Monday, December 28, 2009

School is for the Cool kids.

School.school.School. 

I am excited for school to start again! 

Though I am really nervous about the intensity of the work, I am SO excited to actually be attending Fuller IN Pasadena, and I am also super excited about the courses I am taking. 

Drumroll please...

>>>Politics and Policy: How to Make a Difference In Your Community
>>>Globalization, The Poor, and The Christian Mission
>>>Homelessness, Congregations, and Community Partnerships

Did I mention that I changed my emphasis to Christian Ethics?

Coooool. 

I picked up the homelessness class at the last moment because I wasn't able to get into medieval church history, but it's kind of a blessing because the expert of experts on medieval history is teaching in the spring quarter, so I will take it then. 

Also, SUPER excited about the fact that in my homelessness class, we are required to read a book written by the prof who teaches my globalization class, and who is also a VP of World Vision. Ah! So incredibly exciting. The globalization class seems ridiculously difficult, as I have 2 books and a (long) journal article to read before the class actually starts, and then from there I have about 1800 pages to master (says the syllabus), and many many assignments. Everything seems to go through the TA, and I think that the VP is literally only there to teach, and not even read our papers, but that makes me feel like a real grad student, so hooray! ;)

God has also provided in timing my courses to revolve around bad traffic times. I feel really blessed. 

Finally, I have a feeling I will be having no life for the next 10 weeks. I want to get straight A's, and I am going to work hard to do it. So just remember that you are loved by me...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A New Year.

It's almost 2010, and a new year always brings a time of reevaluation upon one's life. Blythe gave me a good idea awhile ago, in saying that at the half way point of my birthday, I should see how many of my birthday year goals I have achieved. Well, the half way point is February 6th, but I figure now is a better time because I really feel that 2010 will be a very significant new season in my life.

Between grad school, lots of good friends moving away, new jobs, new cars, new house, and a new church, my life has dramatically changed in 2009. Now that I am getting comfortable in my new shoes, I think it's a good time to reflect on what was happening in my head in August of 2009, but also how some other goals may have been added...

#1 - Grow closer to the Lord (a given...) - This #1 goal of mine has definitely been fulfilled, and continues to be fulfilled. I learned A LOT of valuable life lessons in 2009, and in particular, I want to thank the Lord for instilling in me more patience and self control (two "fruits" that I have been praying for).
#2 - Travel some of Europe - This is still a major life goal of mine. My real goal was to make it to Europe in the summer of 2010, but I think instead I am planning on an East Coast trip. Maybe 2011 will be my Europe year.
#3 - Hang with the fam more - This one is crazy to me, because it has definitely happened. I can really see myself moving out of the "I am too cool to hang with my parents" phase, and moving into the, "I love hanging out with my parents" phase. I am blessed by my family's faithfulness to me, and I am constantly reminded of those who are fatherless and motherless. I pray for them, and I am challenged by them.
#4 - Get involved in a really good home group - This goal will definitely be accomplished by my birthday in 2010, as I am getting involved in Rock Harbor Fullerton, and I am SO excited about it.
#5 - Do something that I am really scared of (and ya, I already know what this is...) - Still in the process...
#6 - Learn how to cook better - I still totally suck, but I got 2 more cookbooks for Christmas!
#7 - Be more encouraging - Still trying. Before I speak, I always try to think about what is coming out of my mouth just to make sure that it's encouraging. I also try to notice when hair color changes etc., so I can say something nice to (hopefully) make a persons day better.
#8 - Explore areas of California I have never seen before - A constant goal, as I grow in my love for California.
#9 - read.read.read.more. - Well, I was forced to do this through school... ;)
#10 - Disciple more, and BE discipled, more - I have just joined the college mentor program at Rock Harbor. My training is coming up in a couple weeks, and I look forward to being able to help college students grow in Christ, as they try and figure out their lives.
#11 - Not to miss, the one thing, that was missing, from my 26th birthday - I am so close, it's not even funny.
#12 - Read 75% of the books that are already on my bookshelf, that have never been read - Ya, this is never gunna happen.
#13 - STILL be driving my car! - Ahaha, well I didn't even make it 3 months after my birthday for this goal, but I am LOVING my new (reliable) Toyota Corolla.
#14 - Visit Erin in Colorado - Hopefully this spring!!
#15 - be.more.real - I am maybe too real at times nowadays.
#16 - blog more - Meh.
#17 - Watch all 10 seasons of "Friends" - I am on season 9...
#18 - Take my mom to NYC (and see Jon Stewart live) - Still a huge goal of mine to take my mom to NYC.
#19 - Use my Disneyland pass A LOT - Total fail. Hopefully I have time to redeem this one before it expires.
#20 - Get rid of more of my things I don't need - Still a work in progress.
#21 - Buy a camera (mine broke) - I have my iPhone...
#22 - Pray more - Talking counts, right?
#23 - Listen more - Trying...
#24 - Finish the bible study I am writing - Now I want to write a book, soooo...
#25 - Spend more time with my friends - Still want to really work on this.
#26 - FIGURE OUT MY LIFE! ;) -
Hardly.

And some new ones to check out at 2011...

#1 - Decide what direction I am going in my education.
#2 - Make it a financial goal to be more well traveled in the next 4 years.
#3 - Move north to be closer to Pasadena.
#4 - Stick to my healthy lifestyle.
#5 - Keep my car and room clean.
#6 - Really be able to grasp and learn, what I am studying in grad school.



Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

Holla. 



All I want for Christmas is to know who reads my blog. It is so incredibly random how many people that I never even talk to anymore, read my blog. And then if I (or my mom) runs into them, they act like they know everything about me already because they read my blog. So, I am just wondering... who's out there...? Come oooon, just leave a holla in the comments. 

holla. ;)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love Deeply.

*sigh*

I had a rough week. 

