Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hoot and Holler.

In watching the two recent Republican/Tea Party debates I have realized that most of the things I am trying to accomplish with my life are opposite of the "conservatives" agenda. Because Republicans are more predominantly known as the "Christian" party, and I have many Christian friends who are really positive and excited about these candidates for presidency, I have felt a little outcasted from my Christian community lately.

It has been plain to see that Red America is clear about certain things in dealing with human life: It's okay to let sick people die on the street if they have no health insurance or are immigrants, it's a good thing that Texas has killed so many people under capital punishment, and that Ron Paul is cRaZy for caring about all of the afghan locals who have been killed in the war.

When I heard these things in the last two debates my heart literally broke.

It's no wonder that I face so much animosity in Berkeley as someone who calls herself a Christian. People might look at me and think that I have no value for human life. Mostly I think people look at me strange because I seem to be the polar opposite of what they know a Christian to be.

Studying Social Work has been extremely fascinating because the more history I learn the quicker I realize that it's Christians who started this whole "alms to the poor" movement. Well actually it started with a Jewish Guy - Jesus. You may have heard of Him...

After that it seems as if there was a big pattern of Christians being the first to help the poor. Christians were the ones who were adopting the orphans, starting programs, and preaching to the locals about how God has commanded us to care for the impoverished. They led the way in immigration reforms for the Irish who ran from the potato famine, and African slaves and their children. It was Lincoln who said that it was his Christian faith which compelled him to start tax payer funded schools for the recently freed Africans.

So when was it that we made a shift, as Christians, and as a church, to focus on money, worship sets, buildings and church politics instead of focusing on reaching out to our communities - the social gospel? When did this shift teach us to celebrate the death of human being?

I don't know about your Bible but mine tells me to love. We are to show people God's love just like He has showed His love to us. And oh my heavens, I really hope God doesn't hoot and holler and the thought of me dying' on the street...



Monday, September 12, 2011

At the end of the day...

The healthcare crisis in America is largely misunderstood and misrepresented by politicians. Does anyone ever wonder why Democrats and Republicans have such a difficult time coming to a similar understanding on this issue? Why is it that when they debate, they seem to be talking in different languages? I truly believe the reason for this is because half of the politicians in America are being bought out by medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies.

Here are the two problems that US citizens are just not understanding amidst the brain washing of certain medias and politics:

1) Government spending on healthcare is out of control. The way to fix this is with some kind of "universal" insurance program.

2) It's almost impossible to achieve number one because there is too much money and too many crooks in the healthcare business, who are buying the people we elect to protect us - politicians.

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Universal Healthcare - does your stomach drop when you hear this phrase? Do you think of long lines and bad care? Well guess what, there are already lots of long lines and bad care all throughout America.. it's called an HMO.

Countries that have Universal Government Healthcare are not perfect, and America's government healthcare system is not so great either. What I am proposing is to meet somewhere in the middle, and the focus needs to be on prevention.

In reality, every single person in America right now has insurance. Even if there is no insurance card in your wallet and you are homeless and living on the street, if you show up to the ER, you will be treated, and you most likely will not pay a dime for it. Some of these visits turn into long-term stays in the hospital due to serious illness. Lets look at two examples:

First, we have Olga Sanchez (not real patients, based off of true stories) who is a 60 year old female with high blood pressure. One month ago her husband lost his job and therefore lost their medical coverage. Olga had to stop getting her blood pressure medicine because it was too expensive to pay for out of pocket. One night Olga wakes up with a terrible headache and eventually passes out. She is rushed to the emergency room where the doctors tell her family that she has had a stroke. She is rushed into surgery to stop the bleeding that is in her brain, and is in the ICU for the next month. She then moves to a neuro unit for another month until she can get on government insurance, and is then transferred to a skilled nursing facility. The treatments for the rest of her life will cost millions and millions of dollars, and even worse, the heartache of her family. I told Olga's daughters that I want to help see it that no one else has to go through this experience. Olga should have been able to get her one bottle of medicine a month for a decent price (she would have had to pay hundreds of dollars for one months supply). As a taxpayer, I would much rather pay for Olga's medicines for the rest of her life than for her millions of dollars of medical bills.

