30 December 2005
To the PG&E crew in the cherry picker (that's what they're called, right?) working on power lines. Thank You. May God bless you and protect you.
To the hundreds of other cars that drove with me or passed me going the opposite direction. I wish you safe travels. And please don't let the rain make you stupid. I've seen it happen before, I'm sure it will happen again.
To the guy who makes the rain (AKA God). Thank you for providing water to nourish the fields and the animals and us. Please be merciful in this outpouring. Protect the people in the flood plains. Protect all the drivers out there and all the workers required to work in this storm. And as we enter this holiday weekend, PLEASE keep people safe and help us all to make intelligent decisions as we celebrate and travel. Thanks.
the girl in the car with the peeling paint.
28 December 2005
It was in this group, that I found a post about a classmate of ours that died serving in Iraq. I was shocked. This happened in October. He had been living in Santa Rosa and left behind a wife and a new baby. Josh Kynoch (“Kynoch” as he was referred to in school) had been a member of the wrestling team. And I was the stat-girl (scorekeeper). We weren’t close, but I spent almost all my time every wrestling season with the team—wrestling meets, weekend tournaments, even practices. I was pretty devoted to it and deeply loved the sport and all my “brothers” in the dysfunctional family that was the Casa Grande Wrestling Team. Although I had my fair share of crushes on some of the guys, I’m pretty confident that they simply saw me as “Liz, the stat-girl.” Some of the guys could be mean to me, but I enjoyed the competitive spirit and “took it like a man.” There were some who were truly and genuinely nice to me--Josh was one of them (although I don’t think I ever appreciated him enough at the time). He had a bit of a rough time trying to make it as a wrestler. The first few years were quite grueling, but he was persistent. He never gave up. I can imagine that made him a great soldier. There were many guys who joined the wrestling team (nobody was cut except for grades or behavior), got discouraged and quit. I know Josh had some discouraging times but he never ever quit. He kept trying to be a better wrestler and that was what happened. He learned new skills, he got stronger. In February of 2000 (our senior year), he earned the right to wrestle at the North Coast Section wrestling tournament in Antioch (I’ve been told that our section tournament is more intense and challenging than many state’s tournaments). I am sure he brought the same intensity, drive and passion to serving our country in Iraq. In learning about his death, I felt deep sorrow for his family as well. I met his little sister when she was probably 11. She came and watched his meets and tournaments and eventually became a stat-girl at her high school. His mom watched and cheered for him tirelessly. I remember during one of the snow trips the team (and their families) made every year, she braided my hair on the steps outside the Truckee Veterans Hall. That team was such a blend of all the families involved. I don’t believe I have ever met his wife, Sarah. But I pray that God will grant her peace and comfort, and that she will be able to share with their daughter, Savannah, all of the reasons she loved her daddy. And that she will enjoy every moment of Savannah’s life and treasure each time she sees Josh in Savannah’s eyes or expression or however his legacy lives on. I don’t intend to make any political statement by posting this. I do, however, wish to express my gratitude to those who have put and are currently putting their lives on the line to keep freedom available to us and to bring freedom to people who never had it. Regardless of whether the war in Iraq was necessary or not, our friends, brothers, sisters, parents, children, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, co-workers, and more are risking their lives daily. And their lives are precious. God, Protect the military personnel (and civilian contractors) all over the world, who are risking their lives. I pray that you would show them beautiful things daily so they would not get overwhelmed by the violence that they see. I pray that YOU would be their guide and comfort. Remind them of all the people who love and support them. Lord, I specifically pray for the Kynoch Family. Grant them love, peace and happiness in this Holiday Season. May Josh’s memory always rest in their hearts, in their photographs and in their memories. Bring them people to be comforters and friends. Guide them down the path you have for them. Bless them immensely. Grant them “mercy, peace and love…in abundance” (Jude v.2). Amen.
27 December 2005
|You Belong in Rome|
Well, except the cappuccino part (I don't drink coffee), I couldn't agree more. I LOVE ROME. Some might even say I HEART ROMA.
25 December 2005
Watch Out, Crime…
Stepping over a Little Debbie Snack Cake wrapper and a discarded pack of Camels, I charge down the hall and stick the key into my mailbox. Peering out at me from the other side is something from Liz. I wind up the staircase, tearing into the envelope between my hands full of keys and cell phone and bus pass. I grin, then laugh out loud at the group of girls from Bible study posed on a fire engine.
Most of the mail that has come to my Turk Street mailbox has been from Liz. But then, I muse, that makes sense, seeing as how she is my best friend. Sending cards to people was typically Liz. Also typically Liz was the idea to make the cards in the first place. “It’s perfect!” she’d explained. We all looked fabulous and were all wearing red and green; a strange coincidence for a fall day.
As I unlocked the double bolt, to my apartment, my thoughts trailed back to that fun day. Liz had invited me weeks beforehand to join her church’s September
11th commemoration day, and I had looked forward to it since. Though she had been coming to my church for nearly a year now, I had not yet made the southern trek to Hillside.
I had joined her in the makeshift folding chair pews and we greeted one another warmly, as though it had been months since our last meeting. In fact, we
had just seen each other the night before at Hope Chapel. I was not disappointed in the service, and I couldn’t help but think how my friend’s heart must have come being soaked in this church surrounding. Later on in the day, we had sat down with our pot-luck laden plates beside Aimee’s mom. After a little small talk, she had asked, “How do you know Liz?”
I thought on that as I chewed my Veggieburger, and swallowed as I gave my reply. “We met at work.” Liz took over the explanation at that point, and I took another bite, smiling at our conspiracy to answer the phones, “Transworld Systems, what’s your favorite color?”
That, of course, was the least of the good times had by Liz and Jana, the most dynamic of all duos. It had all begun one day nearly a year beforehand, when my endless requests for “something to do” had gotten me sent to the department next door. Between un-stapling and re-stapling client contracts, I discussed my upcoming trip to France with the unfamiliar co-workers around me. Liz and I chatted happily as two who knew the magical experience that Europe can bring.
From then on, work became a pleasant an experience for me. I was always curious what fun accessories Liz might be wearing for the day, whether we’d be sharing lunch together in the breakroom, or who would be the first to e-mail the other. And whenever we both had a free evening there was always the chance to catch a movie or do some window-shopping together.
Of course, I didn’t explain all of this to Aimee’s mom. Not only was my mouth too full, but I didn’t think words could really sum up our friendship. Perhaps, I thought, it just shows.
That was a great day. A great idea, I repeat to myself as I tack the festive card onto my bulletin board. A great friend. God sure knew what we needed!
Yes, meeting at Transworld was just the beginning. Many wonderful memories would follow. Sleepovers and retreats. Movies and parties. Bibles studies and home groups. Tear gas and volcanoes. Mademoiselle Incroyable and Bomb Voyage. The dynamic duo.
16 December 2005
Kathryn lives just a few blocks away with her family, but all the rest of my family lives far away. Ben lives near Portland, Oregon, and Heidi lives in Alabama, across the border from Pensacola, Florida. But their next station (her husband is in the Coast Guard) is going to be Point Reyes, so they will live nearby again next spring or summer. It will be nice to have more nieces and nephews around. And I think they will all be excited to play together.
My brother and his family will be visiting this weekend. So we get to have Christmas early! Woohoo! My mom is flying to Pensacola right before New Year's to see her newest grandson and to help my sister out while James is at school.
