Monday, December 15, 2008

Divorce

A few days ago I bought the book, The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. I read most of it last night and finished it. I couldn't put it down. I don't know how he came up with the images he wrote about in general. Not just this book, but his science fiction series. The man was extremely creative.
What struck me about the book, which I'm assuming would strike anyone since it's what the book is about, are the various things that keep us from desiring God and real joy. It's amazing thinking about the things that we struggle to hold on to. He was making the point that we have to divorce ourselves from the world and all worldly desires COMPLETELY. It reminds me of Jim Elliot's quote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." I'd recommend reading it. The book is very helpful.
It seems for a bit that Lewis believes in Purgatory but if you read further he seems to go away from that idea. In the preface to the book he says that he is in no way suggesting that what he writes describes what Heaven and Hell will truly be like. It's a man's dream.
Now usually I don't like to get too too personal on my blog. But I feel like the following might be a bit helpful to some people. (Not that most reading this haven't probably thought of this before.) C.S. Lewis brought up many things that we see as the ends in life instead of the means to what our true end should be. Things that may not be considered sinful things or sinful desires are sinful if they are the "end" to you. Our true end is Christ. "To live is Christ."
One of the things I desire most for my own future on earth is to be married and have a family. I have never been a huge career person. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I love Kindergarten, but I could still give it up tomorrow. Now this is not a bad desire in itself, but if I start viewing it as the end, the goal in life, it will be to my detriment. It will kill my affections for Christ. Marriage can be a wonderful means to our true end. Giving glory to God. Most Christians that I talk to that are married say it's one of the most sanctifying relationships on earth. I believe that a man and woman should only get married if they know that together they can help each other to love and serve God better than being apart. It just scared me to think that I could want anything else more than Christ. Something temporal, nonetheless. Anyway, just something I've been thinking about.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tagged, I'm It (Not another post about Kindergarteners)

The rules are:


-Link to the person who tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
-Share 7 random and or weird facts about yourself.
-Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
-Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

My friend Deidre tagged me, so here goes:

1. When I was five years old, my top front four permanent teeth grew in behind my baby teeth, so for a short while, I had two rows of four teeth! Apparently it's pretty rare.

2. I write left-handed but I do everything else with my right hand.

3. I took accordion lessons for a month or two in fourth grade with a rented accordion and I received an accordion trophy at the end of it. Sadly, I threw the trophy away. It would have made the PERFECT white elephant gift.

4. I hate bacon. Maybe hate is too strong of a word. I really do not care for bacon.

5. Emily was scheduled to be born on my birthday. This would have not been cool since we already get asked if we are twins.

6. I only have one first cousin and he has always lived only a mile away from me. So he's more like a brother.

7. My favorite songs are The Prodigal Son Suite by Keith Green and Dream On by Aerosmith...if you're going for one Christian and one secular.



I tag Hayley, Marietjie, Amber, Melissa, Nicole, Monica, and Cassia.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Back By Popular Demand

So I happen to be waaaaaayyyyyyyyy behind in blogging about the second annual Sister Day. But my sister did a good job herself, and it takes a very long time to upload pictures on here, for me at least. But I finally got around to it.
It was a fun day. It started out at Egg Plantation again where we ate a yummy breakfast and exchanged presents.
Here is Emily reading one of the cards I gave her. The second card was a story which you may read here.


And below is the most delicious breakfast EVER! The Strawberry cream cheese stuffed french toast. SCRUMPTIOUS.


During the day I sent Emily random emails of fun sister facts. But after work was when we had our real fun. We went eating and shopping in Pasadena! One of my favorite cities in Southern Cali.


We ate at two places, both recommended by friends. The first was Hurry Curry of Tokyo. For some reason, the guys sitting outside of the restaurant were making fun of me for taking the picture. I didn't care, but I also didn't appreciate it!


We had an appetizer of fried chicken with a really yummy dipping sauce and then some chicken cutlets with...what else...curry!



After dinner we did the shopping. There are two ways you can tell we did some serious shopping. #1 I didn't take time to take any pictures. #2 I found a cute, comfortable skirt and a headband at J.Crew that were, together, under 8 bucks! Yes. You heard me correctly.
We were going to go to The Melting Pot for dessert, but after the shopping we were a bit tired and wanted to get a quick dessert so we could go home and watch a movie. So we went to the second recommended place, 21 Choices. It was recommended to us because Emily said she doesn't like frozen yogurt and this place was true ice cream instead. Hmmm..... You can all see what the picture says below....



Actually, it turned out to be way good and even Emily truly enjoyed it! We also liked the atmosphere. The people who worked there were extremely friendly, I'm not just saying that. And the music was good, oh yes. It was. I lip synched to Emily while standing in line while she was holding our spot on a bench, pretend microphone and all.




