Sunday, January 31, 2010

All I Need is You, Lord.

Allow me to invite you into this morning's journal entry:
I'm living this really neat life. Experiencing my undergrad years at a Christian university, perusing what I love, in a community of people who also love the Lord. I live in a really cool dorm as the RA of a floor of girls I love, with a floor partner, staff, and boss who amaze me. On top of all that, I've been raised by committed parents who have set a stellar example for me in life.
I struggle with self-confidence, embarrassment, sadness.
ALL I NEED is you, Lord! Would you help me to have my heart in the right place? Thank you for blessing me with the life I'm living, but forgive me whenever I cling to it... worse yet, when I cling to the status my position in life brings me. It's pretty detestable. I want to stand blameless before you and live in your reality. You're taking care and you're in control.
God, I still feel like you're whispering to me, "You don't know! I'm doing something great in you life!" Help me to trust that.
How great are you, my God, my love.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Love you, Sissy!

Laura, my big sister, is one of my favorite people. I remember on her wedding day I wrote her a note that made both of us cry... I recently found that note in a box of hers when we were moving and re-read it. I said I loved being called her little sister, loved sounding like her on the phone, loved looking like her (maybe not so much in this particular picture, but usually there's a remarkable resemblance!)
These things are still true. I have always enjoyed being eight and a half years younger than Laura because we never went through a "fighting stage". We've always been friends. Sure, I've been the annoying little sister plenty of times, but our age difference is mostly a perk. More importantly, her and I relate to each other very well emotionally. We understand each others concerns and inconsistencies (though I am usually impressed with her stability in life!). We have a great coping mechanism when one of us is going through a hard time. We'll ask, "What do you need? Do you need to talk or do you need a distraction?"
I also quite admire Laura's productive compassion. What I mean by productive is this: she does not just feel for the less fortunate, but actually takes practical steps toward helping them. In fact, her job at church is devoted to this sort of care!
She is assertive, yet introverted. She and I can be silly together, but also just be together. She is a great wife and daughter and has a subtle way of looking out for everyone's needs.
My prayer for you, readers, is that you have someone in your life, today and always, who can know you well and love you the way you need to be loved.
Love you, Sissy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Making a birthday great

Happy Birthday, Dad! My family and I made merry my dad's special day on Friday, complete with dinner, games, and homemade frozen yogurt. I love birthdays because they are a chance to make loved-ones feel special. So, how do you make a birthday great?
-Everyone is entitled to a "birthday week". Make your special one's birthday week by reminding them, "only __ days 'til your birthday!". A birthday eve is especially brilliant for celebrating when someone's birthday will be on a work/school day.
-Decorate! In our dorm rooms, we decorate people's doors with crape paper, ribbon, signs, etc. I love to choose a theme. For my dad's birthday I went with a Chinese theme, putting up red and yellow streamers, Chinese lanterns and a Chinese "happy birthday" sign.
-Make little efforts throughout the day to make the birthday person feel special. I like to send texts or do a certain number of tiny things (for a 16-year-old, maybe sixteen pieces of chocolate hidden where they'll find them throughout their day). These things can show someone you care for them, even if you don't have much money to spend on a gift.
Speaking of thrifty ideas...
-Make a gift! Putting together a picture collage, giving a "ticket" for whatever kind of cookie they choose, or packaging up something cheap, like a dozen crazy-print socks are a few ideas. If you're buying a gift, perhaps wrap it in a piece of your own art or the comics page of a newspaper. I gave my dad a hand made scarf for his trip to Minnesota and wrapped it in the sports page!
I encourage you to make a great birthday in the near future... and remember: sometimes efforts of time make more of an impression than do sacrifices of money.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Caffeine Saga