Hearing the news of a young Biola Alum. who died of the swine flu, and a young mother who died of cancer, was difficult. 

And then I had to go to work. 

Sometimes at work, for 12 hours, I have to just listen to people cry and cry. 

It's heartbreaking. 

It's so crazy to me how our bodies can just shut.down. And what's even more bizarre is the way that it happens. It's either your brain, or all of your other organs. So when it's your brain that is dead, everything else in you can work just fine, and this is where organ donation comes from. And in other cases, your brain is just fine, but your liver, kidneys, heart etc., are all shutting down. 

What's worse?

Because when your brain is dead, then the person is really not there. But when it's your organs, at least you are still somewhat with it alongside your family members. 

So, sometimes you get a goodbye...

and sometimes you don't.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

I say all of this because it is so apparent to me how short life is every.single.day. This can get really heavy after awhile, but it also makes me extremely honest (though I wish I were more honest). 

I know it seems so out of reach sometimes to fathom losing a parent, sibling, or spouse, but I watch it happen to families all the time. So I have a few things to say:

>>>Love deeply. 

>>>Cherish every moment. 

>>>Do not leave if you're angry. 

>>>Put all of your hope and faith in Christ. 

>>>Love deeply

Justin Key, the young Biola Alum (25 yrs.) who died last week, had his whole life in front of him. It was a truly tragic event. I mourn alongside his family and friends. One of his very good friends posted a note on her relationship with him, and it really got to me. Their friendship was so beautiful, and honest, and from the way she wrote, I really felt that he had no doubt of how much she cared for him. This made my heart feel good. 

Tell them that you love them. 

My 2010 resolution is to tell people how much I care about them. For girls, it will be an "I love you". And for boys (just to keep things not so weird), it will be a, "hey, I care for you a lot". This will mean, "I love you". ;)

The thing I hear the most in the hospital is, "I wish I could just tell him/her that I love him... because I do, but I never said it."

I don't want that to be me. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Still Love You Third Eye Blind

There is a special place in my heart for one 90's rock band - "Third Eye Blind". Even today, when I hear their songs come on 98.7, I turn up the volume, and rock out. There is just something about them... the passion and meaningfulness in his voice and lyrics... it gets me every time. Now, with this said, I only really ever got into their first, self-titled album, but I think in this new year, I am going to give their new stuff a try. And I would really like to see them in concert... if they even do that anymore... 

///////////////////////////////////////////

"I read dead Russian authors volumes at a time 
I write everything down except what's on my mind 
Cause my greatest fear is that sucking sound 
And then I know that I'll never get back out 

And there's a bone in my hand that connects to a drink 
In a crowded room where the glasses clink 
And I'll buy you a beer and we'll drink it deep 
Because that keeps me from falling asleep I said 
How'd you like to be alone and drowning 
How'd you like to be alone and drowning"

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Where we used to laugh 
There's a shouting match 
Sharp as a thumbnail scratch 

A silence I can't ignore 
Like the hammock by the 
Doorway we spent time in, swings empty 
Don't see lightning like last fall 
When it was always about to hit me 

I wonder how's it going to be 
When it goes down 
How's it going to be 
When you're not around 

How's it going to be 

When you found out there was nothing 
Between you and me 
Cause I don't care 
How's it going to be"

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

And well, he's on the table
And he's gone to code
And I do not think anyone knows
What they are doing here

And your friends have left you
You've been dismissed
I never thought it would come to this
And I, I want you to know

Everyone's got to face down the demons
Maybe today we can put the past away

I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend
You could cut ties with all the lies
That you've been living in and if you do not want to see me again
I would understand, I would understand, I would understand"

////////////////////////////////////////////////

Take a gander at their awesome, and cheesy 90's music vid. There is no way that this video does justice to the song. 

"How's it going to be, when you don't know me anymore?"

I find this lyric really touching. 


Thursday, December 10, 2009

There is a thermometer by my bedside.

2009 was not a good year for me, or my insurance company. 

I have been stricken with anything and everything, and I am tired of it. 

And now, in the end, I am stuck in bed, studying for finals, with a fever and a cold. NOT cool. 

Not only did I get every vaccine possible to avoid this mess, but they temporarily paralyzed me because I am allergic to them, and they didn't.even.work. 

I finished my first final, but here I am, still trying to "finish" studying for the impossible, and ridiculous one, while coughing up a lung. 

From now on, things are changing around here. 

Dear 2010, 
I am going to intake at least 1000 mg of vitamin C daily, 
while washing my hands even more diligently. 
There will be no vaccines taken, 
and no changes of jobs, to add on extra stress that is not needed. 

Love, 
Me.  

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside.


Happy Finals Week!!

My finals week took an unexpected turn for the WORST last week, but I know that God has me right here for a reason. All I can do is give my best, and leave the rest up to His perfect will.

Church last night was AWESOME, as I was able to pray for an awesome young girl, and have my desire to pour into young college students solidified. I am excited about the new opportunities that Rock Harbor will bring.

I feel the need to throw out a little prayer list for my sake this week, just because I know that everyone who reads my blog is so "righteous". ;)

PrAy.

>>>I think we found THE house in Fullerton.
It's awesome and amazing, and we are just super stoked.
No definite plans yet, as we wait for God's timing.
Pray for wisdom and discernment.

>>>Finals.
Pray for strength and willpower.

>>>I have been having a really hard time at work with one particular person. she.just.doesn't.really.like.new.people. It's hard... really hard. Pray for peace.

>>>I want my family to attend the Rock Harbor Christmas services with me.
Pray for softness of hearts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

God is up to something big in Fullerton!

I am really excited about what God is doing in my life right now.

As I mentioned before, Rock Harbor is going to be expanding to Fullerton, as they establish a campus there. I have felt the call to be a part of this, and I am super stoked.

