Escape – Chapter One

This was a project I gave myself to keep writing. I wrote it while listening to Evanescence on my iPod day after day at work. The more I listened to all the songs, the more I could see a plot forming. It was meant to be read as a story, play or musical, however you want.  I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you enjoy it as well. It’s a very dark story, so be prepared! 

Disclaimer: All songs are derived from the band Evanescence and their music from their albums: Origins, Fallen, and The Open Door. This story is fiction and in no way depicts the real life events of Amy Lee.

“Hey Randy give me another one!” A 30 something year old man came up to the bar right next to me and waited patiently for Randy to pour him another beer. His eyes wandered over to my direction and he nodded, “Hey, whats up?”

Did he have to yell? Well, at least it sounded like yelling. I slowly lifted my head from its comfortable position on the table and squinted at him. “Do I know you?”

“Uh, my name is Stan. Just saying hi.”

“Oh…hi.”

“Here’s your beer.” Randy placed the glass on the table, gave me a concerned look, and began pouring red wine for another customer.

The loud man took out some bills from his pocket and put it on the table. “Thanks man. Hey, uh, take it easy, okay?” He gave me a little wink.

That’s funny—a stranger worried about me . What does he care? I stretched so I could look at myself in the small mirror on the wall. Hmm, I guess I should be shocked, but I’m not. I was accustomed to the ratty dark hair that hadn’t been combed in days. My dark eyes were now sunken and rimmed with red lines. Haven’t been getting too much sleep I guess.

“Randy! Another one!” I yelled, holding my glass up expectantly.

Randy came over, looked at my haggard face and said, “I’m cutting you off, Joan.”

“No,” came my brilliant response.

Randy ran his fingers nervously through his dark blonde hair and said ,“Look Joan, you know how much I uh…usually enjoy your company. But you’ve been here everyday this week. Did something happen?”

Did something happen. What an understatement.

“I just want to escape,” I whispered, more to myself.

“Escape what?”

“Life. Screw life.” I drank the last of my vodka tonic and burped. At that moment a familiar song came on from the karaoke machine, and I looked at Randy with my eyes lit up like I had just found out that I was getting a puppy for Christmas. Yeah, like that would have ever happened. Better analogy—my eyes lit up like I just found more tequila in my sock drawer when I thought I was all out.

“I LOVE this song.”

“You love ‘Barracuda’?”

“Um, hell yeah. Who doesn’t?”

Without waiting for his response, I got up and walked towards the shy girl who was trying to impress her large group of friends with her off key singing. I should have known better than to come here on a Friday night. Should have gone to Kenny’s. I looked at all the different faces in the room—some I recognized, some I had never seen before. There were some attractive men on my right, standing and watching the game on TV, beers in hand. Some girls in skimpy outfits on the other side of the bar were smiling and flirting with the guys who were watching TV, who didn’t seem to notice them. Some were there for Karaoke night, and were visiting the bar for the first time. A girl who looked no more than 22 was on the small stage area, trying to sing the high notes of Barracuda. I cringed as the shy brunette was trying to hit the more difficult notes. I crossed my arms and started tapping my foot in frustration. This girl was a disgrace. Heart would be crying and cutting their ears off with knives, nay, plastic knives—it would hurt more. I had sung this song many times before, but mostly in front of Randy and the regulars, Ben, Steve, and Mike. They always clapped profusely in the end and without fail would tell me to “make a record.” It was a larger crew tonight. Too bad I am so drunk I could care less.

I walked up to the shy brunette who was smiling at some guy across the room and now seemed to be whispering the lyrics.

“Mind if I take over?” I stepped next to her on the stage and squinted a little at the small stage lights shining on me.

“Um, I guess.” The girl looked at her friends and gave them a “Omigosh I cannot believe she just did that” look and walked down the stage to the booth filled judging friends.

The second verse started and I began singing. For some reason, when I sing, I can cut the whole world out, and it is just me and my soul. When I opened my eyes, I could see that the crowd looked a lot different than before. All eyes were on me. Some looked at me in awe, and some were nodding along and smiling. They didn’t affect me. I kept singing with all I had, and I felt…alive. I opened my eyes briefly and found them immediately locked with another pair of dark brown eyes. I squinted to see him better, and when he looked at me, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t explain it. But he saw me. He saw right through me. He knew. He knew everything. And yet, oddly enough he didn’t have a look of disgust in his face. I couldn’t see his whole body—he was behind a small crowd of other men. But that gaze…that non-wavering gaze. The song had ended, and the roar of applause brought me back to reality.

