Monday, January 31

My time with God

When I got home last night, emotional, overwhelmed, and tired, I whisked myself to my bedroom to spend time reading the Bible and then went to bed early. Clearly sleep was needed. Mercifully, I did not dream of my thesis paper. Or work.

Anywho...I thought I'd share a snippet of what I read. I'm reading through Hebrews and came to this passage:
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:10-12
I love Hebrews 6:10...the promise that God takes note of the work and love that we show others. Sometimes, we serve in thankless jobs but it nice to know that God sees and cares and doesn't forget. Then verse 11 and 12 encourage the believer to be diligent. When we buy into the thought that our work doesn't matter or that nobody cares (so why bother?), then we (or me) are likely to slack off and/or disconnect. But we are being encouraged to not do that...rather keep pursuing and practicing hope, patience, and faith.
Be encouraged. Remain faithful.
Happy Monday.

Sunday, January 30

I am a horrible Christian

What? It's true...
I've been a Christian for 26 of my 31 years.
I've gone to church my entire average of twice a week for 52 weeks times 31.5 years for a grand total of approximately 3276 times, give or take a few dozen.
I went to a Christian school from kindergarten to grade 8.
I went to Bible College, where I got my Bachelor's in Religious Education
I became a licensed worker with my denomination (C&MA)
I served in Germany, in full-time ministry, for two years
I am going to another Bible College for my Master's of Intercultural Leadership
and for what???

Seriously, what is the point of that whole goody-two-shoes list, if I failing to serve the Lord where it counts???

How often do I fail to pray for others?
How often am I burdened for their needs, their brokenness?
How often does their brokenness and pain drive me to intercede on their behalf?
How often am I challenged to share of the Hope that can be theirs?
How often have I shared with how God has transformed my life and how He wants to transform their life too?
How often have I allowed God to use me to lead someone into a relationship with Christ and then to have the privilege to disciple them in Christ-followers?

The answer: Rarely or Never

How often do I let opportunities pass me by?
How often do I even consider that by not telling them of Christ, I am basically turning my back on them and their eternal salvation?
How often do I overlook people's needs because I'm too busy, too tired, too worried they'll think me weird, too unsure of what to say, too whatever?
How often do I tell people that I'll pray for them and then never think of their request beyond the initial comment?
How often do I commit to spending consistent time in prayer or reading God's word, so that our hearts can be united and I can be transformed, only to fail miserably?

The answer: Way too much!

I just read a book, this week: The Heart Reader (a very good and easy read, if interested). The character who challenged me the most was this old woman, in her 70's or 80's, who was ashamed of all the time that she had wasted instead of worshipping God and leading others into worship. I don't want that to be me! (As a side note, I do think that regardless of however much "we" accomplish on earth, in the face of standing before God, we will feel as if we could/should have done more.)

I've heard sermons/talks about how it doesn't matter what we do so much as it matters of who we are in God (our identity in Christ). But honestly, can I identify myself as a Christ-follower when I fail to imitate Christ?

I think I need some re-wiring.
I need God to strip me down, give me an electric shock, and re-start the fire inside my heart.
I need God to give me His eyes to see those hurting and lost around me, His love to compel me to speak to them, and His voice to say the message that isn't in my head.
I don't need a new heart transplant just a little CPR to pump His life and purpose into me.
I want to stop being content of being the Christian who "looks good" and presents herself as godly but is really just a weak display case that blends in with all the other display cases.

I suppose the word "horrible" in my title, is a bit harsh. But I don't mind feeling the failures (as a little humility and repentance is good). I'm thankful that God hasn't written me off long ago, as deserved. And I'm thankful that Christ is willing to transform and use me. I know this is where grace, forgiveness, and "a hope and a future" come into play. And I am very thankful that God (still) sees a person worth loving and changing. There is hope for me yet (and you too, in case you need to hear that!)

So where do I go from here?

Friday, January 28

the effects of unbelief

I started reading the book of Hebrews, in my quiet time with God. It's been a little while since I last read Hebrews so I'm taking it slow. A couple chapters a day, generally with reflection.

