Monday, February 22, 2010

not me! monday...

I have seen many people do this and I thoroughly enjoy reading other people's I thought I'd share my own. What is a "not me" Monday? It is when you lay out some of those funny confessions that you would never do...right? Here goes nothing...

I ate a big lunch yesterday, which kept me full for most of the day. I ended up going to a show that lasted till about I pretty much skipped dinnertime. I did not eat two slices of cheese and a bowl of ice cream when I got home at I would never do that! I always eat healthy!

I also did not leave all of my clean laundry in my laundry basket in the corner of my room...I always put my laundry away right away! I definitely never leave it on my chair for days...sometimes not putting it away at all, just wearing the clothes until they are gone. I never do that!!! Nope, not me!

And finally, I definitely keep my car clean at all times. I do not have a spot behind the passenger seat where I carelessly toss trash even though I keep a bag back there for such purposes and I do not use things like the rainy weather or having to park far away as an excuse not to clean it out!

Haha, so got any "not me" confessions? I certainly do not have any more than this...

mawwage is what bwings us together todayyyy

It is the year of weddings. I personally know of 8 couples who have/will be getting married this year. That is a lot of weddings...OH, and I am a bridesmaid in one of those weddings in July. What stands out to me though is that in the last month, I have had several conversations with random people about when I am going to get married. Random people. Like a wedding guest at a wedding I went to in January, a guy who I casually know as a friend, another guy who I have not had regular conversations with in about 3 years, a person I work with at the Department of Rehabilitation several other friends. And the answer is...I don't know. Could it happen this year? Yes. Is it likely to happen this year? Uh...I'd wager no if I had to bet on it...but it is not impossible. Could I met the one this year? Most definitely. And I am praying for it.

It's like I have to fight off the "eyes on the prize" mentality, and keep focused on Jesus. My prayer this morning was not to have my husband...I have him. He exists somewhere! He just hasn't been found in my life yet. My prayer was for patience while I wait. For grace in my emotions. And for hope that I will know him soon. I know he is coming. God has made me that promise. I want to cling to God...and not the thing...the thing of marriage. I do find it amusing that my (future) marriage has been quite the topic lately. Maybe it means something, and maybe it doesn't. But I am excited for that day. I know it will be great.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

part time mother and other little titles

I feel like I could be acquiring new job titles with all that I have been up to lately...and really in fact I do have at least one legitimate one- "Respirator". What does that mean? As you well know, I am quite the fan of NeedToBreathe and their street team is referred to as the Breathers. So, of course to keep in line with the play on words, the leaders of the street team are known as the Respirators. I am the Respirator for San Luis Obispo. And I think this is pretty fantastic. I was already doing a lot of what the job requires...promoting the shows in your area. The position did not exist before though...they only had openings in L.A. and San Francisco. But I was encouraged to apply any way to see if there was something I could do. Ultimately, they ended up adding SLO to their tour, which facilitated the need for a person like me! It's fun and I get to meet some awesome people too. I will meet several of them face to face in North and South Carolina in just two months!

I have been spending lots of time watching kids as well, hence the title of "part time mother". I added up the hours I actually watched kids this week and it was a grand total of 16!!! It was supposed to be more, but things worked out that I did not end up doing it on two occasions.

Anyway, I have been busy and enjoying it! I love growing as a person and learning. I feel like I am becoming more responsible, but having fun, and am excited to one day have kids of my own!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

dinosaurs, moose and faith

You may be thinking, "What the heck do these have in common?". The answer is lots...especially for me this morning. I started out my day today in a most fantastic way...I went to watch two of my favorite little boys. At 5:30 am. Say what? Yes, 5:30 am. They, of course, sleep until 6:30-7, so I have a good hour to kill before then. I use that time to spend time reading God's word and asking Him to speak to my heart about the day. I began to read Mark 4 and came across a verse I have probably read a MILLION times...

"And He was saying to them, "Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides." But for the first time, I really understood the line "by your standard of measure". My standard. Whether I measure in faith or negativity, it will be measured to me. My choice. My decision. This line is preceded by a warning. Take care what you listen to. Guard your mind. We have four voices we can listen to- God's, our own, other people, and the devil. Pretty simple. How often do we put those last three voices at a higher volume than God's? Honestly, for me, a lot. WOW.

Then the text continues to where Jesus is on the boat with His disciples and the storm hits. Jesus is sleeping while the disciples are freaking out. When they wake Him up, Jesus' reply is "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Jesus said they were going to the other side...yet, their fear overtook them because they listened to the wrong voice.

