Friday, February 28, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #47: Connections

Today's Video: "Trains"

Discuss/Describe someone in your life who use to be more closely connected to you. Call today and encourage him or her.

Gosh, not sure who to call. If Amy were still living far away, she'd be good, but now she lives here. Can't think of any other close friends who live far away now.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #46: What's Going Awesome in My Life?

Today's Video: "Thermal Imager"

Discuss/Describe who is someone in your life that knows you and will tell you the truth?  Ask him or her to honestly tell you about one area of your life that is going awesome (and don’t be proud).

Well there are friends I could ask I guess. Or my parents. But I don't know how to ask them.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #45: Enhancing Your Life

Today's Video: "Tabasco"

Discuss/Describe with a friend or loved one, what you believe God could do to enhance an area of your life or relationship.

I will remember to do this. Or try anyway.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #44: Areas of Growth

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Stains."

Discuss/Describe someone in your life who knows you and will tell you the truth. Ask him or her to tell you honestly about one area of your life in which you need to grow. (Don’t be defensive.)

I guess my parents would. My mom particularly. I'm kinda afraid to ask her though. I know I am very likely to be defensive. :(

Monday, February 24, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #43: Things I Know Are Wrong

Here is my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Smoker."

Discuss/Describe at least one thing in your life that you know is wrong. What are you going to do about it?

I know it's bad to gossip about people, to talk bad about them behind their back. Yet particularly since I've started working at my current job, I've picked up a bad habit of gossiping. A lot of other people at my work do it, so I guess I started doing it to try to fit in, as weird as that may sound. Normally, I'm the sort of person who tries to get along with everyone, to not get caught up in other people's drama or to cause drama myself. But I think by gossiping I am hurting that. I need to retrain my brain to not take part in that. Hopefully, I can get out of this work environment where that is so rampant and into one where I can control that better.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #42: Blessed

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Pray for Me - Blessed."

Discuss/Describe your difficulty in being satisfied and full of the joy of the Lord, despite any circumstance.

I never seem to be content with what I have. Maybe cause I'm a perfectionist, so I expect everything to be perfect. Also I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other people, wanting what other people have instead of being fine with what I have. I'm never satisfied with my lot.

I suppose a certain amount of dissatisfaction is good, cause it motivates you to not just settle in life. And we are citizens of heaven after all, so part of us isn't going to be fully satisfied here. But I would like to have joy, to be thankful for what I have, and to feel fulfilled in life. I just have no idea how to GET there. :(

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #41: Over My Head

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute challenge, "Short Hair."

Discuss/Describe the areas of your life right now, that are over your head and hard to handle.

I'm overwhelmed with a couple of things: all the things that come with being an adult (moving out, cooking, taxes, making my own doctor appointments, etc) and what the heck to do with my career. Now that I'm an adult, I'm supposed to schedule my own physicals, eye doctor appointments, dentist appointments, etc. I have to deal with having my own health insurance. I do my own taxes. I do my own laundry and (most of the time) dishes. I am supposed to keep my room and bathroom clean (though I often fail at this). I don't have the slightest idea exactly what kind of car I want, or how to go about buying one (all I know is I want a small, gas-efficient car with a big trunk, preferably automatic transmission - cause driving stick seems pretty hard - and a radio or some other way to listen to music...though if money were no object, I would want a Jaguar cause I think they're cool). I don't know how to drive very well. I did driving school through MiraCosta, and the guy said I did all right, but probably needed a couple more rounds of it before trying to get my license...except that their school is like $345, which is a LOT of money, especially for only 6 hours of instruction. I am going to see if there isn't a cheaper option out there. And I will have to figure out how to convince my parents to practice with me. My dad says he will but then forgets, and my mom seems convinced I can't drive cause of my spatial issues (determining how far things are from me). 

