Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So soll es bleiben
Ich warte schone so lange,
auf den einen Moment.
Ich bin auf der Suche,
nach 100%
Wann ist es endlich richtig,
wann macht es einen sinn?!
Ich werde es erst wissen,
wenn ich angekommen bin.

Ich will saegen:
So soll es sein,
so kann es bleiben.
So hab' ich es mir gewunscht.
Alles passt perfekt zusammen,
weil endlich alles stimmet
und mein Herz Gefallen nimmt.

Wenn es da ist werd ich feiern.
Ich weiss da ist noch mehr.
Es liegt noch soviel vor mir.
Ich lauf noch hinterher.
Bis jetzt fuhl ich nur die Halfte,
von allem was geht.
Ich muss noch weitersuchen,
weil immernoch was fehlt.

So soll es bleiben.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Committees and Coffee

There are three days left until I leave for Jamaica, and amidst getting everything organized and packed, I'm compiling massive amounts of research and detailed policy statements/resolutions. The competition is in April, and though it may seem a ways off, my permanent representative (permanent rep...aka "boss") e-mailed me and told me Jamaica was no excuse for sluffing off. Gulp. Okay.

Actually, I don't mind. At all.

I, Risa, am the Japanese Representative from the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to the UN. It is my job to thoroughly understand and provide solutions for:
  • Combating and Preventing Transnational Maritime Piracy
  • Countering the Financing of International Terrorism, and
  • Addressing the Effectiveness of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

This is so different from highschool debate. In NCFCA we had one resolution and then developed individual cases or "plans" on how to fix proposed problems. In Model United Nations (, each person is a representative in a specific committee (IAEA, UNEP, G-20, etc) and from a specific country. American River College is representing Japan, Pakistan and Cuba this year and it's been an exciting whirlwind of committee choosing and practice debates these past couple weeks. We debated over Christmas break and met on Saturdays to decide who would be on what committees. I'm *thrilled* with mine - though a bit nervous: international terrorism is no small topic to tackle when under fire from the UN Security Counsel and dozens of other countries, some allies, some not. Gulp. Okay. But oh! It's so exciting!

And so, today I'm munching on chocolate-covered coffee beans and writing a policy statement explaining my (i.e., Japan's) stance on the first issue - Transnational Maritime Piracy - and our "plan" we'd like to submit to the UN as a possible solution. The trick is, my representation of Japan and Japan's stance must be 100% accurate, or I'll get disqualified at the competition. Gulp. Okay. Sooo, research, research, research.

Come April, UN representatives from colleges and universities all over the country (and from the Philipeans and Russia as well!) will convene in San Francisco for four days of role-playing, fierce debate, alliances and (hopefully) resolution-passing. I.can't.wait.

But for now, back to work.

Your Japanese Representative from the CPCJ

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Now go

Our Jamaican medical mission team was comissioned at church this morning. We stood before the congregation of smiling, supportive faces and were blessed. The team's "uniform" is a bright blue Freemont shirt, and as we stood before the church, we created a bold splash of color on the sanctuary steps. Over 400 heads bowed as Pastors Baird, Hoffmeyer and Wilson prayed over our trip, over our safety, and over our impact on the Jamaican communities and people.

The sermon this morning was titled, "You Go", and coincided surprisingly well with the launching of our team. We read Exodus 3-4; the almost comical account of God sending Moses to Egypt and Moses' string of pathetic excuses begging God to send someone else. In response to Moses' protests, God repeatedly replied with encouragements:

"So now, go. I am sending you..."
"I will be with you..."
"Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say..."
(Excerpts from Exodus 3 & 4)

After returning to my seat, besides my dad and sister, for the second service (and second time hearing the sermon), those words unexpectedly rang out with a breathtaking intensity. Completely humbled and awed at His desire to use bumbling, inadequate, sinful people like me...brought tears to my eyes. Which was wierd. I've known this. I've heard this for years. Sermon after sermon, song after song. And yet, today, 5 days before boarding a plane to Jamaica, those words carried a new and different power.

"I am sending you...I will be with you...I will help you....I will teach go."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


After the tournament, and after friends headed back towards home, I went surfing.

Though the morning had been sunny and (somewhat) warm, by afternoon the sky was cloudy and grey, the sea rough and menacing, and sheets of rain pockmarked the sand. It was cold and rather hostile looking, but it was our last day in Huntington and my last chance to hit the waves. When I went in to rent my board, the guys at Zack's Surf Shop thought I was crazy. "Today!? In the rain?" But they gave me my board and a full-body wet suit (for a mere $17 bucks too!) and I happily headed out; a bit nervous, but incredibly excited.

There's something magical about surfing. As you lay on your board, gliding across the swells and ducking beneath the waves, you feel the heartbeat of the sea. The waves slap the tip of your board and fling bullets of saltwater in your face, your eyes, your mouth. Your arms tire as you paddle against the current, out past the crashing waves, out to the open water. This is my favorite place; the open ocean, out past the breakers. I love laying on my board, listening to the water underneath. There is an indiscribable sense of peace out there. So distant from the shore, so distant from any worry or care, it's just you, ocean and sky.

There's something magical about trying to catch that wave. A series of five or six surfable waves break every 10-15 minutes. Without cease. So you sit on your board and wait, wait for those huge waves to come. You typically don't want to go for the first one, because it's smaller and rougher than the rest to come - and besides, the bigger the better. So you let that one go by, then you spot "your" wave when it's still a little turn the nose of your board towards shore and start paddling as hard as you possibly can to gain momentum, then your wave roars behind you, your board lifts, you stand, balance, and you're off! Center of gravity! Balance! Work the wave!

