Tuesday, February 23, 2010

fortune cookies and my future... whoa.

wow, it has been much too long. i told myself that i would never let an entire week go by without posting... and here i am being the slacking blogger who let's things go for far too long. so, not again for a long time. (though we all know i am a human and will let a week pass without posting, good thing i'm not in charge of the world!)

it is term paper turn in season at school. i love the communications program at UC San Diego, but come the end of the quarter it is painful to think about how many hours i dedicate to working on the paper that often determines half of my grade. oh boy. and with the thought of graduating early tasting sooo very sweet on my lips i realize only three more quarters of this and i will have my bachelors degree and be pursuing my passion for inspiring young children to learn. yesss!

this is what i want my little class to look like one day... but with bigger smiles... and me in the picture with them of course!

i just can't believe that at 20 (almost 21, just a few weeks!) years old i am suddenly making my way out of schooling and into the real world. i pray daily (and would appreciate you to pray too!) for God to guide me and help me because it is so obvious to me that i have so much to learn in the next few quarters plus all that comes in the real world.

life is pulling together and He is showing me that i truly can do it. not on my own, but with Him. just like Paul says in Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." don't you just want to yell this when you are saying it? i just feel so much power well up inside of me when God whispers this into my heart. i can only imagine the power that would overcome me should he decide to speak or yell it. holy cow. maybe that's where heart attacks come from?

on sunday after a wonderful message at church, my boyfriend, jason, took a very emotional me (who knows why!?!) out to lunch at one of my favorite quick bites (but NOT fast food) restaurants, pick up stix. it was delicious as always and he is always amazing company. plus it gives us the chance to talk about the message. church was amazing, but my heart remained heavy, something very unlike me. as we finished up the meal i was dreading coming home to work on a paper.

as we began to leave the restaurant i realized i had left my fortune cookie sitting on the table. a fortune cookie usually doesn't matter much to me, but this day it was. i popped open my little morsel and inside was a wonderful little message from God remind me that despite my long week, i was doing His will. it said:
you take joy in having others acknowledge your presence and appreciate your efforts.
you would have though i won the lottery. oh boy, do i love to know that all of the effort i put into things in being noticed and appreciated! God reminded me that He knows where my heart is at every moment of every day. He reminded me that He appreciates my presence and efforts though they are not perfect (despite my frustration and struggling with this fact!)

david's writing in psalm 139 acknowledges the way that God acknowledges us, something we must do with our hearts. he writes:

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O Lord." -Psalm 139:1-4

notice, david writes you know ALL MY WAYS. not some, not most, but all. God knows the number of hairs on your head... that is more than you know about yourself! i'm thankful for this. why? because i am still learning so much about myself these days and it's calming to know that He has me figured out and sitting in the palm of His righteous right hand.

in light of this fortune cookie blessing, God has been revealing to me that He is noticing my effort... not just in my faith, but in all of the busyness that is my life. i have always been good at family, work, and at friends, but lately i have grown so much in my faith, in my abilities as a student, in my leadership position in my sorority, and in my relationship with my boyfriend. needless to say, this is going to be a long one... or possibly broken up into a couple of chunks over the next four days. because i can't summarize months of learning in just a couple sentences... or i could, but then you would miss out on God's gloriousness (yes, i made that up!) in it.

more to come, i just don't need to be writing a novel. no one wants to read THAT much...

in closing, song of the day:
church music (dance!) by: David Crowder Band

it's funky and just makes you want to dance! what better thing to do than dance and sing to celebrate the awesomeness of Him!

Monday, February 15, 2010

home sweet home

a three day weekend does amazing things for the mind and soul. but, a three day weekend with a surprise trip home (just a meager 54 miles from my place) to visit the ones i love most with the love of my life on a day to commemorate love does amazing things for everything!

somehow my mom makes home... a four bedroom house with LOTS of space so much more homey than my little studio apartment that i try so hard to fill with the love and warmth that i feel in the house from my childhood. i have finally come to the conclusion that its not just the love that fills the house (because that is soooo filling and heart warming) but it is the memories that i associate with the blessings that i get to call my family. that house, despite all its beauty, is just a building. it is the people of the house that make it so special to me.

watching my little brother roll himself down the stairs like a professional stunt man, listening to my father sing up and down the hallway between my parents' room and mine, knowing i can run my mom and i's favorite route with my eyes closed, laying in my bed late at night with my mom giggling about everything, falling asleep on the couch watching tv with my brother late at night... gosh, home holds so many special moments for me... moments that would not be the same without these people.

much like that, i realize there is a house that we as christians inhabit. a house that we can continue to return home to when we seem to have lost our way... or as my mom and i so eloquently put it, when our love tanks are empty. and this home is a place that we dwell forever, as He has promised.

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." -Psalms 23:6

sometimes, much like the prodigal son, we forget where it is that we are privileged to stay and the memories we share with our company. how many cool things do we all get to read about in the bible? and why is it that we don't spend time sharing in those cool things with other christians? every time i return home i feel more encouraged. in the same way, when we are in the presence of our christian family, we must work to fill each others' cups!

but, it is greater than the "house" that we find within our christian family here on earth. but as Jesus prepared himself to pay penance for our sins upon the cross, he encouraged the disciples by talking of the house that God has for us to look forward to and inhabit once we are with Him in heaven.

