Yes and…

The only thing that I have been telling myself to do every morning lately is to say yes.

Yes to opportunities. Yes to challenges. Yes to chances to learn and grow.

I got bored a little bit when realizing my days have been the same lately. So just these little two words “Yes and…” motivate me to accept more things into my life.

Yes I will ask my friend about that one thing he is really interested about but I am not and will follow up when I see him again some time this week.

Yes I will call my mom today and will wish her a good day at work.

Yes I will smile more and will encourage others to smile more.

Yes’s to questions, such as “Do you think it would work if we have Core at your house this week?”, “Do want to walk to Haggen at 10 just to get ourselves moving before bed?”, or “Do you want to facilitate the game we will be playing in the next 5 minutes?”

All the spontaneous ones. All the challenging ones.

Because without yes’s my life will remain the same — the day will have that same 24 hours and I gain nothing.

So just say yes, because I still can.

– Are you actually writing to your teacher saying that you cannot stand octopus and that you have a phobia of octopus and therefore cannot finish the homework because it is all about watching octopus?

– Yes, I am.

Start growing now

I need to start somewhere, so I’d call starting tomorrow it’s week 1.

Week 1 resolution:

No chitchatting and doing useless things on social media — only use it for work and CCF.

Instead of rolling Instagram or Facebook, read that one book that I haven’t been able to finish.

That’s it. Easy. Check in again next week’s Sunday.

I write it here because I need witnesses to make it come true. I don’t really use social media much, but I still feel even though I don’t scroll all the time, there is still a big chunk of my time going nowhere. So yes I’m gonna start there.

I just realized today that I stop putting my effort in learning. Not even considering the fact that I am literally failing one of my classes and barely good on the other ones, I actually stop learning anything. I want to write better but I am not spending time to practice. I want to learn a new language but I put off the starting day. I want to become a better and knowledgeable person but all I am doing is doing puzzle and watching too much Netflix and talking to myself — all the time.

I need a starting point, and why not tomorrow.

I think it is true to many people that at this time, which is the end of April, which means more than a fourth of the year has passed by, people don’t really focus on their new year revolutions anymore. Everything goes back to its beginning, and the year would go by with nothing different than the previous year. And they (or I) would think that I can wait until next year to start all over again. Not realizing that that is not the solution.

If it works, I would say “Happy New Year!” again. To remind myself and remind anyone out there that where you start doesn’t matter, but do you have the gut to set up a goal in the middle of nowhere, being ready to race. Stop using social media is yes my first goal, but it is not the only thing that I consider important and need to change about myself. I can come up with an exhausted list, but I know myself enough to stop myself from listing everything and make a goal with the smallest thing ever.

It will all work out. At the end these small bad habits will be replaced by good ones, as long as I try.

As long as I start. Somewhere.

And btw, HE IS RISEN!

More blessings — more battles

Just back from an okay relaxing day — no work, a bit of classes, and a lot of hanging out with friends. It’s been a long time since I last woke up early — I always sleep in since moving to the new house as it’s really close to the school now. But 3 sips of strong coffee didn’t put me to bed well, so I was obviously didn’t have the energy to do anything: We had a meeting to plan an event and I was definitely “sleeping” the whole time…

Everything is good. I feel happy with what I have now, overcoming those times feeling as though I am left alone. I try to change myself a little bit every day, filling myself up with good habits and with new knowledge.

More blessings create more battles.

I have been going through ups and downs emotionally, but when I got the chance to sit down with my mentor, what she told me was after a long time not meeting with me one-on-one but still getting to observe me working and interacting with people, she found a really new me — a me that becomes more patient, more welcoming, more loving to others. I invite people to hang out and talk with me, which is not something I used to do, just because I am not always in the talking mood. And I would say I have become a blessing to many new students — becoming one of their very first friends when they come to study in a new country. But that blessing doesn’t come as an outcome. It comes with a process of me fighting my own battles, fighting to find my place in the world, my place in me, in my family, in others’ life. God’s gift for me is not the gift that I might just keep for myself. What He asks me to do is to transform it into a self-giving love, to benefit others, because He has given Himself to love me. I know my battles are overwhelming to me. I clearly couldn’t stand them all by myself. I clearly struggled a lot to get through them, but God never tells me to do more that what I can do — He asks me for things in my capacity, and He even gives me more than what I needed.

A small story of Jesus that has rescued me every time I wanted to take a step back from my mission in God’s kingdom.

// One day, Jesus heard that John the Baptist — his cousin but also the greatest prophet in history — was put to jail because he was faithful to God. Jesus grieved, and he went out by Himself to pray to His Father — like a way to relax after a long tiring day.

