Wednesday, May 26, 2010

...A Time to Drive

We're hitting the road at 9pm tonight!
The STOA National Speech and Debate Tournament started on Monday, but due to work, school, and other commitments, Mom, Sara, Ryan and I were unable to be there for the first three days. After a long day of Jamba, school for Ryan, and classes for Mom, we're heading out. San Diego or bust!

It's a 10 hour drive...and we're starting at 9pm. o.O
We've got some great CDs with songs including:
Hey, Soul Sister
Shark in the Water
Si Yo Fuera un Chico
Dance in the Dark
Everytime We Touch
Estoy Aqui
California Gurls
Somos Mar y Arena
Scenic World
Sun Comes Down
Desmargaritando el Corazon
and more. We'll be singing a lot. :)

We've got plenty of snacks (crackers, cheese, apples, animal crackers, *chocolate covered coffee beans*, water, pretzels, etc...), and a couple pillows for the few who want to catch a few winks tonight.
I'll be driving all.night.long. Whee! Chances are, we'll find a Wal Mart or similar place to stop for a couple hours and sleep (Wal Mart is preferable...they have lighted parking lots with ever-patroling security guards. How convenient...we'll be guarded as we sleep. Nice.).

Leave Sacramento: 9:00pm
---500 miles---
Arrive San Diego: 7:00am(ish)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

...A Time to Walk by Faith

Last night, after it was dark and the dinner dishes had been stored away, the leaders took us on a "faith walk." Faith walks can easily be corny attempts at spirituality; ruined by chatty teenagers or overly cliche leaders. Though I was a bit skeptical about the whole idea, I donned my warm clothes and lined up with the 20 or so other college students.

Beneath the brilliant Santa Cruz stars and mossy branches of the massive trees, we lined up in a long, curving line. Hand placed on each other's shoulders, eyes closed, senses on overdrive. And then, in his musical English accent, Mark began to speak:
"Don't speak. Just open your heart. Listen for the still quiet voice of His word and His peace and His mercy. As you walk, let this be an opportunity for Christ to speak to you, whether it's a time of prayer, of remembering verses, or simply letting your mind empty. In this time of darkness and quiet, as you're forced to wholly trust in the leaders and your fellow students, let His love and presence envelop you..."

The trail was rocky and uneven. It was full of holes, branches and invisible snares waiting to trip us...and as we stumbled blindly ahead, guided only by the leaders' whispered directions, I felt myself resisting. I wanted to open my eyes. My feet strained to maintain balance and steadiness. I felt so vulnerable heading down this path; I didn't know where it lead, I didn't know what lay in my path, I could only hope the leaders were guiding us accurately, I had to put my complete trust in the person before helplessness.

And as I stumbled (literally) blindly along, I was shocked at the powerful message this excercise held for me. I suddenly realized what it meant to "step out in faith". To trust unconditionally. So many times, we head down difficult paths in life and rather than clinging to Christ and surrendering to His guidance, we open our eyes and rely on ourselves for safety and security. Yet, what a powerful reminder that we cannot rely on ourselves, we can't try to figure our lives out...we can't navigate life alone. As I stumbled down that rocky, narrow path in the darkness, words and scripture flooded my mind. "Thy Word is a light unto my feet." "Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."

During a time of personal uncertainty and doubt and worry, this was an incredible testimony and a bit of a reality check for me. I don't exactly know how I'll manage this next semester in terms of finances, amount of school, workload, car issues, life at home, and everything. It's rather overwhelming sometimes and I don't know what I'm going to do yet. Stepping out in faith is a day to day struggle, a constant quieting of my heart. Yet, in moments of darkness and silence, just as during the faith walk, I can hear His voice..."Just let go. Trust me."

Just let go.

Trust me.

"...who through faith conqured kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; who's weakness was turned to strength, and who became powerful in battle...
(Hebrews 11:33-34)

...A Time to Blog

The wind curled around the moss-covered trees and threatened to freeze any poor soul not bundled in countless layers of jackets. It carried the distinct aroma of freshly brewed coffee and wood smoke. Sleeping campers woke and, bleary-eyed and bed-headed, stumbled over to the main campsite for caffinated sustinence and sugary cinamon rolls. Perfect.

Santa Cruz is gorgeous. Freezing cold, but absolutely gorgeous.

We spent two days there, camping and surfing...and with the help of a wetsuit, coffee and a suburban, we managed to stay warm and have an *incredible* time. The waves were p-e-r-f-e-c-t and nearly everyone caught at least a couple waves. The water was gentle and powerful, propelling surfers towards shore in a beautiful dance of balance and timing. Ahh! So much fun.

