Monday, December 29, 2008

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Read that a couple times. Soak it in. Isn't that wonderful? Read it again. And again!

I've been struggling with a feeling of spiritual inadequacy lately. Feeling I don't have the right answers, I don't have the persuasiveness, the eloquence or enough knowledge to "proclaim the testimony about God." Talk about "weakness" and "fear" and "with much trembling!"
Last week I had a long conversation with a homeless woman while waiting for my train home from work. In her pain and anger she lashed out, "who is God and why does he let me live like this? Where's his love? Isn't he a god of love? Prove it! Prove it to me!" I was upset with myself that I didn't have some astounding theological answer to that....didn't even have a coherent answer to that...but instead, all I could do was sit there with her and hold her hand as she cried.
I've read 1 Corinthians 2 before. But yesterday, reading through it again under my covers, late at night, I was shocked and amazed to read that Paul struggled with the very same thing! The *very* same thing.
And it's okay - because God's power and awesomeness and holiness and majesty are made manifest in our weakness. He doesn't want us to be perfect, He wants us to be willing. He doesn't need perfect, He simply wants US, in all our weakness and fear and trembling and inadequacy.
Wow. Isn't that wonderful?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The special secrets of friendship

I think it's wonderful to have special camaraderie with various people. A special memory you share. A special funny remembrance. A pain you shared together. Something that is important to the two of you, but makes no sense, or simply doesn't matter, to anyone else.
I've started writing little "poems" of these special things. And what I find so neat about them, is that the specific person will know exactly what those seemingly random words refer to!

Five examples for five of my friends (although there are so many more "poems" I could write!):

Dreadlocks. Paella.
Guanche. Black Rocks.

Chaos and order.
Neat disarray.

Gypsies and Chickens.
A sunsety dance.


Strumming in blue.

Cosine, tangent.
Dangerous paper-planes.

Dentures, bifocals.
Kidnappers and syrup.


"Ancient" photos. Friendship revived.
Mrs. Clause invades Starbucks.

Dancing. Flips and twirls.
New Years. Sparkle!

New Zealand. Alaska.
Terschelling then Spain.


Java and Candice.
Mischief in Spanish.

"Purple's majestic"
But blonde is the best.

Community to University.
Just 5 days apart


Cowboys and Indians.
Donkey pen games.

Mud fights. Fist fights.
Africa/China/India/Medieval/Gold Rush!

Gawain. Gwendolena. Fiona and Robin.
Dragons and maypoles. 300 miles.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Broomball and Dalmatians

I've discovered that I really love writing bullet style. So while I may interject with some exciting news that must be written paragraphically - I shall entertain you with my recent history via bullets...'cuz bullets are the new thing.

Yesterday was Freemont's Highschool Youth Group's annual broomball game....on ice. Highlights included:

  • Getting to experience what a Patti-Mobile really is (i.e. 50mph turns on a 25mph sharp turn, shouting directions from the backseat, listening to jazz/rap/Christmas/talk-radio/cellphones/freshmen's chatter/etc...)
  • Arriving at the ghetto ice-rink and FREEZING TO DEATH listening to the rules of the game
  • Discovering how fun it is to be *super* competitive, while swinging hockey sticks and running after a 6" rubber ball, in sneakers, on ice.
  • Flying over Chad after he decides to wipeout inches in front of me. Athletes have been decorated for less-than-epic feats.
  • Getting beaned by hockey sticks in the head and shin (yes, I've got a beautiful sore bruise now) - but I beaned the ball a whole lot harder!!
  • Playing against Sara. Sisterly competition is a blast...and slamming into each other at high speeds with no possible way to slow down is actually kinda fun. (I probably sound like some football addict at this point...)
  • Free hot chocolate and doughnuts afterwards at the church

One of the not-so-fun parts was discovering that running full speed and breathing less-than-32-degree air is NOT good for my lungs....and hence had a full blown asthma attack right in the middle of the game. Competition won, however, and after a couple puffs on my InstaLife (i.e. inhaler) I decided to get right back into the intensity of the game. Well, while my team did win at first, and while the girls did tie, and while we ::nearly:: did win the last game - I suffered one of the worst asthma attacks I've had in years. And it wouldn't.go.away. Instead, my heart began to enjoy the competition and raced at a worrisome 26 beats per 10 seconds.

