Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Month. Over. :)

Okay, so this is officially one month down! Only 11 to go! :)

Some things that touched my heart.

*Reading what I wrote in my About Me box (about UNICEF) copy and pasted on someone else's About Me box. :) Plagiarism is completely okay to me when it comes to advocacy.

*Hearing that someone promoted the Hunger Banquet at his own meeting. -sigh- Absolute sweetheart.

*Seeing someone wear their UNICEF/HIV/AIDS awareness pin at the Hunger Banquet.

*Seeing the flier I made for HIV/AIDS Awareness as someone's profile picture.

*Seeing someone promote the Hunger Banquet as their profile photo and multiple status updates.


My dad thinks that having more of these events will stress me out to death. No it won't. It keeps me alive!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


One of the things that I always like to compare is how I existed before and after the Leadership Program.

For some reason, it is just so surprising to me how far I've come and I could probably journal and chronicle the things that have changed before and after in a blog on its own.

I don't judge myself on my yesterdays. I just find it a fascination to note.

One of these fascinations is the stream of energy I have going.

Usually, after an event or an exam that requires a brutal amount of energy invested, I have to unwind for a couple of days before I'm back on track. I drop the ball in a lot of places and the turnaround time to get things done is more than a few days.

With the Hunger Banquet behind me from last night, my previous 'habit' would have set me to just languish for a day or two, watching Dexter re-runs. :P A habit is only a habit if you let it be. I have that mindset now. I don't allow myself to use the excuse, "Oh it's just a (bad) habit of mine." If there is a better way, and I'm not doing it, you better believe I will try it on for size, and not use the 'it's just a bad habit' card.

Today, I actually cleaned up all of last nights things, stored them in my room, started to organize my room, started my Database homework, and I'm getting caught up in my classes and with friends again. :)

I think I've finally learned to manage the stress. This statement is so monumental.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sense of Self.

When I think of last night, dancing the night away with fantastic people I just met, just being in the moment and having a blast - I think of the song Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones.

My philosophy of life is predicated upon loving one another and getting past pre-judgments and treating them as a person who wants to be seen for who they are. I want to cultivate a positive energy and if I meet you, there's no other reason why I'm there. You are the only person that exists in that moment and I will make the most of it.

With that being said, I'll admit it, I love going to gay clubs but previously I always dreaded the moment I would be hit on by a female on the dance floor. My thought process was a bit skewed, but there's a huge difference to how I feel about it now.

One great thing I love about going to gay clubs is this confidence and acceptance of self that I find in every person I meet. It's harder to find such a confluence of these qualities anywhere else. This is just something I especially appreciate about the gay community. There is an experience every homosexual goes through when they leave the closet or come to terms with their whole unbridled sexuality. It's a beautiful thing and it causes a maturity that doesn't exist for people like me; society accepts my sexual choices openly and freely. It's terrible that society sends such negative energy to create this crucible that forces growth, but loving yourself is one positive outgrowth of the stigma against homosexuality. You begin to understand that life is too short to demean yourself and be something that you aren't. You make the important connection that when you begin accepting yourself, you begin to be happy. Your skin gets a bit thicker, you create a core or a sense of self that no one can touch, no matter what the media, no matter what your closest friends may say, you know who you are. There is such irresistible beauty in those that can love themselves, and say they are beautiful with no preconditions. I feel that way about myself now, and I love to see this radiance in others.

Last night, I had joyous times and respected everyone there for the beautiful people they were. Dancing is such a beautiful expression of self. A part of knowing yourself, is knowing that it doesn't matter if you fit a certain way of dancing, just believe that the way you dance is exactly the way you're supposed to. In a sense, I believe if I had to distill this message, I would say, everything you are, is what I want to see. No holding back.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Okay, let's get the elephant in the room out in the open. If you refer to Day One's post, I vowed to blog every day on this Year in Positivity blog. :) For the past few days, I haven't been.

I realize this! :) Completely. So I will do something about it, because I'm always about solutions. I shall blog right now for as long as it takes to replace the blogs I missed. They will be quality posts too, don't fret.

For the circumstances, I budgeted my time as best as I could in the past few days. I will say matter-of-factly. I worked hard and I pushed myself even harder than I ever have in the past few days. I say that without any ill-will AT ALL -- I find it absolutely incredible what the focus and vision motivated me and my officers to do. Sleeping on 4 hours a night for many days straight was a sunk cost. In order to achieve my ends, I had to capitalize on the momentum I CREATED, anything less would be an affront to the opportunities laid out in front of me. I didn't even predict the amount of interest and support we would garner. And with that, my team and I stepped up. This is what I've dreamed of!

In this time-budgeting, I front-loaded some tasks I knew I wouldn't have time for, such as creating programs for Hunger Banquet and UNICEF at UH brochures. I've learned from my mistakes in the past: the Hunger Banquet was not just a longer UNICEF meeting; it had to have professionalism embedded from all levels, and that included the place settings, anything paper, and the ceremony of course. A year ago, as Advocacy Officer, the way I prepared for meetings was quickly writing the newsletter, even omitting one side of the entire newsletter at certain clutch points. I'm going to mention that it wasn't uncommon to waltz in 10 minutes late. Boy, have I changed from that unprofessional person. If I ever don't account to my word, I will repair it. I won't expect an alibi to degrade my word - one of the most powerful things you own.

