Tuesday, November 30

Practicing deep breathing!

My life feels like its spinning wildly around me...I'm trying to focus on something, anything but often feel like I'm just standing there in the middle watching the blur around me.

Work has picked up, which is a good time in light of this economy. There are higher demands, more frequent requests, and lots more paperwork needed...that last of which makes me want to sigh deeply. I can't seem to stay on top of it all. Then in addition to this is the accounting side...processing invoices, reconciling brokerage, pulling out orders and filing them away. This side has been sadly neglected because it's not urgent. Then on top of that, it's the Christmas season which means I need to put together and assemble the Christmas card/letter that we send out to 300 people. While this isn't important at all in my mind, it obviously cannot be put off indefinitely or it will become a New Year's letter or Valentine's letter...not so great as it is on Christmasy paper.

And then there's school. I have two weeks left of this class (hooray!). While the pace isn't necessarily picking up it definitely adds to my daily load. I usually work on homework during my lunch hours but today and yesterday, I didn't even take the hour due to work commitments. That simply means more to do in the evening. Finish well is my motto for school. Sadly, this doesn't even account for my thesis paper which is lingering...hanging...fermenting...neglected. It will definitely get my attention as of December 12th.

And then in my longing to move out of this particular job and into ministry, I'm looking and thinking and praying. There's a verse in the Bible where it says the Spirit hears our groanings as prayers...I feel like I am mentally or emotionally groaning with uncertainty, pleading for wisdom and direction from God. Even when I'm not speaking, it's weighing on my mind to a degree. I applied to a school in the Dominican Republic but am feeling a bit hesitant. Is the hesitancy my own uncertainties due to a new unknown scenario or is it God closing the door? I also found out a boarding school in Korea is hiring...I would love to apply but am I just retreating to the ministry I "know" because it's easier than waiting for something different? Questions, questions, questions...

Lastly, there's the current holiday season and daily living activities. Christmas parties, chiropractor appointments, Christmas plays, exercise, Christmas dinners, meetings, Christmas shopping, Sunday school teaching and on and on...while I enjoy most of what is on the calendar, at this moment it's just more on my plate.

Thank goodness for coffee breaks...10 minutes to run away from my work commitments. Thank goodness for blogs and friends who make me laugh or smile or think about something other than my life. Thank goodness that God is in control because I certainly am not.

Saturday, November 27

My stint in the college choir

I like to sing and like to think that I'm okay at it. I've been in a few choirs, have sung a few solos, and helped on a worship team a time or two.

When I first transferred to Bible College, I decided to join the school choir. I lasted for one semester. But even though the class was not enjoyable, I do have one funny memory from that time.

My college had two choirs: a select choir and a general choir. I was in the general choir. Every year, my college would give a Christmas concert before the students left and that concert would always be the Handel's Messiah. The general choir would sing some of the Handel's Messiah songs, the select choir sang some others and then together we all sang the Hallelujah chorus. The select choir was small and was expected to know and perform the Handel's Messiah perfectly. The general choir was expected to do our best. We were told that it was okay if we didn't have it down pat as the select choir would carry us and the performance. From what I remember, the teacher rushed us through our practice classes, not giving enough time for some of us (i.e., me) to really learn our parts. I am an alto and for some of these songs I had a hard time hearing the alto part and I didn't have the foresight to practice out of class.

Anyhow, the night of the performance came. I was standing on the risers with a group of my "general choir" friends and the Hallelujah chorus started. I knew going into this evening that I did not fully know my part, however in hopes that other people did and especially the select choir, I figured that during the parts where I was uncertain, I would just quietly mumble/sing and then fully participate in the areas I did know. Well, about half way through the Hallelujah chorus, I noticed that all of my surrounding friends were doing the same thing.

"(mumbling) And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
(loudly) Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

This one section of the choir, of which I was a part, kept bursting out our "Hallelujah's" but very clearly did not confidently know the other parts. We all realized this together about half way through the song and started laughing. Clearly, laughing in the middle of a school-wide, city-invited concert is not a good or recommended thing...especially when singing a reflective memorable song like the Hallelujah chorus. We quickly contained ourselves, choking back the laughter and focusing on the singing but I looked to the audience to see the president of the school glancing in our direction just before we were back in control. Despite the embarrassment of being caught, that remains a hilarious moment to me.

To this day, whenever I hear the Hallelujah chorus, I always think of that time and will mimic that choir experience.

Wednesday, November 24

Count Your Blessings

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

--Johnson Oatman, Jr. and Edwin Excell

Tuesday, November 23

Thanksgiving Quotes

**I feel like I should put a disclaimer that these don't necessarily reflect my views...I just thought they were funny! :)

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?

--Erma Bombeck

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.

--Jon Stewart

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.