Second, George Smith, homeless man who lives on the street. Alcohol numbs the pain, and also keeps him warm at night. His drug won't keep away pneumonia though, and he presents to the ER by ambulance, intubated, because he is so sick he cannot breathe on his own anymore. One month ICU stay, we finally get him better. Millions of dollars later.. we pay for something that a simple antibiotic could have fixed.

In the Republican Tea Party debate tonight, it was made loud and clear that their stance on this issue is to let the uninsured die on the street. And if you don't believe me, I can personally say that I have known people to agree with this. Christians(!), to agree with this. It's clearly unbiblical, but religion aside, it's morally unethical and Un-American. I can't imagine any president (no matter which party) having the ability to pass a law that leaves dying uninsured people out on the street. It's just not going to happen. So we need to come up with an alternative. To me, it seems clear. It's either we practice preventative medicine in America that will require some formalized use of universal type healthcare, or we stay in the mess we are in now.

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Tonight's debate made it clear as day to the American public about how big money has control of politics, and let me tell you, insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical companies have lots of money. Do you ever find it weird that Blue Cross or Aetna have advertisements on TV? Do you realize how much an ad campaign like that would cost?! No wonder our premiums are sky rocketing and our out of pocket costs are too much to handle at times. Why is it that over 30% of the budget for a standard insurance company goes towards administration, CEO, and publicity costs? 30%! In Canada it's under 5%. Last year Blue Cross' CEO salary raised 26% to $3.5 million. This to me is shameful and should not be something we put up with.

When Michelle Bachmann accused Rick Perry of signing a mandatory law that would require all girls ages 12 and up to receive the HPV vaccine, Perry had nothing to say but apologies for it. Right there on live TV, Bachmann accused Perry of being bought out by the medical company, and now the whole world knows that Perry received his donation the same day that his administration announced this new mandate. Perry tried his best to mumble his way out... of... this... he... doesn't... know... what... to... say... ummm..., "If I am elected there will be no more Obamacare", he shouts at the crowd as they scream with cheers. I am sitting by my computer screen watching in horror, trying to figure out if anyone realizes that this is how it works in Washington. "At the end of the day", Perry is a dirty politician, there is no doubt about it.

--------------------

"Obamacare" is not perfect, but it's the first step in the right direction for America. I truly believe that with a little bit of Obamacare, and a little more of my plan, that we can cut our healthcare costs by a significant percentage. Yes, I am trying to help all people - illegal immigrant, homeless, and the lazy, but I also desire to see this country save money. I don't see any other way to fix this system.

American Citizens - please, keep an open mind when thinking about this issue. Think of your own situation... how good is your insurance? Think of others - how DO we take care of those with no health insurance, and how much does that cost? And really research Obamacare so that you won't believe the lies that some politicians try to tell you.


FACT CHECKER - in reference to the Republican Tea Party Debate.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Prayer Emails

I have been sending out prayer emails lately instead of blogging. If you would like to be added to the email list, please let me know :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mom is 60

It's my mom's 60th birthday today and I feel very blessed!

I am so thankful that God chose me to belong to my mother. She is THE most amazing woman I have ever known. My mom has sacrificed everything to give me all things. I am motivated by her to be a strong and loving woman, who will be satisfied in her career, and finish her education.

My mom is the most faithful person I know. I don't think I could ever be as faithful as she is to her family but I pray that God would give me the strength to do so when that time comes.

My mom has taught me to love God. She has shared with me her deepest times of faith and tribulation, and I am better for it.

My mom is strong. She can fight through any adversity, and can handle the greatest of trials just to come out a stronger woman.

My mom is my everything and I hate being far from her.

Thank you mom for being the greatest mother. I love you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Berkeley.Berkeley.

Well it's almost been a week in Berkeley and I am hanging in there! I have been somewhat busy every single day. I am trying to stay busy so I don't hang around the house all day in a depressed manner. It was hard to say goodbye to my parents on Sunday. Living with them these past two months made it even harder. Of course my ICU/Awful thinking is always factoring in the possibility that I could be hugging them for the last time. It's that way with everyone I suppose, but it's weird when you get in the habit of seeing your family EVERY single day, and then plan on not seeing them for 3 months. Yikes. 3 months.