“Woo! Thank you everyone. I love Heart. They are the greatest. OK, so bye.” I stumbled down the stage and two guys helped me up.

“Thanks guys.” I gave them a thumbs up and walked towards where I saw that strange man. He was no nowhere to be found. I walked up to the bar and waited until Randy saw me looking at him.

“I’m not giving you more Joan.”

“I know that. Did you see that one guy with the eyes?”

“Hm did I see a guy with eyes? Yeah I saw about 20 of them. Do you need me to call you a cab?” He reached for the phone.

“No no no.” I tried to rack my brain for words to describe him. There were no words. Just those eyes, those horrible, beautiful, soul-piercing eyes.

“He was..he had brown hair…I think. It was dark. And his eyes…were brown.”

“Did he have a nose too? I’m dialing.”

“No. I’ll walk home tonight.”

“You sure?” He asked. He knew I only lived a couple blocks away, but I’m sure he was surprised considering it was a chilly 40 degrees in Brooklyn.

“Yeah,” I smiled. “Thanks Randy. Thanks for caring.”

“You know I care about you Joan.”

Probably more than anyone else has..except maybe Grams.

“Joan? Joan!”

I cringed a little when I heard that voice. “Yeah?” I turned around and faced my boyfriend of 4 years.

“Hey Joan. I knew I would find you here. Come over and meet some of these guys I met.”

I had no desire to, but I followed Paul reluctantly to a group of guys who were sitting in a corner booth, with nothing but beers on the table.

“Guys, this is my girlfriend Joan. She might be interested in what you…are..uh..offering.”

I looked questioningly at Paul before sitting down. The man sitting before me had dark long hair, stubble growing on his round face, and black eyes. His eyes were familiar. Hungry, waiting, greedy, a mirror image of what mine have looked like the majority of my life.

“Look guys, I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I’ve had a lot to drink tonight, so, I think I will be peacing out.” I got up to move, but Paul stood in the way, so I sat back down.

He leaned over and and whispered, “You know how you’ve been looking for something really strong? For this week, because of..”

“Yeah I know,” I said, stopping him. I looked at the man in front of me. I didn’t like his knowing smile.

“What do you have?” I asked, curious.

“Exactly what you need. Paul here has been telling me a little about you, and from what I gather, you need this.” He looked around him to see if anyone was looking then slid a bag of leaves across the table to me.

“This here is what I like to call magic mint, one of the most powerful pyschoactive substances in the world. Once you smoke it, it takes effect almost immediately. It lasts for about 20 minutes or so. From what people have told me, it takes you back into childhood memories, give you insight. That is what you want right?”

I stared at him blankly.

“Best part?” He continued. “It’s legal, and not very expensive. What do you say?”

I pushed the bag of leaves away from me and stood up to face Paul. “This is the best you could do? Bring me a legal, cheap drug that only lasts 20 minutes? No thanks. Might as well take some acid.”

Drug man stood up as well. “It’s more safe than acid, and it can bring back specific memories from your past.”

Nothing could be strong enough to take me back to the past. Nothing could take away the memory of…

“Look, are you even interested? I got someone coming in 5 minutes..” he said.

“I’m out of here,” I pushed Paul away and headed toward the door.

He followed me out the bar onto the darkness of 3rd street. “I’m sorry babe, but we can’t really afford the good stuff, and this sounds like it will do the job. You sure you don’t want to try the Salvia?”

I stopped and turned to face him. “I’ve had them all, Paul. Yes, they take you into a whole other world, a world with technicolor and funny and intelligent creatures come up to you and tell you how awesome sharpies are. Yes, it’s amusing and distracting, but then you have to wake up, Paul.” My voice cracked and my eyes started to water.

“I don’t want to wake up.” I buried my wet face onto Paul’s chest. It smelled of cigarettes.

“Shh shh. I know. I know. Are you sure you don’t want to try this one though? It will make you feel better, at least for a little while.”

