Sunday, November 25, 2012

inadequate

inadequate (adj)
not adequate; lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose 
[synonyms: inapt, incompetent, defective, imperfect, incomplete]

I've been feeling like this for the past month and a half. I'm only 24 years old, and I've been given the biggest responsibility: a Managing Editor for three magazine titles. When I was given the position, I was TERRIFIED. Me? Editor? No way....what? I had to learn things along the way, how the process went. For two weeks straight, I worked non-stop just trying to catch up and learning the ins and outs. Instead of celebrating this promotion, I was stressed, stressed, stressed. I wanted everything to be perfect; but instead, there was always something wrong or something that needed to be fixed.

I kept reminding myself of the story of Gideon, how God used an unlikely person to further His Kingdom. In the case of Gideon, he was just a farmer who had no intentions to do more than he was comfortable doing. But then one day, God called him to defeat the Midianites. Gideon was straight up scared and unprepared for the task that was given to him. Without any experience in an army, how was a small, young farmer going to defeat this group of people? God was with him along the way. Even when Gideon was left to lead an army of 300 people, his faith didn't shatter. He followed everything that God told him to do, and in the end God's army won.

God uses our weaknesses to show how great and powerful He is. Our faiths are tested when we solely rely on His strength. And when we allow him to use us, we are forever transformed. Gideon is one of many amazing stories where God uses ordinary people for extraordinary things.

As I noted in my "Letter from the Editor," we just need a little faith and dive right in. I think about all the things God has thrown into my life where I thought, "Why me?" When I was given this promotion, the same question ran through my head. Why me? Why give this role to someone who graduated from a small university? Why now?

Because it's part of God's story. This is part of my journey. Just need a little faith.


Monday, October 8, 2012

our next adventure


God has been revealing a lot to us…especially within the last month. Before I begin to tell you what He’s done, let’s back track a bit…

Since we've been married, we really haven't been living out the Gospel. Not to say we have been straying away from our faith, but to be quite honest, we have not been pursuing God in an intentional way. It’s very easy for us to live life filled with routines; Routines are not bad at all – it's when we've become defined by them and allow them to dictate how we carry on life versus asking God for guidance. Within the last year, we decided it needed to change: we got more involved with church, viewed our jobs as ministries not as identities, and viewed these pauses/delays in our lives as God's way of preparing us something beyond what we know.

Over a month ago, Brian and I were asked if we wanted to lead a team to Mozambique through Vanguard University. Obviously, my desire is to go back, and I would've said yes right away. But since Brian and I have been in this season of waiting on God, we knew we needed to pray about it. Not only did we pray about the trip, but prayed about where God is leading us. During those same weeks, Brian and I had really tough conversations about next summer; we knew we wanted to go on a missions trip, but we both had conflicting hearts when it came to it: I wanted to go back to Mozambique (leading or not leading), and Brian felt more opened to going on a missions trip outside Mozambique via ROCKHARBOR (rockharbor.org), but still had Mozambique in the back of his mind. There was the possibility that if Brian didn't felt called to go, I could lead the team by myself…or we go somewhere else. There was also the stress of requesting three weeks off; it’s not often that companies would allow for an extended vacation. So imagine two weeks filled with lots of praying, crying (well just me, of course), talking and talking…and you get the gist of it all.

At the end of those two weeks, God answered. He called us back to Mozambique; He called us to lead a team there; and He called us to do it together.

By God’s will, we were able to take off 18 days; the conversations we had with our bosses were filled with ease, and not so much of what he had predicted would happen. We both felt that even though the idea of going somewhere else was something we were opened to, we knew that God was opening a door for us to return back to Mozambique this upcoming summer. Since we’ve been together, I had always imagined both of us doing missions together. VBS, in a way, was the stepping stone we needed to get back into ministry. It definitely reawakened our desire to do God's work in our community, but also reawakened our heart for ministry overseas.

So for the next nine months, we will be preparing for this adventure. Excited? Yes. Anxious? Yes. Nervous? Absolutely. But we know that this is where God is calling us; He wouldn’t have given us something that we couldn’t handle.