I LOVE SKYPE. Skype has been great already. I have talked to my whole family on it, and it is really wonderful. At one point the other night the computer was on the family table and they kind of forgot I was there and were just talking to one another... I loved it! I felt like I was back at home.

Moving away from your family and friends is challenging but it's also life changing. This will be a great time of growth for me and I know that I need that... it's just hard at times. I am so lucky that I am able to have this opportunity - SO LUCKY.

So right when I said goodbye to my parents I came up to my apartment to be greeted by my roomie, Dave N. He gave me a little bit more of a tour and then I sulked in my room for a bit. The only thing that could cure such a thing was TARGET! Thank you so much to all of my friends and family who gave me a Target gift card (or money), because I needed a lot of stuff, and I also needed some retail therapy.

I got lost going there but this is what I found:

I found the bay! I have always grown up close to the beach in Southern California so this is definitely a different kind of water going on up here, but it's refreshingly new.

For all the Target fans out there, I had to take a picture of the check out lines because it is so similar to the DMV:


You pick a line A - F, and then on the TV screens it calls out your turn and tells you what number to go too. As I looked behind me the place was PACKED, so it's probably a good thing they set it up this way.

I have made 2 target runs this week already (so comforting), and an ikea run with my roomie Dave B. The Ikea is right by this little town called Emeryville (which is right by Berkeley), and it is so random because all around it are run down buildings and Oakland, and then the next you know - there's a "Coach" store, J-Crew and a bunch of high end stores in this outdoor shopping strip. Random.

I have been setting up my room to make it feel more like home and I am almost finished. Setting up my bookcase was the BEST part. It feels SO good to have my books out and looking at me again.

I have an extra poster of John Lennon and I asked my roomies if I could hang it in the hallway and Dave N. said only if I hang a Beyonce one on the other side. Don't tempt me, Dave N.

My roomies have been really great. We made it through our first big roomie meeting and 75% of it was discussing how to split up the fridge (standard).

Heidi - The only other girl roomie - she went to BIOLA!!! She also went to USC. She is up here getting a PhD in Lunar Science. NASA has already offered her a job. Pretty cool. Everytime I talk about it with her I want to watch Apollo 13. I want to watch it so bad. It is her birthday today - we WALKED to yogurtland. So fun living downtown. She is from San Diego and she is a twin. She is also 6'1 so I love feeling short.

Brad - Studying for a PhD in computer science. He had an internship at Google this summer so that is super cool in my book(Fun fact: Not only does Google offer free meals to their employees, they also get a free shuttle ride to and from work!). He loves to organize everything on a google spreadsheet which I hate but am learning to love. He is a leader at Veritas (Actually, all the boy roomies are leaders) which is the graduate student group through First Pres Church (also down the street). He is super patient and organized this whole house!

Dave B. - PhD student in economics. Ridiculously smart. Talks a lot about running codes on his computer and I hear a "NO!!!" come out of his room a lot when things don't go well with the code. He is famous for being the guy that rollerblades around Berkeley, and he also plays really intense board games down the street with other board game people. He plays the harmonica very well and has great stories.

Dave N. - Graduated last May with a PhD in endocrinology. He works at a lab and is basically trying to find a cure for Breast Cancer (ummm, seriously? I know you?). He says so far all of his rats/mice are dying. Dave is super down to earth. Just the other night I found out he was an elder at First Pres church. Note: He doesn't want people calling him "Elder Dave" - I tried. Dave is also very devoted to doing early morning devotions with all the housemates - so far I haven't woken up for one, but when school starts I will.

My week has been filled with exploring my little city. Walking a block to grab sushi is an amazing feeling. I am also right by Blockbuster, thai food, pizza, burgers, cvs, staples, a bunch of bars - you name it, I am right by it. It's wonderful. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to campus as well. My building is a little further - 20 minutes - so I will probably take the bus there because it's only a 7 minute commute by bus and walking combined.

The greatest exploration day was Pub Crawl day. I went with Heidi because all the science people she studies with do this famous pub crawl every year. I was nervous about it, but I had a really good time. We crawled for a good 5 hours and I am happy to know of so many good places to eat and drink. One of my favorite places is called Thalassa. It is literally a 3 minute walk from my house. There is no sign on the front of it so I never would have known what it was. When you walk in there is a huge bar and a few pool tables and some lounge furniture to sit on. I hear this place gets packed on the weekend. Then you walk into the other room and it's a HUGE place with a TON of pool tables. It's got a great vibe and great music. Love it.

