Category Archives: Opportunity

Give. Get. Grow.

There’s this profound thought. The thought that there are people who just give and give and never expect anything in return. These people are mothers, they’re fathers, sisters, best friends, crazy aunts, godfathers, they’re everywhere in this world. The thing about this thought is that there needs to be reciprocation. Everything in this world has a good and a bad; there’s heads and there’s tails. The sun has night and the cold has warmth. There’s give and give back, and sometimes these people who give and give will need to get in return.

There’s this mother that I only know in passing. She doesn’t even speak English and I have never really carried on a conversation with her, but I know she’s her children’s world. The children no longer have their father, so she’s become even more critical to their lives. She is one who gives and gives and never expects anything back. Her family has come upon hardships and it looks like she will be separated from her children. I know what it feels like to be separated from my parents, but these children will not get the opportunity to really see their mother again. I had my sister send one of her daughters a message because they’re friends, and offered to do family portraits for them so they can have this one small memento. It is one small thing that I can do to give.

Turn around. These people who have been propelling you and I forward need people to turn around and grab their hands. Pull them into an embrace and pull them along with us. Be it from our own propulsion or from the momentum they have created for us, they deserve to get some “give” in their lives. There will also be times when people seemingly unrelated to your success or journey will look like they need help. Give to them. Not only will they have been given the opportunity for someone to cheer them on, you will be given the opportunity to grow from it too.


Gray Area, Singular

I don’t know how to start this but perhaps I should start by setting minds at ease. No, I don’t have cancer or other lesser known incurable illnesses, and yes, there’s something I can still do about it.

I had a doctor’s appointment today and beforehand I was super worked up and this time not the general “I hate doctor’s and doctor’s offices” kind of anxiety. I had been feeling off for a while now and suspected that I could possibly have diabetes and today that was confirmed. Well… sort of. My doctor called it a “gray area” because some doctors say that at this point a patient would definitely be diabetic, while other doctors — including mine — say that we are not quiiiteee diabetic but are “pre-diabetic.”*

Let me back it up a little bit. As a Pacific Islander, my risk of diabetes is higher, and I have a history of diabetes in my family. (Needless to say, I always hate when people who are about to chow down on something too sugary/unhealthy joke that they are having diabetes for dessert.) Today, we took an initial first test and while that got whisked off, my doctor and I were having our usual chat/check-up when another lady pops her head in and tells my doctor a number. We stopped talking about whatever it was we were talking about and my doctor says that I am “pre-diabetic.” There’s not much that I know about these things so I’m confused about the numbers at first, but those words put it into perspective.

It’s like they say, it’s one thing to know and another to hear it said out loud. This doesn’t change your life in any way, but it does mine. Using numbers, I can tell you that I am .2%* away from the official diagnoses for diabetes. Using words, my doctor said that I need to “Act like I’m diabetic. Eat like I’m diabetic, exercise like I’m diabetic, live like I’m diabetic.”

That’s for sure going to be hard. And so far, this post is the first that I’ve said about any of this, other than to my family. I’m not super psyched about being so public about it, but I wanted to make this an opportunity to make it known in some capacity so I would feel even more accountable to good behavior on my part and really living life like I am diabetic. Someone very close to me said that at one point they were told that they were “pre-diabetic” and that they were in denial about it for so long because they “didn’t want to have diabetes” and never did anything about it and now their numbers are off the charts. So far, I’m doing okay. The nurse brought in the diabetes kit and my doctor sent it away so I didn’t come home with one today. What this means for me though is a change of lifestyle and for sure, a kick in the behind.

Not coming home with a kit almost felt really great. It means that they’re not seeing proteins where there shouldn’t be proteins or any damage to any organs in my body. I said it “almost” felt really great because there’s still a lot I have to do on my end to really feel great about not having the kit. I’ve been prescribed diabetes school (which I didn’t realize existed) and sent home with lots of handouts on measures I need to be taking to make sure I don’t have to come home with that kit.

I’ve already starting making some of those changes this very evening and made this post to acknowledge and put to words what perhaps my mind can’t/won’t comprehend. Life changes are good sometimes and changing my lifestyle to combat diabetes is one of them if I make sure to stick to it.

