Dec 10, 2013

richellephant is moving!

 
Alas! I have decided to let this blog go and start anew. It has almost been a good seven years since I wrote my first post in here, and it's been fun... but I'm moving! Yay!!! As I was going back to old blog posts from when I was in high school, I was amazed with how many things have changed. I'm a totally different person from the 15-year-old Richelle who started this blog, and it makes me laugh so hard and even cringe to go back on some things that I've written in regards to high school drama. I used to be all about how many followers I had when I first started blogging, so silly! Now, I want to disregard the numbers and write for the pure love of writing and I want to tell stories for the pure love of storytelling. And if someone gets touched along the way, then all praises to the King! Who knows!? I'll probably laugh at my 20's when I'm 40, but I'm just gonna take the days as they come. :)

With all of that said, I wanted to start a new blog for this new season in my life.

I'm about to graduate from college, leave the country in seven months on a crazy adventure for Jesus to backpack and serve around the world for a year, and I have so many new stories, new projects, new ideas, and new videos that I'd like to share in a whole new way.

Thank you richellephant.blogspot.com, for you have been a very good online journal to me.
And thank you to all who have followed me here.
But I feel like I've ran out of pages, and it's time to pick up a new, blank sketchbook at the store! :)


Smell ya later!?
x.
Dec 8, 2013

Calling all brothers and sisters.

I would love to read the testimonies of many or any of you who are willing to share with me. I want to know how Jesus changed your life from who you were before and what He has been teaching you these days, what you are doing, and why you do what you do... anything!

Also, I would love to hear from you about any blessings or even prayer requests!!!

But really, e-mail at richellejean@gmail.com.

I want to know more about how God has been working in the lives of everyday people and I want to know how I can pray for you, because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let's bear each others burdens.
Let's share stories with one another of God's goodness.
Let's push on for Jesus!
x.

"Infuse the gospel into your life through the littlest ways."

Walk wisely.



"Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior." -Psalm 27:9

I often feel unworthy because of how dirty my heart gets, bringing me to cry out to God just like David. David was a man after God's own heart, yet the bible clearly lays out just how perfectly imperfect he was. Being in sin chokes your soul and brings a drought upon your heart, making you only desire to conform to the world and to pursue fleeting pleasures that only bring you a fleeting happiness. I never really discuss my struggles on here, but I have had my heavy, soul-killing battles with pride and even with lust that have sank my heart into deep, dark pits. I write to you to tell you just how perfectly imperfect I am. Angry, hateful thoughts sometimes cloud my mind and darkness has found its way to make my heart bitter toward certain situations and even certain people. I've thought of myself as higher than others before, refraining from the fact that I need to pluck out the plank from my own eye before I could ever talk or even think down on someone. All these things are just the beginning of how much of a sinner I am. The list goes on and on, with a mind that so easily wanders into dark places where God is not pleased. I am just the same. I am just the same as you, just as you are the same as me. This morning reminded of the gospel and how what Jesus did for us covers the very sins and weights of guilt that taunt me. God seriously gives us everything we need in the bible in order to pursue purity and a life that overflows past the brim with joy because of Him and only Him.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." -Hebrews 12:1-2

I was listening to the radio and heard a man speak about where the word "repentence" comes from.
In Hebrew, it is שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow), and my ears were particularly drawn to the fact that to repent means to return. When saying that repentance means to return, then that means we must have been in that place before. I was reminded of the fact that God calls me to let go of the things that hold me down. My desire to pursue my fleshly desires started to overshadow my fear of God, but at the most perfect moment- God reminded me that I am His. I felt tears come to my eyes as I reflected over the fact that I need to return back into the open arms of God.

That night, I was reminded of Esau.

"Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears." -Hebrews 12:12-17

I hope that passage crept into your skin just as it crept into mine when I first read it, and this goes for everything. Not just sexual immorality, which is something that seemed to devour Esau's heart, but everything. The enemy is so convincing in pulling us away from God, and we need to be alert to run away from these tricks. Let's talk about Esau and take his life as an example to teach us some life lessons, which can potentially save our lives and bring us back to the gospel. Esau's fleshly appetite overrode his value in Jesus Christ. You will yield to whatever you feed. The more you feed on satisfying your flesh, the more you will yield to your flesh. The more you feed on the words of God and on the good news of the gospel, the more you will yield to what He desires for your life. Esau was rejected because he was not repentant. Do you see that? Even though he would cry after God with tears night after night, seeming to be distraught and completely broken by his sin, he was never repentant, which means he was rejected.

What are you living for? Do you really believe in the gospel?

This made me reflect over myself and my own life. We ought to really examine our lives and our hearts, friends, because we need to not deceive ourselves.