We don't know how involved in missions we will be – be a missionary, help send people to missions, or lead small trips. Either way, we are confident that ministry is a huge part in our lives, and we want to obey God in all of it.

For now, this is where He has us.


We're heading back home.

Friday, September 28, 2012

where does my help come from?


"I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121, NIV)

Several years ago when I was at a time in life filled with confusion, loneliness, and deep sadness, a dear friend of mine told me to read this Psalm. Even though this particular Psalm only has eight verses, those eight verses had a powerful meaning behind them then and still do today. These verses help illustrate a picture of God’s constant presence wherever we are in life. It is a reminder that we are never alone when we are in the presence of God.

Psalm 121, among the rest of Psalms 120-134, is named “A Song of Ascent.” It is noted that these songs were sung by pilgrims as they made their journey to Jerusalem. Their journeys weren’t always easy; with dangerous paths and remote regions, it was easy to lose sight of what was ahead, trying to find help in themselves than bringing it up to God. By singing this song, it was a declaration of God’s sovereignty of all things. These were also sung to prepare themselves as they arrived at the Temple; they were preparing to be in the presence of God. We need this right attitude of meditation when we come into the presence of God as well.

The first two verses say it straight and clear: Our help comes from God. The same God who created everything in the beginning until now is the same God who can give us answers if we are willing to stand in the posture of obedience. How often do we seek help from Him? In our lives, we encounter obstacles, challenges, and dead ends that challenge our faith, and it is often during those times that we believe that our own strength and willpower will enable us to conquer these trials. But here's the thing: We can't do this alone, and we can't do this without God. How often we find try to find our answers in people or in worldly things without consulting the one who created us from the very beginning? When we lift our eyes up, up beyond anything tangible here in this world, we acknowledge who God is and believe that He will help us.

The remaining verses show us ways where God makes His presence known in our lives. They can be best summarized by the following statements:

  • God will keep our spiritual character in check.
  • When we are asleep, God is awake – we don't have to worry about anything.
  • God's protection is 24/7 – doesn't cease at night or day.
  • God will shield us from evil – "Do not be afraid those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
  • Because God loves and cares for us so much, we are able to face daily issues with confidence knowing that God is watching us.

Doesn't that sound amazing? GOD IS WITH US ALL THE TIME. So why do we worry so much about the stresses of life?

We live in a society where we are fixated on finding answers from worldly things, not realizing that they are distracting us from fostering an intimate relationship with God. We engorge ourselves with materialistic finds, because we believe it will cure us from our sadness; we seek advice from psychics or horoscopes, because we want to see what lies ahead in our future; and we seek approval from people, because we need to feel good about ourselves. As a community of believers, we are not made to live this way. God's presence is always with us – He's always available and working all the time. But that doesn't mean He will answer us right away, or in terms that we expect Him to. When God doesn't respond to us or "show up," we tend to grow weary, frustrated, and angry. But it's during those delays in life that God is waiting patiently for our hearts, minds, and souls to mold into the right posture and with the right mindset to faithfully Him in our journeys; we need to trust God.

So I challenge you to ask yourself this question: Where does your help come from?


Friday, September 21, 2012

ask!

I have a hard to time asking for things.

I blame it on how I grew up. My family and I didn't have a lot when I was younger. While families ate out at nice restaurants and kids came to school wearing the lastest trends, we were forced to be content with what we had. Our idea of a "fancy" restaurant was Sizzlers, we had the same clothes for years until we out-grew them (or received hand-me-downs from family, but they were outdated for our tastes), and we only got toys when it was Christmas and Easter. So when it came to asking my parents for Roxy-related clothes, money to hang out with friends, or even for a Tamagotchi (some of you may be too young to remember this), the answer was always "No." That was for the first 15 years of my life. I learned quickly that whenever I asked for something that required spending money, the answer was "No."

That transitioned into the way I socialized with people (and even now at times). Whenever I needed something or needed a question answered, I was too afraid to ask because I didn't want to be an annoyance to anyone.

It also transitioned to how I view God. I was too afraid to ask Him for anything. I didn't want to ask God for "petty" things (especially if He had bigger problems to answer). I also was too afraid to ask Him, knowing that I wouldn't be happy to hear what He had to say.

