My Story

My God is full of wonder, and each day I am learning more about Him
and the amazing plans He has laid out for the adventure that is my life.

This is my story.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome 2013!

It's going to be a good year. And a hard year. I'm getting married! I'm finishing up grad school. And I'm looking once more for full-time employment and the right fit in a struggling, shrinking economy. 

I'm am holding on to God's promises for dear life in all these life changes. I could not do all of this without His peace and guidance. I could worry about so many things, but that does me no good. I keep getting reminded that I am a child of God. He is in control of my life. I do not need to, nor should I, worry like the world does, like it's all up to themselves to make their lives work for them. 

I refuse to let the world dictate what I should worry about and how I'm supposed to go about getting what I want from life. That's not how my life works as a follower of Christ. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it promises to be MUCH easier on my part to release worry and bring my burdens and needs to my Jesus and trust Him to provide what I can not. 

"Peace I [Jesus] leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him." Psalm 28:7

"Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." Psalm 81:10

"Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

These and like verses are what I cling to. I am not alone. It is not all up to me. I will, of course, try my hardest and do all I can to succeed. But I will not worry about what is not up to me to provide. I know that God is in control. 

He is able to give me the strength, time, and clarity of mind to finish grad school strong, gleaning all I need to know to be competent in the field I am in. He is able to prepare my heart to be a good wife. He is able to provide for all our needs as we plan this wedding and our beginning of life together. He is able to provide both of us with good work that we can find purpose in, with pay enough to support ourselves. He is able to give us health and healing in our bodies. 

He is able to do great things, and I am so very glad to know that we are not alone.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Man Behind Me

In the late summer of 2008, when I was living in Northern California, I heard that my church was in need of people to make weekly visits to some elderly people who used to be a part of the congregation, but who could no longer attend due to illness, infirmity, or just old age. I had enjoyed visiting nursing homes during high school and had been praying about how I could get more involved with my church, so I called to volunteer.

I was paired with an elderly lady named Thelma, who lived in a nursing home in town. She had gone blind and had requested someone to come read the Bible to her on a weekly basis. The first time I visited, the leader of the ministry accompanied me. She warned me that Thelma could be rather abrasive and cranky. She introduced us and then sat with us as I read. I felt like I was interviewing for a position.

Apparently, I would do, and Thelma and I fixed upon a time and day that would work for both of us. I came every week to read the Bible to her until just before Christmas. As we got to know each other, she began to talk more and ask me questions about my life. I learned she had buried three husbands. She talked about their differences and their accomplishments. It became almost a ritual for her to then ask me if I were married. Each time I told her no, and she would respond with "why?" and that I really should. I agreed with her, but said I wasn't willing to marry just anyone, and she said that that was good.

She had three children still living, but they were all far away. She lived for them to call her on her phone, which she kept always close to her bed. Sometimes she would have me check it to make sure it still worked. One evening, one of her daughters did call when I was reading to her and saw Thelma transform from a cranky old lady to an ecstatic woman full of life and vitality.

But as the winter progressed, Thelma's faculties did seem to decline. Her lucidity ebbed and flowed. The last night I visited her, she seemed only slightly aware of my presence. I started reading her favorite Psalm, when she stopped me midway through.

"Who is that man behind you?" she said.

I was startled. As far as I knew, we were in a room all by ourselves with the door closed. I quickly turned around, but there was no one there. I told her so, but she insisted there was a man standing behind me. Suddenly, I wasn't frightened anymore. A peace spread through me.

"Maybe it's an angel." I said.

"I think you're right." Thelma said.

That was the last night I saw her. I went to visit my family a few days afterwords for Christmas, and while at home, I got the call that Thelma had died. She had died the night we usually met to read the Bible. At first, I was worried that the change in her schedule at such a tenuous time in her condition might have had something to do with it, and then I remembered our last conversation.

I think she did see an angel that night, or perhaps even He who commands them all. She was ready to go. She had lived a full and fascinating life. He had come to take her home.

