Deliberate: Stuck Together

Yesterday in Turquoise Door during lunch Churmey was in her own world, just staring at the wall. I asked what she was doing and she told me she was looking at a picture on the wall. It was a picture from a field trip two months ago. This is how our converstation went:

Me: What is this a picture of?

Churmey: The time we went to Gorilla Park and Diargo and I were stuck together.

Me: What do you mean stuck together?

Churmey: It means we love each other!!

In the picture, Diargo and Churmey are sitting side by side with huge smiles on their faces. There is another picture of them on the bus to the same park where they are sitting by each other with those same smiles.

It’s obvious- Diargo and Churmey are “stuck together.”

What I’m pretty sure Churmey was getting at was that when you really like or love someone, you are always around them. You want to be near them, hear how their day went, comment on what they are eating or how crooked their smile is. Whatever. No matter what you are doing it is obvious: being around someone  shows the world that you enjoy the person. That you WANT to be near that person. It’s that simple.

I actually talked about this with Liz yesterday morning as we ate breakfast. She and I both have the nagging desire to step back from our friendships at times, just to see what will happen. Will this person miss me? Will they notice I am gone? It is scary because then you start thinking to yourself: well what if they don’t follow?

But the reality of the situation is if a person doesn’t want to be around you, doesn’t draw near to you, isn’t “stuck” to you, ….they probably don’t like you that much. 

As hard of a pill as that is to swallow, it’s true. It’s not a 100%, tried-and-true plan (as I’ve actually found out myself), but it’s a great rule of thumb.

We accept this rule for THINGS in our lives. If you like a food, you eat it a few times a week. If you like a TV show, you watch it when it comes on. If you like running, you will run. If you have a favorite color, you will wear it. You don’t just THINK about liking purple, you WEAR purple. For some reason it is harder to accept this rule when it comes to PEOPLE. We make excuses for our friends because WE like them.

"Well maybe he was busy today."

"I think she has commitment issues."

blah blah blah

But at the end of the day, if your friends are not giving you a certain amount of attention back, we need to ask ourselves WHY we are so attached to a friend who isn’t all that invested in the relationship.

All I have to say is that we shouldn’t be AFRAID to step back for a time from constantly being around people. I’m not saying we need to constantly be testing our friends, but we should not be afraid to step back either. True friendships, relationships, sister/brotherhoods are built on mutual sacrifice, love, commitment, attention, affection, etc. And I think it’s time that more of us were honest with ourselves about how strong our relationships are with others.

#Tuesdays  

Deliberate: Family

When I’m at home one of my favorite things to do is to re-read certain books that made a significant impact on my life. One of those books that I’ve been re-reading for a week or so is called “When God Writes Your Love Story.” While there are some really excellent points in this book about giving your love life to the Lord, possibly even more excellent is the life advice Eric and Leslie Ludy (the authors) give to the young Christian.

One statement in particular still strikes a deep chord within me.

Did you know that you are only as holy as you are in your home?

Why is it that it can be so EASY to be loving to the homeless stranger on the street corner or to the lady at the cash register at the store? Because they have not invested in you deeply or for a long period of time. It’s easy to put on your best face for them because you can go home and “shut” the niceness off and veg.

At home, though? These people have known you your ENTIRE life. They love you more than words. They have invested a great amount of time and effort to make sure you are who you are today. And yet, they are the people that we complain to most. Are most short-tempered with. Say hurtful things and expect them to forgive us.

Why is this? I’m not sure.

But I do know one thing is true. The MORE you know a person, the greater DETAILS you know about them -how they brush their teeth, the articles they read in the newspaper, the stories they tell over and over, their taste in art- the more you are likely to view them as a piece of furniture in your life. This might literally be the people you have the same blood as, or they might be the people who have always been in your life.

And the people we tend to give the MOST attention to? The people we are MOST excited to see? The people we are MOST interested in? Those tend to be the people that don’t make nearly as deep of an impact on us on a day-to-day basis.

This is something I realized when I was a senior in high school as I read this book by the Ludys. And I was CON-VIC-TED. I felt like they were reading a script right from my life. And I hated it. I never, ever wanted to take my “family” for granted again. Because, as the saying goes, how you treat your family is how you will eventually treat your spouse.

It’s easy to day dream about having a guy or girl sweep you off of your feet, falling madly in love, and cherishing them as the love of your life forever. But that does not happen if you been training yourself to take them for granted. You will learn more details about their life. You will get used to them. They will become furniture in your self-absorbed life.