I don't know if it's the title of President, or the Discover Leadership Program, or just becoming a bit more mature, but I understand that my role in a team whether it's the Team Lead or just someone serving food to guests, you have to treat that role with a sort of reverence. It takes so much interconnectedness to make something work, and I have a newfound respect for all levels of teamwork to achieve a vision.

I respect others so much who understand their role with this reverence. There are those that may say it's okay if you can't do this, already accepting less than exactly what they've committed to, which I can't understand. Being responsible and stepping up to roles of responsibility is such a great feeling. You become a part of something bigger than yourself. Step up and take action. Get off the sidelines and get in the game!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quick Post.

I'm learning so much about myself in this process of preparing for the Hunger Banquet.

This post will have to be really quick because I have so much to do!

I just know that when I put on the dress that I bought today -- I felt like my inner confidence was in the form of a dress. I absolutely knew. This was the dress that was going to be in the limelight with me on Friday.

I bought some awesome flats since I will be walking about, to-and-fro for more than 6 hours.


Let's focus on the outcome guys: This will put UNICEF at UH on the map, this will be a night to remember!, once I reach the point, the banquet will fit like a glove and I'll be completely comfortable seeing so many familiar faces supporting me.

I will deliver. And I crave that possibility to do that. I live for that moment. It makes me want to wear the lapel mic instead of stand in front of a podium, because to be quite honest, a podium is just so constricting.

I see my speech turning out in 100 different ways, but all of them are great. Anything with heart embedded sounds just right.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In life, things happen to you. This 10% is out of your hands. There's nothing you can do about these circumstances.

What is important about circumstances is your reaction to them. Reframing things in a way that fuels your inner strength, instead of draining it. I claim to be powerful from the inside, and as such, every roadblock I'm encountering, every obstacle thrown in front of me, I use as a chance to show my strength. This week has been a really good test of that. I appreciate the beautiful gift of problems. It makes my skin thicker, it makes my heart open and appreciative for the people that help me along the way, and it makes me see the world for what it is -- chock full of possibilities if you just stop saying you can't and take the blinders off and see what you're really made of. SHOW THEM YOUR TEETH.

The 90% that's in your hands is your reaction. It's your attitude. I fully understand the quote, "There's no use crying over spilt milk" now. Crying over spilt milk, or dwelling on the problems, translates to: Do you spread this anger, do you prevent yourself from seeing solutions in front of your face, do you create obstacles for other people, do you make others become what you are, this individual that is cynical, pessimistic, upset, and angry? I vehemently say NO time and time again.

What I need to understand is why people choose to believe life is out of their control? Why do people choose to say I can't, when life is much more beautiful and abundant when you trust in yourself and your abilities and say, not only, I can, but I WILL. Those are true words of power.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Right now, as I prepare for the Hunger Banquet and lay down the bricks til we get to the end of the road -- I can see the end of the road so clearly. I'm going to bring a huge positive level of energy. It will be infectious! I know what I'm working for, and I'm so excited. There's a lot more work to be done, for sure, but I am convinced that if you threw me into the fire right now, I would perform!

What I taste is something akin to the sweetness of high-fructose corn syrup. What is this you ask? Well, to me it is my knee-jerk reaction to the question, what does success taste like? Without a doubt, success tastes like snow cone syrup. :) But this syrup is made up of a combination of hard work, passion, sweat, tears of happiness, and seeing it pay dividends so quickly in the faces of people.

With the sconces lit on the sides of the room, I see myself looking into the faces of dozens of people I know that WANT TO LEARN, WANT TO CHANGE AND EXPERIENCE, and I am single-handedly that agent of change that can be the catalyst. I am proud to be so responsible of that enormity. I willingly accept the challenge. And I will put my heart, body, and soul into this event on Friday.

And the hard work continues! It feels like hardly working.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Workin' Hard.

I'm still very moved by the fact that Conan O'Brien, my favorite late night talk show host no longer has his own show. I won't even have the opportunity to fall asleep to Conan unless I him or something. He left us a nugget of wisdom on the air of his last show.

One of his quotes was this. "To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularly of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen."

As I've been working all day on UNICEF related projects, and I plan to still, it's because it's a labor of love and I believe in the progress that I will achieve. :)

Time to make folders to get food donors for the Hunger Banquet, email Dean Kelley about the details of such, email Marcela about our projects and our need for volunteers!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Ah! I missed my blog deadline because I was too busy having a Dance Off by myself. I won. :) I LOVE DANCING.

Earlier I went to the Vietnamese Student Association Extravaganza. It was a variety show, cultural show, date auction, banquet, of sorts. :)

I just got very inspired to do some things. I definitely want to learn to speak Vietnamese fluently. If there's ever a step team on campus, I want to join! I think steppin' is pretty easy to learn, but you can make the moves look natural and put your conviction in it. I know I'd be pretty good at it. And I want to learn how to krump or do some hip hop or pop choreography. (!!!) When I used to watch So You Think You Can Dance, I always got very inspired by the contemporary style of dance. Ballroom and latin dances, are interesting but if I had to choose, I am much more interested in contemporary or hip hop dancing.

