Monday, January 19, 2009


With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

*pictures taken today from murals in the 31st and troost area kc,mo

Sunday, January 11, 2009

an alarming story

i was listening to "this american life" on my way to church this morning and heard a captivating and yet alarming story. listen to "babies buying babies" and see what you think... my how this world will stop at nothing to embrace the familiar and reject that which is "other," even when it involves something as seemingly trivial as baby dolls.

p.s. after reading/listening to everything else on this author's website, i'm kind of obsessed with her. elna baker could be my first "new favorite thing" of 2009.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sushi I ate, I went on a date, I met a girl named Kate in 2008

I thought about trying to make an alphabetical list of words/phrases that described my year and rhymed with 2008, but I quickly realized that would not have been enjoyable to read, or for that matter, create (ooh – that’s a good word though… *rethinks original decision, and then comes back to reality*). No one would want to read about how I did not fish with bait, how I moved a crate, or how I didn’t really get irate (except for that one time where I almost did). Still, I am going to write the say goodbye to ’08, say hello to ’09 blog post, because well, there’s a time of year to do that sort of thing, and that time is now. That’s reason and um, rhyme enough.

I had good intentions of trying to change my blog up this year and ask questions on it rather than just type my nonsense. Apparently questions extending beyond the ever-perplexing “Shalinn or Shaolin” bits don’t fly with you people. That’s okay though – I’m not bitter or anything… Side note – I’ll likely resume the whole fortune cookie vs. fortune kookie thing later – I’m obviously just not good at keeping up with the whole updating the blog thing. I blame that on my return journey back to facebook. That, and triangles. Don’t worry though; I have another stellar blog contest to embark upon. You’re gonna love it. Aside, complete…. Anyway, here’s some high and lowlights of the year that was… last year. I won’t make you answer any questions, I promise.

*My family said goodbye to my 106-year-old great-grandmother on January 17th of this year. She would’ve been 107 today actually. I’m sure she’d have something to say about the current financial state of the world, the fact that I’m still single, and that we’ve got a new president (yeah!)
*I continued the journey for a brief stint and met a wonderful guy. Circumstances and life as it happens left us as friends. I didn’t know that I could feel so honored by someone voluntarily turning off the television to talk to me. He's taught me more than he may ever know.
*Leaving one job, interviewing and taking another one. I am happier now with what I am doing and perhaps what that may lead to in the future. I’ve gotten to see improvement in the lives of children and in some ways have gotten to see more clearly the circumstances that can work against them. It’s not fair, but is perhaps a greater opportunity for triumph.
*The Mexicants. Maya and I finally made it happen after over a year of talking about it. It’s fun and life-giving and one of these days we’ll perform our own music…and move beyond Grandview, MO (hopefully).
*Time off from work can rejuvenate a person and help them realize what other opportunities are available to them. I’m so grateful that I got to take the time to work with the wonderful children at Christ Church during VBS and at Christmas. They were wonderful and inspired me with their sweet hearts. Plus, they sang awesome. Getting back to teaching piano lessons was the right decision for me – my students remind me why I love music and why I love seeing people discover what they’re capable of. I literally sleep better at night because of this last summer.
*Obama. I took part in my first political campaign this year by volunteering and contributing. I’ve never watched as much news coverage as I did this year, and I never thought I could talk politics with people, especially people I didn’t know, but I did. What a growing experience it was for me to see what people in this city are passionate about and to see how things played out. I can only hope that no matter what happens from this point forward, people will start to care about something other than themselves. If we’re lucky, the U.S. can hopefully lead the way….and with any luck, listen and learn.
*London. Seriously. Need I say more? I got to go to London. I loved everything about it and can’t wait to go back to Europe.
*Weddings…oh my. I’ve seen some of my very best friends from past and present get married or engaged this year. Lots of sweet babies have been born (and created!) too, including the sweet baby I found out about last night ☺. I can’t wait to be aunt Shalinn (not biologically, mind you)!
*On a sadder, different note, I’ve seen more than one friend tragically lose their fathers, seen those I care about be abused, seen dreams and expectations shattered, seen illness and injury plague friends and family, and seen hearts break, including my own. I’ve seen people that won’t get out of their own way, and seen people that don’t realize who they really are and all that they could become in light of that. But perhaps the greatest tragedy is that of seeing the lonely not knowing they are loved, and me knowing that I can’t or in some cases don’t love them like I should or like I wish I could.

Well, New Year’s day is quickly coming to an end and I’ve written and re-written this last paragraph a gazillion times now, though no would know that since I decided to scrap it all just now. Bottom line, the word “I” was in it too much, and that just won’t do. This world is not about me or what I think or what I know or what I’ve learned this last year anymore than in previous years. And yet we’re all in this world here together where there’s beauty and tragedy and love to be found and experienced. Oh that Moulin Rouge line – the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. Let yourself be loved and love, even when it’s hard (on both fronts). Thanks for the grace you’ve extended to me this year readers… Happy 2009.