--Johnny Carson

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!


Monday, November 22

A reflection on gratitude

For any non-USA readers, if you can't tell from this week's posts, we are approaching Thanksgiving, which is on Thursday.

On the radio this morning, the question of the day was "what are you thankful for?" A fairly simple question but I immediately thought of a quote I heard from a concert I attended last Friday night (Over the Rhine and Lucy Wainwright Roche). Over the Rhine said "comparison is the thief of joy."

It is "easy" to be thankful when Thanksgiving is coming, following by the Christmas season. It's a time of joy, celebration, good food, new memories, seeing friends or loved ones, and reflection on God's provision both through the birth of Christ and throughout the past year. But what about the rest of the year. Should we not be thankful during January to October? And if so, then what keeps us from being thankful?

I think having a thankful heart comes from being content with what you have and with what God is doing in your life. When I choose to compare my life with where I want it to be or with the lives that others have, then suddenly I lose focus of what God is doing and only see what God hasn't done (as if we could fully see what God has or hasn't done). Needless to say, our joy is robbed during those times. It's not until we once again look to God, choosing a mind of gratitude, and trusting that His plan is good, that joy can be ours again, even if life continues to not be what we'd expect or like.

My life is so not what I would have liked or chosen it to be. However, if I had chosen my path, yes, I might be married and have some kiddos but I would have missed out on so many defining and shaping experiences that I'm glad I've had. At times it's easy for me to get stuck in an ungrateful frame of mind; seeing all the "holes" in my life. But when I look back, I see God's faithfulness and I know He hasn't changed. Okay, I'm rambling now...anyhow consider how or if "comparison is the thief of joy" in your life and then find one thing or a whole bunch of somethings that you can be grateful for.

Sunday, November 21


For three things I thank God every day of my life:
thanks that he has vouchsafed me knowledge of his works;
deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of faith;
deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to
--a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song.

--Helen Keller

Saturday, November 20

My Christmas Contributions

I decided today was a good day to bring out my few decor additions:

Left: From BFA friends
Right: From a German Christmas market

Cambodian made

Can you tell what I collect?
I love the simplicity of the nativity scene!

Wednesday, November 17

a funny little Seattle fact

If you go to downtown Seattle, a lovely, charming, diverse city, you will inevitably cross over street car lines. You know...the type of bus-looking, above-ground subwayish transportation...that goes on rails, of sorts, from point A to point B. Most cities have such transit options.

But Seattle is special.
Not too far back in history, Seattle decided that the Lake Union area needed a trolley


The trolley runs right around the bottom of Lake Union.
What apparently nobody thought of prior to creating and naming this little gem was the acronym it created: South Lake Union Trolley.

Yes, you too can go to Seattle and buy a T-shirt saying "Ride the S.L.U.T."
Tourism and marketing at its best!

Monday, November 15

Yes, it's early...

My sister found this tree at the Goodwill for $20. Since it doesn't have a box, we figured we'd might as well decorate it.

Can you tell the theme of my sister's ornaments?
It's a charming little tree!

Sunday, November 14

An Upcoming Chat

My brother, who is the youngest, grew up more or less in the same environment as my two sisters and I. He started attending church from the time he stepped out of the womb. He even gave his life to Christ when he was 7, while at Vacation Bible School. He once mentioned that he wanted to be a worship pastor, which blessed my heart immensely.

My brother has since stopped attending church and stopped trying to live a godly life. The theme for his life now is to be happy...which results in regular partying, excessive spending, and more behaviors that I am clueless about and probably don't really want to know. But despite our value differences, he is still my brother.

Thankfully I still have a decent relationship with him. About a month ago, I asked my brother if he believed in God. He said he didn't know but would be wiling to talk about it another time. We just made plans to hang out this Thursday night for that discussion.

I'd welcome your prayers...for clarity of mind, for wisdom, patience and above all, love, both in my speech and in my actions.

Wednesday, November 10

A letter

My Jesus,
Give me the grace to deal with the things I cannot change.
Patience, while I wait on your timing.
Joy, for the present.
Hope, for tomorrow.
And love, abundantly.

I know that in order to have these gifts, I must also turn my mind onto you.
I'll work on that.
You work on me.

I remain,

Tuesday, November 9

Wait patiently for the Lord

I have decided not to apply for the job in Florida. I don't feel released or free to do so. I feel like I am supposed to wait.

Wait for what? Only God knows.

At times, the waiting rather stinks because this current job sucks the energy from me. I am growing increasingly frustrated here.

I suppose I could work on my attitude. :)

I often try to remember all the good things about this job and even on my worst work days, I'm still thankful that God provided this job that meets my needs.

But I'm made for something more.

"...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus," Philippians 1:6.