I finished my time of reading and being blown away by the fresh revelation of His word, and the boys soon wake up. We are off to the adventure of what to have for breakfast and finding games to play. Soon I was storming around the house with a mighty "rawr", pretending to be a tall dinosaur with short arms who attacked little boys with her tickle skills. From one side of the house to the other, I went back and forth between the two boys, each one "hiding" in their own spot. It felt like I was a part of a storybook like "Where the Wild Things Are". And they laughed...sometimes even before I would get a chance to tickle them. We moved quickly to the "smush" game where my legs and feet became the gauntlet to see if the brave boys could make it through withstanding the "smush". It was a challenge, just difficult enough for them to fight and wiggle their way through, but not too hard as to discourage them from conquering!

About this time, I realized that time was moving closer to when I needed to leave so I could finish getting ready for work. Today held no flexible schedule...I had a class to teach at 9am. I got a phone call from the parents, explaining a situation out of their control (and mine), which would put them awfully close to coming home right when I needed to leave. I had a choice to make. Usually this is when the freak out cue comes in for me and all I want to do is "AHHHHHHHHH" because things are not going as planned. But instead I let go of control and believed that God could simply make it work. After all, I was there to bless the parents so they could spend time with Him, and He also knows that I had responsibilities for the day. Why would He let me down? I resumed playing with these delightful boys, laughing and talking and a little bit of squealing. :)

The older one wanted to color, and decided I needed to color "Nemo". Both boys began to color, and I began to draw a of their favorite animals to talk about. I look back now and realize that I could have missed out on this fun interaction and the joy it brought if I had decided to brood over my lack of control. Instead, I ended up drawing a family of moose...big ones, tiny ones...all upon the insistence of the older boy. When I finished, the parents rushed in...about 10 minutes before I had planned to leave my house for work...haha, and here I was still in comfy clothes and NO makeup. Hardly a sight that I wanted 5-10 people staring at all day while I enlightened them with the ways of CPR. Of course, I planned some cushion time, but it almost seemed inevitable that I would be late.

A funny thing happened though. I got home, got dressed, put on makeup and jewelry, made sure my hair was not a mess, made coffee and threw together a lunch...all in 15 minutes. No joke, I got to my class with 10 minutes to spare, so that my class would be ready to begin on time. I had just enough time. By the standard of my measure, it was given to me. I am SO glad I chose faith this morning. It has marked my day as the circumstances have piled up in interesting ways...but I have continued to see through the testing that my faith has produced good results. Let's not even imagine how it all would have happened if I chose fear. I smile instead at the image of me as a dinosaur and the sound of robust giggles that poured out from two of the sweetest boys I know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This will only make sense to those who use facebook but do you notice when you lose "friends"? I do. I have a weird memory that causes me to notice things that are different, like the number of friends I have. Today I lost 2. Two people are no longer my "friend" on facebook. Honestly, I am not sure who they are, and may not even be able to tell you by looking through my 300+ friends...but at the same time, I feel a little sad when that happens. It's like, "hey, why aren't we friends anymore?" Did I do something wrong? Did you quit facebook? Okay, I don't dwell on it really but it is a fleeting thought, especially when two in one day fall off my list. Hmmm...makes you think. Our world is SO much different than it used to be.

I've talked about this before, but I wonder how I feel this tiny pain at this "loss" and how other people feel. How much they put into this social network, and how "social" it really is. Don't get me wrong, I love facebook. I can check in on any friend's life at any time, and leave fun notes or pictures or videos...or invite everyone to the NeedToBreathe concert and keep them posted very easily. But we have to be careful not to let it become our social thing. Know what I mean? Anyway, I will go to bed wondering who is gone from that little world, but grateful to know the real relationships I have to wake up to. Good night Internet world. :)

cultivating life

(I wrote this a while back for a different project that has not yet come to be... thought I'd share it now.)

About a year ago, I acquired a plant as a means to bring more life to my dungeon-like office. There are no windows to the outside, except in the doorframes, and even those are covered in curtains. The presence of this little plant has transformed my desk, along with a few colorful pictures, making it feel more pleasant to work around. Not long ago, I walked into my office and saw my poor plant looking like it was on the edge of death...wilted and sad. It had been about six days since I last watered it, plus a long hot weekend in the middle. The combination practically killed it!

This has happened before, but it had never been this bad. I was not sure that this time my plant would recover, especially since I am not known to have a “green thumb”. In my case, it is more brown than green! However, since I have grown fond of having this plant, I did what anyone else would do...I added some water and moved it to a little more sunlight hoping it would perk up. And then, I waited. I hoped my plant would come back to life….even just moving it off my desk toward the sun made my desk look so empty.

Each plant is different, and has varying responses to these environmental situations. No matter what though, if left on its own, the plant would not last very long. It needs someone to water and care for it, or it will die. I realized that this plant's experience is not unlike our own. We, like the plant, can usually make it for a little while just fine, not needing anything extra to help us keep going. After a while though, if we do not get the nourishment we need and some negative circumstances come along (say, like the extreme heat for the plant), we begin to wilt and fade.

