Showing posts with label cool stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cool stories. Show all posts

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Do you have your pastor's cell phone number?

Today on the SOJO website there is a great post by Christian Piatt about why young adults quit church. He lists the following seven reasons:
  1. We've been hurt
  2. Adult life/college and church don't seem to mix
  3. There's no natural bridge to church
  4. We're distracted
  5. We're skeptical
  6. We're exhausted
  7. I don't get it
It's a great article and I highly recommend reading it fully. One of my favorite thoughts on this was the one about holding early morning services and expecting college students to come... it's just not going to happen. Even if we love the Lord, we want our sleep because (point 6) we're exhausted!

But what I wanted to focus on today was WHY I GO TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY MORNING. Because trust me, I have been hurt, my life doesn't really mix with church, at times I am skeptical, and I am definitely exhausted. But I still go.

When I first started grad school at Cal I was excited to find a new church in the Bay Area. I checked out all the ones by my house and had very high hopes about fitting in somewhere. I visited a bunch of church's multiple times, even declaring one as my home church. But sometimes, Sunday would come and I would be really tired and overloaded with homework and so I would skip. No one would really seem to care. I would go back to the church and try my hardest to make connections but I just wasn't feeling the love. I would send emails to people who told me, "send me an email" and I would call people who would say, "give me a call"... many times, no replies.

I found myself becoming disinterested in those church's and traveling a little ways to the outskirts of town to go to my friends church that he pastors. This was a little too easy... of course I could call him and email him. I generally liked that church and went there through my fall semester up until Christmas break. Well breaks can be interesting for the life of a church-going college student because a whole month away makes it seem like a million years. When I returned in January, I felt pretty disconnected.

In January while at internship, I was talking to my supervisor about how I would like to visit a predominantly African American church in Oakland while I am in the Bay Area. I will be honest, I feel guilty admitting that I wanted to be almost a "tourist" visiting for the experience (see this article for interesting words on that). My supervisor hooked me up with the charge nurse who has been going to a well known church in West Oakland for 20+ years and I gave her my phone number in which she replied, "I will have my pastor call you". I said okay but secretly laughed to myself - when would a pastor EVER call someone who doesn't even GO to their church?! I assumed she had meant the assistant or youth pastor and went on with my day thinking I would never been held accountable to going.

As I left the hospital that night I had a message on my phone... it was THE pastor! This is what he said:

"Hello, Carrie, Sister Georgia gave me your number and
told me you were interested in visiting the church.
I would love to speak with you before and give you a tour.
Give me a call and you could come in on a Saturday..
Call me on my cell phone before six... and call me at my house
after six... God Bless you.

I WAS SHOCKED.

I had to listen to the message another time to really take in what this man had just said to me. Call me at your house? Seriously? As I did more research online that night I realized this wasn't just any man, this was pastor Gillette O. James, who had been pastoring the Beth Eden Baptist Church for 41 years. FORTY ONE.

I returned his call and we set up an appointment for the following Saturday. We met and I told him about myself. He proceeded to tell me about the history of the church and other life stories. He also told me that since I have such an extensive background in theology, that if I became a member I wouldn't go to the New Member Sunday School class, but that he and I would sit together and just discuss theology. Are you getting this?? 60 or 70-ish African American man, willing to take time to TEACH ME, 20-year-old white girl. This just seemed too good to be true.

As I left that day I was still convinced I wasn't going to become a member. I wanted a church that felt like home and I was pretty convinced that I wasn't going to find it there. Not because I didn't physically fit in... but because I just thought that it would be hard to be ministered too. It might sound selfish, but I am just being real here... being a college student is hard.. and we need support from our church families. Mostly, I want to feel that people care for me and care that I am there. I also want to feel like if I am in need of prayer during a life crisis, the pastors/deacons/deaconess' will know who I am and be willing to pray for me. And finally, like the SOJO article mentioned, free food is always welcomed!

As I went to church that first Sunday I was very nervous. But throughout the 3 hour long service I felt very welcomed. Not only was I introduced in front of the whole congregation, but I also was called up to the stage to "tell a little about myself". WHAT?! I had not planned for this! Remember, I am one of three white people here. As Pastor James introduced me, I was suspicious that he had tape recorded our meeting because he described me better than I can describe myself. How did he remember all of those things? For starters, he might have been one of the first pastors I have met without ADHD.