Ok, well, I don't have any pictures of Elijah yet, but I'm trying to load a picture of Dylan from the day he was born (about 6 weeks ago). Isn't his aunt awesome?
14 December 2005
Casa Grande High School students lost four classmates in a car accident yesterday afternoon. I drove past the wreckage about half an hour to an hour after it happened. I instantly knew, as I was driving pas,t that it was a very serious accident. And I could just feel that young people were involved. By the time I was driving past, there were at least four fire trucks, a couple of ambulances, several CHP vehicles and two REACH helicopters were landing or just landed. They had removed the top of the car by that point. No names have been released, but they say the female driver and a male passenger in the backseat died upon or soon following impact and two others died while being treated at the hospitals. The other two passengers are still in critical conditon.
Please take time to pray for the two who are still fighting to survive, the families of all the victims and their friends and fellow classmates. When I was a freshman in high school, two accidents in one weekend took the lives of three young people I had known and although I wasn't close at the time with any of them, it was very traumatic.
Please also pray for the driver of the truck that hit the car. CHP says that he had no way to avoid the accident, but I know that such an experience cannot be easily brushed aside.
Click here to read the Press Democrat coverage of this story.
God, we don't know why these young people are taken away. But we do know that you have a perfect plan, always. Please guide, comfort, protect, strengthen, instruct, support and love the families, friends, teachers and classmates of all involved. They need you now more than I can imagine. I pray that all eyes, ears and hearts would be open to you, Jesus. Be the strong tower.
In Jesus' Name,
God bless you all!
13 November 2005
This is what I shared:
The first time I ever traveled outside of the country, I was 17, and I went with a group from my school to the Dominican Republic for 3 weeks. One afternoon, during this trip, several of us were sitting on an old woman’s porch, just relaxing and talking, when my teacher turned to us and asked, “Are you a willow or an oak?” Our initial reaction was “Huh?” Our teacher soon explained to us that although an oak tree appears strong and sturdy, the branches, in great winds, are easily snapped off, whereas a willow tree’s branches merely move with the direction of the wind. At the time, I said, “I am absolutely a willow. I’m flexible and I deal with change easily.”
I’ve found, in my travels since then, that the metaphor of the willow cannot be forgotten. Some people might call it “Rolling with the punches.” Paul says this: “I have learned to be content in every situation.”
Amazingly enough, at 24, I can look back and tell you about time I have spent in 12 different countries. In those times and in those places, I have learned what it means to be a willow. (Or at least how to try…)
Many of the countries I have visited are considered THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. To them, anyone who has money in a checking account is rich.----It is when I visit these countries, and spend time with the people, that I am brought to the realization that I have far more than I could ever need. And even when you have just enough to survive, there is always a way to share what you have with others. IN FACT, I think that the less you have, the easier it is to give away. This is especially visible in fellow Believers.
In 2002, I went to Tijuana with some high school and college students from the church. My first, and most poignant, memory of the church we visited was a woman drying the floor of a classroom with her own sweater, so that we could move our sleeping gear in quickly. I was BLOWN AWAY by her sacrifice. I could not imagine myself doing the same thing. I probably would have suggested waiting, or searched for a towel of some sort. I know this woman did not own much, and she dirtied HER sweater to offer US comfort. The rest of the week, we continued to be amazed at how much we were blessed by those that we expected to come and bless. “THEY have learned to be content in every situation.”
A few years later, during my second trip to Mexico, I again witnessed generosity on a level far-exceeding my own ability to give. Every day that we worked at the church, many of the women made us a mid-morning snack (which was far more than a snack) and lunch. They went to great lengths to make sure we were fed without the chance of becoming sick—for example, they washed all fruits and vegetables they served us with bottled water. And they served every meal with a smile. Even when a few of us were exploring the city with some of the youth of their church, they refused to let us pay for the ice cream we ordered. It is humbling every time I experience these expressions of generosity. “THEY too have learned to be content in every situation.”
But that’s not enough. It’s not enough to just be impressed by the generosity and flexibility of others. It’s a trait that each of us must develop. For me, there are several ways this exhibits itself. Before I visit foreign countries, my biggest concern is whether I’ll like the food. And when I return, my biggest hope is that I will be able to be as content and generous as those we served.
I expected a recent trip, to Cambodia, to stretch my taste buds farther than ever. Those who know me know that I am one of THE pickiest eaters. (I was in high school before I ever learned--kicking and screaming-- to enjoy Chinese food.) But I recognized that there would be no alternative food available when I was in Cambodia and God opened my mind and taste buds to new and exotic foods. I remembered from my time in the Dominican Republic that what I feared wasn’t bad, just unknown. In a simple way God taught me to be content in THIS circumstance.
While I triumphed over my own fears in Cambodia, I recognized that my freedom to have these fears was not available for the people we served. When they had food, they gave thanks. They could not say “No thank you, I don’t like it.” Every meal was a life or death situation. I NEVER before witnessed this level of poverty. Each of our 8-10 sets of clean travel and work clothes looked extravagant in comparison to the few sets of clothing each age group of orphans shared. The treasured soccer ball was one of the only toys around the home, when almost every kid here has an overflowing toy box – I know I did. Work at the home and time at school was treasured, for they recognized that they were privileged to be taken care of so well.
Every time I return home from a mission, I am convicted of all the things I can live without. The believers we met in Cambodia were not only content with what they had but they were TRULY JOYOUS and readily offered their LOVE to us!
My most recent mission trip did not take me out of the country. Although I have always had the desire to see other countries and experience their cultures, just 5 weeks ago, I traveled to New Orleans to aid in Hurricane Relief. Several of these days we brought ice and water to affected neighborhoods—EVERY neighborhood was affected! Many of the people we met were just returning to their homes for the first time. Some were ripping out carpets and bleaching the walls, while others simply turned around, and wouldn’t – or couldn’t- look back. Each person we came in contact with, we offered to pray with. I never heard a single person turn us down. One woman in particular sticks out to me. She DEFINITELY learned what it means to be “content in every situation.” All of her worldly possessions: pictures, furniture, Christmas decorations, everything was washed away. She stood in front of her destroyed house and began preaching to us (who had come to minister to her). She said “God knew I didn’t need it, so he took it away... From now on I am only going to buy things that I truly NEED… I can’t justify buying things that I want... God is faithful to provide everything I NEED.” Again, I was blown away. Would I have the faith, and be content enough, to respond in the same way. I’m not sure. When I returned home, just like every other time I have returned from a missions trip, I started to take inventory of what I have, and more importantly, what I don’t need. Do I really need another pair of shoes? Millions of people in this world have never owned a pair of shoes. Do I really need a new sweater? People are freezing every day and I have 5 other sweatshirts hanging in my closet. Do I really need a new CD? No. That money could provide food for a hungry family.
Now I see that no matter how much I think I am like the willow tree, I still need to grow more flexible and quit trying to avoid the strong winds, but welcome the storms, just as I do the gentle breezes. When Paul tells us we need to learn to be “content in every situation,” he doesn’t just mean when we are wanting, but also when we have plenty. We need to quit desiring a little bit more and look at those who have next to nothing. They are our example of what it means to be content in every situation. Each time I meet them, I am reminded of that, and I NEED the reminder.