I loved watching the different organizations perform. It really really made me want to go up there on stage and to be honest, show them how it's done. :P

In terms of learning Vietnamese - I'll download Rosetta Stone and learn at my own pace and practice with my family. I actually am much more adventurous with my speaking then I ever was before. I used to be very diffident and unconfident when it came to speaking Vietnamese. I would only use phrases I was sure of, and in the context I knew. Now, if I feel that the phrase is right, I say it. And if I don't overthink what the word is, and just feel it, and say it like I know it, it surprises me how accurate I usually am.

Hip Hop/Krumping - maybe this can help my fitness goals at the same time. :) I shall ask around, find out if there's anything on campus like a hip hop group.

Thanks VSA for reminding me of the things I always wanted to do.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I went home to visit my parents and to try the food my aunt took the time to cook my brother and me.

Right as I got in the door, I remembered I needed to get my other aunt's phone number in order to call her to ask if she had seen my UNICEF shirts. So I explained the situation to my dad, and immediately his temperature rose and he got really upset. He went on a tirade about my lack of responsibility and threatened a lot of implications (which is a bad habit of his).

I kept my head on straight. I explained that I've decided there's no point to being upset about it, if the shirts are gone, they're gone, and I've learned my lesson so it would never happen again. It's really that simple, and if it's out of pocket, it's out of pocket, but there's no need to be emotionally invested and for it to drain the life out of me.

My dad really was having a bad day I think. LOL. He kept trying to plow down my defenses, and to test my limits. He created a hypothetical situation with a car accident, and asked if I were in a car accident, would I just walk away and go forward with it? I thought for a second. I said, well, of course I would think about it, but I would move forward. I'd be grateful I was alive which is the most important point. You've gotta focus on what's important. In that situation, you realize how fragile life may be. If there were a devastating car accident, and I didn't make it, my dad would lose someone to argue with. :P I know how he loves to argue with me. He then remarked that my way of thinking was completely flawed, and my philosophy was ridiculous.

I really wasn't fazed. Every conversation with my parents can be a battle, but as long as I keep my head on straight and become a thermostat, and not just a thermometer (reflecting the energy that's given to me) I will always achieve the outcomes I want without sacrificing my dignity.

AND, I clearly won that outcome because minutes later, my dad started to ask me about school and how the hunger banquet food arrangement was going to go. Because I handled the situation earlier like a champ, we didn't waste time going through the motions of saying things we didn't mean and pushing each others buttons to an irrevocable point of no return. I blunted each of his comments. When you take away the ammunition, what is left? It's just a human being that's reacting the only way they know how. Not very scary at all. Especially if it's just my dad.

I calmly knew in my heart that it is not wrong to treat every day as if it is a gift. That time spent being in misery is time spent unwisely. That as long as I have a choice to focus on my own attitude on a positive outcome, I will do that. It's for my own sanity and this month has proven it is the best way to live. Throw any snarky comments you want at me, lay your horn on me when I accidentally cut you off, try to conceal your love with a steel-like armor, I won't be deterred and my spirit won't be broken.

I am complete.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Hugs are the elixir to life. When you're feeling a bit down, a 20 second hug transforms you.

I had one of those hugs today. It caught me by surprise. It felt like love was flooding all around me. I think there should be a hug quota for everyone. That would ease a lot of minds and make lives a bit easier. Sometimes when you can't say the words, you can show it. It's how hard your squeezing, how long you think it'll take to do the job of showing some love.

One of my friends today let me know she is at risk of not being able to bring her GPA up to make it into the business school. It breaks my heart, but I firmly believe she will do the work and succeed. I promised to her that I would find a list of easy-A courses to ensure she would be able to raise her GPA and stay at UH. There is simply no reason she should have to leave, and not have her dreams realized. I will support her in her efforts. Everyone's gotta look out for each other. And everyone needs a power partner every once in a while. I gave her one of those no-air-in-your-lungs hugs just to reaffirm my commitment. I'll post updates.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whatever it Takes.

Today we had our first general UNICEF meeting and I thought it was really great. :)

The feelings I have with leading meetings last semester juxtaposed with how it went today (and how I believe the tone will be set for the rest of the semester) is fully capable. I feel completely confident. When I am, I can calmly work on things the night before and leading up to the meeting without freaking out. I will do the best I can, whereas before, it was interesting: I think I procrastinated because subconsciously I was expecting the results I pictured in my head. Mediocrity... But aha! I will achieve excellence.

I really am changed forever. It's so evident with a small example like having a meeting. I feel genuinely excited to speak to new members. They could carry the torch later on! I also find that thinking about the fact that: these people came out of their day for a reason. They want to help change the world. Give them what they expect and overdeliver. They are not here to judge you harshly; they are here, listening, open-minded and they want you to succeed at what you're doing. Because if you succeed as an officer of UNICEF, they will be better able to serve and volunteer, and it benefits them as well. And with that mindset, I deliver.

