Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reality is no fun.

I have a lot to do. I have a lot to do because it is the end of the quarter and I had a crying baby all day and I am moving tomorrow. I have a lot to do because I have procrastinated and I have gotten lost in the imaginary world of television and because I blog instead of writing papers. And in this moment I will tell you what it is that I really want to do. I would like to disappear. Not in the scary way where I am invisible or someone takes me and we don't know where I went, but in the turn-off-all-the-media-and-inhabit-an-island-for-a-week kind of disappear. I want to turn off my phone and the internet (who controls the internet anyways?) and lose all responsibilities. I want to turn off communication and fly to an island, or Europe, or someplace where there is good food and nice weather. Or even snow. Maybe I will take some of my close friends with me, but you guys have to turn everything off too. We won't talk about school, or work, or the best way to take care of babies. We won't talk about bills or internet companies or why I am so connected to my email and not my schoolwork. Instead we will talk about silly things like the best flavor margarita or our favorite cathedrals. We will go where we want and sleep in late. We won't worry, about anything.

Yes, that is what I really want to do. But first I should probably start working on these papers. Reality stinks. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

A rainy day in Californ-i-a

It is a cold and rainy day in Southern California. My favorite kind of day really, for we mostly just get sunshine and warm breezes. On this chilly day I am at work and baby Orion is seven months old. We really do get along quite well. We both like to laugh, play, and eat really messy. Its a match made in heaven! And as long as we are talking about my sweet chunky baby, I might as well mention that there are four things that I am most definitely working to instill in him during our time together.

1. A love for rain.
I take him onto the covered porch and say things like, "We loooove rain. Isn't rain so great?? See the rain??"I think this is most definitely effective brainwashing.

2. A love for Frank Sinatra, Etta James, and the other classics.
Really, I think all people should be forced to listen to these wonderful souls. They change lives. I mean it. Just youtube them and then tell me you don't get automatically happier.

3. A love for dancing.
Obviously no life is complete without a few ridiculous dance moves. And as a bonus, me being ridiculous usually gets him to stop crying.

4. And finally, a love for The Amazing Race
Travel, teamwork, is a winning combination for a growing mind.

At this rate, with my influence, he is going to be the coolest kid on the block. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

News, news, news!

Adventures have blown my way with the Georgia wind! Yesterday my fabulous mother arrived at the Ontario airport for a week-long visit in the land of palm trees, shopping, and weather sent from heaven above. We are planning lots of outings with my friends, being tourists in the city, and some good old fashioned quality time. I think this is going to be a good week.

In other adventurous news, I got to meet a fabulous genius the other day. I was slowly lumbering down the hall after a long day at work when my friends ran into me and told me that a certain John Nash was on campus. John Nash? Is that an actor? No my friends. Better. Much much better. If you have seen A Beautiful Mind, this is the man the movie is based on. He was at Fuller for a seminar on schizophrenia. This was perhaps the highlight of the last five years in my life.Why I was so exhaustively thrilled was because he is the man behind the Nash equilibrium and game theory. Warning: This is where my nerd radar flies out of control. Game Theory is this awesome thing we learned in economics where you can predict what the outcome will be based on the decisions that two or more people may make. If you have ever heard of the prisoner's dilemma...that is game theory. Needless to say, I was more excited then if you were to tell me Elvis had come back from the dead and I was going to meet him. This old old man, who was not entirely coherent, was the source of a lot of emotion because he is a GENIUS and I LOVE game theory. And I will probably stop here before I just fly into a long diatribe on the wonders and joys of economics.

Whew, I am getting excited just thinking about it. Put that on my list of best moments ever.

And finally, I have news on my NEXT adventure! This summer I will be spending eight weeks on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Arizona! I am going to be working with Apache Youth Ministries and I am really excited about this opportunity. This will be a very different context from what I have worked in before and I am praying for a very enlightening experience. Hopefully the Lord will use this to cast some vision for my future. It is going to be a great eight weeks and if anyone would like to partner with me in prayer during that time, I would greatly appreciate it.