This is as far as the gray area goes. What I do to make sure I’m in the clear is now black or white.

Thanks to those of you still reading my blog and keeping up with my sporadic posts. For those that know me and that read my blog, sorry I won’t necessarily get the chance to chat with each of you personally about this (or any other post for that matter) and I appreciate your discretion and sensitivity to the fact that I might not want to talk about these things in person/all the time.

*terms and stats are as accurate as they were described to me by my healthcare provider.

Love, Man

{I will post the funnier side of the doctor’s appointment at some point so we (and by we I mean I) are not so bogged down by heavier matters.}

First Chances

I’m starting to do a little photography for people. I’m not a professional by any means. I just have a pretty decent camera and I’m taking pictures for people and using it as practice. 

On Sunday I did a little shoot with an 8 yr old boy for baptismal announcements and I am still beyond nervous about the pictures!

There are already things that I know I will improve for next time! 

Other than that, I’m pretty stoked about this opportunity and for people being so wonderful and for thinking of asking me even though they know I’m just getting to know photography! 

First chances – they might even be more exciting than second chances! 

It’s Not That Funny

Little by little I’m coming back to blogging and sharing thoughts and stories with you!

Yesterday I met up with Person X at a restaurant. X had asked me to tutor her and she was feeling desperate so I met up with her but brought my little sister along because we were having a sister date afterwards and it didn’t make sense to go back and get her afterwards. We walk into the restaurant and X is already there. I say hi and introduce my sister, who then does her own thing for an hour and a half, while we do our work.

Today I saw her again, this time sans sister, and she says, “Oh my gosh your sister looks nothing like you!” Alright. That’s fair. I don’t have to look like her!

We have a few minutes before we have to be to class so we’re on our phones showing each other pictures of family members. For the next 5 minutes she says “I don’t see it!” “They all have the same nose!” “You don’t look anything like them!” “No seriously. Nothing like them.” All of which I take very politely. I mean, whatever, it’s not a huge deal. Looks are subjective. There are people that I’ve know for 8 years and they still collectively refer to my sisters and I as “the Raza Girls” because they can’t tell us apart. Which, I don’t get, but like I said, subjective. Then there are the people who are like, “Whoa! You’re all sisters? ALL of you? You looked similar so I thought maybe cousins! That’s kinda cool!”

I’ve heard a variety of reactions, however, X was taking it to a level I’ve never heard before. After repeatedly telling me that I look nothing like my family, she goes on to say “Haha maybe you’re adopted!” laugh laugh giggle giggle

I couldn’t believe it. What if I am? What if I’m not? What if I am but no one has told me? What if what if? “It’s okay you can tell me. I won’t tell.” Um excuse me? “Go home and ask if you are!!! Hahaha” Incessant laughing

It’s “jokes” like these that drive me insane! Just saying something and laughing about it or maybe adding a punch line doesn’t make it a joke.
Consider some tact, humanity! For the love of all that is good and holy, think before you speak.

“Jokes” about being gay. Don’t do it. “Jokes” about abortion. Don’t do it. “Jokes” about eating disorders. Don’t do it.
“Jokes” about being adopted. Don’t do it.
The list goes on. Just stop.

I remember in middle school the hallways were full of “yo mama is so…” “Yo mama (this), yo mama (that).”
I never really liked them because I just didn’t, but then my best friend’s mother passed away and it took on a whole new meaning. I didn’t and still don’t want to hear “funny” jokes about somebody’s mama being so skinny that they turned sideways and disappeared. My best friend’s mother is not on this earth anymore. To this day, anytime I hear a yo mama joke I can’t help but think “while you’re disrespecting hypothetical or real mamas, there are people who would cringe to hear that because they don’t have their mamas anymore.”

Some might say, “calm down, it’s just a joke!” or “live a little,” or “pull the stick out honey, and loosen up!” I’m not always the world’s most easy going person, I acknowledge that, but when it comes to matters like these, no thank you. I prefer to stand by my opinions.

