Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bee is Back!!!

2 doors from a junk yard near TJ + 1 week of my dad being a genius + 1 Mr. Clean Magic Eraser + 2 hours of tender loving care with the eraser + 1 car wash = Bee is Back in Business!!!

And I bought some touch up paint from the dealer today so she might look even better soon! Happy New Year Bee!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Share the Wealth

I think I am officially addicted to clothes that give back. Here are a few different things I have been supporting lately. These are only three ways to buy clothes that benefit someone else thought...there is a ton of stuff out there like this.

Krochet Kids Beanies
A group of guys got the idea to teach women in Uganda how to knit. So they did!The women also learn how to start and run a business through the making and selling of beanies (there are more styles to choose from). The money goes to help them support their families. Each beanie has a handwritten name, of the women who knit it, inside and the one I bought has a removable pom pom! =)


These necklaces are made from recycled paper turned beads (the paper is wrapped and coated). They are made by women of the Massai tribe and the money goes completely back into their community and families. There are a lot more products on the website beside jewelry too. You can even buy chickens for the Massai tribe in Africa.
 

I have definitely talked about these before. Buy one pair and one pair is given to a child in need.This is the new style with optional laces. Thanks Santa!

New Years Life Resolutions

Instead of New Years Resolutions (which are destined to be forgotten) I realized I need life changes this year. I need to be proactive. For instance, I often say something or react in a certain way to a situation and then really wish I could go back in time. I say to myself, "stop doing that. Stop reacting in negativity and irritation," and I go on with my day. So the next time a similar situation comes around I react in the same exact way. I should go one step further and think, "If this is how I don't want to act then what would reacting well look like? What would a godly reaction look like?" This preventative thinking has actually helped me not snap at my family as much and it has kept me more positive in situations I normally would become angry about. It has also helped me evaluate what I want to change in my speech and in my actions and in turn make lifestyle changes that will last much longer then February. Here are some concepts God laid on my heart last night that I need to eradicate from my life:

Control
Perfection
Approval
Exaggeration
Irritation

These things are not healthy, not productive, and not helpful. They ruin and prevent healing for me and they create a barrier around me that prevents me from trusting God and loving people. They need to be taken away from me, stripped from my life (especially control). It scares me to admit God needs to take these things away from me. I hesitated to write it last night in my journal because when we ask things in God's will he will provide them. In other words, asking to have my control and my desire for people's approval away from me means that he will take them away. Especially since I could feel God leading me to admit I have no control over my life (I just have perceived control as my friend Kristin says). I need to be shown what it means to be humble and broken before the Lord. I want to be close to God and be living in his Holy Spirit. It might take force. It might come easily. But either way the challenge it presents is something I will have to be walking in the Lord for this year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Faith for Thought

Even if you are a self-proclaimed "skeptic", and only believe in things you can prove, you still have faith. You assume you won't get in a car accident on the way home, you assume the sun will rise in the morning even though it is hid from you at night, you assume the logic you used to prove something is infallible despite the fact that we don't know everything about our world yet. You have faith that your science is perfect, the world will continue on as you believe it will, and that you will live another day. You can't "prove" any of the things we assume and because of that everyone has faith in something. The difference is that Christians have faith in a God that created the world, created us, and created knowledge.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
- Hebrews 11:1
[concept from Jay Beckley, pastor of Stone Creek Bible Church]

Friday, December 25, 2009

Kid Cousin

Why is it that boy's toys have tons of tiny pieces that are always "assembly required"? What happened to baby dolls and Barbies that were ready to play with right out of the package? (if you could get them out of all those twisty ties that is)


This dinosaur had over 40 pieces and it took forever to get him assembled (and then he was too top heavy to stand up correctly). My cousin would never have been able to do it on his own either because the pieces were super tight and not easy to pop together. The Alien Factory Nicholas got was a whole other story. This lovely toy let you create aliens out of teeny-tiny arms and legs. That was intense. Luckily I created the dinosaur and Kimberly tackled the aliens.

One thing I realized though... He is worth it. Seeing his eyes light up when he saw a completed alien and watching him figure out how to work the legs on the dinosaur was priceless. It reminded me that God did and does that for us. We celebrate Christmas because he sent his son, Jesus, to make our lives worth something. He took the little pieces, the details he created in us, and gave us a purpose. He works all the little arms and legs of our lives together for our good and his glory when we trust in him and follow him. It's incredible! I love being reminded of how everything  in my life fits together for God's glory if I let it. I have the opportunity to worship a patient, loving God who cares about the millions of pieces it took to create me and the million more events that happen in my life everyday.

 Waiting for the aliens.
 
Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Ideas, Old Tradition

I have always been in love with books and I had a substantial bookmark collection in elementary school (I still have it but it hasn't grown much since then). So every Christmas, since I was old enough to draw, I have made bookmarks for all of my family members. But last year I forgot to make some and everybody noticed. That's just the way it is with traditions I guess. Well this year I couldn't think of a single thing to make... until last night. These are not bookmarks per-say but they could be if you wanted to stick them in between some pages. Basically, I am deviating from the tradition and crossing my fingers it will fly. (Unfortunately my Aunt already asked if I made bookmarks this year so I showed her these. She huffed. Not a good sign.)

They tell the story of Christmas (the Luke 2:1-20 part) and are an awesome reminder that there is a reason we celebrate Christmas, which I think is way better then a bookmark.