And as always, all glory for these exciting things goes to the Lord, for without Him I would have no hope, joy, or adventure. He is my life and my Savior and I owe Him everything. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today, on this February 14th, I am rejoicing in the greatest love I have ever known.

He is the only one who knows me better than I know myself. He never ceases to forgive my constant mistakes, He comforts me in my sadness, and walks with me in my pain. He is the one who is my strength, my hope, my satisfaction and my joy. He is the one by which we all know love, the One who created this most joyous and life-changing feeling that every human longs for. It is by His love that I am alive, that I am forgiven, that I am able to love others. It is His love that changes my life and permeates every fiber of my being, and I will forever love Him more than any other.

For we love because He first loved us.

Happy Valentine's Day :) 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The beauty of a word.

"My heart will sing no other name, Jesus. Jesus, I'm running to your arms. The riches of your love will always be enough. Nothing compares to your embrace. Light of the world forever reign."
-Forever Reign sung by Kristian Stanfill

I think words are amazing. The breadth of the human language is incredible to me. There are all of these amazing words that you can just pick out of the air. Words that describe the exact pinpoint of a feeling, emotion or situation. A word like effervescent or gumption. What about the word propinquity or scintillating? They are so beautiful, aren't they? They just make me excited! Sometimes it is as if I know there is a word out there, a magnificent word that expresses by exact sentiment, but I just can't put my finger on it. The curse of a limited vocabulary. Sometimes I use a word I did not even realize I knew. Its like someone just gave me a present and when it opens up. . . oh I love it.

This is what is amazing to me. God gave us the ability to have all these amazing words in our language that can conjure up so much meaning. He let us be so creative in our language.

But there are a few words, ones that are pretty common, that mean more than any of the others. Words like,  Jesus. Savior. Prince of Peace. Lord. Roll those on your tongue for a moment. Close your eyes and picture them. Jesus. Perhaps it is the most powerful word or name on my tongue. For when that word comes to mind I feel peace. I feel longing yet contented. I feel safe.

The human vocabulary. It is amazing isn't it? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Dreams Are Back!

Praise the Lord my dreams are back!

I have spent the last two to three months dreamless. Not dreamless while I sleep mind you. My mind is like a never-ending story that keeps talking to me long after I have stopped listening. The kinds of dreams I lost were the ones you have about the rest of your life. Dreams like, I want to be the ice cream man, or I want to have three baby girls and be a nun. (All dreams I once had in my lifetime. I know. I have lofty goals).

You see, 9 months ago I had dreams for my future and then God changed them. Completely. He took me to places I never dreamed of going, where in truth I did not particularly want to go. So I gave up my dreams. I figured, if God was going to change my plans anyway, why have them? Why not just let Him take the reigns completely?

News flash to myself: That was dumb. That is not at all what God intended.

Here is what happened tonight:

Tonight I went to happy hour with my professor and some other students. I broached a subject with him that had been on my mind since last quarter. He had said in class that if our appearance as Americans is going to prohibit our gospel message, then maybe we should not go. Well I freaked out! Heeelllloooooo I am quintessentially American looking. I am tall, blond....tall and blond...American! So I took that as, crap! All my dreams are out the window because I look too American to be a missionary. My talkative brain ate my last dream and refused to open its mouth.

So tonight, (praise be to God) I asked Dr. Myers what I should do in light of that. His response was a straight-faced "That wasn't what I meant at all." (Note to self: Apparently I get things wrong sometimes. This is why clarification is always a good idea.) He explained: It is not how you look that matters, it is how you act. It is your heart and your attitude. For example, if I went abroad and acted like a valley girl, that is what they expect of me. That prohibits an effective sharing of the gospel. But if I go and I love and I work hard to understand their culture and I break the stereotype of an American girl, then I can be most effective.

In fact, he suggested that I use the way I look to my advantage on the mission field. Because I stand out, I should use that as a platform to be something different than they expect. A platform by which I can portray an effective gospel message and people will listen.

Praise the Lord my burdens were lifted! Here I was giving up on missions because of what I thought he meant, when in fact I was completely wrong. Praise the Lord for correcting my misunderstandings!