Death is always sad, no matter the circumstances and no matter the age. But I have hope in the Man behind me, who does not forget about cranky old ladies in nursing homes or unmarried nobodies like me. Every day He gives me little stories like this one to remind me that He is there, that He cares about even the smallest things in each of our lives, and that our stories never end.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Short Little Update on a Certain Aspect of my Life

His eyes are green and gold and I met him on St. Patrick's Day while dancing to fiddles and stringed instruments. What more could an Irish girl want?! Well, someone who loves Jesus and flows naturally through conversations on his testimony, how much he likes C. S. Lewis and storytelling, and his insatiable love of puns.

His name is Ryan and after four of the best dates I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying, we became an official couple. Before him, I did not quite believe that a true kindred spirit really could be found in the male persuasion. I'm very happy to be mistaken. (My hopeless-romantic, Victorian heart is thrilled.)

A relationship such as this is rather personal, so I don't really want to share any more than that. However, his name might pop up here and there in future posts, so I needed to explain just who this Ryan is!

Oh, I also just want to say - I really really like him... a lot. :) 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Items of Memory for Sale

This morning I was reminded of a small moment that happened in front of me a few years ago. It happened when I was living in Northern California, one of my most favorite places in the world, full of used book shops and nature trails and people who cherish the past.

It was a Saturday morning, off season, so I was free to do what I wanted with it. I did what I never tired of doing. I got up slightly early (for a Saturday) and drove to town. I spent several hours reading while sipping an orgeate latte in my favorite coffee shop, the one with the large mural of Venice with the unrealistic duck. And then I walked over to the best vintage shop I've ever encountered.

 It was run by a middling woman who wore her hair in a fashion about twenty years before her time (obviously a kindred spirit and lover of the past). She did not keep her shop well organized. The shop was such a small space that organization would have only made her insane, as she had a marvelous amount of old things piled up in almost every space. This was her shop's best charm. To find anything in her shop, you had to go on a treasure hunt for it. It would take one hours to hunt through everything. But that just made me excited for the next excursion.

On this specific Saturday morning, as I was happily wading through lace scarves and velvet hats, an elderly lady walked into the shop with a bag of items clutched to her chest. She walked directly up to the shop keeper and asked in a small voice if she were interested in buying some of her old things. The lady then began to pull each item out of her bag and explain what it was. Each piece she pulled out had a story attached to it, often irrelevant to fixing upon a price.

My hands had stopped their search, but I dared not turn around. This small lady had walked in to sell some of her most precious possessions, full of cherished memories from her past. As she continued to talk about her items for sale, she began to cry. It was barely audible. Like everything about her, it was quiet; unobtrusive.

The shop lady asked her why she was wanting sell her things. The elderly lady responded that her son was admitting her to a nursing home and that there was not room for many personal items. A few moments more and the shop keeper had fixed upon a price for the lady's possessions. With the transaction complete, the elderly lady quietly left the shop, taking a lace hanky from her purse.

My throat was dry and the muscles in my knees were suddenly making their vehemence known for being kept in the same position for so long. My eyes connected with the shop keeper's and she sighed, saying that that was the part of her job she disliked the most.

I didn't buy anything that day. I couldn't. I have continued to enjoy the purchasing and owning of vintage items. But it was that day that I realized what I had never really thought of before. Any vintage item being sold in a shop used to be owned by someone else, and chances are, they did not want to part with it. They might have died and a family member did not see the need of it. They might have needed the money for something more practical and of greater need. Or they might have been an elderly lady, no longer allowed to be the manager of her own life, forced to give away her memories in order to move into the place of her future death; a place with little room for many personal items.

I do not know what brought this story to mind this morning, and I apologize if I have dampened this Saturday for you. That was not my intent. But for some reason, that little lady with her items of memory for sale, came into my mind and I realized I had never told her story. Well, her story, at least this little part of it, deserves telling. She is not forgotten.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Time Leaps Quickly Ahead

Well, it's been a long time. I believe that last post I made was just before I started my first quarter of grad school. Now I am finishing up my third! And it feels like no time has had the chance to pass at all. Where does it go and how in the world does it escape so quickly?