23 October 2005
My comments are in blue italics.
1. Liz needs a MAN! Hmm. Come to think of it...
2. Liz needs to put a lid on it! Nah!
3. Liz needs catchy slogan I've always liked "Liz is always right."
4. Liz needs to devise a budget and stick to it. Sho 'nuf.
5. liz needs to be laundered I bathed this morning. What more do you want?
6. Liz needs to be taught a few things about fire safety Really?
7. Liz Needs One More Taste Of Her Liz's Oozing Pastry There are no words...
8. liz needs to mine her own business "I can't mine other people's businesses?"
9. Liz needs help, but she doesn't want to involve the police. Always...
10. LIZ needs teeth Wow! That reminds me of the dream I had last night. Four of my teeth fell out. I was mortified. I've had dreams like that before. They are my least favorite dreams. Weird...
What do you think I need the most?
15 October 2005
I was thinking today of things that make me feel grown up and things that make me feel like a kid. I thought I might list some of them for you. Tell me yours.
This makes me feel like a kid:
- I still live at home with my parents.
- I don't know what I want to do when I grow up.
- Driving my parents car.
- Crying over stupid things that shouldn't matter.
- Getting REALLY sick (and having someone take care of me).
This makes me feel grown-up:
- Having a "real job."
- Driving really far to visit friends.
- Travelling with friends (sans parents). --specifically international travel...
- Carrying a purse regularly.
- Being an aunt (to 5 w/ 2 more on the way).
- Seeing my friends get married (and have kids).
- Realizing the kids I used to babysit are graduating high school, etc.
- Seeing 18-21 year olds and thinking "they are so young!"
- Paying for lunch (dinner, etc) with a credit card. (added 10-17)
I know there are a lot more, but those are the things that I thought of right away.
I would really love to hear what makes YOU feel like a kid/grown-up. Do Tell!
13 October 2005
03 October 2005
26 September 2005
This is the account of a journalist who has been covering Hurricane Katrina. Most of his blog is photos, but this is straight from him. This is why I am going. The people he talks about are living miracles. Can you even imagine?
22 September 2005
As I have been following the news of Hurricane Rita, I have felt so powerless and fearful for those who are in it's path. Today, I started praying: Lord, spare your children. It seems like such an inevitable, horrible tragedy.
But then I remembered this--Moses reasoned with God. When God got upset with the Israelites, Moses boldly talked GOD out of punishing them to the extent he wanted to. And, I too, can approach God with this HOLY BOLDNESS. I can ask God to do something miraculous. I can ask God to calm the winds, turn the storm or simply take it away, off the radar, as though it never even existed. I urge you to come to God with all the boldness you can muster. He WILL listen to you. And He WILL hear your pleas. God answers his people and He is merciful and just. Remind him of his promises to us.
God, This Hurricane is so frightening! And two hurricanes so forceful, one following another, seems like too much. Please, I beg you, make it go away. Have mercy on the people of this country. Don't just turn it the other way--cause it to disappear. Baffle the meteorologists. Show them your awesome power. And in this time, remind us to keep our eyes on you and not on the wind or the waves or the rain, but on your powerful plan for us. Whatever you do, show us your love and glory and mercy. Help us to respond to it and pass it on to those who don't yet know you. You are mighty and worthy, Lord. Amen.
Will you join me in Holy Boldness?
20 September 2005
And, exciting as all that is, I, too am going to New Orleans. I will be flying in on October 4th, and back home on the 11th. I'm one of a team of 8 (so far). I am really looking forward to it. I know that it won't be anything like any other mission trip I've ever experienced. And honestly, I don't know what to expect. I don't know what we will be doing. We just intend to go and help in whatever ways are needed. The group I am going with is pretty awesome. I am looking forward to growing closer to them and to God in the process.
Currently, there are a couple of teams from Hope Chapel in and around (or heading to and from) New Orleans. Please pray for them as they travel and serve.
Pray for Jay & Hal from Oakland (drive team); Crissi, Gary & Nancy from Santa Rosa (drive team); Marcus from Windsor driving to the gulf with supplies and then working for 6 weeks there), Patti, Maryann, Mark, Carrie, Sandie and Gina Dee from Santa Rosa (flew into Baton Rouge today).
Help Bring Hope to the Gulf Coast.
11 September 2005
Following is another e-mail I sent out (a few minutes ago):
Hey everybody! The video attached was taken by the team from Hope Chapel in Gulfport, Louisiana. When they set out on Tuesday, they had no idea what to expect. They just brought what they could and now are doing as much as they can to help. Unfortunately it's not enough. You can see the devastation in the video. And at www.Ugo4god.blogspot.com there are a couple audio posts with appreciation from Pastor Troy (our team brought him and his family a motor home to live in) and local people. There is also an evident need for more! One man was simply appreciative for dry shirts, but also explained some practical items they are still going to need for clean-up and rebuilding. Such as chainsaws, shovels, trashbags, gas and oil. Rudy (one of team members) called his wife during the church service tonight and when she asked if there was something she could relay to the rest of the congregation from him, he said "(Tell them to) Get Here!" The other thing they have seen is that the Red Cross is nowhere to be found in Gulfport, but the relief effort is being done by churches from all over the country who have rented RVs and trucks and trailers and brought as many supplies and workers as possible. (I also heard from my sister, Heidi, in Robertsdale, Alabama, that the Red Cross came and opened up shelters for refugees in her town and then left--the churches are truly doing the relief work: housing refugees, laundry, offering supplies, sending supplies by the truckload to other areas--she says that all the churches are coming together in this effort.) Hope Chapel intends to continue to send more teams as possible. If you can, GO!
Please check out the blog (www.ugo4god.blogspot.com). There is so much still needed. Not just clothes, but all sorts of everyday practical items, such as diapers, carseats, chairs, toilet paper, feminine products, sheets, garbage bags, towels, soap, shampoo, brushes, gas cans, and the list could go on and on. Also needed desperately: people and vehicles (please let me know if you can or know somebody who can donate or drive a vehicle or trailer with supplies).
If possible, I think I will try to go.
If you can help in any way, please contact me, I will be glad to connect you with the appropriate person, pick up donations, whatever.
Continue to pray, please.
God, continue to rain your blessings down. Lord, we are amazed that even what we normally think of as set backs, are blessings in disguise. Lord, we are so amazed that so many people have given that we are desperate to find vehicles to carry all the supplies to Gulfport. Please, please, please show us your way.
06 September 2005
What were your thoughts after you heard or saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina? Initially I wasn't very phased by the tragedy (and I'm not sure why), but as the days passed and the situation really started to sink in, I realized that this was really bad and I could not sit by and watch it happen. Of course, nobody could have prevented this, but all of us can do something to help rebuild and restore lives devastated by the storm.
A few days ago, I was excited to hear that a group from Hope Chapel (check out www.ugo4god.com) would leave today to, not only offer relief supplies and any help and support they can give, but they would also bring an RV to provide a home and a base for a pastor's family who lost their home.
"So," you say, "that's awesome! But how can I help?"
Let me tell you some awesome ways to help (there is something for everyone):
If you are able, find a way to go and help. There will be more teams from Hope Chapel heading to help (go to www.ugo4god.com for more info on how to get involved in that). Or partner with another relief organization such as the Red Cross.