Sooo, we headed home, sat in front of the blazing, glowing, delicious fire and Sara, Ryan, Mark, Marcel and Chad swapped stories while I concentrated on just breathing. Duo practice was canceled and we watched 101 Dalmatians instead.

I haven't watched that movie in eons!! Goodness, I forget how great those old Disney movies fun!
I found out later I actually slept through half of it though.

  • Got the nicest e-mail I've gotten in a long time
  • Became the official Mrs. Santa Clause for the tea shop and read to 20+ fascinated children

  • Let little girls touch my Mrs. C buttons, hold my gloved hand and touch my hair with quiet awe
  • Answered questions about what Santa does and doesn't like to eat
  • Promptly clarified that Rudolph's nose is NOT red because he got beaten up by Dasher
  • Went to Starbucks with an old, old friend...that I just met
And now I'm basking in the doing of nothing. I'm loving just sitting here by the creaking fireplace, listening to Josh Groban's "Little Drummer Boy" (listen to it! It's wonderful...), admiring our beautiful Christmas Tree, writing to my Spanish friends, and knowing that there's nothing I'm supposed to be doing right now. Relaxation is divine.

Friday, December 19, 2008


  • Making yummy brownies (Yes! Risa cooked!)
  • Looking at carefully strung, twinkling Christmas lights
  • Thrift store shopping!
  • Registering for new classes for Spring
  • Building a fire and thawing in it's blazing warmth
  • Wonderful friends
  • Happy Christmas music
  • Intense speech and debate
  • Driving around a holiday-ish city
  • Hot chocolate and cider galore!
  • I'm sure there's a whole lot can be wonderfully mysterious sometimes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


July 31, 2008-

"I'm sipping my very first glass of beer; a deliciously smooth beer mized with a carbonated German drink similar to sprite. I'm finding a sense of grown-up-ness from being legally allowed to sip my own glass.

If you look out the southern window right now, you can see the looming Austrian Alps in the distance. Rising from the foresty horizon, and broken only by a few white-washed houses, the blue-hued mountains seem very powerful and majestic. In the winter, they'll be covered in powdery snow...but right now they're a lush green in the morning and a mysterious blue at twilight. Breathtaking, really.

We at dinner outside tonight, and what is probably a very normal event becamse very special to me. We sat at one long table with a colorful provincial tablecloth and triangular white plates. The little boys chatted away in German and English, and though they couldn't understand a single word the others uttered, they talked like old friends. We sat beside a clean white wall with blooming pink and red geraniums over head. Grassy, green meadows spread out behind us like a giant velvet blanket that rippled in the evening breeze. The food was a painter's palette of color as well:
brown bread
green, yeallow and red squash baked with white garlic cheese
light green shreaded cucumbers
dark green salad with chopped red tomatoes
soft, local, yellow cheese
black charcoal on the BBQed chicken and pork
and then, of course, my golden glass of beer.
I felt like a queen surrounded by the array of colors."

Today Sacramento was shrouded in coldness and the grey shadows of rain. It was quiet outside, though the chilly wind roughly tussled the few remaining leaves clinging to the naked trees. The tea shop was a whirlwind of frustration and hectic-ness, and I felt a bit like one of those leaves...desperatly clinging to my sanity amidst complaints, unsatisfied customers, and new responsibilities. I came home to a blazing fire offering instant "comfort and joy", and a loving family offering a much more satisfying balm - add some Papa Murphey's cookie dough to the mix and you've got one very happy gal.

I'm now adding the final touches to my OO; finishing the last bits of research, scrutinizing each word and listening to myself read it aloud. It's 10:25 minutes long....must.cut.some.more! Cyrano and Roxane are amazing. Debate is exciting once again - and I'm looking forward to the long hours of research. It never ends, but that's part of the wonderful addictiveness.