First of all, I have a love-hate accord with caffeine.
The reason? It intensely effects me... like special effects. If I'm sleepy, I'll drink a cup of coffee and wake up in no time. Love that! And since I'm a good sleeper, I don't actually need caffeine often. However, if I drink too much caffeine, I get some serious jitters. Since one cup of a caffeinated beverage keeps me alert for about five hours, I have to be scrupulous. Sometimes I tell myself, "But I love coffee! I shouldn't have to be so attentive to how much caffeine I'm taking in." So my resolve?
Half Caf!
Just enough to give me that burst of energy, but not enough to leave me with the jitters. Now if I'm at Starbuck's, it's a different story. A cup of half caf Starbucks wakes me up like a cup of ordinary anything-else. So we do decaf there. (Who's we? Me and my friend Blanch who lives in my head? I would delete it and say "I", but I'm just in that kind of a mood, hehe.)
Now, coffee versus soda versus tea. Coffee tends to act strongest (at least in my body. It may be different in yours). Soda is next (it will especially get me roused up if it's heavy in sugar too). Tea is last, unless we're talking Chai, which does the magic caffeine thing for me. For some, black tea makes them most alert. My parents drink tea almost every day and find black tea to be helpful with wakefulness.
The last thing I have to say about caffeine? I didn't learn how to spell it until last year! It's an inksome one... I used to spell it "caffine".
Ok, not really the last thing. Here's my final statement on the matter: though I am grateful for coffee and such, my goal has always been to not become addicted. The Lord has provided me with the resources to get a good night sleep most days. Before I reach for a tasty bev, I do my best to check that I'm relying on God, not a (legal) drug (and thank you, Lord, that it is legal!). This is a conviction he's given me, but the story may be different for you!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sweet, Baby Boy!

My nephew, Levi was born yesterday evening... he is healthy and big! God is so good. This is a true blessing to my brother, sister-in-law, and our whole family. As we said little prayers for him all day long, the Lord heard each one and brought his mom and dad the baby they've been praying for long and hard themselves. Even though I won't get to see him in person until April, I am excited to have a nephew. I'm bent on being the "cool aunt". I am young, after all!
That's all I have to say for now; a nice, short post. A picture will probably be coming soon.
What blessings have you experienced this weekend?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Honing Your Hobbies

I am an advocate of helping people discover their hobbies. A good way to recognize a hobby is by thinking about what you would do on a day off. Hobbies help to de-stress and they provide a productive way to spend your free time... and even when free time is not prevalent, finding a reasonable amount of time to break and enjoy hobbies is so helpful. Some of my hobbies include, but are not limited to:
-art journaling
-making greeting cards and bookmarks
-being outdoors
-watching good movies
-learning how to play new games
-singing and dancing... everywhere (ok, kind of)
-cooking and baking
-visiting farmer's markets (this is a hobby I'm currently trying to develop!)
Realizing what is enjoyable to you is a great way to connect with your Creator. The Lord not only gives us things to enjoy, but he also enjoys watching our enjoyment! To be purposeful with your down time... even if what you enjoy most is napping or watching TV, can be a way to glorify God. I'm not saying that life should consist only of rest and hobbies... not even in retirement, but a balanced life is a healthy and harmonized life; One that has time set aside for rest, hobbies, and pleasure.
What are you enjoying today?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Posture, Please!

When I was eleven, I would hear my ballet teacher say, "Can you give me some posture, please?" as students would walk in and out of the studio. Being a dancer for most of my life, I should have mastered the art of posture by now, but I sadly have not. So on Monday, I started a three week posture campaign! It takes twenty one days to form a habit and I am determined to improve my posture. I want to be a healthier person and I want to be free of the tension headaches that so often pester me! So here's what I've unearthed in the past four days of my personal posture program:
-Your heels, rear, face of your shoulder blades, and back of your head should be in a straight line... it's easy to start out against a wall.
-Tilting a desk/office chair forward is helpful because you can still rest against its back, for the most part.
-After a few days of good posture, you will be sore! It's tempting to slouch, but I know my back muscles are getting stronger.
-You have to let yourself rest. When reading, watching TV, etc, use lots of pillows to build good support for your back and neck, but then let your body relax.
Of course this is all amateur advice, but I'm learning! Give a shout out if you'd like to join in the posture party and we can keep each other accountable.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Successful Babysitting 101