A couple days ago, I was reading chapter 3. The latter half of the chapter talks about the Israelites wandering in the desert. The back story to this is that the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians for many years...I think it was four hundred years but I can't remember where I heard that. Anyhow, they cried out for deliverance and so God sent Moses. Almost immediately after their freedom, the Israelites begin to question whether or not they can make it to the land that God had promised them, and cried to return to their slavery. They didn't know how to live in freedom. Well, I've also heard something to the extent that the trip from Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land was only like a 10 day trip. I suppose if you are transporting approximately a million people across a desert, it could take a bit longer...up to a month, perhaps? So they reach the Promised Land, send some spies in to scope out this land, and only two of the ten come back with a "let's conquer the land" message. The rest didn't believe it was possible...too much, too big, too threatening. The ironic thing is that God has already promised them this land...hence why it is called the Promised Land (with this kind of quick thinking, it's a good thing I'm working on my Master's degree). The land was theirs. The God who had delivered them from their bondage had given them this land and would deliver them from all that was "too" much. But the spies report made the general public afraid and they refused to claim their inheritance. At this point, God said "enough!" and allowed this group to roam around in the desert for 40 years. 40 years!!! Until every single person, minus the two "let's conquer the land" spies, had died, leaving their descendants to claim the land. For 40 years, their inheritance sat there, uninhabited by them, as they remained homeless and essentially purposeless. It's like living in a tent when you have a furnished house that is yours for the claiming.

So why did this happen? According to Hebrews 3:19, "they were not able to enter because of unbelief." Yikes! Their unbelief prevented them from being who they were meant to be, from living where they were meant to live. They were freed from slavery only to die as slaves to their own unbelief. Such a sad story.

Naturally this got me thinking about my own life.
Do I have unbelief in my own heart?
What could unbelief be keeping me from?
What "land' has God given me to conquer, which would shape who I am and be my sweet God-given inheritance, that I might miss out on simply because of my unbelief???
How awful would it be to find out I've missed out on this inheritance because I didn't have the faith and courage to walk where God wanted me to walk, to do or say what God wanted me to do/say.

My encouragement to you is to not let unbelief keep you from what God has in store for you. The God who was faithful to you yesterday, is faithful today and will be faithful tomorrow. Where you are too weak, too small, too insignificant, God is strong, powerful, and good!

Thursday, January 27

Longing and loss

I'm kind of having a hard time lately. Well, technically, this week. It's no secret that I want to be married. I've talked about here. I've had/have friends praying with me. I've had numerous discussions with God and others about this. Seemingly to no avail (although hope remains).

Over the last month or so, I've had a keen longing for connection. The desire to love and be loved. The desire to learn about someone, laugh with them, and to feel the joy over God's provision of this man. Despite this constant longing, I've been okay. I haven't become discouraged or frustrated or lonely or anything. It's been there in the core of my heart and mind but it hasn't consumed me, which has been surprisingly nice!

However, I've had two dreams in the past week where I've found myself in a new relationship and quickly we begin holding hands. I have felt cherished and wanted in my dreams. And then I wake up, immediately very aware of my singleness. I'm not going to's been hard. The loss and heartache has weighed on me long after the dream was over.

To end on a positive note, this has kept me communicating with God...and He is my Comforter (among many other attributes). "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7  Amen.

I'll be okay.

Tuesday, January 25

my winter cheer!

A Happy List

A blog friend created a list of ten items that make her happy...she "tagged" all her readers, encouraging us to do the same. I'm happy to comply, and no, that is not the first one.

1. Missions church has a missions week every year. We are missions-oriented church year round but this week is always so special, having missionaries in our church and getting to hear about what God is doing world-wide. I love it and it is coming up next week!

2. The fact that my pants are not shrinking but I am! A very good feeling!

3. On Saturday I made banana bread in those cute little loaf pans. I had the idea to take one to my (retired) senior pastor and his wife...I ended up having a lovely chat with them for an hour. I love them.

4. Flowers. I went to the store yesterday and saw some Daffodils for sale. I bought two bunches, threw them in a vase and love the added cheer and color in my apartment, especially when it still quite dark out.