I looked up into his eyes and pulled myself away. “God, you really just don’t get it, do you?” I started walking away from him

“It’s been 18 years, Joan!”

I stopped in my tracks and slowly turned around. I looked at his confused, weary, lifeless eyes. He couldn’t keep up with me. I was unpredictable, moody, emotional. I almost pitied him. Well, I had to deal with his baggage too, and I was a hell of a lot more supportive than he was being right now.

“Good bye Paul.”

He jogged towards me. “You going home? I’ll walk you.”

“No thanks. I want to walk alone. Just need time to think.” I mustered a pathetic smile for him. “Thanks though.”

“Alright, well, call me later. I’ll probably be home in 20 minutes.”

“Sure.” I watched as he walked back to the bar.

Had it really been 18 years? I buttoned up my black petticoat and shivered at the crisp weather. My transparent breath engulfed my face with every step I took—just another painful reminder of my existence. With crossed arms to try and build up some warmth, I walked down 3rd street at a brisk walk. I ignored the guys who talked to me when I walked by and didn’t even look them in the eyes. They just looked and saw a female who they thought could serve as an entertainment tool for 5 minutes. I wouldn’t give them that satisfaction. As soon as I couldn’t see anyone in sight, I stopped. I looked up at the dark sky and only saw 3 stars. The fog was trying its hardest to cover them, but I could see the bright reflections shining through. Something about reflections made me think of the stranger. I couldn’t get his eyes out of my mind. Who was he? Had I seen him before? Did he know about me, my family? A family friend perhaps? Not like we had very many. I put my palm to my forehead—it was sweaty. I could feel the alcohol seeping through my blood and felt woozy. A familiar feeling that I would usually welcome, but now I wish I hadn’t had that last drink. I wanted to think about him… and those eyes. So kind, familiar, yet piercing. He made me long for something I couldn’t explain.

She’s walking down the street, and beings to sing “Bring me to Life”

 

How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul, my spirit sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home

Wake me up

(Wake me up inside)
I can’t wake up
(Wake me up inside)
Save me
(Call my name and save me from the dark)

Wake me up

(Bid my blood to run)
I can’t wake up
(Before I come undone)
Save me
(Save me from the nothing I’ve become)

Now that I know what I’m without

You can’t just leave me
Breathe into me and make me real
Bring me to life

Repeat Chorus

Frozen inside without your touch

Without your love, darling
Only you are the life among the dead

All this time, I can’t believe I couldn’t see
Kept in the dark but you were there in front of me
I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems
Got to open my eyes to everything

Without thought, without voice, without a soul
Don’t let me die here
There must be something more
Bring me to life

 

She is walking down 3rd street and sings while she walks by hookers, homeless men sitting on the floor, a man sitting drinking alcohol, etc. Some of the men also begin singing with her the chorus. They look to her and reach for her coat, but she pulls away from them, since she can’t help them. Towards the end of the song, she climbs up an old cathedral building that is closed and walks over towards the edge—wind is blowing in her hair. She stands on the edge and…

 

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(My) Psychology of Frozen

Note: I’m no psychologist, this post simply goes deeper in the movie and takes an in depth look at the characters and songs. These thoughts and insights are my own and based on my own life experiences. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, see it, then read this, for there are spoilers! 

Bravo Disney. Bravo for making a movie with such a powerful message that anyone in the world can relate to. Bravo for making the main antagonist actually be the protagonist. Frozen is, in one word, a masterpiece. Not only are the songs carefully crafted and thoughtfully written and scored, but the characters are also warm, loving and memorable. Frozen speaks to all of us. As adults, we can all attest that we are our own worst enemy. We all have dealt with the inexplicable power of fear holding us back in our lives. Some of us have learned to overcome; others are in a daily battle.  We can all learn many life-changing lessons from Frozen, and most of these lessons come from the brilliant songs themselves.

Frozen Heart

After the chanting of an angelic choir, the scene opens with ice, naturally. Men in the icing business are cutting through the ice with saws, and the opening song begins.

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining
This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining

So cut through the heart, cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear,

There’s beauty and there’s danger here
Split the ice apart. Beware the frozen heart.