However, on His way, there were many people heard that He was in town and they wanted to see Him. There were many of them that they covered all the surrounded area. Knowing that Jesus needed rest, and that this is a countless amount of people, the disciples told Jesus to let everyone go because the sky was getting dark and those people needed to find food.

However, Jesus disagreed with the disciples. He asked them to feed the people. At this point, the disciples became annoyed because they had barely enough food to feed themselves — 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus did not mind, though. He asked the disciples to give Him what they had, and then He praised to the Father over five loaves of bread and two fish. After that, they started giving out everything to the people.

What happened was that the food did not run out. At the end, they counted and there were 500,000 men, together with their wives and children and servants. They all got really full, and the amount of food left was enough for the twelve disciples to share among themselves.//

Growing up in church community, I have heard this story many, many times, but I never actually get to understand its deeper meaning. Before, I’d just say, “Oh that’s cool.” But now I am amazed. In his grieving moment — trying to get away from people because of his sadness over John the Baptist’s imprisonment — Jesus did not stop loving others. He did not want to leave that many people behind just to find a place for Himself. He took pity on them and decided that He would provide them food. The disciples’ reaction remind me a lot of how I sometimes would react too when being in my down mood: “I cannot be with people anymore because I needed my own quiet time!” However, it is important to remember that I always CAN. God never asks me to do more that what I can. He just asks me to give me what I already had and trust that He would finish the rest. It’s just like how Jesus asked the disciples how much food they had left — He didn’t ask them to go buy more!

And so when I think of this more and more, I think it is worth it to give my best to others — loving because I am loved. Fighting my own battles because those are small compared to the ultimate price Jesus had paid for human sins. I always have something to put on the table — I just need to open myself to others, to love.

Another thing that has helped me a lot through dark days is others’ caress for me. My tutor today helped me with my class for more than an hour while I gave him only a cup of coffee. My former roommate treated me lunch while I left her to live at the new place. My roommate now always give me thing

s when I cannot provide myself while what I give her is a pile of dirty clothes in the middle of our room. I receive unconditional love from people. But I forgot to love back, just because I sank too deep when grieving over my small battles that I created my own.

More blessings go with more battles.

More love goes with more sacrifices. But it would all be good, because at the end, whether we receive anything back from others or not, there has always been Jesus’s or God’s love there — He loved us even before we knew Him and love Him.

piếc (i did that on purpose)

Mình lại ở trong cái trạng thái đó nữa. Cái trạng thái mệt mỏi đến mức tiếng mẹ đẻ có thể tuôn ra vèo vèo, ngôn ngữ đảo lộn — nghĩ tiếng anh nhưng nói thì tiếng việt và ngược lại. Cái trạng thái mà mình không thể kiểm soát được gì cả, nhất là não thì lại càng không.

Nên mình nghĩ chắc viết bằng tiếng Việt một xíu, vì không phải lúc nào nó cũng trôi chảy và cũng được mình để cho tuôn ra. Không phải lúc nào mình cũng buông thả bản thân như kiểu nói tiếng gì cũng được miễn là có nói.

Giờ là gần 1h sáng. Nhưng mà mệt lắm rồi vì mình từ lâu đã bỏ thói quen ngủ trễ. Nhưng mà giờ vẫn còn thức để nghĩ về một mình bị tan thành nhiều mảnh vỡ. Mà không phải lần đầu. Cứ vỡ rồi chắp vá lại rồi somehow lại vỡ lần nữa và lần nữa.

Mình vừa ở một bữa tiệc về. Với một người sống nội tâm như mình thì vào một ngày cuối tuần với hơn 5 tiếng đi làm, 2 tiếng hỏi bài hết người này đến người khác, và sau đó là thêm hơn 5 tiếng nữa nói chuyện với mọi người và nghe mọi người hò hét vui chơi ở một bữa tiệc, thì ừa mình giờ đang sắp xỉu và dường như không thể làm gì được nữa. Không thể nói được. Không thể cười được. Nhưng mà viết được. Và buồn được.

Hình như mình lại đang kể rất nhiều về mình, và kể rất nhiều về cái khó hơn là cái vui. Mình thiệt sự nghĩ nếu mạng xã hội lúc nào cũng về những người post những hình ảnh vui chơi, thì mình chính là người đi bêu rếu khả năng dùng mạng xã hội của bản thân. Nhưng mà mình không có viết lúc vui được. Mình tận hưởng những cuộc vui, nên khó có ai nhìn thấy được nó trên mạng xã hội.

