Sunday, December 23, 2007

My family is...

awesome. That is pretty much it. I love being around them. It seems like we are constantly laughing...partly because we (mostly me) make fun of my mom, but she's a good sport. The truth is we all make fun of each other.

My sister said something that threw me for a loop the other day...on Friday she actually said that she wished I was coming to dinner with her, my mom, and dad. I asked her why, and she said because we have fun together, and because she loves watching me jack with mom. I thought for sure she wouldn't say she wanted me there, especially since we had spent the last 3 hours together, 2 of those in Target where she seemed constantly annoyed with me... That comment pretty much made my day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Today you will be with child....

I started reading the Gospel of Luke the other day. This gospel isn't what I would call my "favorite" out of all the Gospels, but I do enjoy it nonetheless. For the past couple of days, I have read and re-read Luke 2, which is appropriate since we are about to celebrate our Lord's birth. This was not done on purpose. In fact, I have been reading in Daniel but for some reason the other day felt compelled to turn to Luke.

I have been pondering, meditating, praying, thinking about what it must have been like for Mary. In Luke 1, it tells us that Mary responds to the angel Gabriel, after he tells her that she will be giving birth to the saviour of the world, by saying "I am the Lord's servant, May it be as you have said"

My first thought is "wow, what faith she had. She believed and was obedient (not like she could be disobedient "sorry God, I don't think I want to give birth to your son..."), without hesitation" But I can't help but think along with the excitement, that she was also scared. Can you just hear her telling her relatives... "I promise, I am still a virgin...Yes, I know I am pregnant, but I have not yet slept with Joseph or anyone else for that matter"

There was not a hint of hesitation at the time...but that is not what I want to talk about.
After Mary gives birth to Jesus, the angels lead the shepherds to the manger. In Luke 2:19, it says "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." The actual idea of giving birth to the Messiah would have been way more than enough for me to treasure, and ponder them in my heart...what a miracle to experience. Sit back, and try to imagine that you are Mary. It is extremely hard to do, but try it. You have just given birth to the Messiah, but even you (Mary) don't know what that really means. I think she had a deeper understanding than others may have, but she still didn't get it.

Case in point, later in Luke chapter 2....
It gives an account of Jesus, when he was 12, being left behind at the temple and nobody noticed he was gone, until a day into the journey. The parents become upset with the saviour of the world. Vs 48 "When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, 'Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." Listen to Jesus response in verse 49, "Why were you searching for me? he asked. Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Vs 50 tells us "But they did not understand what he was saying."

Mary didn't get it. Although in chapter 1, the angel Gabriel tells her that "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end" Apparently Mary forgot this tidbit, if she hadn't, she would have understood why Jesus said what he did in 2:49-50.

What is interesting though, is in vs 51, it says "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all of these things in her heart."
She didn't understand a lot of what was going on, but she trusted in God. She knew that something exciting was going on , and so she clung to God. She trusted while being in a state of great uncertainty.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The absent voice of God...

Today in staff meeting, Scott led us in a short devotional on the Israelites, the coming Messiah, what they expected due to their circumstances, and how Jesus DID NOT fit the mold that the Israelites were hoping for. God last spoke to the Israelites in 450 BC, through the prophet Malachi. The Israelites then waited 420 YEARS to hear from God again. During that time of waiting, they were held captive by the Babylonians, the Persians...well, you get the picture. They expected the Messiah to come in and kick some butt, not act the way that Jesus did.

The reason that God did not speak to the Israelites wasn't because He didn't want to, but the Israelites were choosing not to listen. They had become prideful once again and were not dependant on the Lord. They were no longer seeking His face. If they were not going to seek Him and listen for Him, then He wasn't going to speak to them, period. So they waited.

As Christians, we should be seeking Him daily and listening for Him to speak into our lives. Jesus tells us "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find it; knock and the door will be opened to you." I believe that Jesus is just waiting for us to come to Him and ask Him to do big things in our lives and through us, but we have not because we ask not. He desires to shower His love on us as we put our faith, hope, and trust in Him. We are so busy in our lives that we are dependant upon ourselves, we are not seeking Him, and we have become a prideful people. God will not push His way into our lives uninvited. As we push Him out of our lives, He will stop speaking to us.

In what ways are you depending on the Lord? What are some of the big things that you have been asking God to do in your life lately?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Romans 5:3-5

Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in suffering because we know that suffering produced perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us"

Suffering. Perseverance. Character. Hope. Each one is dependant on the other.

This has been the theme of my life thus far. I discovered this verse a month or two my senior year of high school right after I tore my ACL playing basketball. In a high school students mind who plays sports, it is as if life is over if you injure yourself your senior year. The scholarship that I was seeking to play basketball was no longer available to me...I was devastated. But through that time of suffering, I asked God a lot of tough questions, and He was faithful to answer. I have clung to this verse over the years, and believe that it will be one that I will continually go back to through out my entire life.

I believe that God allows us to go through tough situations, struggle and suffer because it draws us closer and opens our eyes to see more of Him. Our sufferings takes us deeper into the realms of God's character and enlarges our vision of Him. It is in these times that our character is refined to be more like Jesus.