5. A miraculous story of healing. Adam was in a serious motorcycle accident and has been in a coma for the last 8 months. Over the last week or two, Adam has regained consciousness and has spoken! I actually haven't been following the blog but Amy's mom attends my church so I've been keeping tabs on this 8 month journey. All praise to the Lord!

6. I know this one is a bit redundant but things that make me laugh; whether it is other people, TV shows, books, or myself...for example, last night I was listening to my ipod, dancing around my bedroom, and laughing at myself for how stupid I must look, but not caring!

7. Hot drinks. I love my coffee, any time of day. But I also have this Pumpkin Spice herbal tea that a Canadian friend sent me that is also very good!

8. I posted this on facebook during a frustrating moment. But watching it does make me laugh. Even if you turn off the sound, it's still funny!

9. A text conversation from last night:
EC: Coffee Sunday?
Me: Yes please!
EC: Oky doky!

10. Cleaning is not my favorite thing to do...vacuuming, washing dishes, picking up items and especially dusting. However, a clean home does make me happy! It's very satisfying to walk into a clean tidy space. Oh, the second part of this is the three boxes of junk that I gave away to Goodwill in the last week! Hooray!

I know happiness can be fleeting but may there be bursts of happiness and long-lasting joy in your day!

Monday, January 24

Prayer is...

Prayer is sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart and soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to the word of God, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.

by John Bunyan

Thursday, January 20

Why I believe the Bible is true

Early on in the school year, note cards were passed out to our Awana girls (grade 3-6) on which they were given the opportunity to write down any question about God or the Bible. Our head leader took all the questions and has broken them down into three panel nights, where we (the leaders) address four different questions. Last night was the 2nd of the 3 panel nights. My question was "how do we know the Bible is true and not just made up to start a new religion?" Good question!

Here's my multi-faceted answer:

First, the Bible was written by 40 different authors, over a span of 2000 years plus/minus a couple hundred years. Moses didn't know Ezekiel who didn't know Peter. And yet! in all 66 books of the Bible there is one consistent message, which is that God sent Jesus to be our Savior/Redeemer, to have a relationship with us. From Genesis to Revelations, that message is given. The reason why is because although there are over 40 writers, technically, there is only one author: God. In II Timothy 3:16, it says that all Scripture is God-breathed. God breathed the words into the hearts of the writers. But even if you don't believe the Bible is God-breathed, it is still pretty miraculous that all 66 books are consistent in their message, when they were written in different times, countries, and languages.

Second, Jesus is part of the answer. In the Old Testament, over 300 prophesies were made about Jesus. Many of these prophesies were made hundreds to over a thousand years before Christ was even born. And we are not talking about vague prophesies like what you find in a fortune cookie but specific details...where he was born, how he would live, how he would die, what he would look like, family dynamics, etc...I don't know about you, but if I made 10 prophesies about someone who would live 1000 years from now, I'd be very lucky if I even got 2 right. And yet! Jesus fulfilled every single one! Every. Single. One!!! Now, that says something powerful about Jesus but what that also tells me is that Jesus validates/confirms the Old Testament through his own life and the fulfillment of those prophesies.

Third, the importance of eyewitnesses. In the New Testament, with the exception of Paul's books, I believe all the other books are written by men who lived with Jesus, watched Jesus, heard Jesus, and learned from Jesus. Luke 1:1-2 and II Peter 1:6 both talk about how they testified to the life and person of Jesus. One example I gave to the girls last night is what would you believe more, a book about Abraham Lincoln written by his own brother or one written by one the girls in the room. (Okay, I just did a history check...apparently Abe's brother died in infancy...but you get what I mean.) Naturally, they all responded the brother! Eyewitnesses carry more weight. Think of a court-room. Eyewitnesses are key elements to court proceedings because they can testify to things that others cannot.

Last, how much of the Bible has been validated by historical documents or findings! I honestly don't have any facts to give you here but from archaeological digs of Biblical cities, to other historical writings confirming when kings lived and events happened such as droughts/famines/floods/cities destroyed/etc, to the Dead Sea Scrolls matching parts of the Bible as it is today! All these things point to the truth in the Bible.