Money --- Donate money, if you are able, to this relief effort (besides supplies, they must purchase gas and return plane tickets home -- you can send or bring checks to Hope Chapel
Clothes or other supplies --- Thousands upon thousands of people have been left with NOTHING! So many of the things we take for granted are needed by these people. If you have clothes or other supplies to donate and live in Sonoma County, contact me and I will make arrangements to get them to the Hurricane Relief Team. My sister (who lives in Alabama and has been doing laundry for hurricane refugees in her town) tells me that they are especially in need of maternity clothes, diapers and other items that may not come to mind right away, such as adult Depends. Check www.ugo4god.com and www.ugo4god.blogspot.com for other items that are needed. Clean out your closets, ask your friends and neighbors for donations. This is easy!
This is the most important thing you can do. Pray for those who lost their homes, those who are treating and feeding and protecting the refugees, and praise God for the help of friends and strangers around the world.
No matter who you are or how much you have, you can do SOMETHING to help!
God bless you!
P.S. Feel free to forward this to friends and family. I know everyone is aware of the need, but not everyone knows how they can help.
God, When I give, remind me to keep giving, until it hurts, and then give some more. You gave until it hurt, and then gave some more when you sent your Son to die for me. Remind me of this sacrifice daily.
While I'm on the subject I just want to commend the girls in my Bible Study (you know who you are). Sunday afternoon, at about 3 pm, I called them and told them I was collecting clothes to send with a group down to hurricane victims. When they came to Bible Study at 7 that night many of them brought clothes with them. My family donated as well. This morning (Monday), we filled Jana's trunk and entire back seat with clothes to send. Rock on!!!
31 August 2005
A week ago, I got a temp job. And two days ago I told them that tomorrow (Thursday) would be my last day because I got hired elsewhere. This will have been my shortest job ever. It was weird though, because I still felt anxious giving notice even though it was understood that it was a temp job and my boss knew that I was looking for another job. Now, onto the other job... Starting Tuesday, I will be the Church Secretary for Hope Chapel in Santa Rosa. Since November I have been attending their Saturday night services, going to a Friday night Bible Study there, and making friends up the yin yang. Not to mention, I was a part of their second mission trip to Cambodia this summer. I am super excited. Before I went for my interview, I prayed that if this is where God wants me to be that He would make it so, and if He had really intended something else for me, that He would close this door. So, it seems that this is what God wants me to do, now I just get to wait and see what else He has planned in this. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I am kind of expecting God to stretch me sometime soon. So, I guess I am just waiting in anticipation.
A couple of days ago, I was talking to my friend Jana about how I really enjoy being generous, but it was hard when I wasn't working, because I didn't have as much money. This morning a thought ran through my head, saying, "Stupid. You don't have to have money to be generous." I couldn't believe that I had forgotten so easily. EVERY time I return from a missions trip, one of the biggest things I notice and share is about how the people we meet have so little, but give so much. These people probably don't even have 1% of the wealth I have (and I would not consider myself wealthy at all) but they give and give and give everything they are able. Time, money, energy, blessings. I am the one who makes a big show of giving bags of gold, while they are the woman who quietly gives her last coin and nobody notices or cares.
God, teach me a lesson in sacrificial giving. True generosity. Something that doesn't need to be acknowledged and something that will stretch my faith. I love you, LORD, and I trust you.
19 August 2005
I feel like I keep returning to the same place over and over again. I just can't get past this "waiting room" of life. I think it becomes so much more visible to me when many of my friends keep passing important milestones in their lives. I have friends who have already started their careers (teachers), friends who have a masters degree or are in the process of getting one, several who are getting married. And then there is me. In some aspects I have had the opportunity to do a lot (mostly in regards to traveling), and I wouldn't trade that for anything. But, I also feel like I am just floating or treading water trying to figure out which way to go. I'm 23, I still live with my parents, I never really did much with college (a few lackluster semesters at the J.C.), and I don't have a job. Now, this is nobody's fault but my own and, granted, I had a pretty good time traveling in the past few months, but for the past week or two I have been transported back into some form of reality that tells me that I really need to figure out what I'm going to do "when I grow up" (or at least in the near future) and I need to decide soon.
Maybe it might help to write down some of the goals I do know.
1. I would like to move out of my parents house in the near future (perhaps before the end of the year). I expect this will be with some sort of roommate.
2. Get a job. I'm afraid I may be extraordinarily picky, but I have this weird philosophy that one should like their job. And I know that I definitely don't want to work retail or food service (I will if I must...but would prefer to enjoy my job). This is one of the hardest tasks, because other than that I don't have any concrete idea of what I want to do. There was a time when I really wanted to go to school for interior design, and there have been times when I wanted to get into youth or music ministry and in high school I thought I was going to be a high school math teacher. I even have dreams of being a missionary at this time. But I don't have one clear vision.
For the time being, I assume I will get some sort of clerical job that pays enough to get me into an apartment. But I am afraid of getting myself hooked to one thing. I even have dreams of moving to a foreign country (and I have had enthusiastic response from several friends--I'm not sure whether to take it as encouragement, or as a "get away from me" vibe), but even with that, my thoughts are so vague. I don't know where I would want to go or what I would do once I got there. Being a grown-up isn't as glamorous as I thought it would be when I was 10.
Well, thanks for reading about my troubles and pleases be praying for clarity and focus in my life.
Lord God, You see I have had many desires. Please fill me with your desires and direct me to the path you have planned for me. I want to do your will and even if it is scary, give me the courage and strength to follow you. I need your guidance more than any time I can recall before. Please make your will so blindingly obvious that I cannot even attempt to ignore it. I love you, God.
19 July 2005
|You Are 28 Years Old|
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
18 July 2005
We left for the airport Friday, June 24th, and our flight was at 1am Saturday morning. On the way to our first layover (Hong Kong), I tried to begin to acclimate myself to the time change by staying up for several hours on the plane before getting some sleep. I was shocked to get about 4 hours of sleep on the plane. It is not common for me to sleep on airplanes. After another layover in Bangkok, we arrived in Phnom Penh. Coming out of the airport, we were greeted by Anna (our team coordinator in Cambodia) and a few other people from the Phnom Penh Orphan Home.
We stayed the night in a decent hotel and in the morning went to the Toul Sleng Museum, where many of the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime were played out. I read that over a period of time 14,000 prisoners were held there and only 7 prisoners left alive.
It took two days to drive to the orphan home from Phnom Penh. Now a group of 22 (with Anna) we got to know each other better while spending these two days together in a small bus (van?---you be the judge). Although many of us knew each other already, there was still so much to learn about each other. Nobody worried about who they sat next to and every few hours we rotated seats. After all the driving and also the time at the orphan home, I feel like I really know the rest of my teammates.
I was thoroughly impressed by our fearless leaders, Jeremy and Natalie. They had taken such great care in preparing this trip and were very knowledgeable about the country. Partly because they had led a team the year before and just as much because they had researched it. Natalie (and Jeremy too) often took on the role of tour guide as we drove through the countryside. And sometimes we would have to ask Anna questions as well.
Jeremy & Natalie
I just lost several paragraphs and now will attempt to re-write them...
Upon arrival to the Chhuk Orphan home, we all exited the bus and greeted the children and the staff of the home with a customary bow and the word(s) "Jimripsuah" (Hello in Khmer). The children were eager to greet us and had prepared a song in English for us. After the song, we all (children, staff, our team) introduced ourselves. Of course, the names did not stick in our heads right away, but it took the whole trip to learn names, and also words and phrases in Khmer. I can count to 29 in Khmer!
