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Archive for February, 2010

On Friday, I went longboarding for the first time. And I didn’t fall on my face!

I look like I have to pee.

When I was little, I was really scared of skateboarding, so I didn’t think that I could longboard. Ever. It’s really not that hard, though. I think going snowboarding over winter break helped me get the hang of it; it would just be worse to fall on concrete than on snow.

These three are pretty cool kids for going with and teaching me, you know? They borrowed my camera and took some pictures while I was at work… needless to say, they were hilarious. Find them on my Facebook!

I had a lot of fun, and I’m really excited to go again some time!

Yesterday, we had a girls’ night in at Evelyn’s. We cooked! It was good to be cooking again after such a long time… making cereal and kimchi bowls just doesn’t cut it sometimes.

The Menu
Quick Potato Chip Chicken
Pasta with Herb Lemon Butter Sauce
Cornbread
Salad
Condensed Milk Chocolate Walnut Graham Cracker Thing of Awesome

Sorry, if I forgot anything! I was really impressed with how each of us had a hand in making our meal and quite satisfied with the result. I’m also really glad that I got to chill out with Liz Namba in the kitchen… we had a lot of fun making tons of chicken and having private dancing moments that nobody saw.

I love my Sistahood!

PS What does protege even mean?! I’m scared.

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Choice.

I used to and still sometimes think that trying to see God in everything is a little bit ridiculous. Doesn’t it limit our part in reality? It’s like saying that we’re just kind of puppets on strings.

But I’m trying to lean less towards the puppet metaphor and more towards the maze metaphor. And it’s a pretty crazy maze. Like… the maze from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Stuff moves. Plants try to eat you. People lose their way. We’re faced with multiple different decisions, sometimes dozens at a time, and God gives us a choice.

Sometimes those choices will move us away from God, sometimes they will move us closer to God. Sometimes there will be multiple choices that lead us closer to God, and we have difficulty making them. Sometimes there are choices that will move us away from God but will move us closer to our own goals, and we don’t have difficulty making them. Sometimes we don’t choose until it’s too late and there are no choices left.

And sometimes there are two clear choices, one that moves away from God and another that moves toward God. For me?

Jesus.

I’m relatively convinced that my decision to follow Jesus was mine and mine alone. No one pushed me to do it, no one held a gun to my face, no one said I had to. Granted, I was encouraged to. I was practically surrounded by people who were encouraging me to. But at the end of the day, I can say with confidence that I made that decision of my own accord.

God played His part, of course. Bringing me to all of these people, giving me opportunities to interact with my curiosity, making my life move in such a way that everything else would fall but this. That’s God.

As humans, we like to have control over everything. But the reality is that there are many more things, putting God into the equation or not, that are far out of our control. Nobody can control getting laid off from work. Nobody can control being hit by a car. Nobody can control natural disasters. And aren’t we surruonded by stuff like that? Recession, accidents, Haiti. Common words found in the news and around town these days.

God does have control. Whether He makes certain things happen or not, we don’t know. Recession, accidents, Haiti. Are all of these things God’s fault?

No one can answer that.

But in recession, people find opportunities to focus on the things in life that aren’t centered around work and money. In accidents, people find opportunities to help one another, even lift cars to save each other. In Haiti, thousands of people are working to find the missing, save the injured, and restore the cities.

That’s God.

God giving people the freedom of choice.

God giving people strength and courage.

God giving people love.

—–

In other news!

Kristina and Chris came to visit me at work today. I’m really grateful for these two and how I’ve gotten to know them this quarter. They probably don’t know it, but I’m really happy when people visit me at work, especially on Thursdays when I have a four hour shift. I get really bored and tired, you know? I end up doing stuff like going on Facebook, chatting on AIM, and blogging a lot…

I bought a video camera via eBay this week. I’m not sure what I was thinking spending that much money on a video camera; after I bid, I was really unsure if I wanted to stick to it and wished that someone would outbid me. No luck, haha. But I do have a talent for creating videos, so maybe it’s a sign that I should use that talent.