"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it," I Thessalonians 5:24.

"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail, though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay," Habakkuk 2:3

Thursday, November 4

God at work...

I had decided that today I'd tell my boss, first thing in the morning before my other coworkers arrived, that I am going to apply for the job in Florida.

I couldn't do it. I chickened out and I'm not sure why.

I got to interview a friend of mine for a paper that is due next week on my interviewing skills. Spending time with a friend is always good. Hearing her story of adopting her last child was amazing. God's hand was all over choosing that boy to be a part of their family!

This Sunday is Orphan Sunday...a day to remember the oh-so-many orphans around the world. I think most of the time I shield my heart from thinking and empathizing on their behalf because the need is so huge and what can one person do? However, the reason why God charges us (the Church) to care of the widows and orphans is because they are the most vulnerable. And if God could use me to help just one person, then it's still worth it. Who knows how God might use that person to reach the world around them!

I clearly don't have all the answers because I presently do nothing...no Compassion or World Vision kids and no other consistent impact/giving to orphan ministries. But that has to change. God wants to use me and He wants to use you. The need is so great because perhaps the Church does so little...sorry, that sounds judgmental and it's not meant to be.

Sure, I'm still hoping to have a house full of orphans or vulnerable kids/youth one day...but God is calling me into action now.

Have you heard of Greg Laurie? I haven't really and feel like I should. Anyhow, he is coming to Seattle this weekend for a big event called "Harvest." There are going to be several bands: Katina, Kutless, Jars of Clay, and others. The point of this is to invite your non-Christians friends...like a revival or a crusade, I guess. They are heavily promoting it around here and on the radio. I'm not going as I have other things to do this weekend, namely homework and Sunday School preparation. But my sister mentioned that she might want to go...

Me: Really? You might go?
Amy: Yeah, except that I don't need harvesting.
Me: HAHAHAHA...you don't need to be harvested? Wow, that could have a few meanings.
Amy: hehehehe...

I love my sister.

Tuesday, November 2

Unwanted Smells

I have a strong dislike to aerosol sprays.

Maybe it's because when I worked in Germany, I lived on the boy floor...yep...me and 5 middle school boys. I loved it...well, most of it. You see, while I thankfully had my own shower and sink in my room, I had to share a bathroom/toilet with the boys. Yep...me and 5 middle school boys. You cannot even begin to imagine the smells the spread throughout the building...okay, maybe you can. It was disgusting...it was hilarious...it was life on the "farside." Early on, I learned that those room sprays were from the devil. One of those lovely boys would create such an aroma in the bathroom and then proceed to spray that flowery room fragrance until we (by "we", I mean "I") were choking from the overwhelming smells. When I say that they sprayed the room, I mean that they literally held down the spray can for 10 seconds...a lifetime...it was horrid. Needless to say, I confiscated the aerosol can and hid it in my room. When it got bad, I'd spray a little bit (1 second sprays) but I wouldn't let the boys touch it. This, my friends, does not even include the Axe deodorant sprays that these middle school boys doused themselves with. I didn't confiscate these as I could attest to their sometimes stinky sweaty smells. But when they liberally applied the Axe deodorant spray, there were some overwhelming moments. Let me tell you! (Would you believe that I wouldn't trade this for anything and would gladly work in a boys dorm again? They make me laugh so much!)

At work, we have this French Vanilla spray. My desk is closest to the bathroom and whenever my coworkers use the spray (holding down the button 3-5 seconds), I cringe. Within seconds of them coming out, the nasty fragrance hovers over my desk making me want to gag. I like Vanilla but this French Vanilla is awful!

Maybe I should give 1-second seminars on how to use aerosol sprays.
The world would be so much better.

Monday, November 1


1. I made 6 loaves of zucchini bread yesterday. My sister and I got two huge zucchini's from a lady at our church. I made Zucchini Coconut bread, Zucchini Pumpkin bread, and Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Hopefully they are all good...I diverted from the recipe. Que sera, sera!

2. I have a 7 page paper due on Wednesday, reviewing a culture. I have 6.5 pages left to type.

3. I also am scheduled to teach Sunday School, this Sunday, on Jeremiah 1-26, to middle schoolers.

4. Between 2 and 3, I have a lot of work to do this week.

5. I actually got trick and treaters yesterday! The first time that's happened since I've lived in the apartment.

6. I was on the radio this morning, oh so briefly. The discussion theme on the radio today was to share your favorite Bible verse at the moment. I called in to share Habakkuk 2:3. Hearing yourself on the radio is a strange thing.

7. I'm considering a job in Florida. The diagonally opposite corner from where I live. Florida!?!?!?! It's a job at a camp...I emailed the head lady a couple questions. Depending on what she says will determine if I apply or not.