Friday, March 23, 2007

My soft spot

I have a particular appreciation for beat-boxers. After growing up making all sorts of noises with my mouth or snapping whatever I was holding (Love you Katie, I know it makes you crazy!) I realize that beat-boxers are gifted noise makers that have gotten incredibly creative with their tactics to annoy siblings! :-P Which helps me understand why I'm drawn to root for Blake on American Idol. He's got it GOIN ON!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

I apologize for the delay in posting. Life has brought many changes this winter and I haven't had the emotional energy to pour into blogging. Change is hard! No matter which angle you see it from change brings loss and growth.
After not working most of November and December due to a drop in the building economy, I was "loaned" to an electrical company out of Stockton (30 min from Modesto) that had plenty of work to be done. After working there for two weeks I decided to make a permanent switch. I had decided several months ago I needed a change at work but wasn't sure how to go about looking for a new job. Considering my former boss trained me in the trade I was torn with feelings of loyalty. But he has been unable to employ me and understood I needed to take care of myself. God brought the perfect opportunity right to my door and practically dropped it in my lap. Although the new job has brought many benefits it has also brought... you guessed it: CHANGE. Learning how to work with new people can be quite stressful, as most of you have probably experienced. It will take time to adjust to my new boss' expectations and for him to learn how to handle my feminine touch on a male-dominated trade. :-)
Another fairly big change has been my move home... as in back with my parental units. There are many dynamics to this decision but the short of it is: roommate got married, no work = no money, no roommate, no other options! That makes it sound like it was the worst change ever but it has been incredibly fun and restful! My family loves having me home and I love being home with them. I'm hoping to be out again once I'm back on my feet but for the time being I will be jammed in the back guest room and lovin every minute of it!
And now I'd like to introduce you to some of my favorite moments over the Holiday:
Not only did Aaron and Michelle come home for Christmas,
but Aaron brought his Wii and taught us how to play
We spent ages creating characatures of ourselves

After Christmas I flew up to BC for Ashley Star's wedding! Talk about a beautiful bride!

The new year brought in a few little additions to the recently married Arnold family:

Roxy gave birth to six healthy Husky puppies!

More to come later!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Feelin' thankful

As I drove home from work yesterday I was thinking about what it means to be thankful. I've grown to see thankfulness as a posture of the heart, as a choice of what perspective to invest energy. We live with an awareness to the reality of life's difficulties but we have also been given so much to be thankful for. Sunsets for instance! I am inspired by God's creativity with the sun and there was a beautiful sunset to enjoy on my drive home. It made me think of the breathtaking sunrise on Thanksgiving day my second year at Capernwray:

Posture of the body is something I've learned to be mindful of since bad posture in my job leads to strain in my arms. My body makes me constantly aware that there is an appropriate way to work and an inappropriate way. I need to acknowledge my bad posture and be proactive to correct it. We should apply the same thinking to the attitude of our hearts. Being aware of our propensity to see the bad and instead choosing to be thankful for the good.
On this Thanksgiving 2006 I am most thankful for my family. God has done an incredible work in bringing reconciliation and healing to my parent's relationship. Through the course of the last few years he has brought such blessing to my family behind a guise of pain. His intent: restoration and rich healing. Praise God for His relentless pursuit of us. For His earnest desire to transform us into the likeness of Himself.
Here we are at my cousins wedding reception in September

We both have sleeper-face because this was taken at Aaron's Birthday breakfast in August

Monday, November 06, 2006

If only working out could be this fun....

Friday, October 27, 2006

Update time

Well I've let myself get all worked up over this blogging thing. I spend tons of time at work going over in my mind what I want to blog about and then when I sit down to the mind is a blank. So here I am (thanks Ashley for the comfy pjs you made me, perfect blogging attire) I'm going to pretend we're sitting across from each other with a hot beverage on a cold day sharing about what's been happening on the journey.

Quick Job update: I have been working as an Electrician for nearly three years. I have enough experience to be certified by the state of California and the paperwork is in process to schedule a test date.