I think that's why I've been stuck. I've been in the same place for the past couple of years. My relationship with God has been stale for a while. And what do I do about it? Nothing. I expect Him to show up; I expect Him to change me; I expect Him to do all the hard work and then I receive the reward at the end of it.

What I'm learning on a day-to-day basis is that following God requires a lot of faith. I can easily get caught up with my routines at work, home, and everything else. I can breeze through life every day without realizing God working in my life. There have been days that I've been frustrated, annoyed, alone, and even numb. And there have also been days where I don't think about God at all (yikes). It's faith that pushes me to rely on God , that forces me to break down walls I've created, and that requires patience and courage on my end.

Where is my faith? The same faith that got me through college? The same faith that led me to and from Mozambique safely? The same faith that brought me out of a place of darkness and loneliness? The same faith that led me to where I am at now?

I tell you, I haven't been living a life faithfully following God. I've been caught up with this world's desires and materialism...they're immediate fillers to the emptiness in my life. It's an unhealthy cycle I've created in my life; whenever I feel empty, I find the nearest and easiest tangible thing, instead of being filled up by God. Whenever a problem arises, I try to solve it myself instead of giving it to God. Whenever I get angry and irritated, I keep it to myself instead of talking it out with God. Whenever I needed an answer, I look to the place that is the farthest away from God.

See the pattern?

I tend to ignore God...a lot. And it's usually during a breaking point or out of guilt that I realize what I've been missing.

When I went to Third Wednesday this past week, I wasn't expecting anything to happen. If anything, it was just a time during the week for me to take my mind off of work, be in fellowship with my life group and church members, and to worship. But God showed up, and He called me out. This verse was repeated that night: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matt. 7:7). I realized my life is worthless and meaningless if I don't allow God's guidance in my life. I wasn't being honest to Him or myself. That night, I let my guard down, I allowed the tears to roll down my cheeks, and I told God I was sorry and asked Him, "Where do you want me to be?"

For the first time in a long time, I prayed an honest prayer to God. None of that frou frou stuff or "God, I know you know what's best for me...blah." I've prayed those kind of prayers before, and to be quite honest, my heart wasn't in it. I would pray just to pray, because I knew that I was suppose to do that, to say something to God. But as I was I praying that night, I just told God the truth: "I don't know what I'm doing." And from there on, I just had an honest conversation with Him. Told Him my worries...how lost I was...questions about the future...my disappointments (in Him and in myself).

I don't know where God wants me to be. Clearly, He wants me to be here...but I have no idea where next. And I don't need to know....and I need to OK with that. He'll open the opportunities when it's His timing. I just need to live in the "Now." Now is where He has me; Now is where he wants me to be with people; Now is where I need to pursue an intimate relationship with Him. Because if I miss out on the Now,I'm missing the point

A perfect illustration of this was told to me by someone who prayed for me that night. We often compare God to a light switch; we expect Him to show us everything that is in sight. Instead, God is like a lamp at our feet; He'll only show us what we need to see.





Monday, September 10, 2012

i am ...

Who am I?