The original idea came from a Christian home decor magazine (think Martha Stewart + Jesus) but I Steph-a-phyd them with more ribbon and I put my favorite verses in a bigger font.
[to see the magazine click here: lifebeautifulmagazine.com]


 
  
 
 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Matters Most

College is flying by and all of the details and small memories are disappearing with it. I don't remember all the conversations I have had, all the laughs, or all of the excursions I have been on. But I do remember some things. And those memories are easy to categorize because they are the moments where God has romanced me and when he has showed up in my life. I can easily relive the lessons he has taught me and the lies he has revealed in my life. I can look back and see my walk with the Lord weaving in and out of my experiences. I realized today that these are the things that will continue on after I graduate, after I get a job, and through the rest of my life. The sweater I wanted at the mall, the argument I got in with my sister yesterday, ans the grade I got on my essay won't last in my memories. But the times I surrender my control to the Lord, the times I freely praise him, the way he wants to teach me something in everything I do will. Those are the things that matter. Investing in clothes, facebook, and people (when I use them as an excuse to not spend time with God) does not honor the Lord. They do not bring me closer to God and make my walk with him better.

So when choosing what to do with my break I keep hearing God tell me...
"Spend it with me." "Sit in my presence." "Come and be satisfied." "Make me your priority."
And when I think of going back to school and work for the new quarter I hear...
"Don't dread it, rely on me." "Don't be complacent, I matter!" "Know that I am God."

So what am I going to do with my break? Go on dates with Jesus or watch recorded reruns of CSI? Sadly I spent longer in front of the tube then with Jesus today but for the rest of break...
I hope I pick Jesus.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Listen Up Boys...

Here are some "Christian" pick-up lines that I recently found on a facebook group. I thought they were pretty funny so I narrowed down the list of over 100 to this group of lines.
So guys?... Pick one and try it out. If the girl understands it, you've picked a winner. =P

- "nice bible."
- "is this pew taken?"
- "i would go through more than Job for you"
- "what, this here? oh.. that's my study bible - it's a little bigger but i can handle the extra spiritual and physical weight."
- "the word says 'Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the hungry'; how about dinner?"
- "i believe one of my ribs belongs to you."
- "i can be your Boaz."
- "my favorite species of vegetation is the church plant."
- "is that a thin line, duo-tone, compact, ESV Travel Bible in your pocket?"
- "your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead"
- "how many times do I have to walk around you to make you fall for me?"
- "how would you like to join my Purpose Driven Life?"
- "unfortunately i cant perform miracles and i've only got enough bread and fish for 2 people."
- "so, my parents are home, you wanna come over?"
- "its obvious to me that you sprouted from the good kinda soil..."
- "i'm interested in full time ministry, and not only that... i also play the guitar."
- "i arranged the substantial christian section of my bookshelf into alphabetical order. coffee?"
- "i have familiarized myself with all 5 love languages, in fact, i invented 4 of them."
- "i predicted David over Goliath... now I'm betting on you and me."
- "i would have asked you out to dinner, but i just put all my money in the offertory basket."
- " I saw Chris Tomlin in concert once."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Heaven and Hell

My dad loves listening to Christian radio. You know, the kind where it is sermon after talk after cheesy worship song after sermon. So yesterday we listened to an interveiw of a Christian Chinese man, Pastor Paul, who had been thrown in jail where he was beaten and persecuted. Instead of feeling sorry for himself he witnessed to his cell mates (mostly murderers on death row) and other fellow prisoners. Many of them came to Christ and shared with other people. He has some incredible stories. He was released after a few years because there had been a mistake in the trial and he wasn't supposed to even be in prison in the first place. He had made such an impression on the guards however that they actually apologized for their mistake. In China! Anyway, he now leads around 1,000 people to Christ every year through his preaching and example as a believer. One thing he said (through a translator) really stuck out to my dad and me. He said....

Don't go to jail while you are living.
Don't go to Hell when you die.

It's that simple.

Cracked

When good things break we cringe and are saddened by a good thing made imperfect... Hearts. Cars. Family. Bones.

But when bad things break we rejoice... A Fever. A Bad Relationship. A Long Silence.

These things need to be broken. It is a desirable shattering of... Our Pride. Will. Control. Idols. Selves.

Only when we allow these things (these precious parts of ourselves) to be fractured can we be filled with good things, great things. Traits and qualities that should create a deep sadness in us when they become cracked and chipped. Passion. Love for God. Humility. Smallness.

These things should remain intact, whole. Because they are good we should weep when they are broken. We need to be ripped from our sin and control and be made humble by it. That is a good thing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Canyon Hiking

Survival Guide When Hiking With My Dad:

1. You might be encouraged to crawl through tiny holes in boulders. Don't worry though. There is always a way out after getting wedged in.
2. You might have to slide down slick rocks that will result in a broken bone should you fall off. Make sure Dad is there to catch you when you gain speed and can't stop.
3. When bouldering up waterfalls make sure Dad can make it. Foot and hand holds that worked for you might not work for a grown man.
4. Be prepared to go farther then everyone else (along cliffs if need be) to try and see the Hoover Dam.
5. When he tells you to go the hard way up a rock face instead of around it... do it. It is way more exciting.
6. Be able to climb huge rocks. Have fun.

Take pictures too! =)
 
 The only one with both of our faces completely in it.

  
 Colorado River below the Dam. It was extremely low.
 
 This hike had a ton of hot springs, waterfalls and such.
 
 The new bridge over the Hoover Dam... and half of my face.
 
 Mi Padre.
 
The Crevice we climbed up... I had to be pulled a little bit. =)
(Aunt Pam and Cousin Scott)

 Scott and I.. and a waterfall.
 
Hot springs make some pretty crazy colored algae.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Damage


The front...

and the back.