If only DOING it was as easy. I've stood up a couple times, and there's a glorious rush of exhilirated happiness when you do...but oh, it's hard. I got thouroughly beat up this last time, as is normal. Board to the head, drinking saltwater, getting tumbled by monster waves...yeah. The rain and impending storm didn't help any, but oh! It was fun!! Laying on my board, I'd watch the first wave go by and watch a sheet of foam and raindrops crash just feet from my board. Surfing is scary. It's you asking to be an oceanic punching bag. It's incredible. It's super fun. It's addicting.

Maybe next time, I'll catch more waves.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Concordia Challenge

Irvine's weather is divine in January. I look out the hotel window at the palm trees, their huge leaves gently litling in the warm Southern California breeze. The air is warm and much more humid than Sacramento, which I relish with each passing moment. I love humidity. I love that sticky, warm feeling. That instant heat when you open the front door. Mmm. Yes.

Well, for the, what? 4th year in a row? (I don't remember right now) I'm back in Irvine for the Concordia Speech and Debate tournment. It's so wonderful being back, but this year the pre-tournament feelings are completely, and nostalgicly (is that even a word?) different. I'll be judging this year, since my S&D years are over. I *can't wait* to judge - and I've been looking forward to my first tournament as a judge for months now. It feels so wierd, though, to not be memorizing speeches right now, or frantically doing last-minute debate research. I have no suits hanging in the closet. No nylons. No heels. No debate bags or script submissions. Ahhh! It's so wierd and I miss it all SO much.

And yet, I get to judge! Me. Risa. Wow. Now *that's* pretty darn awesome. I can't wait to go up to the judging table and get my ballots. I can't wait to walk to the rooms holding those "papers of power." The status that comes from judging. The delicious feeling of holding the competitors' fate in my hands. Ooo, how often I'd glance at the alumni judges out of the corner of my eye and silently wish I was among their ranks. And now I am! Yes.

I can't wait to judge the events I loved. I'm really hoping to judge a final round in one of "my" events. Expos, maybe? Apologetics? Duo? We'll see.

The tournament starts in full tomorrow.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Multi-leveled Happiness

When we were little, people thought we were twins.

We'd braid our hair the same, don matching t-shirts and practice the same mischievous grins. Freckled, strawberry-blond and happy, we were quite a sunny force to be reckoned with.

And now, almost a decade later, my cousin is getting married. !!! MARRIED!

She's only a year older than I am, which, I'll admit, is kinda strange. But she and Keith are so adorable, and so happy, and so....beautiful. He is in the Air Force and a devoted Christian and has her same smile. They glow.

They're getting married in Lowell, OR, on Saturday - and we leave tomorrow morning for a fun family road trip up to see them. I.can't.wait.


I'm photographing their wedding!!



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A FWDed Bucket List

Hit forward and place an (X) by all the things you've done and remove the (X) from the ones you have not. This is for your entire life!

1. (X)Been to Europe
2. Been on a cruise
3. Gone on a blind date
4. (X)Skipped school
5. (X)Watched someone die
6. Been to Canada
7. (X)Been to Mexico
8. (X)Been to Florida
9. (x) Been on a plane
10. (x) Been lost
11. (X)Been on the opposite side of the country
12. (X)one to Washington , DC
13. (X)Been to Vegas
14. (X)Climbed a lighthouse
15. (x) Swam in the ocean
16. (x) Cried yourself to sleep
17. Seen the Cherry Blossoms in Wash , D.C.
18. (x)Played cops and robbers
19. Flown a plane
20. Owned a boat
21. Watched grandchildren grow
23. Been to the Kentucky Derby
24. (X)Been to Key West
25. Been to a rodeo
26. (x) Sang Karaoke
27. (X)Paid for a meal with coins only? (soooo fun!!!)
28. (X)Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?
29. (x) Made prank phone calls..
30. Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose.
31. (x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
32. (x) Danced in the rain
33. (x) Written a letter to Santa Claus
34. Been kissed under the mistletoe
35. (x) Watched the sunrise with someone
36. Seen the green flash at sunset
37. (x) Blown bubbles
38. (x)Gone ice-skating
39. (x) Gone to the movies
40. Owned a convertible

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Human Life's Mystery - E.B. Browning

We sow the glebe, we reap the corn,
We build the house where we may rest,
And then, at moments, suddenly,
We look up to the great wide sky,
Inguiring wherefore we were born...
For earnest, or for jest!
And, in the tumult and excess
Of act and passion under sun,
We sometimes hear - oh, soft and far,
As silver star did touch with star,
The kiss of Peace and Righteousness
Through all things that are done.
God keeps His holy mysteries
Just on the outisde of man's dream.
In diapason slow, we think
To hear their pinions rise and sink,
While they float pure beneath His eyes,
Like swans adown a stream.

Abstractions, are they, from the forms
Of His great beauty! - exaltations
From His great glory! - strong previsions
Of what we shall be! - intuitions
Of what we are - in calms and storms,
Beyond our peace and passions!

Friday, January 1, 2010


There are fireworks booming outside.
The cloudy night is illuminated by flashes of vibrant colors and shimmering lights. It's beautiful, reflecting off the clouds.

Christmas lights, still strung across rooftops, twinkle and shine in the icy cold.
It's freezing outside, yet they pierce the chilliness with thier tiny rays of warmth and light.

Happy New Year. 2010, it's going to be exciting to see where you lead.