to remember.

Today is a day of remembrance for me, and I wanted to (re) share some of the most important words I've ever written.... and also a BIG reason why I do what I do. The blog post below was written 2 years ago, but too important not to share again:

That’s ME in the middle of the picture below. The one with bright maroon haircut in the shape of a bowl.  The one who hadn’t yet discovered the art of eyebrow waxing. The one who still suffered heavily from acne. I cringe when I look at myself in this image. But I wanted to share it, along with a few others, for a very important reason. Please read on…

These images were taken in March of 1999, during my trip with the Fullerton College Choir to China. It was a very interesting trip, complicated by the fact that I had gotten sick with bronchitis on the plane trip over there. And for 10 days, I lived off of NyQuil and DayQuil. But I DID it. I visited places I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I got a chance to perform a song, sung in a Chinese language (Mandarin), to actual Chinese people (no pressure there...). I even climbed the Great Wall of China, bronchitis and all. Because I could either embrace this opportunity for all it was worth, or give in, give up, and go back home. So I stayed, and gave it all I got.

And so, I have an album filled with grainy images from my trip to China. Bad haircut, bad skin and all. But these images are even more precious to me than you might think…

Please take just a second to notice the other person featured in all of these pictures I have posted here. This was my good friend, David Lam. Unfortunately, I have to say “was,” because about one month after returning back home from our trip, David was killed in a car accident. This happened 12 years ago, today… April 26, 1999. And as I get older, and my memories fade with each passing year, I look to these photos to help me remember him. Seeing these images triggers my memory to dig a little deeper, to draw to the surface what might have otherwise been lost. And suddenly I can see us both in the moments when the photos were actually taken… I can hear the sound of his voice, see the way he moved and facial expressions he wore… things that made up who he was. And I can remember.

My bad haircut is forgotten. It’s not important here; I don’t even notice it anymore. Instead, I will forever be grateful that I stopped for just one moment to have these photos taken. So, the next time you find yourself thinking, “I don’t want to have my picture taken because I don’t look good today,” or “I want to lose 10 pounds first,” or “I simply HATE having my picture taken,” please stop and think of this. It doesn’t matter if you don’t look perfect. This is your life, and you, or somebody you love, might want to look back on this very moment and remember it.

So, whether you get professional pictures taken by me, or you simply pick up your point-and-shoot or even your iPhone to capture your days, please do it. I can promise you that your bad hair day won’t even be an issue.

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One last thing to show you just how much pictures really matter… here is an image of Dave while we were in China. He had actually brought a framed picture of Catherine Zeta-Jones along with him so he would have something pretty to look at. I’m totally serious.  : )  And it still makes me smile.