This song is a precedent for the entire movie. Once you’ve seen the movie, you understand that the ice they are referring to symbolizes all of our hearts. We are capable of being both “foul and fair” but we all have frozen hearts that are worth mining. These men are doing hard labor, in the freezing cold, commenting on how powerful a force ice is, but that even though it’s challenging, it is worth it. In the movie, one of the main characters, Elsa, has a frozen heart.  She was born with magical powers that lets her control ice, but this is not the reason her heart is frozen. This song is a beautiful allegory of someone trying to love a damaged soul.  For the person who is trying to show someone their love, they need be aware of this: striking through the frozen heart is no easy feat.  When attempting to break the frozen heart, you can only strike with love. That is the only way to thaw a frozen heart. A lot of us have frozen hearts. We don’t believe that anyone could truly love us that much. We fear rejection and betrayal.  In the process, we toughen up and build a wall, thick enough that someone would need to strike it with an ax to get through to us.  Not everyone in life sees our worth either. Most people would not bother trying to thaw your frozen heart. It’s a scary thing. It requires work, patience, suffering, frustration, and most importantly, love.

Do you want to build a snowman?

This song follows Elsa and Anna after the incident where Elsa strikes Anna on the head with ice. Since it is her brain (which can be easily swayed) and not her heart, Anna survives. The memory of Elsa’s powers, however, has been erased by Papa Troll. Throughout the song, we see Anna continuously beg her sister to let her in, to open the door, to simply tell her what’s going on. Year after year, Elsa repeatedly rejects her sister and ignores her pleas to have a relationship with her.  How many times in your life have you shut the door on the people who were trying to have relationship with you? How many times have you let fear hold you back from revealing who you really are to others?  In this scene, we see that her parents encouraged her to “conceal” her power, to “not feel it.” Many of us have had this outer influence in our lives, where people closest to us tried to contain the person we really are.  Either they didn’t know how to teach you to live to your fullest potential or they served as a barrier, telling you that you would never be good enough or that you didn’t have it in you. They let their own fears dictate their actions and in the process failed to let you become the person you were meant to be.  Elsa, from the time she was a little girl to a young woman, shut herself from the real world, scared of rejection, betrayal, and mostly herself and her potential.

For the first time in forever

In this scene, we see Anna as a grown young woman, excited for Coronation Day, mostly because this means she can meet “actual real life people”. She suffered through the tragedy of losing both her parents yet still maintains a joyous spirit, eager to see the good in life and all of the great things it can offer. She is the opposite of Elsa, who sees the world as a dangerous place, where people can’t be trusted and she cannot be free to be herself.  Anna, on the other hand, can’t wait to meet people and is thrilled at the possibility of meeting “the one” and living happily ever after. She is optimistic about her future, not letting her past hold her back from experiencing life. Before she asks for the gates to be opened, Elsa has a little talk with herself, repeating the same words her father told her as a child:

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal. Don’t feel. Put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know.”

Elsa was robbed of feeling as hopeful and optimistic about life as Anna, as she was told at a young age that she needed to hide who she really was.  As a result, she now lives in fear, with her father’s voice in her head, letting his legacy live on by trying to be a good girl and not let the world see who his daughter really is. A lot of us can relate to this as well. We live each day trying to live to the standard of our parents, even if their actions were questionable.  Right or wrong, subconsciously or not, we act out little things here and there that are reminiscent of our parent’s behavior.

Love is an open door

This song is a perfect reminder to us that love is supposed to be an open door. What does this mean exactly?  Vulnerability. It’s very easy to slam doors and stay cooped inside the comfort of your own little world. The most difficult part is leaving your door open, trusting that the person who is going to enter the safety of you world is not going to destroy it by betraying you.  In order to leave the door open to people in your life you need to be able to trust them.  You also need to be able to trust in yourself, trust that you are fully capable of letting someone in because you ARE worth it.  Elsa kept her door shut because she didn’t trust the people on the outside, nor did she trust herself. Her fear held her back from letting others in.  Let’s all remember that life and love are supposed to be open doors. We gain nothing from keeping them shut. Take a breath, believe in yourself, and take a chance by opening your own door.

Let it Go

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a foot print to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like the swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well know they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore,

Let it go, let it go,
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.

