Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Oh My

I don't even have the words to explain my emotions at this moment, but all I can say is that God has a weird sense of humor, and I am blessed beyond comprehension.

And with that,


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Could Play the Background

Many conversations with close friends have led me to write today.  I feel like for so many people the "home stretch" is so defeating and stressful and staying afloat and calm is a distant possibility.  I'm not necessarily concerned about schoolwork, or even work-work, but I feel like the tension and hype of everyone else's worries puts me in a state of worry and if I am not overfunctioning I feel I'm not doing enough.

A while back I had a conversation with a friend about why people care about the issues that they do care about, but seemingly ignore other causes.  I know I personally struggle with accepting people that engage in certain lifestyles/addictions but at the same time I think very little of people that listen to rap music (in terms of, I don't think they are bad for doing so).  But then I have met others who scold me for even possessing certain songs in my itunes library, yet they show no concern for issues of maintaining physical purity in relationships.  That was a very round-about-example way of saying I have observed lately that we all have our "causes" that are close to our hearts, but that not everyone's hearts are aligned and often that is where we get into squabbles.  We all look for certain things in the world--we all look for  ways in which we can assess whether our friends are "failing" or "succeeding," based on our own personal plights and "issues."  My friend James says that we tend to be sensitive to whatever it is that brought us to Christ.  As in, we tend to have "go-to" explanations and defenses for the things that we have come out of, or that we've dealt with, but this often lends itself to an attitude of ignorance or just uncaring about many other issues.  I feel like I want to get better about that.  I want to understand new causes.  I want to have a heart after God.  Call me heartless but I can't tell you how many videos I've watched on Invisible Children or diseased people in Africa, and I see the hurt, but it stops there.  I have never had a heart for missions, but I think the deeper thing is that I just don't have that heart for suffering people.  I want to change that, amongst other things.  The other side of that coin is that I want to stop letting my "causes" hurt me and distract me from God's grace.   This Easter Sunday Pastor Greg spoke on God's desire for a relationship with us, and how often we let things get in the way.  There are issues that cloud us from seeing God the way we should, and because of this we don't trust Him with certain areas of our lives.  I want to stop worrying about my issues and just be still where He has me.

Speaking with another friend I mentioned that I just feel "chilled out" right now.  I feel like between school and work and relationships there isn't really much that I am pursuing or giving my attention/efforts to, and I like that.  I like just being still and being calm.  That's not to say that I don't get excited or upset by things, but I feel like life is a lot easier when you allow God to be in control.  I don't always know what that looks like, but right now I know it means focusing on learning about who He is and regaining myself.  Not focusing on myself, in a self-absorbed way, but just allowing myself to grow alone.  I have this thing where I get very easily upset when my friends seemingly ignore me or stop pursuing me.  It has driven me to a lot of crazy limits, probably the most drastic being the deletion of my Facebook, because it really matters to me that friends be tangibly there for me and not take me for granted.  But James also pointed out to me that God gives us what we need when we need it, but we don't always need what we think we need.  God has given me the friends that I need while I needed them, but now that I'm getting stronger I don't really need them in the same way.  And that's where the "growing alone" comes in to play.  I love fellowship and I love my friends, but I also am learning to enjoy developing an exclusive relationship with my Savior, and allowing Him to get me through these hard times.  When God gives you something, be it a job, a relationship, a peace, or even comfort, that is always the best form of that thing because no one else can take that from you.

In small groups last week we talked about worry.  We learned not to worry but to seek God's kingdom.  Even one week ago... 7 days ago... I had a hard time understanding and applying this lesson.  But in just a week He's revealing this to me more and more.  As much as I fight it and I am naturally inclined to disbelieve it, this life is not about me.  It's not about my happiness, my relationship status, my job, my success, my friends, or my achievements.