But alongside this, I reeeally have a desire to live IN Fullerton... pronto. Yet, in my months of searching now, I haven't found ANYTHING that is remotely close to interesting.

As I have been praying through this, I realized that I desire MORE than just a cozy living environment, I want REAL relationships with my roomies, and with the neighborhood around me. While I think that I have been accomplishing this on a way smaller level living in Aliso Viejo, I just want something more. I want a home where as roomies, we can all be accountable to each other, and where living together is more than just hanging out alone in our rooms, but having a responsibility to want to have relationships with each other. I want to have a home where we can have bible studies, life group gatherings, and Sunday BBQ's, inviting the people around us. I want to have a home where people always feel welcomed.

SO, rewind 2 weeks ago. I saw a posting on Rock Harbor's website about an intentional living community in Costa Mesa, for an open room. I was so determined to live in an environment like this, I wrote the girls, and they called me in for an interview. The girls are AWESOME. The house is a gem. BUT, I was secretly wishing it wouldn't work out, because it wasn't in Fullerton.

One week ago, I got an email from one of the girls from the house, saying that their roomie decided to not move out, and so that they didn't have an opening anymore. I decided to post my own classified ad on Rock Harbor's website, stating that I was looking for other girls, who wanted to create an intentional community in Fullerton.

Well, it just so happened, that on the other side of town, there was a girl who was just like me. Felt a call to Fullerton, and an intentional living community. Not only that, but she even interviewed for that house in Costa Mesa! And she was (also) secretly wishing it wouldn't work out, because she wants to live in Fullerton!! Even more, she and I have like 30-something facebook friends in common! We've met 6 times (though I am a horrible person and didn't remember)! We graduated from Biola at the same time!

How I was never friends with this awesome girl before, I have no clue. But all I know is that God is up to something BIGTIME here.

Steve, the Rock Harbor Fullerton pastor, has also hooked us up with a lady over at Rock Harbor who is in charge of trying to start up a thing called "Residencies". This idea is basically all about setting up girls and guys houses, throughout Orange County, where intentional community living is happening.

So, there is still a TON to do with this whole thing - finding a house in Fullerton, and more roomies - but I am confident that God is just going to guide us directly to where we are supposed to be.

And to my lady friends out there, if you are interested in being a part of this, let me know!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"The Blind Side"

In the midst of writing my big paper for Early Church History (My argument in sum: The fall of the Roman Empire led to the Christian adoption of Just-War theory), I had a date night with my dad that consisted of dinner and a movie. It was fab. 

Let me start by saying, I looove all movies that are based on an encouraging athletic true story, and I will only see them with my dad. "The Blind Side" was going to be no exception, and even after watching "Rudy" on Thanksgiving with the fam, "The Blind Side" touched my heart even a bit more than the Notre Dame tale. 

I highly recommend that you see this true story, based on the life of Michael Oher, who went from sleeping on the streets at the age of 7, to being adopted by a loving family in Memphis, Oher's journey is truly inspiring. The movie will make you laugh, cry, and ponder how you can do more in this life. The acting is superb, even as Tim McGraw plays the adoptive dad, and does a wonderful job. 

My favorite line in the movie (and maybe in all movies, ever), was - 

"Who would've ever thought we'd have a black kid for a son, 
before meeting an actual democrat?" 

A picture of the real Michael Oher, and family

It's a delight to watch, and a definite buy for me (movie, and the book). 

Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Daisy Love


Thank you to my friend Jenna's blog, I received the news that Britt Merrick's daughter, Daisy Love, has been afflicted with stage 3 cancer. She is only 5 years old. 

They found out about this back in September, so you might have already heard, but just in case you hadn't, I wanted to gather more prayer warriors for this cute little one. 


They update their blog almost daily. I just spend the past hour reading through it all, praying for little Daisy. You can also hear Britt preach on what he is going through (below). His words were very touching, as they were very real, and he held nothing back. 

When My Heart Is Overwhelmed from Reality on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughtful Spending

This past weekend at Rock Harbor, Mike Erre really challenged us all to think twice before spending money. Erre was daring as he did a little silent hinting towards what's happening in the US today in regards to taxes, and then he challenged us all with some haunting statistics.

After these statistics were said and done, I felt so uncomfortably convicted, that I just wanted to vomit. I was especially convicted because I preach a lot of these stats, but don't always live it. With that said, these stats are hard to look at, and should be addressed within ones own heart, but it should also be understood that our western minds might take longer to really change the ways we live, and that's okay... just as long as we (Christians) begin to recognize that something has to change. We shouldn't be the ones standing alongside the people at Walmart racing, and literally KILLING people, to get the new video game system... we should be/look different. 

/////////////////////// All stats taken from Erre's notes - see more here

The United States constitutes 6% of the world’s population

The United States consumes 40-50% of the world’s resources

Only 8% of the world’s population has a car

1.2 billion people live on 23 cents a day

55% of the world lives on less than $2 a day

Average American lives on $105 a day

40% of the world lacks basic sanitation 

1.2 billion people don’t have clean drinking water

Every 15 seconds a child dies from waterbourne illness

Americans consume 26 billion liters of bottled water per year

800 million people will not eat today; 300 million of those are kids

25,000 people die per day from hunger related causes

Every 3 seconds someone dies of hunger

Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half the world does on ALL
goods. 

2 billion people in the world have no electricity

1% of people in the world own a computer

1% of people in the world have a college education

>>>>
Basic education for all - $6 billion

Water and sanitation for all - $9 billion

Basic health and nutrition for all - $13 billion

Annual expenditure for cosmetics in the United States - $8 billion

Annual expenditure for ice cream in the United States - $20 billion 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> do.the.math

////////////////////////////

Materialism is the #1 reason that I hate celebrating Christmas. 

Everyone gets SO wrapped up (no pun intended) in the gift giving, that they completely fail to (1) Realize what Christmas is actually celebrating, and (2) Being thankful for the family and friends around them. 