The next morning we started working right away. Our project was to build a cafeteria. This consisted of a cement floor, a roof and about a 3-foot brick/cement wall all the way around. We also painted most of the existing building (which included 88 shutters). I mostly painted, but I did do a bit of mixing cement, laying brick, and pouring cement. I also took part in a fabulous bucket brigade, and moved brick as well.
To be continued (Rain and Mud in the next post!)....
16 July 2005
I'll tell you this much, I had a BLAST!!!
21 June 2005
Well, I may post before I leave Friday, or I may not. Please be praying for us. Thanks, I'll miss y'all.
If you are curious, check out this post for all my travel plans this summer.
09 June 2005
I expect to do a lot of packing within the next couple months as I will be traveling quite a bit. And the thought crossed my mind, what would I pack if I were going to spend some time with God. If I was going to mark time out to be with God on purpose. Here are some of the things I came up with. Bear in mind, I was trying to connect the actual item with what I would pack in my suitcase for a regular trip.
Guide Book/Map * the Bible (you can also bring devotional books, etc to supplement)
Q-Tips * to clean out my ears so I can hear God
Nice clothes * Romans 13:13-15 (AMP) says to clothe ourselves in Christ. We need to put away other things that might distract us, and put on an attitude of devotion.
Soap * Jesus' Blood --- although you don't have to take communion when spending time with God, it is important to understand and recognize the sacrifice Jesus made.
Camera * Journal --- In the same way you take snapshots of your vacation in order to remember the experiences you had and the places you saw, you should also write down or record some of your experiences with God. You will find that in the future you can go back and look at revelations you may have had, questions or prayers that may have been answered, and just how far you and your relationship has come since you started (or last you wrote).
A CD/MP3 player * Bring an attitude of worship (as much as I hate using music as the definition of worship, people relate to it so easily).
Pillow * Get comfortable, stay up all night and chat or draw or just be in the same place as God.
What do you (suggest to) bring on a "God-trip?" What should you leave behind? I'd love to hear what things I've missed, or what you think.
05 June 2005
My posts may be few and far between for the next two and a half months. But hopefully they will be full of amazing and exciting travel tales.
In case you are wondering, I am going to:
- Pasadena, CA from June 10th thru the 14th to see my friend Meredith graduate and just hang out.
- Portland, OR from June 15th to the 19th (approximately) to visit my brother, Ben, and his family.
- Cambodia from June 25th through July 10th and then a three day layover in Hong Kong on the way home (returning the 13th, I think). I am going with a group of 21 from Hope Chapel to build a cafeteria at the Chhuk orphan home. By the way, if you would like to donate a new outfit for one of the children in the home let me know. Girls need capri pants and a t-shirt; boys need shorts and a t-shirt (nothing reminiscent of war, such as camouflage).
- Costa Rica and Nicaragua from July 20th through August 10th, with my friend, Nick, to visit our friend, Jana. Nick will be studying at a language school for two weeks during the trip. I may do that too. Or I might just be a typical tourist. I haven't decided yet.
- Update: Back down to Pasadena (area) for my friend, Kirsten's, wedding on August 13th.
And then the weddings begin! I am going to at least 3 weddings in August/September. I will be singing in one and a bridesmaid in another. Not to mention the bridal showers and bachelorette parties. And then in November and December my sisters are having babies, so there are the baby showers (plus the kajillion other women I know who are pregnant).
On one hand I am overwhelmed and haven't quite figured out how to schedule in time to breathe, let alone do laundry. And on the other hand (the more important hand), I am so extraordinarily excited, it's hard to explain. Traveling is my passion. I want to go everywhere, literally. Who's with me?
03 June 2005
02 June 2005
Today, I had a couple of old rolls of film developed. One of the rolls contained pictures I took while on a mini road trip up Highway 1 with my two best friends. It was one of my favorite trips ever. And it lasted less than a day. Our only plan was that we would start in Mill Valley driving up Highway 1. I think these pictures were taken at a beach in Bodega Bay. Serena (at right) and Melinda (below) were my best friends since grade school. I have actually known Melinda since preschool.
We discovered that our friendship is an adult! Well, after high school, Melinda went away to school at UC Davis and Serena and I both stayed home and started at the Santa Rosa Junior College. The ironic thing about what happened next is this: Melinda, the one who moved away, is the one I see more and Serena, who lives only a couple miles from me, and I rarely see each other. Every once in a while I will call Serena, we will talk for about 20 minutes and say "Let's do something," or "Let's get together." And we never do. It's weird. The three of us were rarely apart for at least 6 years that is over 25% of my life (wow!). We shared everything. What happened? Melinda and I talk a few times a month on the phone and we visit each other whenever possible, but it's not the same either. She will always be my BEST friend, but as time has progressed and I expect in the future, I have found myself with other "best friends." Initially, I had a really difficult time calling anyone else a "best friend," but they earned it. Let me tell you about two of my new best friends.
Meredith: In the summer of 2001 (I think) I started going to a new church. We both participated in/helped lead the youth group there. Although I can remember being slightly intimidated by her the first night, we (along with about 4-5 others) became inseparable. I cannot tell you how many movies we went to within the next couple of years, and we even began a "College/Career Bible Study" together--we watched movies and talked about connections to God and the Bible. It was great! In 2003 we spent 6 weeks, visiting 6 European countries, together constantly. It was incredible, but I did find out that you truly must like someone in order to spend so much time with them.
That fall, I drove with her (and all her stuff) down to her new home (apartment) in Pasadena. She has lived down there since, going to grad school. Next weekend I will be visiting and attending her graduation. I'm so proud! I have visited a few times since, but why do all my best friends move away (more about this later)--do I smell?
Jana: Many of you know her. But here is my story with her. Jana was working in another department at my (and her) former place of employment. We could have possibly never spoken to each other, but she happened to come do some work in my department the day she was leaving to go to a friend's wedding in France. I happened to hear someone else talk to her about it and decided to ask her why she was going. I got to share a bit of my experience in Europe and she asked if she could bring me anything. I at first said "no," but later asked her to bring some street artwork (like somebody who sells it on the street). She did and then soon after became the receptionist. One day I walked past reception and heard a Rebecca St James song playing. So, when I got to my desk I e-mailed her this: Are you listening to K-Love? She was, we continued e-mailing and never stopped. She invited me to come to a small group she attended (which was a much needed answer to prayer--I had been praying for God to bring me Godly friends around my age, and at a similar stage in life--I felt so lonely at the time), and I started to go to Saturday night services at her church as well. And then she moved to Nicaragua this January to be a nanny. They all leave! Seriously, do I smell?
My hope is that all of these people (and many more) will be life-long friends. So far we have not fallen out of contact, and I think one of the huge things that binds us together is that we are not just friends, we are Christian friends. And that means we are accountable to each other. We love each other the way Jesus loves us (or at least we try to). And we always will.
Now that you have taken the time to read about my best friends, who is your best friend? Why? I can't wait to read it.
Here is another great thing about Melinda (and many of my "best friends"): she always gets along with all my other best friends. It's a big deal, because so many people have friends that they have to keep separate because they don't get along. This has never been the case regarding Melinda.
