27 September 2010


When you look convicted up in a dictionary you get a couple of options.

The dictionary defines convict as a verb:
1. to prove or declare guilty of an offense, esp. after a legal trial: to convict a prisoner of a felony.
2. to impress with a sense of guilt.
Or a noun:
3. a person proved or declared guilty of an offense.
4. a person serving a prison sentence.
Or adjective:
5. Archaic . convicted.

While conviction is defined only as a noun:

1. a fixed or firm belief.
2. the act of convicting.
3. the state of being convicted.
4. the act of convincing.
5. the state of being convinced.

The word conviction comes from the 1400's, literally translating as "proof" but implying proof of guilt. While convict is a slightly older word evolved from Latin translating as "conquer" and "prove" but also implying guilt.

Interestingly enough, not once does any dictionary attempt to define what convicted actually means. What does it mean to be convicted: To have conviction? To be a convict? One of the rules you learn in school is not to use the word you are defining in your definition. So, FAIL, dictionaries of the English language. You meant well, I'm sure. But you have not helped me define this word that is weighing on my heart.

So I guess that leaves it up to me.


I wrote a blog awhile back called Genesis. I had just watched the film The Book of Eli ((great flick, I highly reccomend it)), and it got to me. The movie is based in a postapocalypic world in which essentials ((food, water, bullets, clothing, etc)) are scarce and people have resorted to all sorts of demoralized methods to stay alive. Due to the deterioraring state of society simple pleasures no longer exist, specifically books. It follows a man named Eli who is travelling West with a book, the reason and why unknown. Now, I won't spoil the rest of the film for you, but the things he faces in order to preserve the safety of this book are fairly phenomenal. It made me feel like an absolute brat for living in the world I live in. For taking the world I live in for granted. All my little luxuries. Are you convicted yet, Malia?

Fast forward.

My father has been reading a book, it's call The Hole In Our Gospel. It's written by the President of World Vision, Richard Stearns, about what we're not doing in the world. It's directed at Christians, but I think it's an important message for all people. Along with the book came a Six Week Quest "To Make Poverty Personal" says the tagline. Click the link. As I said, it's directed at Christians, but you don't have to be a Christian to take this to heart.
Food For Thought:
A child dies every 21 seconds from a water-related disease. This amounts to nearly 6000 deaths or the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing everyday.
Nearly 3 billion people ((half the world's population)) live on less than $2 a day.
American's spend an estimated $20 billion annually on ice cream, an amount that could feed 83 million hungry children for an entire year.
Every 3 seconds a child dies because he or she is hungry.
The amount you spend eating out, $13, can buy a chicken for a family to provide fresh eggs everyday plus extra eggs to sell.
It is common for a family member to walk a mile or more to fetch a single bucket of water while the average American uses 170 gallons of water everyday.
Americans generate about 4.5 pounds of garbage per person everyday, which amounts to more than 220 million tons per year. Although Americans represent roughly 5% of the world's population, it is estimated we generate 40% of it's waste.
Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of $12 billion a year for those who, but force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. More than 2 million children are trapped in forced prostitution.
Women own less than 1% of the world's property, but work 2/3's of the world's labor hours and earn just 10% of the world's labor wage.
Today there are 9.9 million refugees and 23.7 million internally displaced people as a result of wars and conflicts.
There are 138 million orphans in the world. 15 million of those were left parentless by AIDS.
Approximately 2/3 of the world's slaves are in South Asia. It is estimated that in India alone there are as many as 15 million children bonded into slavery.
About 854 million people do not have enough food to sustain them.
Clean water is not available for over 1 billion people.

Are you convicted yet?

The Six Week Quest asks its participants "to make poverty personal" by doing some of the following:
Try spending an entire day barefoot.
Wear the same clothes two days in a row - what about a whole week?
Carry around an empty water bottle.
Do a 30 hour famine.
Fill a single bucket with water and use only that for a day.
Skip eating out and buy a family a chicken.