I am working right now alongside people who are picking up extra shifts, and staying for 24 hour shifts, while just making themselves crazy to earn extra money to buy Christmas presents. The whole thing is out of control. What else could we possibly need? 

I look at my life - the clothes in my closet, the car in the parking lot, the roof over my head, the food in the pantry, the warm bed to sleep on, the computer to type with, the TV to watch, the roomies to talk to, the cell phone to be connected to the world... *sigh*... ALL of these things. I am incredibly blessed, and I don't need anything else. I don't need it. 

So before you shop this Friday, I hope that you would think of alternate gift ideas for this holiday season. Whether it's something homemade, a nice letter, or a special gift from the World Vision Catalog, make this year less about you, and more about the people who actually need "things" to survive another day. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Uncle Jimmy

Last week my uncle (mom's brother), passed away very suddenly from an aortic aneurysm. It was very unexpected, and a devastating blow to my family, as we have been dealing with my aunt's stage 4 cancer. 

In memory of my Uncle Jim, I want to post the eulogy that my mom wrote for her big brother. My mom is a devoted Catholic woman, as you can tell in some of the things she says. A lot of times we can have misperceptions of the way we view the Catholic Church, but as I am taking church history classes, I am gaining such a respect for so much of the beauty that is associated with our brothers and sisters in the early days of following Jesus. While it is beautiful that my mom has a connection with her loved ones in Heaven, and asks them to pray for us, I still try to remind her that she has a one way connection to God our Father... our Creator. Isn't it interesting how distanced a Catholic can feel from God? I hope that in my eulogy, it's more about me finally being at rest with Jesus, rather than with other family members. I don't say these things to discount what my mom had to say.. but only to introduce (remind) you to a God in Heaven who loves you very much. 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

To all of you, thank you for your loving support to Joyce, Jimmy, his family and my brother Matt as they sit before you today with heavy hearts. I am Jim’s sister, Elaine, and I along with Terry, Peggy and Matt would like to share a few thoughts with you about our brother.

I am 11 years younger than Jim so I always thought of him as truly an older brother and protector. One of my earliest memories of Jim includes being carried on his shoulders to watch a parade, and him saving me from the run away hunting dogs my father always had. The dogs were usually penned up and we were not allowed to play with them. So when they were let out to run a little it scared me to death and Jim was always there to rescue me. He was in high school then and I’m sure had better things to do, but I always knew he was there for me. I spent a summer with him after my mother died. Jimmy was about 10 or 11 and I remember Jim trying to entertain us as he proceeded down a dirt alley going the wrong way down a one way street.. We were all yelling at him and laughing saying, “You’re going the wrong way. He just laughed and said, “What do you mean, I’m only going one way”!!! Of course who can forget the abrupt car stops so the ant could cross the road!!! Mostly I remember him taking my side in any squabble, much to the dismay of my sister, Terry. This continued, much to my delight, right up to his last visit to California not long ago. My sisters remember late night phone calls to our brother about homework assignments or just giving a listening ear if things hadn’t gone as we wanted with mom or dad. We may have been far away in miles but we always stayed close in spirit and we will all cherish the time we had with him.

The bible says, “ Be not afraid I go before you always, come follow me and I will give you rest.” I believe that Jim lived this. He challenged life and lived up to those challenges. He was a man of few words and strong faith. The Lord is now fulfilling his promise of rest and peace for the end of his journey.

My brother will be remembered as caring and hard working. He was a loving husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend. He may have left us here but I can only imagine his welcome by all the other Sunbury’s in heaven. I am sure Uncle Bill pulled right up in his Pepsi truck to give him a lift to the club for a heck of a pinochle game!

Give Mom and Dad a hug for us, and until we see you again, pray for us.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My First (real) Book Idea...

----->>>>>> I wrote this post back in October, and it is SO as rough of a draft as you're gunna get, but seriously, I really feel like God has some cool things to say through me in this next year or so on the matter of discipleship and sanctification, and here are some rough ideas on it. 

"Rough" being the key word. 

Please, I welcome your thoughts. Take a second, and have a read...

--------------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As I have been going through this thing called "life" lately, God has been showing me a lot. And He has specifically laid one thing on my heart during this time of great transitions - The Sanctification Process. Now of course, just like anything dealing with religion, there a million different views on the sanctification process. 
  • For the Catholics, we have "moral perfection"
  • Eastern Orthodoxy says we can take on "divine properties"... yikes. 
  • Lutherans, and the majority of Protestant denominations (probably you), would agree that along with the Holy Spirit's help, the individual would be responsible for maintaining a certain level of "holiness". 
  • For Methodists, it is a process that is life long, and was a grace-led spiritual growth (much more to say on this one...). 
As I study the scriptures, consider my own life, and continue to watch the effects of the Christian church today, I am beginning to realize that maybe the majority of Christians, are being led in the wrong direction when it comes to the sanctification and discipleship process, especially in America. 

The main thesis that I have been chewing on when it comes to this idea, is the fact that when it comes to the Bible, everything seems so rushed. And our American lives are going a million miles a minute, and so it's only natural that when we read the Bible, it would seem like everything that God is asking from the Christian, would need to be done, and accomplished, immediately

My salvation story is different from others, in that I didn't grow up in the Christian faith, and I only came to know the Lord when I was 19 years old. God put this huge passion in bones (and, I believe, a specific calling) to get out there, and do anything I could within ministry, and so that's all I have ever known. I watched others quit volunteering, or only make it to church once a month, and I was completely convinced they were "backsliding". I was taught that there was certain things a person needed to do to be a "good Christian", and anything less was looked down upon. I remember feeling guilty over listening to secular music, watching TV, not praying out loud during community prayer times, missing church, wearing a two piece bathing suit, and drinking alcohol. 