30 May 2005
This is me!
It is a "Have you ever...?" of sorts:
( ) Smoked a joint
( ) Been in a wet t-shirt contest.
(x) Crashed a car
( ) Stolen a car
( ) Been in love
( ) Had a threesome
(x) Been dumped
( ) Shoplifted
( ) Been fired
( ) Been in a fist fight
(x) Snuck out of the house
(x) Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back
( ) Been arrested
(x) Made out with a stranger
( ) Gone on a blind date
(x) Lied to a friend
(x) Had a crush on a teacher
(x) Been to Europe
(x) Skipped school
( ) Seen someone die
( ) Been to Canada
(x) Been to Mexico
(x) Been on a plane
( ) Seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show
( ) Thrown up in a bar
( ) Purposely set a part of yourself on fire
( ) Eaten Sushi
(x) Been snowboarding
(x) Met someone from the internet in person
( ) Been moshing at a concert
( ) Been in an abusive relationship
(x) Taken painkillers
( ) Love someone or miss someone right now(romantically)
(x) Laid and watched cloud shapes go by
(x) Made a snow angel
(x) Had a tea party
(x) Flown a kite
(x) Built a sand castle
(x) Gone puddle jumping
(x) Played dress up
(x) Jumped into a pile of leaves
(x) Gone sledding
(x) Cheated while playing a game
(x) Been lonely
(x) Fallen asleep at work/school
( ) Used a fake ID
(x) Watched the sun set
(x) Felt an earthquake
(x) Touched a snake
(x) Slept beneath the stars
(x) Been tickled
( ) Been robbed
(x) Been misunderstood
(x) Pet a reindeer/goat
(x) Won a contest
(x) Run a red light
( ) Been suspended from school
(x) Been in a car accident
( ) Had braces
(x) Felt like an outcast
( ) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night
(x) Had deja vu
( ) Danced in the moonlight
(x) Hated the way you look
(x) Witnessed a crime
( ) Pole danced
(x) Been obsessed with post-it notes
( ) Walked barefoot through the mud
(x) Been lost
( ) Been to the opposite side of the world
(x) Swam in the ocean
(x) Felt like dying.
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
(x) Played cops and robbers
(x) Recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers
(x) Sung karaoke
(x) Paid for a meal with only coins
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(x) Made prank phone calls when you were younger
( ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
( ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Danced naked in the rain
(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus
( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about
(x) Blown bubbles
(x) Had a bonfire on the beach
(x) Crashed a party
(x) Gone rollerblading
(x) Had a wish come true
(x) Worn pearls
( ) Jumped off a bridge
(x) Screamed the word penis in public
( ) Ate dog/cat food
( ) Told a complete stranger you loved them
(x) Kissed a mirror
(x) Sang in the shower
(x) Owned a little black dress
(x) Had a dream that you married someone
( ) Glued your hand to something
( ) Got your tongue stuck to a flag pole
( ) Kissed a fish
(x) Worn the opposite sex's clothes
( ) Been a cheerleader
(x) Sat on a roof top
(x) Screamed at the top of your lungs
(x) Done a one-handed cartwheel
( ) Talked on the phone for more than 6 hours
(x) Stayed up all night
( ) Didn't take a shower for a week
(x) Picked and ate an apple right off the tree
(x) Climbed a tree
( ) Had a tree house
(x) Are NOT scared to watch scary movies
( ) Believe in ghosts
( ) Have more than 30 pairs of shoes
( ) Worn a really ugly outfit to school just to see what others say
( ) Gone streaking
(x) Played chicken
( ) Been skinny dipping
(x) Been pushed into a pool/lake with all your clothes on
(x) Been told you're beautiful by a complete stranger
(x) Broken a bone
(x) Been easily amused
( ) Caught a fish then ate it
(x) Caught a butterfly
(x) Laughed so hard you cried
(x) Cried so hard you laughed
( ) Mooned/flashed someone
( ) Had someone moon/flash you
(x) Cheated on a test
(x) Forgotten someone's name.
(x) Slept naked
(x) French braided someone's hair
( ) Grown a beard
26 May 2005
16 May 2005
So, what's the deal with dogs always barking when strangers (especially mail-persons and delivery persons) come up to the door? I can imagine the thought-process behind it-uninvited person walks up to the door, but never comes in, but can they ever learn? I guess I will probably just have to wait until my dog goes deaf and hope the other senses don't recognize the stranger walking up to the door. It is frustrating...
Well, I'll sign off now. I have a wonderful day of watching TV that I'm not really interested in, putting off cleaning, maybe a bit of book-reading in there, and dinner with my sister and her family tonight. If you are in the Santa Rosa area, you should go to Chevy's tonight and be sure to ask your server to save a copy of your bill for the "Hope for Cambodia" Fund (Chevy's will donate 20% of your bill to our mission trip) but they'll only save it if you ask them. Rock on!
13 May 2005
Last night we had a Mother-Daughter Tea at church and since my mom is out of the country, I adopted one for the evening and had a great time. I did, however, have to sneak into the kitchen to find some good (flavored) tea. And after all the sugars I put in it, it tasted like hot koolaid. Mmm. Several others adopted mothers or daughters for the evening and I think everybody had a great time.
This morning I went to the park with a lady from my small group and we gave away bottled water and apples. There weren't as many people as there were a couple of weeks ago, but it was still a very awesome experience. I saw Anisa (whom I had met before) and she was there with her four children. And I spoke to her a little bit while her children played on the playground. It was very nice. Next, Galena (the lady from my small group) and I offered some apples and water to a couple who were sitting on some of the play equipment. There names were Henry and Sammy (an 18-yr old girl). Sammy told us a little about what she is going through right now. She thinks she is pregnant but most of the test are coming out negative even though she looks like she is. She says that she is having high stress levels and thinks that is what is causing the tests to read negative. They allowed us to pray with them. Several other people came by and I, again, spoke to John for about 20-30 minutes. He seemed happier than the last time I met him, but still had many things to complain about. He did remember me and asked if I was coming back. I told him I would do my best.
It is interesting, every time I head out to do this, I am discouraged-I just feel like not doing it, but the second I arrive I know I am there for a purpose, even if it is only to be somebody's bright moment in the day. Even if they don't accept what I am offering, at least I offered it. I think I get a little more bold every time. I really, truly look forward to the next time.
Lord Jesus, When you tell me to do something, Satan tries to tell me "don't." Thanks for making your voice a little bit louder. If it is your will, bring me back to these people as often as possible.
04 May 2005
29 April 2005
This morning, my mom, myself and another lady (Mary) from my church brought donuts and bottles of water to a local park, to give to people who were there. We mostly expected that we would meet homeless people or "transients." And that was the case. We did this in response to a challenge from our Bible study and the 40 Days of Community our church is going through.
When we got to the park, there was a small group of about 5 people talking at a picnic table. We offered them all donuts and water. Some accepted the donuts and I think all of them accepted the water.
We ended up talking a bit to a man named Larry and he asked who we are. Mary quickly answered, "We are from Hillside Church." While she said that, I thought to myself, that's not who we are...We go to that church, but it isn't who we are. We also introduced ourselves, by name to him.