I also have to deal with buying certain things on my own. A few years ago, when I went to Animé Los Angeles, I booked a hotel room by myself for the first time. (It went all right, except that on the last day I got locked out of my room, with my stuff still in it, cause I didn't check out on time). Also my mom said that with my tax return this year I should buy a new mattress. I do need one. But I've never bought one before. (The one I have now I think came from my grandparents' house). I've actually never bought a piece of furniture myself, because I take the bus and thus getting it home on my own would be kinda impossible. The closest thing I've done to that is buying the barstool that currently serves as my nightstand. My dressers were given to me ages ago, bookcase and file cabinet ditto, CD tower I think also ditto, bed was a hand-me-down as I said (or at least the mattress is), my IKEA desk was I think a birthday present. The wire boxes that currently serve as a makeshift bookcase for my manga I did buy myself, but those are small. Someday, if I get my own place, I totally want to go shopping for furniture. I wish I could go to those cool places I see designers on HGTV go - those cool salvage and antique places or those cool boutiques like West Elm or that cool wallpaper place in New York's Flatiron District that they went to on Home by Novogratz or even Mood (the fabric store they shop at on Project Runway), or those cool flea markets they featured on Flea Market Flip. Or any of those places they mention in design magazines, like Land of Nod (which I think mostly makes kids' stuff, but they do make some cute stuff!). Cause as awful as I am with money, strangely I'm a bargain girl at heart. I hate spending $10 at the supermarket for goodness sake. And I would totally be all right with vintage stuff, cause I'm old-fashioned like that. My ideal house would be quaint and cottage-like, maybe a bungalow or a Craftsman, either that or one of those cool old Victorians with all the gables (like the Spellmans' house in Sabrina the Teenage Witch). None of these bland California houses, especially the kind with the Mexican tile roofs like our current house. And nothing uber-modern and loft-like. I mean, don't get me wrong, lofts are cool and all (I like Felix's loft in Orphan Black, and Mary Margaret's vintagey loft in Once Upon a Time), and some modern apartments are cool too (I really like the Novogratzes' apartment...but then they're "mix vintage with modern" sort of people), but it's just not my taste. I'd be the sort of person who would be just fine in an old-fashioned city apartment in some foreign city (as long as the size was not too unreasonable - there are apartments in Paris that are literally 300 square feet, and Japanese apartments are notoriously tiny). 

Then there's my career. I'm stuck, not sure which path to take. I've been to many seminars, and even took a class in career planning. Even being a writer seems daunting, with all the options out there, the deluge of advice I've read, and all the steps it takes to get published.

I'm not sure what to me God!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #40: Seasons of Life

Here is my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Seasons."

Discuss/Describe, using the seasonal climate as a metaphor (spring, summer, fall, winter), what season you are in right now.

I'd say I am in fall. My life seems dry and cold, without much to hope for. Sure, my troubles are nothing compared to what some people in the world are going through. But at the moment, my life seems stagnant; basically, it kinda sucks. I have a job I don't like, which has great benefits but which doesn't pay much. I'm living with my parents instead of having a place of my own. I don't have a driver's license or a car.  I'm not dating, nor do I really have any prospects of dating anyone. I want to travel really bad but I can't afford it.

Hopefully a spring or summer time is coming soon for me! But I guess maybe I need to make it happen.

Like that song "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog:

And I'm almost there, I'm almost there!
People down here think I'm crazy, but I don't care
Trials and tribulations I've had my share
There ain't nothing gonna stop me now cause I'm almost there

I remember Daddy told me : "Fairytales can come true
But you gotta make 'em happen, it all depends on you"
So I work real hard each and every day
Now things for sure are going my way

Cause even Tiana became a princess in the end! "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing," as Mary Margaret from Once Upon a Time would say.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #39: What God Has Made

Here is my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Park."


Discuss/Describe a place that God has made near your home that you can go to. How do you feel when you are there? Share one thing you can do every time you are there to help you connect with God.