Can 3 mechanically minded men make it work???

Note Chris' face on the left... he is disappointed while my dad just seems amused.

It is good to be home?

Pedal. Think. Pedal. Think. Stop. Type. Pedal. Think. Pedal. Listen. Cringe. Pedal. Process. Pedal. Stop. Type.

This is how the majority of this post was written; in between navigating the soft dirt of the motorcycle track on my sister’s Kmart beach cruiser and watching my dad tear apart my car with power tools and metal cutters. Why am I aimlessly biking around and why is my dad ripping apart the metal on my car you ask? Read on...

I was nervous to drive all the way home yesterday. My last blog post is proof of that. But after driving for ten minutes it was no big deal. Jake (my old roommate’s brother and old friend) was an awesome co-pilot and we had a lot to talk about. We made awesome time getting to Ventura where we ate Taco Bell, bought some snacks at the gas station, complained about the cruddy Dr. Pepper quality at this TB, and bragged about how well everything was going. Continuing on to LA... We missed where we were going somehow and ended up on the 405 North (In other words, we were on the completely wrong exit). So I changed lanes to get off the freeway. Enter large moving truck thing. Enter car accident. I didn’t see it, Jake didn’t see it. But Bee (my car) felt it. My dad thinks it was their fault since they hit me in the back and continued to destroy the whole side of my car but no matter who’s fault it was (I was changing lanes so I am still at fault too) hitting this lovely “Paper Shredding Company” truck did nothing to help my car. It should be named a “Car Shredding Company.” It is now totaled in the legal sense of the word (in other words it will cost more to fix it, 7 grand, then it is worth). But my Dad has hope. He is in the garage tearing apart the doors to see if he can repair enough of the damage to make it drivable. Hopefully the doors I need are even available in a junkyard.

On the way home Jake and I decided that the glass was half full, or at least damp from the dishwasher.
Here is why:

Protection
1. The car did not swerve or waver in its course. Bee held strong and kept going strait so we were not in danger of hitting any other cars (even though the impact was mainly in the front of my car and should have caused us to spin).
2. When we pulled off at the next exit at a gas station it just happened to be an auto repair shop. We were able to get the ok to drive home from a mechanic. Plus, he was really nice.
3. I wasn’t alone. Jake was a huge comfort and he was very positive and calm throughout the whole thing. There is something about hugs that just make things better.
4. No one was injured.
5. When we pulled onto Jake’s street there was a huge shooting star (we thought it was plane at first). God has shown himself to me in that way before and it was an incredible reminder that He was watching over us.

Perspective
1. The traffic report on the radio after that said a freeway was blocked because of a flipped over semi. That is way scarier.
2. I watched “The Blindside” with my sister last night. Talk about not having anything! If you see it, which I highly recommend, you will realize even more how much that movie can put my accident into perspective.
3. My mom told me on the phone, “It is just a car. It is just money. Just come home.” It was very good advice for me when I was bawling and still is good advice. There are more important things in life then my car.
4. My family and friends keep reassuring me that it is much more important that we are safe. Which is true.

Irony
1. I wouldn’t let Laura drive my car because I didn’t have collision insurance. Apparently I shouldn’t be driving either.
2. I was veeerrryyy excited to not have to drive a motorcycle anymore. Now it is looking pretty good sitting on the back porch.
3. Instead of being “Bee” for Boat or Beast my car is “Bee” for Battle Scarred (thank my dad for that name).

Now don't get me wrong. I am still very sad about the whole thing. One look from a mechanic my dad trusts and he said "no, not going to happen." I cried. I talked to my aunt Pam on the phone and she said, "Don't beat yourself up about it. You are safe." I cried. I talked to my friend Travis about it. I cried afterwards. I cried after talking to Laura too. I guess this is one material thing I am really attached to... and emotional about. =)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cars and Motorcyles

Things I have had to get used to:

- More breaks are needed with a automatic car compared to a motorcycle
- I have to use breaks downhill? The engine no longer holds my speed steady.
- No rain, no cold, no elements.
- Also... no outdoor smells, no hard coreness =P, and no feel for the road.
- It is not as easy to park.
- GAS!!! Costs a ton.
- I can take people and stuff places!
- No more layers and helmet hair.
- I am drving home tomorrow!!! Nervous! (The farthest I have gone in a car is Templeton [20 miles] and now I am going to Temecula [300+ miles].) Eeek!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Front Lines

Hey friends! So I have prayer request if you would like something to pray for! =)

A handful of my friends are going to SF this week to share with people and serve the Lord in a ton of different ways. They could use prayer for their safety, effectiveness, and stamina (they have very packed days). Also for the hearts of the people they are going to talk to, feed, love on, and share with. Prayer for the people already ministering in the area (that they are teaming up with) would be awesome too!

I am really excited for them to be on the front lines ministering to the hurting people of San Francisco. But we are on the battlefield too. We can support them with our prayers and encouragement. The base is no less important then the ground troops! =)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

God's Love in an Essay?

I decided to share my final paper from my Intercultural Communication class (I discussed this earlier). This is only a third of the paper (the other two sections were reveiws of the class and a disscussion of key terms) but it is the most important part. Also known as, the biggest part of my grade and the most God-oriented. I wasted a lot of time getting started and then spent a little more time worrying about answering the prompt. God lead me to just write though and this is what came out. I have no idea how my teacher will take it but it is honest and shares my heart as a daughter of The King... I hope.

My Life Philosophy

[Read above post first!!!]

