excessive nature. i try to stress simplicity in my life, until i open my closet doors to put in the new clothes i just bought and realize my closet is stuffed full of clothes.  i have to give myself rules that state for every new item, one item must be donated.  but, it still seems like that doesn't work!  i still have boxes and boxes full of stuff that haven't been touched in over a YEAR. and, isn't there a law out there somewhere saying if you haven't touched it in a year, you don't need it? so, shouldn't i just burn down these boxes?

what is the real deal with this excessive nature? why do we rely on having more than the necessary amount of things? is it really comforting to us, or is it suffocating us? does this speak to a larger problem? is something innate trying to tell us something (was Plato right?)? what is it that we are truly missing?

and, as i prepare for bed while sitting under the covers and duvet on my bed, i can't help but wonder, why do we rely on being excessive?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

. . . on grad school

My blog on saying Goodbye to Grad school has been long overdue. But, it’s only because I promised myself I would not finish writing and publishing it until I can finally pinpoint the words to say, articulate them clearly, and respond justly to the ups and downs of Grad school.  Grad school became a pivotal point in my life and career, I wanted to make sure I gave the experience enough time to simmer and manifest within myself.

Grad school demanded many sacrifices.  Some good, some … not so good.  Some sacrifices I wasn’t willing to give up, some I gave freely.  I’m not quite in a position to have enough retrospective wisdom (yet), but what I do know is the sacrifices I made will be worth it in the end (it better be).  Grad school, although seemingly overwhelming in the midst of it, was merely a speckle in time.  But, during that time life took a ride on so many different roller coasters. 

For one, I do not have the same group of friends now that I had prior to Grad school.  Heck, I may have even made a few enemies in the past 3 years.  And even though that seems like a pretty rough assessment of where I am right now, at least it’s an honest one.  This is one of the categories I wasn’t really willing to give up.  But, the friends that have remained (including some new friends I made along the way) have been ever so loving, supportive, gracious, giving, and understanding.

Two, my life looks completely different right now than it did when I first started Grad school.  This was one of those sacrifices I freely gave.  I live in a different home with no roommates, I work at a different company, I frequent different places, and most of all I feel so much happier and healthier than I have felt since my undergrad.  Although I’ve only been at my current workplace for the past year the coworkers I have right now have been encouraging and supportive with my last year of Grad school.  I could not have asked for better people to be surrounded by during those challenging times.  I am forever indebted to them, and grateful.

Three, my family has been nothing but patient, loving, and accepting of me during the past three years.  I have had to miss family functions, birthdays, celebrations, I think there was even an Easter I missed somewhere in there.  None of that mattered to them.  What mattered to them were my education and ability to care for myself while going to school full-time as well as working full-time.  They brought me meals in times of stress.  They took me in if I didn’t want to drive back to Pasadena that night.  They checked in on me to make sure everything was okay if they hadn’t heard from me in a while.

So, I tip my hat off to the people in my life that have uplifted me, encouraged me, supported me, and loved me.  I would not have survived without you. Thank you.

I leave you tonight with what I had (and didn’t know I needed) as a reminder, for the last 2 months of my Graduate career, a post-it note with the words “You will be fine” on it, written by a very dear friend of mine.

We will be just fine.

. . . on saying goodbye

Goodbye Grad school, I will not miss you…

I will not miss your sleepless nights
I will not miss your hard deadlines
I will not miss your long work days
I will not miss your never-ending study days
I will not miss your online lessons
I will not miss your Saturday classes
I will not miss your awkward group projects
I will not miss your heavy thick text books

Goodbye Grad school, I just might miss you…
I just might miss new insights gained
I just might miss new friends I made
I just might miss your mentorships
I just might miss your lecture halls
I just might miss your deep discussions
I just might miss your lovely campus
I just might miss your diversity
I just might miss your strategies

Goodbye Grad school, I’m gonna miss you.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

. . . on 2011 in review

I would like to say that I started a hash tag trend.  Unfortunately, I think it's something that became embedded into our culture from an organic evolution.  It is something people say all the time.  And, when I consider posting this hash tag to Twitter it really makes me ponder the depth and meaning of it.  It makes me look deeper within myself and my life this past year to wonder if I truly mean it...

I'm not gonna lie -- nor even sugar coat it -- this past year has been hard.  I've gone through feelings of being a failure, to not being loved, to being completely forgotten.  Granted some of those feelings had to do with the affects of circumstances outside of my own control.  But, these circumstances made me feel less than human at times.  It weighed me down.  It made me even consider giving up.  [I am not the giving up type of person, if anything, I'm a fighter.]  Every fiber of my being would like to blame 2010 for starting my 2011 off on the wrong foot, but then that would not do justice to God's provision and direction in my life.  You see, I believe that God has been seeing me through these dark troublesome times.  During what seemed to be an endless pursuit of finding out who I truly am I have (*finally*) come to the understanding that His hand has been in every situation -- especially the hard ones -- because He loves me and wants only the best for me.  I can completely say with confidence that, after almost 2 years of feeling this way, I am at a place where I am more healthy, complete, and have become a more rounded individual because of it.  Not to forget the fact that I now may have some sort of understanding and context into seeing a glimpse of God's great love for His children.