I also loved meeting new people. This one student had just gotten in from China - first time in America. I taught him how to hold pizza! I love having the opportunity to talk with such a wide variety of people. That night alone I met 3 people from China, 1 from Chile, 1 from Holland, and people from all over the US. The diversity here is SO refreshing.

Today I met with Dan and Deb who are the campus crusade directors for Cal. I would also like to say we had reeeeally good gyro's for lunch. Such good food out here!


Dan and Deb are really great people, and their kids are super cute. My heart has always been for evangelism, and especially here at Berkeley... I would love to say the word "revival" around here, but I am hesitant because that feels so unreachable. This is definitely a "darker" place to live in. I am lucky because my house is full of light, but outside of that it is different. It's a different kind of dark than orange county where the cities are full of wealth and greed etc. ... up here there is a kind of academic darkness - where logically it doesn't make sense for their to be a God. I am honestly still trying to figure the whole thing out but what I am sure of is that my heart is in a state where it feels called to love and protect. I think mainly this has to do with undergraduate females. Being an undergrad at a secular school must be very difficult at times, and I would love to be present in peoples lives when those difficulties hit.

I'm rambling... SO, Dan and Deb were so incredibly welcoming to me and I love their ministry. I am going to be praying about how I am supposed to get involved out here in Berkeley, and whether it's with Cru at Cal or somewhere else.

Another prayer request: I have been having so many dental difficulties over this past year. I think that I would have been really better off not doing as much work as I did because I literally feel like every single tooth my dentist has touched, there is something wrong with it. In other words, I have been having a lot of pain. The dentist is so expensive and I am also really scared of getting dental work because the numbing medication doesn't work well for me. With that said, if you could pray for me that I would find the right dentist to go to that would help me with all of my dental troubles I would really appreciate it. This has been a very frustrating situation in my life. I almost feel like maybe my dentist has been taking advantage of me, and I am really scared at what another doctor would have to say about the work that has been done.

Thanks for reading, friends. Today I was thinking - I wish all my friends lived here... we would have so much fun! Miss you all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Vacation".

BEFORE - "Purple Room"




Paint in my hair - i'm blonde now.

View from my windows.

HALFWAY


Still the purple room from the outside :)

AFTER

My mom's like - "Uhh why did we paint over the purple... all your stuff is purple."
I love purple, but not THAT much purple.

Birthday balloon from new roomies - very sweet.
They also all signed a card for me - precious. :)


Rough day, but it is finished!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On my way...

Is it crazy that I am scared to leave because I know I won't come back the same?

When I graduate from my program in two years I will be two months away from turning 30, and changed inside and out. I might have a few more wrinkles... I will definitely be smarter... more independent...

calmer, probably...

engaged, maybe...

rich, just kidding...

:::Sigh:::

Leaving tomorrow. Leaving in 7 hours actually.

I don't want to leave my family. Ehhhh, don't wanna think about because I start to cry. Thank you Lord for webcams.

Everyone in my life is so precious to me... to leave was not an easy decision.

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But here I go. The Lord has opened a great big door to the top school in the nation. CAL BERKELEY. WOW. ME? Really?

Okay.

I'm on my way...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Last Years Birthday Goals

Did I accomplish these goals for my 27th year of life?!?! Though I couldn't even think of 27... ha.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

#1 - Grow closer to the Lord (a given...) - Yes!

#2 - Travel some of Europe (a goal that will be posted every year until I make it there)... - no

#3 - Do stand up comedy in a club (ya, I just thought of this the other day and deemed it a good idea)... - no

#4 - Get settled and satisfied in a church... - no

#5 - Visit the Knaup's in DC... - no

#6 - Visit Erin in Colorado (just so I can for sure accomplish one...) - yes!

#7 - Dominate the GRE... - yes!

#8 - Get into a really great MSW program, and/or figure out what the heck I am doing in that area... - yes! a miracle!!

#9 - Go on date's with my sisters... - so,so...