Since I was surfing, I don't have any surfing pictures....but these will have to do. :)

More later...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

...A Time to Feel Blessed


I have so many friends who love me. I feel so honored and blessed.
Thanks, guys. I love you so much.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

...A Time to Vent


I don't get it. I don't understand it. I hate supply-side fiscal policy and Keynesian methods and required reserve ratios....and....and...

15 chapters in 8 weeks = insanity.

And I'm working 29 hours over the weekend. That means three 9-hour days and then a short spurt during rush hour smoothie traffic. So I have no time to study for the final on Tuesday.

And it's so hard. And I read the stupid chapters and I just don't get it, and I read the same passage again, and again, and AGAIN, and I feel just as lost. And my professor is no help, whatsoever. And the final is in five days. Ohmygosh. I think I'm going to die.


Okay. I'm done.

**Disclaimer: I do like economics, actually. Really, I do. Econ is fascinating...I just wish I could discuss and debate and soak it all in and not get tested on it. Boo. :(

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

...A Time to Sing

There are moments when words seem clumsy. Awkward.
There are times when my heart and mind yearn for silence; emptiness that neither thought nor emotion can penetrate. Moments of enveloping peace.

Tonight I wanted to curl into my soul and hide for a while. Not from anything or anyone in particular, but from everything and everyone. I wanted to listen to my heartbeat, hear my lungs breath, feel my thoughts relax. I wanted to take Risa in my hands and cradle her in the dark quietness.

And then, as my desire to bury myself reached almost desperate levels, my friend began to sing. The notes from his guitar quieted my mind, while his words soothed my restless heart. At that moment of inner turmoil and intense desire to wrap myself in broken silence, these words were a balm:

Hungry, I come to You
For I know You satisfy
I am empty
But I know Your love does not run dry...
...I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You're all this heart is living for

We don't have to have it all together. We don't have to have all the answers. The whole point is that we're hungry. Broken. Empty. Weary.

Broken, I run to You
for Your arms are open wide
I am weary
But I know Your touch restores my life...
..I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You're all this heart is living for

That's the beauty of His love. He alone can restore our lives and rejuvinate our joy. He alone can lift our chins and call us Daughter. He alone can draw us from ourselves and return our gaze to Him.

My friend's fingers softly plucked the guitar strings, and as he quietly sang, God slowly unwrapped my self-made cocoon of defensiveness and heartache.
Tomorrow is a new day with beautiful new possibilities. Tomorrow holds it's own surprises and joys. Tomorrow...

Thank God for my friend and his song.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

...A Time to Study

Notepaper everywhere,
Silent wrath against MLA formatting,
Blunt pencils,
Good music,
Highlighted textbooks,
Past exams to study off of,
Late-night paper-writing,
Weekend study group,
Crackers and peanut-butter,
No sleep,
Giant stacks of flashcards,
Notes on the mirror,
Midnight research,
Finals week. One down (Speech final today - check), more to come.

Monday, May 10, 2010

...A Time to be Guided

Sometimes I wish life had little orange cones directing you where to go.
Sometimes I wish I could drive through the rocky areas of my life, the areas under construction or repair, and simply be guided to the safe stretches of road.
It's hard not knowing. It's difficult not quite knowing what tomorrow will hold, or what next month entails, or how we'll make it through the summer. It's hard not knowing what to say. I speak my mind and then regret it....or I'll hold my tongue and kick myself for it later. It's really hard sometimes. Oftentimes, lately.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"The Lord will guide you always, He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." -Isaiah 58:11

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord turn His face towards thee and give thee peace." -Numbers 6:24-26

יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ.
יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
וְשָׂמוּ אֶת-שְׁמִי, עַל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַאֲנִי, אֲבָרְכֵם

Perhaps the bright orange cones arn't as visible, or tangible, but I have to believe they are there. It's sometimes difficult to see them in the hustle and bustle of life. In the finals, in the cramming, in the working, in the fighting, in the studying, in the surviving, in the living, even in the praying.

Lord, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Create in me a clean heart. Help me act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. Help me seek You first. Always.

...A Time to Read

"He always took his meals alone with a book open before him in which he read. His library was small but well selected. He loved books; books are cold but sure friends. As his growing fortune gave him more leisure, it seemed that he profited by it to cultivate his mind. Since he had been at M--- sur M---, it was remarked from year to year that his language had became more polished, choicer, and more gentle."
-Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

Sunday, May 9, 2010

...A Time to Relax

"You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip."
- J. M. Barrie, rectorial address, May 3, 1922