I’ve struggled with identity pretty much my entire life. I’ve always questioned my purpose here on earth. I’ve seen and heard friends who simply knew where they’re supposed to be because God told them or God placed that desire in their hearts. It seemed like they knew who they were because God revealed Himself to them.
I’ve had a few moments in my life where God showed up and at that moment, I knew what I was supposed to do. But lately, I’ve been stuck in a dry season where I’ve lost sight of God’s guidance in my life. In some ways, I feel as if God has been absent…for a very, very long time. Sometimes I feel alone, and other times I feel distant from God. I tend to ask God “Where were you when I desperately needed you?” Martha struggled with the same questions in book of John when her brother, Lazarus, died.
When Martha questioned Jesus’ intentions, He said this to her:
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11: 25-26, NIV]
If I believe that Jesus is who He said He is, than my identity must be grounded in Him. Jesus knew fully who He was —He was God and He lived in community. We’re also called to that same community. I can only be fully who God intended me to be if I am in community with Him. For so long, I’ve been so distant with God that I forgot how to live out my life centered on this thought. If we don’t identify ourselves in this truth, we are wandering beings lost on this earth never knowing our true purposes in this life.
So how do I need to respond to this?
“I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” [John 11: 27, NIV]
Martha’s words are words that I need to live by…to believe in. How hard it must’ve been for her to utter these words when pain, confusion, and abandonment filled her thoughts. When I read these words, I have to remind myself that God’s plans are bigger and the ultimate reward is still yet to come. Do I believe in Jesus? Yes…then I need to live out my life that way. My life needs to be centered on Christ. I need to let go of my own expectations of Jesus and simply let Him lead me.
I love what Jesus says here. Not only is it a powerful statement, but it’s a confirmation of how faithful Jesus is:
“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” [John 11: 40, NIV]
Faith is an essential aspect in Christianity. It’s not something I can really ignore; I must live it. It’s part of our nature as Christians, and it is something that is stressed throughout the Gospels. Jesus performed these miracles to not only bring glory to God but to inspire belief and faith in His followers…to inspire belief and faith inside of me. Jesus knows me too well.  In this story, Jesus brought a man back to life…how crazy is that? If I believe wholeheartedly in Jesus, than I know that God will be glorified in ALL situations. Jesus is faithful and gracious to us when He provides words and actions that reinforce the truth of who He is. As we were reminded this weekend, if we believe this truth, why doesn’t it shock us today?
So who are we as ROCKHARBOR? What role do we play in this community we’ve built? When we identify ourselves in Jesus, we are called to believe that God’s glory will be revealed in His timing, in His way. And we need to live in that. We all have our own individual roles to play. Let’s step into this new season together laying down our own selfish identity in order to become more Christ-like.

Monday, August 27, 2012

still i will praise you

I’ll admit: It’s difficult to keep my focus on God when life gets rocky. I try to solve every problem placed in front of me with my own strength and will, almost to the point of exhaustion. I carry more than I can handle on a daily basis—all for a little satisfaction to get through each day. Sometimes I do pray to God (mainly when it’s the last resort), but oftentimes He doesn’t answer them right away or even answers them differently from what I had hoped for. You would think that by accepting Jesus into our lives, everything should be peachy keen, right? When I go through these unexpected struggles, it’s hard for me to understand what God is doing in my life; I get anxious, worrisome, and numb. I find myself crying out “Where are you God?!”
How do we respond to suffering as a Christian? We live in a broken world filled with heartaches, tears, cries of desperation, and loneliness. How do we persevere through these times?
James says this:
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” [James 5: 7-8, NIV]
When we allow ourselves to focus on what’s coming in the future instead of the problems we have now, we realize that there is greater purpose, a greater reward, waiting for us. One day, Jesus is going to come back. Are we going to be ready for that? Are we going to be fully prepared for his glorious return? Or are we took focused on the task we have on hand that limits us from attaining and acknowledging this beauty?
“Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord is coming near.”
Ouch. We tend to identify ourselves in the here and now. Instead we need to identify ourselves in this truth: If we put heaven in its rightful place as a real and tangible reward, perseverance becomes a practical form of worship. When we persevere through these hard times, we trust that God is faithful; being patient is an act of faith, which is established in our hearts. It is when we lose hope and lose sight of what is to come that we feel empty, alone, and worthless.
As James points out, consider the prophets.
I can’t imagine how much these guys went through. Shunned. Abandoned. Persecuted.Through their sufferings, they were still devoted to God. They prayed and prayed, and even when life threw more obstacles their way, they prayed even more. They knew of God’s ultimate plan, regardless of what the world thought of them. Whatever we are dealing with right now, we know that God’s purpose for us comes from His abundant compassion and mercy.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” [Revelation 21: 3-4, NIV]
This is such a beautiful image. This is why we need to persevere in this life…it’s to get to this point. As I read this, I thought about the times when I cried, and someone was there to wipe away my tears. The peace and comfort I felt when that person took away not only my tears, but the heavy weight that came with them was such a relief. That’s how I imagine what will happen…but even 100 times better. Imagine never having to feel pain or to experience death because God is dwelling with his people.
When I think about the words to a worship song we often sing as a church, I feel that it perfectly sums up this weekend’s message:
I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

two years

As I write this, I have to pause and think. I've been married for two years. That's half the time I've known Brian. Crazy and surreal...