#10 -

#11 - Plan and execute a HUGE family Thanksgiving at my house... - yes! and my grandpa's last turkey day with us, so i am happy i did

#12 - Read 75% of the books that are already on my bookshelf, that have never been read - haha, no

#13 -

#14 -

#15 - keep it real... - yes!

#16 -

#17 - Watch more movies... - yes!

#18 - Go on a reeeally stellar road trip... - Berkeley with Lindsay was fun!

#19 - Watch "The Union Line" make it to the Billboard Top 40... - hehe, not yet.

#20 - Write more... - nope

#21 -

#22 - Pray more - so,so

#23 - Visit Maritza in Seattle... - yes!

#24 -

#25 -

#26 -

#27 -

Stay tuned for my goals for the 28th year of life!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

let God.

Moving is stressful. Moving 7 hours away is even more stressful.

I rented a 10ft moving truck. The guy at the truck place calls to say that he might not be able to have a 10ft, and would have to give me a 16ft. "But I don't NEED a 16ft", I say. Back and forth, back and forth (can you hear me?...)

I felt God say to me - "let go"

So I let go, and I let God (hehe).

*sigh*

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bye Bye Whittier

1am and I can't sleep.

Tomorrow I am saying goodbye to Whittier. Goodbye to Buck's house. Goodbye to the coolest house I have ever lived in. Goodbye to a town that has been good to me.

Two years ago when my walls started crumbling down, I needed to return to the place that treated me so well - the Biola area. I tried out Fullerton for a bit, only to continue on to Whittier. For the past year I have lived in a great house with a pool, fruit trees, and all the room you need for alone time. It started with me, Rachel Olson (Garman), Aubree Kusmit (Hills), Melodey Reiss, and Lara Hurlburt. Aubree went away to grad school and got married, and Lindsay Schmidt joined us. Rachel got married and Hannah joined us. Hannah and Lindsay moved on and Jessica and Emily are here now. Now it's my turn to say goodbye.

When I moved in a year ago, I was desperate for peace and sanity. My life was in turmoil. I was having a quarter life crisis. And even though I lost my mind a few times living with 4 other women, I also regained most of who I am.

This town is comfortable. Biola is down the street, trader joes and target are around the corner, and pretty much all of my friends are within 60 miles north and south. I know the neighbors, and I know the secret ins and outs of street corners. I know where the cops hide, and I know where the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants sit. This place has always brought me peace and direction, and I am thankful.

Leaving here is more than just a regular move I have had before, because when I am gone, I most likely won't ever be coming back. And if one day I did come back to work for Biola, if wouldn't be for many years. I will visit of course, but it won't ever be the same. Even now, walking onto Biola's campus feels oddly distant. Between the new construction, and not knowing anyone as I walk around, it is clear that the campus has moved on without me... without all of my friends. I will be forever grateful for Biola - the place that raised me up to be a witness for Christ, and work in a world with integrity and compassion. Biola has drilled in me a foundation that would be extremely difficult to break... I'd dare to say, unbreakable.

Farewell.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Three Things.

Life is moving so fast, and I feel like I am stuck in the slow lane.

One week from now I am moving back in with my parents to save money for the big move to UCB. And then two months from then, I am making THE big move.

I have been really stressed about it. Really scared.

But today brought something new. A new perspective. It was simple, really, but it spoke to me.

Three things: Change, alone, and figuring it out.

I have a friend who loves to do this. Me? Well, I THOUGHT I loved to do this. I have moved four times in three years, and I thought this made me one of those people who loves those "three things". So when I decided on this big move, I thought it would be no problem, because, hey, I'm a mover.

I'm not a mover.

Being in Berkeley a few weeks ago made me realize a little bit more about myself. On the way to a pizza place, I thought I knew where I was, parked my car, paid the meter, and then proceeded to walk 6 blocks to where I needed to be. By that time I needed to start heading back just to beat the meter! I was frustrated that I didn't know where I was. I would get frustrated the whole weekend because anytime Lindsay and I were trying to figure out where to eat, I had no idea where to go. Figuring it out. I realized I was scared to figure things out.

Here in So. Cal., I have my family, friends, job... EVERYTHING. Everything is here. Nothing in North. Even in my moves, I was moving around So. Cal. Alone. I am scared to be alone.