This has been something that I have been practicing for the last four years: not taking anyone in my life for granted. I choose to DELIBERATELY love and acknowledge the people in my life. At first this was a discipline but now this comes just as naturally to me as breathing. I think about the ones I love daily: what they love, what hurts them, how are they growing. I see them almost as an extension of myself. As Lyndzie often said to me, “You are a feeler. You feel things deeply.” And let me tell you, this empathy does not come naturally. It took EFFORT and a DESIRE to see the people around me differently.

And it BREAKS me when I see others around me not doing the same. I often pray for my friends and family that they would not take their relationships for granted. But I realize that it might take more time to really realize how important this truth is.

#Tuesdays  

You’ve got to lose to know how to win

These are lyrics to Aerosmith’s song Dream On. Coming back from my Aunt and Uncle’s house from Christmas my dad was playing this song. I had never really listened to the lyrics until that night, and suddenly it’s meaning dawned on me.

All my life I’ve felt so different from others around me. Not necessarily in any physical way, despite the fact that I had to deal with a lot more health issues than everyone else. (side note: I once went to a doctor’s appointment and the nurse who saw me before the doctor noted that I had dealt with more health issues than most adults she saw over the age of 40). The difference between me and everyone else was emotional and mental. I knew I was not the same on the inside. I thought differently. I loved deeper. I FELT more. I dreamed bigger. I knew more about the general human experience. I knew how short life was. I had experienced real physical and emotional pain.

Even at age 13 I can remember thinking these things. I remember telling a close friend that I felt “old”. And not in the way that people throw around the phrase, “Hearing ___ made me feel old!” Like, I really felt middle aged. Like this fully-mature person inside of a teenager’s body. Can you imagine transporting your current mind back to your 13 year old body? I felt really, really different. Most people at that age are worrying about what to wear and how to be “cool”. I was pondering the meaning of life and wondering why more people didn’t care about helping others. Needless to say, I got along better with adults than kids my own age most of the time.

During this last summer a woman named Ava, whom I had never met before, prophesied over me for a whole hour. One thing she said that I know was STRAIGHT from my Father’s mouth was that “The maturity that you gain spiritually will be different from anyone else’s. You are different.” Ava told me what I already knew, but what I hadn’t really put into words. She told me not to compare myself to anyone else’s spiritual maturity rate. My Father sees me as special and has enabled me to see things more clearly and sooner than anyone else around me.

At times, especially when I was younger, I felt like this was more of a curse than a gift. I was wise and I knew it. But I was too young for others to take me seriously. I had all this knowledge -gained from experiences, my relationship with God, and me simply LISTENING and UNDERSTANDING the world around me- but nothing I could do with it. What that taught me was humbleness. I learned to wait patiently until the Lord showed me that it was time to use my knowledge. I quickly figured out that others around me could not understand the lessons I’ve learned if I just let the floodgates open and pour it on them. But, as I wait on God’s timing, every now and then I pick up on opportunities to share a bit of knowledge that I’ve learned. I can tell that the other person’s heart is just right, it is ripe for harvesting in a certain area of their lives.

And as I listened to those song lyrics by Aerosmith, I realized how true they are. You only gain knowledge and understanding through “losing” -that is, going through the pain of life in some way or another. If I never HAD to mature because of my health or depression, I never would have gained the insights to life that I have. Pain either results in deeper, internalized pain or strengthening. And in my case, the Lord has taken me by the hand and has transformed me into a warrior for His purposes.

#Tuesdays  

Downsizing. Now this man lives DELIBERATELY!

#Tuesdays  

Deliberate: Intro

As I was in an INCREDIBLY boring lecture today, a really awesome stream of thoughts occurred to me.

First came the word: Deliberate.

And then I asked myself, what does deliberate mean? And to me, deliberate means ACTIVELY choosing things. Thinking through the process of doing/buying/trying something before you do it. Nothing is wasteful.

My next thought was: our lives needs to be Deliberate.

My thought after that was: who did this best? Henry David Thoreau. He was a master at writing, especially on how to SIMPLIFY one’s life and live deliberately. Here are some of my favorite quotes by him:

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.

Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.

So the next few “Tuesday” posts that I am going to write will be about this subject. What does it mean to live deliberately? What parts of my life should be deliberate? How do I live more deliberately?