AT&T Still Sucks

Had another conversation with an AT&T customer service rep on December 6th...I am suppose to be receiving a call from somebody higher up than a supervisor at a call center. I asked the guy who I was talking to if I could get the CEO's number since apparently nobody could take care of the problem, he just laughed. I will say this 50 minute conversation was more delightful than some of the others. They told me I'd receive a call within two weeks. So when I don't receive a call by December 20th, looks like I will be calling again.

Trust me, I am not holding my breath wating for that call....

Customer service reps I have talked to: 9
Hours on the phone with AT&t: 5 hrs 15 min
Number of dropped calls with an AT&T rep: 3
Number of problems solved: 0

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A time of reflection

Every December, I have a is inevitable. And every December, I like to reflect on what has happened in my life in the past year. The highs and lows, the great and the horrible, all of these things have shaped me and define who I am to this day. I do not want to be like the Israelites who did not remember all that the Lord did for them. My life is drastically different than I thought it would be a year ago looking ahead. Here are some of the lessons/experiences that I have been through in my 23rd year here on earth...

-At this exact time last year, I had accepted a full time job at one of the premier lobbying firms in Washington DC after completing an internship there. My life today is vastly different than I thought it would be.

-I think I have the Jonah complex. Not because I am trying to avoid what God is asking me to do, but everytime that I try to move away, and move away permanently, God brings me back to Fresno through one circumstance or another. I have never purposefully disobeyed God in this, but have felt that He was giving me the choice...

-As a woman, I need to be grounded in theology. Theology is one of those words that usually scares people off, but theology is about a relationship with God...really knowing God. When hard times hit, and we are not sure why God is allowing certain things to happen, if we are not grounded in who Christ is, our whole belief system can be rocked.

-It is essential to ask God the tough draws us out of ourselves, beyond our circumstances and into serious dialogue with God.

-I am running the race that God has marked out for me.

-I once asked a friend if there can be two paths set out before me, and if she thought that I would end up in the same place no matter which one I chose. She didn't have an answer for me. But I now believe that no matter which path I choose, as I seek Him, He will keep on track. It may seem like I zigged when I should have zagged, but since God is sovereign, there is no missed opportunity. I have never missed an opportunity. I am in God's plan A for my life. There is no plan B if God is sovereign.

-I like to be in control, which means I very much dislike not being in control of certain situations...which happens often.

-I am constantly learning how to shed my own expectations.

-When you choose to enter into a relationship with somebody, you give up the right to not be hurt, as does the other person.

-I have an amazing family who loves me more than I realize sometimes. The older I get, the more I appreciate them. We constantly laugh when we are together. It is great when the four of us are able to be together, which doesn't happen a lot these days.

-My sister is becoming one of my best friends.

-Ending a relationship with somebody you really care about is extremely hard, even if it is for the right reasons.

-I still haven't figured out how my heart can be in three places at once...

-People in the United States are extremely ignorant to the injustice that occurs in the world.

-People enter into your life for only a season sometimes, and only God knows the reasons why.

-I eat vegetables now! For those of you that know me, I hated anything green until about April of 2007.

- I still feel so small when I sit out and look at the vastness of the ocean. I am reminded of how big the God I serve is.

-God is faithful.

The list could continue on, but I think this is good enough for now. It brings me joy and excitement to think off all that happened this past year and to look forward in anticipation of what God will allow me to be a part of and the circumstances I may encounter in the year to come. I think I need to take more time to reflect on the things that God has done in my life. It is good to remember.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Being sick....

is no fun. I am sick of being sick. Hopefully the antibiotics I am on will help my situation quickly...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Best 24th Birthday ever!

From my previous post, most of you know that my birthday was on Friday December 7. Although I am a year older, I don't feel older. I remember when my sister turned 24 and was telling me how old she felt...maybe it is because I work with quite a few older people who talk about their life as in the past and I have most of my life ahead of me, Lord willing.

Thursday night, Ashley, Amada, Blake, Gia, Brian, Bella (baby Davis), Luke and Sarah, Brandon and Megan, John and I went to Cheesecake Factory for my birthday. I had such a great time with my friends. We talked, we laughed, we made fun of each other...all of the usually happenings when we get together. By the end of the evening, the girls were all at one end of the table and the guys were at the other. The guys talked theology and seminary while the girls talked about....well, you name it we talked about it. :) I got some really great gifts, but they def didn't beat spending time with them celebrating my birthday.

On Friday, the parentals and I headed down to Pasadena. I was up WAY too early on my birthday. We got to my sisters place about 11, and then headed to Disneyland! I love Disneyland. I am not even sure why...probably because it makes me feel like a kid. Since it was suppose to rain, and did earlier that morning, there were not a lot of people there, which was extremely nice. My friend Rachel who lives in Costa Mesa came and hung out for a few hours. We left the park a little after 5 to go to Downtown Disney to get some dinner. We ended up eating at the Rainforest Cafe, which is loud and a lot of fun. After dinner we headed back into the park for a couple more hours. My parents had never been to Disneyland when it was decorated for Christmas so we had to go back for it to snow :) We left right around 10 to go home. We literally spent 6 1/2 hours inside Disneyland and went on 14 was phenomenal. I had such a great time with my family. We constantly laugh when we are together. I am appreciating my family more and more these days.