And here we are enjoying our frozen yogurt, savoring the last few moments of another wonderful Sister Day. Thanks Emily! I love you!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

In the Clouds



When I was little, my thoughts of heaven were obviously pretty limited. Hold on, I'm going to capitalize it like Randy Alcorn because it is a very real place and proper names of places are capitalized in correct grammar. Like I was saying, my thoughts on Heaven were not very profound. I loved the song that went, "When I get to Heaven gonna walk with/talk with Jesus, when I get to Heaven gonna see His face..." Actually, I still love that song. I pretty much assumed that I will be able to fly in Heaven and that I would feel no pain. Those three things along with seeing my grandparents again were the main things I focused on. I remember hoping the rapture would happen as a little kid. One day in particular, I was being carpooled home from school and I remember that the sky looked particularly amazing. (Much like this morning, as I was driving to work.) There were all these clouds and the sun was streaming through and everything was golden. It's funny, a lot of my memories as a kid are golden. Anyway, I thought, "Jesus HAS to be coming back right now!" Obviously I was wrong.



This morning, the morning of the election, I woke up with the funniest feeling. It was unusual. On Sunday night, Jeremy, Emily, Michelle and I were talking about the importance of using our time wisely because we could be meeting Jesus in the clouds very soon. (This was spurred on by what John was talking about Sunday night.) I don't know what's going to happen in the election. I don't know what's going to happen as a RESULT of the election. But I do know, that we are closer to seeing Jesus now than we ever have been. It could happen in a week, it could happen tomorrow, it could happen TONIGHT. I never felt that reality like I did this morning when I woke up.
If Jesus came tonight, who cares if my unsaved friend from high school is offended if I send her an email about the gospel? Who cares what I wear to work? Who cares whether or not "that guy" is interested in me (there's not anyone specific I am referring to :0) just to satisfy anyone's curiosity out there). None of that stuff matters if Jesus is coming tonight. My unsaved friend or relative NEEDS to hear about our loving Savior and what awaits her if she rejects Him, what anyone thinks about my appearance or whether or not I get married some day isn't really relevant because those are transient things.
What DOES matter is whether or not I live my life for God's glory because He IS truly worthy of my worship and He IS real and He IS returning. SOON! If I don't start living right now with the thought that the rapture could happen at any moment, when am I ever going to live that way?

1 John 2:28
"And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming."

1 Thessalonians 4:17
"Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thoughts

I've been thinking about a few things recently. Okay, so I'm always thinking of some things, but these are a bit more profound. Thoughtful thinkings, most of which did not come from my own pondering but from someone else's or from circumstances I've found myself in recently.

One is that I have heard many messages on the coming judgment recently. The Day of the Lord. Back in the day when I was going through trying times of doubting my salvation, these sermons would have terrified me but now, although they still bring thoughts of terror, for those I know that don't know God, they have also brought much comfort and peace and joy as I look at what Jesus has done for me and in me. It has also made the fact that the day in which I will stand before God all the more real to me. It is coming. The day where I will be face to face with Him. This was driven home even more in another situation. My friend's mom has cancer, and she has been told that she will most likely die within six months. I don't know why, but for some reason, like never before, I was struck by the thought of what it would be like to know for sure that you were about to see God. I think it's a joyful and a bit scary thought at the same time. Emily and I were talking about how we don't come close to understanding God's holiness, and if we were to see Him now, we would understand to a far greater depth, our own sinfulness, as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. But we have the amazing comfort of knowing that because of Christ, we'll be seen as righteous! That is so amazing!

So that's one thing I've been thinking about. It leads to many other thoughts but I'll stop there on that one. A similar one is the following. Yesterday I went to a funeral. (That's three now within the last few months. I realized I've been to more funerals than weddings recently.) A few of you readers (oh wait, there are only a few of you anyway) may have known Jim Richardson. He was a part of Gracelife at Grace Community Church and he worked at The Master's College. His is the funeral that I went to yesterday. As everyone said that was there, Jim was a faithful, friendly, godly man. His wife said that God was faithful to give her just the right man necessary to help grow her in her love for God. It wasn't too long ago that I saw Jim's face, and to think that now he is gazing into his Savior's face is so mind-blowing to me!

Yeah, so all in all, these things together have made me think more and long more for heaven and being with God.

The other thing that I have been thinking about is something that Jeremy told me the other day. He was quoting what Rick Holland said on Sunday, that we need to start looking at people as souls with bodies rather than bodies with souls. Or something to that effect. Man! How often I am guilty of this, and how often I fall into thinking that our bodies or outside is what is most important. And it may be the case to a lot of people. Well, to most. Because God tells us that man looks at the outside but God looks at the heart. I spend so much time caring for the outside. When really, what is the significance? Our outside only reveals so much of the inside. Maybe on whether we're worshipping food or money or our own pride and self. But really, a love for the Lord, a love for others, and other spiritual qualities, down to the more mundane such as a sense of humor or fun loving spirit have nothing to do with what a person looks like. Anyway, I'm rambling now, but it's been good to think about.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"You look different..."

Today I woke up late and I very much dislike waking up late. Especially if I didn't take care of my hair the night before, which is, most mornings. Well, I decided to still take a shower and try to dry my hair, but by the time I was done eating breakfast, there was just no time. So, I did it, I went curly. This happened to be the first day I wore my hair curly to school. I received varied responses from the Kindergarteners.

Lily: "I like your hair today, Miss Taylor."
Kathleen: "Me too!"

Nathan: "Miss Taylor, why do you look different?"

Julie: "What happened to your hair, Miss Taylor? It looks all wiggly-wiggly!"