I think God takes those "causes" and "issues" that we hold close to our heart, and He uses those to keep us close to Him.  My mom always says that she knows God gives her "money problems" because that keeps her close to Him.  I think my issue is relationships (not boy-girl dating relationships--ALL relations between me and close others).  When any of my relationships change I usually grow distant or closer to God.  I think I also struggle with being seen as a success, and not in terms of jobs and money, but in terms of gaining approval from others that I am living a good life.  This puts a lot of unnecessary stress on me, and THAT is what got my heart in small groups last week.  I stress and worry when I don't trust God.  I stress and worry when I feel that I have to take things on myself in order to be a success.
If I do this by myself, I'm scared that I'll succeed, and no longer trust in You, but only trust in me.  And see, that's how you end up headed to destruction, paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothing.  You pull my card--I'm bluffing, you know what's in my hand, me--I just want to trust you; you cause the dice to land.  I'm in control of nothing, I'll follow you at any cost; some call it sovereign will, all I know is you're the boss.  But man I'm so at ease, I'm so content, I play the background like it's an instrument...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I Got and Where I'm At

Today is registration day!

I was so excited for today because I was going to get into the 6 classes that I wanted (and their labs) and I would get to power through next semester and get this school thing back on track.  Then I would have 2 classes left for Spring and I would graduate next year and be done.

But now I have 4 classes and 1 lab.

After a series of headaches and disappointments regarding prerequisites and corequisites, I have established that I will now be graduating after Fall 2012, walking in Spring 2013.  I am unhappy, but I'm ok with it.  Maybe there's something bigger happening here.

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?...34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  --Matthew 6

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't Speak to Me Out of a Hollow Heart

I value honesty, accountability, integrity, and persistence.  I don't like small talk--I am not good at it and it bores me.  I like to walk away from conversations feeling like I was intentional and that our friendship reached a new depth.  That is not to say I don't like to have fun conversations about fairly pointless things, but don't lie to me or give me empty advice.

"You'll be ok... everything will be ok"

"Things will work themselves out"

"Follow your heart"

[The OBVIOUS God question/answer]

Please don't be critical because you feel like you have to, because of your age, or your position, or your personality.

If you have no platform to tell me about something, just don't.  I dislike when people give me advice, or worse, condemn my actions, when they have no experience in whatever issue we are discussing.

Let's all try and be... a little less judgmental.  If there is anything this past year has taught me, it is that you really don't know where someone is unless you are that person, or unless you have been let in and you are intensely invested in their life.  But even then, things can change in the blink of an eye.  And then all of a sudden your friends are discouraging you, or the world becomes confused, or your closest peers talk behind your back.  And for what reason?  They don't understand.  How about we be encouraging, forgiving, supportive, and on each other's team, and give each other the benefit of the doubt?  I believe my friends are spiritually mature enough to make smart decisions, and in the event that they are human and they make a mistake, I often find it was a mistake that they had to make in order to learn and get where they are today.

I am not aiming this at anyone, it's just been heavy on my heart lately.  I feel like in every domain people watch my life so closely and try to dictate what I should and shouldn't be doing and feeling, when they have no idea where I am.

Speak the truth in love.  --Ephesians 4:15

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The last drop.

Looking back I suppose I will say this was a good breakup, and that I was blessed to have it go so well.  But it sure doesn't feel that way when you're in it.  I am thankful we are civil and I am thankful that family relationships weren't affected, but man was I thrown for a loop.  I will not use a blog to vent about what went wrong, but I will say that I am still hurting and feeling betrayed.  I think about where we went wrong and I try to pinpoint the times that I silenced God's quiet voice.  I am realizing the people that we hurt and the relationships that might never be fixed because of our selfishness.  I think if nothing less this was a lesson I wouldn't have learned any other way, so glory to God for that.

What do you do with all of the fragments of feelings that pass through your days and play yo-yo with your heart?  What do you do with the seemingly unrequited feelings of nostalgia, but at the same time the bitterness and anger?  Is it okay to just stop caring completely?  How does one move on ignoring a friendship that momentarily ran so deep?  Sometimes I feel like I am living half a life, but doing my darndest to feel that it's more.  Other times I feel a wholeness like it never happened.. in the blink of an eye it started and then it was over.  And we were never on the right foot.