Over the next 2 hours several other people came and went, the group we met first "helped" by offering the donuts and water to others who came. Like I said, it was mostly transients, but also a man came and typed on his laptop for a bit, and two Muslim women brought their children to play in the park. I spoke to one, Anisa, and she asked if we were from a church and said that her husband has spoken about Islam at many churches in the area. I got his name and e-mail address because it sounded like it would be a great resource to have.
In the last half hour a man named John came by. I offered him a donut and some water. He was a little hesitant at first. He asked if I was "advertising" something, and I said no, we were just offering them to everyone. And he asked where we were from, and I said that we were a small group from a church. And (a little later) he asked why we were there. And I told him that our group was challenged to reach out to the community and that we decided that we would come and share donuts and water. And I said, "Do you think that was a good idea?" And he responded positively.
After a little bit of "small talk," he seemed to be thinking about leaving, but then said, "Do you have time to talk?" And I said, "Sure," and we sat down at the picnic table and he just starting talking. He told me about how he felt that the State was trying to get all his money, how all the people at the halfway house he was at are crazy, and the thing that hit me the hardest was when he told me about being in juvenile hall at 16 or 17 and seeing a film about Jesus and going back to his cell and crying because he was so moved. And then, the jailer came and told him he was stupid to believe that stuff, to quit crying and then John was beaten by the jailer. He told me that he decided that he shouldn't try the religious stuff after that. Although later, he said that sometimes he feel touched and spiritual. All this time, I just listened. I think that is all God wanted me to do. Just listen. That is all John needed right then. He didn't know me. He just wanted to talk to somebody. To be heard.
Leading up to this morning, I was very tentative about going. I knew I was going, I just was a bit "weirded out." I think that the mental state of most homeless people has just made me feel a bit intimidated. I feel ashamed to have more than them. Now, I hope we go back.
Lord, I was willing to do your will this morning, and I pray that that is what took place. I pray for Larry and Anisa and John and all the people we served this morning. I pray that we were able to meet a need and to look like you in the process. Please guide us in future relationships with them. In Jesus' name. Amen.
25 April 2005
P.S. Does anybody else think it is silly that "blogging" and "blogger" are not words in the blogger spellcheck?
22 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions." 1 John 3:18 (LB)
Question to Consider: Who can you share the love of Christ with in a practical way today?
"Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words." ~Francis of Assisi
I love this quote, but the question is do I follow its teaching? Sometimes I just think too long and hard about things. I feel God tugging on me to offer help (in any way) to the person asking for money on the street corner, and I avoid eye contact. Sometimes I just feel like I am too busy judging them, wondering if they really need the money; are they just going to buy drugs and alcohol? Well it is not my job to judge. But I should be serving.
Question to Consider: I will offer support to the next homeless person I see.
Lord, use me, guide me and don't let me falter! Amen.
21 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people." Romans 12:16 (CEV)
Question to Consider: Do you have any meaningful friendships with non-believers?
Today's lesson kind of feels like daggers piercing my skin. I have felt convicted lately to talk to and make friends with non-believers. I'm just not sure how. I don't socialize outside of the church now. I feel pretty isolated. Plus, I had an argument with my dad last night and I don't think I was being very Christlike. I want to make amends but I don't want to totally concede to him. Is that possible?
Question to Consider: No. I have in the past, but right now I tend to surround myself with Christians.
Lord, please provide me with opportunities to befriend non-believers. And guide me as I do.
20 April 2005
Well, tonight my brother, Ben, called, and after he spoke to my parents, he asked to speak to me. I knew what he wanted to talk about. Five years ago, when I graduated from high school, Ben offered to me, as my graduation present, a trip anywhere Alaska Airlines flies (he works for them). Somehow, over the past 5 years, we have never found an appropriate time to take the trip. Over my last birthday we planned to go to Mexico, but that never happened. So, I told my brother that I would come visit him and his family (they are currently living in Oregon). He sent me a ticket that was good for 90 days. When it was about to expire and we still couldn't find a time that worked for both of us, I sent it back for him to get it extended. Well, today, he asked me about when might be a possibility to come visit. I suggested that the beginning of May might be good. He liked the idea too, because he and his wife would have some time off during that time, and he suggested that I could spend some time with all of them and also stay with his two daughters for a few days while he and his wife went away for a few days. I made mention to Ben that our parents will be in Europe from May 4th for several weeks and we'd have to make sure that the house was watched and I would find out more later. Well, my dad seemed to feel that I was making "last minute plans" without consulting him and was irritated that I expected us to find someone else to watch the house (which could be my sister, or a neighbor has has housesat for us before). He then told me that he did all sorts of things for me, but he gets no respect, I pay almost no rent (something agreed upon with my mom) and that I need to "do something" and move out.
I was really upset. I attempted to defend myself, but wasn't sure how to say it and I definitely didn't speak as respectfully as I am supposed to. I didn't want to be in the house and I just grabbed my purse and some shoes and left. I started driving and then came to the realization that I wasn't sure where I was going. I just felt all alone. I just wanted someone to come to mind as the person I could call or go to their house and lay out my problems and get comfort and guidance and just a safe place to rest. I know God is the ultimate at that, but I wanted someone I could touch. As I drove in a circle around the city many people came to mind, but I was afraid to intrude, I didn't know so and so well enough to arrive at their doorstep crying, my two best friends were too far away. I, for a moment, considered driving to Davis or even L.A. but didn't really think that was a good idea with tears streaming down my face and a speedometer that works some of the time. Plus, I have responsibilities-places to be. About 15 minutes into my drive my mom called me to make sure I was going someplace "safe." I told her that I didn't know where I was going (that's how I feel about life sometimes) and she suggested a few places that I had already vetoed for the reasons above. And then I told her that I just wanted to go home and go to bed but I didn't want to be around my dad. And she told me that he had gone to bed. We talked for a little while and she told me that my dad just wants to be in control and felt like I wasn't consulting him, and she gave some other reasons for his behavior. She suggested that he didn't want me out of the house but he wanted to know what my plan is (for the future). All I wanted was some way that I could make things better between my dad and I, but that's the one thing I don't know the answer to. I have told him that my intention is not to just be lazy. I'm still paying rent even without a job. I decided that it would make more sense for me to wait until I return from Cambodia to get a job. I think that sometimes I am so defensive because I have no idea what I am going to do. My life is totally different than what I ever expected. I was always a really smart girl. I actually liked school, but I never knew what I wanted to do "when I grow up." Because of that I ended up going to the JC and slacked off because I still didn't know and I was getting burnt out. I eventually got a decent "grown up" job so that I could go on an adventure (to Europe) with a friend and stayed there (at the job) for two and a half years, having no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A couple of months ago, I felt God calling me to "something different" and I still don't know what it is. And now I am an unemployed 23-year-old, living at home with her parents, wanting to see what God's will for her life is, but confused about how to survive in the "real world." I want to be independent, but I'm afraid I can't afford it. I just feel lost and alone right now. I must be in some weird transitional phase. I have friends but can't think of anyone I can really call on. I am so willing to support others, but I just feel like I have nobody to lean on myself.
Wow! If you took the time to read all the way through that, God bless you and I'm sorry. I don't get all that many chances to rant. I needed to let it out somewhere.
Lord, help me to rely on you, but also please place people in my life to be my earthly support system.
Verse to Remember: "Reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!" Romans 15:7 (Msg)
Questions to Consider: Who is the last person in your life that you would expect to become a Christian? How could your acceptance of them build a bridge to Christ?