Natalie: "Your hair looks like Sara's! Why is it curly?" (After I asked her if she liked it...with a shy smile) "It looks funny."

And my personal favorite.

Jonathan: "It looks like octopus feet!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kute Kindergarteners

(Yes, I know that's not how you spell cute, but in Kindergarten it doesn't exactly matter yet. :0)

Well, I was the last person who ever thought I would love Kindergarten, but I do. What started out as a trial to me is now a great blessing in my life. I love each of them and I am learning so much as I try, by God's grace, to teach them about Him and about loving each other and about math and reading. So I'm going to write a little bit about each one. I may or may not finish in one post. So, if you don't want to hear about Kindergarteners, than you don't have to continue reading. I'm gong to go by number instead of name, to protect the young and innocent. :0)

#1 is my little playground friend. He stands and talks to me during recess and tells me the funniest things. Almost every day I say, "So what are you going to tell me about today, #1?" Yesterday he told me about the seasons; spring, snowy, and fall. He says that the one weather we don't have is Christmas because it never snows. He loves to talk and he is smart.

#2 gives me hugs and kisses me on the stomach since that's as high as she can reach and she calls me "My Miss Taylor." She gave me my first and only drawing that I have gotten from a Kindergartener. All the boys have crushes on her.

#3 has a crush on all the boys. She's a bit of a drama queen but she is sweet.

#4 is a handful and he has the biggest eyes. If he's in trouble he looks up at me and I have a hard time being upset. He's the oldest and one of the smallest and he likes to tell me things. All the time.

#5 is a cutie. One of the first weeks of school he told me that I had beautiful shoes on. He's a smartie too. He and #3 get along really well.

#6 cracks me up. She doesn't even mean to be funny but she is. She calls me Miss Taywor and she likes to do whatever she wants to. So she is often in trouble too. She's a tomboy but wears a dress almost every day.

#7 is a sweetheart. She is the crier. I'm pretty sure she thinks that boys have cooties. She cried once because #4 kept saying hi to her.

#9 (yes, I know, I skipped #8 because he left) was very shy at first but she finally opened up. Now she doesn't stop singing or swinging my arms or pretending to be my shadow at recess.

#10 tells everyone what to do. But she is so cute and she wants to do the right thing. She's overly ambitious but a scaredy cat at the same time. I was seriously just as excited as she was when she finally made it down the firepole in the playground by herself.

#11 is actually the definition of sweet and shy. She loves to give hugs and I don't think she's hardly ever mean to anyone.

#12 is tiny and way more outgoing than you would think by looking at her. She got the first good citizenship award and she'll bring me and Miss Nelson random presents. She brings them randomly and they, in themselves, are random. She has the tiniest, cutest voice.

#13 just melts my heart. I REALLY have a hard time disciplining him. He has a slight speech impediment and stutters when he's in trouble and he's missing a lot of teeth. All these things make him all the more adorable. He likes to try and share his snacks with me. He often pretends to be a monster on the playground and kinda hiss/growls at people. So cute! Just believe me.

#14 says everything in the form of a yell. He couldn't whisper if he tried. He talks no matter how many times he has to change his star. But he's cute.

#15 can have a temper. But he is hilarious. He's a cuddle bug and he says the funniest stuff. He told me himself that he's a handful. He also told me this morning that his mom's eyeballs are bigger. He likes to say "See you later, alligator." I will soon devote a post to quotes I have from him.

#16 reminds me exactly of the Peanuts character, Peppermint Patty. So much so, that I call her Peanut. She pulls the crusts off her sandwich every day. She likes to whine but she's so cute it makes even her whining sounds cute. She trips and falls all the time. I think she's going to have permanent scars on her knees.

#17 is kind of in his own world. It took him forever to stop calling me "Teacher." And then it took another forever for him to call me "Miss Taylor" instead of "Miss Nelson." But he's adorable and gives me a lot of hugs too.

#18 looks like the kind that would be quiet and obedient, and he is at least half of the time, but he surprises me often. He always hugs me around the legs because he's so tiny. I haven't quite figured him out yet.

#19 is adorable too. His mannerisms are very mature. But he's also very energetic and goofy. At recess he likes to hold the walkie talkie for me and pretend that he's on patrol. He helps me look out for bad guys. He takes it very seriously. I told him that he could tell others not to run in the little playground. One day he put his arm around #16 and told her in a low voice, "Do you remember, you're not supposed to run in here? Only outside."

#20 and I haven't exactly hit it off yet. He's a bit in his own world too. But he's sweet and I can always count on him to walk to the bathroom and back without messing around.

#21 does his own thing too. He gets in trouble a lot. But he is super smart. He loves to learn and loves to tell me the things he's learning. I was playing "rock, paper, scissors" with him after school and he pointed out that there was a pattern in who was winning and losing. There's a special little place in my heart for him.

#22 makes me laugh too. She is one of the tallest girls in the class and she and #2 have wars I think about who loves me more. When #2 gave me the picture she drew, #22 came and gave me a hug and then told #2, "Well I just gave her a hug!" She always has fun hair things in her hair. When she and another friend fight she acts like Anne of Green Gables and sticks her nose in the air. But most of the time she is very sweet and funny.