I'm sure there are other reasons, perhaps some better ones that I am not thinking of today. At any rate, I hope this helps or give something to mull over. If there are any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Wednesday, January 19

If you have SAD...

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but Seasonal Affective Disorder is a talked about thing over here in Washington. Mainly because at this time of the year, we've had rain for about two months now and we can easily anticipate rain for the next three months.

(One random tangent. When I lived in Germany, I found the Black Forest region to be quite similar to where I live in Washington, in regards to the hills/mountains, green scenery, trees, etc. However, it was so much sunnier there. However, what made me chuckle is hearing complaints from a number of the staff claiming that it rained all the time there! You say po-tay-to, I say po-taw-to.)

Anyhow, the "problem" with Washington is not the rain but the fact that when it is not raining, the skies are still overcast and grey. We can go for days without seeing any blue sky. Combine the grey skies, the regular dose of rain, and the short days, it's no wonder people get SAD.

So how do you know you have SAD? (courtesy of the Mayo clinic)
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy (aka, you want to stay in bed all day!)
  • Social withdrawal (coming off of Christmas, a social high?? understandable...)
  • Oversleeping (this doesn't include forgetting to set your alarm, okay?)
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Appetite change, especially a craving for foods high in carbs (umm...can we say comfort foods?)
  • Weight gain (see above)
  • Difficultly concentrating and processing information (especially if you are asleep)
Now, don't think I'm mocking this...honestly I could probably claim three to five of those characteristics myself although some of them have more to do with completing my thesis paper (9 weeks left...EEK!) than having SAD. So what can you do to treat SAD? Well I'm no doctor but here are a few suggestions:
  • They say that tanning beds or happy lights are effective. They provide extra light, helping alleviate any greyish moods.
  • Also, I would suggest to plan an activity with some friends. Not only does this give you something to look forward to but then the actual energy that you will use and/or generate by doing the planned activity. Make it small and quaint or big and boisterous...either way, you'll have a bit of fun! And be sure to give hugs liberally...unless it becomes creepy, then stop!
    • Plan a game night
    • Have a potluck meal or a dessert-making contest
    • Go bowling
    • Take a hike (yes, in the rain)
    • Plan a scavenger hunt with your friends
    • Drive to the nearest mountain where there is snow
    • Have a summer-theme day (get slurpees/ice cream, turn the heat up in your home, have a mini luau-type of thing)
  • Recognize that you are in a slump...the first step is admitting it, right? ("hi, my name is Mindy and I'm in a greyish mood," "hi, Mindy!"). Then set your mind to change how you think and feel for at least today...if today is too much, then at least for right now, in the moment. I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and weighed down when I wrote this post a couple days ago. But amazingly, after I wrote it and thought about the prayer, the rest of my day felt lighter and brighter. I know the whole "mind over matter" thing is easier said than done. But it is possible to change the tape playing in your head...the one that reiterates how stinky, boring, mundane, or sad your life might be. Fill your thoughts with good things! Find a funny clip online to make you smile or laugh. Listen to a song that cheers your spirit or gets you dancing.
  • Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Eat healthy balanced meals (even if your mind is screaming for carbs). Indulge in a comfort food or two...just don't overdo it. Exercise (oh, how this can be hard when it's grey and rainy outside and you want to curl up in bed). Read a good book. Take a bath.
  • Remember...this too shall pass. You won't be gloomy forever. And if you are, see a doctor...there's no shame in asking for help.
Well, there you have it! Go and be SAD no more!

Tuesday, January 18

...ho hum...

I'm feeling so uninspired lately when it comes to writing. are some rambling about job hunting.

I've started the process of looking for a new job in some kind of ministry.
I've applied to a job in Toledo, Ohio and more recently, a job in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Thinking about moving to either of these locations has entertained me for hours already and I haven't even had interviews! Pathetic? Perhaps. In both locations, I know people who live nearby, which would be wonderful.

