Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love this article from CNN

I've heard thousands of sermons over the years, and a ton of them were about sex and money (or substitute: lust and greed). It's as if the two issues are synonymous, and in a way, they are.

Find peace with what you have, advises Roland S. Martin.

I can't think of any two other topics that dominate the focus of the three major religions -- Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
It seems that human beings are in a constant battle with the flesh -- money and lust -- as opposed to their spiritual desires.
Now let me be clear: I like money and sex. No, I LOVE money and sex! But what happened to the notion of restraint or doing things within boundaries?
For instance, it's never been my desire to have all of the latest clothes, gadgets and cars. The key is being content with what you have.
I find it mind-boggling that some people will work themselves to death in order to buy a $700 pair of shoes or a leather jacket. A few years ago the New York Times had a story about low-paid assistants starving themselves to buy the "in" handbag. That's dumb.
When I turned 14, my parents bought me and my brother a pair of Jordache jeans and a Polo shirt. Now at the time, Jordache was all the rage in America. It was one of the hippest designer jeans. But I politely asked my parents to return the items and buy me a few pairs of Levis. It made no sense to me to have one pair of jeans when I could buy three for the same price!
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Call me "old school," but I also don't understand why you would spend $200 for a pair of Nikes. Now, if you have the means -- meaning your house note, car, life insurance and light bills have been paid -- then go right ahead. But, really, what's the difference between a $200 and $50 pair of sneakers? The box?
We all want to make enough money so we don't have to pinch pennies. But when we cross the line into greed, when no amount of money is enough, when we keep pushing and pushing till we're willing to sacrifice our integrity for a buck, then we all have a big problem.
And that's also what people of faith preach about sex.
There's an "inner voice" in most of us that says sleeping with multiple partners isn't healthy. (But are you listening?) It may make you feel good physically. But there's an underlying problem with that kind of behavior, and that's what you really want to address.
Last year, my ordained minister wife and I held a workshop at a marriage conference. I made the point to the few men in the room (that's another story!) that I don't want to work all day and then dream about bedding Halle Berry, Salma Hayek or some other starlet. God has blessed me with a gorgeous wife, and she should be the one that I desire.
That requires both of us to see each other as sexually appealing, and not just say, "Oh, well, that's my wife or husband." Dismissing your partner is never a good thing.
But people of faith are also going to have to stop being so rigid when it comes to sex and money. Don't label me "greedy" because I make a good living. If I earn $1 million a year, and I tithe 10 percent (or $100,000), what is the problem? If someone's heart is in the right place, making them feel bad about getting paid and living well is counterproductive.
We should also stop this nonsense about admonishing open discussion of sex. If your religious convictions tell you that sex is off limits before marriage, that's fine and good. But that doesn't mean you can't talk about this wonderful creation of God, Allah, Yahweh. So many people are confused when it comes to sex because we don't want to discuss it.
When churches, mosques and synagogues engage in healthy dialogue about sex and money, we are all better off for it. But when they force the issue underground, it allows non-spiritual forces to gain a foothold. That's why we have a culture that promotes promiscuity and materialism.

Monday, August 20, 2007

One Too Many Mornings....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My city.. My astoria

I can say that I'm a true Astorian, a true New Yorker. I've witnessed the tough times of the 80s,the rebirth of the city of the 90s.I remember a time when it was wasn't safe anywhere. NYC is one of those places where you either love it or hate it. But what you have to love about this place is that though it may be a grimy, hectic , and overwhelming city, you will always find some people with a lot of heart and a whole lot of soul. These the are true new yorkers.. The ones that knows, understands and experiences the true struggles of this city. These are The working class, the immigrants, the lifelong new yorkers.These are true new yorkers that are now being kicked out of their own neighborhoods because of the whole "gentrification movement". Affordable neighborhoods are now being turned into condo-lands. Astoria is one place where on every block new condos are going up a weekly basis. I remember a time when I used to tell people where I lived. They would give me a dumbfounded look like.."where?".. Nowadays, you say you live in astoria , your cool factor goes up and young people are now flocking to astoria in mass numbers.I went with my friends last week apartment hunting. On every block, I would see some young "yuppies" or hipster wannabees moving in. The apartments we saw were undeniably not worth 1400 a month. But these are the kind of ubsurd prices astoria is going for these days. I remember the days where you can get a decent 2 bedroom for just 800 or 900 bucks! While I welcome the change that is happening in this area with the influx of new "migrants" to astoria.I am also worried that the identity of astoria or any other neighborhood in other boroughs will be lost. The mom and pops shops will give way to cool trendy lounges or restaurants to cater to the younger people. Where every block and every neighborhood will become a generic carbon copy of each other littered with un-inspired luxury condo buildings. Generations of families who built the identity of a neighborhood will be lost to young people -the transients who most likely will only stay in the neighborhood for 2 years or so and then leave for another cooler/hip area.

Where will families like me end up in this condo gentrified waste land? Where will the heart and soul of new york be pushed to?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Have you ever had moments..

where you wished it could last forever?