Nhưng có vẻ như mình đang cho mọi người thấy một mình rất là yếu đuối. Giống như cho người xem lưng. Để người ta đâm mình lúc nào cũng được.

Nhưng mặc kệ vậy, vì viết là cho mình mà.

Mình vừa bị tan thành nhiều mảnh và phải đi gom chúng lại. Không có đứng được. Vì lòng nặng lắm nên đứng thì lực hút hình như cũng tác động mạnh hơn. Hôm nay mình không có khóc nhưng hôm qua và hôm kia thì có. Tại vì mình không đứng được mà bị bắt đứng nên mọi thứ đành cứ tuôn ra.

Không có đứng được. Vì có quá nhiều thứ cứ đè lên mình, ngay cả suy nghĩ của mình cũng vậy. Không thể đọc sách được. Vì đầu mình đã có đủ luồng suy nghĩ để làm mình phát điên lên, và mình không cần thêm một nhà văn nào nói gì với mình nữa cả. Mình chỉ muốn được ở một mình.

Nhưng mà mình nghĩ lại thì hình như sai rồi. Mình chỉ cần những người mình muốn ở bên cạnh mình thôi.

Bởi vậy nên mới nói mình thiệt đòi hỏi. Lúc mình cần người sẽ có người. Nhưng mà không đúng người thì lại đuổi người ta đi.

Mệt rồi. Ngủ đây. Đây chỉ là mấy suy nghĩ rời rạc của một ngày rời rạc thôi.

Wrap up that craze craze Wednesday

It’s the very first time in my life when I cannot remember anything in my schedule, and that I have to totally rely on Google Calendar to figure out what my plan is every day.

I just cannot keep track of anything, even messages and texts from people.

And the annoying people would just keep being annoying. Nice people would be just so so nice.

And I have to remind myself again, that I love all of them no matter what they do and what they say, simply because they were born just like me — in the image if God.

The other day I said that I didn’t believe I have a whole Wednesday morning off, and yes it turned out I was right — I just didn’t put two of my meetings down on my planner.

That’s how I start my quarter. I don’t read, simply because as long as I read I cannot stop, but breaks are not unlimited.

I also forget to check in with people. I figured how terrible it is when friends have problems but they call me last just because they assume I would be busy. Sometimes I would accept that as a fact — I need to get things done. But today I think of it more and I want it to be different.

The world keeps moving, as it has always been.

Our house before I bought four chairs — We had just no sittings and Sophia’s cousin gave her that tiny little table for the backyard. We tried our best and everything looks so much better now.

I would not be here for long. I thought I would, and I still love the place, but I would not be here long enough to make me feel too comfortable and afraid of changes and challenges.

I just move out and officially am living on my own without any guardian. And I was scared for a moment when going around the grocery store and realizing that now I will have to truly make three meals a day for myself and not eat out too much. I just bought a couch and four chairs for the house, a mattress and comforter and sheet sets for my bedroom, and they all make me feel nervous about how I will soon be taking care of myself entirely. That sounds scary.

But it’s good because I have friends that would do it with me. I told Sophia earlier, “Life feels so much better with Friends.”

– … and friends. I mean both.

Because we both like Friends the sitcom, and we are friends.

And yes in me there is this firstborn’s personality that makes everything seem to be ten times funnier. I would remember my roommates’ schedules and would ask why they’re not home yet. And I feel that I am actually becoming like my grandma being worried when her kids are not home. I know I would have to stop because we are all adults haha.

And yes my life also gets so much busier these days. Four days after I was back from Vietnam. Right after that 36-hour journey home, I started packing to move to the new place, started finishing off all the applications for the house and for other things, and also started cleaning up. Classes aren’t fun. One of my teacher, who is the most understanding person ever, sent me an email after my first day absent from class asking if I would need assistance. That freaks me out a little bit because I was all fine and he seems to think I am not fine and that makes me wonder if I am really fine. Anyway, I would not say I have a good start because I am clearly so tired and can pass out just any moment, but I feel optimistic about what the future has to offer.

When I think more about me moving out of my old house to the new place with friends, I think of how I am getting more comfortable — I now have friends that I can share things with and that would listen to me. And I just don’t want to get comfortable because that’s when I stop growing.

I don’t want to fall behind, because the world keeps moving. I don’t want to be excluded.

But I would spend enough time living in Bellingham. I thought it was funny how my friend asked me, “Don’t you want to see the world?” when I said I didn’t want to move far from here. It was like my boss telling me how to think in two languages when she doesn’t know how and I have been so fluent in doing so. I do want to see the world, but the world would turn out to be just like a movie we watch from afar if I just keep moving. At some point, I have to stop and observe the people living in a place, to know that there are so much deeper things to learn about.