The cold never bothered me anyway.
It’s funny how some distance

Makes everything seem small
And the fear that once controlled me

Can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free.
Let it go, let it go

I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go,

You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I’ll stay

Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground

My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast

I’m never going back, the past is in the past
Let it go, let it go,

And I’ll rise like the break of dawn,
Let it go, let it go,

The perfect girl is gone
Here I stand

In the light of day,
Let the storm rage on

The cold never bothered me anyway.

FrozenElsa has left her parent’s castle and experiences life for the first time completely free.  With nobody around, just the mountains of snow in front of her, she feels safe.  She’s letting go of the past, of her parents and their idealizations and expectations of her. It’s time for her to start living to her fullest potential and to see what she’s capable of. What’s so wonderful with this song is that all of us can interpret it in the way that relates to our life story. We all have something that we need to let go. We all know that we need to embrace our full potential, not let the past overshadow or predict the future, and realize our identity apart from our parents.  Towards the end of the song, when she realizes “the past is in the past”, with one hand she releases her tightly-wound bun, to expose a long beautiful braid and with the other, tousles her hair to be less constricted. She changes her castle clothes to reflect a stunning frozen-themed dress with icicle sequins that represents her true identity. Her walk is confident as she approaches the light of day. Seeing hope and peace in her future, she is truly beautiful.  This is the same for all of us. We become a different person when we let go whatever it is that is not helping us progress in life and see life in an optimistic way.  We become the most beautiful version of ourselves when we let go of our fears and live to our potential.  At the same time, it’s interesting how she admits that she is the queen of an isolated kingdom. She understands that she is going to live a life in solitary and seems okay with it. Why? Because she has lived this way her whole life. She was isolated in her parent’s castle and she is isolating herself now, the only difference is no one is there to tell her what she can or cannot do.  While it is wonderful that she is living to her potential and letting go of all her fear, this is not and should not be the final step in her journey (or ours).  And this is exactly why this song isn’t the end of the movie.

For the first time in forever (reprise)

Anna finally reaches Elsa’s gorgeous frozen castle, and is surprised that for the first time that Elsa’s door isn’t locked. Hesitantly, Anna walks in and gazes in admiration of all that her sister is capable of. Her frozen castle is breathtakingly beautiful.  Elsa shyly approaches, but you can tell she is excited for her sister to see the new her, how beautiful she looks after letting go of her fear and being true to herself.  Anna notices how “different” she looks, and proceeds to tell her to come back home.  Elsa, still fearful, tells her no and begins to walk away. Anna sings to her:

Please don’ t shut me out again
Please don’t slam the door

You don’t have to keep your distance anymore
Cause for the first time in forever, I finally understand

For the first time in forever we can fix this hand in hand
We can head down the mountain together

You don’t have to live in fear
Cause for the first time in forever,

I will be right here.

Anna is trying desperately to convince her sister that she doesn’t have to shut her out anymore. She is proving to Elsa that there is another human being out there who loves her and accepts her for who she is. Even though there is a consequence from her sister’s actions (eternal winter), Anna is willing to help her figure it out. Elsa is given the option to trust that someone will not betray her, and trust herself that her own powers won’t hurt Anna again.  Elsa takes the easy way out, telling her to go back home, to stay away so she can be safe from her. Anna refuses to accept this answer, and tries again to convince her sister that they can face this challenge together.  All her positivity and hope drives Elsa mad for a moment as her final words are a definitive “I CAN’T”. With the realization that her fear is very much still a part of her, she loses control of her power, accidentally striking Anna’s heart with ice.  Take home lesson: other people, not just you, get hurt when you shut them out, and if you live your whole life with the mentality of “I can’t’”, horrible consequences will ensue.

Fixer Upper

Kristoff, similar to Elsa, has lived his life in isolation and the only other living thing he can trust is his pet reindeer.  His troll family explains this to Anna (mistaking her as his girlfriend), that although he lives his life isolated, it’s confirmation of his “desperation for human hugs.”  He’s a fixer upper, and the only thing that can fix a fixer upper is true love.  Mamma troll explains to Anna:

“We’re not saying you can change him cause people don’t really change.
We’re only saying love’s a force that’s powerful and strange.

People make bad choices when they’re mad or scared or stressed
But throw a little love their way…. And you’ll bring out their best. True love brings out the best!

