The last 10 days – W.T.F.

Woman Show Premiere. Trump. Fight.

10 days. It’s been 10 days since Trump became president. It’s been 10 days of high anxiety as I scroll through news articles, social media posts, emails, the faces of people in my community. There are still more phone calls to be made, letters to be written, advocacy newsletters to subscribe to, meetings to be held, learning to do. It’s been 10 days of trying to figure out how to be an American who will endure in this long-suffering fight. It’s been 10 days of questioning humanity, celebrating humanity, wondering what will be the mark on humanity after all this.

10 days. It’s also been 10 days since I premiered my one woman show. When I picked January 20th, 2017, I imagined it to be very different kind of day. I didn’t anticipate the stress, the depression, the fear that would surround and mark that day. In the midst of this global chaos that seeps into daily life, I struggled with permission to concentrate on my show. What’s the point of a one woman show when people’s rights are being taken away? What’s the point of going to rehearsals when people are on the verge of losing their healthcare? What’s the point of gathering people in a room to watch me perform when there are people losing their voice?

I was chatting with a dear friend of mine who works at the ACLU. She works tirelessly Monday to Friday on legal matters that have heavy repercussions. On the weekends, she doesn’t march, she doesn’t scan social media, she doesn’t get more fired up. She rests. She watches TV. She hangs out with friends. She rests because that care allows her to be on fire at her job.

So as I look back on my premiere date, I think of the 2 hours people shared with me. I think of the 2 hours where people laughed, cried, listened to me speak in Toisan. I think of how people heard the story of my immigrant parents, the story of being a first generation college student, the story of being a girl, the story of pushing forward when there only seemed to be heavy exhaustion. I think of the deep sigh we were all ushered into, even if it was for a moment.

So thank you. January 20th, 2017 will be a weird kind of day in my memories. It started with disgust, anger, gray and Michelle Obama’s amazing face. It ended with a community celebration of unity, diversity and rest. Thank you Jessica Lynn Johnson for directing my premiere. Thank you Michael Raynor for helping me craft my story. Thank you Mom, Dad, Joyce, Grandma and the whole family for being unashamedly you. Thank you Karen for buying me clothes for the show. Thank you Janet for letting me use your Costco card. Thank you to my friends who sat through feedback circles and first draft rehearsals. Thank you for everyone who has showed up for me on show day and in life in general.

We’re going to fight this together. There’ll be many days of exhaustion and feelings of defeat. But there will be many days of humanity victories, of rest that fuels better action, of community and joy. I vow to be a better listener. I vow to take action. I vow to engage because this life I have is nothing but a gift from God.

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Thank You Jenny!

When I first thought of this blog, I hoped for community and the real-life experiences that would root me even more in Los Angeles. I wanted to connect and discover. Jenny is God’s answer to my prayer. I met her  around the time I decided to go to London for the prayer tour. She has a welcoming and contagious joy. I invited her to a trivia night and she took up a stranger’s offer. Three months later, we’re going to start a small group together!

Jenny has a fierce love for God and others. She wants so much for those around her to thrive. She is one of the kindest, most hospitable and generous friends I have. I am encouraged by her endurance and integrity in the struggle. I am so grateful for her generosity and unending cheers. She is God’s faithfulness!

Thank You Cate!

Hope. Hospitality. Sensitivity. Boldness. Community. These are things Cate lives out. She shows me the love and truth of Jesus in everything. Cate loves and cares for others well because she first knows and experiences the power of the gospel. She also cooks amazing food and I agree with her children that she should be on MasterChef!

Thank you for real conversations. Thank you for setting a place for me at the dinner table. Thank you for your constant generosity! Thank you for your family xx

Thank You Mellany!

Mellany got me to read “Just Mercy”. She inspires me with her desire to learn and understand. Her child-like curiosity and eagerness make her a compassionate friend and empathetic teacher. Her encouragement is always at times when I need it most. Her stunning penmanship makes her thoughtful notes that much more powerful.