Everything I do, everything I think, and everything I am committed to, stems from my relationship with God. So how I communicate, both in my non-verbal cues and verbal speech, comes from the most basic view I hold about the world; “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16+17). God sent his Son, Jesus to live in the world as a human in order to die on a cross for our sins (the sentence for a common criminal at that time). He took all of our mistakes and sins upon himself so we could be wiped clean by accepting him. When he rose from the dead, and ascended to Heaven, three days later he made it possible for us to believe in him and live eternally in Heaven with God.

So as a person-in-the-world I view the world based on the idea that God is the creator and ruler of everything. A simplified description of life for me could be described as God creates people, they are born, people fall away from God’s intended plan (that they should be in a relationship with him), and people either accept Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection for their sins or they don’t come back to the Lord at all. I already knew some people do not agree with that and they have views that differ from mine but this class helped me to see how effectively I can communicate with people even though we don’t agree on the most important part of my life. To me the Bible is truth and God is the ruler of my life but I can still communicate with people who don’t agree with me.

How my ideas translate into my actions is easy. I know that the Lord has a plan for my life and it is better then anything I can create for myself. So I try to consult him in all of my decisions. His timing is way different then mine (because he is not restricted by time) but if I follow him he is always glorified in the end and I am always left praising him for working in my life. For instance, when I walked away from the Lord in middle school I was in a very dark place where I felt alone amidst crowds of family and friends. But God clearly spoke to me through his Holy Spirit one day when I was thinking of cutting my wrists. He said, “You are my child and I have better things planned for you. I love you and do not want this for you. Please don’t do this to yourself.” So I set the razor back down and turned back to him. Through years of arguing with God and holding onto my depression he eventually took my negative ideas of myself and the world away from me and replaced them with hope and peace. Jeremiah 29:11+12 captures this idea well. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you and hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will hear you.” He is a personal God who is invested in our lives and responds when we call on him. Nothing in our lives is too small for him to care about and nothing is too big for him to handle. I can pray about my finals and he will give me peace or show me that in the long run they are not as important as I think they are. He can teach me anything through taking a final but whatever it is that he wants to show me I guarantee it will be worth learning.

I have days where I don’t trust God and don’t communicate with him but those days are always the most stressful or the most disheartening. It is infinitely better when I let him have control of my life. God is the biggest part of my life and because of that, when I do something, I have a purpose in doing it. My purpose is to share God’s love with people in what I do, what I say, and how I interact with people. I don’t want to push my beliefs or God on people but I do want everyone to have the opportunity to accept God’s free gift of salvation. When I go to a different country or even to the grocery store I try to take every opportunity to share Jesus with people. If they don’t want to hear it I don’t push it because that doesn’t benefit either of us. I just offer the opportunity for people to hear about God’s saving love. Overall, I act because I love God and I want everyone to have the same relationship with him. It is the same as sharing a love for food or Phish [my teacher’s favorite band and what he did his dissertation on] with people. Just giving them the opportunity to experience it is not un-intercultural at all. It is instead very intercultural because it is allowing others to experience different cultures. They have the choice to try the new experience or not participate.

To me communicating is another part of my life where I should be representing Christ. I sometimes fail and am not an example of God’s love but for the most part that is why I communicate. To express my desire to see all people experience God’s love. Not because I feel superior to those who don’t (No one is any more superior then another because of what they believe.) but because I am so changed by God and so excited about what he is doing in my life.

I am committed to sharing my faith. I am committed to relying on the Lord. I am committed to taking every opportunity to share the hope I have in God. I am also committed to not being pushy. I am committed to not force anything on anyone. I am committed to let God’s love do the work because I cannot change hearts, only he can.

Love Stealing

Because Laura loves me...
she proof-read my essay at 2 in the morning last week. It helped a ton and made all of my stupid mistakes things of the past.

Because I love Laura...
I stole her internet cable so she HAS to write her essay and she can't stalk my sister's photography business or go on facebook. She needs sleep more then procrastination! =)

I am admittedly pretty proud of myself. I even tied bows around it so she can store it behind her desk nicely! Love is fun. =)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Belonging

[written last night]
I turned in my paper and practically ran out the door to come bake cookies at my Grandma's house. Pounds of sprinkles and a few scoops of dough (in my belly) later, I am sitting here waiting for dinner. It smells soooo good and I can't wait to eat something other then sugar. (Did I mention I am drinking Dr. Pepper? Life is so good.)

[written today]
Not only was making and eating Christmas Cookies wonderful (I am very much in the spirit now.) but the conversation I had with my Grandma was the biggest blessing of the day (maybe even of the past few weeks).
Background: After thanksgiving break I was really disheartened by my idea that my family doesn't understand me. I feel like they just don't get where I am coming from most of the time. This is not a new struggle for me but one that I haven't encountered to this extreme in a long time.

Well God decided to once again debunk Satan's lies in my head. This time through my Grandma. We talked about life and our hearts and our struggles while she rolled out the dough and I sprinkle-decorated wreaths, poinsettas, airplanes, and Santa's many beards. Come to find out, she completely gets me! One conversation topic after another she explained to me exactly what was on my heart because it is exactly her heart as well. At age 73 she is feeling the exact same way I am feeling at age 20. I can't even explain how amazing it was. I guess I am not adopted after all. =)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Gorgeous God

Isaiah 53:2 speaks of Jesus not as an attractive, handsome man but as having "no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him." Jesus was not the poster child for young, single Hebrew men. He wasn't a fashion model or a guy that all the ladies goggled over. That just isn't important. People flocked to him because he was God. He was wise, kind, and compassionate. And when you think about it...