The next week I didn't go back because I wasn't feeling well. Of course the pastor called me to check in... and the employees I work with who attend Beth Eden were checking in on me as well. I felt cared for. Ever since that missed Sunday, I have been faithfully waking up on Sunday morning (service starts at 10:45, thank God!) and heading to West Oakland for church. And every Sunday I feel more and more welcomed.

I also keep hearing more and more stories from people about how Pastor James has been there for them. Everyone has his cell phone number, and it seems that he will come be with you at a moments notice. This is very foreign to me, and I am still having trouble grasping it. I am thinking back to my ministry while serving in youth ministries throughout the years, wondering if I was accessible enough. Did I value my time as MY time, or was my time to minister to people?

I have always had this feeling that being a full time minister would be WAY TOO DIFFICULT. You would be on call all the time. In the church's I grew up in (and I think this is a pattern in most White Evangelical churches), the focus was more on boundaries than it was on accessibility. Pastors needed their boundaries to be with their families and have their days off. While I don't directly disagree with this, I am starting to realize that maybe having strict boundaries isn't what God is calling ministers to do.

I am enjoying stretching my boundaries only to be blessed by a pastor that is so accessible, genuine, and welcoming. I am happy to call Beth Eden my church home, and I am happy to roll out of bed every Sunday morning.

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.

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

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...

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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Health Insurance Reform

"After a century of struggle and a year of debate, health insurance reform became law six months ago today -- and this week, key provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect.

Today, we also celebrate an end to some of the worst insurance company abuses, like rescinding coverage when someone needs it most. Those previously considered uninsurable because of a pre-existing condition -- 400,000 Americans -- now have access to insurance through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. And all new health plans must now provide free preventive care, like mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and pre-natal care.

Millions will see expanded benefits -- and more control over the care they receive.

This is real change."


Click here for more stories...


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Urban Health Ministry Conference

Wow - a month since I have last blogged?! Weird.

Well, I am back (for now), and want to share a few things I learned at a conference I went to this past weekend. I went to the "Urban Health Ministry Conference", which was held at Fuller Seminary. I heard about the conference only a few days before it was happening, so I quickly registered, and anxiously awaited Friday. When I arrived Friday evening, I had no idea what to expect, but was welcomed by many wonderful people. Later I learned that the majority of these "wonderful people" were doctors, or med students... a little intimidating to say the least.

The first plenary session was taught by Dr. Rick Donlon, who is a mighty force in Urban Health Ministry. Honestly, before meeting Dr. Donlon, I didn't know that people like him existed. Dr. Donlon was one of the doctors who founded "Christ Community Health Services" (clinics) in Tennessee. After a few years of working there, he realized that he was leaving the "hood" every day to go home to the nice suburbs, where he hid from his neighbors. He had a desire to be IN the community he served. His wife later agreed, and they moved there with their SIX children (2 adopted from China, and his wife is now prego with the 7th).

Dr. Donlon told us heartwarming stories about how he has been able to be 100x more effective because he was not just working in an inner city, but was a part of one completely. Not only does Dr. Donlon run a clinic and live in his neighborhood, his family also hosts "house church", where the neighbors come to worship. They are truly living out a "Christian community", and it's a beautiful thing.

On Saturday the sessions were filled with just as inspiring people. Doctors, nurses, and lay people all had a special part. So I just want to share some random thoughts from the notes I took:
  • Remember the differences between "heath" and "health care"
  • Just as there is a huge fear of death in America, there is also a huge fear of losing health
  • "Life is not a necessity, it is a miracle.. life is to be graciously received"
  • "Many people pretend to look well, but they are not"
  • "Fetal prenatal care is a chance for a do-over in many people's minds.. one day it might be considered illegal to have a disabled child..."
  • "Idolatrous health for ourselves is leaving others without any care"
  • "We are no more healthy than our sickest neighbor"
  • 2.7 Million people are uninsured in Los Angeles - this is 28.9% of residents
  • God loves to heal (Jeremiah 33:6, Exodus 15:26, Proverbs 14:31)
  • "In the health care field, we oppress the poor"
  • gospel = holistic
  • "We tend to deny the reality of the impoverished person, assuming they are lazy"
I was so thankful for God providing me a way to attend this conference, as it has inspired me to continue in my endeavors of making some kind of difference within the world of "health" and "health care".