Right now my life consists of work, volunteering, paying bills, and being with the ones that I love and have known for a long time. When I move I will be going to school and studying something that I never have really professionally studied, interning as a social worker, and hanging out with people I have known for five seconds. Change. I am scared of change.

So what my friend said today about loving change, being alone and figuring everything out, really had an impact on me because I realized that this is a once in a lifetime experience that should be embraced instead of feared (even if I am not a "mover"..).

Embrace the chance to figure a new city out - get lost, take the bus, eat at a C restaurant.

Embrace being alone - truly alone - because in this I will be able to feel the kindness of a stranger, the joys of a new best friend, and the comfort of a Savior.

Embrace change - I get to study what I LOVE, and practice what I LOVE, by showing love to God's people. And I don't have to work Full-time!!

Woo, I am getting excited...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

UC Berkeley.

WOW! Okay, so life is changing really fast.

I haven't even announced to the blog world that I was thinking about changing up grad school, and so my faithful blog readers out there (haha, no one...), you probably have no idea what's coming! To make a long story short - I decided to go into Social Work. I started praying about this over a year ago now, and applied for schools back in the fall of 2010. Through the application process I really felt like God was calling me to UC Berkeley. These seemed a little like a pipe dream though, because UC Berkeley is NOT an easy school to get into. It's #6 in the nation for a Masters in Social Work (or, Social Welfare as Cal calls it), and #1 for sociology. Needless to say, it's a highly sought after school, and many qualified applicants apply every year.

The MSW program at Berkeley (aka. Cal) takes about 100 students a year, and the specific program I wanted to get in (health) takes FIFTEEN.

FIFTEEN.

Well people, I am one of those fifteen!

It's been completely overwhelming. I found out that I was accepted 5 days before my tonsillectomy, and on that day I was SO sick with bronchitis. After I recovered from surgery, my grandfather passed away, so my mind was super distracted from from so many things. The fact that I was accepted to the #6 school for social work had NOT sunk in. I was freaked out.

So what does one do when they are "freaked out".. ROAD.TRIP.

So on Sunday, I packed up my stuff and drove to Bezerkeley with my friend, Lindsay. I feel like I accomplished EVERYTHING during this trip.

First I met with my longtime friend Chris Reinhardt, who had moved out to Berkeley for a degree in Poli Sci, and is graduating in 2 weeks (congrats, Chris!!). Chris is just awesome, as he helps me to figure out so many things during this transition.

Next I met with potential roomies. Now, these peeps are the peeps I have been talking to for a bit over email. I met them because I went online and stalked the biggest church in Berkeley, found the email contact for the graduate student group, and emailed them saying "HELP ME". They put me in contact with some ladies in the social work program (Sam and Anna have been ridiculously helpful with EVERYTHING...I LOVE THE CHURCH), and also in contact with other people who are looking for roomies. Through many email exchanges with loads of people, I have landed in a group of 4, who will attempt to look for a house this summer.

Introducing: Brad, David, and Heidi. Yes, boys.

I have never lived with boys before (except my dad of course), and so I am thrilled! Less ladies has got to equal less drama. Especially because Brad and David are seriously some of the greatest people I have ever met. ::Brad and David are also very smart and put me to shame as they pursue Doctorate Degrees in Computer Science and Economics::

We all met up at church - First Presbyterian Berkeley - on Sunday night for the "student service". The church provides food afterwards as well, and so we had time to get to know each other. It was FANTASTIC. After, David took us on a tour all around Berkeley so that I could get to know the area better. I feel SO much better about the area now that I know where I am! Heidi is living in France right now, but GUESS what?? She is Biola Alumni!! Isn't that a wonderful gift from the Lord?? It's amazing how God works things out, and how the church can seriously be such a blessing. So you can pray that this housing situation would work out for us. I know that God is in control, and that even if it doesn't work out for us, that God has something else planned that is perfect for me, and I also still have met really great friends.

On Monday I bought a Cal shirt (of course), and then went and met with the MSW department "secretary". I don't like calling her a secretary because I feel like she is the knower of all things Cal MSW (aka. Very important person). I needed to chat about financial aid, and fellowship opportunities. Meeting with her was probably the best decision I have ever made in my life. No scheduled appt., she just saw me last minute (super awesome), and helped me SO much to navigate my next steps for getting my education paid for. So PLEASE, pray for me as I try to figure this whole thing out.