Why God is crazy today: Courtney. I was walking towards work with Kristina when we suddenly came across her. I was praying to God recently about how she’d suddenly come into my life and if He wanted me to do something for her, He’d make her show up again. I began to doubt whether or not it would happen, when suddenly…!! I didn’t get to talk to her very long this time, as Kristina and I were on the edge of being late for our respective duties, but I think this is a definite sign that I should try to do more for Courtney. I honestly don’t know what I could do, but I suppose all I have to do is… ask. Hehe.

Favorite quotes of the week:
[while playing one-word catch phrase]
Kristina: Cuteness!
Me: ME!!!

[Z and I are posted up outside of Brian’s room in the hallway. Esther passes by.]
Esther: Where’s Brian?
Z: He’s sleeping.
Esther: You guys can go to my room.
Z and I: Uhh…
Esther: Please go. Don’t sit in the hallway.

(Photo later.)

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Theory on what on earth is wrong with me 2.0:
I’m not studying what I enjoy studying. Chemistry and biology are cool, but I think they’re really boring. Why was I trying to take them? I thought I wanted to go to med school, be a doctor, save lives and whatnot. Well, I do want to change lives, hopefully save lives, but do I want to be a doctor? Let’s assess.

Doctor’s have to know the human body inside and out. Functions, metabolism, interactions, etc. Chemistry and biology, basically. Do I like those? No. I thought that once I got into upper division major classes and medical school classes that it would instantly make me enjoy chemistry and biology. Probably… not. I thought I liked those things because they were easy for me in high school. But I think that truly enjoying something means being willing to struggle through the difficult parts of it.

So I’m tossing medical school dreams aside and taking a good, hard look at what it is that I want to do and what God wants for me. It’s going to be an adventure!

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So I’m behind on pictures. I realize that. But I’m also behind on writing in my journal, school work, and life in general.

But let’s not get caught up on that.

This week was kind of crazy; I’ve been sick for the past few days, so everything was kind of a blur to me.

They celebrated Chinese New Year in the dining halls on Thursday! It was super delicious. There were shrimp eggrolls and spare ribs and even weird Chinese deserts that I swear are not Chinese…

I think almost everyone had one of these while we were eating. They’re just that good.

On Friday, we went to go see Valentine’s Day at the Bruin Theater! I didn’t carry my camera with me because it was raining. Sad panda. I forgot how much I really liked going out to see movies. The seats in this particular theater are super comfy! I was so down to sleep there…

Afterwards, I slept over in Esther’s room with her and Kristina. I literally just slept on the couch. It’s really hard to stay awake in the dark, you know? I’m really grateful to these two chicks for keeping me company this weekend!

Esther set her alarm… for 12:15 AM. It was supposed to be PM, hahaha. She woke up around that time anyway, so it was alright. We got ready really quickly and then ate brunch with Jordan. There was real Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the dining hall this time!

Later that evening, I was attempting to do homework but was distracted by the Olympics. JR Celski shouldn’t have been disqualified, dang it. How could you disqualify a face like that?!

So now it’s back to trying to do my homework. I should attempt to do so in my own room for once.

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As I sit here at work, I’m settling into two not-so-great moods:

1) I am too sick to even attempt my homework. My brain is like a rubber ball that’s been overinflated and then stuffed into my skull. I can’t take medicine because it’ll make me drowsy/nauseous, and I can’t rest because, well, I’m at work.
2) School… epic fail. If I don’t pass my classes this quarter, I’m changing to something north campus.

Theory on what on earth is wrong with me 1.0:
I’ve spent far too long from home. I miss my friends; I even miss my family despite all of our non-functionality. What I have here is great, but I need a break to go back to where I came from. Not that I can; I don’t live there anymore. I think it’s destroying me from the inside out.

No home to go to, no motivation, and now I’m not even healthy.

Life is fantastic in one aspect. It kind of sucks in another.

In other news, Nom Nom Truck is delicious!