I think I'm about ready to give it back.  I think I'm ready to give it up and reclaim my life.  Dabda? Let's move right on to that final A please.

But not without one last remark..
"Long were the nights when my days once revolved around you.  Counting my footsteps and praying the floor won't fall through..again.  My mother accused me of losing my mind but I swore I was fine...well maybe it's me, and my blind optimism to blame. Or maybe it's you and your sick need to give love then take it away. And you'll add my name to your long list of traitors who don't understand, and I'll look back in regret, how I ignored when they said run as fast as you can. Dear John, I see it all now it was wrong. Don't you think nineteen's too young to be played by your dark twisted games when I loved you so? I should have known. You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry, and never impressed by me acing your tests. All the friends that you've run dry have tired lifeless eyes cause you've burned them out.
Don't you think I was too young? I should have known."

Best D.A.M. Trip -a picture is worth a thousand words- Pt. II

Day 3:
God time.  Accountability.  Learning.

Straight out of a hillbilly movie.

Fancy Dinners.

Rockin Frog.

This weirdo.

Day 4:
Every girl's gotta know how to change her oil.

It was the most perfect dipstick.

My Besties.


Upside down carmel macchiato?

My makeshift collage:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The End of Spring Break

Well I realize I left you all hangin.....  I got better (from being sick) and made the most of my break, and I wasn't able to be on the computer much.  But I have some pics to share, if you are curious.

So after the beach on Monday and the mall Monday night I took it easy on Tuesday.
Tommy is working on taking modeling shots.  Here were my favorite lol.

Tuesday night I went to "the asian version of Starbucks," TeaStation, and got my first taste of Royal Milk Tea (with Boba)!  I didn't know what Boba was..but now I do--it's tapioca balls!

Wednesday was similarly low key, but in the late afternoon I got to hang out with my old BFF Kyle, who (sadly) was packing up and getting ready to move to Las Vegas.  Had dinner with the fam...always a fun night...and then headed back out with Tommy for some top secret ops that I will not mention.

This week was incredibly nostalgic and awkward for me as I processed my emotions and feelings about the boys in my life recently, but let me just say that Kyle and Tommy are awesome.

Tommy collects things to give to me.  Earmuff Panda Button?  I'll take it.

As I was sitting in Starbucks with Tommy I asked him if he thought we would be friends forever, and of course he said yes.  But that meant a lot more to me than I think he realized.  It's crazy for me to think that I met him almost eight years ago, and we are still so close.  We don't follow each others' lives that closely, but we have a relationship where we get together and it's like we never missed a beat; we just pick back up right where we left off.  And I love it.

Wednesday was a lot of alone time, which I relish.  Got to go to my favorite table at Starbs and get into the Word.  Just what I needed.

Then I came home and had to get ready to head back to the LBC.  It was bittersweet.  I know I have responsibilities and a life in LB, but there's no place like home, and everyone knows that feeling.

My Kingdom.
The King.

Gifts from the King.
My dad cracks me up.  He was walking our dog, Foxy, and they got attacked by another dog and it resulted in Foxy getting a ton of stitches and spending serious time rehabing.  So my dad has taken it upon himself to make signs to educate our household..

Our first bud at the Josie House.

The car that I got to drive around for the weekend while mine was getting serviced... Win!

So then I headed back to Long Beach and it was back to the daily grind.  The good news was that Debbie came back from New Orleans on Saturday night and we got a chance to hang out and catch up, and Sunday was a great day of fellowship where pretty much everyone hung out around my house and baked and sang and made music and then capped it off watching Tangled.  I get really stressed but also really happy when we have 20 people in our living room watching the same movie, and enjoying it.

Breakfast in the 21st century (instagram-ing it up) with T-Gilley and Debs... she makes great crepes and I love that we both like butter and salt as much as we do.

  Well anyway, this update was mostly just to keep my word on updating with Spring Break pics.  Stay tuned for pic updates from my awesome weekend that I am currently having in Norcal with Deb's family.  :)