Summer, where’d you go?

Your inability to disengage and rest is a reflection of where you find your identity.

In my early years of formation as a young man, I learned to view life in seasons. When I view life in seasons I am able to be grateful for the experiences that that season invited me to. We all know certain seasons bring with it joy, and mountaintop experiences; and for other seasons it brings pain, and the valley.

Long story short– for the past year, thankfully, I was able to freelance as a tutor. I am thankful for that opportunity as that season of being a tutor really forced me to think about what I want to do coming out of the pandemic– and now, I am back to teaching, and pursuing higher education for child development.

If you have something you want to achieve, take yourself seriously. There is too much on the line for you to not take YOU seriously.

Before I transition into a new teaching position I know that I need to decompress, and restore my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Education takes a toll, and requires all of us, and it engages all of who we are. For me, I take a holistic approach to teaching in that I bring all of me to and in the classroom.

For the past two months or so I have called this my summer break. And what a break it was. Luckily, my girlfriend lives in L.A. now so I was able to spend my summer break in a different city away from the normal stresses of S.F.

We all know certain seasons bring with it joy, and mountaintop experiences; and for other seasons it brings pain, and the valley.

And as I think about it now, with all of the different commitments outside of career, I have been able to rest mentally, and more so emotionally, heck, even spiritually.

I have learned now, to take myself seriously. And I don’t mean that I’m going to stop enjoying life, or laughing, or smiling, no. What I am saying is that I am going to start taking my health seriously. I am going to start respecting the boundaries I have set in place. I am going to start taking my mental health seriously. I am going to start taking my goals seriously. It’s time we stop playing ourselves by putting our goals on the backburner. If you have something you want to achieve, take yourself seriously. There is too much on the line for you to not take YOU seriously.

Take yourself seriously.

And what I am not saying is to be selfish. Still love your neighbors. Put other people’s interests above your own. And I think what I am saying is that it’s a tension. And that’s love. How do we love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves?

But at the same time, it was a season to enter into my own mess and humanity so that upon coming back to S.F. and transitioning into normalcy, I would be able to more fully and deeply enter into the lives of others and the communities I am included in.

We can’t love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves. And maybe that’s why this world is so parched and hopeless. It’s that we can’t love the people around us because we don’t even know how to love ourselves. We’re drunk on knowledge and self fulfillment that we’ve forgotten and are parched for vulnerability and deep committed relationships.

And that’s exactly what this break was. Yes, I was able to spend time with my girlfriend in L.A. and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything else! But at the same time, it was a season to enter into my own mess and humanity so that upon coming back to S.F. and transitioning into normalcy, I would be able to more fully and deeply enter into the lives of others and the communities I am included in.

We can’t love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves. And maybe that’s why this world is so parched and hopeless. It’s that we can’t love the people around us because we don’t even know how to love ourselves.

Often times we don’t realize that our desert souls and hearts are longing for an oasis. The hard work of entering into this oasis is leaving behind (for a season/moment) our commitments and work. I would argue that if you struggle to disengage from your work or commitments, have you made them a functional savior? Have you turned your work and commitments into idols? Your inability to disengage and rest is a reflection of where you find your identity.

For the sake of our family’s, friends, and communities we are a part of– I urge you, for your neighbors’ sake, to learn how to rest and enter into the desert. The valley. The quiet. The solitude. That is where we find ourselves. That is where the chiseling of character can happen. It is where we learn that we are not, but are more than, our work, and our commitments. It is where we discover our humanity, our frailty and need for others, and love.

Oh, what a year pt. III

Another addition to the mini-series and this is one is all about the blessing of interruptions.

This past year was being able to modify what it meant to go on vacation.

And with the lockdown in full swing, economy shut down, how exactly does one go on a vacation?

Well, we- my girlfriend and I planned a road trip! It will be our first road trip as a couple and it was so, so needed as we were experiencing cabin fever and a withdrawal of being out. I know you know the feeling!

We decided to travel to Utah, and Arizona eventually circling back to L.A., making our way home in S.F.

This trip would be our first time off-roading and dispersed camping. I was always used to camping in sites like KOA and other man-made camping sites. I don’t know how the Youtube algorithm works… but during quarantine I started seeing people on youtube off-roading, dispersed camping and showing their tips and tricks to make it worthwhile and enjoyable.

So, we did our research and purchased the tools and equipment necessary to make our experience a good one.

My girlfriend and I try to travel every year, and we are both very fortunate we are dating each other (haha?) because we are both flexible, able to adapt easily, and up for any adventure!

You know, words won’t really cut it, so here is a photo dump of our time on the road. I hope you enjoy these photos and may it serve as a reminder to remain adaptable, and flexible. We make plans, but sometimes life has other things planned that interrupt us. When we see life as an adventure any and all bumps in the road are opportunities to shout for joy!

Here we are in Utah! Ka’i is not amused.
The Grand Canyon State. Arizona is beautiful
This was right on the cusp of the border between Utah and Arizona. This beautiful piece of land is called Lone Rock Beach Campground. One of the many locations we camped at and this was the morning as the sun was rising. So beautiful, the scene was right outside of our tent.

Another location we stayed. Here is a intimate moment between Katia and Ka’i. We would spend 3-4 hours in the car and both of us knew Ka’i needed to stretch her legs and also eat. This was the summer her diet completely changed to human food!
When I am the driver I tend to make spontaneous stops when I see something interesting. I am so glad I look left and right when driving otherwise we would’ve missed this epic shot of a able-bodied moose! Look at those horns!