Everyone’s a bit of a fixer upper, that’s what it’s all about!
Father! Sister! Brother! We need each other, to raise us up and round us out.

Everyone’s a bit of a fixer upper, but when push comes to shove
The only fixer-upper fixer that can fix up a fixer-upper is

True true true true true true true love
True love, love, love, love, love, love!

In case you missed it, the answer is…. Love! Truth is we are all messed up. Every single one of us. We all need fixing, and the only thing to fix us is true love.  Papa troll tells Anna that she will die unless she finds true love to thaw her frozen heart. At first they assume this means a true love kiss, but as the movie ends, we discover a different story. Are we humans even capable of “true love?”  What does it even mean? As Anna finds out, true love means sacrificing her own life for her sister, which is a beautiful image to what Jesus did on the cross for us. He gave up his life, went through unbearable pain and suffering to give us life. He is the very definition of love. Only once Elsa realizes this act of true love from her sister was she able to let go of all her anxiety and fear. Only true love can thaw a frozen heart.  Seeing this kind of love for the first time, Elsa knows how to unthaw the city. Letting go of her fears (for good this time) and replacing it with love, Elsa now has the power to restore Arendelle to its beautiful summer-like state.  The gates will never be closed again and she and her sister can finally have the relationship they missed out on for all those years.

Which character do you mostly relate to?

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Dear Yia Yia

I want to write this letter to you to express how grateful I am that you are my grandmother.  I had a grandmother growing up, my Mama Julia, but she died when I was seven years old.  From what I can remember, I know that she was very loving and affectionate and thought the world of her grandkids. I have fond memories of her, but unfortunately our time was cut short.

I officially became your granddaughter on February 6th, 2010 when I married your grandson Alexander, but I feel that I really became part of your family the moment we first met.  I can remember it like it was yesterday. I walked into your kitchen, not really knowing what to expect when meeting older people (as I didn’t have much experience with them), but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw your beautiful face.  Your face lit up like we’ve known each other for years.  You walked up towards me, arms outstretched, smile open wide, looking like you would just die if you couldn’t kiss me right then and there.   With two soft hands you cupped my face, turning my face side by side so you could kiss both of my cheeks.  I knew right then and there that I already loved you.

meandyiayiaAs you lived up north and I lived in Orange County, I couldn’t spend as much time with you as I would have liked. As fate would have it, we both ended up living with each other in May 2013. Your husband had just passed and you were going to stay with your daughter Doreen. Alexander and I were trying to figure out our living situation, and your daughter was kind enough to let us stay in her Greek pad at the Vineyard. It was during this time that I really got to know you and experience life with a grandmother. Although you didn’t really remember my name when you first saw me, after some time you had it down.  We had a couple days when I was the “girl who worked here” or “the girl who types a lot”, but with a few reminders of who I was it was back to normal.

Living with you, I was able to learn a lot more about my big fat Greek family. There were familiar patterns of behavior I could see from generation to generation.  Yes, with a smile, I can say that my husband and his mother both got their A.D.D from you, and their endless amount of energy. ( I am talking about an 83 year old woman who walked up a steep hill to take out the trash and was hardly out of breath!) But what really stood out to me is something I love most dearly about your family, and that is their staggering capacity to love.  Now having spent some time with you, I know that this is where it originated. I know that your life was far from easy and that your love and patience was tried many times in your life. And yet, despite it all, you have this almost supernatural ability to love every single person you meet, no questions asked. It could be a stranger on the street, or someone your grandson just introduced you to, and you would be there, arms out wide, ready to outpour your love.  There was never a shortage of love and affection, never a bad day, never a “I don’t feel like loving today.” If their cheeks weren’t on your lips in five seconds there would be trouble.