That night I had dinner with Jeff and Kashelle Bruce who live about 20 minutes away from Berkeley, and are friends from Biola. Jeff is a pastor at a local church, and Kashelle works as a nurse in Berkeley. Again, thank you for the church that helps us feel connected all over the world! The Bruce's are just wonderful people, who offered me a place to stay anytime I need one, and support for this new transition in life. I NEED people like the Bruce's as I transition. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I also stayed for their home fellowship small group as well, and it was so encouraging.

Tuesday was departure day (yes, a 48 hour trip), and we met up with Chris again for pizza and a view, as we overlooked the bay at the Berkeley Rose Garden. Life is good up in Berkeley. Also, this pizza place - to die for, yum. Again, Chris was SUCH an awesome support to me as I was just able to discuss everything - moving expenses, jobs, housing, transportation around Berkeley... everything. SUCH a blessing.

So there we have it in a nutshell. There are so many more things I would love to mention, but I am officially exhausted. I need PRAYER people. Just be praying for all mentioned above, and that I wouldn't be too fearful about leaving my wonderful family and friends behind. It's scary... I am scared... But I don't want to let fear hold me back from something that is SO wonderful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Heart is Broken

Losing my grandfather, Ray D. Pearcy Sr., on Wednesday March 16th has broken my heart. In a way, I am happy to realize that I still have a heart because I work around death SO much, but I just wasn't expecting this overwhelming amount of grief soaring through my soul. I am going through the stages (of grief) like a person who has never stepped into the hospital before. I was so angry today.. angry at the doctors.. angry at illness.. angry at ridiculous things that couldn't have been changed. I am still angry. I am also in denial. I am never in denial about things, so this feeling is just bizarre. I had this certainty today while at the gravesite that this did.not.happen. I couldn't accept it. I broke down.

I hate crying because I get headaches, but at the same time it feels good. It feels SO good to mourn someone so passionately because I know that means that the love between my grandfather and I was REAL.

Anyway, I am grieving, but I am learning. I have learned so much from this one experience in my life, and am thankful that it has changed me for the better. More on that in the coming weeks (if I am up for it).

In the meantime, I want to paste my eulogy from grandpa in here so I can't ever lose it.

~Albert Einstein~
Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.

I began today with this Einstein quote because I want to spend time remembering the legacy of my grandfather through his children, grandchildren, and great-children. First we have Marcela and Ted (who is my dad), whom grandpa adopted as his own back in 1954 when he met Emma Reese. Only to continue on by having three more children – Cindy, Renee, and Ray Jr. All of these children went on to live good lives, raising their own children to be good and loving people. We have Michael and Michelle, followed by Aaron, Meghan, Carrie, Christopher, Brian, Kenny, Amy, Sarah, Emily, and Tori.

Between numerous college and high school graduations, weddings, the making of great-grandchildren, and many other events over the years, I think we made our grandfather proud. I think that we had good motivation, because of our grandfather, to do great things. We grew up with a healthy respect for grandpa, and listened closely to his wise words, and learned a lot from his outgoing personality. I think it is safe to say that we all take after him in the LOUD and opinionated areas.

I for one couldn’t wait to tell grandpa good news about life. One of my favorite things was making him proud. I loved that he was here to experience my graduation from college, and in the last week of his life I was able to let him know I was accepted to UC Berkeley for graduate school. He was SO happy. It’s extremely difficult to accept the fact that he won’t be here on earth for that graduation, but I know he and grandma will be watching from a better place.

I think all the grandchildren can speak to their own proud moments with grandpa. Mike being the first to produce great-children, and very cute ones. Aaron graduating from college and recently becoming engaged. Meghan for graduating from cosmetology school, celebrating her wedding, and giving him 2 more great grandchildren. Chris for being the first to work in show biz, and for being the greatest uncle, with the kindest spirit. Brian for being a hard-worker, and first of all of us to have his own office at work. Kenny for graduating culinary school, and having the ability to make anything out of frozen turkey. And Amy, Sarah, Emily, and Tori, who are all still young, but have made grandpa proud in many ways, as he enjoyed lots of love from the babies of the family.