There is a park just down the street from my house. I never go there though. But I do like places where there are lots of trees. Or just a lot of nature period. I do feel closer to God when I'm in nature, though I couldn't tell you why. When I'm in nature, I feel the overall grandeur of it and the wonder.

I suppose I can thank God for the beauty of the nature around me. That's one thing I can do to connect with him. Cause he's the one responsible for it all after all.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #38: Resisting God

Here's my challenge answer to today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Cheetah."

Discuss/Describe how you have resisted God when He wants to change the direction of an aspect of your life. How do you plan to submit to Him? Who is the person who can help you learn to submit to God?

Well I've resisted him in not allowing him to take full control of my life. That's not really a specific aspect, but...

I know that sooner or later I'm going to have to submit to him, because doing all this on my own is just not going to work. I'm going to get discouraged and depressed because I can't do it alone and I feel like a failure. How I'll submit to him I'm not sure, but I will have to sometime.

I don't know who can help me learn to submit to God to be honest.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #37: The Universe

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Rolls Royce."

Discuss/Describe your view of how the universe came to be.

I do not believe the universe came to be by accident. I just can't. When I look at nature and how complex and beautiful it is, I just cannot believe it's an accident. When I study science and see how complex the human body is, and the human genome and such, I can't see how that's an accident either, or how we could've come from apes or from weird, slouching ape men like Lucy or Peking Man. I mean, even after taking Physical Anthropology and Human Heredity, both at secular schools which would've taught evolution (they did in the Anthropology class), I still couldn't be convinced otherwise.

Even Charles Darwin, the father of evolution theory, couldn't help but acknowledge the beauty of nature. He ends his book On the Origin of Species thus:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

So I'm sorry, I can't believe the universe began randomly. The Big Bang (or "Event One," as they call it in the Doctor Who universe), if it did indeed happen, could not have happened on its own anyway. It was an explosion - that is, an exothermal reaction. One that created matter. And which would require energy (just like any explosion). But according to science, neither matter nor energy can just be created out of the blue. The law of conservation of matter states that matter cannot be created or destroyed, and the law of conservation of energy says the same for energy. Also, as Miles points out in the video, the second law of thermodynamics basically proves that an explosion cannot create organized order, that rather it would create disorder (aka entropy). So that explosion couldn't have happened on its own, for those reasons. Not to mention that there's the law of cause and effect (aka the law of causation), a law generally accepted by scientists to be true, which says everything in the universe must have a cause. (More on that, and how God fits into that, in this article). 

Anyway, that's my 2 cents on that.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #36: Protest

Here is my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Protest."

Discuss/Describe an area in your life that doesn’t represent God appropriately to those you are tough on you.

I don't necessarily act very "Christian" to others. In fact, people are surprised to learn I am one sometimes. I mean, I don't cuss, or drink, or do drugs, or steal, or have sex outside of marriage - all the big stuff. But I do gossip, and complain, and talk about people behind their back. Also sometimes I am rude, not always respectful to authority, I snap at people. Other times I don't work as hard as I ought to. I have issues with pride, patience, worrying, and low self-esteem. People don't criticize me openly but it's possible they do secretly. And I am very worried about what others think of me. That keeps me in line to some extent but not always.

I need to get my act together!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #35: Courage

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Pray for Me - Courage."

Discuss/Describe a situation you need courage to get started today.

I need to get started looking for another job, something more like a career. I have putting it off for so long. Too long. I feel like it is time to move on. But I am too scared to leave what is a comfortable situation in terms of pay and benefits. And I am afraid to do what it takes - applications, interviews, etc - cause last time that didn't go so well, which is why I ended up working at my current job. And to be honest, I'm not sure what I want to do exactly. I thought I did, but I'm not sure anymore. :(

Lord, it says in Psalm 27:1 "The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Give me the courage to obey YOU regarding moving forward into a more career-like job. I ask for the strength to trust and wait patiently as YOU move in my circumstance. In Jesus name, Amen.