It's been an amazing two years. Has it been perfect? No, but it definitely has been adventurous...discovering who we are and what role we play, realizing what marriage is (and continuing to learn more each day), and fighting battles, mentally, physically, and spiritually together. And through this adventure, we learn to rely on God more and more each day.

I married my best friend when I was 22. I was fresh out of college (eish). I barely started a job I disliked. And I had no idea how to be a wife. The first six months I struggled fitting into this new role, this new transition. I constantly found myself crying every week, because I wasn't the "perfect wife." I had certain expectations that I thought had to be filled. I was always comparing myself to other married couples. In the first six months, my biggest fear was letting Brian down. And with that fear overriding my life, my insecurities were far from hidden. I thought our marriage had to be perfect. 
Through our imperfections, God reveals the true beauty of marriage. Being married is challenging and hard. But it's also amazing and full of laughs (or in my case, snorts). Each day you learn something new about the other person...and even yourself. You learn the real meaning of love when the other person says, "I'm sorry." It's about learning to live together and doing ministry together as one. 

When I think about our marriage, I can't help but smile. I am one lucky girl.

To this day, people keep asking me, "How's married life?" Honestly, I don't know how to answer that. Most of the time, I just smile and reply, "It's great!" But even that response doesn't embody how I feel about married life. It's a whirlwind of emotions; obviously the good ones weighs over the bad. But how do you explain to someone in a few minutes (or even seconds) how married life is? The only thing I can think of is this: 

I love being married.
I love living life with my best friend. 
And when we allow God to be the center of our marriage, we see Him working in our lives in ways beyond our own strengths.

Happy Two Year Anniversary my love :) Can't wait to celebrate more!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

part of His story

Brian and I wanted to go on a vacation this summer. 

A few months ago, we requested a week off in July, hoping that we would find last minute deals a week before. A Saturday night service would change that. We found ourselves seated at church staring at the big screen. It read, "VBS: God in Action," and right below were the dates: July 16-20. Same week as our vacation. Coincidence? No, just part of God's story. 

So we obeyed. 

Anxious. Excited. Nervous. Worried. All these emotions were taking over as I was counting the weeks and days before. On one hand, I was so excited to be able to serve in the community again. It's been almost two years (too long) since I've been involved. Brian and I always talked about wanting to go somewhere and serve, and God opened up this opportunity for us. But on the other hand, I had my list of worries/insecurities:

What if a kid asks me a question that I won't be able to answer?
Will I make a connection with the kids?
What happens if one of my guitar strings broke during worship time?
Is it going to be awkward...with everyone?

But the biggest issue was making this week about God instead of my own personal gain. I get so caught up about how helping others or serving in a community event is going to make me look/feel. Sad to say, it's my immediate reaction/thought after signing up for something. I know I'm a horrible person, but I know I'm not the only one that thinks this way or struggles with it. It's something that I battle with from time to time. I know that my life is wholly devoted to serving God and giving Him all the glory, but there is a part of me that wants that glory, too. It's what happens when you live in a society where individualism is the desired goal, which makes living out the Gospel a whole lot harder. But this past week helped me refocus on who God is and what my role is in His plan. 

One of the moments that stuck out to me happened on Thursday. It was during storytelling time; the topic: the salvation story. As the story was being told, some of the volunteers acted out Jesus being nailed to the cross. And out of nowhere, this young little girl next to me started balling her eyes out. It took me a second to realize that I should probably take her away from the group and console her right away. As I sat with her, rubbing the tears from her eyes as she cried more and more, I assumed she was scared from watching the skit. 

"Are you okay sweetie? Did you get scared from watching the skit?" I asked.
"No," she replied. After a few seconds, she finally calmed down a bit. The next few words she spoke I will never forget.
"Why did Jesus have to die?"

Taken back, I didn't know how to respond. I was expecting her to say that she was scared from the skit and that I would just take her back when the skit was over. But her tears weren't from that...they were of sadness. As I proceeded to tell her why He died for us, I kept thinking to myself, "Why did He have to die?" 