Don't get me wrong, there's that anxious energy running through my veins right before the meeting. The difference is a matter of cracked out neuroticism and an electricity in my veins. Two totally separate spheres, and the latter I have now achieved makes me feel like I'm on a gatorade commercial, not strung out like some addict before. Haha. I choose to focus on the outcome of acting idependent of my surroundings. When the clock hits 4pm, it is out of my hands to control who attends. I simply can not base my success or my mood on the turnout. It's because we operate on the principle of one. One person makes a difference. That's not just a highfalutin quote for me. It means that, yes our goal is to reach as many people as possible, but to never lose sight and undervalue the contribution that person can potentially make. So if there's only one person in the audience, the show will go on. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


FYI: My internet at home is not working! But I move forward and find a solution. I am at school at 3 in the morning because I love this blog and I committed to it. So despite missing my 1x a day deadline, I am here making amends! :)

So earlier, I was walking home from my first day back at school this semester, after one of the best days I can remember (I'll go into that in a bit). I was walking past the Student Services Center, and there was this young man in business casual clothes, heavily scrutinizing the UH Campus Map.

I immediately stopped, and asked "Are you lost? Do you need help?" And his visage of confusion changed instantly and he said, "YES!" and he smiled. I said, "What do you need help finding? I used to be a student recruiter and I gave tours of the campus, so I know every building practically..." He let me know a little bit about himself, such as, he was a Freshman and that he had no idea where Agnes Arnold, Fred J. Heyne, or the Roy G Cullen Building was.

These are all buildings where I've had classes, so I gave him brief concise directions and he was very pleased to be pushed in the right direction to his destinations. He kept thanking me, and for the amount of effort I put in, it was nothing. Really. He even noted that the fact that I just stopped and asked was really nice.

Many people have been kind to me, and I've been blessed for that. But someone who has been especially kind to me in my academic career has really imprinted the notion of performing an act of kindness without a cause, but not only that, but to provide a sustainable support structure. I could have very well been a blip in this young man's life. He would be nevertheless grateful, and I would have done a good deed, but I know that Freshmen are prone to silly questions and ignorance. As a Junior, I'm not as susceptible, so I would be able to help him out. I told him to look me up on Facebook and on the spot, he added me to his Friends list. I let him know, if he has questions about campus life and miscellaneous 'college' stuff, feel free to ask away. We exchanged numbers because he let me know he does have quite a bit of confusion, and that would probably be the best way. [No he was not hitting on me - let's clear that up right now, LOL]

I know that I would have appreciated that to no end when I started college. That's what it's all about -- giving away what you know the person needs. Seeing a need, and offering.

Back to my earlier point. Today was so amazing because I felt so loved. Everywhere I turned, I recognized people, my friends, and even if they're acquaintances that I haven't developed a full-fledged friendship with, it truly felt like it was simply the case of circumstances and constraints. Not enough time, not enough class together, and the difficulty of juggling so many priorities. Today I felt like there were no excuses, and I really opened my eyes, and I was genuinely excited to see people that I'm ordinarily blase or even reluctant to talk to. A wise man once said, "I don't like that man. I must get to know him better." And on that note, today felt like the first day of days I will get to know my fellow peers better.

Monday, January 18, 2010


School starts back up again tomorrow. And I'm so excited! I can't wait to see the business school sprawling with people. It's one of my favorite buildings on campus.

I can already imagine it. It's going to be a glorious day.

I just heard word that I start my internship on May 18th! :)

The world is my canvas. Time to paint.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Lakewood Experience.

I finally, finally went to Lakewood Church this morning! :) For a LONG time I wanted to meet Joel Osteen - I am fascinated by him. I'm attempting to pin down this fascination. His story captivates me, first and foremost. He started off behind the scenes for his father's church TV program, completely unobtrusive and timid. He believed he was destined to remain there. He was thrusted into the limelight a week before his father's death, spurning it every step of the way, until he was completely accepting of his evident gift to reach people and to connect. He's completely charming, humble, and genuine. He is a very compassionate role model and there are many qualities I admire; I'm sure many people admire him, religious or secular alike.

I went with Amnah and the whole experience, especially from the first steps into the large arena was astounding. The audience in and of itself, is so inspiring. There are thousands of people packed and standing; we were on the 2nd floor and it was incredible the sheer amount of people. I was in awe. Seeing it on TV is not the same. There's not the same awe at 2am, vegging out in bed, watching pixelated visages.

The whole experience was topped off - I got to meet Mr. Osteen! :) He's simply so down-to-earth. I have a photo of him (he's a bit hard to see... but he's there!) All in all, today was a great day! And great, is what every day will be!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


"Nobody owes you a living.

What you achieve or fail to achieve in your lifetime is directly related to what you do or fail to do. No one chooses their parents or childhood, but you can choose your own direction. Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome, but that too is relative to each individual.

YOU can change anything in your life if you want to passionately enough. Excuses are for losers. Those who take responsibility for their actions are the real winners in life. Winners meet life's challenges head on knowing there are no guarantees, and give it all they have got. Never think it is too late or too early to begin. Time plays no favorites and will pass whether you act or not."

Bottom line, there is no secret sauce. Just you. Your will-power, attitude, and choices. I will make it count. :) It has been a good 2 weeks into the new year! Changes are still progressing because I'm moving forward.