Did you know, you can buy this house outside Lancaster for $139,900!!!!!! You would never see a house that cheap in Washington until it was in a trailer park. Not that I would ever consider buying such a house...that would freak me out. Plus I would hate mowing the lawn. I would be one of those neighbors with the sadly neglected yard. Although I would be willing to tackle a garden, I think. But all that space for just me? I think I would be very much consistently aware of my single status with that much space. Be it as it may, the price is unreal!

Can I just say that the whole applying, waiting, interviewing, waiting, looking, waiting thing is exhausting? I'm already wishing that this was over with and I've applied at a grand total of three jobs! "have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry..."

Well, that my current update.
I'll try to be more inspired/inspiring next time. :)

Friday, January 14

About 14 years ago...

What sounded like a good rational idea at the time, now sounds quite silly.

In my grade 12 year, we had  to complete an assignment for my Contemporary Issues class. We were given a list of various options that we would have to thoroughly research and put together in a binder. Options such as getting married & having kids, getting a job, buying a house, planning for retirement, etc. We had to choose two and our required third was to plan a budget for our whole life!

So I choose getting married/having kids and getting a job plus the budget thing.

For a career, I chose being a dorm parent at the Alliance Academy, in Quito, Ecuador, with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. I also chose to have 5 kids (I'm crazy, I know) but ended up grabbing 6 birth certificates and so I went with 6 instead. That is in itself insanity and I would highly advise the current grade 12 students against this, if they still do this project. Not that there is anything wrong with having 6 kids but you try planning a missionary's budget for 40 years for 8 people...ridiculous! I'm sure this imaginary family lived on peanuts and bologna sandwiches. However, I must admit though, when I was done with the project, I was a bit sad to say "goodbye" to my 6 kids.

As for getting married, here's where my rationale falls apart a bit more.

I didn't want to choose some random name like Mark Winston because I'm sure there is a Mark Winston out there somewhere and how weird would that be, right? Wrong...because really, who cares!?! So where my common sense failed me is that I decided to choose an actual person...someone who was a good man. I thought of choosing a fictional character from a movie or book but wasn't satisfied with that. So then I considered actors who have the appearance of being good, both in their acting persona and in real life, from what I knew. So I chose John Dye:

He played Andrew, the angel of death, on Touched by an Angel. Are you chuckling yet? I was Mrs. Dye for my project, upon completing the unofficial marriage certificate. I look back on this and reflect on how silly this whole thing was and how I made a much bigger deal of who should be my husband than necessary. Oh was one project, which I think I did okay on.

Anyhow, I was sad to learn today that John passed away from a heart attack on Monday, at the age of 47. Naturally, when I saw his name this whole project came to mind, making me chuckle and roll my eyes while also feeling sadness over the news. I don't know if he had a relationship with God like the one he portrayed on Touched by an Angel but I hope so. I would love to see him in Heaven and tell him this whole silly story one day.

Thursday, January 13

A prayer and reflection

O Holy Spirit of God,
Come into my heart and fill me:
I open the windows of my soul to let Thee in.
I surrender my whole life to Thee:
Come and possess me, fill me with light and truth.

I don't handle stress well, I'm finding out.
Sure, a little here and there is fine and can even get me motivated and charged up. But too much or for too long and I start to feel buried and overwhelmed. Then I want to crawl into bed, stick my face in the sand, or run out the door. I get irritable and snappy and then get a nice headache.

I offer to Thee the one thing I really possess,
My capacity for being filled by Thee.
Of myself I am an empty vessel.
Fill me so that I may live the life of the Spirit,
The life of Truth and Goodness,
The life of Beauty and Love,
The life of Wisdom and Strength.

It's awful...the choking feeling of stress.
I've wanted to cry for a few days now. One perk is that I've actually enjoyed going to the gym this week...that's a unusual plus. However, it the middle of one moment where I'm telling myself not to break down crying or screaming, I turn my head to see this prayer sitting next to my desk.

And guide me today in all things:
Guide me to the people I should meet or help:
To the circumstances in which I can best serve Thee;
Whether by my actions or my sufferings.

