Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year. I love the festive spirit and the excitement everywhere I go.

John and I start of by getting a Christmas tree and carrying it home – because our car is too small to have a tree tied to it. Decorating is fun – but the most exciting part is preparing to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday! I love to read and reread the story of Jesus and listen to Christmas songs that are all about this gift that God has given us.

This year, I am trying really hard to not get caught up in the business of shopping, but instead give my attention to the one we are celebrating. However, this is ALWAYS a hard task. The past couple of weeks have been busy with dinners, parties, Christmas shows, wedding….and to be honest, it is hard to focus on Jesus.

So, today I am intentionally setting aside some time to be still and thank God for giving us a Savior.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas where ever you are!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Not the Same Without You

This past weekend was a big one for many reasons – but one specific reason is a bigger deal than others.

John and I were apart for two nights for the first time since we got married 1.5 years ago.

I know that couples all over the world spend days, weeks, months and even years far away from each other, but I can barely handle a weekend – and I’m ok with that.

Since John was gone for a bachelor party, I spent time with my family – and had a great time, just not as great was it could have been if John had been there with me.

Multiple times I thought about what John would have said if he was part of a conversation…I wondered what he was doing at specific times of the day and wished he was close to me.

These feelings came and surprised John and I quite a bit – because we were unaware that we have become one in so many ways. It is interesting that we discovered how much we love being with each other once we were far apart.

Although I do not like the feeling of being far away from John, I delight in the fact that we miss each other that much because we value what we have. I enjoyed coming home last night to find John passed out on the couch waiting for me.

We chatted for a long time. I could not keep my mouth quiet for a single minute until I told him everything in detail that had happened while he was gone. John showed me pictures of the weekend and filled me in the ‘important’ parts.

Needless to say, our time together was not enough because soon the alarm went off and it was time to go to work. I look forward to some free time together this coming Christmas!

Here are some of the things that happened to me while John was gone:
  • I got my hair straightened. Yes, my hair is straight right now and I have not taken a picture yet. I better work on that before the hair goes back to its natural state.
  • I went to a Christmas party by myself (and it felt weird to be dateless).
  • I did an amazing parking job at a very full garage. This is a big deal too because I drive a manual and I didn’t think I could do what I did so beautifully. I wish I had taken a picture of it and the people who gave me thumbs up…but I was already late and had to run (in heals, while very dressed up with my straight hair flying everywhere).
  • I watched Invictus and liked it.
  • I got big blisters from running in heals, but I would like to think that it was worth it!
  • I went to church and watched the ECF children do great at the Christmas play.
  • I got to be with wonderful women all afternoon doing a service project.
So, I did miss John a lot, but I can't really complain about my weekend. I just wish John had been there to do some of these thigs with me.

Well, that is it for now. I will work on getting some pictures next time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Life Right Now

Time is flying by and I can’t keep up with all the little things I have to do. But really, I can’t complain. In the past couple of weeks I have had a blast spending time with wonderful people!

A dear friend of ours is getting married in a couple of days and I cannot wait! But for now, I have lots of little things to get ready for his bachelor party.

Ok. So, I am not going to the bachelor party – because I am not a male – but I wish I could be there. Since John was in charge of organizing the food for this ‘guys only weekend,’ I had to put on my male brain and try to figure out what guys like to eat and how much they eat.

The food is purchased and ready to go – and I want to be there to eat it too!

…I want to be there for other reasons as well…

Anyways, knowing that this week was going to be super busy, John and I went out on a date last Saturday and we even dressed up!

I got to wear this little black dress that had patiently waited for an opportunity to come out of the closet.

My favorite memory?

Well, there are two.

1. John said after seeing me all dressed up: “You are so beautiful…and this dress is so you!”
2. I discovered my new favorite drink: A Mint Kiss

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Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm not Going Under

Sometimes I need to be reminded that God is the potter and I am the clay. Although I am pretty sure that the clay never starts trying to be the potter in the pottery world – but I try to be God all the time.

During my 24 (almost) years of life, God has ALWAYS been faithful and I have no complaints. Sure, things don’t always never go as I plan, but I have watched his plans come to reality and they are always better than mine. I say all this to make the point that I have no reason to doubt God. In my heart I don’t want to doubt him.

However, recently I have been consumed with worries. I worry about some heath issues, I worry about job security, about my relationship with John, about our future plans.

Yesterday these worries impacted me in a physical way and I felt like my heart was heavy – like I could barely breathe.

I spent hours reading the word and praying that God would help me have faith….that he would help me with my unbelief. I prayed that He would help me be more like him – steadfast.

Well, the Jejovah-Jireh - the provider – brought me a message from a program called Walk in the Word that spoke to the fears that I am going through. In this message, pastor James MacDonald said:

“God knows you better than you know yourself. You're not going to lose it; you're going to be okay.
You don't know what you are capable of when you're resting in God's strength and not your own.
You're going to get through this one way or another. It's not going to last forever and you will get through it - because God is faithful. He's not tired and He's not wondering when this is going to be over.