When I escaped this "situation", I revolted from everything. I equated not attending church, with attending Radiohead concerts, and not reading my Bible, with watching MTV. The more I thought about the situation, the more I realized that this sounded a lot like legalism, and so that gave me a lot of freedom. And when I finally cleared away all the dust, and took out my Radiohead albums from storage, I realized that not going to church, and not reading my Bible, were only going to hurt me in the long run, and watching MTV, wasn't going to send me to hell. 

Galatians 5 tells the Christian what kind of "fruits" they are supposed to live by. These include: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

This list seems a little heavy to me. It makes me nervous, like if I have to walk into a church again, I am going to have to display all of these things. And like I was saying before, they all seemed so rushed. I mean, for goodness sake, they are all in ONE sentence! 

So why is it that I am feeling such freedom, whenever I accept the fact that I am not perfect? Maybe we need to focus on the first half of Galatians more than the second half. 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Mark my words! 
I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, 
Christ will be of no value to you at all. 
Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised
 that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; 
you have fallen away from grace. 
But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit
 the righteousness for which we hope. 
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. 
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

In this passage, it is clear that Paul is speaking to the Jews about the "Law", and how the legalism of the Law can make a person fall away from grace. We are free, and we are not justified by laws, and we eagerly await, through the Spirit, our own righteousness (for which we hope), and also, we await Jesus' return. 

Yes, it's scary to preach "freedom", because some may take it too literally. Yes, it may seem that the cost of having "freedom" through Christ, can cause a heavier burden. But I believe that these yes' that I speak of, should not stop us from preaching this part of the gospel, especially within discipleship. 

My friend Dave Bazan wrote a song about how it's "hard to be, a decent human being". Dave has swirled into an addiction to alcohol, and a world of doubt, and it seems that all he is feeling is a lot of guilt. He ends the song by saying, 

"I swung my tassel to the left side of my cap
Knowing after graduation there would be no going back
and no congratulations from my faithful family
some of whom are already fasting to intercede for me"

When I hear Dave sing these songs, all I can think of is that he is in the process of sanctification. If sanctification is grace-led spiritual growth (which I tend to lean more Methodist on this issue), then why would it seem so far fetched that grace isn't leading Bazan right now? I think we can all attest that the Spirit of God was working within this man before, so why wouldn't it be the same now? 

I hardly read my Bible unless I have too. I don't go to church every weekend. I am not volunteering in a ministry, and I watch TV. But I want to tell you something amazing - at this time in my life... a time that would seem to some, as dry... I have never seen more "fruit" in and out of my life, I have never been closer to my family, I have never been more patient, kind, and self-controlled in my life, and my heart is still in pursuit of the Kingdom. 

So why is it that when I was doing everything "right", I was not being something that was "right"? 

Sanctification takes time. It takes experiences. It takes relationships and accountability. It takes love. It takes failures. It takes being happy. It takes addictions. It takes doubt. It takes fear. It takes pridefulness. It takes being lonely. 

It does not happen overnight, but still, this is the expectations the Church can put on the Christian. I believe this ends up being one of the huge reasons, Christians, love escaping from the Church. 

There is this fine line when it comes to talking about sanctification. Most believe you have to work for it. But then the line becomes fuzzy because we are saved by grace alone. I think we need to embrace the fact that while in some cases, we do work for it... mostly, God is working it within us. 

This is my rough ideas of the Christian life:

>>Saved, and super stoked about God (The Conversion Experience)
>>Holier than Thou time of life... Learning the Christian ways, and buying Jesus symbols for your vehicles
>>Giving up everything, to serve in the church (this could go on for years)
>>(Hopefully) Get involved in a Home Group with other Christians
>>Getting really busy... tired from life... and "burned" in different ways by the church
>>Stepping down from ministry, and try your hardest to attend church every week
>>Feel really guilty about not serving as much as you used too, and missing church a few times... driving you into a place where you just don't really want to think about it anymore...

Like I said, "rough" ideas here, and everyone's story is going to be different (including mine), but I think for the most part, this is the pattern of a lot of Christians today. And when you really examine this list closely, I think that it's really clear that what is missing is discipleship, and if there is discipleship, then sometimes it can be placed in the wrong area. 

I am just really tired of talking to so many of my former youth students, and other friends, who feel really discouraged about the Church, because they feel guilt for not being a "better Christian". I am trying to figure out what that really means, and if it actually even exists. 

GAH, there is just so much more to say, and that is why I keep prolonging posting my thoughts here, but I would really love some feedback. 

Thanks so much for reading. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thommaaaay....

Today (well, Thursday afternoon), I spent three hours in one of these...


But, since I was listening to this, it was much more pleasant...

Really, when do I ever have time to just sit and listen to Radiohead for 3 hours without feeling guilty about the fact I should be doing something more productive. 

It was glorious. 



Then, to make circumstances even better, I saw "New Moon" at the midnight showing, and was filled with joy as one of the most intense scenes of the movie was encompassed with sounds of the song that Thom Yorke made just for the movie. Therefore, leading to this fabulous picture when you google "Thom Yorke New Moon". So great. 


It was a good day indeed. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Soon.



Just bought Thursday midnight tickets...

Does this make me a loser?

Well, Stef and Cam are not losers, so there. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Biola Prof's are the BEST.

You have heard me rant and rave about Biola prof's before, but I have a youtube video to prove it this time. Presenting Matthew Weathers - known as the Best Math Teacher of all time (wish I could have taken his class...), and pretty much the nicest guy ever. My fondest memories of Matt, are studying with the PUQ guys down in the library during finals week, and Matt coming around at around midnight with encouraging words, starbucks coffee drinks, and snacks. Are you kidding me?! He's the best. 

Here is a video he played for his class on Halloween:




Read about it HERE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I can feel my leg!!!

I am SO excited, because I am feeling SOOO much better!!!

