2016: Rise Up

Lin Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. in Cosmopolitan Magazine

Lin Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. in Cosmopolitan Magazine

So hey interwebs?! Long time no see! I mean I see you everyday (far too much cause I'm an addict) but I've been lurking online and werking offline and anyways for a long time I just didn't have anything to say. But like A. HAM I need to let heartfelt posts about natural disasters be the beginning of the story not the end, right? So yeah. Here we go:

2015 was a pretty insane year. I worked hard and played hard and cried a lot. I learned to butterfly and run and did this discipleship program at church that grabbed me by the collar and shook me around like a puppy. I started stepping out in a big way. I read a crap ton of books.  It was the year of Hamilton and Star Wars and all sorts of stuff that I can barely remember anymore. It brought the first chapter of my career to a close and opened up dreams I never previously considered. It was a lot of sad goodbyes and exciting new beginnings. It was ALL THE THINGS and now it's over.

2016 is gonna be a big year for me. I'm starting off with my first ever sabbatical, ridding my house of objects that do not "spark joy" and battening down the hatches as I work on building an Empire. It's all very exciting and scary and awesome and also means I don't have time for New Years resolutions like "flossing" and "being a better person" and all that. And to be honest, I'm neurotically goal oriented and my FitBit already controls my life so I need resolutions of the chill out variety. Thus dear interwebs I present to you the 2016 Resolutions. Feel free to hold me accountable.

Your obedient servant, M.L.E.

1. Attend/host an emotastic Phantom of the Opera (The movie because.... MY GOD PATRICK WILSON!) sing-along. Eyeliner mandatory. Bonus points if you wear something that seems like it was purchased at Hot Topic.

2. Do proper vocal warm ups every day so that you can nail Christine's high note in aforementioned sing along. I solemnly swear that after 3 semesters of voice class I'm *almost there.

3. Buy some pajamas that "spark joy". (I'm eyeing some of the Star Wars variety but I'm not gonna be uptight about it cause I'm so chill)

4. Get a bunting for my mantel that says "Turn down for what?!" because I just recently saw the music video (I know. I know!) and it made my life.

5. Start wearing lipstick and getting manicures on the reg because it brings me pozzie vibes.

Posted on January 4, 2016 and filed under Nothing to Do with Anything.

Two Veterans Days

On Veterans Day fourteen years ago I was in San Francisco with a group of students from UC Davis. We went to attend an event advocating for the rights of Filipino veterans of WWII. Both of my grandfathers served in the war so it was something I felt strongly about. It was a fun day. The city was bright and crisp.

In high school and college I wore my Dad's military coat a lot. I find it comforting. It reminds me of him and has our family name embroidered on the pocket. Truth be told I still wear it a lot. Even at 34 years old I still need my father's love and the comfort of my family name resting over my heart. I wore my coat to the city that day and midway through the day a little old man wobbled up to me, pointed at my coat and exclaimed joyously "I know where you are from! You are from Siquijor! I know because that island is full of your people. They are everywhere!"

It was such a special moment. So often I feel hidden. People rarely know that I am Filipino and the endless conversations about my mixed heritage can be burdensome. I will never forget that little old man who saw my face and name and drew a line straight from my heart to my heritage. I've been thinking of him and replaying that conversation "Your people are from Siquijor"

Siquijor is in the Visayas, the part of the Philippines that was hardest hit by Haiyan. On Veterans Day this year the news is saying Visayas over and over again. The death toll is mounting. The devasatation is unimaginable. I can't deal with the images because my heart has gone numb. I hold each of those Veterans Days in my hands. One experience brings me joy and the second one destroys my heart.

At church this week we talked about generosity and how the comfortable are often isolated from the afflicted. On the other side of the world my people are dying as I sit on my couch futilely blogging about my feelings. It is impossible to understand and shamefully I don't want to deal. I want to retreat to a safe place inside my head where the internet and typhoons don't exist. Part of this is a natural coping mechanism, none of us are designed to conceptually grasp such a terrible thing but are those really good excuses? No.

Tonight I'm asking God to help me be strong enough to sit down and pray for my own people: To sit and witness and mourn with those who are suffering instead of zoning out because it's too terrible to understand. To stand in hope that after the time to fight for survival has passed that something beautiful will be reborn.

Note: As you know the need is great. Our family decided to give to local efforts via NAFCON and a fund set up by a friend who I trust impeccably and of course there is also World Vision, Catholic Relief Services and the American Red Cross.

Posted on November 14, 2013 .