Reassure yourself, "I'm not going under." You can keep going for another day, another week because God is producing staying power in you. The ability to remain in that marriage - as hard as it is. The ability to remain in that job - as hard as it is. The ability to stick with it in that difficult circumstance - no matter what.
If God can produce in you that staying power, He can give you everything else.

The good's not coming if you quit. Listen, God can get every characteristic of Christ into your life if He can just teach you to stay in the game.”

I want to stay in the game! I want to walk on water and be able to keep my eyes on Jesus – for if I don’t I start to sink. I want to trust God with all my heart.

None of this is easy, but I want it. In the mean time I will keep reminding myself that I'm not going under.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Good Surprise

I am the kind of person that really enjoys surprises good surprises...although I have not been surprised too many times in life.

My husband surprised me in a big way almost two years ago when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I still feel giggly inside when I remember that day.

Well, another one of those good surprises happened yesterday when two friends of ours who are supposed to be in Costa Rica showed up at our door at dinner time!!! We have missed them and are SO happy to have them back close to us.

I can’t wait for our future gatherings!

Welcome back Steve and Kara.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

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Above is a picture of our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner! Yes, we had beef too because we are not huge fans of turkey. Also, not all the food fit on the table.

John and I had a great time with our families – John’s parents and grandma came over to my family’s and we celebrated with some friends from church!

I am still in awe of how long it takes to make a Thanksgiving dinner. I am not sure I will ever be able to handle making a dinner like that by myself.

But I also hope I never have to be by myself on Thanksgiving. One of the things I am most thankful for is the community God has provided in the last 6 months. It has been wonderful to be surrounded by people who are living life with us and who love and pray for us.

I hope you all had many things to be thankful for as well!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Thanskgiving Psalm

Psalm 107

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labour; they stumbled, and there was no-one to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.

Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank- offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.

He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there. He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish.

Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow; he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.

Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Different Kind of Day

Since June, I have not ridden the bus. That is a HUGE deal because for the past four years I have spent at least two hours of my day on a bus. First there was the 271 (my sister calls this one my boyfriend, because we spent so much time together), then the 556, 372, 540, 545, 44, 522...

Well, today I got on the 372 and sat on the seat I claimed as my own in the past year. I pulled out a book - The Atonement Child - and read for about 50 minutes. During that ride I took a couple minutes to remind myself how much I actually like being on buses. I am sure no one else shares this enjoyment with me, but there is something about being on a bus with a bunch of people from all kinds of walks in life that makes me really happy. I would like to write a story about the stories of people who take buses. I am convinced that each individual would have something meaningful to share with the world.

My destination today?

The hospital.

I had an appointment that lasted over two hours. TWO HOURS!

I sat in a waiting room...and then another waiting room.

The doctor came in to let me know that she was a patient behind and she would be with me shortly. Forty minutes later she came back and I had finished reading my book and had moved on to a Nutrition magazine.

I finally got to talk to the doctor - who happened to be one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I kept thinking that she should be in a medical TV show and not in a real hospital.

Anyways, I got to talk to two more doctors after that. Then I had two x-rays, two blood tests, peed in a cup and got on two other buses to meet John.

Wow. I am glad this is not my normal routine!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Sorry, I Can't Hear You

Since I was a baby I have had ear problems.

Throughout life there has been many doctor visits, antibiotics, pain, discharge (which sounds gross just to think about)...

Well, it turns out that the ear still has issues.

I have had a cold for the past couple of days and now I have an ear infection to go with it. Besides the pain, the worse part of having an ear infection is the inability to hear anything out of the ear.

I feel like my whole body is out of balance – when it is missing half of a sense. Just the simple task of buying groceries becomes a little harder.

The cashier asks: Do you have our Connection Card?

I answer: Do I have what?

The cashier: A Connection Card.

Not wanting to say “what?” again, I stop to think – trying to figure out what she is saying. Thirty seconds later I remember that the cashiers always ask for the Connection Card.

I say: Oh, the Connection Card! Yes, I have that.

Needless to say, I try to stay away from people when I can’t hear them. However, every time I get an ear infection I am reminded to thank God for the many parts of my body that function just fine. It is easy to take our physical and even mental and emotional abilities for granted.

I also thank God for health insurance – because this tiny tube of antibiotics cost almost the same as our monthly groceries budget!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My parents had my ears pierced the day I was born, and for that I am very thankful! Unlike many other girls, I never had to wait to become a 'certain age’ to get my ears pierced and I always enjoyed that I was a step ahead of everyone else.

Well, when I got to High School I really wanted to get something else pierced….
I thought about my bellybutton, knowing my mom would never let me get away with that. I then decided that my cartilage would be a good option.

When my parents told me I had to wait until I was eighteen to get my cartilage pierced, I decided to settle down and just get my ears double pierced – at least for the moment.

By the time I turned eighteen, I didn’t want my cartilage, bellybutton or anything else pierced. I was content with the double piecing.