We can carry and manage a lot...that is an incredible characteristic of the human spirit. But that very characteristic can also be our downfall. If we continue to try doing things in our own strength, we eventually tire, and in essence, lose the life in us. We go through the motions, but without joy. We keep going, thinking things will get better if we just work hard enough. It just never seems to be enough.

My life is a good example of this. I have long been an independent sort of person, going, going, going, until I am so tired I want to hide away for a bit and have no responsibility at all. If I am overwhelmed, I shut down…but for the most part, I feel comfortable taking the lead and getting things done. I am the person who would rather carry 10 grocery bags in one shot than make two trips or ask someone for help. Reality is that I waste more time and energy in the times I crashed from exhaustion than had I made the decision to stop and lean on something greater than myself. The momentum is lost when I become overwhelmed. Then, like the plant, I have to rebuild the strength I need to stand tall and keep living.

My plant’s story has a happy ending; I walked in the next day to see how it was faring, and amazingly, it was right back to its perky self. This plant surely was made for people like me…resilient to lack of care. I imagine that if my plant were intended to grow much bigger than it is now and I kept neglecting it, it would greatly hinder its growth. The energy spent to bring it back to life every time it lost its nutrients would take up the energy it needed to grow.

We are intended for greater things than a life of going through the motions. Jesus said in the book of John, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” We need to focus on cultivating life and growth, so that in the long run, we do not look back and see that our lives mirror the wilted plant. So, take some time to drink up and rest. I will also make sure my little plant gets the care it needs! Maybe I should go buy it an aqua globe…

car adventures

I was thinking about my car the other day, and how blessed I am to have one. I would LOVE to own a new car, one that doesn't have its issues popping up on a fairly regular basis, one just waiting to begin its many, many miles on the road. But I have a car, a pretty good one. And it, like the one before it, has its own story to tell. I have had quite the adventures with my two cars that I have owned.

The first was a red, two door Saturn coupe, dubbed "Indie" which was short for independence. It was, after all, my first first taste of freedom. I loved that little car! It, however, began to create some hiccups...making some substantial dents in my wallet! The alternator, a wheel baring, some crazy expensive work on the engine, the water pump which led to the radiator, and finally sudden unexplainable death. It's amazing though how much God used this little car to show me His provision and faithfulness. Because, you see, along with all of those hiccups were blessings...mechanics allowing me to make payments, someone paying off the remainder of what I owed (to the tune of $560), a personal mechanic who loathed the sight of my car after fixing it for almost two years for the cost of parts (he just wanted to serve and bless...such a God send!), an adventure with an El Camino for a week which required the use of a phone book so I could reach the pedals, and eventually a new used car that was even less than I was praying for! At first, each hiccup would consume me with stress...I was working a lot, but was just learning how to manage all of my finances. Car repairs are not cheap, and I often did not have the money. But God faithfully worked out each circumstance and situation, even when I was barely standing in faith that He would. I refused to ask for help for a long time, and learned that I was holding myself back from blessings when I did that! Through the trials of Indie, I cried many tears of joy as God's hand moved to ensure His daughter was taken care of.

Not my actual car...but you get the gist!

I was not wholly unprepared for the death of Indie, as my personal mechanic saw the early warning signs. We had been searching for about 6 months prior to the day she refused to start, with no real good leads. Thankfully, two days before that red car gave out, my roommate left the state for three weeks...leaving her car behind! It was Christmas time, and I was able to use her car to go to work and see my family for Christmas. It was when she came back that I found the lead to the car I now lovingly call "The MAXIMA". Not only was the price right, but I was helping a family going through some difficult times get back on their feet by taking some debt off their plate and giving them some cushion money.

The actual "MAXIMA"- said as though you were announcing a gladiator...

I felt like I had upgraded...a four door V6 engine Nissan Maxima. It is one smooth ride. Though worn on the edges, it was and is a great car. As the years passed though the Indie era, I had grown up and had the job to match. And with this job, I had to drive a lot more. The Maxima made this happen much easier and with less stress! This car was not exempt from problems, however. I really should have named it "Chekenge"- as in, check engine. Because it was a car with higher mileage, it is also prone to the ever-present check engine light. It has almost become normal for me to see it on. Sometimes, when it is not on, I check to make sure I didn't burn out the light for that bad? The light is on currently...and I need to take it in to get it checked AGAIN. I believe this is the 4th time. It's like a once a year deal, reminding me that cars need our attention too.

Despite these interesting and regular car "bumps", I have never gone without a car...whether I am blessed to borrow one (once my friend let me use her BRAND new Honda Accord with butt warmers...ahmazing!) or I am blessed to have my own. My cars really are a gift from God, as they allow me to have the job I have, and allow me to in turn bless others. I have given countless rides and let others borrow mine when needed. I am very grateful! I still dream of having a hybrid SUV...but until then I am looking forward to the many adventures left in the Maxima! I know God will make sure I am taken care of, and am praying that this car lasts to at least the 300,000 mile mark!