I know that A LOT has happened since I last updated my blog, but it has been a really difficult time, and I had been talking to SO many people about what happened (including the government health people almost every day... they are so annoying), that I just felt weird about publicizing to the whole world about what was happening. So, if this blog seems kind of out of context, it's probably because I haven't published the whole story of what has been happening, but maybe I will in the future. In the meantime, this post is just to remind people that I don't look like (or walk like) the girl in the videos I posted below (it's a different syndrome I was afflicted with), and to remind everyone out there that I personally don't think young healthy people should be getting ANY kind of vaccine (especially the swine flu, and HPV). 

On Wednesday I was bumming pretty hard because my primary doctor finally put a for real diagnoses to my case. She claims that I actually had a minor case of Guillain Barre Syndrome. 

CRA.ZEE.NESS.

Now, while the neurologist had kind of been saying this (under his breath) all along, he still didn't want to claim it. I loved that my primary doc did. She has actually known me for almost 11 years now, so when I saw her face when she actually examined me and looked over my lab results, and THEN told me NOT to exercise (she's a fitness QUEEN), I started to cry a little. I was totally freaked out. She actually ordered MORE MRI's (sigh), another EMG, and sent me on my way with a strict order of "bed rest" (once again), reminding me that this is a "serious condition, and that I need to rest". 

NOT.FUN. 

Anyway, I still felt pretty crappy and numb on Wednesday and Thursday, but Friday morning I woke up and I was like, "Huh... I can feel my leg..." 

I attempted the stairs (which has been a difficulty for TOO long now), and approached my roomie watching Project Runway (<3<3<3)

I tried wracking my brain for anything that I had done differently the day before, and realized that I had cheated on my diet, and ate a few french fries. If only it were true that french fries cured Guillain Barre Syndrome - the world would be a better place. 

But, today has been fantastic! Usually I need like 3 naps because I am so fatigued, but I felt energized all day. Plus I am not walking like a freak anymore, and when I do walk, I don't feel like my legs are going to give out (well, I guess as long as I am not pushing it...). 

So basically, the numbness is still in my right hand and both of my feet (but my right foot is waaay more affected). For now, I am just going to keep resting this weekend, and pray to God that every day brings on more healing for me. It will be great to be able to stir something again, or pick at my nails (I know it's a bad habit, but it's weird when you can't do it). Or, another thing I can't do with my right hand is pick stuff up with just my fingers, or separate pieces of paper with my fingers (weirdest thing ever!). Another habit I have been missing is shaking my leg while resting. I don't know if anyone else out there does this, but for some reason I do. Well, since my leg has gone numb, it's like my body has no desire to do that. Weird. 

Gah. Everything is weird in these past 2 weeks. 

Anyway, I appreciate everyone's prayers SO much! And I would still love to have your prayers, but when you think of me, please think of my friend's cousin who lives in Pasadena, who is struggling with FULL BLOWN Guillain Barre Syndrome. He is MY age, and his onset was after the Swine Flu Shot as well! He is stable, but please join me in prayer that he will get back to walking SOON. 

And again, AVOID those vaccine's! They are just not good for you (my personal opinion of course). 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine... Shouldn't have done it...

Well, there has been much love and concern coming my way over Facebook which I SO appreciate. I just love all of your prayers so much. I just kind of wanted to give one overall update to everyone on here, because my symptoms are hard to deal with, and it's hard to type. 

It all started last Friday, when I received the Swine Flu Vaccine. I felt fine right after it, but over the hours, I developed a headache and nausea. I didn't think anything of it, because after all, I had just had some weird vaccine injected in me. 

That night I got home and I was exhausted. I went to bed, and awoke to horrible muscle cramps all over my body. They were literally "charlie horses" in my legs, and that's what it felt like in my arms, back, and neck (though I don't know if you can call them "charlie horses"). Again, I thought, well, I probably shouldn't be injecting vaccine's into my body. 

The next day was Halloween, and I had SO much to do. But again, I was still exhausted. As I was making my famous dirt cups, I realized that I couldn't grasp the wooden spoon with my right hand. The ONLY way I can describe it, is that it was like I was retarded, in the sense that I felt like my hand was kind of crippling. Super weird. Needless to say, my dirt cups didn't come out as great as they could have. 

That night I had some muscle relaxers, because I thought my muscles were just having spasms because of the vaccine, and I felt pretty good. Around 11pm though, I was SO tired. After everyone left, I felt horrible. 

That night the tingling in my feet and hands started. Again, I just thought it was because I had been dancing, or whatever. I woke up on Sunday morning and I was exhausted. I got up to clean up, and I could barely do that because I was just so exhausted. This was not normal for me because ever since I have been enjoying my "lifestyle change", I have had a ton of energy. I spent the rest of the day in bed, and the tingling and muscle weakness was getting worse. 

The next morning, I got up for work like normal, and I as I was driving, I realized that I couldn't really grasp the steering wheel with my right hand, and, couldn't feel my right foot pressing the pedal. Ya, probably shouldn't have been driving, but it wasn't completely numb. Again, I convinced myself I slept on my arm and leg wrong, and proceeded to work. 

Once there for a few hours, I decided to mention my muscle weakness and tingling to one of the neuro nurses. Of course she immediately wanted me to call the neurologist that we all know and love, and so I did. I told his office secretary what was happening, and to my surprise he called me back on my cell phone 5 minutes later! He asked if I wanted to come in that day, and I said no because I needed to work, and then he graciously offered to take a look at me there in the ICU the next morning (super great guy). 