Since then, I feel naked whenever I am not wearing earrings. However, being allergic to everything but gold, I don’t have many options to pick and choose from. For most of my double piercing life, I have had one pair of studs that have become a part of my body.

This last year I decided to get little diamond studs and they looked great. But I lost one of the earrings…and I bought another pair and lost one of those as well.

So, for the past three months I have been wearing no earrings in that second piercing and it really bothers me.

Today, I went through all my jewelry trying to find those old studs and I found them!!!
I also found out that one of the piercings had filled in…and I had to re-pierce it.


My ear is throbbing and once again I am thankful my parents got my first piercings done when I was too young to remember if it hurt or not.

P.S. I looked like a boy when I was born – and didn’t have any hair until I turned two…so the earrings might have helped me look a little more girly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Here is a little something that puts a smile of my face every time I watch it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Walk the Walk

This morning I finished reading the "Mark of the Lion" series. And I loved every single book!

I have learned so much while reading through each page that I want everyone I know to read them too. People, go get your copy and start reading/learning!!

For the first time in my life I have sat down to read a book (or books) that focuses explicitly on loving others the way God loves us. Each chapter, each story emphasizes our need to love others and forgive them no matter what.

Seriously, "no matter what" sometimes sounds like too much to ask of someone. So many times I had to put the book down and pray that God would change my heart from deep within. So many times I read the pages thinking:

"Really God?"
"Forgive her too?"
"How is she supposed to love him?"

I still don't have the answers for all my questions, but I do know that God continuously calmed my heart by reminding me that "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

The book As Sure as the Dawn is all about persevering and trusting God - knowing that God's plan does not fail. Here is a paragraph that really caught my attention:

"Our work isn't to change the way these people live. It's not to fight against a pagan idol any more than it's for Atretes (the main character) to try to beat into their heads a belief in Christ. Our work is to devote our own lives to pleasing God. It's that simple. We're to devote our efforts to learning to think as God thinks, to see ourselves and others through his eyes, to walk as he walked. That's our life work."

As simple as that life work may sound, it is hard to do. Pride gets in the way and stubbornness keeps us from seeing God's ways accurately. However, it is good to be reminded that God has high expectations from his people. He sent Jesus for us to learn from him and not merely agree that he is a good man. It is time to walk the walk.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Am I Passionate About?

While listening to Jesus the One and Only bible study, John asked me what am I passionate about.

To tell you the truth, I am not very good at answering the kind of question that makes me think about what I value. However, I was surprised by how fast the answer to that question came out of my mouth.

'People,' I said.

I have not always been a people person - and many times I still prefer the silence that exists when I am alone. As a matter of fact, the more time I spend by myself, the less I want to be with people. The ironic part of all of this is that I am by no means shy or an introvert.

Unable to explain why I am passionate about people, I came to the conclusion that I can only have this passion because of Jesus. You see, by myself I am not loving enough, patient enough, understanding enough or forgiving enough to be passionate about people. Yet, as I mature in my faith I continue to discover that I am more and more passionate about what God called 'very good.'

It breaks my heart to see people in pain (physical, spiritual, emotional or relational pain). The thought or sight of poverty, hunger and diseases can easily bring tears to my eyes - not because these situations are sad, but because they are tragic.

God's plan for his creation was a perfect plan and we are so far away from that plan that it is hard to imagine what the world would be like without sin. Yet, in the middle of a desperate world, there is hope and there is peace.

I don't know what my life will look like in the years to come, but I hope to make it a goal to be God's instrument in bringing hope and peace to all who accept it.

You see, I believe that if I am going to be passionate about the things that Jesus is passionate about, I better start acting like him. This is harder to do than to say - but I pray that God will give me wisdom and direction.

My desire is to learn to serve like Jesus served and to love like he loved - and this is a HUGE task.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hands, Feet or Lungs?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my role in God's kingdom.

The bible says that "just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. " Romans 12:4-8

While at times I feel like I know exactly what my role is, more often I stop and wonder if I really have an essential function in the body.

Do I have gifts?
What are they?
Am I the hands, feet or the lungs in this amazing body of Christ?
How do I find out?

There are times when I feel like I am not doing anything worthwhile. After all, I have never been on a mission trip to a foreign country, I am not popular in my church and most kids in the Sunday school program cannot pronounce my name. I don't know that I have made a life changing difference in any one's life and maybe I am just not doing what I was created to do.

These thoughts peek into my head from time to time and I start thinking that my works and deeds are nothing but a waste.

With this mind set, I read a chapter of The Hole in Our Gospel, where the author quotes a wonderful message written by N. T. Wright in Surprised by Hope. This is how N. T. Wright describes our role in God's plan:

"But what we can and must do in the present if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to I Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that's shortly going to be thrown in the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that's about to be dug up for a building site. You are - strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself - accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God's new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one's fellow human beings and for that matter one's fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world - all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of God."

These words have encouraged me in the past couple of days! As I continue my journey to find my place in the kingdom of God, it is refreshing to know that nothing is a waste - nothing that is done in the Lord is in vain.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Cold ALL the Time

It is almost November...and I know it is supposed to get colder and colder from here on, but for some reason I still wake up in the morning hoping to feel the warm summer air. When I remove the king size down-comforter, I just want to hind under it again and pretend I don't have to get up.