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #34 (Catchup): Soften

Here's my challenge answer for yesterday's Miles-a-Minute video, "Pedicure." (I ran out of time to do devotions yesterday so I'm making this up today).

Discuss/Describe an area in your character that needs to be softened to bring more grace to others.

I need to not complain so much. I complain about things - and people - a lot, and I don't think it's helping anybody, not even myself. I need to find a way either to be more content or to find a better way to voice my problems with something. It will be better for everyone in the long run.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #33: Day of Love

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Love Class."

Discuss/Describe a way you can tell someone today what God has done for you.

Gosh I don't know. I'm one of those people who think witnessing has to be all complicated, that you have to know all the right words and information to talk to people about God. So I don't know how I would tell someone that. :(

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Miles a Minute Challenge #32: Patience

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Patience."

(Also, a side note...finally got a video to play on the Android version of the app. Though I do have one favorite already so I guess I must've gotten at least one other one to play).


Discuss/Describe how your friends and family would rate your longsuffering, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being extremely impatient)

I'm not sure my friends and family would rate my patience level the same as I would. I try to be more patient in public than I am in private. My family and close friends - those who really know me - might say 7. I might judge myself worse and say 9. I know I am not very patient. I never have been. It's my chief fault, and I need to work on it.

"Then said Christian, Now I see that Patience has the best Wisdom and that upon many accounts. 1. Because he stays for the best things. 2. And also because he will have the Glory of his, when the other has nothing but rags." - The Pilgrim's Progress

"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." - Romans 8:24b-25

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #31: Dreams

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Times Square."

Discuss/Describe one of your dreams that you need to surrender to the God who created the heavens and earth so that there could be a convergence of His will and your life.

One of my dreams is to be a published author. I have had that dream since I was a kid. Even though there are times I've thought about doing other things (recently I've thought about web design, in 8th grade I wanted to be an ambassador and a school counselor, among other things...though I think in that case I said those jobs without really knowing what they were), that dream has always been there. 

I have the talent to write - many have acknowledged that over the years. And I've acknowledged in the past that God gave me the talent and that I should use it for him. This is why at first I was going to strictly write for the Christian market. Cause I thought that's what I needed to do. Then I started loosening that restraint, and considering that it might be ok to write for the secular market too. I've also written some stuff that isn't strictly Christian (by which I mean, you wouldn't know it was Christian if you read it, cause it wouldn't be obvious, even though the story would have Christian morals) lately.

I need to surrender this dream to God, as reluctant as I am to do so, so he can "direct my paths," and through our combined creativity give me an awesome Times Square experience in my heart. God, please give me the courage to do so.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #30: Good Reason

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Good Reason."

Discuss/Describe one thing in your life that you are doing or are involved in that you really don’t have a good reason why you are doing it.

Well I don't usually have a good reason to spend as much time on the computer as I do. Sometimes I'm doing something productive. But often times not. I mean, there are times I spend hours just surfing the web with no clear purpose in mind. There are much more productive things I could be doing with my time. I have a lot more free time than I think. And I waste a lot of it. That's unfortunate...and I should stop doing it. I used to be so good at focusing and not procrastinating. I don't know what happened. Yet I don't know how to fix it either. *sigh*

Monday, February 10, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #29: Efforts

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Moving Walkway."

Discuss/Describe an area in your life in which you are putting a lot of effort into, but it isn’t seeming to benefit.

I've put a lot of effort into web design over the years, even got a certificate in it and was thinking of getting a job in that field. But it hasn't done much for me, other than be a fun hobby. None of my websites have ever been popular. Even when I've taken the time to actually promote them (which I haven't always), they just wallow in obscurity. My TARDIS Thoughts blog and my Tumblr blog too. Yet other people make sites that take off almost immediately. I just don't get it. Is there a secret to it? Or am I just destined to fail as far as that goes? Not sure. But maybe it's a sign that that area just isn't my forte, or the direction I should be going. Hmm...

