Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Endlessly Complicated and Interesting

I'm currently reading the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and so far, it's good. But I've only read the introduction. :)

I like to look up information on authors, though, and see what kind of people they are, so I googled Kahneman, and I found out that he and his family lived in Nazi-occupied France during WW2. He's written about his experience, and it explains, in part, why he studied psychology:
"It must have been late 1941 or early 1942. Jews were required to wear the Star of David and to obey a 6 p.m. curfew. I had gone to play with a Christian friend and had stayed too late. I turned my brown sweater inside out to walk the few blocks home. As I was walking down an empty street, I saw a German soldier approaching. He was wearing the black uniform that I had been told to fear more than others – the one worn by specially recruited SS soldiers. As I came closer to him, trying to walk fast, I noticed that he was looking at me intently. Then he beckoned me over, picked me up, and hugged me. I was terrified that he would notice the star inside my sweater. He was speaking to me with great emotion, in German. When he put me down, he opened his wallet, showed me a picture of a boy, and gave me some money. I went home more certain than ever that my mother was right: people were endlessly complicated and interesting."

That story has stuck with me for the last week, and I think it's because he's right. People are endlessly complicated and interesting. They do bad things for reasons others cannot understand, and they also do good things for reasons others cannot understand. At the end of the day, who knows, really, what is in each person's heart. It's a mixture of lots of feelings, and I, for one, am glad that all I'm commanded to do is love.

Thing I'm thankful for: the gospel of Christ

Sunday, January 27, 2019


I was finally putting up Christmas decorations and organizing some things around my apartment this weekend, and I stumbled upon this little gem:

I had driven from Atlanta to Austin––just under 1,000 miles––in two days, and I was exhausted. It was past midnight, and my first day of grad school was the next morning. I was sad to leave old friends behind and nervous about the adventure I had gotten myself into.

I walked into my new apartment, where my roommate was asleep, and looked around. My parents had moved and unpacked the heavy stuff I owned a few days before, since they lived fairly close by in San Antonio. There was my kitchen table, and here was my couch. There was Summer's old coffee table, and over there was my bookshelf. It was all familiar, and yet . . . I didn't recognize this place. I was lonely. I wished my mom had stayed a little longer because I needed to see a friendly and loving face and have her tell me that I had made a good decision and that everything was going to be alright. I teared up and walked down the long hall to my room, ready to be in bed.

To my surprise, my mom had already made my bed for me. Most of my clothes and shoes and things I needed immediately were unpacked, and to top it all off, there was a note. A note that welcomed me to this strange place and a note that said I was loved. I think I cried even more after I read it, but they were tears of gratitude and happiness that time.

What a wonderful mother I have. And father, too. All my life, they have left notes to my siblings and me. On my pillow, on the stairs, in my lunch bags, and inside book covers. I cherish those notes.

I'm sure that's why I'm a note-giver myself. Apart from explicitly voicing it, nothing says "I love you" more than a note left in a place where you're sure to see it but least expect it.

Thanks, MommyDaddy, for loving me with notes.

Thing I'm thankful for: Besides notes . . . Sunday naps!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Goodbye, John

My mom's cousin passed away this weekend, and his death struck me in a way I wasn't expecting. I've spent a good amount of time reflecting on him and his life the last couple of days, and here's what I know: John wasn't perfect. He messed up sometimes, as everyone does. But boy, was he a great person. He oozed generosity, always making sure the people he was with were comfortable and had what they needed and wanted. He was funny and fun and usually had a smile on his face. He loved life, and he loved people. I only met him a couple of times, but that was all it took to know that John was the kind of person I liked being around.

What a life, huh? What a way to be remembered! I hope that's how I go––with people remembering that I made them feel good. John was that way, and I will miss him.

And now, here's some words and phrases I remember John saying, in his wonderful Long Island accent:
  • "Whadayouse want? Youse want some square pizza? I'll get youse some square pizza."
  • "Did you get [Diabetes] 'cause your genes or 'cause you're fat?"
  • "Youse wanna take a fanny pack into the city?"
  • "Look at what this kid wrote: 'markers' and 'markers and shit.'"
Ohhh, how I wish you could hear him say those things in his own voice . . . It was the greatest. :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year 2019!

Last year sucked. Let's review:
  • Major surgery to remove Tumor #1 and left adrenal gland
  • Frustrations at work
  • Major car accident with neck problems for weeks
  • Feeling exhausted (again)
  • Major surgery to remove Tumor #2 and part of right kidney
  • Night sweats
  • Dumb stuff of my own doing

I'm ready for 2019, darnit! Here are the things I'm going to focus on:
  • Making serious progress on my family history
  • Getting the bakery up and running
I feel like those are good goals.

Thing I'm thankful for: kittens and newborns