I want to end this letter thanking you. I want to thank you for being you. For being someone who loves unconditionally, who wears Jesus glasses and sees everyone as He would, in need of love.  Because of you, my mother-in-law carries this same pattern of love. I have hardly met people in life who could love so freely as the members of your family. This is not easy to find, and I feel as if I hit the jackpot. Because of your unconditional love, your daughter shares that same love to her son and daughters, and like you, anyone else fortunate enough to meet her. It’s powerful indeed when you can meet someone in five minutes and already feel secure, love and cared for. Because of your love, my husband is the person he is today.  With you and his mom in his life, he learned how to love the right way. He learned how to respect women and how to treat them like a queen. He continues to baffle me with how much love he has for me and the people he loves. He never wants to give up on us, he loves me even though I feel so unworthy of his love.  Thank you for constantly reminding me of Christ’s own love for me. Thank you for loving me so fiercely, even though you hardly knew me.  Thank you for being a wonderful mother to my mother in law and her family, and thank you for being the best Yia Yia to your grandkids. I’m so grateful that I was able to know you and live with you for 4 months.  I will always remember your capacity to love others, and I aspire to be exactly like you. I definitely won’t be half as cute as you, but I want to wear your same Jesus glasses and if I was able to love even half the amount you were able to, I would be a very happy person.  You are always on my heart. Words can’t really express how grateful I am to you and all you have done for my family.

Love you always and forever.

The typing girl

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5 Things Men can Learn from Sleeping Beauty

I loved Disney movies growing up (who didn’t?), but I think I’m having even more fun as a 27 year old watching the classics, looking at everything through a deeper, more mature lens. One of the Disney movies that I recently saw with my sister-in-law was Sleeping Beauty, a movie that definitely was not one of my favorites as a child. I didn’t watch it as much as the other ones, like Little Mermaid or Aladdin, but I remember liking the fairies and thinking they were cute. Seeing it again 12 years later, I had no idea that I would see things so differently. First, I always thought of it as a story about Sleeping Beauty, or Aurora, since A) that’s the title of the movie, and B) most Disney movies are about the princess. But this movie is actually all about Prince Phillip and what he must do to find true love. I believe there are some pretty obvious religious undertones and that Phillip could easily represent us in the struggles of the Christian walk, battling the devil with the help of three fairies (or the trinity), but I decided to look at it through a slightly different angle. Here are 5 ways men can learn how to find true love through Phillip’s character.

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Sexiest Male Singers of all Time… Ok Maybe just my Time

Rick Astley

#5

Rick Astley is never going to give up on me, so why should I give up on him? Even from the early age of seven, I knew that this voice was sexy. Probably didn’t really know what sexy meant, but whatever it was, it had to include Rick. Maybe this sexiness is even more amplified since it came from the whitest white boy you could imagine…who had red hair… and freckles. This deep, sensual voice came from this guy? Sure did. To this day, whenever his music comes on in a CVS pharmacy, I have to stop what I’m doing and sing along “And don’t you know I  would move heaven an earth to be TOGETHER FOREVER with you?!”

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Greece in 10 Days

My trip to Greece was my first visit to Europe, and I couldn’t have had a more amazing time. I went with my Big P hat Greek family to Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Syros, Thessaloniki Patras and Kalavitra. Luckily, my mother-in-law speaks Greek and was able to guide us through the country. It also helps that her and my two sisters-in-law have been to Greece many times, so my hubby and I didn’t have to worry about where to go, how to get there, or how to speak the language, making it pretty easy for us to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. It does take around 10 hours to get from JFK to Athens and I recommend getting plenty of sleep on the plane (don’t get distracted by all the movies on the plane like I did, I think I watched five *fail*). When we landed it was 9 in the morning, and I had been up since 3 am when we left to go to the airport in San Francisco. Like zombies, we walked around the airport and tried to find wifi to figure out how to get to our hotel. (It didn’t help that there were protests on the street that day which prevented us from being able to take several modes of transportation.) We finally decided to stay at the hotel that the girls had stayed in when they went to Greece for their school trip.

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Social Media for Auto Body Shops – Interview

Hey there!

For those of you who don’t know, I work for a web company doing online marketing. I first started as a copywriter, then became a marketing analyst. I’m currently the Social Media Director. I love my job and getting to interact with other people online for a living! I was recently interviewed by Auto Body News regarding my social media practices for Marina Auto Body Shop in LA and Huntington Beach. Very exciting stuff!

Auto Body News - Interview

 

Read the full article here.