For two and a half years now I've been serving in a ministry under Youth for Christ called Tapestry. It's a youth group for higher risk youth in the lower income areas of Modesto. The first weekend I spent with them was for a spring girls retreat and my heart was captured by their stories and desperate need for healthy love. Most of them have suffered some form of abuse with parents who tear them down with their words at every opportunity. These girls have become such a joy in my life! They refer to me as "the church lady" to their parents although I'm far from that!! We have a youth group one night a week and outside activities as often as we plan them. These kids had never been to the snow, the mountains, the ocean; nowhere but Modesto, before they came to Tapestry. We are constantly drilling into them that God made them for a purpose and they can accomplish whatever they put their hearts toward. Our conversation usually leads to questions like: why has God let these bad things happen to us? and if God were so good why doesn't he save me when I need him to? These conversations lead me to pray that God touches their hearts because there are no answers for such hard questions. I've told them many times that God has given people free will. He won't force them to do the right thing and often others around them suffer the consequences. Unfortunately it is often their parents making the unwise decisions. A key to them making better decisions may be in their knowing what life could be like. With this in mind we invited a couple of the girls to spend Christmas with my family last year. One of my girls was able to come, uneasiness and all! It may be ranked among my favorite Christmas's.
My first summer camp put me through the ringer! I was so fired up and ready for them to have radical encounters with God and my small group was not cooperating! I was reading Ephesians 1 in my personal time and prayed for them "to have a Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him more...that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened to know the hope, the riches, and the power for those who believe!" Glory Hallelujah!!! Then reality came in the small group as the girls refused to sit still or be serious. Prayer! That works every time!! "Lets pray..." so I started to pray and was almost through the Ephesians prayer when one of the girls stuck a pen straight up my nose. My eyes popped open in shock to all six girls buckling over in laughter. There were some tears shed on that occasion!
Right after my prayer-pen experience I came across a poem in Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel (pg. 196):
"No, it is not yours to open buds into blossom. Shake the bud, strike it, it is beyond your power to make it blossom.
Your touch soils it. You tear its petals to pieces and strew them in the dust, but no colors appear and no perfume.
Oh, it is not for you to open the bud into blossom. He who can open the bud does it so simply.
He gives it a glance and the life sap stirs through its veins. At his breath the flower spreads its wings and flutters in the wind.
Colors flash out like heart longing, the perfume betrays a sweet secret. He who can open the bud does it so simply." Ever since then He has been reminding me to let Him be God and bring about his timing for these kids to bloom.
One more funny memory that I love to share is when one of the girls asked me for a ride home. I responded "Fo Shizzle!" She looked at me with a puzzled expression and asked, "Are you reading books on how to relate to us?" I said, "No, am I getting cooler?" She just laughed and said "heck no" as she walked the other direction! That was the joke among the staff for months! Are you reading books on how to relate to us!?!
Here are pictures from Tapestry:
I'm distributing soda for a burping contest. The little one in the purple was the champion, no lies!

How about we dance around the parking lot singing Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson!

I'm such a hardcore gangsta!! Yo Yo, Suuuup!?!

Two of my girls did some yard-work to raise money for the summer trip.

After the summer activities I felt the need for a break. I've been faced with the sad realization that within the last year I've let myself be busy but not exactly productive. As Don Miller briefly mentions, the devil tries to sink a man's mind into habit to prevent his heart from engaging God. Now that I've realized my heart has been disengaged, I'd like to make some changes to escape this busy-ness. (I'm still prayin about how that'll play out with Tapestry)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Anyone else get blogger-neck?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If you're not going to snort, why even laugh?

My friend Rodney very well may be the funniest person EVER!! If you haven't met him, you should!! Here he is sharing the Bible with a garden gnome and nursing a speed walking injury (watch out for those elbows).

After growing into a bestfriendship, Rodney and I dated for a few months; but we felt that it wasn't the best fit for a romantic relationship. We knew going into it that our personalities were quite similar but we hadn't anticipated how that would pan out in a dating relationship. These are a few of my favorite picts from our time together.

Sarah and I played soccer together in elementary school. We also knew each other in high school but more as aquaintances than friends. (As the story goes she was super cool and I was an awkward homeschooler) Thankfully that has changed (she's still super cool!) and she has been my dearest friend here in Modesto.

Our most recent roadtrip took us (Sarah, her boyfriend Matt, Rodney, and myself) to the Great White North for the Trinity Western graduation. Rodney and I went on from there to visit Capernwray with former Modestan friends Johnny and Carla, who now live in Bellingham. Johnny and Carla were instrumental in my adjustment after coming home from Capernwray and were eager to visit the island. Ashley and Nathan met up with us for dinner on Thetis.

Geoff and Joanne were like second parents during my time in Canada; they occupy a special place in my heart!

And last but never the least, Cathy-Jo! (Aren't you glad I didn't put in one of the dozen funny-face pictures we took?)

Anyone For a Roadtrip?

Last summer with a weekend to burn and an author to hunt down, a group of 10 diehard Modestans filled an Explorer and a pickup truck bound for Portland. Not only did our driver provide mission bags filled with a disposable camera, disquises, candy, games, a notebook and other goodies but our co-pilot printed out an 8 by 10 picture of Donald Miller's face.
Yes, Blue Like Jazz made that much of an impression on Portland is a great city! (I've never felt more like a stalker in my life!) We wrote on the window in large letters "HAVE YOU SEEN DON MILLER?" We visited several sites mentioned in his book including the roundabout with the Joan of Arc statue. One thing I didn't prepare for was what to say if we actually found him..."Uh, yeah, we were in the neighborhood... by the way, we really like your book." Riiiiiiight!
Sunday morning the pressure was on! We had to get back to work Monday and we hadn't yet found him. We went to his church, Imago Dei, and there he was! His publicist had mentioned our coming up so he wasn't too shocked to see us. He signed our books and chatted for a few minutes. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

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