So world! My dreams are back! And they are not leaving this time. Shall I share some with you?

-I dream of working internationally to serve God in a global context. Perhaps in Latin America, for that was always a dream of mine.
- I dream of having a husband who loves the Lord and wants to serve Him missionally by my side.
- I dream of being able to travel and raising my children with an awareness of the world around them.
- And one day, living near my friends. Living close enough that I can see them twice a year at least.

The world becomes very dry when we lose sight of our dreams. It becomes very empty. Yes, we are to have an eternal perspective and we are to trust God, but part of being on this earth is making something of ourselves so that God can use us.

Thank you God for making me see my misunderstandings.

Disclaimer: Obviously it is now obvious that I make mistakes and don't always understand things. I am constantly learning and in learning I am constantly changing my mind and opinions. This blog is a reflection of that process. So take everything I say with a grain of salt and feel free to disagree with me. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Defining Moments

What have been your defining moments?

Yesterday I was learning about Saint Francis. I'll admit, I wasn't listening to the whole lecture, but I did take away this little tidbit:

Before Francis was a saint he was a good guy. He loved God and His creation, but he had a great fear of lepers. I imagine that in the Middle Ages lepers will still just as much outcasts as they were in Jesus' time. It would have been natural to fear the disease that could spread from them. Society probably said to avoid them, but God had not forgotten them.
You see, one day God changed things for Francis. As he was going down the street in his normal fashion, he saw a leper begging on the side of the road. He had seen plenty of lepers on the road before, but at this moment something came over him. He stopped. He bent down. He gave the leper some money. And then he embraced the leper and kissed him.

As he puts it, what had been sour to him was now sweet. What had been feared was now embraced. Because on that road God stirred in his heart and changed something. For Francis, this was a turning point in his life, a defining moment. He went from hating the lepers to walking with them in ministry. All because he listened when God told him to love the leper on the road.

So this is my question:

What are the moments that have defined your life, changed your path?

And what if. . .what if we are too busy to notice the leper on the street? What if we are so caught up in hating and fearing that which we don't understand that we miss the defining moment God is trying to show us? I am personally challenged to pray for those things which I fear or want to stay far from. I want to pray that God will renew my heart to the people and the things of this world that make me nervous or uncomfortable, so that His love can spread from my arms and embrace everyone in His creation. I don't want to miss my defining moments because of fear.

I refuse to miss God's direction and calling in my life because I am too busy to notice the leper on the side of the street.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I started this blog in order to record my adventures. Thus, because of my lack of adventure posting you may think I have settled into the dull and normal life of a seminary student. My dear friends, this is not true!

Adventures in Seminary:

1. I discovered a deep love for broccoli. So much goodness in such tiny trees!

 2. I stayed up until midnight writing a paper. I did not work ahead. (seriously, don't scoff. This is crazy for me.)

3. I chose to cheer for a certain Super Bowl team NOT because of their jerseys. Woooaaahh. Instead I rooted for the one with the quarterback who was most likely to be nice. Obvs. Manning>Brady.

4. I bought the expensive kind of ice cream...twice.

The list goes on and on my friends! Adventures are high here in Southern California. Next week I might even go so far as to cook a real dinner!

Aren't you glad you invest in reading this blog??

Friday, February 3, 2012

Electric Smetric, I want my mountains!

I welcome myself back to this blog with a rant, dedicated to Nissan and their 100% electric car Leaf.

Dear Nissan,

You make it seem really great to have car that does not run on gas. Many consumers might think that it will save the world and natural resources, and look super cool to drive (the latter may be true). But let me ask you one question, do you know where electricity comes from?
Pick me! I do! I can tell you! Coal-fired power plants.
Did you know that coal is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels?
Did you know that the more coal we use, the more they will strip mine the Appalachain mountains, literally blowing the tops off of God's creation?
So in conclusion, the electric car is really just as bad an idea in regards to natural resources as the gasoline car.

So is a smart car really that smart?


I Took Environmental Science in College (and I think it made me smart)

p.s. My next blog post will be much more spiritual and informative. Forgive me for this tirade.