Are you convicted yet?

I'm taking a class at Green River Community College, of which I do not know the name. I am only taking it because it was one of the maybe 10 classes that were left with spots available when I registered. It's listed as AMES 150 which is something like American Ethnical Studies. My professor is an angry//passionate guy, I have difficulties deciding which. The class is a good class, thought provoking and belief challenging. For the first time in my entire life, I realized my parents are a bi-racial couple. I mean, I always knew my dad is Hawaiian Chinese and my mum is as Caucasian as it gets - but I never thought of them as a bi-racial couple. My professor is constantly pressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. He condemns the system and how it works and how people allow it to work. He reveals the problems of society, cultural hegemony, government, meritocracy, heirarchy, etc. with zealous fervor! And while what he says frustrates me from time to time, there is no denying his view points have validity. There is something wrong. In fact, there are many things wrong within this world. The reason I find my professor infuriating is not that he angrily points out flaws, but that he fails to address the questions revealing these flaws should generate: How do we create real change, good change?

Are you convicted yet?

Conviction: Proof implying guilt. I am guilty. Guilty of taking my life for granted. Guilty of complaining when I have more than I could ever need. Guilty of wasting water, resources, time. The proof is my attitude. The proof is my closet, my home, my cellphone, my comsumption, my education, this blog. I am guilty.

Convict: Conquering guilt. I think more than proving guilt or "conquering" it by means of say incarceration, we should simply conquer it. Another etymology offered the word "overcome." Overcome guilt. By means of self, not judgement. Overcoming guilt through action, through being convicted.

Convicted: Being found guilty by your ethics or morals. Conquering, overcoming that guilt. And being moved to action by what you believe.

That is the key; the action. When you are convicted you are moved to action. Called to action by your beliefs. Whatever your beliefs may be, whether religious, ethical, moral - they move you to action. They make you convicted.

Are you convicted yet?

I'm struggling. Because I feel like there is no action in my life. I am falling prey to the simplicity of living in this Westernized society where advertisments inundate, money talks, trust is nonexistent, and social heirarchy reigns. My heart aches to be a part of something more. I am tired, no, exhausted by who I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to want. I am exhausted by my convictions. Being convicted without an outlet is driving me insane. And I am frustrated, angry with God because He has put all these things on me without giving me a place to put them.
"You can change the world, you know?"
"Okay, but how?"
"Meh, figure it out."
I do believe this is the moment for a "WTF MATE?!" I want to change the world, I want to be a part of something, I want to be convicted and let my life and actions show that. But how? What am I supposed to be doing? What is it?

Are you, convicted yet?

20 September 2010


"You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing."

I am in the Waiting Place. And I'm not sure when I will escape to bright places where Boom Bands are playing, but I do know that I am happy. I like the green, I like the rain, I like that I am sunburnt even though it is overcast. I do not necessarily like the Waiting Place, but I am finding distractions. Be it referee-ing futbol matches or attending church in a bar, having pity movie dates or taking online classes? I am finding distractions, I am finding escape holes from the Waiting Place.

16 September 2010


I've spent the last several days on the computer. Looking for jobs, internships, filling out applications, and shipping off resumes. Should have thought twice before coming back to the US during a recession, Malia. I was so sure, confident I would have something by the time I settled into my old room. Well, I'm settled - so, uhm, where is the something? Ah yes... nowhere to be found.

You know those people who don't really have options? Life is shut off from them? They just can't seem to make things happen for themselves? That is not me. I am the opposite of that person. There are so many options in my life it makes me ill. I can literally do anything I put my mind to and it is nauseating. You know those people who have their whole life figured out by age 10? The whole 80 year plan or whatever? That is not me. I have no plan, I have never had a plan, I take "winging it" to a whole new frightening level. And you know those people who are really gifted at something? Who don't speak to crowds well but can create a lightning storm in a fishtank? Or who can't do multiplication for hard cash but can play their sport better than Hall of Famers? Who couldn't tell you who Monet was but can build you a computer out of scrap metal? That is definitely not me. I'm well rounded, a true daVinci girl. There is no one thing I excell at, but I'm pretty good at just about everything I touch.