I started to smile, thinking about the gospel. Thinking about the way that Jesus Christ died on the cross and He is ALIVE today. I want to share this, I want to give this, I want to live this out. My sins are covered and my heart is now free because of what Jesus Christ did for me.

That night, God reminded me to return to Him because I am not my own, I am His.

"I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." -Jeremiah 24:7

Take this as a reminder to check your heart.
We're talking about the Creator of the universe here.
Do you really fear Him?
Do you even believe in Him?

He can take us at any second, and I hope you'd be ready if He decided to take you right now.
Nov 7, 2013

God rebuked me with Matthew 17:20.

As you may or may not know, I will (LORD-willing) be going on the World Race this July. The countries listed below are the 11 countries where my team and I will (LORD-willing) be serving for 11 months, a different country every month. 


Also, World Race Day is coming on 11/11! With that said, I want to tell you about the 11/11 campaign. This November 11 (11/11), I am looking for 11 people to help me in this journey by giving $11 a month for 11 months. Nevertheless, please pray for us and help spread the word! I will be sending out the support letters very soon, and I would really appreciate it if you would prayerfully consider partnering with me in this journey of faith, whether or not you would like to be one of those 11 people. And as one of my squad mates, Rachael, said: "no restrictions apply, side effects may include added awesomeness and an enlarged hedge of protection." :-)

This new season of my life is very exciting. However, God has been bringing weird things upon my heart and into my life, and I'm trying my best to trust Him in staying opened to whatever happens.

This is also where you come in. More than financial support, I really need your prayers. Please, please, please.

Many different things have been a bit confusing for me lately. I know that this is what God has called me to do, but for some reason He has been placing things on me, school-wise and even heart-wise, which might make me go on a different route from this one. I'm doing all that I can to hopefully stay on this route, also because I've been able to meet up with some of the amazing, God-fearing young ladies who I will hopefully be serving with in this journey. Meeting them made me more passionate about trying to stay on this route, and it seems that God has been opening ways to stay in this place. However, I still don't know. Meeting them put a heaviness on my heart that placed a crying out in my heart to serve with them. But of course, I think God wants me to step back, not in only this way, but in many ways. Please pray for me as I continue to seek the LORD and His will for my life, especially within this new season. I want God's hands to be over this journey of faith, wherever He chooses to place me and whatever He decides for me to do.

I can go on and worry relentlessly about the dangers of serving in countries that are dominantly Muslim, but I know that God has us in His hands. I can go on and worry relentlessly about where the heck the money will come from, but I know that God will provide. I can go on and worry relentlessly about so many things, but I know that if I keep my heart next to God's heart, I will be more than okay. I find myself at peace with the fact that the Creator of this universe has His eyes on the sparrow. Therefore, He has his eyes over my heart and my life. 

I will trust in you, oh LORD.
Your love is unfailing, your mercies are overwhelmingly overflowing daily.
You fill me with a love, a joy, and a hope that is beyond me,
yet You break me down to the littlest pieces in order to see just how weak I am without You.
Be the ruler of my life and the ruler of my heart, oh LORD.
Search me and cleanse me of all my doubts, my worries, my anxieties, my fears.
Instill in my heart a fear of You and only You, oh LORD.
You are the Almighty, the Maker, the Creator, and the Provider.
Because of you, I am here.
Because of you, I will go.
I am weak, oh LORD.
Please keep my heart next to yours.
Please help me not to go astray.
Please keep me from wandering toward places that keep me from You.
Please keep my eyes and my vision on You, oh LORD.
Please keep me next to You.
I want to be with You.
I need You.
Take me, use me, break me, and mold me for You.
For Your kingdom alone, oh my LORD.
Lead me to Your heart,
and I pray to never, ever find my worth and my value here on this earth
but only in You.
You make me wholesome.
You make me beautiful.
Please keep my heart next to Yours, oh LORD.
Please keep me next to You.
Nov 4, 2013

If you're a MOTHER, if you're a FATHER, if you're a CHILD, if you're thinking about ADOPTION, if you're a HUMAN BEING, please watch this incredible story.

All content of this blog post was taken from the World Race.

Two years ago, we watched as World Racer Jenn Watson met a little Chinese boy with Down Syndrome named Zi. Jenn took a leap of faith when she asked her family to adopt him, and God opened every door to make it possible.

In Psalm 68:6, God promises that he sets the lonely in families. From a month in China to a three-minute Facebook conversation to a single $30,000 day, this is a story written by God's hand to honor that promise.

And now we invite you to join us today to celebrate the miracle of adoption. 

After months of brainstorming, strategizing, traveling, filming, editing, and polishing, Zi's film is ready. But that's not the real story.

