Friday, January 30

Holiday Needed

Working with some people can be rather difficult. Its the personality differences that can be like a pebble in the shoe. Little things are made into big things or negative things. When you work on a smaller team, those differences are noticed even faster...this has been confirmed to me at a few different places I've worked.

Regardless if the person has a relationship with God or not, I try to be a kind, gracious person who shows the love of Christ. Usually I can handle the complaints well, trying to show a positive spin on the negative perspectives or graciously listen to what is said. However I am not perfect and usually after a cyclical amount of time, I get to a "breaking point." I get to the point where I feel snappy, short-fused, and desperate for coffee breaks away from anyone. At these moments, I know I need a vacation or at least a weekend. Two days away from normality for me to refresh and rest so that I can be a better person upon my return.

The song below reminds me to love. It also reminds me that "loving me the way I am" is no small thing either...I too am far from perfect.

"Loving a person just the way they are
it's no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change
sometimes we're waiting
We need grace either way

Hold on to me I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

There's a lot of pain in reaching out and trying
It's a vulnerable place to be
Love and pride can't occupy the same spaces baby
Only one makes you free

Hold on to me I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

If we go looking for offense
We're going to find it
If we go looking for real love
We're going to find it"

By Sara Groves and Gordon Kennedy

Wednesday, January 28

My Car is Going to the Shop

I own a 2000 Ford Focus. I've had this particular car since August, 2006, I believe. This is my 2nd Ford Focus (the first one I owned was before Germany). All cars have their own quirks but after owning two Ford Focuses, I will never own another. They are not bad cars...I'm just tired of "dealing" with the Focus' quirks.

About a year after purchasing my current car I noticed one day that my speedometer dropped down to zero while I was driving. Nothing happened to my car...I continued driving...and eventually the speedometer popped back up to where it should be. This has been happening ever since. The time between drops and for lengths of drops is quite random. I've lived with this for a year approximately.

Last November I finally decided to take it to a Ford shop to get them to fix it. However, I was concerned when, upon describing my car's problem to the service man, I was told "they've never heard of this happening before!" Oh good! It pretty much became a guessing game then. When they connected the car's computer to their diagnostics thing, it shows sporadic bursts of loss of power. The recommended solution was to clean all the cables in the car. $400 dollars later my car was in no better shape. The next recommended solution was to replace the battery, which I did (at a cheaper place)...still the problem continues.

A few weeks ago, to my joy and delight, I was talking with a friend about my car woes and he told me that he owned a Ford Focus that acted in very similar ways....yay, I wasn't alone! So I went online and found what I needed...a page that explains "common Ford Focus problems" and solutions on how to fix them.

Tonight I'm taking my car into the Ford shop (again!) and this time I'm taking that stinkin' piece of paper I printed up with ideas on how they can fix my silly car! Hopefully this will be the end of the speedometer saga.

Friday, January 23

A Little Bit of Grace

Yesterday and today have found me extremely frustrated at work. I seem to have a handful of "emergency" situations and find myself with my hands tied, so to speak, by waiting on others to return emails and phone calls. I work in the food industry, which has been a good job but is definitely not where I am called long-term. So, in the midst of my frustration, I keep thinking, "If only I was in ministry...and not here." As if by being in a different job, the job I'm heading towards, I'd be free of frustrations or would be better able to handle them.

It dawned on my just a moment ago that I am called here to the food industry. God has me in this job for His timing and purpose. Yes, this may not be a life-changing eternal-impacting type of job but I am here nonetheless and have the opportunity to touch many people lives by the way I interact with them.

I just need to show others a bit of grace, understanding that I don't know what is going on at their work and they need support, not condemnation or judgment. God has shown me oodles of grace that I did not deserve, even now when I'm slightly cranky.

Tuesday, January 20


From 2004 to 2006, I had the privilege of serving in Germany, at a boarding school, as a Missionary Associate, with the Christian & Missionary Alliance ( My time there was probably the best two years of my life in terms of ministry and relationships and the hardest two years of my life in terms of growth and relationships. I've discovered that when you begin to serve within a denomination (assuming that similar experiences happen in other denominations), the world becomes smaller, especially when serving overseas. You build connections with people which lead to connections with more people. It's a pretty amazing thing to be a part of. In seconds, strangers can become have other friends in common along with a life focus to serve in ministry.

This week is missions week at my church. One week every year, my church has about 3 missionaries join us for a week of activities. I have loved this week ever since I started my church about 20 years ago. The stories and lives of the missionaries has always captivated me, making me yearn with possibilities. This year, one of the couples we are blessed with is a couple serving in Bosnia Herzegovina. In the C&MA, Bosnia is part of the Balkan field, which includes Macedonia and Kosovo. Because of my time in Germany, I know four families that serve in the Balkan field, friends and co-workers of the couple now at my church. It is such a blessing to be able to talk about some of my kids/families, with someone who knows them! It has made me miss my kids terribly but also has been sweet just to think and remember them!

Friday, January 16

No Sweeter Name

The following song has been playing over and over in my head the last couple days as I have been feeling heavy-hearted and tired. Christ has encouraged me through little blessings, like last night when an extra activity was cancelled from my schedule! The Lord is taking care of me and I'm thankful for the reminder.

No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus, no sweeter name have I ever known
No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus
No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus, no sweeter name have I ever known
No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus

You are the life to my heart and my soul
You are the light to the darkness around me
You are the hope to the hopeless and broken
You are the only truth and the way

by Kari Jobe

Wednesday, January 14

A Tale of Two Churches

Have I mentioned that I attend two churches?