Wow -- today's devotional has been extraordinarily eye-opening. I learned further what it means to love others "as Christ first loved us." It's not just BECAUSE he loved us, but we are to love in the same way that he loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus didn't wait until we confessed that he was our savior and repented of our sins to die for us. No, he gave of himself "while we were still sinners." If we are to be disciples of Christ we need to sacrifice and love in the same way!
Question to Consider: I have had two friends, Val and Rachel, who are NOT Christians, but we have always had great conversations about religion & what we thought about life, etc. I pray that my love and openness planted that seed of faith inside of them.
19 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "Open your homes to each other without complaining." 1 Peter 4:9 (TEV)
Question to Consider: Have you had your neighbors into your home lately?
I still live with my parents, so it is a little bit more of an ordeal for me to be hospitable. I need to ask permission first. I can't just invite people over at the drop of a hat. However, I do find myself inviting people over more often. When I was in school, my friends and I rarely hung out at my house. I'm not sure why, but I just preferred to be somewhere else. I know many people who are extraordinarily hospitable -- there is always an extra person (or eight) at their house. I pray that, as possible, I can open my home willingly and often.
Question to Consider: Actually, just this past Saturday, we had a family to dinner. It was quite enjoyable.
18 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "...you are working together and struggling side-by-side to get others to believe the good news." Philippians 1:27b (CEV)
Question to Consider: Which of your friends and family members can your small group begin praying for?
"Reach one more for Jesus." These words remind me that it is an individual that I am trying to reach. If we are trying to direct someone to a personal relationship with Jesus, we need to model a personal relationship with them. And that cannot be done over a microphone in a huge stadium, but over coffee, or sometimes over the telephone, etc.
I am encouraged that even in Philippians they "struggled" -- so, it's not just me!
Question to Consider: Serena, my Dad.
Lord, lead me to those you want me to speak to. And remind me that I am not alone in my journey.
17 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5 (NCV)
Question to consider: Will anybody be in heaven because of you?
I love it when a truth I once knew is reintroduced into my life and I am reminded of it. I need to be ready, willing and able to share God's love, but most importantly, I need to be considerate and loving as I do.
Question to Consider: I've always felt like somewhat of a planter (of "the seed") or the caretaker of the flower. I can't really recall a person who has come to Christ, fully, in my presence, as a direct result of what God has said through me. I believe that I have played a part in God's perfect plan, though, and that is most important.
Lord, use me.
16 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:35 (NLT)
Question to Consider: How loudly do your actions speak about the love of God?
I read today's devotional twice because I wasn't really sure how to respond in writing-once this morning and just now (10:30 @ night).
I saw a very good example of the "world" watching believers love each other (and them) on Thursday. Our youth group went on a field trip to Alliance Redwoods and it was the first time I really felt like it (the youth group) was reaching out to others. The majority of the group had never or rarely attended youth group & I could really tell that they saw love and experienced acceptance.
Question to Consider:
I am constantly working at loving others better, but I am pretty certain my actions speak fairly loudly-they could, however, always be louder!
Lord, make my love LOUDER! Amen.
15 April 2005
Verse to Remember: "We are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward." Hebrews 6:11 (LB)
Question to Consider: How can you practice love more urgently, consistently, and expectantly?
"It is in those that we love that we will find our greatest reward." (Devotional quote) Is the reward here on earth? Is their happiness our reward? Is it because they will reciprocate? Or is our reward in heaven? Maybe it's different in every situation. The only certainty is that our reward in heaven will be "full" -- whatever that means...
Question to Consider:
Urgently -- I need to recognize that my life on earth will end and more importantly I am not here to make it better for ME ME ME!
Consistently -- Be aware of my mood in relation to how I relate to others.
Expectantly -- I need to remind myself that love is not fruitless -- it was also created for a purpose. AMEN!!!
14 April 2005
To get back into the swing of things I am going to post my journal that goes along with the 40 Days of Community devotional I am reading along with my church. We are currently on Day 5:
Point to Ponder:
Love must be learned
Verse to Remember:
"Love your Christian brothers and sisters"
1 Peter 2:17b (NLT)
Question to Consider:
How devoted are you to your church family.
"...small groups are...Holy Spirit-led laboratories..." (excerpt from devotional today) -- I like that idea. We don't know everything so we test out ideas, etc in a safe environment. I am looking forward to the 40 Days...version (small group).
Question to Consider:
I'd say VERY devoted. I spend a kajillion hours a week with people from church. Because I really like them and want to spend time with them. However, lately I have felt convicted to reach out to the world. I feel like I can never lead anyone to Christ, if all the people I see already know Him. What's a girl to do?
31 March 2005
Lord God, Show us your awesomeness, your greatness and your love. Let us not return from this adventure with simply a "camp high" feeling, but with desire and determination to serve you. I love you God.
23 March 2005
~I Corinthians 8:3 (MSG)
God, You know it all. Remind me of that when I try to do things that aren't pleasing to you; when I try to decide what's best for me, without getting your opinion; when I ignore your opinion. Remind me.
22 March 2005
Three straight phone calls, three straight connections with the answering machine. She hangs up without leaving a message the first two times, but the third time she says, "Dad, Mom, it's me. I was wondering about maybe coming home. I'm catching a bus up your way, and it'll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you're not there, well, I guess I'll just stay on the bus until it hits Canada."It takes about seven hours for a bus to make all the stops between Detroit and Traverse City, and during that time she realizes the flaws in her plan. What if her parents are out of town and miss the message? Shouldn't she have waited another day or so until she could talk to them? And even if they are home, they probably wrote her off as dead long ago. She should have given them some time to overcome the shock. Her thoughts bounce back and forth between those worries and the speech she is preparing for her father. "Dad, I'm sorry. I know I was wrong. It's not your fault; it's all mine. Dad, can you forgive me?" She says the words over and over, her throat tightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn't apologized to anyone in years. The bus has been driving with lights on since Bay City. Tiny snowflakes hit the pavement rubbed worn by thousands of tires, and the asphalt steams. She's forgotten how dark it gets at night out here. A deer darts across the road and the bus swerves. Every so often, a billboard. A sign posting the mileage to Traverse City. Oh, God. When the bus finally rolls into the station, its air brakes hissing in protest, the driver announces in a crackly voice over the microphone, "Fifteen minutes, folks. That's all we have here." Fifteen minutes to decide her life. She checks herself in a compact mirror, smoothes her hair, and licks the lipstick off her teeth. She looks at the tobacco stains on her fingertips, and wonders if her parents will notice. If they're there, She walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect. Not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepare her for what she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic-chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of forty brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and great-grandmother to boot. They're all wearing goofy party hats and blowing noise-makers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads "Welcome home!"Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad. She stares out through the tears quivering in her eyes like hot mercury and begins the memorized speech, "Dad, I'm sorry. I know..."He interrupts her. "Hush, child. We've got no time for that. No time for apologies. You'll be late for the party. A banquet's waiting for you at home."
This sounds like the story of the Prodigal DAUGHTER. But more, it makes me think of what will happen when we reach heaven. But do I spend my life wondering if there will be anyone waiting when I get to heaven? Will I try to do things on my own until the very end? I hope not.
Lord, Remind me that you walk beside me daily and that I am NEVER alone. Guide me into your presence constantly.