Well, that's the last one. Kindergarten is so fun.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Savior

It sometimes shocks me when I think deeply, long and hard, about how unthankful I am most of the time for salvation. It is an ASTOUNDING thing that God would send His Son to suffer and die for MY sin. Then I am counted as righteous, and I didn't DO anything. John MacArthur preached a sermon on Jesus' true suffering on the cross on Sunday. I told Emily that it goes on my list of Top Ten sermons by him. It just hit me in a way that hasn't before. He was telling us how Jesus suffered both the presence and abandonment of God, on the cross. The presence and abandonment that we would have experienced in hell. God's wrathful presence was made clear in the three hour darkness that started at high noon that day. Then, he was saying that when the darkness ended, Jesus might have expected to experience the immediate comfort of God, but instead He shouted out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" That's what I deserved to experience, and yet I don't have to. I hardly ever sit and think of what hell would be like. I used to, but I haven't in a long time. To think that Jesus is my SAVIOR. I was thinking yesterday of times I have thought I was close to death or at least serious injury and then someone either helped me swim to the surface of the pool or caught me before I fell, and I, out of utter thankfulness said, "You SAVED me!" A feeling of utter relief! We know that relief and peace because Jesus paid the price. He truly is a WONDERFUL Savior!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

We Will Be Like Him!

1 John 3:1-3
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I think that these are my new favorite passages in the Bible. To know that God loves us in a way that He would make us His children! And in John 17, Jesus says that the Father loves us the same way He loves Christ, if we know Him! And that one day we will be like Him!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Life, Trials, and Jesus!

So, I just realized that it's pretty much been about three months since I gave an actual update on life. Feels like it's high time.
For those of you who don't know, I am no longer working in the school office at Grace. I'm now the assistant teacher in Kindergarten. I have to say that Kindergarten was definitely not my first choice. In truth, it was my last. Don't get me wrong, I like 5-year-olds and all, but a whole group of them who don't know how to tie their shoes.... Anyway, as I've told many people, the first two weeks were a big trial for me, in my perspective. The thought of being stuck in a little room with all 21 of them, for the WHOLE school year, well it basically freaked me out. A whole year with the same class is a long time when you look at it this way, both of my student teaching experiences were for 1/4 of the year, and then last year I was a teacher aid for 1/2 of the year. Anyway, yeah, Kindergarten. Really doesn't sound like a trial at all when I read it on paper...or blog, but I viewed it that way, and thankfully, God has really used it to teach the things that trials are supposed to teach us.
For one, it's reminded me that I am ALWAYS dependent on Him. This made me realize it more, but I am no more dependent on Him in this situation than I am in any other. I know it sounds silly, but it also made me focus a lot more on heaven. I think there is just something scary when you're starting out a job that you're not sure you love. It's different than just getting a part time job for the summer. For me, as a girl, I don't know when, let alone if I will get married someday. I can't just bank on it, or put my hope in it. So whatever I do, I might be doing for awhile. It just made me remember that I will not be doing anything on this earth for very long compared to eternity, and whatever I AM doing now, I better be doing wholeheartedly for my King! Which made me remember that God has PLACED me here. I didn't just choose it. I know that's a common thing to say, so sometimes we don't really think about what it really means. But God wants me here right now, not just for me, although that's what's helping work all things for my good and His glory right now, but also for the little Kindergarteners. And not just for them, but also to help out Kathi Nelson. That's another thing that's cool because she used to be my fourth grade teacher and now I'm actually getting to know her as a friend. :0)
Something else God is teaching me is about my sin. There are a few Kindergartners who are a bit defiant and will say no to my face. One day it was getting to me and on my break I was reading in Isaiah about the Israelites who were continually provoking God to His face. I realized that whenever I sin, I am just like those little Kindergarteners, I am saying no to His face. And the fact that He would die for me amazes me all over again!
So, I can truthfully say, that this trial made me truly joyful! :0) He has drawn me closer to Him in this than I EVER could have imagined. We are so ridiculously blessed to be allowed to serve Him and know Him! Our great Savior and King! We get to be WITH HIM someday soon!!!
Okay, the other news is that I am officially on High school staff. Sorry Christen, if you are reading this and I haven't told you on the phone yet. That was the news. I absolutely am loving it! I didn't realize that ministry could be this fun! I highly recommend it. One of the biggest surprises to me is the great conversations I've had with many of the girls already. I guess it shouldn't necessarily surprise me, but it did. The staff is great too and I get to go to my first staff meeting tomorrow.
Well, that's life lately. Hopefully I can speak to the readers I may have, and haven't spoken to recently, soon. 'Til then, press on and keep your eyes on Jesus!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Camera!

So, I love photography. I still have yet to take a class in it. I tried to get into a class all through high school. I finally got into it my senior year, but my family went on vacation at the beginning of school and the teacher said I missed all the important information. So I had to be the T.A. in the class instead.
I found that the internet can actually teach you many things. I bought a new Canon Powershot IS S5 and have been practicing with it.
So here have been some of my attempts. My parents 25th wedding anniversary is coming up on the 27th, so my mom asked if I could take some pictures of them. Then I just had some fun snapping a few of Emily today.




