The salvation story is a story that has been taught to me since I was 5 years old, and yet, now 24, I, too, struggle with that question. God could have left us, His Creation, to rot, to ultimately live a life filled with endless hope and destruction until we destroyed ourselves or each other. He could have left our world, started a new world from scratch, and created new beings. But He didn't. Instead, He chose to stay. Instead, He brought into our hectic world His one and only son, who, for the remaining three or so years left on earth, walked alongside us--the broken, the abandoned, the poor--loving us unconditionally and teaching us how to live in the Kingdom of God. Instead, He made the ultimate sacrifice and had His son nailed on the cross. Why? "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He did it for us; He did it for me; He did it so that this little girl next to me would know the true love of God. 

As I finished telling her why, she looked up and asked, "Jesus comes back?" And when I confirmed the question, the sweetest smile emerged and we found ourselves walking back to hear the rest of the story. Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed. 

The week was filled with all sorts of festivities. The pictures explain them best :)

Psalm 90:2
A couple of my favorite stories...can you guess?
We like to dress up.
Superhero day!
The one in the sweet Superwoman costume
is the girl who was excited to hear about Jesus' return :)
All the kids received a comic book of the Bible!
Our small group aka the cool kids.
Amazing TeWinkle Team that pulled the week off.

Even though we didn't go a vacation this summer, God really moved us that week. We're excited to see where He will take us next :)






Thursday, June 28, 2012

paper flower

I'm obsessed with Pinterest. I can easily spend a few hours just perusing through the different categories and pinning them on my boards. Lately, I've been pinning a lot of arts and crafts projects. This is probably one of my favorite ones.
ohcrafts.net/wedding-paper-flower-tutorial.php

It's so simple and it takes me about a couple minutes to do. It's easy if  you have some random scraps of patterned paper lying around (I have a collection in my drawer...eee). I'm thinking about adding these little things to my desk tomorrow. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

instagram noob

Busy busy busy. Seems like the past few months have blurred together. Piles of articles and artwork keep rising higher and higher at my work. Every weekend has been filled with birthdays, holidays, graduations, etc.; and when I'm not going anywhere, I bring work home. During my week, I try to balance time with friends and sleep, ha. Sometimes I imagine adding kids to the mix of my chaotic life, and then I  distract myself from that thought.

But in this crazy life of mine, I do have time for myself and having been resting a little bit more than usual. We recently moved into the Android world, and have been using Instagram since (well, at least I have). I try to keep myself sane by doing relaxing things, and this has been one of them. Here's just a glimpse of my past week:

Round 2 of growing a sunflower in my office/space. I say, I think this one is a winner
Tuesday dinner: Chicken fajita lettuce wraps. This is our attempt to eating healthier. Note to self: add more spices!
Angels v Giants. Too bad they lost this game. Forgot how crazy people can get during these events. I found myself getting into the mix as well...good thing I have this one to keep me sane (for the most part).
She's the Guatemalan version of me. 
(L) Vanessa's aunt got us a sweet discount...yep, we're at field seating. (R) It's Heather's first baseball game. My initial reaction was shock, but then again...you don't see much baseball action in Guam.
Working at an arts & crafts company has its perks. Why not have a boat-themed editorial meeting?
I can honestly say that I'm a fan of Instagram. I know that I'm still new (or "noob") to it all, but I'm excited to see what stories I'll be able to capture!

Friday, June 8, 2012

alone time

Thursday night was my first "alone time" since...well, forever. Although it was spent working out, more working out, cleaning the entire house, and cooking dinner and baking dessert at the same time, it was nice to have the place to myself, and hanging out with myself. Sometimes I just need a breather, a pause in life.

I love spending time with my husband. I also love hanging out with friends. When I'm not doing one, I'm doing the other. But I never allow myself me time. It sounds crazy, I know. But for the past two years, I can't recollect how many times I've had me time; all I can tell you is that it's less than the amount of fingers I have on both hands. Sigh.

