"Be the Change you wish to see in the world" -Gandhi "I will be a Hummingbird, I will do the best that I can." -Wangari Maathai "Where stereotypes begin with a grain of truth, cliches begin with a boulder" - George Watsky "And she's gonna learn, that this life will hit you - hard - in the face - wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach, but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs, how much they like the taste of air." - Sarah Kay "Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded." -Suheir Hammad

Houston Zoo Lights!

Oh Christmas, how ye are filled with so many memories. You accommodate so many of your celebrators.

Tonight at the Houston Zoo's "Zoo Lights" my family and I enjoyed the zoo (surprisingly with very few animals) and an amazing arrangement of lights throughout the park. People there were from everywhere! You saw the old and young, the tourist and veteran, the couple and family, the rich and poor, and the angels and the sinners. But one common thing among all who were in attendance, was the spirit of happiness. Even if some in the park were feeling overwhelmed by children, or maybe not as healthy as always, you could feel that they had a good time being there to celebrate such a beautiful holiday.

So once again, as I set off to write one thing a night until Christmas, I have the spirit of community and love to report on.

So Merry Christmas to y'all, and to y'all a goodnight!

Christmas time is here.

Ah, the first day after Thanksgiving, and the official start of Christmas season for most. The nights become most important. Settings that we are all used to become are now bathed in fake pine leaves, strands of lights, and a feeling of love and generosity. We bundle, we lounge, and we reflect on the year and who is most important.

My Christmas season used to be routine, when I was a kid, but every year since has been different. Now I don't have an exact script to look back on and think Christmas, but I have a feeling of love to cherish, and that is most important.

One exact event that could be labelled as my favorite Christmas memory was when my family went to Santa's Wonderland in College Station. It was spontaneous from my perspective, which is a rare thing for my family. I was surfing the computer, as usual, when my parents told me their plan. I was stoked. My siblings and I got our yearly Christmas pajamas that night (complete with slippers) and quickly changed into our snuggly uniforms. We were each given a variety of snacks, including popcorn, chocolates, Reese's Pieces, and our own drinks. (mine was hot chocolate, a personal favorite of the season) We grabbed our blankets and rushed to the car after taking a very Christmasy photo. Once we had climbed in, instead of watching a movie like usual, we read the story of Jesus's birth from Luke. Since the story was longer than the drive, the rest of the way we talked and enjoyed each other as a family. Because it was so late that night, the kids dozed off until our arrival. I remember there being traffic, but it wasn't significant in the memory. I do however remember the lights. Thousands of lights. Possibly even millions. Making rivers, houses, forests, skies, art, and memories for other families like ours. No need to get out of the car, we cruised through all snuggled in warmth of blankets, pajamas, and love. The night was perfect, and the air around it was the exact feeling I look for every Christmas. So thank you Chris and Maren Eberhard for giving me that feeling last year. (If you plan on it again, make sure it's spontaneous like last time(: )

And that's what I hope for every person during the holiday season. Not Black Friday deals, or the best lights in town, or even unplanned light surprises. I hope for the feeling that I gained from a loving family.

Common misconception

A common misconception in all relationships, is assuming that this new relationship is like one you had before because of random similarities. We use this action as a learning technique. When we see something, we immediately compare it to something else in order to learn. But this only works when things stay constant. As humans we are CONSTANTLY changing. We may be able to categorize someone in our brain by comparing them to someone we once knew, but their placement must be made temporary, or else we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Let me give an example for those who may not be following. Sally just got a new job at McDonald's. This is the second job she has ever had. Before she worked at Burger King. She was fired from Burger King because she was rude with customers, didn't do what was required of her, and showed little interest in her work. She adapted this behavior because the manager was rude, belittled her efforts, and assumed she should know how to do things that she didn't know how to do. When she started at McDonald's, she worked the same way she did at Burger King because she assumed all fast food managers are the same. The McDonald's manager soon became frustrated with her lack of work ethic, and was very rude to her. She soon quit and vowed never to work at another fast food restaurant because "all the managers are the same".

If you are thinking self-fulfilling prophecy right now, you have grasped a key point in my semi-lecture. Assumption is vital for defense mechanisms, but unnecessary when learning about someone. If you are starting a new friendship, or a new relationship, assuming that because they do similar mannerisms in comparison to someone else is unfair to your new relationship. You've set expectations, most likely, without the intent of allowing them to move. And yet as humans, we are constantly moving and growing.

In terms of math, x+y=z. But x+w doesn't equal z. "w" and "y" are different. They may have certain similarities. They may both represent a prime number, or they both represent an even 4 digit number, but they cannot be equal because they are not the same. Assuming "w" and "y" are the same, would therefore make no sense and be ignorant of the idea that x+w=q. (And what if q cures cancer...think about it.)

Let's recap shall we? Comparing people with no room for change is setting yourself up for disappointment. Assumptions are ignorant of new discoveries. You will never learn, if you don't take a chance.