The prayer nearly takes my breath away.
It's exactly what I need to hear, exactly what I want to say, and exactly how I need to pray. Surrender...empty vessel...fill me. I stumble a bit over the part of people and circumstances because could that mean everything and everyone I interact with at work? Of course it does...*gulp*

But above all, make Christ to be formed in me,
And make Him king:
That I may dethrone self in my heart
So that He is in me, and I in Him,
Today and forever. Amen

More of Him, less of me.
That's the key, isn't it? Me, me, me and I am weak, overwhelmed, and easily frustrated. Him, Him, Him and suddenly there's a purpose, sustenance, and strength for the day. Not to say that the stress goes away, but He definitely changes the dynamics in how I react to it. Suddenly it becomes "I can't do this" to "it is well with my soul."

Wednesday, January 12

for my friend Suzie

**it saddens me that i forgot. i mean, i remembered beforehand and wrote your lovely name on my calendar. but your birthday came and went without my remembrance only now just recalling two days later. you were my cheerleader in every way. you were my support and listening ear. you were my true friend to the very end. i love thinking that you are happy, healthy, whole and with Jesus...but i miss you. i miss your smile, laughter, spirit of generosity and unending desire to serve. i want you to know that i would go through your last days all over again, if i could. though i cried from sadness and exhaustion, i'm grateful God gave me that time to bless you.**


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings

Tuesday, January 11

this and that, again

This Sunday, I'm teaching on Daniel 7-12.

My first thought was "woohoo...5 chapters instead of 20 or more (like Ezekiel 25-48)!" Then I looked at the content and my five chapters are all on Daniel's prophesies and know, the complex stuff.

No such stories of a lion's den, fiery furnaces, handsome young men with unwavering faith and obedience to God...I get the future of Israel, prophesies of the Messiah, and prophesies of end times. Please don't think I'm complaining...I'm truly not! This lesson will just require a bit more research than Daniel 1-6 would have required. But that's okay...I know that everything in the Bible is important so I'm eager to (re)learn what is in these 5 chapters and then find a way to enthusiastically teach it to the middle school students! Maybe I'll have them make or draw the four beasts (Daniel 7)...


Something trivial...kind of...
I washed a new cardigan this past week and put it on today. It shrunk. The sleeves are short now and barely come to my wrists. The right side of the cardigan is shorter than the left side and the "ruffles" down the middle are super funky. Grrrr....
Of course I don't have the receipt but I'm going to stop at the store, see if they happen to still have it and hopefully switch. I think I'll hang dry it next time.


The name of the game is hungry or maybe it's waiting. My life, that is. I've been so busy with everything over the last couple months that I've managed to starve myself from the Life-Source, Jesus Christ. I need, need, need to spend time with Him. But I also feel like I'm in a waiting stage...waiting to see what is behind door #2. What venture is next? What path will God put me on? Who will I meet on that path? How will God use me? I feel like I'm at the start line and can't start the race, so to speak. Frustrating, just a bit. It helps to have trips coming up where I'll get to see people I miss and love...that provides a small distraction. But what happens if I'm still at the starting line at the end of June (after my two trips)? I know, I know..."do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).

Thursday, January 6

Reflections on AWANA

AWANA is a program for children, mainly from 4 years old to 6th grade (although they do have a high school program technically). The kiddos come to play games, learn and say Bible verses, and have a small lesson, each Wednesday night. I went through the program myself from kindergarten to sixth grade and now I'm serving as a helper/leader for the 3-6th grade girls. Anyhow, here are a few random AWANA reflections.

--Between my 7 years as a clubber and now as a leader, it has been 26 years that I have been saying the pledge to the American flag, pledge to the AWANA flag (which makes me raise an eyebrow), and sing the AWANA theme song. I have decided that when I'm very old and senile, while others will be singing sweet hymns or choruses from their youth, I'll be still be singing the AWANA theme song. But watch out! At the end of the theme song, you are supposed to punch your arm in the air and say "youth on the march." I'm likely to hit a nursing home attendant or a visiting family member in my ignorant enthusiasm.