Friday night I stayed with my parents in the hotel...bad idea. It was a suite, but my bed was the pull out bed from the sofa. Although I was extremely tired, I didn't sleep that well since the top of the bed was in a slanted, upright position. It was horrible. I love sleep, and when I don't get enough rest, I can be a real big...well, you get the picture. So I had to remind myself all day Saturday to be nice, since my filter clearly was not working due to lack of sleep...

On Saturday, we went to Mimi's Cafe for breakfast. I had never been there for was good, but not anything spectacular. Then I had to go...I mean, I got to go to my sisters White Coat Ceremony for PA school at USC. It was not as long and boring as I expected. The speakers were actually kinda entertaining. It didn't hurt that I had my phone with me. I sent a few work emails, sent a few text messages, surfed the web a helped the time pass right on by. Saturday night my friend Carrissa, and also my sisters roommate, came shopping with us and then out to dinner with the fam to PF Chang's. Great food followed by great dessert. When it comes to my birthday, I don't just celebrate for a day, I try to get a whole week out of it. Each place we went, we told them it was my birthday. At PF Chang's, they have this great fried banana thing with coconut ice cream. One word: phenomenal. Then we headed to Coldstones before we went back to Stacey's apartment where I passed out from a food coma...not really. I was staying at her place on her blow up air mattress. I slept so good that night!

Sunday we got up, went to good ol' IHOP for breakfast...they have these really great pancakes right now. I had strawberry cheesecake pancakes....might sound sick to you, but don't knock it 'til you try it. I am not a real big fan of breakfast in general, but these were good! We got home from Pasadena around 3...we made a pit stop in Visalia to see my grandfather. We went out to dinner on Sunday night to continue the celebration, and because my mom didn't want to cook.

All in all, I had a pretty good birthday weekend. The only complaint is the lack of sleep on Friday night, but in the scheme of things, even that wasn't a big deal. My parents told me that this birthday was going to be hard to beat...I told them they better get ready for my silver birthday, my quarter of a century year old party...cuz I only turn a quarter of a century old once!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's my birthday!!!

Technically, it was my birthday, it ended 11 minutes ago. My birthday extravaganza weekend began on Thursday evening having dinner with a group of my friends, continued at Disneyland today, and will continue the rest of this weekend in the LA area. I realized last night that I have a great group of friends. Everytime we are together we are constantly laughing and giving each other a hard time, but I also know that these people would do anything for me in a moments notice if I needed it.

For all of those that called me or text me today...thank you so much. I definitely felt the love on my 24th birthday. :)

One of my best friends husband, and a good friend of mine, Luke Mundy, wrote a blog about me that was really nice. Check it out here.

Luke, just for you I changed my layout...I was sick of the pink background too, but was too lazy to change it!

More on my birthday extravaganza with pictures later....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Tree Lane!

Last night, Ashley, Sarah, Amada and I walked down Christmas Tree Lane! It was cold, but so much fun. Since my friends are always late, I told them to meet at my house at 6:30, since I knoew they wouldn't show up until 7. Amada showed up first, at 6:40. Sarah at 6:58, and Ashley at 7:04. Now, we would have left right then, but they all critiqued my beanie, so they made me put on a hat and then made me switch my scarf. In the end, they were right :)

We were going to go to Fig Garden, park there, go to starbucks, and then walk to Christmas Tree seems everyone in Fresno had that idea. The line at Starbucks was outrageous. We ended up driving to Shaw and 41, where there was no line, and then drove back to Fig Garden. We decided to avoid all people, and parked at The Cross Church at Palm and Gettysburg. We parked, walked 2 blocks, and joined the rest of Fresno walking down Christmas Tree Lane.

Although it was cold, it was so much fun! I love Christmas lights, hot chocolate, and hanging out with friends. When we get together, something always crazy/funny happens. This time, it had to do with a bathroom and a couple of fire fighters...

AT&T Sucks

I have been trying to get a problem fixed w/ at&t for the past month.

Nov 8th- Spoke w/ 5 customer service reps. The first two disconnected me...
Time spent on the phone, 2 hours 40 minutes
I was suppose to receive a call by Wed Nov 14....
Nov 19th- Spoke w/ 1 customer service rep. Time spent on the phone, 40 min. Was given a case number, was suppose to recieve a call by November phone call.
Nov phone call.
Nov 29th-Spoke w/ 1 customer service rep. After 40 min on the phone....I was put on hold, and 30 seconds later was at the beginning prompt...

Now, each of these times I was disconnected, I NEVER received a phone call back. Now, that would be ok if they didn't have my phone number, but they do....they have my cell phone number, which I was calling about in the first place.

Needless to say, I am going into a store this coming Wednesday night to speak with a manager. I figure a person can not disconnect me if I am standing in front of them....

I hate at&t....

Goodbye to the 70's style kitchen...

Here are pictures, from the beginning of the remodel to now, with everything except changed hardware and the new refrigerator...