PS I don’t like it when people worry about me to the point where they feel like they have to decide what’s right for me. I know my limits, thanks.

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Conversations.

“Let everything
that has breath
praise the Lord.”

Needless to say, I was swamped with conversations last night after Mark Study. What we learned was something incredible. It was something that none of us understood or even thought of before. Maybe that’s what sparks conversations. Maybe we just need something incredible to get down to it. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that. Either way, what we learned changed everything about what we thought we knew about Jesus.

All sin can be forgiven.

Or, in the terms that I prefer it in, there is no unforgivable sin.

We need only to acknowledge the Holy Spirit and receive that forgiveness.

It’s a difficult concept to grasp.

Conversation I: Pray for me, friends. That I may be given the strength, courage, and love that I am lacking through Jesus. Pray that I would remove the bitterness from my life and forgive those who have sinned against me. Pray that all of my anger would be washed away in the tides of His love.

I sometimes believe that I don’t want that. Forgiveness, I mean. Sometimes I feel like I deserve to be damned for all of the things that I’ve done. That even if it is true that all sin can be forgiven, I am simply unworthy of such mercy. There is darkness that not only surrounds me, but engulfs me and my heart. I know it. I fear it.

But I want to believe that God can deliver me. That He and the love that has come into my life can pierce through that darkness with the greatest of ease and reveal to me a heart that is good. I need to know that and believe that God can do that, otherwise…

Conversation II: Praise God. Praise Him that He would lift a friend and a brother out of the darkness. Praise Him that He would answer the call of one of his children. Praise Him that He would heal the wounds and remove the doubts. Praise Him that He would show His love.

Otherwise, what would it all have been for?

Friendship, fellowship, love. I’ve allowed these things to slip through my fingers like grains of sand before. But if I hold fast, not even the sand can escape. I must hold steady, so that it may sit perfectly atop my hand. I must not grasp it tightly, for it will then flee from my grip.

So delicate it all sometimes seems, yet so strong it, in reality, is. I know this because it is through Your healing that I have been able to receive them, and by them, I have received Your healing. For that, they are strong.

Conversation III: Would you reveal your love? Take this pain and this hurt and turn it into something new. There is potential here, God. Potential to change what has been into something wonderful. And because I care, because I love, I ask that you’d begin this transformation. You did not intend for our lives to be lived alone and on the outside. You did not intend for us to neglect what is in our hearts. You have a greater intention, a greater love than that. Rein us in with Your love. Dispel all of the lies that we believe about ourselves, about the world, and about You. Would you pour out Your love?

I have believed the lies before.

“God isn’t worth your time… God does nothing… God doesn’t exist…”

“You aren’t worth my time… You are nothing… You might as well not exist…”

We are broken. For that, we are capable of hurting one another. For that, we hold bitterness in our hearts. For that, we can no longer pour out our love and God’s love to others.

But I’m learning something new. Something that tells me that it’s possible. Possible to be healed, possible to forgive, possible to change.

Conversation IV: God, I ask that you remove this hardness of heart. One of Your sheep desires to return to you, so I pray that you’d remove the obstacles in their way. Give hope, courage, and faith. I weep for those who are held at the edge of Your light by the bindings of this world. I lift father and son to you, and I hope that you would show both of them the truth. That we do not seek to conform, but to learn and to grow. That this desire is born out of love, love in the truth and in You.

Sometimes we’re held back from what we need by what we hold on to.

I have to believe not only that I can change, but that I’ve already changed. That everything I’ve done, every part of myself that I’ve ever despised is different now. Better.

Painful places filled with joy.
Bitter places filled with forgiveness.
Dark places filled with light.
Empty places filled with Jesus.

I have to. And I do. I know I do, because…

Conversation V: Is this the right time? To confess something that I have done wrong against myself, against my friends, and against You?

I have revealed to you that you are not alone. I have shown you that I forgive you.

But will they forgive me?

Because I am in them and I forgive you, they will forgive you.

Why now?

The passion in you is lit.