Tuesday morning came, and the symptoms were the same. He came to test my reflexes etc., and apparently I failed miserably. While I thought I was pushing him with all of my might, he just looked at me with this stunned face, stating, "Are you seriously pushing on me?" He demanded I come in that day for an EMG. This procedure was not very fun, as he explained it by asking me, "Did you ever stick your finger in a light socket as a child?" "No!", I exclaimed. Then he told me that's how the electric one would feel, all over, a bunch of times. And then for the one where he sticks needles into my muscles a million times... well we just won't go there. Fortunately (and, unfortunately I guess...), I wasn't able to feel a lot of the needles, well, because, I am suffering paralysis! ;)

So the test came back abnormal (fuuun...). And while the whole world at my work wants to know if I am stricken with "Guillain Barre Syndrome" (the main, horrible, side effect of the Swine Vaccine), my doctor just shook his head and said, "Honestly, I have no idea what's happening". 

To make matters worse, I just had blood tests done about a month ago, and EVERYTHING was perfectly normal... more than normal. Now, my blood tests are out of whack. SO frustrating. 

So, what's the plan? Well, on Friday I am getting some MRI's done to hopefully find the problem. I don't think I have ever wished for a herniated disc or pinched nerve so much in my life. The doc also said that I could have had some stuff going on already with a disc or nerves, but because of the severe muscle cramping the vaccine caused, it could have pushed it over the edge, which would explain the sudden onset of symptoms. 

IF everything came back negative from the MRI's though, then he said that I would basically just have to wait and see if the paralysis gets worse. He says if it is "Guillain Barre", then he won't be able to treat it until I can't walk, and can't breath. Awesome words, right? He said this usually takes from 4-6 weeks with the vaccine cases. 

In the meantime, I sooo feel like that annoying person that complains about their whole body hurting. I HATE being that person. I literally just went into 24 Hour Fitness and upgraded my pass to the Sport clubs because I wanted to start swimming again. Doc says I can't even walk when I am home, and when I am not at work or school, it's bed rest for me (until the MRI results). 

I will write more later on the vaccine itself, but for now, I have to recommend not getting the vaccine. My doc says that the government is lying, and that they are using scare tactics to frighten everyone into getting a vaccine that is not safe. Take it as you will...

Work today was extremely hard, and even now, my head and back is killing me. I am pretty bummed about all of this, because like I had said, my life and health was really starting to turn around for the better. But through it all, the Lord is being so faithful. 

  • At first, MRI told me I was going to have pay $1000 up front for the MRI's. This would have been impossible, and I wouldn't have been able to get them done. But then this miracle lady in the business office took it upon herself to help me SO much, and figure out that my insurance covers them 100%! So amazing!
  • So even though I was in so much pain, I randomly started a conversation about my schooling with one of the security guards, and he was fascinated by my choice of studies, and began to tell me about dreams he has been having. These were some craaaazy dreams, and I wasn't sure what to say. But I thought of Andrew Faris, and the time that Joel Garman told me that Faris told him, to always lead them to the Bible. So I asked the security guard if he had ever read the Bible. The guard said no, and I told him, "well, there are some pretty cool dreams in the bible too... lots of people in the bible had dreams, just like you." He seems SO interested, and so I promised him I would bring him a bible. Sweetness. 
  • Finally, though I was so weak today, I ended up HAVING to walk all the way to the front of the hospital to get something. I really didn't want to go, but had no choice. But while I was over there, I ran into an old patient and his family. I think about them so much, and how it is SUCH a miracle that this patient is still alive! I watched this patient mostly on a vent, and then the day he got transferred upstairs, he was still really out of it (mentally). Now I was talking to a completely different person! He was perfect! His dad gave me a big hug, and his brother said that they had a list of people they wanted to see, and I was on it! As it is, it turns out that I am actually old friends with someone who is best friends with the patients brother. And I have also had a chance to talk with this "old friend" about God, as we worked at the hospital together. If my friends remember the story - he is the friend who was present when one of the world's leading evangelicals entered into the ER, and I made him sign my book (though he had a broken leg), and in the end, ended up giving the book to my "old friend", who ended up reading it, and believing in a Creator ("of some sort...", he said). 
All in all, God is just reminding me that through all things, He is still able to work through my life... especially when I least expect it. 

Please pray for the pain I am having, and for my concentration. I have a huge midterm and 2 papers coming up, and I am just praying I can get through this quarter. And I guess, you can also pray for complete healing.. as the Lord wills...

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Halloween Hangover...

So, I totally fell off the diet bandwagon over Halloween Weekend, and filled up my system with the bad carbs and sugars that I have been so intensely ignoring. But don't worry, I am back to healthy living again!

That's right, I am involved in a (*cough* diet) lifestyle change.

No, but seriously, it is a lifestyle change. It's a lifestyle change, because it's much more than just not eating bad things... it's like, hey, my whole life is changing. ;)

This past year has been... well, interesting to say the least, and a very very very difficult one. In the process of dealing with mass amounts of difficulties, I was not really motivated to do anything, and so with the help of my old age, the pounds started to pack on.

But about a month ago, I was like, ummm, what the heck am I doing right now? Maybe one day I would want to be on Amazing Race, and if I was, I would not win because I could not run that much. So with the encouragement of the Amazing Race, and the fact that I felt like crap all the time, I went to the bookstore and I bought "The South Beach Diet" book (recommended by my amaaazing doctor - Dr. Stephanie Hawkins). I read it, and I was shocked, amazed, and way more educated about the glycemic index. The index makes so much sense about why I felt crappy all the time, and craved bad foods after eating bad foods, so I went full force into the whole South Beach Plan.

The first two weeks you have to eat NO CARBS. This was a little crazy. It is definitely similar to the Atkins diet, and it is to hopefully detox you away from all the bad carbs you have been eating. By the end of my time, I seriously couldn't look at another salad. Plus, I can't cook, so you should have seen me try to cook salmon... chicken... turkey burgers... you name it, I ruined it. So I ate a lot of lean turkey meat. Luckily, I loove eggs, so I would just eat eggs all the time (and still do).

Now that I am past the two week period, I can introduce healthy carbs into my life. So a typical day for me looks like this:

7am - Greek yogurt (sooo much protein in that little thing!)