Wednesday, July 30, 2008

That's Life...(that's what all the people say)

I figured it's high time to bump down that picture of the virus attacker. Thankfully, my cold is just about over. In fact, I think this morning was the first one where I didn't wake up with...well...you know. That reminds me of Runaway Bride, the morning show, "Wake up with Flem". Haha. Okay...anyways...

So, because I have nothing to write about and yet I still need to post something, I am going to answer a random question: "What traditions do you carry on during your day, consciously or otherwise?"

Hmmm...more than I thought when I thought about it. It's funny that most of my traditions center somewhat around mealtimes.

In the morning, I always wake up around 5:45 and 6:00. I stumble to the bathroom to take my shower. My mom ALWAYS says "Good morning!" in the brightest, cheeriest voice that makes me want to...well...scream. But I usually grumble back, good morning, and turn on the hot water. It's funny the things a shower can do for your mood. After that I always go and make coffe. Three cups, one spoonful for each cup. While that's gurgling up I eat my cereal. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Best. Cereal. Ever. Lately I've been eating it on the couch, cuz it's cozier. And my dad has recently taken to eating his breakfast at the same time at the table with his laptop and there is just not enough room for what I would like. Plus it's colder at the table near the open window. After the coffee is poured, I dry and straighten my hair. Then I go and pick out something to wear. I ALWAYS tell myself that for now on I will pick out my outfit the night before. But this never happens. And this is 99.9% reason why I never make it out the door at the time I would like. Usually, if I've forgotten to make my lunch after the cereal, I frantically make it now. Then I frantically do my make-up, than I frantically run out the door, sometimes having to put on mascara or something in the car. In this I am well-skilled.

If I don't listen and sing to my music on the way to work, I am in grave danger of falling asleep at the wheel. There have been some close calls lately. I don't have an i-pod thingy in my car, but I'm glad...anyone can just listen to a shuffle mix of their songs. I am a big fan of making mixes myself. I like to have certain themes...road trip...mellow...fun and peppy. I pull in, drop off my lunch at the fridge, enter my office, and turn on my computer. Here is where the morning tradition ends. Who knows what I will find at work???

I ALWAYS have lunch at 12:30 on Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. Well, pretty much always. On Wed. I eat at 1:00. This is because I eat with Emily and on Wednesday's she likes to eat later because she comes in later and it breaks up her day more. Em and I ALWAYS eat on this one particular bench. We get made fun of for always eating on this bench.

I leave work at 4:30. Again, I am in danger of falling asleep on the way home if I'm not singing. I have recently been trying to pray though while I drive. It works out being a really good time to pray and think.

There's not many nightly traditions I carry on. I like having SOME part of my day unpredictable. I do generally hang out with Megan and Amber at least once if not more during the week. Amber and I just started a hip hop class at the gym. THAT'S interesting considering I am TERRIBLE AT DANCING. Amber just happens to be the best in the class.

Before bed I ALWAYS brush my teeth and wash my face. That's one of my least favorite parts of the day. :0( However, I LOVE the part where I turn off my light and hit the pillow. :0)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Attack!


Original uploader was TimVickers at en.wikipedia

The past month was a very busy month. Clint and Kim Archer came out for Resolved and Junior High camp, and with them came six other South Africans. Lyle and Liz Wetherston, Kerry Drew, Vicky Ramsden, and Warren and Jen Upton. We had the privilege of having the Uptons stay with us. It was such a blessed time and I am so thankful that God allowed them to come out here. It was just very sad to see them leave yesterday! We were able to do a lot of fun things with them. The Resolved Conference, Disneyland, the 4th of July, and more. There was many a late night. So, the day after they left (thankfully), it all caught up with me and I now have the flu/cold. (Along with a disturbing case of pink eye...okay, it's not THAT disturbing. Most people didn't even notice it and it's almost gone.)

Laying here with my muscle aches, I was suddenly very curious about what causes muscle aches when you have the flu. So I went ahead and looked it up on good 'ol trusty Wikipedia. (Looking up various topics on how our bodies work just happens to be one of my favorite things to do...call me a nerd if you must...or...don't call me a nerd!) Anyway, it's fascinating. It all has to do with the immune system. When we get a virus, our immune system kicks in and produces antibodies that fight it off. The antibodies travel to our muscles by way of our blood, and they can cause the muscles to contract. The constant contraction makes our muscles sore, apparently.

There are a host of things that fight disease that I didn't even consider before. Tears, coughing, sneezing, saliva, and gastric acid are just a few among the many. I could go on and on. (By the way, the picture above is a "single neutrophil (yellow) engulphing anthrax bacteria (orange).")