The story is about an incredible family who said yes to bringing a little boy into their family for good. But even that's not the real story.

The story is that God chose us. Adopted us. And called us sons and daughters. 

That's the main story we're about. So whether you know that story or not, stay tuned, this video may just give you a little glimpse.

We couldn't be more proud of this film and excited to show it to you.

So grab some tissues, watch this short film, and share it on your favorite social media sites:

Nov 1, 2013

She saw herself as ugly.

But she was actually one of the most beautiful women artists.
-3-4
For Halloween this year, I chose to be an amazing woman who remained strong amidst all of the turmoil that came into her life. For Halloween this year, I tipped my glass to an amazing woman and painter, Frida Kahlo!

I've been admiring different hearty women in history recently (you'll find me in the biography section at the library!), and I'm excited that one of my classes this Spring is all about that! Let me tell you, Frida is one of them. We all know her as the amazing painter. We even have different views about her stored in our minds without even realizing it. I'll be honest and admit that I only thought of unibrows and monkeys whenever I heard her name (shame on me). Now, I think about passion, perseverance, hope, the terrifying yet the absolute fullness of reality, love going beyond ourselves, and the significance of looking at your great pains and turning on it with an even more immense strength.

Thank you, Frida.

Last year: Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
2 years ago: Spiderman

Love for love's sake.

11/1/12 dress rehearsal of Mt. San Antonio College's Fall Repertory Dance Concert.
I crave for sharp movement. The jerking of the arm, the neck, the legs, the body. The quickness found in urgently moving from one place to the next, one part of the body to the next, to the point where it almost seems to come across as smooth through its honest deliverance. It’s become a part of me. How I think, how I feel, how I live, how I move. The details within each abrupt tossing creates a spirit within me that empowers the very essence of who I am.

Sure, I’m not the most graceful, but I’m honest.
And maybe in choosing to cling to sincerity in movement, grace still resides.
Genuinely uninhibited movement that flows from the heart in such purity to where I could hear and feel a reluctant yet relentless yielding to who I am. A yielding to who I was made to be.

And I take no shame in this.
It might coin me as weak, but perhaps this is what actually makes me strong.
And I choose to trade any flecks of shame for a dignified pride.

To be able to share this with you would be a miraculously gracious gift. It would be nothing short of a divinely orchestrated sequence of undeserved abilities gifted to us by an all-deserving Maker and Provider.

I want to live my life sharply, loudly, gracefully, and quietly.
Just give me time.
I have many things I would like to say.
Oct 21, 2013

It was like a dream, but better because it was real.

Jumping into the ocean in whatever I was wearing, sand in my hair and sand between my toes, exploring the dark caves that I had been dreaming about, the scratches that decided to tag along, walking alongside the cliffs with the sounds of birds and winds and waves, the feeling of the sun touching base on every part of my face, not having a care in the world about the way that I looked, yet feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world.

There are some days that I wish I could relive over and over again, this was one of them.

Thank you.
Oct 13, 2013

"Enjoy your early twenties."


On October 1, 2013, I turned 22.

This season of my life has already given me so many new friendships, new challenges, new thoughts and new adventures to prayerfully pursue and look forward to. In honor of this new and exciting season of my life, I felt it appropriate to share 22 things that I'm thankful for right now. I apologize in advance for another long post, I can't help myself! :)

Today, I am thankful to God for...

1. Sincerely loving and generous friends who continually teach me every time I am blessed enough to be around them that our money is not our own. Our money was given to us, ultimately, from God. Use your money wisely, and be a cheerful giver. We don't deserve the money that we do have. If you say you do because you worked hard for it, well then who gave us the abilities to work hard and to do the things that we do anyway? Let's fix our hearts.

2. Head scratchers (which I bought for $1 in Chinatown), for they are a gift from God. :)

3. The ocean, everything about it. The waves, the sand, the rocks, the animals, the colors, the vastness, the taste, the smells. Everything about the ocean reminds me of God and being around the ocean makes me more thankful for my life.

4. The pure joy and sincerity of children.

5. Weariness and illness, because being sick has a way of putting me back in my place and reminding me of God's goodness in my life, reminding me of the fact that without God, I'll be sick forever.

6. Finding the other pair of your shoe that you had been missing for months.

7. The immediate bond that emerges when you come alongside brothers and sisters in Christ. I've recently been able to connect with different brothers and sisters who I will be traveling with in the World Race for a year through Facebook, and it has been exciting to learn about all of them. It's amazing to see how all of us, though in completely different parts of the country (or even the world) with completely different backgrounds, we are all able to come together and simply love. Love each other, love others, and love Jesus.