Friday, January 15, 2010


The thing that inspires me in the moment right now are the things that make me happy.
  • It's like tonight, after my parents having residual feelings of 'upset'ness at me, I went to say goodbye for the night, and opened my arms to hug my dad (for us, still a new feat you must keep in mind) and his arm opened for me to hug him. That's the first time I can remember!
  • Yoga. For those of you who think yoga is an exercise that will lull you into sleep, you haven't done real yoga. It is intense and there's no other exercise or sport that compares to it for me. There's nothing like being in a pose, straining with every fiber of your being to keep yourself maintained and in position. To get to the best part, you've got to wait a good 20 minutes til your body is hot and limber enough to perform the stretches and poses. You can feel the heat radiating from your head. I LOVE IT. The sweat is so cleansing and you feel magnificent afterward. I love yoga because it is so patient and intense. I only did yoga once a week last year, but I felt the effects well into the rest of the week and it got me into the best shape of my life (at the time). I know my best shape is yet to come.
  • Photography. I love love love going on photo shoots. Probably one of the best things is after the fact, reviewing the photos and picking my favorites. Another really amazing thing I find about it is seeing an image in my head based on the vast panorama I'm seeing and highlighting and cropping that vision. It's so rewarding because... "I MADE THIS!" I will make a website in the future of some of my favorite shots I've taken.
:) Remember the things that make your life happy and whole, and build your life around them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Heart is in Haiti.

My post just got deleted!

But I will do it all over again. :) With a smile.

So in every natural disaster, there is a silver lining that I want everyone to focus on.

It is the bringing together of all people from different creeds, races, political beliefs, etc to help another part of the world from the pure goodwill of our hearts. There is no other reason people are doing what they are doing. If we were a violent, selfish race of people -- Haiti would be left to fend for itself. It's fledgling infrastructure would collapse. It would not be tweeted, Facebook statused, sent in text messages, plastered on the news, and ultimately there would be no UNICEF operating in over 150 countries to help countries like Haiti in earthquake disasters like this.

Today it was announced that 10,000 tarpaulins, 4,600 water containers, 5.5 million water-purification tablets, 556,000 oral rehydration sachets and other supplies were air-lifted and received in Haiti for immediate dispersal to families for relief.

I am so proud to represent an organization that does this. I am so proud to live in a world where a concept like UNICEF - organizations premised on GIVING exist. :) Givers Gain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gives Me Hope.

As I noted on my second post, is an amazing site about acts of kindness.

Here's my own: Today, I got a voicemail in the middle of the day from my guardian angel, Theresa, who is my 'health coach' of sorts. She is amazing. Always keeps me moving forward on my health and fitness goals. She always has the solution or points me in the right direction. There is no bad news. Just opportunities for another approach - which she always has a keen eye for. Just hearing her voice and letting me know that someone else cares about my health ... she gives me hope! <3

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I'm so pleased that my brother's birthday is coming up! Not only do I get to have one last huge family gathering before school starts up but I already presented my brother his gift; it is the gift of the Beyond Excellence Leadership Program that has so deeply impacted my life.

The beauty of it is, my brother WILL go. I have the funds, and I really see it as the ability for someone to get cleansing. Everyone needs to refresh and get to know themselves. My parents can choose whether they'd like to contribute (like a community present). This is a $2,500 package that is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I guarantee it. And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is.

Check out the video that inspired me to attend:

My brother is excited to go - but he has NO idea what he's in store for. I'm so glad I kept a tight lid on things.

I'm just going to enumerate some of the amazing changes that happened because of the program, during and after it:

I am excited to go back to school; I know how to be a better President for UNICEF by having a clear vision; I took action to be the one to express my love for my parents; driving is enjoyable and I do it much more confidently; there are no masks, I strive to be the same strong person in every environment; I knocked out an 8 page essay on Japanese Energy security in 5 hours; my face looks different to me - I am beautiful ; health is a major priority for me; I am getting my medical check ups (before I never had a physical in my life); I can control my food portions and I savor the flavor of it! ; hugs are my favorite; showing emotion and feeling is STRENGTH not weakness; being honest not only helps you but helps build trust with the people around you; I donated my clothes to Goodwill for the first time; my packrat tendencies have really diminished; I enjoy spending money on things that will make my life better (before I felt guilty); I allow people to make the decisions they want, knowing that who they are was shaped by the many experiences they've had; I understand human psychology better than ever before; prejudgments are wrong, you can learn something from everyone; living positively is to really live, because you have an attitude for success.

I can go on forever. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

I've Got To Live What I'm Saying.

So today, I got to realize the gift of problems - because I cared so much about the gift of family. These are the two gifts I talked about yesterday... and it's crazy that these are the ones I worked on today. See! Action always follows thought.

When I got home, I was thinking of how HAPPY I was. The whole drive home was fun. I listened to a CD that an ex boyfriend burned me, and I had forgotten how good the actual music was. I wasn't able to listen to it for the longest time since I attached the hurt memories with the music. I've moved forward so the music is a standalone. I could not wait to go home and hug my parents. Everything was amazing. I hugged my mom and told her thanks for buying me sushi from Kroger. I asked my dad if I could hug him, and he jokingly said 'No' so I hugged him from behind anyway. He laughed. :) I do have a cute dad.

As I ate, I told my parents that school would inevitably get hectic soon, so we need to have dinner at least once per month so that we keep in touch. (This isn't including phone calls) I mentioned that last semester the only times we saw each other were Thanksgiving and Christmas. My dad remarked that I just wanted to do this because I wanted food. Okay, that's partially true, I do love food, but I yelled out, "Heyyy, is it wrong that I love my parents?" So my mom said, "We have to make a commitment." I completely beamed because those are the words I would have used! She understood. And that was good.