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #28: Letting God Contribute

Here's my challenge for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Pray for Me - Increase."

Discuss/Describe an area of life where you make all the decisions and continually neglect to let God contribute?

I honestly don't feel I can trust God with much of anything in my life. But especially with my future. I feel like I need to control that, cause I don't want to be a failure to launch. I like to get things right the first time, not to have to try, try again. But I feel like things aren't working out how I'd hoped, yet I'm afraid to surrender to God cause then I'll feel like I can't control what's going to happen, and he might lead me somewhere scary or unpleasant.

What to do? :(


Help me release my personal “authority” over what I should do with my future. Lord as it says in John 3:30 “He must increase, I must decrease”. Let my words be your words, my thoughts be your thoughts, and my desires come from You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #27: A Quiet Place

Here is my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Elevator."

Take an extra five minutes today to get to a quiet place and listen for the Lord’s voice to speak to your heart and mind.

Ok no question to answer this time, but I will take this challenge today and see what happens.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #26: Build Up or Tear Down?

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Eiffel Tower."

Discuss/Describe what is one thing you could do today to build up a friend or coworker.

I guess I could be more encouraging to coworkers I have issues with. I do try to be "at peace with everyone," as I said the other day, but there are certain coworkers who get on my nerves and who I just cannot be nice to.

Also, there are other coworkers, like my friends Miyuki and Jerry, who are like me and just want to get out of there. Maybe I can encourage them to go for what they want? No actually that wouldn't work, cause I don't practice what I preach there. I've had my B.A. for almost 3 years now (it'll be 3 years in May) and still haven't started a proper career.

So I guess one of those two things.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #25: Encouragement

Here is my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Brooklyn Bridge."


Discuss/Describe who is currently in your life who could benefit from your attention and encouragement.

Gosh I don't really know to be honest. I'm not really in a mentor position with anyone, where I could invest in them; I'm nobody's boss; I don't have kids. None of my friends come to mind.

In response to the challenge in the video itself - to invest in something that will leave a legacy long after I'm gone - I definitely hope my writing will do that. I've always hoped that.

"And that's all I have to say about that," as Forrest Gump would say.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #24: Covering Up

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Make Up."

Discuss/Describe one character flaw that you cover up and how you cover it up. What do you actually accomplish by covering it up?

I cover up how concerned I am about what others think of me. I try to act all friendly and put together, but in reality I am daily scared that if I do something wrong or stupid at work, I'll get fired (especially when I accidentally broke the glass front of the service deli's hot case while closing their department a little while ago, and yesterday when Rosanelly chewed me out for baking our French bread in the oven at the same time as service deli's whole chickens, claiming that that's cross-contamination, even though they were on separate racks and I changed the temperature and everything...service deli's not even supposed to use our oven for their chicken, but sometimes they break down their oven really early and then have to use our oven to make more chicken). And I want people to like and accept me, which is why I try to be friendly with everybody and avoid the crazy drama that happens at my work. I do this in other areas of my life too - try to be at peace with everyone, not rock the boat. Not that there's something wrong with that - Paul wrote "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18, ESV), and in Hebrews it says "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14, ESV). But I think in my desire to be accepted, I have made myself a bit of a doormat, someone who's not able to stand up for myself because I'm afraid of what people will think if I do. And that's a problem obviously. 