Thank you for your constant generosity and support. Thank you for introducing me to nitrogen ice cream. I love you so much and I am your biggest advocate!

*This is the only time I wish I take more photos. Instead of the beautiful Mellany, I’ve had to settle for a picture of one of her lesson plans. 

Grace is receiving & accepting

I work for what I get. I try to earn what I receive. I want to deserve what is given to me. That is why grace is so uncomfortable.

Grace is receiving what I cannot earn
Grace is accepting that I am needy
Grace is receiving more than I expected
Grace is accepting that my worth doesn’t lie in what I can give
Grace is receiving generosity when I can’t equally reciprocate
Grace is accepting that people love me 
Grace is receiving 
Grace is accepting

A dear friend of mine generously bought my plane ticket for London. Initially I said no. I scrambled for reasons to justify why I would merit that generous gift and I found none. I don’t deserve it. My friend insisted, and insisted. It feels uncomfortable. I had to surrender my pride, sit in the discomfort and receive. That is grace – being loved based on the goodness of Jesus. I have nothing to do with it. I couldn’t earn it.

Thank you friend for teaching me that God makes me incredibly uncomfortable for my good. Thank you for giving me beyond my expectations. God works outside our small boxes; He worked through you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

Thank You Treats!

I could just say the common puns of how the Treats are so sweet and such a treat, and end it there. Because sifting through the many, many ways they have affected me, the community and this city in order to keep this post a reasonable length, is hard.

The Treats have folded me into their family and that has made LA home. They have shown me rhythms and the care of a healthy marriage and family. This gives me hope and excitement for my future. Their commitment to me and those around them make us feel like we matter. Jeremy and Tiffany lead by example, with curiosity, openness and humility.  Now those precious girls, Ashlyn, Lauryn, Evelyn & Katelyn! It has been a treat for me to watch them learn, grow, explore, fall and get back up. They remind me to laugh, to be silly and to not eat too much candy. We hands down have the best dance parties.

Thank you for your constant generosity and love. Thank you for living out the call God has placed on your family.

Thank You “Bro”

A friend of mine donated and he wants to stay anonymous. I still want to thank him so, let’s call him Bro.

Bro is joy walking into a room ready to embrace you
Bro is generous, hospitable, ready to welcome you
Bro’s got style like no other
Bro’s got rhythm to match that head to toe color
Bro is a brother who’s always got your back
Bro serves anywhere, whenever, whoever, however, if there’s a lack
Bro gives me lots of hope that great men are most definitely out there
Bro, thanks for all your heart and never ceasing care

Thank You Rachel & Evan

Thank you for reaching out, investing in me and being excited with me! Rachel is a fierce woman who lays it out as it is, whether they are things to rejoice over or things we can come alongside her in. Her self-awareness and boldness to ask God for exactly what is on her heart help all of us to be braver. When I think of Rachel, this verse comes to mind.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Thank you both for your generosity and time. Thank you for showing me that we are and will always be family! xxx

Thank You Ruth

Ruth and I spent many many many days sitting at Bricks & Scones waiting, waiting, pushing through the muck of the 20s unknown. Her commitment and faithfulness wildly inspire us in an age of flighty, transient shifting. In her, there is deep friendship, love and service. She always puts others before herself without batting an eye.

Thank you for teaching me how to be still, how to trust, how to commit. Thank you for showing me the beautiful character of God in your service and generosity.

Thank You Joanne!

Joanne is a BA with a soft & generous heart. She was one of my first friends in LA and continues to be a ride or die friend. With her, you instantly feel comfortable to just be yourself, riff on what’s actually going on and strengthen your DGAF attitude.

Thank you for your generous and servant heart. Thank you for inspiring me to pray more. Thank you for keeping me accountable in pursuing what I love. Thank you for being a true nerd and lover of learning. xxxxx