The one thing that prompted me to write this post was the annoying presence of evolutionary terms on the wikipedia page. It makes it hard to distinguish betweeen what's true and what's not. (Well, I guess that's a problem with Wikipedia in general. :0) I am not suffering from the same delusion as Michael Scott.) One thing that always strikes me as I study anything about the human body is the fact that people can actually still believe in evolution after they themselves have studied this topic. All the functions that take place within the human body point to a Creator! None of those things could have just happened by accident! It's just one more thing that points to what an Awesome God we have!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Changes

***I wrote part of this post the other day, but I don't want to change it, so I'll leave the beginning as is. Part of it is from right now though.***

6/30/08
Well, I just got back from my lunch break at my new job, Grace School Receptionist/Secretary. Yes, that is the official title. To tell you the truth, I don't even exactly know the difference between a receptionist and a secretary, but I am both apparently. Anyway, before I left for lunch I had a general idea of what this post would be about, now, due to unforseen circumstances it will be changed a bit, oh...there's the title of the post again...but I'll get to that later.
I've been struck recently by all the changes that are happening in my life. There are big things and then there are all these small things too that didn't immediately come to my mind, but nonetheless, they are changes.
One big change is obviously my job. I was working the last five months as a teacher aid in a second grade classroom, now I am at a different school working as what I stated above. I've always somewhat enjoyed when the unexpected happens, at least for the most part, and I definitely didn't expect to become a recep./sec. (My own little made up abbreviation there.) I thought I might have my own classroom this year, but, so far, God had a different plan for me.
***Actually, it's kind of funny. When I was little Emily and I sometimes pretended that we were secretaries in a doctor's office. She hated the game after five minutes, but I loved pretending to schedule patients for doctor's visits. I was telling some people last night that I was making some appointments for people the other day at work, and it was like a dream come true. :0) ***
Anyway, another big change is that I left Crossroads. My old roomie (another change that I will get to in a minute) and I are checking out different fellowship groups at church. People keep asking me why I am leaving...to tell you the truth I could have stayed in Crossroads, there's no exact reason necessarily, it just seemed like time to move on since I've been there for six years. I guess a part of the reason is another change, my Bible study leader and his wife, Eric and Leslie Davis moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to plant a church, (eventually) and they took a group of people with them from the Bible study. My old roommate, Melissa, is one of them. Which leads to another recent change. I moved back to my parents house.
Melissa went to Jackson and at the time we found out that she would move, Megan wasn't sure if she might move back to Minnesota (thankfully she didn't). Jen heard about the possiblity of both of them moving and she decided to move in with some girls from her Bible study. I decided to move back home and save some money.
All of these changes have happened within the last week, although I was anticipating a couple of them for awhile now. For the last three weeks we have had some South Africans staying with us. Clint and Kim Archer came as well, primarily because Clint was asked to teach at the Junior High Summer camp this year. They were able to come early enough to go to the Resolved Conference and a group of people from their church in Hillcrest decided to come too. We met Jen, Warren, Vicky, Liz and Lyle when we went on our trip to South Africa last year. Jen and Warren are staying with us. Because of all the busyness of the last couple of weeks, all these changes haven't really hit me yet. And it's weird. I haven't really had time to contemplate anything that is going on. While I often enjoy the unexpected, change normally freaks me out a bit at the beginning. But not yet...so I'm waiting...

7/2/08
After lunch I was thinking about a completely different change that one day we as believers will experience. While Emily and I were eating, a man named John, who used to be one of the ushers at Grace, approached us on his wheelchair and proceeded to proclaim the excellencies of God to us for about twenty minutes. The thing he kept coming back to the most was that we will be changed when we see God. "We will sin no more" as he put it. I was greatly encouraged and convicted by this man as I was sitting there listening to him. I have never seen John without hearing about how wonderful God is. Not a single time. I remember every Sunday morning, waiting to walk around the corner of the church and hear him say something along the lines of "Praise the Lord, our King!" He was telling us on Monday how he is at the church almost every day with the purpose of reminding seminary students and anyone else he sees about how we need to keep our focus on things above and not on the earth because it is so easy to be distracted by things of this world. He was saying how we have a mission to tell others about Him until He returns, and I think that it is so cool that he doesn't stay at home, which he could easily do, and probably no one would think the less of him. But instead he is out being faithful to encourage other believers, reminding them of the gospel and what we have to look forward to! I want to be like that someday, only it has to start today. My prayer is that God will help me to understand how glorious He is and that He would make me faithful to proclaim His excellencies as well.
We have a huge change coming and it's not that far away!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Kristin Fish