This is Grandpa’s legacy.

We also have many wonderful memories with grandpa. My sisters, Sarah, Emily, and Tori, reminded me of grandpa’s smile. Grandpa always LIT UP whenever he saw one of his grandchildren. This past Thanksgiving we had the whole family over to my house for dinner, and I think grandpa was smiling the whole time. I know he loves his family, but I am sure some of that smile was because he got to eat my mom’s food as well. He loved food.

Meghan reminded me of how she used to sit on the arm of his chair at the old Hawthorne house when she was a little girl. I remember those memories as well. Meghan also said that some of her greatest memories were when Grandpa was with his great grandson, Jameson. Almost every milestone in Jameson’s first year of life happened around grandpa, and grandpa was so happy to be able to celebrate Jameson’s 1st birthday.

While spending this last week together, I was able to reminisce a lot with Aaron and Brian. We talked a lot about Grandpa’s hot tub. We ALWAYS wanted to be in that hot tub, and we always wanted Grandpa to go with us.

As a family, I think it is safe to say that Grandpa was ALWAYS there when we needed him most. I have distinct memories of grandpa being my comfort, in times of trials. This is why it is so difficult to lose a grandparent. We don’t use the word “grand” to describe these people we have in our lives for no reason – they are the “grandest” people we know.

Finally, my favorite memories of being with grandpa were in the last days of his life. Though it was difficult to see him sick, I am glad that I cancelled everything to be with him. I am glad that the years of my work experience was able to be a blessing to him. Spending those last days speaking for him when he couldn’t speak, and helping him while he was weak, were the best spent hours of my life. We even watched American Idol one night from his hospital bed. Having the chance to say goodbye and I love you, numerous times is something that not many people get, and something that I will cherish.

This sucks. I have spoken at all of my grandparent’s funerals, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do this one because it is the last for me. Today I am saying goodbye to the last grandparent I have.

But here is the good news – we are not saying goodbye forever, but just for a small amount of time when we compare it to infinity. Grandpa was a Baptist, and so naturally I turned to the Bible for answers and comfort. This is a passage that gave me comfort this week:

1 Corinthians 15

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

I know that there is such a thing as heaven, and eternal life, and it is with that confidence that I celebrate the fact that I will see grandpa again.

Grandpa, you have left a legacy. There are many more great grandchildren to come, and we promise you that we will always tell them stories about you so that you won’t be forgotten. We will try our best to represent you well in our lives, by being honest and kind, but most importantly, by loving this family that you have created. It is with sadness that I say goodbye for now, but joy comes when I am able to tell you – see ya later.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grandpa.

I came back on the blog to focus on one thing for a bit - my grandpa.

My grandpa, who is my dad's father, is my last living grandparent, and I am sad to say that he is now home on hospice. There is no chance for recovery from his illness, and it is with a heavy heart that we sit and wait. My grandpa is 84.

It has been interesting to be involved with the process of everything. I am thankful for my education and for the ways I can help my family. I am also thankful for the ways I can help my grandpa.

I lost my grandmother on my dad's side when I was 18, and my grandpa on mom's side when I was around 22, and both times it just seemed as if I was out of the loop and not very involved. I think I was just too young to take responsibility for anything. Now I am 27, and more capable of understanding, processing, and staying strong for the family.

At one point my cousin said to me, "You are so good at this, I haven't even seen you cry".

Well, I have cried. But my cries are for selfish reasons. Reasons that consist of "I" and "Me". "I am going to miss grandpa", etc. And not that anything is wrong with that, but I think I am just so obsessed with using every single last second to help grandpa pass with dignity and confidence that he will be the Lord. Also, I think it is so amazing that we have this time with grandpa, and that we have had so many years with him, I am just so happy and thankful for it.

I mean, it sucks. It sucks bad. Life is so hard. But you can't put a price tag on having a chance to say goodbye...

My grandpa is just really awesome. He has lived a wonderful life. My great grandfather was the mayor of Hawthorne, California, and this is the city we all grew up in. My grandpa was very well known in the town, and truly made a great life for himself. He has always taken care of his kids and grandkids with great love, and that is why there is so much love with him today.

More later..