What do I accomplish by covering it up? Not much. It usually doesn't stay covered up for long. Usually it bubbles up by way of venting, complaining, or in extreme cases, tears. It reminds me of the SeraMyu song "Ii Ko wa Yameta" (The Good Kid Quit), in which the usual good and kind Ami, now turned evil by the Dead Moon Circus, sings: "Friends and adults, everyone says I'm the one who's a good kid. What is it! Being a good kid! Studious, well mannered, always in good spirits, gentle, and smiling. Shut up! I've had it! Shut up! Disgusting! I stopped being a good kid!" It's that sort of frustration that I feel when I keep these feelings bottled up inside me. I get bitter too. I swear, there are days I get so frustrated I just want to punch somebody. (I don't, of course...I'm not stupid. Usually on those days I either try to calm down or I work out my anger by playing some fighting video game like Super Smash Bros or Soul Calibur where I can beat the crud out of some non-realistic virtual people). The fact that I'm also a perfectionist doesn't help matters. And also people with Asperger's sometimes have trouble expressing their feelings. So there's that. I do have that problem; I'll feel something but not know how to explain what I'm feeling in words. 

So not sure how to be honest about this...sometimes I can be, but other times it's hard. At least I have places like this diary to share them. As the Jem and the Holograms song "Dear Diary" goes: "Who do I turn to when I'm feeling bad/Whether I'm happy, angry or sad/It's you dear diary/It's true dear diary/It's you dear diary/You set me free...Personal secrets (dear diary)/Where can I share them (dear diary)/Ongoing problems (dear diary)/Where do I air them/With you dear diary."

"Ii ko wa Yameta" lyrics from <a href="">Innocent-Ami</a>.

"Dear Diary" lyrics from <a href="">Rock Jem</a>.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #23: Imitation

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Betty."

(Also, Miles-a-Minute is now available for Android, meaning I was finally able to get it on my phone! This is my first time trying it out. Just look for it on the Play Store).


Discuss/describe who in your life is worth imitating, and why.

Well obviously God is (that's kind of the moral of this video). But as for human beings...I'm not sure. I mean, I have heroes. Joan of Arc, Aung San Suu Kyi, Condoleeza Rice (a little bit). I have people I admire as well, like certain writers, the late Verity Lambert (the first producer of Doctor Who), Antonio Mendez (the guy Argo is about), Zlata Filipović, Erin Gruwell (the teacher from The Freedom Writers Diary), Takeuchi Naoko (the creator of Sailor Moon), the ladies of CLAMP, and some of those Christian mystics I've read about like Julian of Norwich.

I'm not sure who in my life is worth imitating actually...would have to think about that one.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #22: Where Do I Go for Fulfillment?

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Bar."

Discuss/Describe where you go on a regular basis to find a sense of fulfillment.

Hmm. Well not to a bar. I don't drink.

I guess there's not a physical place, except my room. I do tend to withdraw from people a lot. But I do escape to books and fantasies a lot. How that fulfills me exactly I'm not sure, other than being an escape from the real world and all its problems. 

I also find fulfillment through writing stories, maybe cause I am using my God-given talent, and also maybe cause when I write a story, I can control everything.

There's a kids' song I learned either in church or off some cassette, I don't remember. It goes "Life without Jesus is like a donut, there's a hole in the middle of your heart." The point there is that life without Jesus leaves us empty, with a hole in our hearts that only he can fill. As the bridge continues: "It may be OK for a while/but the truth will wipe away your smile/There’s something sad inside me I cannot control/When I think about the donut hole." You can fill the hole with other things, or even just ignore the hole, but ultimately it's gonna make you sad. The second verse of the song compares life without Jesus to something I personally hate, flat soda: "Life without Jesus is like soda without the bubbles, life tastes flat full of troubles." It's the same principle - life without Jesus is unfulfilling and empty, just like flat soda is unappealing to the taste buds.

I guess what this means is that I should be finding my fulfillment through Jesus. And I admit, I did feel more fulfilled when I was younger and closer to God. That's probably why it was easier for me to smile. But as I grew up, and trials began really rocking my faith, I began feeling less fulfilled, started complaining more, and didn't smile as much. Complaining is definitely a sign of not being satisfied or content with your life - look at the Israelites under Moses. They complained all the time, even with all God did for them. 

How can I find my way back to that fulfillment I had? Is it too late? I hope not.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #21: Helping Others

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Russell Wilson - Super Bowl."

