Sunday, February 28, 2010

The trust bond

Yesterday, I went to Los Angeles with my Interpersonal and Intercultural Adjustment class (try saying that ten times fast) to practice the trust bond. There's this concept called the prior question of trust (PQT) that I honestly only understand half way, but we were supposed to be asking it as we ventured through the metro, Union Station, Ovlera St., and Chinatown.
(On a side note, I felt very urban with my scarf and Panamanian bag, trying to look like I knew exactally where I was going.)
Here was my biggest discovery: to build trust with a vendor (of any culture), it's usually necessary to buy their product. I learned this a few month ago in Little India too. Through asking questions of store owners about the history of their business or their background with the area, a little trust can be built. Real trust, however, comes when I (the consumer) give business to, and in turn, help with the well-being of the owner.
As my readers know, I'm in a season of no spending, which put me in an interesting position. I did budget myself a little cash during lent for when I'm in a situation which requires spending. I spent my first $5.00 yesterday on a metro ticket. I did not buy from any vendors, and in retrospect, maybe I should have. Giving someone business opens up a door for conversation (as I observed). Next time I venture into a culturally diverse area of LA, I'll plan on spending a little money, if only to display my willingness to relate to store owners. The trust bond can be built, but the first step is to show someone you care about what they're doing with their life. Support them and trust will follow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How close is my brain to exploding?

I feel like I've thought about A LOT (by the way, a big pet peeve of mine is when people combine those two words into alot... ick.) Here's a list of the discussions I've had and/or thoughts I've ventured into in the past 24 hours:

-The possibility and value of traveling in order to gain an appreciation for living in a new culture. I want to do it!
-What my next year will look like... the hope I have that there are options no matter how things pan out. Thanks, Lord.
-Famous people are very real and seeing their "flaws" makes them more tangible as human beings.
-Being proud of where you have come from is important.
-God has no limits, yet the way our church functions today is drastically different from the way the early church of Acts functioned.
-When conversing about differing personality and conversational styles, it's easy to overlook the sins within one of these certain frameworks.
-Do I really believe all sins are forgivable? Even if they are committed against me?
-Being misunderstood by others is something that happens quite often... how we mean to express an idea or passion often falls short of the actual idea or passion in our minds. In my case, my presentation of ideas usually looks "cute" to the people around me even if I'm trying to be serious.

Gosh, you ever have these days when your brain seems to be really into thinking? I mean, I know that's what our brains are for, but I'm typically not a fan of over-thinking... I sometimes don't even like to think deeply. But not today! Thank God it's still in me.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Spending!

For lent, I have given up spending money! I know it sounds a little extreme, but I believe I've made myself a do-able system. The reason I'm doing this is not necessarily because I have been spending too much money, but I want to use this season of preparing for our Lord's death and resurrection by being a good steward of what he's given me. I want to practice resourcefulness!
Here's how I prepared:
-I received the Lord's blessing-even though this "fast" is not typical, I feel like he has given me the ability to choose areas in which I want to grow and wise spending is one of them.
-I stocked up on dry foods/snacks.
-I bought a full tank of gas (if I'm careful, I can make Shamu-my minivan last for 40 days).
-I bought printer ink!
-I thought ahead to a few birthdays coming up and bought simple gifts, which I will add creative and resourceful touches to.
Here are a few rules for myself:
-I don't want to make others suffer for my decision, so if friends invite me out for ice cream of coffee, I'll casually decline or I'll go, but bring along my own treat.
-Doing my best to not be manipulative, I'm going to watch my language in presenting my situation (ex: "Hey, want to go out for dinner with us?" "Thanks for offering, but I'm eating in the cafeteria tonight" "We really want you to come!" "I'm actually not spending money right now" "Oh I'll pay for you" "Thank you for offering, but there's no need... this is something I actually want to be doing") Ok so that was a lengthy example, but I think you slap my fro (catch my drift).
-Gift cards and flex dollars are A-ok! Already paid for!
-I have a $25 stash-o-cash for small emergencies (a fee at the library, someone needs $5) or donation opportunities I come across.
I realized I would not always be in a situation where I could completely give up spending money for a period of time, so I thought why not now while I'm still in college? I'll keep you posted. If any of you want to join in, let me know!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My pear

A poem which has recently become significant to me is entitled, "Love Does That". My boss introduced our staff to it a few weeks ago and I have lately found myself dwelling on its simple metaphors.

Love Does That
All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only
And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.
Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
than that,
he looks into the burro's eyes and touches her ears
and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,
because love does
Love frees.
By: Rumi

I have been worried about things that seem to bother only "Christine"s... I know this is not completely true, but for figurative sake, let's say it is. My kind monk is God and he has sent me plenty of "pears" and "ear touches" in the form of people. In the past twenty four hours alone, I have been prayed for, received numerous encouraging notes, and have been given time by friends who were willing to listen. Not only that, my dear friend Brittany actually gave me a pear! Our God takes care.

If you are struggling with something that bothers only "you"s, I hope you are able to see our kind monk who desires to give us good things, even on exhausting days.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finding the love, Living the balanced life

I find myself very busy these days... I also find myself hearing these words from people I love: "You need to cut back!" I know this is true and I will cut back. I sincerely am a fan of a balanced life, but I'm finding it hard to find that balance these first weeks of school. I'm learning how to live in the in-between. I'm in between a phase of rest and a phase of busy days and more stress. Sometime very soon I should figure out the daily flow of balancing my many activities. Until then, however, I want to remember that Christ is my rock. He sends his love to me throughout my days, whether they're steady or rocky. I am not my constant, he is!
Love these natural heart pics. Though I didn't actually find them in nature, the world wide web is a great substitute.

How do you find balance?

Thursday, February 4, 2010


My posture is a-go! Sunday was day 21, and although it's still not perfect (I'm sure it never will be), sitting up with a strong core is now a habit. Oh yeah!

Baby Levi is as cute as ever. Apparently he's a baby prodigy because at one week old, he was already holding his own bottle. I share a blood line with that kid!

Today was ring day. Jamie and I wear our BFF rings every 4th and 8th of the month. Mine is named "Hoot" and hers is "Holler". Since she's in Tennessee and I miss her like mad, it's some consolation knowing that whenever I wash my hands and get water stuck in my ring, she's experiencing the same thing. It's like a dual-state bonding experience.

School is a crazy pace... hard to keep up as I'm used to plenty of rest and time off. Once I make the adjustment, however, this semester should be quite enjoyable. I'm enjoying my classes and find that paying attention is much easier for me now than it was when I was going through my rough time last semester.

The decaf Chai Bomb is my new favorite beverage!