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

work work work

Frustrated.

Perpetually frustrated is more like it. Why can't things ever just be easy?

The job market has not been kind to me lately, as things have taken a turn for the worst in the medical field. People are unemployed, and therefore have no insurance, and therefore do not see doctors, and therefore do not come to hospitals. This, in turn, has caused a great decrease in patients at the ICU I am so lucky to "work" for. While our ICU usually holds anywhere between 22 to 34 patients, we have been hitting all time low numbers of EIGHT.

EIGHT.

8888 8888

When this happens, I receive phone calls at 5am on the day I am supposed to work saying, "Don't come in, we don't need you." While this makes me feel a little insecure, usually the thought going through any sane persons mind would be - "Whooooopi!!!! I don't have to work today!!!!!!"

But when the "at home" days outweigh the working days, and all your PTO (paid time off) is gone, the word "Whoopi" is not something that goes through a persons mind. It's more like a word that starts with an "S", ends with a "T", and has an "HI" in the middle of it, that is going through my mind.

SO here I am. Carrie Allen. Started working when I was 15 years old at a bagel shop, and moved myself all the way up the ladder (of nothing really), to get to this point. All I do is WORK. Work work work. I worked 2 jobs through community college, worked through Biola, worked through graduate school. I have never taken a break. I have literally never had more than 2 weeks off of work. I have never traveled to Europe for months on end... I have never even traveled to friggin' Europe! I haven't done a lot of things, because my whole life has been about working hard. And even now, all I want to do is just study for the GRE, take it, and finish some kind of graduate school. But noooo, life had to throw this in the mix.

Well I am tired of it. I got bitter, and angry... for like a day. And then I realized, wait, if I have been working all of this time, then I have a "pot". Oh no you naughty thang, not that kind of "pot", but the kind us Obama lovers like to bring up all the time - an unemployment pot. For the past 12 years it has been getting filled up with MY money, and now it's my time to take some back for the team!

So what am I going to do the rest of the summer? Well, I am not going to Europe, but I am going to lay by the pool a lot and sleep in... live off the pennies of an unemployment check, and maybe a part-time job at Starbucks. Yup, that's what I will do...


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nail in a Tire.

I have the worse trouble with cars.

Every single time I have extra money, something goes wrong. So now, I plan for it. I had worked a bunch of over time and I knew my paycheck was going to be significantly larger than normal, and so I planned to get new tires (booooring). I am taking a trip up north for my birthday in August, and I knew that 2 of my tires were not in the best shape.

But you all know how it is - once the money is in the bank, the LAST thing you want to buy is tires. So, the plan was to procrastinate. Telling myself how I could make it 14 hours round trip with unhealthy tires. God had other plans...

God basically just came down from the sky, put a nail in my tire, and led me off of the freeway safely. First off, the nail was in one of the hurt tires, so I don't have to get 3 replaced. Second, now I am forced to get new tires for the safety of myself and my friends. Third, God had it pop right by a police station so I had somewhere of a nice place to park and wait for the AAA guy (I don't think God had planned for the drunk guy who wanted to be my boyfriend, and said if the tow truck guy never came, he could have fixed my tire)... but I was still safe.

I have never been more calm about a popped tire in my life, because I just knew it was... right.

And even when the drunk guy kept asking me where "my man was to help me", I finally said, "I can take care of myself." To which he replied, "Ohhhh guuurllll, you like a Beyonce independent woman or somethin' or whaaaat?" "Exactly", I replied. "A Beyonce Independent women is what I am."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Job Fair

I went to my first job fair today.

Very interesting.

I wasn't looking. I was there in support of a friend, and I looked the part in my hat and jeans. Hey, it's my day off.

Thoughts that came into my mind while there...