We decided to really budget for our meals so we went with veggies for Katia, and I had to have meat. It was super cost friendly making skewers instead of whole meals. Very efficient, very tasty, very cool.
Another example of the spontaneous stops we’d make to let Ka’i run around and to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Precious moments. We would often find her spread out in the backseat. It was always a precious moment to find her resting.

We were so close!!
Katia found a dong lost on the road. The road we were on was windy, and cars were driving fast! She has more of a heart for animals than I so she was persistent that we rescue him and find him a place suitable to stay. Another driver led us to a nearby town where we could drop him off at a center. He was such a sweetheart!

Thanks for stopping by! Some of us may not be as fortunate to be able to get up and go whenever to wherever however. But may we see life as an adventure to be had and not a to-do list to check off. May the people in our lives be our partners on this adventure as well. Holding us accountable, trusting them to constructively criticise us when we stray off of the path of adventure.

Whatever you do, make sure you make it memorable.

An Open Letter to Whoever

What are you afraid of? I know I am scared of spiders, horror movies, and dark corners in dimly lit rooms… I am a big scaredy cat, but I digress…

I am not talking about those arbitrary fears.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

What I am talking about is when world events assume to shake our foundations, and cause us to tremble and run around like chickens with our heads cut off.

When events that happen culturally, socially, and globally interrupt our daily lives, why is it that more often than not it’s the Church that seems to lag behind with answers, hope, sending, activating and mobilizing groups into communities?

Shouldn’t it be Christians mobilizing communities and efforts to care for the needy? To send hope to the ones who cannot fend for themselves? Isn’t it the church that called us to be ‘light of the world?’ and ‘salt of the earth?’

I am perplexed to find that many so called christians are the ones behind the screens, congregating and virtually hanging out instead of being the front line to let the community know that there is a hope, and peace greater than what this world has to offer.

Therefore, we already KNOW there will be trials, and troubles in the world. So, shouldn’t it not be a surprise when something happens in the world?

I say all this not on my own accord, but by the very words Jesus said in John 16:33, Jesus says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Therefore, we already KNOW there will be trials, and troubles in the world. So, shouldn’t it not be a surprise when something happens in the world?

2020 was… what it was. 2021 can turn out the be same, as it… has so far. Whatever may happen in a given year, we already know that there will be trouble in this world, and yet, why do we clam up, or get shook when something happens?

Christian, why do you fret? The world in which we are visiting has already been overcome by the Servant King!

When we think about playing in a basketball game (for example), the coach lays out the game plan so that if something goes wrong, the team knows to go back to the game plan, the team has a foundation on which to play on. Isn’t this kind of the same thing? For the one that calls Jesus ‘Lord’, and ‘Savior’, He has already given us the game plan to LIFE.

There is no doubt that there will be trouble in this world, but what does Jesus say? He has overcome the world! And more than that, another way to say ‘take heart’ is ‘to have courage’. We can take courage! We do not have to live with shaken knees, or with our heads down… We can live courageously because we know that Christ has overcome the world!

Christian, why do you fret? The world in which we are visiting has already been overcome by the Servant King!

Why do we clam up, or get shook when something happens?

I’m going through a bit of my own deconstruction as I look at the what the Church is and isn’t doing, compared to what the community is doing and there seems to be a disproportion in how the church isn’t showing up and I ask myself… how come?

I’m convicted of the words of Jesus because if I am to take His Word seriously then I have no need to be surprised at what happens next in the world. What is certain? Trouble, trials- that’s for certain. Yet, Jesus throws in a curveball, as if to say these trials and troubles do not have the last word. “But, take heart- have courage, I have overcome the world.” To the Christian, and to anyone fretting over the daily troubles of this world- Someone has brought peace- Someone has walked the earth that you and I walk- Someone has overcome the powers that be- and that’s News that we can take courage in. I rest in that assurance, and walk with my head high because a Savior not of this world has overcome the powers that cripple you and I on the daily.

Simplicity

When we enjoy the simple things in life, the world around becomes much more enjoyable.

Have you ever noticed that it’s the most simple things in life that gives us great joy?

My friend recently gifted himself with an electric bike- He’s been super ecstatic about it and has not stopped telling me about it. I have a one wheel- if you don’t know what that is… Hit me up and I’ll show you how to ride it. It’s a wicked invention! It incorporates surfing, and skateboarding all in one… on one wheel!

Have you ever noticed that it’s the most simple things in life that gives us great joy?

So my friend and I finally decided to go riding together in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park!

Beautiful day it turned out to be and for those of us in S.F., we have the luxury and freedom to ride in the streets of GGP since they closed it off to traffic once the lockdown started. It’s a different feeling riding in the streets freely with no cars.

After we rode around GGP, we stopped in front of Academy of Science- and parked out front are a number of different food trucks!

Knowing us, we had to get a taste of Sam’s Chowder Mobile- seafood!

I say all this to say because on that beautiful sunny day, we did some wonderfully simple things that brought great joy and wholeness.

Now more than ever, we are stuck in front of our screens, and our posture and health are paying the price.

When we enjoy the simple things in life, the world around becomes much more enjoyable.

This is more of a reminder to myself when I say this- let us enjoy the simple things in life. Go for a walk, take deep breaths, laugh, cry, and don’t ignore the activities that fill your soul.

When we enjoy the simple things in life, the world around becomes much more enjoyable.

I challenge all of us to start doing things that bring us joy- talking with a friend, taking a walk, stopping to smell the proverbial or actual roses, these things also bring wholeness in our lives which increases our mood, health, attitude, and outlook on life.