8. People who genuinely care for me and accept me and all of me-- quirks, imperfections and all.

9. Thai food. I don't know why, but I often think about thai food. I don't know what it is, really, but there is still nothing like a good pad thai, thai curry, thai

10. Prayer, because it is absolutely vital and absolutely important in life and in our relationship with God. Lately, God has been convicting me of how lightly we take it, and how wrong it is to take it so lightly. It is conversation with God. The one and only Creator of this universe is listening, so how dare we take it lightly. Start a prayer book, this is something I've been convicted of, and when you tell someone you'll pray for them, make sure you do.

11. My mom and dad, though I know I am always thankful for them, I am specifically thankful for the way that they always remind me of God. They remind me of God through their love for me, their love for our family, their love for each other, and ultimately, their love for God.

12. Table side guacamole, because that stuff is sometimes more magical than Disneyland.

13. Dreams, because God always uses them to teach me something. I think it's incredible that we can experience such strong emotions in our dreams, to the point where we can sometimes wake up crying. The other day, God gave me a dream that exposed a hidden part of my heart that I need to continually work on if I want to live this life for Him. It's amazing how He works, and how many times I can wake up knowing exactly why He gave me that dream.

14. Sneakers with dresses, because sometimes that's more fun.

15. Jumping into the ocean no matter what clothes you have on, then basically swimming and hiking to the nearby caves, where some scratches seem to invite themselves along the way... with your best friend.

16. The fruits of the Spirit.

17. The story of Job in the Bible, because I pray to have a heart that yearns for God even if everything has been taken away from me. Amidst all the trials and tribulations, amidst the lost of my worldly possessions or even my loved ones, no matter what comes my way, I want to be able to raise my hands to the LORD and say, "Blessed be Your name."

18. One of my favorite movies, It's A Wonderful Life, because it makes my heart heavy.

19. The parable of the ten virgins, because it serves as a great reminder of the fact that we need to always be ready, we need to always be on our guard. Don't live this life leisurely and unaware, because Jesus will come back again like a thief in the night and we need to be ready. It's not an option. I don't want to be caught without oil in my lamp and I don't want to be caught off guard, I need to be ready and I want to live radically and joyfully for Him.

20. A reminder to put on the whole armor of God.

21. The fact that "church is not a museum for good people, it's a hospital for the broken."

22. The song "Always" by Hillsong United. I'm going to be honest and admit that I don't usually listen to worship music on a daily basis, but this is one major song that God seems to always use to break me. I can't really explain it. It won't even be playing, but God will decide to instantly play it inside of my head on repeat as I cry out to Him. It's a very special song to me in my life and in my relationship with God.

So, I will leave you with it.



Did You rise the sun for me?
Or paint a million stars that I might
Know Your majesty?
Is Your voice upon the wind?
Is everything I've known marked
With my maker's fingerprints?

Breathe on me

Let me see Your face
Ever I will seek You

'Cause all You are, is all I want, always
You draw me close in Your arms
Oh God, I wanna be with You

Can I feel You in the rain?

Abandon all I am to have You
Capture me again
Let the earth resound with praise
Can You hear as all creation lives
To glorify one name?


xx, Richelle.
Sep 27, 2013

"I hate to say it, but this is perfect for you."

I'm about to share with you some good news that God has blessed me with recently, and this good news is kind of major for both me and the loved ones in my life. Though I must warn you, many things have happened to shape me to who I am currently, and this is going to be my attempt to share some of the journey and some of the people and stories that have brought me to where I am today. Yep, I already know that this might very well become the longest post I have ever written (you can't say I didn't warn ya!), but a lot of things need to be said before I cut to the chase.

So, allow me to explain.