2012: The Year of Reading "Biblically"


I’ve always wanted to read the whole bible but somehow I never did. It was something like flossing, I knew it would be good for me but applying myself to the task seemed insurmountable. A few years ago I posted “Read the whole bible” on my blog’s life list. Like clockwork my mother produced a “Read it in a Year-Version Bible” from Costco. I said thank you feeling very pleased that someone in my family was reading my blog and then it sat on my bookshelf for another few years. I just could NOT muster the desire/energy etc.

So what produced the change of heart? A fellow blogger and AJ Jacobs’ book the “Year of Living Biblically”. AJ’s hilarious journey of following the bible literally for a year inspired me to finally dig in while Rachel Held Evans year-long series on “Loving the Bible for what it is not what we want it to be” challenged me. How I could make any decisions about the bible without reading it? I wanted to join in the conversation from an informed perspective so I did it. I actually did it! I sat down every morning of 2012 and read my “Read the Bible in a Year-NIV Bible that my Mom bought for me at Costco”. Even now that I am done I cannot believe that I did it! Did I mention that I DID IT!

And... it was great. It was ordinary and extraordinary all at once. The bible is a challenging book. I found it to be strange, beautiful, violent, insanely detailed and confusing. Some mornings I was moved to tears and others I was falling asleep but almost every day in 2012 I spent some time with my lime green bible with the big 365 on the cover. I read every single one of the Psalms out loud because they were the perfect prayers for a distressing year that oftentimes left me speechless. I got in there with what I believe to be the divinely inspired word of God and it was fascinating and much more than I expected it to be. Much more weird. Much more violent. Much more gracious and much more confusing. The bible is not simple, but it is full of grace and 2012 was a better year for having read it.

It's been almost a year now since I've finished and now that some time has passed I realize that the experience changed the way I relate to scripture. I no longer feel anxiety about engaging with the bible. I tend to avoid uncomfortable things and the bible is FULL of disconcerting passages. A few weeks ago during my bible study we talked about a passage that is not my favorite.  It's about mutual submission and is often used as justification to tell women to shut up (an oversimplification of the argument, but this isn't a theology blog). In the past I would've wanted to avoid the whole conversation but I feel more confident now to engage.  I know from experience that there is nothing in the bible that I need to be afraid of anymore. Instead of ostriching out when things become uncomfortable I feel a confidence that comes with having read the whole picture and that is worth much more than a years' investment


Posted on November 3, 2013 and filed under Mighty List.

Life List: Be on a podcast

Last October I impulsively put “Be on a podcast” as one of my five lifelist items to complete for the year. At the time I had no other motivation other than it seemed like it would be fun. (See also: compulsive need to talk). I figured if I was persistent I could convince somebody to let me be a guest on their podcast. Luckily I forgot about that plan and instead called my friend Renee. Renee and I are good at dreaming up projects but we have a not-so-pristine track record of execution. There are multiple ½ choreographed Justin Timberlake dance routine in our pasts. While our dance careers are (ahem) stalled, podcasting is a blast! After a brief discussion we realized the best use of our podcast would be to share our “expert” advice in a humorous advice-column format. Just to make sure no one takes us too seriously, we decided to name our podcast “Ego Circus”

Currently we are taping episodes in which we give ourselves advice whilst pretentiously treating the minutiae of our lives with epic importance. Our philosophy is that crazy is like an animal that feeds on isolation so we're giving our superegos a break from their solitude. Share the crazy! When exposed to light it shrinks in size.

You can subscribe to Ego Circus on iTunes and I would love it if you check it out and even better if you can leave us a positive review! Click here to check it out!

PS- The podcast contains topics and language not suitable for work or kiddos so click with caution!  

Posted on October 19, 2013 .

Top 5 Update

I'm back at Camp Mighty. As you can see, it's super ugly here at the Ace in Palm Springs. I hate how the light changes every five minues so that the mountains are always a different, spectacular color. The spa is too big as well and the starlight is always in my eyes. Whatever.

Despite these sufferings I soldier on.

Part of the Camp Mighty experience is choosing 5 things on your Life List that you'd like to complete in the next year. The idea is to network with others to get inspired and make it happen. Below is my list from last year. Some of these things I accomplished (custom designed my blog)! Some I did not accomplish (still can't break dance-oops) but as I prepped my list to come here I realized there were a lot of things I've done that I never wrote about. Some of them were memorable things that I'd like to reflect on and commemorate. I hope that in the coming days I'll overcome my blog-phobia to share them here.

Posted on October 18, 2013 .