It has been an incredibly eventful summer.Probably one of the best summers I've had in awhile... Starting with my Euro trip in May. Hands down, THE best trip I've ever had.Good company, good people, and good food.
Weekends this summer have been one event after another. Sadly summer is winding down and so are the good times....

What stood out this summer the most were the relationships I've formed with people as well as getting reaquainted with my family, especially with my cousins.
Growing up I was somewhat isolated from most of my cousins because of our age gap. But now that i'm OFFICIALLY old.. I feel that we're sort of on the same level mentally where we can actually engage in "adult" conversations. Whether it be about school, job, family or just life in general. To my cousins, I'm no longer that bratty little kid anymore..;) I'm actually an adult as scary as that may be.
Its kinda sad that we don't all get together often. It seems like the only occasions we ever see each other at are either at weddings or funerals. Friday, we all attended our aunt's funeral.
She had a stroke a year and a half ago and has been in a vegetative state since then. She was very young, only 58. Its quite sad because she didn't have to suffer like that. If only she had taken care of herself she would still be alive. But shes in a better place now and shes at peace. Her kids and husband are definitely at peace. For the first time I've seen them much more relaxed and peaceful in awhile. I guess her passing was a blessing in the sense that, shes in a much better place now and everyone can now move on with their lives.
After leaving the wake and cemetery everyone got together for a lunch in flushing. I was talking to my cousin and she really seemed to be in a better place now even though her mom has now passed. She was talking about god and about being spiritual in the last 2 years. It was kind of surprising because I had no idea she even had a spiritual side. But i guess in tough times, people do look to god for guidance. She said that she knows that from this point on, her life will get better. Honestly, I can't believe how incredibly strong she has been. I don't know how she has managed to remain hopeful and optimistic. The last 5 yrs especially has been somewhat of a whirlwind. First going through a divorce and now losing her mom. I guess it is true what they say...whatever bad cards life deals to you, it only makes you stronger.

Next thursday will be my 28th birthday. I can't believe it, it feels like only yesterday i was turning 21. OH how I wish I can turn back time. There are just so many things I would have done differently. C'est La vie!

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Monday, August 06, 2007

Circle of Life

My aunt passed away yesterday. I feel bad for not feeling more sad but I guess I already knew that her passing away was inevitable. Shes been in a vegetative state for the last year and a half. I can't believe how fast time flies. It feels just like yesterday I saw her at her house and she'd give me red envelopes for chinese new years. She was the nicest and sweetest person ever. Never complained about anything and worked hard and tiredlessly all through her last days.. if only i had that discipline and work ethic.It's just sad how young she was and how she suffered that massive stroke. I called my cousins yesterday to offer my condolences but I'm just so incredibly bad with words that I didn't know what to say. I think she's a in better place now, no more suffering, no more pain... I just wished she could have enjoyed life a little bit more towards the end of her life or maybe live to see her grandchildren being born.
Its a little surreal..just one month ago, all my cousin's and I who I haven't really seen awhile were all together celebrating Hai getting married...One month later we'll be seeing each other again, but on a sad occasion. Funny how life isn't it? I think I've been to too many funerals in my lifetime already.

To a wonderful and beautiful soul..may you rest in peace, you'll always be forever in my heart.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hope keeps me going, but you keep me alive

I've awoken today to realize that god has blessed me with truly amazing people.
You guys are my rock..more then just that but my life... without you I wouldn't have made it through the tough times. Though I wasn't blessed with siblings.... I'm truly blessed with you in my life... you are my family....

To Tina- My beautiful sister who's got more soul and integrity then any other person.
You are such a beautiful inspiration to me and your words today helped me more then you know.

To Brinda- I don't know anyone else that has endured so much in a life time.. but your composure and amazing spirit is truly inspirational.. i don't know of any other person who could possibly possess the same kind of strength and character as you despite all your difficulties in life.. You never use them as an excuse for anything and I admire you. I only wish I possessed half the strength as you.I pray for you and your family. But I'm glad life turned out great for you. Leaving nYC was definitely a blessing.

To Theo and Helen- I can't possibly understand why god keeps testing you. I've never met anyone else with such strong convictions as both of you. both of you are truly amazing women and there's always a reason why things happen. Your spirit and integrity amazes me and I know Helen, you will make it through these darks days. I think of you everday and I only pray and hope that you'll get the happiness you deserve.. stay strong through all this. You'll get through this.

To D-Paul- Despite our differences, I can't imagine not having you guys in my life. Danny, your voicemail last week truly made my day. I always love your spirit and zest for life. I've never met anyone with a bigger heart than you. You are a rarity.... Paula- you're email today only lifted up my spirits more... I couldn't be more thankful and grateful to the both of you.

To Rob- Thanks for the tough love man. You always know how to put me back in my place. I truly appreciate your harsh words but I know its only out of love. You definitely are a rarity and I'm grateful you are always there to lend an ear. I hope you will make it through the tough days as well.. I pray for you and N that you guys will make it through...

To Bogs/Rene&Cris-Thanks for being there. I know I can always count on you guys for moral and emotional support. Not to mention some good company when I need it most.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

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