For more than 2 years now, I thought full-time dancing was what I wanted for myself. Even though I started very late, I wanted it. From the moment I started dancing and from the moment I set foot in a dance studio, a deep hunger sparked to learn more, know more, do more. I loved it. I craved it. I couldn't wait to finally finish school so that I could finally commit myself fully to dancing. I had discovered a passion within me that, still to this day I can say, cannot be simply taken away. Once you experience dance for what it is, purely, honestly, and openly. Once you actually immerse yourself into the dance and get lost in the process of it, while on that floor, wherever that floor may be- your family room, your classroom, your studio, your backyard, your garage, your corner- even for a very short amount of time, it feels like everything in that moment.  Whether there is music being played or not, there is a power in movement and a power in everyday sounds that one can't help but to respond to. The power of movement and the passion that lives within each breath, the passion that lives within each count,  the passion that lives within each contact with another dancer, the passion that lives within each movement and placement of every single body part, the passion that lives and resides within each sharp movement makes me feel so very alive. I didn't even grow up with dance. Actually, I was the one kid on our family who was always too shy to dance or to do any sort of movement. But something changed for me as I was nearing the end of high school and reaching college. I discovered dance, and I didn't want to ever let it go. I can honestly say that in my personal, spiritual walk with God, dance has also helped me to see Him so much more. The intricacies of our bodies that allow us to move every which way, to glide from one part of the room to the next, to allow us to fight to pull up in every ballet class (an everyday battle), to give us the brain juices to piece together our emotions and our thoughts and to translate it down onto not only paper, but into our bodies and out into the world. I strongly believe that God gave us dance for a very good purpose. This is truly a gift from God. Dance is truly a gift from God. Not everyone in the world gets to experience it, but those who have and those who do know exactly what I mean when I say that there is an indescribable feeling that often comes to you while you are dancing. Sometimes it even gets you teary and makes your knees weak (literally), and sometimes it even gets you so hyped up that you feel like you can conquer the world! At times, it could be absolutely insane and absolutely beautiful, but it is what it is and it is real. Dance is a beautiful gift, and once it enters into your life and once you are able to feel that connection from the top of your head and down to the tips of your toes, you know. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever met, dance is one of the most beautiful things I have ever met. Though it came later than I would have liked, it came and that's all that matters. To this day, I still want it, I still love it, and I still crave for it.

Dance is a gift, and I don't intend to ever let it go.


And I still don't.

However, I can't deny the fact that God has been tugging at my heart for a while now, in a different way. I had been trying to convince myself that right here was exactly where I wanted to be and where I needed to be, and I was perfectly okay with that. I have an amazing tight-knit, super close family, an incredible relationship (by the grace of God) of almost 7 years, I have so many close friends and loved ones who have always loved me and supported me, I live in a lovely home just outside of Los Angeles, I have the greatest (maybe I'm bias) little pup as a best friend, I have an awesome church where I'm continually trying to grow in community, and I have access to all kinds of dancing all around me. What's not to love!? I have everything that I need and SO much more. Not to mention, I have parents who support me and who I know would be completely behind me if I chose to give up everything to pursue dance. It's a blessing, and I know others aren't as fortunate as this. Needless to say, life is very swell around these parts and dare I say-- comfortable.

While dance has been a longing of my heart, God continued to open my eyes to so much more. Not to say that dance isn't already more than enough, because it really is more than enough and an absolutely pain-staking yet passion-driven process, but God showed me many things through different experiences within this last year alone. These different experiences, stories and these very opportunities that sort of changed my life were actually the littlest opportunities that had presented themselves to me, or at least I thought they were little. They weren't big stretches that called me to go way out of my comfort zone, they weren't mission trips to foreign lands nor were they even planned out. They kind of just happened, where I came in with little to no expectations, just ready to do what I needed to do. However, God always works in mysterious ways and these little opportunities kind of just took a hold of my life and shook me.

In the best way possible!
And I'm so thankful.


This past year, I have been volunteering and working at two different Boys and Girls Clubs.

At first, it started off as a simple internship for a class that I needed to take. And, of course, it became so much more and turned into a stepping stone to where I am today. During this time, I have been able to build relationships with different kids who, quite honestly, kind of changed my life and kind of changed my heart forever, and for the better. There was a specific little boy, Mandel, who had a smile that would bring my heart so much peace. He became like a little brother to me and I fell in love with his smile, his heart, his stories, his joy and even his pains. He'd cry to me about girls and he'd even cry to me about his family. Even though he was often left out from the "cool kids", he had a joy that was so contagious, and it was the kind of joy that I was always drawn to whenever I came. Another little gal, Michelle, also changed me forever and for the better. People would always call her names and make fun of her for the way that she looked, but her company was one of the best company I have ever had, and she easily became one of the most beautiful little girls I had ever met. She had a heart that was dedicated to giving, to serving, and to loving her little sister, her cousins, and her friends. Past all of the remarks and all of the bullies, I knew that this girl was truly a gem and that a heart as big as hers, though she was much younger than me, would certainly fill mine.

Meeting these two crazy kiddies changed me. Yeah, they might be more than 10 years younger than me, but I would say that they taught me more than I taught them, and this certainly wasn't something that I was expecting to gain when I signed up to volunteer. They reinforced the passion on my heart for people, for children, for relationships. The absolute importance of fostering the relationships in your life and being opened to new ones because these are also blessings and gifts that help us to see the goodness, grace, and even the existence of God.