So, I just decided that today is going to be the 'turn on heater' day! I have been trying my best to not turn on the heater - because of the electric bill...but seriously, the butter sitting on the counter is almost as hard as it was in the fridge.

I feel cold ALL the time and I am pretty sure that my bones are turning into icicles.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Little more Autumn

Growing up, I don't think I ever went to a pumpkin patch. Since the beginning of Autumn, I have been talking about how fun it would be to go to one...and perhaps a corn maze as well.

This past Friday, John gave me a call after work and asked me if I wanted to go to the pumpkin patch.

Do I want to go?
Well, YES!

The experience was everything I expected and more. It was cold, cloudy, muddy and the orange color was everywhere. I felt like a child again...and it was so exciting!
Isn't God an amazing artist?

I look forward to the day when I get to take my (future) kids to a muddy pumpkin patch. I can just see them wearing rain boots, stepping on puddles while looking for the 'right' pumpkin!!
P.S. Anna, I am not pregant. I am talking about the future or some day.
P.S.S. two minutes after we left God must have opened the floodgates of heaven - because it rained so hard we could barely see the road on our way home.

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Godzilla Today

I have never been a 'morning person' and I don't think I will ever swing over to that side of the pendulum, but for someone who did not sleep well and woke up at 4am not being able to go back to sleep, I am doing pretty good so far!

For reasons I cannot understand, I could not sleep last night - and it was driving me crazy as I tossed and turned in bed trying to find things to think about - when all I wanted to do was fall asleep.

I knew I had to get up at 6:30 and I was afraid of being Godzilla the rest of the day. As I met up with two friends at 7:30 to go volunteer at New Horizons Ministries, I prayed that God would help me not be grumpy. Well, it looks like my prayers were answered!

I had a wonderful morning and I am ready to cuddle with a blanket and a book for a little while.

P.S. One of my biggest fears as someone who hopes to be a parent someday has been that fact that I will have to get up in the middle of the night to feed/change diaper/sing a song to a crying baby. Whenever this picture pops in my head, I start thinking that I am not going to be a happy mommy...and I hope to learn to love my children in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn Colors

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Pizza Time

John and I had a couple of friends over for dinner this past Friday and we made pizza!

I am not a fan of greasy pizza...so I like to make my own - with the help of Trader Joe's $1.29 pizza dough.

We made this same pizza about a month ago and I have been wanting more ever since.

John is usually too kind and rolls out the dough for me - I don't like doing that part. But John is VERY good at it!

We put the dough on a cooking sheet with oats instead of flour and let the dough cook for about 7 minutes (without the toppings). John discovered that when we put all the topping on the pizza and put it in the oven, the dough does not cook thoroughly...instead there are some gooey parts in the middle.

After the 7 minutes, we took out the dough from the oven and added the toppings. When it comes to the ingredients, I use what I have.

Instead of using red sauce, I decided to use a brush to spread olive oil, garlic and sea salt all over the dough. The sea salt makes a big difference!

Next I added some Italian Seasoning for taste (because I was out of oregano).

I cut a bunch of cilantro and green onions into small pieces and spread around the dough. I added Monterey Jack cheese and chicken pieces on the top, as well as a sliced onion and green pepper.

**This time, we had some chicken already fried with olive oil, salt, peeper, Italian seasoning and a little bit of ginger.

The pizza goes back in the oven and we cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and golden!
I do not have a picture of the final result - because I was too hungry and forgot to take a picture when the pizza came out of the oven. However, I guarantee that it looked and smelled delicious.

The final results was also mouth watering! What I like most about this pizza is that I can taste each ingredient, and the pizza itself is not covered in grease or fat.

Bon Appetit!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On My Bedside Table

My bedside table is looking quite full lately, which means that I have been spending many hours of the day reading.

Growing up, I was not a reader. I read the school assigned books - because I was too scared of getting a bad grade on a book report or a pop quiz. I also did not trust Spark Notes.

So, I read an immense list of books. Some I hated, like Lord of the Flies and others I loved, like To Kill a Mockingbird.

It wasn't until high school that I started reading books that I was not forced to read. This new found enjoyment started with the book When the Road Ends. Since then, I have longed for free time so I can find a cozy seat and enjoy what I now call: brain food.

Without a job, I now have plenty of 'free' time and I am enjoying this time with some amazing books. I am currently reading three books: Brain rules, The Hole in our Gospel and An Echo in the Darkness. These books have taught me great things in different ways....and I look forward to sitting down and consuming every page.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on what I am learning.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A New Look

I keep finding new templates that I like. I know that I should probably stick to one look, but this is too exciting!

Imagine if you could get a different haircut everyday?
Imagine if you could change the bed sheets according to your mood?

In real life I cannot get a new haircut everyday or get new sheets whenever I want, but I can get a new blog template every once in a while!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

On the Road Again!