A few minutes passed. My mom turned to my dad. As if a light switch had been turned on, she started complaining about people at work. She talked about politics and the Obama administration. My dad fed fuel to that fire. They both engaged in excited conversation.

What's wrong with this picture?

Here I was at home. I was so happy to see them. I want them to be just as happy as I am. But her comfort level dictated that she mention something negative. In order to connect with my dad. Outlet her frustrations.

I had to say something. I did. I respect my courage.

It was a long, pretty heated exchange at times, but it simmered down into peace and understanding. My parents misunderstood me for defending the Obama's. I really was not. My stance was that there was something fundamentally wrong with having every conversation when we're at the table be about politics or something negative. Politics is divisive. Especially when it preys upon trying to point out that the other person is wrong. You can take all the facts you want in the world and make egregious claims. Just sayin'.

To me what was at stake was my family dynamics. I know for a while, that there needed to be something different in this family for us to bond more and to get closer. I mentioned to my mom that she's highlighting all of the negative things and it affects me. She responded that she has freedom of expression and every right to. I don't disagree. At all. She does. But I told her that if you create a negative environment, your thoughts reflect it, you start to believe it, and it becomes your life. You become a living, breathing, negative machine. She gave me one of the most jaded comments I've heard, "When you get out there in the real world, and you work, you'll know that the world is a pretty negative place." The only thing I could think about was all of the beauty in the world. Even in that moment. The fact that she was talking to her daughter, and was in the room with her loving husband, in a two-story house that had heat and a full refrigerator. I could not even begin to fathom negativity. All I could think was: Paradox, but that's okay. Life is funny that way.

I asked my dad to not talk about politics when my mom walked away. My dad agreed not to talk about politics in front of me. That's what I want.

To be a leader in the world, you have to start where you're at. I have a vision so clear, and it's a loving family atmosphere. The love is already there. My castle is in the sky; I just have to put the foundation underneath.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Ultimate Gift.

I was lent a movie by a very good friend called the Ultimate Gift. (See it if you haven't.)

It goes through 12 gifts.

The Gift of Money
The Gift of Problems
The Gift of Love
The Gift of Laughter
The Gift of Work
The Gift of Today
The Gift of Dreams
The Gift of Learning
The Gift of Family
The Gift of Gratitude
The Gift of Giving
The Gift of Friends

And essentially, if you balance all of these in your life, you will get the Ultimate Gift of happiness. You know I truly believe in this life, you can have it all. The biggest limitation in your life will be yourself and that conversation you have in your head about what is realistic and possible.

Some of these 'Gifts' I believe I already have. The gift of work, laughter, money, gratitude, and friends for instance. I APPRECIATE THOSE GIFTS!

But it showed me the areas I need to work on to make my life even better and wholesome. The gift of dreams, today, problems and family are big targets.

What does it mean about the gift of dreams? Today? Problems? and Family? Well. I don't want to ruin the movie here. SO STOP READING IF YOU INTEND TO SEE THE MOVIE. :)

The gift of problems. I would argue that the gift of problems gives you another gift. The gift of strength, resilience, and a sense of self. It is here when you go through adversity that you find what you're really made of. A BAD situation is a bad situation. It is a given that everyone deals with this. But imagine what that situation becomes when you deal with it clear headed, without the blind fury of rage, and you ask yourself, what is the solution to this issue? How can I break the cycle and move past the bad situation, for my own sake and others? Am I tough or am I suffering? I always choose to be tough.

Oh the beautiful gift of family. There was this really cool exercise that I've done before. Basically, we got to peer in the eyes of strangers before we got to know them, and over the course of a 4 day weekend, we would periodically look at each others faces, again and again. The same lines were always said: "Look around at the faces around you and in front of you." I would look around, and I saw so much heart in each person's face. "Are these the same faces you saw initially?" And the answer was always no. I asked myself why. I believe it's because those pre-judgments, those assumptions when you first meet someone, are ALWAYS indubitably WRONG. Not wrong like... +/- 2 margin of error, but I'm talking, completely wrong on the grandest scale. I've met people who I've type casted, who turn out to be people I trust the most to this day. I can't argue against 20 years of life supporting that thesis. The same goes for my family. I'm starting to really see them fully. See their faces. See their depth and their rationale for the way they do the things they do. I just have to keep in mind to use my Gift of Love to make sure our relationship progresses the way its been.

I think I'll continue on the Gift of Dreams and the Gift of Today, ironically tomorrow. I've got to sleep in order to seize the day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday. Not Sunday.

My commitment to myself was off by an hour! Sunday shall have two posts because of that. :)

When you fall off the wagon, you get right back on.

I just wanted to take some time to talk about someone that I really admire.

My aunt. She is always so kind. She knows what's really important in life. She knows it's the people around you. She's always laughing, always smiling, and pretty upbeat. She is a fantastic story teller and she's very LOUD. Her hugs take your breath away, literally. Her food is always a labor of love and I can TASTE the love that she puts in.