Needless to say, the more I spent time with all kinds of children this past year, the more my heart changed. My heart started to ache even more for people, especially for disadvantaged children who live in areas with a lower economic status. My heart grew heavy, and I couldn't and can't ignore it. I started to see that no matter where a child comes from, they should never ever be dismissed. No matter how much younger they are than you, they have the power to teach you more than you will ever expect to learn. They will not only teach you, but they will give. They will give you joy, they will give you laughter, they will give you love, they will give you generosity, they will give you their smiles, they will give you their stories, they will give you hope, they will give you their heartaches, they will give you ideas and they will give you a vision to see that life is bigger than the one that you are currently living.

As time went on, my heart grew heavy.
And heavy.



Another recent experience was my opportunity to go on a church retreat with 3 different Korean churches.

I know I had already written about some of it here, but I need to mention it again for different reasons. First of all, it sort of just happened and I had absolutely no expectations. I had been invited by my old co-worker to come as a leader of a group of young people who I had never met and live a few days with people I had never known. It was an uncomfortable situation, sure, but I was never really nervous for it. I had gone to numerous church retreats growing up that I thought I knew exactly what it would be like and exactly how it would go. But then, God always has His way of showing up in ways we never expect, of course. I found myself hanging out with a group of girls from Korea who spoke little to no English. Despite the language barrier, an incredibly strong bond emerged between each of us, especially between me and a thirteen-year-old girl named Maria. It was this retreat that reinforced for me the passion in my heart for people, no matter where they came from and no matter what language they spoke, I wanted God to use me. I don't know how I got so close to a group of girls who spoke a different language than me, but it happened, and it was amazing, and I promise it was all God. Aside from the fact that my eyes were opened to the beauty of worshiping God truly and honestly with people you had never met before, and the fact that these people would quickly become like brothers and sisters to me in the span of only 3-4 days changed me. My eyes were opened even bigger to the beauty of relationships and the beauty of praying to God, no matter what language you speak- He understands all of us, and He will listen.

God used Maria to speak into my heart and to show me that love cannot be confined and that it cannot be suppressed. God used this thirteen-year-old girl to show me that life is so much bigger than living for me, and I know this is something I've known, but she made it more real and really put things in place for me. Love needs to be given so that it will not be lost. She showed me that if we invest our lives and our love completely in God, He will lead us and He will continually let His love pour through our lives and out into the lives of many others-- if we let Him.


Needless to say, my heart kept growing heavy.
And heavy.
And heavy.

I love where I am and I love what I am doing, I honestly do. But I can't ignore the fact that a combination of these experiences and so much more brought me to where I am today. As stories grew on stories and as my heart continued to be opened to the fact that maybe full-time dance here isn't the answer, I became opened to it. I found myself coming home and secretly researching and looking up different opportunities for me to wreck myself even more. Opportunities to die to myself and to live a life at the service of others and, ultimately, at the service of God. I know that opportunities like that are all around me, but my heart grew heavier for people of all cultures, all backgrounds, all stories, all around the world- and I want to hear them and I want them to be heard. I want to see these people and I want them to be seen. God was weighing upon my heart the desire and calling to go out and to get out.

Like, you know, get out.





I long to see them all, meet them all, hear them all. I long to dance with people all over the world and to study cultural dance globally. I long to dance on mountaintops and on dirt roads where children's running footprints have been pressed. I long to joyously dance alongside orphans and prostitutes, and I long to celebrate life with them because of the redemption that we have found in Jesus Christ alone. I long to make friends out of strangers, share meals, share stories, carry burdens. I long to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to give love because of the greatest kind of love that my Maker has given to me. I long to keep getting up after every fall and I long to never ever give up. I long to see a new generation of women filled with flaming self-respect and dignity, who walk around with strong hearts that make them beautiful beyond belief. I long to see a people who strive for perfection, yet a people who solely place their identity and worth in the perfection found in the life of Jesus Christ alone. I long to ride strange animals and eat strange, foreign foods. I long to live this life fearlessly, carrying only a fear of God. I long to bring a voice to those who have been silenced because I believe that everyone has a right to be heard. I long to bring the gospel to the hidden crevices of this beautiful Earth. I long to dance my way through the intricate patterns and colors that come alongside individual cultures. I long to love people for who they are, not for who they pretend to be. I long to dig deeper at all times and I long to live with complete joy even amidst tribulation because my God is greater and my God is stronger. 

In my search for overseas opportunities, I knew that I have a passion within me for God, for celebrating His love by giving His love, for dance, for being able to purely dance for the pure joy of dancing with all kinds of children, for relationships, for pursuing relationships for the sake of expanding His kingdom for His glory, and not my own.  

I was introduced to the World Race last year and when I first read about it, I smiled and immediately pushed it away... and for different reasons. First of all, the money? Ridiculous. How would I ever raise enough money!? Secondly, being away from my family and the people I love for that amount of time? You're kidding. I can't imagine being away from these tight-knit relationships I've built for years for that long. Thirdly, placing myself in a situation where I would be forced to be uncomfortable, be forced to die to myself, and to live in poorer conditions with only a backpack for an entire year, and maybe not even a shower in tow? That's really scary.