God is beautiful. You can see it in a solid film score (think Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, or the newest Batman movies), the clouds building up on the horizon, the green rolling hills that surround this campus after one day of rain, smiles on the faces of junior highers as they skate around downtown. In a God-sent conversation, a series of hugs and kisses on the cheek from a Grandparent, a flour covered kitchen, a hill speckled with chocolate and coal colored cows, in a crisp day, in the turning in of an essay or the finishing of a final. Take the time to look for it this week. God's beauty is everywhere!

Thank you camera phone, you did your best to capture the sky's beauty. God outdid you by a long shot though.

It was a breathtaking drive... this doesn't come close.

Life Philosophy?

Tonight and tomorrow I have to write a five page explanation of my personal philosophy on life. This may seem easy, just share the gospel! Right? I hope so. Just keep in mind that this is for the class where I got a C on a paper for saying this:

"I don’t expect everyone to agree with me but it just breaks my heart all the more for the people who have not experienced God’s love in their life and who do not know the saving power of God’s free gift."

Apparently you can't be a good intercultural communicator and still believe people need Jesus. Prayer for this essay would be stellar. I will let you all know how it goes!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Muchos Gracias

This week I have a lot of people to thank. So... some shout outs for the week:

Laura - For proof-reading my memoir at 2 in the morning. It was really helpful. And for being the best roommate ever!

Anita (my hair stylist) - For getting the black out of my hair tonight! I now have a semi-natural hair color and I am well on my way to my normal hair.

Mom - For offering to pay for the color extraction! I would still have black-brown-blond hair if she hadn't.

Joey - For the well timed encouragement. He didn't know I really needed it but God gave him the right words at the right time.

Professor Wilhelm - For being patient and extremely helpful as I re-wrote my paper at the last possible minute.

Jesus - For helping me keep a level head through all the stress and late nights. For redeeming me so that I had something important to say in my memoir. (Potentially more to come of this.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

All-Nighter

Dollar tacos with Laura and Hannah.
Christmas music turned worshipful praise at Crusade.
English tea and Irish cookies.
Soft fuzzy pajamas.
Rewriting my 15 page memoir.
Staying up all night tonight...

I am trying to see the cup as half full right now, the cookies are helping. Crusade was amazing tonight and the message was powerful (thank you Pastor James). He told us to place all of our fragments in the hands of Jesus because God will use them! Such a good reminder that we don't need to know anything or be perfect for God to use us. We just need to be willing to follow Him.

Anyway, off to write some more and stay up longer! =)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Patience in Baking

It might be that I just finished my research proposal and printed it (an act of finality when it comes to papers) or it might be that baking tends to be cathartic for me (I just made Rice Krispies for Crusade tomorrow) but either way I feel very relaxed right now. It's nice to have a calm in the storm.

While making dessert though this scene played out in my head and I thought I would share it with you all. Please don't judge me for thinking WAY into the future...
We are leaving for a party and one of my children informs me that he/she is supposed to bring a dessert. So I smile (this is an extremely idyllic situation), pull two bowls out of the cupboard, grab marshmallows and Rice Krispies, and snag a pan from another cupboard (I plan on having a well organized kitchen). I mix it all up, pour it in the pan, and we are out of the door in less then 10 minutes (granted there will be dishes waiting when I get home). It is a super mom moment (especially since in this scene I am super happy doing this last minute).

I don't know what made me think of this scenario but I think I will always have marshmallows handy when I am a mom. You just never know! I also think that I need to work on my patience in order to make this possible in the future. I can be a lacking in patience and have an overabundance of selfishness sometimes.

Death Week

Dead Week - a week in which teachers are not supposed to teach you anything new but instead review material to give students time to study; a week set aside for studying and no new assignments

FALSE. This week is more affectionately labeled Death Week by Cal Poly students. Laura likes to think of it as a constant state of stress. My week is as follows:
*15 page memoir (I have a sketchy rough draft done)
*15 page essay on a political speech
*10 page personal life philosophy paper (along with a bunch of other randomness)
*20 page research proposal (I have another sketchy rough draft for this one)
*study for two finals
I am putting off the life philosophy paper and one final till the weekend but until then there is a lot of writing ahead of me.

One thing I know I need to do is schedule quiet times daily this week. I will forget to take a breather with God, or put it off until it is too late, if I don't plug it in now. Without quiet times I won't make it without a meltdown this week and without God my words won't be worth reading. I have such great opportunities to share the Lord with my teachers in some of these papers and I don't want them to be written in my own strength. So time with Jesus where I can just be still and focus on him are vital to my walk this week and every week. I admit that it is unfortunate that I have to schedule one-on-one time with Jesus but I recommend it to those going into death week or for those who just have a busy life.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Name

I renamed my blog "Mustard Seeds" as some of you might have noticed. This mostly stems from the fact that I have always been fascinated by this verse (also on my blog): 
"...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'" (Matthew 17:20)
A mustard seed! Do you see how small one seed is? How much faith do I have in comparison to a tiny seed if I can't imagine ever being able to move a mountain? Now, I don't think God will ever call me to move a mountain but what about the things he does call me to? Do I have enough faith to live my life for him and know he will provide? Do I have enough faith to walk with him every day and trust in his power and love? Do I have enough faith to pray for big things to happen in my life and be a part of them when they do? Do I have enough faith to______ (fill in the blank)? That is why I renamed my blog. I want to find mustard seeds of faith in my daily life and I want to share that journey of faith with people. I want purpose when writing this blog and I think redesigning it is a good way to remind myself of the focus, my Savior!!! =)
 




















Picture taken by Laura De La Rosa.