(Coincidentally, Russell Wilson is the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, one of the teams playing in the Super Bowl today).

Discuss/Describe one group of people in your community that you would enjoy reaching out to and helping. Explain how it will make you feel.

I think I would enjoy reaching out to people who are learning to read - either kids who are just learning or people who are illiterate. Reading has been such a big part of my life since I was very young (I learned to read at 3 1/2), and I would not have learned how to if my parents had not taught me. And from reading I have learned a lot of things. It is an important skill that everyone should possess.

It reminds me of how, when the Harry Potter books came out, they got a lot of kids into reading who didn't like reading before. While I haven't written much stuff for kids (really not since I was one), I would hope stuff I write would encourage people to try reading as well.

I got a taste of helping people this way after I joined Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honors society, while at CSUSM. Like is common with Greek societies, we were required to do community service of some kind. So a couple times a year, we went over to the preschool on campus (which is there for the purpose of students who have young kids, so their kids have some place to go and be taken care of while they're in school) and read to the kids. Basically we went out in the playground in the back and sat with the kids and read whatever books they brought us. This included books like Goodnight Goon (a parody of the classic book Goodnight Moon), The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (a hilarious book!), and I'll Love You Forever (a very emotional book by Robert Munsch which was published way back in the '80's that my parents read to me when I was little). It was fun. You forget just how cool and interesting and sometimes funny kids' books are when you become an adult.

Also I contributed books to the Harry Potter Alliance's Accio Books book drive a few years ago. I donated some to my local library as part of the drive, and the rest I sent to them to be sent to a school in Rwanda. (I've also dropped books in the Better World Books donation boxes at school, though that's not as charitable an idea). 

I think helping people learn to read would make me feel very fulfilled, because I would be helping them acquire a skill that is not only useful for life itself, but also something that's very important to me and has changed my life.

I wonder if there's a ministry for this at The Rock? Or at least some place I could volunteer?

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #20: Your Aim

Here's my challenge answer for today's Miles-a-Minute video, "Aim."

Discuss/Describe in what area of your life might your aim be off, in relation to where you want to end up.

I think my aim might be awry in my career. Not that I don't think God wants me to be a writer. I've always felt he gave me the talent for and love of writing for a reason. But as soon as I started looking into trying to publish and stuff, it became less about having a talent I could use for God and more about becoming famous and supporting myself financially. I mean, whether I can live off my writing is an important consideration obviously. I have to be able to afford food and a roof over my head and stuff. But then I got obsessed with having a Plan B, a day job that could support me till my writing took off, and spent all this time and money getting a web design certificate so I could be a web designer, only to then have second thoughts about that cause I realized my graphic design skills suck. Which makes me feel like it was a waste of time and money doing that, and I would've better off not getting the certificate at all, and just focusing on my B.A. It would have saved me an extra year of school for one thing. 

Yet I went to the trouble to get a B.A. in something I loved (English - or "Literature and Writing Studies" as CSUSM called it) rather than something that will get me a job. Part of me doesn't regret it - I got to read a lot of great things, stretch my writing skills, and meet a lot of great people. And I grew my language skills by minoring in French, growing more knowledgable in a language I already love. But part of me feels stupid, cause now what am I gonna do as a career? As I tell people, a degree in English prepares you to do "everything and nothing" - it can be used in a lot of different jobs, but it doesn't prepare you for a specific job, like being a doctor or a lawyer or an accountant. I got grants all through university (a State University Grant and a Pell Grant, both of which I got just by filling out the FAFSA, not transferring till I was 24 and doing my own taxes, and working a job that doesn't pay very much, meaning the government thinks I'm poor, even though I live in a middle-class family) meaning the government basically paid for me to go to school...but for what?

I've spent 12 years "paying my dues" and working low-paying, part-time jobs. It's time for me to have an actual career. And I think after 12 years maybe I can afford to be picky. But how to go about it??