So the main reason why Emily and I traveled to the East Coast was for Kristin's wedding! We were both bridesmaids along with Megan, her sister, as maid of honor. This was special in itself because the four of us have been close since the beginning of High School. I knew of Kristin since Jr. High from church, but we became friends when we were in the same P.E. class at Valencia. I was very thankful for how God brought her along at that time.
I wasn't too fond of High School at the beginning. I was used to a small Christian school with about 15 students in my 8th grade class. It was very different be in a class of around 700. I also wasn't used to the language or the conversation topics. In fact, after having enough of it after about a week, I broke down in tears in the second class of the day. Art with Mr. Bibicoff. An older girl in the class who was pretty outgoing took me outside and talked to me. I don't even remember what she said, but it was a little comforting. However, a few days later I still didn't want to be there and I told Mr. Bibicoff that I didn't feel well. I don't think he liked any sort of conflict and so he immediately said that I could go to the office. I called my dad and asked him to pick me up. Then I tried reasoning with my parents about other options for schooling. Thankfully I made it through the first month okay. I could not understand at the time why my friends that I had from Grace seemed to love public high school, and I quickly wound up not spending too much time with them. I made a couple of friends in P.E. and it was going okay, but none of them were very close. Then Kristin showed up. I never would have thought when I saw her for the first time in Jr. High that she would become a best friend. We soon introduced our sisters to each other since they were the same age, and as I like to say, "forced them to become friends."
From there it took off to slumber parties, "fashion photo shoots", CoolTay Productions, late night t.p. raids, .007 tournaments... the four of us loved to hang out together.
When I first went to Master's, Kristin was going to C.O.C. but I still went over to her house every Thursday night for dinner and we would often meet for coffee at Starbucks. When Megan finished High School the Cooley family moved to Massachusetts so that Mr. Cooley could be an Associate Pastor at a church there with his friend that he met in seminary. It was not easy saying good-bye. It was one of those summers where I felt like I didn't have many friends around, which made it worse.
I won't go into too much of our friendship while she was gone those two years, but I will say that God demonstrated His faithfulness in many ways. He also answered a lot of prayer, which helped me learn that there is never anything too great that I can ask of Him. All of this made this wedding all the more meaningful to me. :0)
Em and I were super blessed to have the Cooley's for two more years when they came back to go to Master's. Something Kristin promised she would never do! Haha. (Just why she couldn't have gone when I went I'm still trying to figure out.) :0)
But, Kristin had already met Jerry in Massachusetts. They worked at Starbucks together and he wasn't saved when they met. God used Kristin to tell him about the gopel, or actually I think he had heard the gospel from his family but she talked to him about it more. I guess he seemed interested at first but didn't give his life to the Lord right away. Eventually he did and he actually moved out here right before (I think it was before) Kristin did. He actually had planned to go to UCLA which he did for awhile. So I am also so thankful that we got to know him when he was here.
The wedding was really perfect. It was fun and easy just having the three of us, I think. Kristin got to have her "autumn style" wedding. We decorated the aisle with leaves and pretty autumn flowers and we wore bronze colored dresses. Kristin's dress was beautiful, it was a mix of ivory and white and had a unique style. There were tears and laughter...and I feel like this is gradually becoming a very corny sounding post, but it's all true. Megan gave a perfect, tear-inducing toast at the reception.
It was a little weird seeing my last close friend from high school get married. As she and Jerry were driving away I had this sense of finality in a way. Like even though my childhood ended already, this felt like the REAL ending.
It's sad to be separated from Kristin and Megan again, but thankfully, as believers, we know it's only for a time!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

New York City!

I think it has been quite a while since I have updated the ol' blog and the thought made me realize just how crazy life has been. I say crazy, but I mean a completely different kind of crazy than when I was in school. It's been very nice not having the craziness of homework or lesson planning this year, still, as strange as it may sound, I actually miss homework and tests and learning. But that's getting off topic. Life has just been busy as of late. But good busy.

The most recent event that happened was Kristin's wedding in Massachusett's. Em and I were both bridesmaids and so we flew out there on the 19th. We have always wanted to go and visit New York City and we thought that after Kristin's wedding would be the perfect time to do so. But then we thought Megan should come with us, and then of course Kristin had to come also as sort of a "last hurrah." So Em and I actually flew into New York on Tuesday and spent the whole day there then we met up with the Cooley's on Wednesday and then made our way to their house in Mass. that night.

New York was a blast, although in the first few hours I wasn't so sure it would be. I think we enjoyed taking the shuttle from JFK to our hotel near Central Park. It was so exciting to see the tall buildings and the adorable brownstones that we were so used to seeing in movies. The driver was very nice and took us right to the front of our hotel and helped us with our bags.



***As a side note.*** I had always heard that people in New York in general could be fairly rude and mean, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the exact opposite. Most of the people we met were very kind and helpful. We figured that about five different times when we were a bit lost and confused and verbally discussing it, a person would overhear and offer their help and would even walk a bit of the way with us. I loved hearing the New York accents too! Anyway, more on that later.

After we dropped off our bags we decided to hit up one of the many nearby Starbucks, formulate some sort of plan for the day, and then head over to Central Park, by foot. This little plan worked fine to begin with. We got to Central Park okay and we were overwhelmed by how beatiful it is. There's just a unique feeling of being surrounded by lush, green trees, and then seeing a bunch of skyscrapers rise up behind them.





We took a look at our map and decided to cut through the park and meet up with 70th street so that we could go see Cornell Medical Center, where my mom worked when she lived in New York. It didn't take long for us to realize that Central Park is much larger than we thought and the roads on the map were evidently only the LARGE roads in Central Park. We were lost, and it started to rain. After some wandering we came upon "the Pond". It was amazing! This huge pond with a fountain and little boats...and wow, that's not even the largest body of water in Central Park. I took out my camera to take a picture and to my utter dissapointment, found out that the battery had died. Unfortunately, I had left the rest of the batteries in my bag which was in the hotel. By this time we were getting pretty wet, we realized we had only about an hour to get over to 46th street to buy tickets for Phantom, and there was going to be no way that we could get to the hospital. We called our mom and regretfully told her that we wouldn't be able to see it. She graciously said that it would be okay and we started to make our way down 5th Avenue to the ticket line.