The Days After

The End of Thanksgiving means a few things:
1. A new jacket and 2 new sweaters.
2. Christmas music is legal.
3. You can decorate for Christmas!!!

I made these paper chains this week and Laura and I hung them up over our bar today (my mom gave me a pack of paper strips so no I didn't cut all these, I just glued them).

We also made a Merry Christmas sign for our wall. (See above picture for placement and below for a closer look =).

We also decorated my Christmas tree and put up some other little decorations like a matching wreath and my tree that is made out of knit yarn and pom poms.


I am now officially in the Christmas spirit especially since we blasted Christmas music today.
Fall be gone, winter is here!!!

Happy Thanksgiving



This year I decided I was going to be nontraditional and give out thanksgiving presents. I was really proud of them after hours of trying to fill them with stuff for each woman in my family (my apologies to the guys, they didn't get presents). The two in the picture above were for my sister's and the picture below are all of the pumpkins (the glass pumpkin jars started the whole thing... darn Beverly's and the inspiration you give!) in a row waiting to be taken to dinner.

This was a vase I have been wanting to give to my mom for a while and I finally just bought it abs included it with her pumpkin. I love how it looks like an old milk bottle.

These are frames I soldered for Amanda and my mom. This is Amanda's (the pictures are not removable).



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving!!!

The family is here laughing, screeching, and eating. =) I love this so much! One of the best parts so far? My little sister, Kimberly, sat on me and I got to hold her and lean on her for a while. She smelled good and I didn't realize how much I missed her. She is still a little girl to me even though she is 16 now. =) Weird I know, but my family is just awesome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Emotional Sanity

Why are emotions so confusing? As kids we are taught the difference between happy, sad, and angry. But we are never told why we cry when we are really happy, how two emotions can happen at once, why we have emotions that complicate situations, and how emotions will confuse us more then we would like them to. Emotions are not really black and white in the way a kindergartner understands them and our emotions become more gray as we mature. We learn to control our emotions so much that many are afraid to show them at all and we often can't identify them. While controlling emotions such as anger is good we still need to be honest about where we are at. Life is not a picnic every day and it is ok to be vulnerable about our bad days. We all could use a little emotional honesty every once in a while. Sharing your conflicting emotions with someone might just be what you need to fix the confusion.

I don't know what sparked this blog but it started writing itself in my head so I thought I would just put it on here.

They're coming!!!

My family will be here en uno dia! I am getting really really antsy for them to be here since I only saw them for a week over summer and before that I was only home for a short weekend last quarter. I am so excited to have my sisters stay with me and to see my parents. My aunt and cousin will be here too so I have someone to tease. Scottie is loving the long hair look right now and he is so cute! (And of course would not appreciate me saying that because he is now 16 and too cool for school). Anyway, Thanksgiving is amazing!

I just won't think about the essays I have to write by next week too much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Going Without

"Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
These were his instructions: 'Take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them'
They went out and preached that people should repent.They drove out many demons and anointed many sick 
people with oil and healed them."   --Mark 6:6-13


This really hit home for me. I don't know if I could go where the Lord is calling me without making sure I was secure first. Without making provisions for myself so I would know I would be fed, clothed, and healthy. I really want to say that I have enough faith that this wouldn't be a problem. That I could get up from my computer right now and leave my stuff, my major, my security behind and not look back. But I am such a planner! I map out my life and I always have a list of what I need to do nearby. These men were asked to do something radical. God told them they needed to bring... absolutely nothing. Because the Lord was going to provide for them and teach them in the times when they went without. They had to be willing to not provide for themselves. Am I willing? Are you willing?

A Furnace...

...is coming.
And I am so excited!!!

Back-story: In bible study we talked about furnaces in the context of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). I recommend reading their amazing story! We all have furnaces in our lives that challenge us and stretch us. And if we are not in one now we will be in one in the future. This lesson was powerful for me. I had to ask myself, How ready am I for a furnace? And even more, how willing am I to enter into one with God? I didn't answer these questions but rather went on with my day. But God had no intention of letting me drop it there. Why? Because he is preparing me for a furnace. I don't know what it will look like, how hot the furnace will be, or how long it will last. But I do know I need to be prepared and should be prepared every day even if I don't know it is coming.

My Reaction: When God gave me confirmation of what is going on I was so excited! I know that any furnace will be hard and I don't doubt that I will be humbled. I expect to be broken and challenged but just thinking of what can come from that makes me so stoked! (for lack of a better word) Being one on one with the Lord in worship last week proves to me how blessed and sweet it can be. And God used that to impact others and bring glory to himself! That was huge for me and it showed me that God will use whatever happens in my life for his glory, even my preparation for whatever comes. That is a blessing in itself!

Confirmation:
1. My classes this quarter have been really difficult. One in particular has been a spiritually dead environment. It has challenged me to present my faith intellectually and I have been forced to articulate my faith to people who don't beleive in God and when my faith is being attacked. It has been a growing experience and a furnace in itself.
2. With that same class I turned in an essay that explain my worldview as a Christian and my heart for the lost. I got a C. It wasn't intercultural enough.
3. We talked about furnaces in b-stud.
4. I have been challenged in my beliefs a lot this quarter and that has resulted in a lot of good things. I had un-scriptural beliefs on things like predestination, tongues, prophecy, etc. and I have had to do some serious studying of the bible to make sure I was founding my ideas on truth.
5. Worship last week made me fall in love with the Lord even more and be excited for potential trials.
6. I met with my boss the other day who used to be a Christian (or at least I think he was from what I have gathered) and is no longer walking with the Lord. He asked me if he could challenge me with books and questions that are different from what I believe. What better preparation is there? He is unknowingly and willingly giving me the chance to know my faith and defend it.
7. I was walking to class and I was handed a free book, "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin. Challenge much? This was a moment of huge confirmation that the Lord is preparing me for something. I felt God telling me that I need to be studying his word and really relying on him. The best part about this book was that it was handed to me by Christians (I found this out in class later). There is a 50 page introduction to Darwin's book by evangelist, Ray Comfort. I was not only handed opposing views but the rebuttal for them as well... all in one book. God handed me knowledge in front of Campus Market. Now that's epic. =)