My hope is that, while I am filtering and sorting through these thoughts and feelings, I might come to find who I truly am in Christ.  Not just the person of who I want to be, or even who I think other people perceive me as.  But, who I truly am, down to the core of my being.

I don't know about you, but I am so ready for a New Year to begin.  I am ready for being able to live my life again.  I am ready to put Grad School behind me.  I am ready to start feeling like I am progressing in life.  Even though I'm not really sure where my life will be headed even after Grad School, I am clear that I will at least know that with God's help I have conquered several goals in my life thus far.

Plus, I'm also ready to start blogging again.  I really do enjoy blogging and wish I had done it more.

"What is the hash tag?" you ask.  I will only tell you if you promise me that you will use it in every tweet of yours from here on out.... Okay, that might be asking a bit much at this point.  How about, in preparation of submitting a tweet (or status update, for you FBers) ponder within yourself if you truly mean what you are saying, and if you really do love the life you live.

#LML = love my life

Sunday, November 14, 2010

... on waking up

10 pounds
9 streets away from work
8 minutes past my bedtime
7 months of silence
6 hours of sleep
5 saturday classes
4 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (extended versions)
3 business partners
2 condos
1 laptop

When I feel…
not smart enough
in sin
in the dark
like sleeping my life away will fix all my problems

I have to remember that…
I am redeemed
I am pure
I am honest
I am true
I am not less human
I am not less of a person
I am deserving of God’s grace
being awake is far better than sleeping
I am awake, and life is good.

There is hope.

I find it extremely hard to communicate what I am truly feeling and thinking when in a dark place.  Especially when so much time, energy, focus, and effort seem to have been stolen from me and put into various other things --seemingly worthless-- for over such a long period of time.  I mean, it’s not really rocket science, but it’s a lot … and I still think I’m too young for this!  This past year has been an all consuming, trying, difficult, frustrating, unhappy year – to say the least.  When things in life shock you into bad habits it's hard to know precisely what's going on or even how to fix it.  Unfortunately, the only cure that I can figure out is that it takes time.  I’ve felt that over the past year I’ve been robbed of my life. Robbed of joy, happiness, clear thinking, friendships, time, and resources.  I do not like nor appreciate this feeling.  These bad habits of withdrawing and seeking darkness rather than light keep a person on an unhealthy continuum. 

Lately I’ve been slightly obsessed with a show, Grey’s Anatomy.  One of the concepts that sucks me into watching this show is their way of depicting precisely and accurately what the characters are feeling and thinking.  I guess one could say I use it as a form of self-medicating.  But, what is therapy really?  Therapy is learning how to accurately communicate what you are thinking and feeling to loved ones so they might understand you better and therefore the relationship can be enhanced through that effective communication.  So, here I am, telling the internet what I have learned about myself over the past year.  And, believe me, I’ve had those conversations with the people I need to, so they can understand me better and our relationship can continue to be cultivated.  To be completely honest with you, I don't (think I) need very many encouraging words in my life because I typically rely on the power and strength of Christ.  HOWEVER! ...that does not negate the fact that encouraging words are very uplifting and helpful in times of distress.  I am forever grateful for my family and friends who fight for me, while offering these encouraging words, and have put up with me this year.  They have been here for me and my seemingly minute complaints – especially when I couldn’t verbalize it and the only words I had for them is “I don’t like this at all…”  During this time I have learned that I am strong and can deal with the difficulties that are presented to me.  I can find my way to the light, and out of the bad habits that weigh me down.  I may protest and sink back into my chair because I might think that not dealing with it would be easier (read other blog), but ultimately I know that God in me is strong enough (possibly stronger…) than any trial that is handed to me.

I am awake.
I am alive.
I am thriving.
I love my life.  

…and, I will be late for work tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep tonight!

So those, dear followers, are my thoughts and conclusions regarding the past year...  I know that Jesus is still working on me and I will do my best at continuing to persevere through the trials, tribulations, joys, and successes...

But, for now, I leave you with words from a song that has haunted me for the past 4 months…Enjoy.

Cosy in a Rocket by Psapp

Climb, climb into the rocket
And we set the fuse to go, go, go
Head start, cosy in the rocket
And I need to go, to go, go, go
Tip top ready for the sky
And I'm tip top ready to go
Tip top ready for the sky
And I'm tip top ready to go, go, go

Come, come, fly into my palm
And collapse
Oh oh, suppose you'll never know

Nobody knows where they might end up
Nobody knows
Nobody knows where they might wake up
Nobody knows
Nobody knows where they might end up
Nobody knows
Nobody knows where they might wake up
Nobody knows

Tick tack toe, you're fitting into place
And now the old ways don't seem true
Stick stop blue you're only shifting
In the same old shape you always do
Tip top ready for the sky
And I'm tip top ready to go
Tip top ready for the sky
And I'm tip top ready to go, go, go

Come, come, fly into my palm
And collapse
Oh oh, suppose you'll never know

Come, come, fly into my palm
And collapse
Oh oh, suppose you'll never know