Rise and Shine

For a little while now my mornings haven’t been quite the same. At the end of the day I like to think of the things I didn’t get accomplished and I vow that I will get x, y, and z done the next day. I So I wake up, get the first thing on my list done, and then the baby gets up and then forget it—all my planning from the night before was for nothing.

Now, before those of you who know me freak out, she’s not my baby. You definitely didn’t miss the big news that I was pregnant, carried for about 9 months and had a baby. Heck, for that matter, you definitely didn’t miss the announcement about me having someone to have a baby with.

Moving on! My baby cousin who’s really almost 2 and not really a baby makes my mornings so happy even if I don’t get much if what I planned done because I’m hanging out with her.
If I’m not getting certain things done though, I’m always learning and re-learning so much.

You know, it seems as though since I’m getting older, I should be far wiser than this little human. Boy am I wrong. If we were lightbulbs, she’d be the brand new, shiny and bright light bulb, and I’m the one who has grime on the surface and I’m not shining quite as brightly. You can see the shiny in her eyes! They sparkle and she gets excited about the little bird taking a dust bath. She will stop listening to you the second she hears the street sweeper coming and she cocks her head slightly, listening. Then she’ll start spinning her hands and making this whooshing noise to depict the brushes underneath the vehicle.

Over the years I’ve forgotten that little birds like to flit around in the dust. Do I even know what a street sweeper sounds like anymore? No, it’s just noise to me, while Baby M———– can show you the difference between what a street sweeper sounds like and what the garbage truck sounds like.

I’m not a mother and I’m not at that stage in life yet, but I’m so grateful for the time I have with this little person because she’s helping my get my shiny back.


Sometimes I think people are too harsh on gratitude. They look for the big things to be grateful for and often miss the small things—and often times the most precious things—to be grateful for.

Of course, I’m guilty too, but I’m working on it.

Hallelujah! By some miraculous feat, your taxes got done! Huzzah, Kumbaya for you! Let’s be grateful.

But did you remember to be grateful for the soft wind that is slowly, but surely blowing the last of winter away?

Do you think anything of a child’s laugh? What’s a world without innocent, nonjudgmental laughter and mirth?

All I’m saying is look up, look around. There are so many things to be grateful for, even if all the big things are going wrong.

In fact, wouldn’t we want to value all the little things even more?

Credit to Humans of New York
“For the longest time, I was so focused on being deaf in my left ear, that I almost forgot my other ear was perfectly fine.”


I know this is something a lot of people want to do, and at the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to say it anyway: “I want to travel the world!”

I’m going to start out small. After all, I’m only a lowly 18-year-old who has…unsteady cash flow.

Saving money is hard!!! How do people do it? I’m working on figuring it out. I’ve already personally financed and enjoyed a cruise to Bermuda with my best friend, and I’m Florida-bound in 2 months (with said best friend) and it’s so rewarding!

Yeah, I’ve been other places but I wasn’t the one to solely pay my way to these places so I didn’t get the “YES! You’re here and you made it here on your own!” feeling of accomplishment. The feeling that says that by my own hard work, I made a small piece of my dream come true.

As I type, I’m on board a Greyhound bus headed to Salt Lake City, UT. It’s not glamorous, but I’m traveling cheap and still enjoying it. I’ll be passing through some places that I’ve always wanted to go even if I’ve never heard the names of these paces prior to looking at my itinerary—because I want to go everywhere, so every place I go counts!

I’ll start small and cheap and slowly save and expand and someday be so travel-savvy that my Facebook “Places” tab will be covered in red travel markers with many memories (and photos) attached to them, and have little pieces of the world available to feel and hear in my home because I literally have them at my fingertips. And mostly I want to learn new things, find more of myself, and love more people.

Here I come, world. Are you ready to be conquered?

A little love

One of my best friends is in need of a little love today. Her mom’s brain surgery is today and whether you know her or not, a little love will go a long way. Send positive thoughts, comment for her here, say a private prayer, sing a little song, flex your muscles, kiss a baby, or look up at the sun. Something tells me my friend and her family will appreciate it.

Nettabells, I love you!