Scary!? Definitely. But at the same time, it was on my heart.

Days passed, and it was still on my heart.

Months passed, and it was still on my heart.

I started following World Race blogs and I started praying about it more and more. I started to see it as an amazing opportunity for me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people all over the world. I started to see it as an opportunity to get really uncomfortable. I started to see it as an opportunity for me to foster my love for dance by praising His name through dancing with people all over the world. I started to see it as an opportunity to celebrate the gospel and to celebrate the lives of amazing people who have stories that need to be heard. I started to see it as an opportunity to even possibly open doors overseas for me to study cultural dance even more closely, and even globally, in it's most natural, raw environment. I started to see it as an opportunity to build even more relationships for the sake of building one another up in the most important relationship that we will ever have, our relationship with God.


I want to strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman and I want to open my arms to the poor and extend my hands to the needy (Proverbs 31:20). I want to strive to be more than a dancer, but a dancer who dances through this life for His glory alone (Psalm 149:3). I want to respond to this heaviness on my heart and this calling that God has been placing within me by literally going out into the world to serve others to ultimately bring Him glory (Isaiah 6:8). I want to live radically and uncomfortably and I want to run this race and I want to fix my eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3). In times of hardship and in times of trials, I want to look to Him and be evidence of the fact that His power and His strength is made perfect in my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I want to love others so passionately and so intensely, that my love would lead others to see that love itself is the greatest gift and that it comes from God, who gave us the greatest act of love in the gospel (1 Corinthians 13:13 and 1 John 4:8). Whatever I do and wherever I am, I want God to use me and I want to be a vessel that allows others to see the reality of God within my life, and, in turn, in their own lives as well.

I understand that this path isn't for everyone, and I understand that to each their own and everyone has their own place, and that's another thing that makes this existence beautiful. We are all different and we all have our own passions, and these passions are gifts that we need to utilize to their full capacity. With that said, I'm not giving up dance, I'm just going another way with it. Let me tell you, as long as God allows my physical body to do so, I plan to be dancing my way through whatever journey He places before me. I want to use it as a way to build relationships and I want to use it as a way to declare the goodness of God in my life. I want God to use all that is within me, all my heart, all my gifts, all my passions, all my love, and all of me for Him and His glory, wherever He decides place me.

Even more than all of this, I want to be obedient to God and I want to continually seek His will. Despite the many loved ones in my life who don't really want me to go, I know that God has been placing this absolutely divine tug on my heart to simply, go. A weird peace came over my heart when I made the decision to commit to going, and it's a heaviness that brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart just thinking about. I know God has been calling me, but I've been too afraid. I've been coming up with all kinds of excuses that I failed to see that the very thing that might be good for me may very well be the very thing that freaks me out the most. Every time I would sort through my head the different reasons and excuses for staying, like other amazing opportunities that I could totally pursue and take up... I would talk to God again and it would become ever more clear to me that I need to trust Him and just go. I can't shake this off and I can't ignore this heaviness and this calling. I've tried, trust me, but I can't do it. I can't.

Also, I see this opportunity not as a conclusion to my education, but I see it as an extension of my education. While grad school isn't currently in my future, I believe that the beauty, the pains, the stories and the people all around the world would teach me many things and many life lessons that a college textbook will never be able to.

And you know what !? My God is with me. My God can do anything and in Him, I know I am safe.



It's important to me that I write about all of this on here because I have had this blog for almost 7 years. Yes, SEVEN years. I have been taking record of some of my most significant lessons and experiences and posting them onto here for the past 7 years (some of which are very silly, but great to look back and laugh at nonetheless). I don't know how many of you have been reading this blog since my high school days (embarrassing), but it sure is interesting and amazing to see how God had led me all the way to who I am today, where I am today, and where I will be going.

And so, here I am!

Without further adieu, I would like to share my good news, and my good news is that I have been officially accepted into the World Race, and I have never felt more at peace about a decision. I finish school next semester and I will be leaving (God-willing, because tomorrow is never promised to us) next year on a journey around the world for 11 months, a different country every month. I will be packing a backpack to make not my way, but God's way, through different countries and continents with other brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate many lives around the world, to celebrate dance around the world, and ultimately, to celebrate and to declare the gospel all around the world.

And my heart is doing a happy dance.
(Like, a super super super super duper happy one!)
(Like, you have no idea!!!)
x.

ABUNDANCE.

photo 2
A delicious homemade breakfast feast made by my legendary mother.

Abundance (noun): A great or plentiful amount. Fullness to overflowing.