This past weekend was definitely not our normal routine.

First, my husband John was away at a men's retreat and I missed him dearly. I know this may seem silly to some of you, but John and I have only been apart one night since we got married over 14 months ago. I didn't want Friday to come because just the thought of not having him close to me made me sad. Some people say that this desire to be close to our spouses all the time is a sign that we are still newlyweds...and that the feeling will change over time.

Honestly, I don't like that idea. It may be true - I don't know what my relationship with my husband will be like in two years - but I like to think that we are going to continue enjoying each other's presence so much that a night apart is no fun.

On the other hand, I got to spend GREAT times with my mother and sister!! I do miss living with my family and it is a real treat to be able to spend a weekend with some of my closest friends.

What did we do?

Well, we woke up early on Saturday and drove for more than 3 hours (each way) in order to pick concord grapes from the vines. The weather was perfect and the fall colors stood out as we drove by rocky mountains. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the beautiful trees.

We picked more than 20 pounds of grapes and they are being consumed at an incredible rate!
Concord grapes smell just like sweet grape juice...and that aroma filled the car.

I wish you cold smell them through this picture.
The drive back was tiring and I had to focus in order to keep my eyes open. I enjoyed listening to Jars of Clay as I drove my way through windy mountains. We got home safely and I passed out on the floor immediately after.

This next part makes me giggle inside - because I woke up with John whispering my name in my ear! I missed his deep voice, his gentle touch and even his not-shaved face!!

All I can say is that I am blessed to have a family and a husband that love me so dearly - and I love each one of them as well.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am not in Class Today

So, today is the first day of Autumn quarter at the University of Washington - and I am not in class.

I cannot describe how strange this feels.

Unlike many people, I actually liked school - a lot. Sure, I got tired many times and dreamed of sleeping in - which at the time 7:00am would have been sleeping in. But now that I am no longer an undergraduate student, I miss the libraries, the random people I ran into during the day, the backpack that became a part of my body, the activities on the HUB lawn. I miss the place I am so familiar with.

UW taught me to be more independent, to walk faster, to enjoy little breaks, to use my time wisely, to expand my brain in ways I didn't know I could.

I want to see Mount Rainier behind Drumheller Fountain. I want to see the trees turn orange and yellow. I want to see the cherry blossoms.

I want to go back!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Love

My beloved husband is turning a year older today.

Happy Birthday to John!!

Just playing around, I usually ask him if he feels like an old man yet. He ALWAYS responds by saying that he is not old and reminds me that I am not old either. I am convinced he will be saying that when we are in our 90s.

I know that in reality, we are not old (yet) but time travels so fast that I can hardly keep track of the date these days. Three years ago I got to celebrate John's birthday for the first time - we were just friends at that point - and I can't believe we are now married.

Three years ago I gave John two Alaska pictures framed and singed by me - with my maiden last name.

Isn't Alaska just gorgeous?
I am sure I would never get tired of looking at these mountains.

Today, these pictures hang in our bedroom as a reminder of the place that brought us together in first place!

**In 2006, John and I signed up to be camp counselors in Alaska through the University Presbyterian Church. We started dating about 6 months later.

Since those camp days, I have become John's greatest fan and I thank God daily for giving me such a wonderful man.

Here are a list of characteristics that makes John be the unique person that he is - and I just love him for these qualities!

  • He hugs with his body - this is no awkward side hug - this is a full embrace that demonstrates he cares
  • His organization skills are so helpful!
  • He loves God and desires to know Him more
  • He has a giggle that melts my heart
  • He is devoted to family and friends
  • He can be brutally honest
  • He is always learning something new
  • He is himself no matter what

I am thrilled to celebrate one more year of life with John, and I pray for many more!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Patience: I don't have enough

I have things to say and pictures I want to post.

But, the desktop won't let me access my account and I definitely don't have the patience to rely on my very slow, 5 years old laptop.

So...maybe I'll be able to post later this week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I realized today that I no longer like or want to do some things I used to like doing and generally wanted to do. What's up with that?

When I first got married (about 14 months ago) I was a Nazi when it came to cleaning. I cleaned every Friday as if it was my religion.

Well, I have not cleaned in more than two weeks and I still don't feel like doing it. However, I have to - the toilet is getting a pink ring around the water edge, the bathtub is no longer white and the wooden floors have foot prints all over.

I had to wash the dishtowels yesterday because they were ALL dirty.

What else has changed? Eating habits.

I now like corn - especially on the cob and I dream about green peppers. I used to hate green peppers and all the other peppers as well.

John and I made a yummy pizza yesterday and because he knows me so well, he set up the table and brought out the mayo and ketchup. Yes, I like mayo and ketchup on my pizza. Except, yesterday that didn't seem appealing at all - and for the first time ever, I ate the pizza as it was made.

I also feel like eating chocolate - but I NEVER liked chocolate before.

Ya. These are big changes for me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I am not quite sure why one dreams at night, and I certainly don't know how dreams work...but I pretty much dream every night.

Sometimes my dreams are full of action - like a movie.