--Yesterday, one of the boys who was helping with the flag salute, was pledging allegiance to the American flag with his hand in the Star-Trek Spock formation: "Live long and prosper!" It made me laugh!

--Also yesterday, at the start of the verse time, one of the other leaders approached me and said she was sorry to hear about my grandpa and how is my we chatted for a little bit. The entire conversation was very cut-n-dry, really. However, when we finished talking, this one girl, who had been listening the entire time, leaned over and patted my shoulder in sympathy. Surprised and touched, I looked at her, chuckled, and said "ahhh....thank you" while patting her shoulder back. It was all very sweet!

Tuesday, January 4

this and that

I applied to a job in Toledo, Ohio yesterday. I emailed the head guy to find out if they were still hiring. He told me that he believes they have enough applicants to fill the remaining positions but encouraged to submit an application. I know God can move's praying...

I bought my ticket to go to Toronto, Ontario in June. I'm so excited to know that I'm going to see a handful of friends...some of whom, I haven't seen for about 6 years. It will be a week of emotional and relational highs! I'm sure to come home exhausted.

You know how I mentioned that one of my joys was productivity? Well, I love the feeling and knowledge that I have been productive but struggle to start the momentum behind productivity. I suppose that is like anything else, right? It's easier to maintain healthy behaviors, to regular clean up after yourself, to read your Bible daily, etc, if you are already doing so. It's the starting that seems tiresome, daunting, or overwhelming. The old principle that it's easier to keep a wheel in motion than to get it started. All this to say, that in a couple areas, I'm feeling tired, daunted, and overwhelmed.

My sister called me yesterday before leaving work, to ask if I wanted to go out for dinner. I suggested a fun restaurant that has happy hour until 6pm. Like most restaurants, they offer small appetizers or portions, at a smaller price, as part of happy hour. I envisioned that we would both order one or two things which would account for our dinner. So we met up, including our dad since mom is still in California, only to find out that as part of happy hour, there is a $3 drink minimum, which none of us wanted, and the normally free chips/salsa (which is seriously the best food item in the place) was now $2. Between our food selections, our required drink and buying the chips/salsa, our bill came out higher than if we had foregone the happy hour and just had dinner there. Needless to say, we left only mildly happy...oh well, lesson learned!

One thing I daydream about is having an apartment-garage sale. To open my doors, let people wander around, select the items they are interested in purchasing and then negotiating over the price. I'm sure my apartment complex (as well as my neighbors downstairs) would have something to say over the traffic. But how nice would it be to not have to set everything up and take everything down? I have a box in the closest off my balcony for junk to give away but I think if I had the apartment-garage sale, I'd be willing to part with a bunch more of my stuff. Ahh...sweet daydream...

Well, that's enough rambling for now...I need to get the productivity wheel moving here at work.

Sunday, January 2

Books to read in 2011

I guess this a bit of a resolution. I tend to think about resolutions but not really make any. But I'm sitting here on my couch, looking at my bookshelf and seeing titles that I own but haven't read or titles of books I read a while ago that would be worth re-reading. So, here's a small list of what I'd like to read in 2011:
  1. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt (started this but haven't finished)
  2. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
  3. How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little
  4. The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
  5. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John R.W. Stott (read this in college and remember thinking it was so good!)
  6. Persuasion by Jane Austen (I've seriously started this maybe 3 times...yet to finish!)
  7. So You Don't Want to go to Church Anymore: An Unexpected Journey by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman
  8. Les Miserable by Victor Hugo (I've owned this book for about 10 years...only read about 1/3rd)
  9. A good biography...although I don't have one in particular yet...I'll have to do some scouting. Maybe something on Helen Keller, Fanny Crosby, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, or someone else...any suggestions?
  10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (my sister says this is her favorite)
  11. Something by Henri J.M. Nouwen...any suggestions?
  12. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Barton
Honestly, this is just part of what I'll read this year...once my thesis paper is done in March, I'll have oodles of time on my hands (hah! I'm probably kidding myself!). If any of these are super good, I'll let you know. Let me know if there is a "must read" on your list, that I should consider.