9am - Two hard broiled eggs

12pm - Either a turkey sandwich on one piece of whole wheat/grain bread, or some kind of salad. A low fat string cheese, and 10 almonds (so fun, huh?)

3 or 4pm - Probably another string cheese, or some turkey wrapped up in lettuce, or sometimes I treat myself with a fruit (berries, banana, or apple).

7pm - Usually a lean cuisine (they make them with whole wheat rice now, so good), and maybe some salad, or some kind of veggie.

Workout

9pm - 2 or 3 days a week I will have a soy ice cream sandwich from Trader's. They are like 90 calories, and super yummy.

The hardest thing right now (believe it or not) is the fact that I am sometimes not eating enough calories. Sometimes it's hard to keep eating because I am actually full, so I might try to implement some protein bars in the mix in the near future as I intensify my workouts, though they are a lot of carbs, so I am not sure. If you know anything about this, let me know. I think I will send this blog to Darci. :)

Anyway, I have another secret blog that I have been keeping about my weight loss, and I want to publish it at the end of my success story for encouragement to others. But for now, I want to give myself more accountability by posting this here. I have already lost a lot of weight, and I feel really great. My pants are literally falling off me right now, and I think in another couple of weeks, I will definitely go down a size. :)

But other than encouraging weight loss, I also want to encourage people to check out this whole glycemic index stuff. Even if you're skinny, but you eat bad foods, you will probably not feel so well because your food is not digesting slow enough. I am no expert or anything though, just throwing it out there.

Also, shout out to Tatum, because even though I don't see her anymore, I watched her eat food for 6 years. And anytime I am at a loss for what to eat, I think to myself - "What would Tatum eat"? And that's what I get. ;)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interesting Sunday Morning Paper

This morning I woke up (with a headache), which was exacerbated by this headline:


Click on the headline for the OC Register article about how Life Church took over Kingsfield Church. You can see pictures too. 

Oh ya, haha, this is my faaaaavorite (sarcastic voice now) paragraph in the whole article:

"I thought of Rick and realized he was a fourth generation's preacher's kid that was enough," said Munsey. "If I never built a massive church – what I did counted. Rick could have never been what he is without his father and grandfather. I had a sense of dignity. It didn't matter if I became like Rick. I respect Rick Warren more than any other minister I've met in my life."

Read the full article for context, but seriously, what the hell? I literally spit out my coffee, and used the word "hell".

"If I never built a massive church..." 

You've gotta be freaking kidding me right now. 

Maybe that building is... dare I say it... cursed?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pig Fears

My own eyes have seen multiple people die from Swine Flu (H1N1).

These own hands have been washed multiple time throughout the day to try and avoid catching it from all of the people around me who have it. 

SO many people have the swine flu. 

And while the Swine is not usually deadly, it DOES indeed make you very sick, for a couple of weeks.  

Today at work, my director started walking around handing out forms that we had to fill out and sign, stating whether or not we wanted the H1N1 vaccine. I'll be honest, 2/3'rd's of the people want it, and the rest don't. It's scary. I really hate taking any kind of vaccine, and I have NEVER taken a flu shot until this year. I am not sure what made me even want to take the flu shot... I guess I just wanted to face the unknown - if I would react negatively to it, or not. 

The fears lie in videos like these - about young people who develop "dystonia" after getting the flu shot. The scary part is that it take about 2 weeks to show signs of dystonia, which will make me stressed out for 14 days. 






And while these incidents are extremely rare, they still happen. I am not too worried about it because I had no reaction to the flu shot, and if I do end up with neuro problems, at least I don't have a husband and/or children (my roomie thought I was weird for saying this, but seriously, at least I wouldn't burden anyone, except for my parents). 

So the question is - is the risk of catching the Swine Flu, bigger than taking the vaccine? 

I have had pneumonia before, and so I could easily see myself becoming quite sick if I caught the Swine Flu, and this makes me nervous. It's the young people that are becoming really really sick. 

But at the same time, I know I would catch the Swine early on, and go to the doctor right away, so I think I would be able to fight it off. 

But even if I fight it off, I will still probably be out sick for like two weeks from work and school... this doesn't work well at all. 

But is the chance of becoming neurologically damaged, worth the risk of trying to not lose out on work and school? 

The infectious disease docs at my work have already taken the vaccine, and recommend for us all to take it. On my paper for the vaccine, I checked "yes"... I want it. This means it's now or never. When that vaccine comes in, I need to take it, or they will give it to someone else, and I probably won't have a chance for another one (since they are so low in supply). 

And even the Obama girls got the shot...

So what do you think? Should I take it? Would you take it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.

If you know me (too) well, then you know that in the past when I was trying to pay off my Camaro, I used to call Wells Fargo and tell them about my life. I would call in to make a payment, and then I would just start laying out my life to them. It was like free counseling, and I always felt better afterwards. Plus, I felt like I was getting a little more from my money. 

So when the search began for a insurance plan on my new Corolla this past month, I was really seeking for something more. I called Geico (my former company), and Progressive, and All State (because of that awesome guy in their commercials), until finally finding State Farm. While looking at State Farms website, I realized that they actually had agent's, from the local area, who would ALWAYS be the person we would call. 

I liked this idea. 

So I called State Farm, and not only did they give me the best rate, but they also gave me the personal service I was looking for. Now I know a little about my agent (Greg), and he knows about me. Plus, State Farm has great deals on Renters Insurance, which would involve covering my possessions if anything were to happen to them inside OR outside my house (even while on vacation!). Having car insurance with State Farm, makes my Renters Insurance only a little over $2! 

All in all, State Farm IS like a good neighbor. 

So if you are looking for new insurance, and you want to give State Farm a try, go ahead and give Greg a call - 949.600.9673. 

What are your experiences with car insurance?