In High School we took those aptitude tests, you know, the ones that tell you what field you would be best suited to go into? There were probably 8 different categories and the assignment was to take your top 3 and pick your ideal jobs from each or something... The assignment had to be rewritten for me. Because I was even across the board. As in, perfectly even. There was no category that stood out, nothing I excelled at, no extraordinary gifts - There weren't even 3 that tied or even 4 or 5. All 8, even across the board.

I like math, that there is a problem and an answer. I love science, the magic of how life works and operates. I have a knack for languages, there are rules but they can always be broken when you know them well enough. I obviously enjoy writing and I've been told I have "good voice." I'm street smart. I read people well and I respond to them accordingly, I've traveled the world alone as a female and never had problems with locals. I love art, making it and admiring it. I have good leadership skills, but I have no problem letting someone else take the spotlight. I'm loyal and devoted. I like to play and to work, each with its' own set of ethics. I'm culturally diverse, I'm open minded, I like both chocolate and vanilla. I've overcome adversity and am better for it.

Now, what is the problem with all this? What exactly is my issue? If you're looking at the grand scheme of things - nothing. I have no problems. I am a pretty butterfly with endless possibilities and flowers blooming in my midst! But endless possibilities lead to a spinning compass. I have no direction. And every time I give myself a direction I end up distracted by another. My compass is spinning and I have no direction. Which was alright, but I'm ready for direction. I don't want endless possibilities. I want God to say "Malia, go do this." And I want to say "But Goddd..." And Him to reply "Just do it! And I see that eyerolling!" I am tired of this spinning compass deal.

I would rather fast in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights being tempted by the Devil than decide what to do with my life. I want to be pushed kicking and screaming in one direction until I pause briefly to realize it's exactly what I always wanted. Or to have some ridiculous goal that I challenge authority over and fight with all I am to reach and then have some Sundance kid ask to make a film about my journey. To have to chose a door then have it shut in my face only to choose another door to have slammed on my fingers only to choose another door to have it shatter my little happygolucky heart - is not my idea of a life I want.

My father thinks that this is my equivalent of 40 days and nights, because it is more difficult for me to do than giving up everything would be. What I really want to do is to purchase a one way ticket to Morocco and lose myself in the Sahara- so much easier. Deep breath. This is me not running. This is me staying. This is me going 40 days and 40 nights being tempted by Satan in the closest thing to Hell I've ever known - Stagnant Suburbia.

I don't know what I'm doing, but I hope it's the right thing. And that my compass stops spinning. And that doors stop slamming on me because my whole body hurts from that nonsense. I want direction. I want my compass back. I want an open door that stays open. And I'm going to fight for it, even if I don't get an Oscar winning movie made. True. Story.

14 September 2010


"Cause all religion ever made of me was a sinner with a stone tied to my feet. It never set me free, it's gotta be - more like falling in love."

One Two Three Eight Four Two Six Nine Twelve One One One One.
Find the pattern, Malia.
This is your heart beat with only one variable.
So, what is it?

I woke up this morning to the sound of music floating under my youngest brothers door, which isn't unusual. He often falls asleep with music on and he listens to music incessently, but I recognized it immediately. And that was unusual. I almost cried when I heard it, The Book of Eli. Never before in my life have I been so full for a soundtrack. I gave him the movie yesterday, told him I thought he'd like it. I can only hope it means something. My brothers mean the world to me, they save me time and time again without even knowing it. If I can give them even half of what they've given me, I will be blessed. Blessed.