Friends, this is YOUR life. No one else is living it. Every decision you make, you make yourself. Yes, you can be influenced by things/people/places around you, but YOU ALONE are actively creating your own life, every single second that you breathe.

Make the best of it.

#Tuesdays  

Interviews.

I hate them.

They are so fake. NO ONE acts the way they portray themselves in the interview in real life. No one walks around talking about all of their impressive accomplishments or able to explain their work habits in three words at the tip of their tongues. Interviews are so FAKE.

I hate them.

I am in this class about careers/grad school and certain parts of it just really rub me the wrong way. Today in section we had to give an “elevator pitch” to a pretend employer. I had to tell my friend Robby, who was going to be a CPS worker for the time being, why I wanted to work for him in less than 20 seconds.

Yes, friends, this is exactly why I am going to a four-year university. So that I can summarize the entire reason of why I am here, working my ass off in class, in internships, and working a job in a mere 20 seconds.

No. No one can do this accurately or even close to accurately. I want to be a social worker because of ALL of the life experiences I have had leading up to this degree. And if you ask me in a year, I will have completely different reasons for wanting to be a social worker.

So, Mr. CPS (haha no offense Robby), you REALLLLYY want to know why I want you to hire me? You REALLY want to know why I actually AM the best person for this job? Let’s get lunch. My treat. I will bring a scrap book my mother made of my San Francisco Marathon. I will bring the depressing poems I wrote as a 16 year old. I will tell you all about living as a homeless person for two days and what it feels like to volunteer at Casa Esperanza weekly.

I just really want employers to hire based on how much people really WANT a job and how they have demonstrated this in the past. NOT how they can pretend to be the most qualified in a 10 second or minute interview.

And that’s my rant for the night.

#Tuesdays  

So I’m trying to start something fancy on Tumblr. Still haven’t really figured out how to do it, but I’m going to have one of those fancy things on the right side of my tumblr site that only has one type of blog post. Haha wish I knew more words right about now.

I’m calling it “Tuesdays” in reference to one of my favorite books, Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s a true story about a man who has ALS and is slowly dying. As he goes through the death process Mitch, one of his favorite students, visits every Tuesday to talk to Morrie to learn about his life. What he’s done, what he’s learned, what he wishes he could have done. It’s a really moving book that helps you learn about life and how precious and beautiful it is.

As I was biking home from class today I just started wondering, “Why don’t people see life the way I see life? Why don’t people learn these lessons like I’ve learned?” And it struck me: I’m not TELLING people what I’ve learned. I’m keeping it inside (which might end up being a blog post in itself).

So, I guess you could call these tagged posts just really self-obsessed ways to get you to see the world the way I do. But I just want to say that I in no way “have it all together.” In fact no one does. But I DO know that I have learned a lot in 22 years and that I have been told by about five or six different adults (like, old people) that I should “write a book.” They never really tell me what that book should be about, just that I should write one. And I agree. I’ve always wanted to since I can remember. I’ve always loved writing and I know I have things in my head that would benefit other people. Its just actually sitting down and writing the thing. So, think of each post as mini-chapters in a really long, never-ending book called the life of Deanna Suzanna. 

I guess if I had to summarize what I want these posts to be about, they are about learning how to think about life, how to view life, how to live life. We don’t need to wait for the apocalypse to see the living dead- they are walking around in our lives on a daily basis. Going to and from work, or class, not filling anything in-between with SUBSTANCE. Just letting the time tick by, waiting for the future to arrive (or maybe for nothing at all).

I’m here on this earth in part to let those around me know that there is SO. MUCH. MORE.

#Tuesdays  

Beauty is actually referring to who someone is, it is part of their identity. Beauty is seen through how people live and love. Beautiful people are those who live selflessly and love unconditionally. They give generously and accept others fully. They forgive quickly and breathe slowly. They live not by their strength but by God’s. They are people who shine, because they have a joy and peace about them that is completely contagious. They know who they are and they are confident in who God says they are, so all of the sudden other peoples opinions no longer matter. Don’t let others try to define who you are. The best example i can think of is Jesus, he did all these things and more. Jesus is beautiful in every meaning of the word, people were and are drawn to him! Not because of what he looked like but because of who he was and is.

I don’t care what anyone says, You are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful. Not because of how you look but because of who you are.

Your differences are what make you beautiful, not your similarities.

Sunshine Salvador
#Tuesdays  

Adventures II

Adventures II Dee.
Doozie.
Sweet D.
Big D.
D Money.
Deanna.
(that's me)

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