I can’t. There’s too much else that’s going on. There’s too much else beyond what I want and what I need here. There’s too much to be celebrated for me to ruin it.

What are you afraid of?

Me.

Why?

Because I don’t believe that I can do or be any good in the world. I don’t believe that I can hang on to the people in my life. I don’t believe that I can stay the course. I don’t believe that I am worthy of You. It’s not that I don’t believe in You; it’s that I don’t believe in me.

I created you. I am with you. I am in you. For that, you came to me. For that, you have a purpose. For that, you have community. For that, you have accountability. For that, you are worthy. It’s not that you don’t believe in you; it’s that you don’t believe in my ability to lift you up in your darkness.

I’m so tired.

Of?

That darkness.

Then let me take you from it. Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to you.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

-Psalm 139:23-24

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All you can do…

… is try your best.

We’re not called to try and be anything more than we are, right? We may be called to do more than we’ve been doing or more than we think we can do, but at the end of the day, we are human. And for that, we are limited.

When talking to people and revealing to them an opportunity in their life quite similar to the opportunities I’ve been provided, I’m rather unwilling to supersede their preconceived notions about the world and themselves. They’re entitled to what they want to believe in, and if they want to change that, it’s up to them to desire to do so.

I can’t even follow my own advice. I recently told someone that if Jesus can change entire lives, then He can change perspectives. There shouldn’t be any doubt about that.

But changing perspectives is by no means easy. People have been wrapped up in their ways for their entire lives; they’re not obligated to change what’s worked for them for so long, and certainly have no authority to tell them that I believe that they should.

There’s the external influences, also. Other people will hinder other people from change. I don’t get that. Let other people decide what they want to do. Gosh.

I’m conflicted. What’s pushing too hard and what’s pushing too little? I’m stubborn. I don’t want to give up, but at this point, a big part of me wants to. But I shouldn’t give up, right? Not as long as I see potential, I don’t think.

I need to pray more often.

Then there’s Courtney.

On Friday, I met a wheelchair-bound woman named Courtney. She said that she was applying for graduate school in film and law here, but I’m not sure if she was… clear on her entire situation? It was immediately clear that she was homeless; there was a sleeping bag perched on the back of her wheelchair. And she was toting around a bag of recyclables that she needed to redeem.

I met her in Ackerman, where she asked where a good place to get a cup of hot water would be. I told her to ask the people at the tea store in the food court and left to go to my appointment. On my way back to work, I came across her again on the patio next to Kerckhoff Coffee House. So I said, “Okay, God, clearly you want me to talk to this person.”

I asked if she ever got the cup of hot water that she was looking for, and she said no. So I went inside the Coffee House and got one for her (really, who charges fifteen cents for water?). She needed it for her ramen.

What occurred after that was a thorough description of her present situation; she had submitted her application for film school, but it had disappeared in the electronic system. She had to put off applying for law school because she wasn’t prepared for the LSAT. Now, as skeptical as I was about that being true, she clearly felt passionate and upset about it all. So I told her that she should talk to the Admissions Office and stake her claim to her application.

Then I asked about her living situation and she had traveled down here from… Santa Barbara, I believe? Where previously there had been fires. Courtney was apparently incredibly afraid of fires. So much that she couldn’t bear the thought of living in an apartment for fear of it setting on fire.

Soon, I found that I had to head off to work, so I bid Courtney farewell and told her to be safe. I gave her my e-mail address so that she could contact me and keep me up to date with her situation. She hasn’t e-mailed me since; I’m concerned, but what more could I have done and what more could I do now?

We’re only human.

OGDAD Update:
Monday: Helped to make something special for two special people!
Sunday: Morale-ing for Dance Marathon… Round TWO!
Saturday: Morale-ing for Dance Marathon!
Friday: Talked to Courtney. More above!
Thursday: Helped clean up at Ice Cream Social.
Wednesday: Uh… ah… yeah, I won’t lie. I got nothing.
Tuesday: Helped clean up at Mark Study.

This OGDAD thing isn’t perfect, you know.

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