#1 - Hey, maybe there will be cute guys here... wait, they are all unemployed. Fail.

#2 - Woa, that lady smells like alcohol. Hopefully there are liquor stores here recruiting.

#3 - I'm loving the cool dude in skinny jeans and a suit jacket trying to talk with law offices. Not. Come on! Jeans?!

#4 - Why are there 6 Aflac booths? And why are they covered in huge stuffed animal ducks? Maybe the duck thing has gone too far.

All in all it was a great experience. Of course it was a people-watching hayday, and I looove that. I was so encouraged by the people who were really trying to get a job. Times are tough right now, and these people are working hard to find work. I can appreciate that.

It's days like these that make me very thankful for the awesome and perfect fitting job that I have right now. God's hands in my life are so clear, as He has prepared me specifically to work where I do now during this transitional and changing time in my life. Very thankful for all that I have.

To all of you looking for work - be encouraged, because there seems to be a quite a few jobs out there in Orange County!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Celebrating Mom.

Aren't mothers wonderful?

My mom is pretty amazing (to say the least). When I was 1 month, my parents brought me home (... adopted). Apparently I never wore the same outfit twice for many years, and have the pictures to prove it.

When I was a two-year old screaming and crying in church (like usual apparently), some guy told my mom that his daughter did the same thing, and now she's a nun. The devils at work even when you're a baby.

My mom bought Disneyland passes for me and my friends when I was 5, and picked us up from school and took us there... a lot.

When I was 7, God gave my mom a natural child. It was a miracle. She was 41, and had never been able to great pregnant.

When I was 9, my mom decided to try fertility treatments and had twins.

Now there were 4.

When my dad acted not so great at the age of 12, my mom made him his favorite dinner.

When I got suspended from school when I was 13, my mom didn't ground me because I had straight A's. If only that would have motivated me...

When I was 14, my mom reminded me that if I ever got pregnant, I could come to her, and she would never abandon me.

When I was 16, I lied a big lie. My mom covered for me.

For my senior prom, my mom came up with the idea of my entire family leaving the house, while I had a raging after party.

My mom believed in Jesus, even when I hated God. Now we both have faith through Jesus.

When I turned 18, I became too cool for my mom. Didn't really want to spend time with my mom.

And yet, she got me a job, paid for my college, paid for a lot of things really, bought me new tires when they popped, brought me flowers on Valentines day, cooked me dinner every night, took my side with everything, worked her butt off, and always reminded me that she loved me.

Now that I am older, and I can see the world for what it is, I have realized that not a lot of people are as lucky as me to have a mother like I do. Or even, have a mother. Even my mother lost her mother when she was 19. I can't imagine how much my mother must have hurt. My mom is so strong.

People ask me all the time, "Don't you want to meet your birth parents"? When I say "no", people are always surprised. You may wonder why. Well, I don't like to be disappointed, and I know that whoever my birth mother is, could never live up to the woman who has MY mother all these years. I am thankful for my birth mother's selfless act, and I hope that a bit of her compassion and dignity rubbed off on me in the womb, but I have no connection to her. MY mother is who I am bound with.

My mother is the one person on this earth who I know will never forsake me. This is love. So much love. It blows my mind when Jesus tells us to love strangers with that same love, because in my head I think - only a mother could do that.

I am so thankful for what my mother has done for me, and continues to do today. And every single day, I thank God for giving us one more day together.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Sweet Things in Life...

I know that life can be incredibly difficult at times, but I also know that there are sweet sweet times to cherish as well. The older I get, the rougher it gets, so the sweet times come in the big and small things.

  • Getting straight A's in grad school (oh, so sweet!)
  • Spending time in hopes to help stop human trafficking
  • Watching this new show called "Parenthood" - it makes me cry, and my heart go pitter patter (it's based off my FAVORITE movie of all time - "Parenthood"; the stories are stellar, and the music selection is magical)
  • Hearing that my aunt's cancer is g.o.n.e. after her first session of chemo
  • Europe in the fall with my mama
  • Thanking God for many friendships, but at this moment in time - sustaining my relationships with Cam, Tita, and B
  • Reading amazing blog posts written by my good friend, Matt
  • NPR
  • All the blessings that my job brings
  • The joy of just "taking a break"
  • Amazon's - buy 3 books get one free
  • Erin Bowen
  • Wonderful family
  • Living close to the beach
  • Rock Harbor - starting in a life group soon
  • And of course, the one constant - Jesus Christ

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shopping.