I kinda blame it on college. When I wanted to hang out with friends, I just walked on over to their room, or spend the day at the beach, or just hanging out for hours at night. When Brian & I were dating, we would eat dinner together, go to the malls, or even go on random adventures. In an odd way, I developed a somewhat "healthy" balance with all that. With school work, couple of job, and the many extracurricular activities I was involved, I was on the go. Sometimes I look back on those four years and think, "How in the world did I survive all that?" But if I wanted alone time, I found time to do it. I just had to force it. Sometimes I didn't show up for a class or two, or even cancelled on several hang out times.

Now that I'm married and  have a full-time job (that often times require overtime or bringing the work home during my weekends, oi), my life is a little bit different. My days usually start at 615/630 in the morning at ends at 1030 at night (sometimes 9/930 depending on how work went). My husband is my priority in life. I need eight hours of sleep to endure eight or more hours of staring at my computer the next day. Hanging out with friends is reduced to once a week for a couple of hours (and that's with just one of several groups of friends I'm balancing). I meet with my wonderful life group once a week. That's just M-F. Weekends can vary with family shindigs, Saturday morning soccer games, celebrations, church, or one or two coffee dates. Life is little bit different in the "adult world."

Busy. Busy. Busy. 

The problem is, I don't like spending time alone, ironically. It's my fault really. I would rather busy it up with friends or stay at home with my husband all night. If I know I'll be alone at home or feel the need to do something instead of resting, I'll fill that time. There are many reasons why: need for people, people-pleaser, antsy, think that someone might break into my home (valid reason), don't like being alone with my thoughts, need to fill time with things. But being alone that Thursday night, even though I once again busied it with minute tasks, made me wonder how often I need to have time to myself. To pause. To breathe. To regain energy for the next day.

New goal for 2012: more alone time.




Sunday, June 3, 2012

a simple love story

Started in 4th grade. A boy and a girl. An innocent crush.  
For Ashley & Drew, it was the beginning of their story. I had the opportunity to witness my dear friend Ashley say "I do" to Drew. The ceremony was simply beautiful. Ashley, of course, was absolutely stunning walking down the aisle.The bridal party was filled with energy. Drew smiled proudly as he stood side-by-side & hand-in-hand with his wife. And the couple was surrounded by the love and support of their family and friends.

The day was beautiful. It was just right. It truly captured Ashley & Drew's personalities and love for one another. The day can be best summed up by Ashley's sister, Shayna. As she raised her glass smiling ever so wide to her sister and new brother, she said, "Some call it destiny. Others call it faith. I call it God's will."




Friday, May 25, 2012

running

I can never finish anything. 

My life is filled with "to be continued's"...waiting for me to dabble in it again. For example, I was on a running kick at the beginning of the year. One of my 2012 goals was to run a 5k. Not only was it a milestone for me to accomplish (I HATE RUNNING), but it was also a motivation to get into shape. My schedule was to run five times a week following the Couch to 5k program. After conquering a little rut in the beginning, I actually found myself enjoying running. I felt good afterwards, and I noticed results right away. But then I hit a wall. I became busy with work from my promotion and was hanging out with friends everyday throughout the week. I was then running two times a week, if that. My motivation dwindled until I felt no urge to run.

Yes, I was lazy. And yes, I can blame it on my mentality as well. 

Like running, it starts off as a good idea. Then once it's put into practice, it's actually not too bad; doing something new always gives you a high in life. But it's how to maintain that high that is the hard part.

With running, I was missing my push. Yes, technically my push was to run a 5k within the year and also having Brian to run with helped. But my "push", the motivation, my will, my drive, whatever you may call it, was missing. I was just running to cross it off my list. To complete something. 

Three months later, I realized what I was missing: having fun. Too much emphasis was placed on having to meet an acquired time or run faster than I previously did before. I stressed myself out when I didn't run well. As much as it was important for me to meet the goals I had set out for each week, I forgot to just have fun running. Now it might sound strange to correlate fun with running. In my past experiences with running, it was no fun at all; in fact it was always correlated with P.E. So now, I had the chance to run...for leisure. Even with the running program I was following, I had the freedom to just run outside and enjoy it.  

I still have that 5k ahead of me...to be continued.