Church #1--Grew up in this church and have attended for 20 years. I'm a member here, serve in AWANA, part of a young ladies group, attend morning service, etc, etc...

Church #2--I needed to observe a group for one of my classes, in Sept...I chose to observe the youth group here since its the same denomination as #1 and would be very easy to obtain information on me for liability sake, if needed! I haven't left. I am now regularly attending the youth group, attending morning service and am now part of a young ladies group here.

Yep, sounds busy! It is busy and sometimes chaotic. I now have twice as many church activities to consider.

#1 doesn't typically have Sunday evening programs to conflict with #2's youth services but it has happened a few times in the 4 months I've been around at #2. It feels a bit like a tug of war inside me...I'm commited to the youth group but #1 is my home church, my family...I want to participate in #1's events but feel guilty for missing youth group.

One of my new friends from #2 told me early on that she's not sure how long I can handle two churches...I'm starting to wonder this myself. This is not to imply anything but I am certainly in need of God's wisdom...especially for when school starts again next month.

Monday, January 12

Little Bits of Goodness

This weekend found me moody, sad, and tired (both sleepy tired and emotional tired). Saturday was the birthday of a dear friend of mine who died 6 months ago. Plus I joined a Bible Study group that now meets every Saturday morning at 9 am, which isn't super early but Saturday is really my only day to sleep in and not set my alarm clock. Plus, I was gone all day yesterday to do various activities. I'm a person who re-energizes by having quiet time at home...which really didn't happen this weekend.

Anyhow, at church on Sunday, I was moaning of my sorrowful state to a couple friends, who kindly sympathized with me. But something surprisingly happened after mood lifted and I ended up enjoying my Sunday afternoon, which I wasn't expecting to enjoy. My sister had planned a game party with a few friends and it ended up being fun, lighthearted, and chance to laugh. One cannot stay moody, sad, and tired when laughing with friends!

Thursday, January 8

A Wee Bit of Water

There is a song or saying that says "no man is an island." While that certainly may be true it doesn't mean that islands cannot be created.

In December, Washington received about 12-18 inches of snow in our neck of the works (around Seattle). Now the snow is melting and have created avalanches over the two major highways that run east to west. Plus we received the "Pineapple Express"...warm rainy weather from Hawaii which not only aided the avalanches but have also contributed to the rise of our rivers through buckets of rain (which the melting snow and avalanches are also helping with). Needless to say I-5, which runs north to south, is also closed to the north of us and to the south of us. We have become an island. The only way in or out is by boat or plane! :)

Thankfully the next few days are supposed to be clear skies and little rain...hopefully that will help the rivers to recede. So many unfortunately people have had to evacuate and are facing huge losses. It's been one thing after another here.

Friday, January 2

Resolutions or Goals for 2009

I think setting goals is typically a good thing, if only for the fact that it makes you think about your life and refocus your direction. Every year I tend to look back at the past year, assess what I've experienced and what I've learned and then look forward to what could be.

This year is mildly important as I will be turning 30 in about 5 months. I know 30 is just another age but it feels like a bit of a mile-marker and therefore, I'd like to make 2009 a year where I continue to enrich my life. I have come up with the following resolutions/goals:

--Minimize spending, increase saving. Between school and rent, I naturally don't have a bunch of extra money but I do have a bunch of things in my apt that I don't really need. To accomplish this, I'd like to cut out all fast food or coffee trips. I also spend a fair chunk of my money on books, movies, and music...with the exception of school books, I should try to utilize my library card anything something is wanted. Honestly, I'm not too concerned with the saving part of my goal...if I have more money in my bank account I will be more inclined to give it away or use it to visit someone, both of which I believe are valuable and good.

--Live a more healthy life. Making intentional choices to eat more fruit/veggies, drink 8 cups of water, cut down on sweets by not buying them in the first place, and trying to fit exercise into my life. I've been disciplined before...I know I can do it again!

--Take two or three trips this year: one to visit grandparents in California, one to visit friends in Calgary, and one to visit the countries I love the most: Holland and Germany. The last one entirely depends on plane tickets costs. If this trip doesn't happen, then I will most definitely accomplish the California and Calgary trips.

--Do my best in graduate school...ideally get an "A" in all my classes.

--Get together once every other month with someone for coffee...six times in one year...I can definitely handle that!

Well, those are a good start. I should probably hash out details more for the first two goals, in order to be successful. Good luck with your resolutions! May God give you wisdom and strength to accomplish all that's good!

Thursday, January 1

Revisiting Goals

Back on November 24th, I wrote a list of things I wished to accomplish during my two months off of school. I know I'm a little over the half-way point but thought I'd revisit my list to chart the progress.

So here is my wish list for all the things I hope to accomplish during that time:
--crochet one baby blanket and scarf...completed both...I'll try to post a photo later.
--clean my poor neglected apt which was been crying for attention for months (this includes throwing out oodles of junk that I don't need!)...I started this and have already given away a stack of books and clothes. I have another pile of stuff I'll be giving away. But I don't feel like I've simplified my apt too much! Maybe I'll try to do more in January.
--re-read Harry Potter series (not a necessity but would enjoy it!)...completed this! I read the whole series in December and loved them all over again!
--finally clean my car...won't even think to mention how long it's been!...ummm...nope...still a mess
--create a "ministry resume"...started this...will finish this month.
--help out more with the youth group, with planning or whatever is needed...I've put the offer out there to help more but haven't really done anything.
--email people I've neglected to let them know I'm alive and still care!...I've emailed a few people...could/should do more!
--save money...this is a prayer request and "to-do" item...sigh...the Lord has help me with this one! I can't say I've saved much but I've been able to pay off several bills.