Being back is hard, but not at all in the way I thought. I thought I would be fighting darkness, dealing with the gray overhang and battling who I used to be. Wrong. I have no fear of the darkness now, the gray overhang makes me laugh because it gives me the lush green below, and who I used to be has long since turned to dust only occasionally bothering the eyes. My issue now is mainly that I lost my right to be here. This place is beautiful and I love the people in it, but I am finding it is no longer a place I belong. I used to collapse back to Maple Valley, exhausted from the rest of my life, and take comfort in this place. But I don't anymore. I appreciate it for what it has given me, but I don't belong here anymore. I find it easier to have two hour conversations with strangers on modes of transportation than with these people I grew up with. I find I am very often angry at the "sense of humor" people have and I am frustrated constantly. I want people to be better, I want to be better and this environment makes it impossible. I'm tired of games and cynicism. I'm tired of derrogatory sarcasm. Being back is exhausting.

"Oh your love is a symphony. All around me, let it fill me. Oh your love is a melody." I close my eyes and I'm back there. I'm in Glacier National Park. Downtown Chicago. Niagra Falls. Upstate New York. Vermont. Montreal. Firenze. Tirrenia. Barcelona. San Miniato. Barcelona. Tunisia. Roma. Rhode Island. Boston. New York City. DC. Cusco. Arequipa. Lake Titicaca. Mancora. Lima. Ecuador. Riverside. Santa Monica. Hollywood. Hwy 101. San Francisco. Hayworth. San Jose. Redwood National Forest. Ashland. I close my eyes and I am standing under waterfalls, hiking mountains, drinking matte, salsa dancing, puddle jumping, riding motorcycles. I close my eyes and I am at peace where I belong. I can't pin it on a map of the world, but I can pin it on a map of the heart.

I jumped on my bed this morning. Just to do it. I read my Bible. Because I'm lucky enough to be able to read it. I listened to klove. To hear my heart in melody. Conviction is a hard thing. We understand what is right and what is wrong, sometimes I wish we didn't. We could just go waltzing around naked and unknowing. Picking fruit from lucious trees and walking on a carpet of green. I live there in Eden in my mind, but living only in your mind is a dangerous thing. You can lose sight of your conviction which is even more dangerous. Without conviction, the knowledge between good and evil is worthless. You have to be convicted to fight for a side. Whether that is by giving the homeless guy on the corner a sandwich or going to live in subsahara Africa to teach people how to dig wells, is really a personal matter. But you need that conviction, because you need a side. To be in a "grey area" is to just never have conviction, it is to never decide what is right. You have to decide.

One Two Three Eight Four Two Six Nine Twelve One One One One.
Have you found the pattern?
This is my heartbeat with only one variable.
What is it?

11 September 2010


I read once that we are lucky to not live in crisis constantly. That we are lucky to live in a world of privledge. How lucky we are to not be torn apart by war and dissention. That it is lucky we live in a world that adapts to us rather than needing to adapt to it. We are lucky.

I disagree.

I understand how you might think it is better - it is certainly easier, but those aren't the same thing, are they? I think learning to adapt is a crucial piece of exisiting. I believe that when we live in crisis you see who people really are. We appreciate more when we are in crisis. Life becomes precious and there is nothing wasted. When we live in crisis, we are better people or we are worse people but there is no question about who is what.

We are not lucky but spoilt. I include myself in that category. We appreciate so little of what is actually important and throw value onto things that make no difference. There is no luck in living like this. Or perhaps that is all it is. And there is no integrity nor dignity in living like this.

I'm frustrated and therefore my thoughts are out of order. Dear God? Conviction sucks.

10 September 2010

Little House

Love doesn't always exist the way we want it to.

There isn't always someone to sweep us off our feet. Someone to whisper sweet nothings in our ears and play with our hair. Sometimes, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. And we can argue all we want that someday someone will come along, but maybe sometimes we need to just accept that we're without that person. That other half, soulmate, enamorado, fiansato. Sometimes we don't fall in love, other times we fall in love alone, we fall in love too fast or too late, or perhaps we allow the little things to come between that love we fall into.