One time (in a dream) I was in an Air Force plane and had to be ejected with a parachute because the plane was hijacked with terrorists and I (along with a group of high school friends) were responsible for protecting that information and bringing it to the American base.

I had a dream where I died and was able to watch my own funeral - and see who had come to my funeral.

Another time I dreamed that I was in Brazil - running for my life because Osama Bin Ladin was chasing me. I had to swim to a boat that was waiting to take me to a secret island.

Seriously, how do I come up with these dreams?

Two night ago I dreamed that I was sitting in the kitchen of a Hispanic family - who I don't know in real life - while the mother served me pinto beans on rice! I woke up hungry and wishing the dream was true.

Last night, I dreamed that I was pregnant. Ya. You read it right. Pregnant. It was so real that I could almost 'feel' pregnant when I woke up.

While I usually wake up and immediately tell John what my dream was about before I forget, John claims that he rarely dreams. How? Why not?

Are my dreams a result of my imagination? Then I must have a really good imagination and should probably start writing books.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fear of the Lord

My church's home group went through a study on the 'Fear of the Lord.' In a two week series we were suppose to dive into two questions:

  1. What is the fear of God?
  2. Why is it important to have a healthy fear of God?
While trying to gather up my knowledge to answer these questions I realized that the bible mentions the "Fear of the Lord" again and again in different contexts.

Trying to come up with definitions for each instance was hard and I thought it was a good idea to look at the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek dictionary to better understand this topic. Not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, John and I spent hours learning about the term "Fear of the Lord" - which is present in the old and new testament. The verb to 'fear' is used over 330 times and it means actual "fear."

Here are a couple of different definitions from the Old and New testament:

  • an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime
  • dread
  • reverence - the word carries with it a sense of being shattered, broken, dismayed, and in fear
  • being terrified
  • to tremble with the sense of terror
  • to bristle
  • fear of the presence of God
C. S. Lewis references the term "fear of the Lord" in many of his writings, but specifically describes it in his book The Problem of Pain and states that fear of the Lord is not a fear that one feels for a tiger, or even a ghost. Rather, the fear of the Lord is one filled with awe, in which you "feel wonder and a certain shrinking" or "a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant of or prostration before it". It is a fear that comes forth out of love for the Lord.
Reading through the different definitions and commentaries, I realized that I have much to learn about the fear of the Lord. Living in a society where Jesus is often described as 'our homeboy,' it is easy to forget about his holiness, power and authority. We forget what is it like to be reverent and in awe of God.
So, why is it important to have a healthy fear of God?
Here are a couple of answers found in scriptures:
  • Psa 111:10 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
  • Psa 145:19 - He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save (rescue) them.
  • Pro 10:27 - The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
  • Luk 1:50 - And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
  • Ecc 12:13 - Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
The verses that spoke to me the most came out of Deut. 10:12-22:
"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky."
These verses help me understand that the Fear of the Lord is what brings me closer to being Christ-like. It is through obeying God, hating evil and seeking wisdom that I am able to become more intimate with God - and therefore, more like him.
I have long ways to go before I can say I fully understand what it means to Fear the Lord, but this study has brought a certain excitement to learn more about God's nature and his plan for his people.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the Kitchen

Since I tried my mother-in-law's fabulous dinner rolls, I have been wanting to make some really bad.

What stopped me?

The fear that they were not going to turn out to be as good as the ones I tried.

Thanks to John's encouragement, I decided to make some and see what would happen. The first time was a failure. I put the rolls in the oven and thought I had enough time to take a shower.

I was wrong.

The rolls were clearly overcooked and I got so sad I almost cried. I know this may sound dramatic, but I had built up this excitement and expectation - only to to find out that what I had made was far from the delicious, melt in your mouth rolls.

John, being the wonderful husband that he is, encouraged me to just try it again. I hesitantly agreed to give it another try - just one more time.

The results?


I ended up making 24 rolls that were rapidly consumed at our family vacation.

rolls after rising for an hour

butter and garlic glaze

overcooked rolls

try number 2 - perfect and ready to be eaten

I thought these were so good that I want to try baking different kinds of breads. We'll see what happens.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back from the Apple Land

I got back from a family vacation yesterday - and brought with me a ridiculous amount of apples! By "ridiculous" I mean: 75 pounds of apples.

My husband, John, LOVES these apples and he would do just about anything to get his hands on one of these. According to him, these apples taste like candy - and they are the best apples he has ever had. By the way, he no longer eats apples from the grocery store. Instead, he lives the whole year waiting for September to come around so we can go get these apples.

However, this apple-picking trip taught me a simple and yet meaningful lesson:
Even the best things in life must be consumed in moderation
Although some research shows that eating an apple a day can reduce risk of Alzheimer' s, might help keep your skin from wrinkling, promotes hair growth, and may protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer development - we cannot live on apples alone.
John learned this lesson after eating three apples in one afternoon and feeling like his heart was running a marathon.
While nutritionists suggest that a person should consume an average of 40 grams of sugar a day - a person eating three large apples is consuming 69 grams of sugar on apples alone. That is the equivalent of eating 18 cubes of sugar!