Further Thoughts: I need to be seeking the Lord in this time. Some specifics of this are:
* I need to be in love with Lord. Not just because it feels good but because it is worth it. It comes down to making the decision to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily.
* I need to be educated in the word and knowledgeable about my faith.
* I need to be intelligent and able to articulate my beliefs in an educated way. I am calling it "College Level Christianity."
* I need to know why I beleive things and have scriptual basis for them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

100 and Counting

I find it fitting to comment on the fact that this is my 100th blog post! In order to commemorate my hours of rambling I decided to read back through my blog posts. In that I discovered that God has taught me a lot, that I still struggle with some of the same things (I think I always will struggle with some stuff... It keeps me humble), and that I am blessed. I was also reminded that God is awesome and that he manifests himself in my life really creatively: through people, nature, my own mistakes, my lack of faith, my mustard seeds of faith, and through struggles. Which brings me to my next blog post (which I will write before thanksgiving) and what God has been teaching me lately. Here is a small taste:

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

My Cup is Over Half Full

I have a cold of some sort but there are so many good things in that:

God blessed me with enough time to have a three hour nap today.
I am drinking tea and I accidentally poured too much sugar in. So it is even more amazing! =)
This sugary tea reminded me of my trips to Russia and it makes me happy.
I am wearing warm fuzzy pants.
I should be better by thanksgiving!
And on that note I get to see my family soon!!!
I have time to get my homework done because I have no motivation to go anywhere. =)
I got to go shopping at Beverly's with Laura and Amy today.
I finished something on my to do list that I have been worrying about for a while now (more to come).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Being Burdened

"For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:32-34

I feel like I quote this verse a lot but it consistently applies to me and my walk with the Lord. I constantly try to have of control over my life and God has really been working with me on that. There are parts of my life that I thought I was letting God have control of but in reality I was still holding on to them very tightly. The most recent example of God taking control from me deals with this verse. "Do not worry" he says.

When I have prayer requests or things that I am concerned about I become burdened by them. I drown in other's sadness and I get really stressed about it. I always thought it was because I "felt" for people. I saw my unhealthy burden as a good thing. This is so far from the truth. I felt this burden because I wanted to change people, I wanted to force them to focus on the Lord, and I wanted control over the situation. I wanted to be the solution. But this isn't my jurisdiction. Worrying and stressing about prayer requests doesn't change anything. The only thing it does do is prevent me from giving it to God. It prevents me from praying about it because I think my concern is going to fix everything. That needs to change.

God is changing me but he is doing it in such a gentle way. Instead of painfully ripping control from me he is lovingly showing me the importance of relinquishing it. It started this week with my friend Kristin losing her step-dad. When she texted me to be praying for her family I started to feel weighed down once again with the heaviness of a lost family member. Extreme empathy for those I love. I was stressed that I couldn't be there to hug her or fix the situation. I can't bring her dad back. But I wasn't praying about I and I wasn't giving it to the Lord. I was just worrying. Then I talked to her and her husband on the phone. The weights were getting heavier as I heard the sorrow and weariness in her voice and I could barely formulate a response. But Kristin didn't need my advice or my comfort. She had Jesus. She explained to me how God is using this for his glory, how he is blessing her in this situation, and how God is bringing her family closer to each other and to him. She has always been a solid believer amidst the large amount of trials she has been thorough and this is no different. She praised the Lord for what he is doing in her church and in her life and I was blown away. She has joy in this deep sadness that I don't think I could have after losing my dad. God is incredible!

As I was talking to her I felt the burden lift and be replaced by the love of God. He gave me perspective. I don't have to worry about her focusing on God because she already is. I don't have to worry about her situation because God has his hand in it. I don't have to worry about what I can do for her because He so clearly showed me what I should do. He said, "Pray."

Prayer is powerful and not something to be remiss about as I have been. Prayer is how I reliquish control and how I can truly be there for people. I can be concerned and I can have empathy but not to the point of ignoring God's hand in my life. I can communicate with my creator and trust him instead.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Offering Grace

"This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins,
your Father will not forgive your sins."
- Matthew 6:9-15

Sin. Such a heavy word.
But we are all called to forgive it in others.
We are called to set aside our grudges and frustrations because we all have them. And mistakes? We all make them. We do not deserve forgiveness any more then the next person but God calls us to forgive those who sin against us. Luckily that isn't the end of the story. We are not left lost and sinful and full of hurt. We are rewarded for absolving people of their mistakes against us by receiving God's pardon. God's pardon! Can you even imagine? Imagine what it took for him to give us that forgivness? How much pain it caused him to be separated from his father with our sins heaped upon his head to relieve us of our pain? I can't. I cannot even come close to imagining because my pain and my hurts are so small. The things I hold grudges about are so tiny (Which doesn't mean he doesn't care about them. He does.) compared to the suffering he went through to rescue me. In light of this how could I not forgive others? With Jesus' forgiveness in my life nothing should ever hold me back. Besides, I need forgivness from people ALL the time too. So I should be all the more willing to offer forgivness to others.