Friday, May 18, 2012

blue bookshelf

It was almost four years ago. Brian invited me over to help paint his desk that he assembled. After opening the lid of the can of paint, he realized the black paint he had requested turned out to be dark blue. Pure disappointment. I assured him that it was a good color (but knew black would've been the better color). It took a few strokes on the desk to convince both of us that the accident made by the guy at Home Depot turned out to be...well, not an accident. In the words of a Chinese turtle, "There are no accidents." The color turned out better than we thought and even added some color to his room. 


So I've been using this color ever since. In all mediums in fact. Aside from the usual/random crafting I do, it has influenced my life. It ended up being one of my color's at my wedding. Without realizing it, I find myself buying striped shirts and tank tops with that exact color of blue. Even bought a blue car :) 


We decided to paint our wooden bookshelf this color. We have another one that is painted as well; the splatter paint on the backing was by accident (aka me), but it provided a really good background. With the paintbrushes in our hand filled with blue thickness, we painted. 






Success.








Friday, May 4, 2012

new beginnings

Recently, news of engagements, weddings, and babies have sprung up one after the other. Friends are traveling oversees to venture into new endeavors. Graduations are lined up with students anxiously awaiting to walk across the stage. It seems like everyone is entering into a new phase in their life, knowing & not knowing what lies ahead in their journey. 

Brian & I finally moved into our new place, and we love it. A new change for the both of us. To start off new and refreshed. We sometimes find ourselves pausing in the middle of our tasks, looking at each other, and smiling knowing that within the next year, our home will be a place filled with new & old friends, with challenges & triumphs, and with growth & love.  

Change is an overwhelming feeling. If you're like me, it's a mix of jumping in the air and having an emotional breakdown. (Exaggerated? Just a bit...) But regardless of the type of change, we can never predict the impact it will have on us until we view it later in life. It can be days or a year from now or even 10 years. All we can do is live each day to its fullest, conquering obstacles, rejoicing in our victories, and even learning from our mistakes. Change happens for a reason, and the reasons are different for all of us. It allows us to start somewhere new, to build a foundation from the ground up. It reveals more of who we are, and our purpose in life.

Welcome to a season of new beginnings.




Friday, April 27, 2012

portland discoveries

This past weekend was filled with friendship rekindling, venturing in fields & streets of color, and eye-opening conversations of life.

I ventured to the northwest, mainly Portland area Friday evening to spend some much needed quality time with a dear friend of mine before she headed off in her next endeavor. I came into the trip with some expectations of my own, but also with an abundant amount of room for whatever came our way. But the trip ended up being more than that. It reminded us of why we became such good friends and continue to be strong sisters. It reminded us of who we were before and how much faith it took to get us to where we are now in our lives. And more importantly, it reminded us of God's faithfulness.


 

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.
Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Thursday, April 19, 2012

embellished wine bottle


I have a collection of empty wine bottles in my home. They sit on our very lengthy windowsill. I've been hoarding them since I've been married hoping that one day I will use them to decorate our place. Sadly, spiders have found more use of them then I have.

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article for artist Leslie Shewring for the Spring 2012 issue of Somerset Life titled Transformed Bottle D├ęcor. She transformed empty bottles into unique collaged vases for her fresh flowers. I loved how she embellished the bottles with Washi tape and other bits as well (acreativemint.typepad.com/a_creative_mint/2011/06/summer-raspberry-peach-and-mint.html ). 

One night, I decided I wanted to paint one of my empty wine bottles. After soaking it in hot water and soap, I peeled off the label and started to work. But after painting a couple layers of white acrylic paint and coating it with Mod Podge, I was stuck. I didn't want to copy exactly what Leslie did; I wanted to add my personality to it. And with moving and all, I didn't want to create a bigger mess by opening my arts and crafts bins.

I eventually brought it to work because there was no place to put it at home. For a couple of days, it sat on my desk. At first, I was just going to leave it as it was: a painted wine bottle. But then I realized it was an excuse for my laziness. I looked through my desk drawers to see if I could find anything. I ran into a roll of mustard-yellow Washi tape, twine, corrugated cardboard, old book text, patterned paper, and millinery flowers. Perfect.






I was happy with the results. And I feel a little bit more confident in my arts and crafts skills. Practice makes perfect, right?

Thank you Leslie Shewring for your creativity. To view more of her art, visit her blog at http://www.acreativemint.typepad.com/.