Moral of the story: even the really good things (that we might want without limits) are not good or healthy if consumed in excess.
Although I find it easy to talk about eating apples in moderation - because I don't even like apples - I am finding that I still have to learn this lesson when it comes to many other areas in life. As far as I know, the only thing that should be consumed without any worry of moderation is the word of God. Everything else should have its limits.
P.S. I am thoroughly enjoying the apples' sweet perfume that continues to invade every inch and corner of the house!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Life Worth Living

Yesterday my husband, John, and I had a great talk about learning from our mistakes and applying the lessons learned to life in its present form.

He mentioned a quote that he heard at a talk at work:

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

I agreed with the quote's implications and thought that the idea presented here was a great example of what we were discussing.

However, while talking about this quote we got to a certain point in conversation that challenged me in a big way.

John asked:

Is an un-designed life worth examining?
Is a purposeless life worth designing?

I realized that while perhaps I should - I do not plan or design life thinking about its purpose. Many times I do what I enjoy and try to stay away from lessons/moments/situations that are uncomfortable. In search for the things that please my desires and wants I may altogether be missing the point of life.

It is so easy to forget the reason for which God gave me breath and brought me into this world. The truth is that I aught not to live to please myself, but instead to bring glory to the name of the Lord. If I am not planning life to fulfill that purpose, my life is indeed not worth being designed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Job Search

I only have ONE thing to say about this:

It is 4:48pm and I am still wearing my pajamas. I have been sitting in front of this computer for I don't know how many hours (it feels like my whole life).

That is all I am going to say about that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Need of the Fire...

"On Fire"

They tell you where you need to go
They tell you when you'll need to leave
They tell you what you need to know
They tell you who you need to be

But everything inside you knows
There's more than what you've heard
There's so much more than empty conversations
Filled with empty words

And you're on fire
When He's near you
You're on fire
When He speaks
You're on fire
Burning at these mysteries

Give me one more time around
Give me one more chance to see
Give me everything You are
Give me one more chance to be... (near You)

Cause everything inside me looks like
Everything I hate
You are the hope I have for change
You are the only chance I'll take

When I'm on fire
When You're near me
I'm on fire
When You speak
And I'm on fire
Burning at these mysteries
These mysteries...

I'm standing on the edge of me
I'm standing on the edge of everything I've never been before.
And i've been standing on the edge of me
Standing on the edge

And I'm on fire
When You're near me
I'm on fire
When You speak
(Yea) I'm on fire
Burning at these mysteries... these mysteries... these mysteries
Ah you're the mystery
You're the mystery

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Sister

God sure knew what he was doing when he gave me Deborah as a sister. Very few people on this earth knows me as well as she does. She understands my moods (sometimes not even I understand myself), she can hear my words behind every glance, grunt and facial expression. It is not rare for us to be thinking about the same thing at the exactly same time, or even randomly start singing the same part of the same song at the same time.

Maybe we were supposed to be twins.

This beloved sister of mine is turning 21 today and I am so proud of the person she is. I love her bluntness, her silliness, her desire to know God more and her love for family.

I have been blessed to share millions of memories with her and I pray that there are many more to come.

Happy Birthday to Deborah!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Encouraged by God

The word of God never ceases to surprise me. It is not rare for me to find myself in awe of how scripture speaks to my heart and soul during the times I need it the most.

This past week I felt somewhat down and uninspired. I doubted my abilities and felt inadequate in many different ways.

At that time, all I wanted was to be a child in God's arms. I wanted to sit on his lap and have Him tell me of the plans He has for me. I wanted to hear Him whisper his vision for my life.

During a sleepless night, I decided to spend some time in the word. I wasn't really sure what I was looking for, so I finished the last chapter of Romans (which I had been reading) and continued on to I Corinthians. It was here that I heard God tell me a little bit about who I am in his eyes.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things— and the things that are not— to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God— that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Through these verses God reminded me two important things. First, that I am not capable, adequate, intelligent or wise by my own abilities. Second, that God uses my inabilities and weaknesses for his glory. Created as a human, I am not good enough. It is through his grace that I become a mighty warrior.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pesto Sauce

I am a big fan of pesto sauce!

If I could choose between red sauce, white sauce or pesto - I would choose pesto for sure. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that I could just eat pesto by itself. Is that gross?

Oh well.

When my friend Camille gave me a bite of her pasta with REAL ITALIAN pesto a couple of months ago, I just wanted to keep eating and eating. But seriously. I cannot afford to buy pesto at a grocery store when a little jar costs $10.

So, I have been on a roll to create my own pesto sauce - with the help of my mother in law who makes wonderful meals!

About two months ago, I headed to Home Depot and bought myself a basil plant. I have taken care of that plant with special attention to make sure it would grow into a healthy 'pesto bush'! Well, today I got the chance to use its enormous leaves plus a couple of other ingredients to make a beautiful container of pesto!!!!
I am sooo excited to eat it with pasta and chicken tonight :)
Maybe I'll make a pesto sauce pizza for tomorrow...