I'm fondly remembering the colors of Germany, and yes, wishing I could bask in those colors once again. But if I look around me, squint a little at the dazzling Christmas lights gracing rooftops and evergreen trees, I am reminded that color and light abounds in a variety of places. Carpe Diem. Seize the day and find the light....even when the day is dark and cold.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"We the People..."

The U.S. Constitution -
* Reason for much debate
* Basis for controversial decisions
* A daunting read
* Written by brilliant men in funny white wigs

The U.S. Constitution Workbook -
* Necessary tool for the PoliSci Final on Monday
* Reason for many late night discussions/arguments/debates
* Incentive for the purhcase of eggnog, hot chocolate and butterscotch
* Inspired the discovery, "I don't have the right NOT to talk!"
* Cause of awesome laughing-fits at Starbucks

Monday, December 8, 2008


My google webpage tries to be helpful when I research. It wants to be helpful, it really does.

As I begin typing into the little search box, it displays 10-12 common search-words it thinks are relevant to my research - and this morning I found its "help" a bit more ammusing than usual. The follow list is a result of Google's help with my search "Why does the WTO want U.S. Cash Aid?":

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the U.S. have the electoral college system?
Why does the earth spin?
Why vote for Obama?
Why do we yawn?
Why does God allow suffering?
Why do leaves change color?
Why does the moon have phases?
Why did I get married?
Why does my eye twitch?
Why does the earth rotate?
Why does the wind blow?
Why does the caged bird sing?
Why does the old guard keep day and night vigils over the tomb of the unknown soldier?
Why does it always rain on me?
Why is the sky blue?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Why do dogs eat grass?
Why do we dream?
Why so serious?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tu Risa (Your Laughter)

Quitame el pan, si quieres, -- Take the bread from me, if you want
quitame el aire, pero -- take the air from me, but
no me quites tu risa. -- do not take from me your laughter.

No me quites la rosa, -- Do not take away the rose,
la lanza que desgranas, -- the lanceflower that you pluck
el agua que de pronto -- the water that suddenly
estalla en tu alegria, -- bursts forth in your joy
la repentina ola -- the sudden wave
de plata que te nace. -- of silver born in you.

Mi lucha es dura y vuelvo -- My struggle is harsh and I come back
con los ojos cansados -- with eyes tired
a veces de haver visto -- at times from having seen
la tierra que no cambia, -- the unchanging earth,
pero al entrar tu risa -- but when your laughter enters
sube al cielo buscandome -- it rises to the sky seeking me
y abre para mi todas -- and it opens for me all
las puertas de la vida -- the doors of life.

Amor mio, en la hora -- My love, in the darkest
mas oscura desgrana -- hour your laughter
tu risa, y si de pronto -- opens, and if suddenly
ves que mi sangre mancha -- you see my blood staining
las piedras de la calle, -- the stones of the street,
rie, porque tu risa laugh, -- because your laughter
sera para mis manos -- will be for my hands
como una espada fresca. -- like a fresh sword.

Junto al mar en otono -- Next to the sea in the autumn,
tu risa debe alzar -- your laughter must raise
su cascada de espuma, -- its foamy cascade
y en primavera, amor, -- and in the spring, love,
quiero tu risa como -- I want your laughter like
la flor que yo esperaba, -- the flower I was waiting for,
la flor azul, la rosa -- the blue flower, the rose
de mi patria sonora. -- of my echoing country.

Riete de la noche, -- Laugh at the night,
del dia, de la luna -- at the day, at the moon,
riete de las calles -- laugh at the twisted
torcidas de la isla, -- streets of the island,
riete de este torpe -- laugh at this clumsy
muchacho que te quiere, -- boy who loves you,
pero cuando yo abro -- but when I open
los ojos y los cierro, -- my eyes and close them,
cuando mis pasos van, -- when my steps go,
cuando vuelven mis pasos, -- and when my steps return,
niegame el pan, el aire, -- deny me bread, air
la luz, la primavera, -- light, spring
pero tu risa nunca -- but never your laughter
porque me moriria. -- for I would die.