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Three things we can learn from Neo’s Jump

Yes, I know the Matrix came out like 10+  years ago, but for some reason my brain remembered that scene in the movie where Morpheus is teaching Neo how to “free his mind” and if he can accomplish this, he should be able to jump/fly 500 feet to the next building. This jump, in my opinion, is the perfect allegory for life. Here are the 3 things we can learn:

1) You have to take that first leap. That other building is your goal. Your hopes and dreams. You can stay on the current building that you’re on and not go anywhere. That’s your choice. It’s safe. It’s comfortable, and life is A-Ok. But you know that if you can somehow jump and make it to the other building, your life would be what it was supposed to be and you would feel the way you were meant to, alive. No parents are there to push you off the nest this time. This is your decision. You have to be willing to take the plunge.

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How to Come Up with the Perfect Maid of Honor Speech

“Love is patient, love is kind, love endures forever…” Oh wait, this is a blog post on the perfect speech not the worst one. If you want your speech to be terrible, by all means recite 1 Cor 13:4. Really go ahead. No one in the world has heard love is patient, love is kind and that love endures forever. It will be BRAND NEW INFORMATION. How about instead, I  help you come up with great topics for your speech as well as keep it fresh, original, and real. With any successful speech, you want to be sure that you can immediately capture your audience’s attention. You don’t want to be too short, because some family members might give you the stink eye and think you and their daughter/niece/cousin weren’t as close as they thought. You don’t want to be too long in your speech, because some family members will give you the stink eye for taking them further away from cake time. The perfect combination? A speech that isn’t “Clearly I didn’t take the time to prepare for this so I will say something boring and generic and give a toast to the bride and groom in 45 seconds” to something like “And then in 3rd grade, she totally peed in her pants and our teacher, Mr. Smith pulled aside and gave this really long lecture about how you shouldn’t drink too much Kool Aid before a field trip, and in 4th grade….” Prepare for the speech but don’t be too excessive with it. I would say to keep your speech at around 2-3 minutes. Might not seem like a long time, but if you have the right content, that will be plenty. So how can you come up with the perfect speech? The speech can be centered around a couple topics, depending on how entertaining it is. Here are my suggestions:

maid-of-honor1) Think of the time you first met your bride. Was it memorable? Can you remember the details? If it is a humorous and entertaining story, then there you go. You don’t even have to keep reading the other suggestions. If you do want to use how you first met in your speech, then remember to show and not tell. Use words that will make your audience feel like they are right there with you, seeing the whole scene unfold through your eyes. Allow your bride to relive the scene in her head and as a result bring a huge smile to her face. Make sure this doesn’t take up your entire speech either. Use the first minute and a half for the story, and the rest about the bride and groom, and how happy you are for them and so on. If there is something that was said by the bride in the past that can be used in the present, then use it! You can say “Sara told me 4 years ago that she would never date a guy without a good head of hair, and today has fulfilled that promise. I wish you both all the happiness in the world. May you always listen to each other, love each other, care for one another, and most importantly, keep Mens Rogaine in the bathroom drawers.” (Ok, this isn’t my best work but you get the picture).

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5 Best Movie Kisses of All Time

Happy National Kiss Day!

I have always been a fan of kisses, ever since I was a little girl. My first kiss was me chasing a boy named Danny around the playground, grabbing him and smacking one hard on his lips or cheek, I can’t remember (I was five). I think he ran away crying. As I continued to grow older and read all my cheesy Christian romance novels, my love for kissing grew stronger, because in Christian books, that’s the climax of the story. That’s the moment you read for. When you get to THE kiss, you were like YES THEY FINALLY KISSED. You know, come to think of it, I would prefer to see one great kiss filled with passion and emotion with an amazing story behind it rather than two people randomly having sex in a movie. There’s just something about a really good kiss. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite movie kiss scenes:

  1. Mask of Zorro – Antonio and Catherine
    I grew up watching Zorro, so I was pretty excited for the movie (starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones) to come out in theaters in 1998. I was not disappointed. Why I love this kiss: There is already some good ST being built by this time (sexual tension). You believe that these two characters are intrigued by each other and want to know each other, in the Biblical sense. They flirted, they danced, and now, they must sword fight. Naturally pieces of clothing come off. Zorro taunts her with small kisses here and there, and then comes the big finale. When he has beaten her in swordplay and she is pretty much exposed, he gives her a deep, passionate kiss. This is really the best scene in the movie:

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