She is always giving, which my mom doesn't always agree with. I firmly believe that "Givers Gain" and that you may not see the dividends NOW but eventually, the energy of the world balances that out. People like my aunt are VERY LOVED. There will always be a place for her to stay or people that would take care of her. She would never be alone. So anyway, she's the type of person where if your birthday is coming up, she will make you one of her fantastic cakes! I'll have to attach a picture on here... So, yesterday when we went to the wake, she mentioned that her daughter (my cousin) has a love affair with shoes and left behind a lot when she went back up to New York after Christmas. She asked me what my size was. I said, "7." And she said, "I'll see what her size is; she has a lot of boots, you can have hers!" I was blown away. I love love love boots. But that was a small snippet of conversation in the context of lots of verbiage. I had completely forgotten about it after we spent the whole day together yesterday, conversing in the car, eating over dinner, and going grocery shopping at the Vietnamese supermarket.

She called my mom this morning and asked when I'd be awake, and I could groggily hear my mom speaking to someone the whole morning, and later on I learned that she was trying to coordinate when to come over so she could give boots to me and watch me try them on! Aw! :) Probably the best news I've ever received in the morning! She COMPLETELY made my day. Her kindness, really warms my heart. :) She brought 4 pairs of boots, and even some clothes too.

I have to admit, before my huge change in attitude, I was never that open with my aunt (there was still love of course) -- but it's really like we're getting to know each other for the first time. I knew all along that she was fantastic, but HOW fantastic she really is when my eyes are open to it, is still blowing my mind...

Friday, January 8, 2010


My mom and aunt went to a wake today. One of their coworkers at the post office had a son that suddenly past away. He worked in medicine and was in his mid 30's, so it was a very very unexpected way to usher in the new year to everyone that knew him.

I came to support my mom and aunt. My dad did too. I watched the slideshow his family made, a beautifully put together collage of memories from when he was a wee baby til... only a few days ago literally.

I saw someone so full of life. He was a very energetic nurse and there were really funny captions like being voted 'Entertainer of 2008'. There were a lot of goofy poses and you could see his charisma. I could understand the sadness. It lies in the fact that you could tell he uplifted a lot of people and was beaming with energy. That's where I started tearing up. Such a beautiful presence was removed. But I focused on the fact that the earth was better off than where it started with his 3 and a half decades of life. That's the kernel of truth that everyone who knew him will come to realize.

My aunt introduced me to the mother, and instinctively I gave her a BIG HUG. My Vietnamese is not that great, but gestures like that are universal. I think my mom and dad were surprised because I didn't 'know her'. I may not, but that doesn't mean I will be stopped from trying to ease a bit of her pain, even for a moment.

And... on our way out, I gave her another BIG hug. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


My dad called me over to look at some emails my aunt forwarded him. She constantly emails him a slew of things... all chain emails that are random funny photos, neat life hacks like how to prevent someone from stealing your money at an ATM, pretty graphic videos of some atrocities that have happened in this world, and more.

My dad asked if I wanted to see a few of these videos and pictures. My ordinarily loud and straightforward dad suddenly became meek and said, "I don't want you to have bad dreams about it..."

I said, "I won't have bad dreams. I understand that there are bad things that happen in this world. And on the flip side, pretty miraculous things that happen."

I am not afraid of anything that has happened in the world. Similarly, I am not afraid of anything that will happen.

I watched a video and a slideshow. I definitely noticed a change in my reaction now compared to how I have acted in the past to these kinds of videos. I was calm. My thoughts of the world didn't change - my feelings of the images weren't compelled to hate, which could be one avenue to dealing. Instead I felt I was shown one facet of life. There are so many others. Facets of love and beauty. And I understand that. What's so wrong about peace, love and understanding?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I visited my high school today. :) It is something that has been on my to-do list for such a long time... more than 2 and a half years! I really wanted to pay gratitude for their help in shaping me into who I am today. Appreciation and gratitude are so important.

I'm so glad I went and had a friend to experience it with. :)

I got to see 8 teachers and 1 secretary that have deeply impacted my life. These are the people that want nothing but my best interest and my dreams to be realized. The smiles and genuine happiness for what I've achieved felt awesome. Some of my teachers are taking actions to make their lives better and I completely admire their courage to change their situation. Courage is timeless!

I got some of the best hugs today. One of the most admired teachers I've had said, "You guys have made my day." The feeling was completely mutual before he said a word.

It's never too late to just pop into someone's life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I no longer have any baggage. And it feels absolutely wonderful. I am not over-exaggerating or fibbing. With the honesty and openness I've adopted, it'd be such an INJUSTICE to even try.

In the relationships I've had with my close friends, family, and lovers there have been majorly tough times. We've all been there.

I've let go. Eradicated those negative feelings. I can't take the things they did personally. Because what they did to me, is all they know. When that becomes their language, their way of expression, they inevitably pass it on. But I can not carry that inscrutable language with me. That ugly language I do not understand ends with me. I will not be a carrier of hate. I will continue to speak my own beautiful language. So I take each interaction, each relationship I've had, as a lesson learned or a reinforcement of the things I know. I've pressed the reset button and I know that I have the clarity of mind to not be judged by my yesterdays, by others, or myself.