That’s what it is. The more I stay in America, the more of its reality I face and understand and get to mix with my old culture. And it’s when I know the world is just so much bigger than just the United States. It is not my final destination. It should not be. It should just be a place where I learn when I am young but also old enough to learn, and it should just be it.

Therefore, I would not stop moving.

Who is reading? And who am I writing for?

I find it hard to make writing not just about me, but also about others. I have saved many drafts but publishing none because those stories are just all about myself. And this one might be, also.

It’s about how the world around me affect me. When I started this blog, no one knows. The only people I found reacting to my posts were strangers, and I felt secure. “They wouldn’t judge, because they don’t even know who I am”, I thought. It was fine for me to write about whatever I wanted, and I indeed did just write about my day and my thinking process during the day. Everything was so pure. My writing was pure.

Okay, I know it’s not that pure, but still!

Then I started sharing the website with one or two friends that I believed understand me and would not take my writing as a weapon against me. I was sharing it to them, because after all, pieces of words ask for audience. I wanted audience to give me feedbacks on what I write about and how I write about things. My dream was and is to publish a book one day, soon, so I thought reviews would be necessary to improve.

A friend or two. And then more friends. And then more and more people reading my writing. More people seeing me “naked”, and so as time goes, I forgot my initial motivation. I started putting on clothes. I started dressing up, because I was so afraid of what people think about me when they see me. I tried to shift my writing away from me, and draw it towards others. And at some point I have this mindset that it is unacceptable for me to keep talking about myself. On my own blog.

Then I stopped publishing anything. I can’t stand myself wearing the kind of clothes I don’t see myself fit in. Before, I didn’t care much about what I have written. Those posts were from my first write though. I didn’t edit them. I didn’t think much about the topic or the rhetorical situations. I simply just poured out the words, and that was just it. Now, because I am more aware of who is reading, I control the flow. “It should be like this so people would enjoy.”

What writing is actually about, though? What is the point of it? I know it would be good, or excellent, for one to write with the purpose of serving others, but I am just too small of a person to do anything that big. Or is it about me, then? About oneself who chooses writing because it doesn’t involve work with others.

I like making beautiful things.

That isn’t a quote from me, but from an author in whom I find me. Taking writing as pure joy and as a way to relax. But at some point he started to make his talent into a way to benefit readers, and I think that is what gifts are supposed to be. I wouldn’t say I am gifted. At the end of the day, I retreat to my bubble again, to think more of why I can write and why writing is especially special for me. It’s interesting to see how for some people writing is a chore and for others it’s a hobby. It’s interesting to gradually find myself in disciplines that many others choose not to get involved in. That makes me feel belonged to the place I am — I am not just following the path of others and conform but actually going on my own way.

I think of my writing much more of a way for me to go on and on about myself and a way to keep track of life. I keep journals because I thought they would be important for my grandkids to know about me and about the era I am living in. That’s all.

Each comment from readers mean a lot to a reader. They are not just simply words of encouragement or disappointment. They shape the way a person writes, or at least they shape the way I write. They make writers be more aware of what they are doing, and be more in control. And the sad thing about that, to me, is that I would be truly afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I would hesitate to try new things, new writing styles, new writing purposes, because I don’t want to disappoint my readers. And that’s what I am not looking for in this journey.

But after all, the question is that is it time for me to stop being too comfortable, to stop writing too much about myself but to think more for my audience. Is it that bad to let the world shape me and let God use my writing for his own purpose, which is only about serving others? Is it that bad to care a bit more of what the audience has to say?

.

.

It is 4:47AM on a Friday that I need not to study. I think it might be confusing to read this post, because as I write, I think deeper into the topic and found myself shifting my view, even though only by a little bit. It does make sense to me now, what writing is actually about. As I mentioned before, writing is a thing I can do that not many others would choose. Same as sport to many guys and gals out there (I can’t do it. That’s the ultimate truth.) And so I think yet I am not gifted, but it is still a gift I am given as a means to serve. It goes as a side when my life became real almost two decades ago, and that means I would have to use it wisely.

And so it does make sense to me now how it is easy for me to write about myself, but it doesn’t just stop there. My gift goes beyond that, but I need to figure out how to get it there. It is hard; I sadly have to admit. But yesterday I texted my mentor saying that we should talk about “don’t be too comfortable”. I told him I found myself burying too much under familiar things that I seem to stop learning and growing. And to me that means I have failed the Creator. Yes, I would try more. And I apologize for giving excuses to stop writing.

I would begin again. It’s the fourth month of the year. There is still time to bloom. Indeed, spring is just about to come.