It's raining here in Western Washington. I'm a paperweight. I close my eyes and I find peace and joy and goodness. I find love - it just isn't the love I thought it would be. I've been single for a long time in the datingspan of a Malia. And I'm finally starting to adjust. When you fill the fairytale-love hole in your heart with something more sustainable? It feels good. Whole. Though, part of me feels like I've lost something, some childlike part of me. So I won't banish the idea of Happily Ever After from my mind, but I'm letting go of the romantic whirlwind I thought it would be.

In my family love has not been measured by romantic moments or a spellbinding love. There was no one swept off their feet or courted in any sense. It has been measured by overcoming obstacles, big gestures when things were bad, and unconditional appeal. Love has meant falling in love everyday, and somedays it is easier than others.

I wonder if we fall in love alone on purpose sometimes. You know, to feel something. I don't think we realize it is purposeful. We just want so badly to feel that rush that we push ourselves into love, despite the consequences. And I know for a fact the less you fall in love, the more you lose. The more you shut yourself off from that wonder, the more you will suffer. A broken heart is exponentially better than a hardened one. Letting things come between love is foolish, there is nothing as great as love and therefore there should be nothing to break that bond. And yet we allow it to happen all the time. As for falling in love too fast or too late, I think that might be the worst of all. There is no cure except patience on both sides and sometimes that patience can be excruciating. I can only pray that you will all understand and wait for the other. It is so beautiful to see you all fall in love. To see you all full of that wonder. I am blessed to witness it all.

It is difficult to say where I am. I could pin it on a map of the world. But on a map of the heart, I feel my compass spinning. I know what I want, but I am struggling with what direction it might lie in. The heart is harder to map than this Universe.

08 September 2010

Just Say Yes


He asked his students four questions. I wasn't his student, but I answered them regardless. What's your name? Where do you call home? What is your Church? And what is the most important thing in Youth Ministry?

Malialani. Heavenly calm, or heavenly clam if you know my uncle. It was once a family joke, as I tend to be rather - lively? But I have since recognized it's purpose with as much grace as I have. I'm not easily distressed or preoccupied and the more anxious others get, the more pulled together I become. I doubt I will ever attain heavenly, but I think I may have been blessed with the calm of my name.

Home is where I am. It is where I am safe. In the arms of a friend, in a warm bed, or beneath the stars. I find home wherever I lay my head. I am comfortable in all places and all circumstances. Home is where I find Love. Where I give Love. Home is wherever I make it.

Church is people. I have had few constants in my life and so my community has become my Church, rather than the other way around. It is made of the people I meet on trains and planes. The people I find in bars or parks. The people I share myself with and they share themselves with me. We are a church of humanity. Perhaps believing or worshiping differently, but a Church nonetheless.

The most important thing in Youth Ministry is reaching kids where they're at. But not just kids, adults as well. We are all in a different place with our faith and our lives. To group everyone together in the way that you reach out to them is ineffective and a mistake. It's not bad to talk to people all on the same level, but you should reach out to them on an individual basis as well. Do more.

I'm unsure. I have no plans or security set up to protect me. I'm in the middle of a field in a lightning storm and I am unsure. I don't know what is next. I have options, but options are not the same as having plans. And in a world where everything is about your plans, be it one or five or ten years into the future, I feel unsure. I trust God to make my plans for me and to show me them when he is ready. Until then, I don't know where I am going or what I am doing. But I have to believe it is something worthwhile.