Life is nothing short of abundance. Whether it be an abundance of food, an abundance of love, an abundance of support, an abundance of nature... it is everywhere, and everywhere in life presents us with abundance. My heart has been heavy just thinking about the bountiful and abundant amount of love and support that God has placed in my life. My heart has been heavy just thinking about the different abundances in my life, and how I am to give thanks for each and every inch of blessing that God so graciously gives me. And I know it's not just me, you have an abundance, too.

I am so thankful for the abundance of food in my life, and for the hands of my mother who diligently and lovingly prepares (amazing) meals for the family each and every single day.

I am so thankful for the abundance of friendship in my life, and for the many good friends that I have been able to pick up along the way in this life journey. I was just thinking the other day about having a get together for my upcoming birthday, but I quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of amazing people in my life who I would want to be there. Nothing makes me happier than my different worlds colliding, seeing all of the people that I love in one place at the same time. Needless to say, I don't have much time left before my birthday so planning ain't happening.

I am so thankful for the abundance of family in my life, and for the fact that I have been blessed with an awesome nuclear family who likes to laugh together, exchange stories together, feast together, cuddle together (yes, we are a very affectionate group), and simply live life together. We're not perfect, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

I am thankful for the abundance of laughter and smiles in my life, and for the little things that take place everyday, the everyday people who you pass on by. These things might seem minimal and little things are easily overlooked with passing moments, but so many little things make me laugh and so many little things make me smile. Never dismiss the abundance of the littlest, joyous things. Sometimes the littlest, joyous things bring an abundance of great stories.

I am thankful for the abundance of clothing, and for the many pretty dresses in my closet that I have more than enough of. Though, I'm pretty proud of myself, for I haven't gone shopping in months. You read that right, I haven't even thrifted for myself some clothes in practically months now. Hand me downs are a different story. ;)

I am thankful for the abundance of forgiveness in my life, and for the fact that no matter how far I go astray or no matter how far off I wander from what really matters, the people who matter most will always take me back. Even more than that, the One who created me will always take me back. It's so easy to get lost in the hectic schedules and work loads, and it's so easy to resort to negative feelings like anger or even sadness. However, forgiveness is more than abundant and it is always there. I know that I am redeemed in Jesus Christ and that I have people in my life who really love me, and that love is only possible because of the One who gave us the greatest act of love.

This post is pretty abundant in itself.
It's getting a bit too long.
I'll stop now.
I'm just thankful for September 26, 2013.
It was one of the most beautiful days.
Ever.
x.
Sep 20, 2013

ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE.


This is an old video that I wanted to share with all of you. It's one of the rehearsals that we had at the community college I used to dance with and I recently came across it again, which (of course) made me miss it so much. The video isn't at all the complete dance (so much more was added, and so many changes were still done to it), but it was a lot of fun. It was choreographed by Anthony Languren, and Plato's Allegory of The Cave inspired him to create it. It's a pretty sketch run and not clean (this was the beginning, don't judge us!), but we brought this piece to perform it at a big college dance festival in our area as well as a piece by Mike Esperanza.

Moving on, let's go back to that rehearsal.

I still remember that morning. I remember being sick and feeling a bit crappy. But! I remember one of my best friends in there, Lenin, was going through chemo therapy at that time because he was battling cancer. In fact, I think this rehearsal was the day right after his chemo, which reminded me... if you love something and want something really bad, show up. No excuses. That is something I've learned this past week after having a late night talk with Lenin and after attending a work meeting where we were given a really inspirational speech. Show up. Lenin always showed up despite how unbelievably deadly he must have been feeling because of chemo, but he always, always showed up. You should've seen him, sometimes he'd have to run out in the middle of rehearsal because of his urges to throw up, but he showed up and he stayed to the end. It was remarkable, and one of the reasons why I hold him so close to my heart and look up to his passion, drive and determination so much. His relentless spirit that kept on pushing turned him into the amazing dancer that he is today. Not to mention, he received a practically full scholarship for ADF this past summer and was selected to dance in Twyla Tharp's piece. That's huge, by the way, and I'm still so proud of him.

As I sit here in this computer chair, I currently have a cold. I feel weak, have a body full of phlegm and a mouth releasing many coughs. It's not too bad, but it'd be nice to stay in bed a bit longer. I woke up debating whether I should call out of work today, and I stopped myself. Nothing makes my job better than the smiles and laughs I get from children as I boogie and parade down the Disneyland streets, nothing. So with that said, I'm going to show up. 

And you should too.

Here's an amazing quote by Bill Cosby, "Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
Here's my revision, "Want it more than you fear it, but fear God more than you want it."

Hope this helps any of you.
It certainly helps me.
x.