When I was fourteen, I felt like babysitting was my career. I babysat multiple times a week in the summer and at least a couple weekends per month. I don't babysit as much anymore because I'm usually not available when a mom needs me, but I do love hanging out with kids of all ages, and I had a fun babysitting experience last night. Here are a few tips for operative babysitting:
-Remember: you're not Mom. This can be good and bad. You do not know the depth of every problem a kid is experiencing, so usually it's not worth it to try and "get to the bottom" of an issue... however, not being mom is a perk because kids are typically excited to see you (if you've babysat before)
-Consistency is mostly for parenting, but babysitters can use it too. Sometimes you just don't know why a baby is upset and you have to give... but, when it comes to older kids misbehaving, don't be afraid to discipline, within the parents parameters (if the family does time out, do time out, etc... but never spank, even if given permission by a parent. They're not your kids). If you'll be babysitting again, the kids will know you mean business when you're asking them to do something.
-Bedtime: start early! The little ones are supposed to be in bed by 8:00? Start the bedtime routine at 7:30. When Mom and Dad are away, it usually takes them longer to get to bed.
-Come with a flexible plan. I always bring activities when I babysit, be it a board game, art supplies, or a recipe. Awaken the fun of old games like hide and seek and sardines. If I'm babysitting for a whole day, I usually work in a movie or some quiet time near the end, so little ones can rest, and older ones aren't too anxious for mom to get home.
-Enter the job with prayer. I believe babysitters have an impact on childhood. As mentioned before, you never know the whole of a family's dynamics. The kids may need special love and attention from you that they're not getting elsewhere. The Lord is glorified through the well-caring of his children.
-Be a kid. Seriously, you're never going to relate with them until you get on your hands and knees and act silly.
Happy Babysitting!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

...Before we start all over again!

This evening I remembered a song we learned in first grade, teaching us the twelve months of the year. It was slightly robotic and simply sang: "January, February, March, etc. etc., remember that December is the end, before we start all over agaaaaaaaaaain with January..." Fun and silly, but it's remained perfectly in my mind since then. So I thought of how I love to sort my life into sections, be it spiritual seasons, time between hair cuts, semesters, or hello! months. Here are a few of my favorite things from each month:
January-the Rose Parade, time off from school, talking to my brother in Minnesota about the benumbing temperatures
February-making Valentines, February riddles (You know: "in which month do Americans consume the least amount of soda? February!" Figure it out.)
March-pulling out shorts and tank tops, making a big deal about St. Patrick's day because my roommate things little holidays are funny
April-reflecting on the power of the resurrection, my mom and dad's anniversary (always an encouragement to me), blossoms on the apricot tree
May-sun dresses, the beginning of summer
June-June gloom!, good books
July-traveling, babysitting, fireworks
August-my birthday, tanning without having to try because it's so stinking hot
September-pretending like it's fall, going to the beach
October-the scent of vanilla, decorating for fall, dressing up for Halloween (no matter what I am, I use Halloween as an excuse to wear red lipstick!)
November-candied yams
December-um Christmas!, the relief of being done with a semester, having my family home.
I am inspired by months.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I love LA!

Los Angeles. Home of the Hollywood Bowl, Pink's hot dogs, and lots of Dodger fans. Though these are some of LA's most popular scenes, I am partial to the rich culture of's humanism intrigues me. In high school, I went on numerous community service trips to LA during school breaks to help homeless and needy people. On these trips is where I developed a love for the hurting and helpless. They exist in every big city of the world, and though America is vastly rich (yes, rich!), there are poor among us.
God has recently been laying it on my heart to pray for the homeless in America. I have my eye out specifically for homeless women in need and I believe that the Lord hears each of our prayers and allows our prayers to move his heart. While I was in LA yesterday, enjoying a daycation with my best friend, I had thoughts of the homeless in the back of my mind. Would you pray with me that God would provide food, warmth, shelter, and jobs to the homeless in the LA area?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hats off to 2010!

A fresh new year. I celebrated with my family by going to the rose parade, a yearly tradition! It was a grand time.
Every year, I try to make a new year's resolution, which ends up being more like a January resolution that I can't even remember by December. So this year, my new year's resolution is more attainable. I resolve to returning borrowed items in a timely manner. I'm terribly bad with this. I tend to hold onto people's things, whether they be movies, clothes, or food (which is tempting to finish off). My roommate can attest to this. I once held onto a pair of her earrings for a whole semester! So in 2010, I plan to return items to my generous friends and family apace. Starting with a certain white shirt hanging in my closet...