07 September 2010

Train Travel

I took a train all the way across the United States. Stopping along the way, giving myself the opportunity to meet new people, do new things. I fasted and didn't sleep well. It was uncomfortable and long. Exhausting and awkward. And most importantly? It was magnificently beautiful. Upstate New York to Chicago to Montana and back to my Pacific North West. My heart cried out at the sheer loveliness of it all. Joy welled up in even the deepest parts of me at the sights I saw. Glacier Park Montana especially tugged at my heart strings. That is where my Pacific North West truly starts. Tears hit my cheeks as I felt myself coming home for the first time in a long time. Pine trees growing up alongside the train, greeting me like old friends. "Welcome back!" They cried out as we passed sharp mountains and blue rivers. I can claim Hawaiian heritage as much as I like, I can love the ocean and the sunshine, I can live for beaches and palm trees - but my heart is tucked away under volcanic rock and river beds. It lies there beneath pine needles and forests that seemingly never end as they conquer mountain after mountain. And it's not in Seattle that it strikes me, but here in Eastern Washington. Endless fields of wheat, apple trees, chunks of land bigger than city blocks, mountains, streams, and pine trees. Evergreen. My heart sings this song.

((Quick break to literally spin in circles in my Godparents living room))

But even better than the sights across America, were the ones getting off the trains. Embracing my barefoot brother outside the L station, Nik in front of the Spokane station, and my dear Godfather at the Ephrata station. I am the most blessed girl in the entire world. You would be hard pressed to find more wonderful and honourable men - I know I can only think of a handful that are even comparable ((my father and Alika being two)), but I wouldn't trade the three I got for anything. And that got me to thinking, what makes these three so amazing anyhow? I'll tell you.

Firstly, they are honourable men. Noble, chivalrous, "sweet" - take your pick of words but the meaning is the same. They don't think of women, or any person for the matter, as objects. We're not something to chase or to win, we're people to be respected and cherished ((so ladies, don't play games or make men chase you because that's how you end up with losers - true story)). They don't believe in taking advantage of anything or anyone and try their best to live by that standard. They do the right thing instead of the easy thing, even when they don't realize it. Honourable.

Next up? And this has to be a two for one deal, they are flexible and obedient. If you get a guy who is just flexible it typically ends up meaning he's just reckless. And if you get a guy who is only obedient he follows you around like a puppy. Both of those things can separately be alright for about 10 minutes, but the three men I'm talking about are both flexible and obedient. What I mean is they can accept change, even when they don't like it. And they can also accept that they are not always in charge with grace. Flexible and obedient.

And most importantly, tying these three things together, God. They love God first and love other people through that love. They are honourable because they know He who is the most honourable. They are flexible as God plan clashes with their plans and the are obedient in following His word instead of doing what they wanted to do. Because of these things? They are amazing men.

I tell you these things for a couple reasons. Firstly because these three men deserve recognition for being who they are despite so much this world has thrown at them and because they are phenomenal human beings. Secondly, because so many girls get lost in what they think they want in a guy rather than looking at what actually make a good guy. And thirdly because I like to brag about how blessed I am to have these three in my life as friends and family. :]

To Zach, my beautiful brother who loves unconditionally and fights the cliches of "being a man" with all he is. You are made of stars! mio fratello caro, and I am forever grateful for your presence in my life.
To Nik, dear friend and wonderful man. I know God has the most amazing plans for you, never doubt your gifts for you are a most delightful child of God who blesses me with your friendship.
To Brian, Godfather, hero mine, angel of my life, and hope I cling to. I am so blessed and proud to be called yours, you have always been my safety and comfort. I cherish you with all that I am, with all that I am.

He has give it to you
And to you this world belongs.
Take it,
There is Love
Like you've never known.
It waits for you.
Unrequited and Unconditional.
Love that can consume you
There need be nothing left.
Heart filled.
I am nothing
But He who is in me.
I can do nothing
But by Him who does it for me.
This life is not my responsibility.
It is my right.
My gift.
To not care unconditionally
Would be tragedy
Of the greatest proportion.
I wait,
At times unpatiently,
For He who defines me
For all He has promised me.
Marriage, children, love, light.
My knees fail me
And I am prostrated on this floor.
And I don't need to be.
This is what Love looks like.