Worship... and I mean WORSHIP!

I had an RA meeting and got to Crusade late. I ran up on stage, did a quick mic check, and we started practicing. It was gross. I was not feeling it and I got really self-conscious of my voice. My friend Peter came up to the stage and said "Stephanie, stop worrying about it," gave me a hand hug and a smile, and walked away. So I tried really hard not to worry about it but the rest of practice went the same way, bad. Then somewhere between my Dr. Pepper and pizza I was over it. I am so sick of worrying about my voice, so sick of caring about what I sound like, and so tired of not really worshiping God. So I told God that I was over it and I needed him to help me. I wanted to give Him the glory and I wanted to hang out with Him during worship. I had no idea He would answer so quickly (once again I underestimated Him).

We prayed as a team and went on stage. We intro-ed with a Snow Patrol song (legit!) and it didn't take long for me to be swept up in God's glory and in his overwhelming love. I didn't give a second thought to my singing other then subconsciously making sure I was singing on tune and I was instantly one-on-one with Jesus. He met me tonight and I can't begin to describe what that felt like. I was dancing (still somewhat subdued dancing though), had my arms fully raised (which I normally am super self-conscious about), and was singing TO God. Not singing to the audience or the band but to my Creator and Redeemer. I got choked up on "Give Us Clean Hands" (lyrics below) and I couldn't stop smiling the whole time we were singing.

I got nervous and felt sick during the message because well, that is what I should feel like. If I feel inadequate and nervous I allow God to fill in the gaps and lead me to him. It is when I am cocky and self assured that I worship myself. When we were done with the last set I couldn't contain my joy and excitement and I was smiling, jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and saying "that was awesome!" There was no containing me. =) Some of the guys chalked it up to the caffeine in my soda but it was so much more (besides I consume gallons of Dr. Pepper... it doesn't affect me anymore)! I was worshiping God, bowed at his throne and he blessed me. He blessed me with intimacy, with passion, with love for him and for music. It wasn't a performance. It wasn't worship of myself or of my voice. He used my voice for himself and that is why I am up there in the first place!

It even blessed others and lead them to worship as well! I never expected that... I am always desiring compliments on my voice and how good I sound and what not. But tonight people were telling me that they could tell I was worshiping God and that I wasn't focused on anything else. They said they were blessed by my freedom to worship God and they in turn felt more free to worship him. People said some of the songs really spoke to them and one friend said "Amazing Cause It Is" almost made her cry. The best part? None of it was because of me!!! This was all God! These were the best compliments anyone could give me because they were ultimately a reflection of God that He shows up and meets us here. That he desires for us to draw near to him and praise his name.

This is what WORSHIP is! It is not about the music. It is not about hitting the right notes. And it is definitely not about ourselves. And when it is real worship it is an unforgettable experience!

Give Us Clean Hands

"we bow our hearts.
we bend our knees.
oh Spirit come make us humble!
we turn our eyes,
from evil things.
oh Lord we cast down our idols!

give us clean hands.
give us pure hearts.
let us not lift our souls to another.

and God let us be,
a generation that seeks.
seeks your face,
Oh God of Jacob!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And I'm off!

I was estatic last night when I got home from worship practice because I got to drive my car (plus practice was amazing and hanging out with the guys was super fun). Superficial to love a car, I know, but I do love it and I am so blessed by it! Here are a few reasons:

Music (When I got in last night my favorite song, How He Loves, was playing on the radio. It was the Crowder version but I will take it!)

Sound Proofing (I can sing at the top of my lungs and no one can hear me!  =P)

Warmth (I turned the heater all the way up when I got in.)

Safety (I was able to lock my doors, love that, and I had a whole lot more around me then I did on my bike.)

Hair, Clothes, Purse (All pre-prepared and unharmed by my travels. I can set things in my car and I can do my hair before getting somewhere! Perfect.)

Passengers (Possible. And I can talk to them now! In other words, Laura and I won't be yelling to tell each other something as we roar down the freeway.)

Traveling (Possible as well... I really really really want to go to Cambria now.)

I am sure I will find other things about it that I like but those are the big things. And I will no longer plaugue my five readers with any more car stories. On to different things... like finding a new profile picture for my blog. I can't have my motorcycle and me as my picture now that it is not mine anymore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Car

This is the last I will see of my motorcycle after a great year and a half. Sadly, it is a bittersweet moment. I was standing next to my car watching my dad ride away on my bike and I thought. "I will never ride that bike again." And it hit me. I now have four wheels, air conditioning/heat, automatic locks, airbags (even in the back seats), and cruise control. But I also have a really expensive gas tank that gets half the mileage as my bike, no clutch or manual gears, no more motorcycle (which is in a league all it's own when it comes to getting places) and no coolness factor. But in all I think I got a more then decent trade. No more helmet hair!!!




  

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Visual Updates

I left my camera in my friend's car over the weekend but here are some pictures of the things I have been up to lately:
Shopping at the biggest Forever 21 I have ever seen! =)

 And no I did not buy this hat... SLO weather is just not cold enough to permit wearing fur on my head.
 
The best shopping crew...


Sushi for Carly's birthday. This group of girls is amazing! =)


Yeah... we TRY to be epic. But this is Carly... she is officially 22.

Flamingos!!! Carly's very merry un-birthday was Alice in Wonderland themed.


So we were the queens croquet mallets. =)

And my TOMS... they used to be plain burlap. But as they fell apart I embroidered them to make them stay together. Eventually the toes shredded completely. So I sewed coverings on the toes so they would stay together longer. =) I am pretty proud of the outcome.