So now. I carry with me the lessons, the wisdom, and the positive energy that will get me to my dreams. :)

I had someone that has deeply impacted my life apologize to me today. The feeling when it happened was... a release. I felt relieved. I felt happier. I felt heat radiate from the center of my body to the tips of my toes and fingers, spreading to all of my limbs. I've reached my own understanding within myself. If he were to have never said a word, it would not affect my happiness or my own peace of mind. But to be able to offer peace to someone else, by genuinely forgiving, is simply amazing.

"I forgive you."

Monday, January 4, 2010


Today I got some pretty big news, indirectly: I learned one of my officers wanted to resign from their post.

I hadn't received word from this officer for a good 2-3 weeks, and I have been SO WORRIED about him. Especially the fact that his Facebook was deleted. In the 21st century, that's the new sign of strange things afoot.

To me, it's a classic case of framing, and the need to RE-FRAME.

I've seen his heart. I've seen the glint in his eyes when we talk during officers' meetings about the good we do for children. I know he has such PASSION which led him here in the first place. I know he stepped up to the plate during the semester with uploading pictures on Facebook and creating a Flickr account with pictures with full-size resolutions. All on HIS OWN. Completely blew away my expectations. Not from my prodding or anything like that... His own free-will. His own strength.

I don't know what has happened in the past month. I don't know what devastating events occurred to cause him to delete his Facebook or made him frame UNICEF to be a negative drain on his time. All I know is that I've seen his STRENGTH, his INITIATIVE when he cares, and how HARD-WORKING he is. And I know that it is still in him, buried under the layers and layers of negativity.

My job is to bring it out of him.

I have to be that light for him. I have to show him, be the example, gather my boundless positive energy together and give it away. HE NEEDS IT. And I have more where that came from. I'm getting his old energy back. His fire is out. I'm re-igniting that flame. I feel like this is one of those important junctures that comes along many times in life. The chance to move on when someone is down and out OR to support them and PULL them with you.

I'm pulling. When we have the conversation, I'm going full out. I've got this.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

P90X - P1X.

Another one of my commitments is to my health. A long neglected and ignored facet in my life. Part of this implementation is starting the P90X regimen. I also intend on taking a Group Ex class at the University of Houston Rec Center. I think Yoga ought to do the trick. :)

All you can feel is your heart pounding in your chest. My hamstrings burning. I grit my teeth and my body persists. 45 minutes of more squats, jumping, and other plyometrics. Oh my lord.

Day 1 is over. I feel so blessed and accomplished. I knew I needed support. I corralled my brother to be my motivator, and he didn't even know it. "Come on, this is P90X, I haven't done this in over 4 months. We have to do this! It'll be one day less, and we'll just have 89 more to go!" I kept talking to him in the maniacal way that I do when I get really excited.

It worked.

An hour later, we were outside in the garage, thankful for the frigid air that would be COOLING us later.

Each bit of sweat, each burning sensation in my glutes, or whatever muscles I never usually notice, I can attribute to my will-power and my brother's, as we trudged on, cursed at Tony Horton, and did the damn thing.

I'm so PROUD OF THIS. We broke the seal.

I purposely started out with Plyometrics. The mother of all P90X work outs. Why? I knew everything would be cake comparatively. The worst is over. I just have to re-do what I've done. That is something my mind can wrap around 89 more times!!! IT WILL HAVE TO.

Day 3, out. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

FML No More.

I deleted FML from my iPhone. F-my-life is a microblogging site dedicated on highlighting unfortunate events that happen to people, for other people to laugh, to commiserate, or to just feel like their life isn't as bad. I've eradicated that influence -- the thought of even comparing one's situation to bolster my own, to use it as fodder to fuel my self-esteem, or to be unable to offer encouragement or a kind uplifting word meant that FML served no purpose in my life.

So, I have replaced it!

Check it out: GIVESMEHOPE.COM is the positive counterpart to FML. ADD it to your bookmarks, read the updates every day. It shares the acts of GOODWILL people do for others. I FINALLY get to hear about the amazing things people do. I'm so glad to hear that sphere's of influence are being affected all over the world with these simple stories. Staying positive is a fire, and I gotta keep it burning. :)

I saw this gem at PostSecret. I commit to bare myself, to be raw, and honest, and open in order to remain happy. I don't regret a second that I live this way. :)

See you tomorrow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day One - Happy New Years!

Here is my undertaking: For one year, I commit to this blog. Every day, I will post a blog about my day: how someone's act of kindness has affected my life, how I have performed an act of kindness, and my thoughts about the perpetual struggle of positivity vs negativity

I wanted to start this blog to keep track of my progress towards positivity. Positivity is something that I've attained but, now, I must constantly strive to keep.

Now that I am positive, I can not even COUNT the ways it has changed my attitude AND my life for the better. I can't go back. There is NO WAY. I will fight tooth and nail to keep it. The disparity is that huge.

Today, and the other 364 will only be different because I will have some sort of permanent record keeping. I intend to use this blog to keep me on track... it is the first days after a significant change that everyone around you and the world seemingly, will want to change you back. I have to say NO, day in, and day out. And choose 'black'.

I've started the year in letting go. I've let go of someone I held very dear to me because I thought we were destined to be something more -- he gave me his word he would commit to me. And since he did not, then I can believe in my OWN STRENGTH, brush myself off, move forward, and appreciate that I'm not numbed, I am proud that I POSSESS AN OPEN HEART. I carry this as a lesson learned.