I am still getting quite a lot out of my classes and still very much enjoying getting to know my cohort members better. It's been quite an experience so far. I'm actually in the middle of finishing up a paper for my Program Evaluation (Assessment) course. It's been the toughest course yet, but I think I might actually like doing this kind of thing despite the long, grueling hours it took to type 113 surveys, which all had eight open-ended questions.

I do need to finish that paper, so I will need to keep this update short.

However, can I just say yet again how GOOD God is?! This journey to grad school at APU in student affairs has been such a clear direction from God and I am still gleaning from following His promptings. I can not express how happy I keep finding myself to know beyond all doubt that I am exactly where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do.

I have found friends when mine were all so far away (and for someone who's top love language is quality time, having close friends close by is essential!). I have been invited into a wonderful, new church family. My 1st year internship has been a dream and I honestly love working with all my coworkers and will be very sorry to leave them. However, I have been blessed to be hired as a Resident Director at the University of La Verne for my second year internship, and it starts this July! It was my first choice!

And then, this week has added something even more. I don't think I'll say anything about that just yet. :)

My Jesus is very, very, very good to me. I just love looking back and seeing how He brought amazing goodness even out of the very darkest of moments behind me. These are my Ebenezers that I carry, to remind me to never lose hope.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bends in Roads & Thoughts Along the Way

I love how the straightest looking road can surprise you with a turn or a bend.

This is how I feel about being here, living in an apartment in SoCal, going to grad school. My roommates are two lovely girls I'm so happy to know. I love that we seem to like so many of the same things, even though we are all so different in many ways. The more I get to know those in my cohort, the more I'm starting to warm up to them and I'm starting to get excited about spending the next two years getting to know them better. My classes are interesting. I don't think I could have chosen a better career path for my personality and interests. I'm just eating up all that we're learning about the theories of adult development.

I'm also learning still so much about myself. The journey of self-discovery is never ending, and just as surprisingly bendy as that road I was talking about earlier. Even crisis can be a wrapped present of possible discovery.

And this makes me think about God. Some people say that "how can there be a God with so much bad in the world?" But I just don't see that. I see how bad this world is, and I know I don't even see the half of it, but I don't just see the bad. I wonder how there can be so much good in this world, with even the bad things leading to good in the craziest ways if there wasn't a God full of goodness watching over it all. He can't help it that we asked for our freedom and then blame Him for every bad decision that one of us makes.

We expect paradoxes. We say people should be able to do whatever they want to do if they just don't hurt anyone. But then who determines what is "hurt?" We say truth is relative. But is that truth relative then? And if I say truth is fixed, why do you get angry? By your own admission, you shouldn't be able to tell me that I can't say that or believe it.

Why is this not obvious?

For me, I can only rest in the belief that my life does have purpose and meaning, that there is Someone who is perfect and good and cares who knows me and is responsible for me. I can only find relief and the ability to try, because I know that whatever I do, I can't ruin His plans. There is something greater and bigger than me, and guidance is available for the asking. There is still hope for this world. And because I can rest in the knowledge that Someone so trustworthy and dependable has my back, I have the courage to be brave and to try things I never would risk if I thought I was on my own.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pintrest, Editing, and So Much Homework

I found this on the internet while looking for script structures for an assignment, and I found this. Even though they are two of my favorite epic stories, I never realized how hilariously similar they are. I wanted to put it on Pintrest, but it wouldn't work, so I thought I would put it on my blog and then I would post it on Pintrest from there.

That's really all I had to say about this. Hopefully it works.

Oh, and I really love my writers group. They are so encouraging and I have never found editing to be so fun.

OK. Now hopefully back to homework... after a little more Pintrest.

And I promise to write soon about my beginning experiences of grad school! Here's a peak: I think I'm gonna like it here. :)