Now our plan was to hail a taxi and ride most of the way there, but let me tell ya, its not as easy as it looks, or as my mom said it would be. Most of the taxi's had people in them already and the ones that were empty seemed to not want to stop for us! So we walked along. On the way, a overly friendly local started walking with us and wouldn't leave us alone. Em is very good at giving the cold shoulder at times like these and so eventually he went away, but it did not in any help the mood we were beginning to fall into. We walked all the way from 70th Street to 46th Street and my pants were soaked up to my knees and my non walking shoes and stocking-type socks were filled with water. I just kept telling myself that it would eventually be over. We finally got there and I preceded to roll my pants up to my knees, wring out my socks, pour the water out of my shoes and put them back on without the socks. With my big coat I most likely looked very moronic. But I didn't care, it was much more comfortable. The enourmous line moved surprisingly quick....I would almost dare to say "lightning speed" and we made it up to the large mass of pushing, scrambling New Yorkers in front of the ticket booth. I could tell everyone was pushing so I thought I would just deal with it. But I heard a very funny conversation (in my mind) to my left between two angry women. Woman 1: "Stop PUSHING!" Woman 2: "I'm NOT pushing!" 1: "Yes! You are!" 2: "No! I'm NOT! I'm being PUSHED!" 1: Then push back THATAWAY!" Oh boy was it entertaining! We got our tickets and we headed back to our hotel for check-in time. Wonderful, beautiful check-in time! We got up to our room and pretty much collapsed on our bed...after we changed out of our soaked clothes of course.

The room was incredibly tiny, but cute and cozy. After we put our suitcases on the floor, their was pretty much no floor space left. I'm not exaggerating. We had to climb over the bed to get to the other side of the room. But I thought that was fun. After we watched a little bit of T.V., we got dressed up to go out.





It might sound crazy in the cold rain, but we wore dresses and I wore flip flops. My feet got wet but at least they dried quickly, and it really wasn't terribly cold.



We stopped at a pizza place on the way, since we had to try real New York pizza. :0) And we were already feeling much better with some rest and some food in our tummies.





We had pretty good seats for "The Phantom of the Opera" and we very much enjoyed it. We had planned to go to Times Square after the play even though it would be a little late. We were going to change our minds after our interesting afternoon, but when we got out, the sky was clear and the rain had dried up. We were in such good moods that we knew we could handle seeing Times Square. We were really glad we went! Again, we were overwhelmed. The tall buildings, the lights, the people! It was crazy, but fun. We went into this giant M&M store. Two stories full of M&M merchandise you would never even dream of. Crazy.



We bought I Heart New York shirts. We wore them to bed and the next morning Em pointed out that there was a giant hole in the armpit of my shirt! I thought, oh well, mom can sew that up, but when I took it off, my thumbs went right through the material! Oh well, I guess that's what you would expect for $2.50. :0)

The next morning was wonderful! The sky was blue and clear! The lady at the desk had told us that it would be easy to hail a taxi in the morning to Penn Station. We definitely wanted one this time because we had our luggage. I was a bit skeptical and sure enough, we began to run into the same problem. We had to meet up with the Cooley's by a certain time, so we started walking. Ever so often I would step a ways into the street and try to get one, but they were all ignoring me! However, after five blocks with our luggage, I was done and I tried again. I stepped into the street, stuck my hand in the air, and what do you know…a taxi put on its turn signal and started coming towards me! I told him Penn station and he agreed to take us! I know it sounds silly, but this was one of my highlights of New York. It just felt so New Yorkish, so movie-like…I don't care if you agree or not Hayley, it was without a doubt, pakish.



This is turning into a novel, so I'll sum up the rest. We met up with the Cooley's, then we took the subway to Ground Zero. We couldn't really see much because they are already working on the new building, the Freedom Tower. It looks like it will be pretty cool. Then we headed over to Battery Park area to see the Statue of Liberty from afar. Much smaller than I anticipated. Then we walked over to Wall Street. We snapped a picture of the two business girls in front of the New York Stock Exchange. :0) We also saw the Trump Building and Tiffany's down there. Wow, those diamonds sparkle like crazy! Then we took the Subway back up to Rockefeller Center. Em and I paid the 20 bucks to go see the view from the "Top of the Rock." I really think it was worth it. The view was amazing. I liked being able to see the whole of Central Park, realizing that we only made it about maybe, maybe half of the way up. We were able to see the Empire State building. It was just cool to really be able to see that Manhattan is an island. You really can see the whole thing up there.





After Rockefeller we walked over to Times Square again. Still very cool in the daytime. Then we walked down Fifth Avenue, headed over to Bloomingdale's, really a mall in my estimation. Then we eventually made it to our final destination, Serendipity. The place is very cute and the food was very good, just way overpriced. But it was fun seeing the place where the movie was filmed.





Four tired girls then made their way back to Penn station and waited for the train to Hartford, Connecticut. Oh, that was an interesting thing as well. They don't tell you what, I guess you would call it station or terminal, your train is arriving at until 10 minutes before it is supposed to leave. After watching the New Yorkers run like mad to the right station, we were a bit worried about making it in time. Thankfully, we wound up being relatively close to ours and we made it. God was just very good to us in general on the trip. No surprise of course. God is always good. He was so good in letting us spend a wonderful time with our dear friends in a fun city! :0)

Next blog feature: The Fish Wedding!

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