**Lessons Learned**
-use a food processor, not a blender
-buy little containers to be able to freeze the pesto in small amounts
-don't make such a big mess in the kitchen!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Soul Birthday

On August 12th, 2001 - I gave my life to God and declared that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of my life!

I have never forgotten that day. That day marks a new beginning for me.

Trying to find words to tell the story of my spiritual life, I discovered a song that describes my relationship with Jesus to this day.

Before The Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!
Praise God for his love, mercy, grace and patience!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I think it is funny when people refer to Seattle as this miserable place that gets rained on every day of the year. Well, although the rain shows up quite frequently, Seattle is one of the most beautiful places in the summer time.

By the way, according to Wikipedia, Seattle receives less precipitation than New York City, Atlanta, Houston, and most cities of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Days like today makes me be thankful for all the rain Seattle gets, for it allows green trees to grow everywhere, gorgeous flowers show up in the Spring time, and the clean air is such a privilege! Oh, and when the temperature is not so crazy, one can enjoy being outside picking blackberries!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anniversary #1

For our first anniversary, John and I got to go to the gorgeous Mt. Rainier.
Since we have been going on hikes together since the beginning of our relationship, we were very excited for the chance to get our legs hiking in various locations at the Mt. Rainier National Park.

This place is so beautiful we could barely believe it. So, we ended up taking about 500 pictures! We really just couldn't get over the majestic mountain, the hills covered with wild flowers, the beautiful sunshine and the gorgeous views everywhere we went. Our vacation together was relaxing and enjoyable.

On July 19th, we sat down and watched our wedding ceremony video together. It is amazing to think that just a year ago we walked down the isle to each other. One thing is for sure, I couldn't imagine life together was going to be this good!
here we go...

"The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightening lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory." Psalm 97:1-6
Well, since I did not have a blog when I got married, I thought it would be fun to post a couple of pictures from our wedding day! John and I got married on July 19, 2008 at a beautiful church. We are very thankful for family and friends who helped make this day very special.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Boring Mail

I really don't like to have to go through the mail. The only reason I feel the desire to get the mail everyday is because in the back of my head I wonder if someone wrote me a card or a letter.

Sadly, instead of getting cards and letters I usually get a pile of useless advertisement, along with explanations of medical benefits and credit card applications....boring.

Today I spent quite a bit of time going through a pile of papers that have been ignored for a while. Although a majority of them are garbage (well, more like recycling) I still have to go through it all to make sure nothing in the pile is of any importance. One of my biggest fears is to throw something away that is really important. What if I threw away an important document, or a bill and forget to pay it. Would I go to jail? Can I blame the mailman? - See, these are the kinds of thoughts that flow in and out of my head when I am going through endless amounts of papers and feel like throwing it all in the recycling.

However, from time to time I get cute cards that make me excited to get the mail the following days again. This past week I got "Happy Anniversary" cards that made me sooo happy!

By the way, an anniversary post is on its way (soon).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Time to Love

There are certain events in life that bring out the best in us. Weddings are like that.

I got to go to a dear friend's wedding this past weekend and my heart almost exploded as I saw the look on her face as she said I DO to the man of her dreams and jumped up and down. What a moment filled with love, excitement, mystery and beauty.

This moment marks not the end of a romantic road, but the beginning of a life long commitment. Every day from here on represent the true colors of marriage.

This moment filled with love touched my heart in a way I was not expecting. It reminded me of the things in life that really matter and the ones that don't.

Exactly 11 months, 25 days ago I got to say I DO to a man I really love. We promised to love each other - on happy days and moody ones. We promised to remain committed and faithful to each other - when we feel like it and when we don't. We promised to uphold the integrity, honor and purity that God has entrusted us with - always.

It wasn't until months later that I realized I had said "I do" to a lot of promises I could not keep on my own. You see, I found out that as humans, we are constantly fighting our own selfishness in order to love another person. It doesn't come naturally, we have to work at it. Sometimes we have to put our knees to the ground and pray that God would teach us to love the way He loves.

John and I are learning to cherish each other and remain faithful to those promises as we learn to love each other's strengths while working on our imperfections. Looking back, I realize that I love my husband John in a way I didn't know I could love. And this love that continues to grow roots deep in my heart and soul is ever changing and ever growing, for the love I now have cannot be compared to the one I once had.

Miranda and Will's wedding served as a reminder that the hard work is worth it!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beach Gloriousness

Didn't I say that I was made to be at the beach?

Here is a proof of that:

The weather was not as hot as I had hoped for, but the time was sure great! I enjoyed every minute of the salty air, warm sand under my toes, sounds of crashing waves and the smell of bonfires :)

Oh, I got to go to the Tillamook Cheese factory for the first time and ate large amounts of cheese. But I could never have too much cheese - so this was super exciting.
P.S. Yes, I wore that sweatshirt every day because it was the only one I brought with me...I was trying to pack light!
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