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am." -John 14:2-3

there is already a shabby chic room with angel wings painted on the walls and a HUGEEEE walk in closet for me? gosh, jesus sure does know my heart's deepest desires! ok, so that's probably not what is in store for me, but i definitely know that my closest family members and friends are waiting to share their moments in heaven with me, and preparing to create some of our own together. plus, the King of Kings is there to be a friend of mine and make memories of our own for me to enjoy and be encouraged by.

Song of the Day: Oh Glorious - Paul Baloche

ooooh ooooh glorious. it's just one of those old favorites that is so easy to sing along to. who doesn't love something familiar and easy to relate to?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

run the good race

gosh, there just are not enough hours in the day. from midterms madness to a weekend at home to an event series running rampant at work, i just don't have time for everything going on! but being busy is something to love, because as soon as its gone boredom quickly sets in.

part of my weekend at home a 13.1 mile race up in huntington beach with my mom. this is one of our biggest times of bonding (besides sushi lunches, shopping, laughing in my bed late at night... ok so we bond over everything!) but this half marathon, being one of many i have run, was just miserable. the weather was beautiful, the course was flat, it was perfect for a personal record. i mean PERFECT. however, it was pure torture to run 13.1 miles this day and my time reflected my agony.

but as i ran, and even now as i look at my just over 2 hour time and feel disappointed, there is just something about God that keeps running through my head (boy do i think about Him a lot!). despite the difficulties that i felt while i was running, i realize that i was running as best i could. just like timothy was sanctioned to do by God in 1 timothy:

"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight, the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." - 1 Timothy 6:11-12

as the 25,000 people who were participating in the race pushed themselves through the 13 miles course, it was obvious to me that we were all gifted with different running (and for others walking!) abilities who came to the race with from all kinds of contexts. and i know as every single person crossed the finish line there was someone that was proud of them for their accomplishment regardless of the time. just like the 25,000 participants, we, as Christians, have someone encouraging us and cheering for us, then finally at the end of the race proud of us. how lucky are we!

we need to remember to run with all that we have (even if it isn't much) because God will take note and commend us for our efforts. keep training (in His word) and stay tough during those times that feel so miserable because He is impressed!

also, find a running buddy or a race partner (thanks mom!) to hold you accountable in your training and working towards a faster pace. it is so helpful to come across the finish line and have someone else say it was just as difficult as you experienced. plus, it's always more fun to share experiences with another person!

in closing, the song for the day...

my absolute favorite running song: god of this city -chris tomlin

this song plays over and over on my mom and i's ipod as we run. there is something in knowing that since we aren't running together we can share something... that being our lovely little song!

as i run through the beautiful bayside in san diego or down to the beach and enjoy the surf while i jog along the boardwalk i cannot help but hear the power in chris' lyrics...

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

greater things than a picture perfect coast? greater things than a beautiful horizon with the shadow of jets breaking the skyline? greater things than summer all year long? wow. God must know something we don't know. i'm looking forward to crossing the finish line and entering into heaven with a very proud God to give me the high five that i need after a long race.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

have my cake and eat it too.

so, last night my very sweet boyfriend came over and was just disgusted. he is so supportive and is not the kind of guy to say something bad about anyone or anything, but last night, he just could not find a single positive thing to say about something in particular... you might possibly have heard of it. the bachelor.

he was just so bothered that any woman would participate in dating multiple men and so publicly. but more than that it just irked him that there are so many people that love to sit around and gawk at not one, not two, but fourteen seasons of absurd dating in numbers. at first, i just laughed and said, oh jason, as your girlfriend i love to hear that, but as a fan i'm disappointed that you aren't into it because who am i going to talk to about this? (my mom!)

upon more thought and a bible study, i got to thinking about how christians "date" multiple things at one time... and how disgusting this is in the eyes of a mighty and perfect God. it must be so frustrating for Him to wait for a one-on-one with us, only to realize we have all sorts of ridiculous requests and wants that are so unimportant especially when given the chance to spend time with the King of Kings.

this is the story of the book of jeremiah. the nation of judah had found other gods that it enjoyed dating and serving... something that upset (and understandably!) our Lord.

"The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind. " -Jeremiah 7:30-31

jeremiah served as the vessel through which God reached out to judah in order to make His love and His will known to His undeserving people. it is in the book of jeremiah that God gives to His people some of the most positive words found in all of the bible (and one of my absolute favorite verses!)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the
Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:11-13

through the example of the country of judah, we must learn to avoid the ways of the bachelor and to set our eyes and hearts upon the only man truly deserving of holding the keys to our hearts. God wants our hearts to worship Him so that He can bless us... but we must participate in that relationship and spend time investing in our relationship with Him, just as we do with anyone else!

let's just enjoy the bachelor instead of being like him... give up those serious relationships with distractions (whatever they may be!).

song of the day:
"there was another time in my life" -relient k

their lyrics are always catchy and every song has some sort of happy ending which is always nice. but something about this one reminds me that my progress is forward even if it happens to be by very, very minuscule movements.

and then, the most exciting thing to happen so far this very lovely year:

baby charlie finally came out to meet us! he is just perfect like a little doll and smiled at me and opened his eyes while i was holding him... just letting me know that he is already a fan of me being his aunt! yesss! so here are a couple pictures of God's latest and greatest creation!

handsome baby charlie in all of his sweetness

baby charlie and his uncles, miah and bubba

who doesn't love baby feet?
sweet baby charlie.
happy birthday charlie. and welcome to the family. we love you so much already!