I was out shopping the other day and I found myself running into two very peculiar things.


#1 - The Ultimate Coke Machine



This machine is outta controoool! I found it at the Rubio's in Tustin, and basically you can pick from over 100 drinks! So when I rolled up to the machine, I was ecstatic to find DIET sprite (which you can never find in a machine), but even THEN, when I clicked on the "diet sprite" option, it said I could have - "diet cherry sprite", "diet raspberry sprite", diet orange sprite"... seriously, there were SEVEN different kinds of diet sprite! Whaaaat?! It was purely amazing.


#2 - CVS Coupon finally paid off...


This one is especially for Simone because we always rant on about CVS coupons. But look at this little gem they gave me the other day - $8.50! I thought there was a catch - like $8.50 off a $2,000 purchase. But no, the guy said to me, "It's just like money, spend it however you like..." Ah yes, music to my sweet little ears...

Monday, February 1, 2010

The end of an era...

If you haven't heard, I moved from my cozy little condo in Aliso Viejo, to an even cozier little condo in Fullerton. I am loving it. I basically feel like I have my own little studio, because the upstairs portion of the condo is a bedroom, a little nook area, and a bathroom, and it's all mine!

This past weekend was crAzy, as I keep realizing that I would have so much less stuff to move if I didn't have a huge book collection. It's frustrating, but I neeeed my books. I was very proud of myself as I drove a 15 foot truck ALL day, by myself. I received some really weird looks from people, and some comments were made from women about how they "could never drive one of those". I would have said that too 4 days ago, but I really want to start being more independent. Although I relied on my friends and family to help me move, I wanted to organize the entire move by myself - independently. I love that I am becoming more independent; it gives me a huge source of strength for every aspect of my life.

It was definitely a bittersweet move, as I am moving away from my entire life in south OC, and continuing on with my life in north OC (closer to my Biola peeps now). It was also hard moving from the Aliso Viejo townhome, because I can't even count how many memories from my early 20's happened there. If you don't know, some of my guy friends lived in that house before I did, so my friends and I have been hanging out in that house for a long time. It was hard to say goodbye...

It was hard to say goodbye, and a few months ago I didn't want to say goodbye. It was a great house, in a great city, and I could have been totally comfortable living there for a long time. But I don't think that's who I am. If I stay in the same place all the time, then I am never experiencing new things. And "new things" is what I want my life to be filled with.

So, I am only in this little house in Fullerton for 4 months (I know, I am crazy), and then I am not sure what comes after that. But doesn't that make life a bit more exciting? I think so...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shake it, come on shake shake it...

There have been quite a few earthquakers over here in the OC lately. Well, not exactly hitting the OC, but near the OC. 

For both of the recent ones, I was in my room, on the second floor of my townhome, sitting on my bed. During the first one I was awakened from my sleep, and all I could think of was - "Woooo, this is kind of like a Disneyland ride." Yes, I was still half asleep, but I was definitely feeling the rolling. 

For last nights quaker, I literally thought a car had crashed into my home. The quake was loud (though I don't remember earthquakes making noises... they do), and it was a little scary. My whole room was shaking pretty hard, and as I sat there and pondered whether or not this was the "big one" or not, I still didn't move an inch. I was also too lazy to investigate the whole car crashing deal, and was even too lazy to search for news on the internet. So instead, I went to facebook, and posted my thoughts in hopes that someone else would do the research for me, and they did, and I was lead to this article

In the OC Register article, they said that the OC felt the quake as "mild". My thoughts on this were - if the quake is ever "severe" in Aliso Viejo, this house is going down. Hopefully there will be no more earthquakes until February, as I will already be moved in to my new place in Fullerton. 

Stay strong. Stay steady. And stay sexy. 

======couldn't think of another "s" word. 

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!

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.