Thursday, July 27

My Mailbox Psalm

Thank you Lord for this blessed day.
Thank you Lord getting me to this day.
Thank you for the day of blessed Pay.

Finally after months of waiting in pure agony, my financial aid refund check has come in. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
It has been so tough being unemployed and having this check be extra late on top of it. I want to thank all who were so supportive of me while I was on the brink of financial combustion.

*my acceptance speech*
Thank you to my friends who took me out to movies and lunches and paid for everything. I want to thank Zac for slipping that $7 dollars back into my purse when he thought I wasn't looking. And also for pulling some miracle work on getting my account out of negative while I was backpacking and completely unaware. I want to thank Mike for lending me money when I was once again facing overdrawn charges. I want to thank the Spains for their patience with me not getting them my money for Soliton yet. Oh, and I have to thank Rene who doesn't make much money at all for always trying to give me gas money and stuff. And I want to thank my aunt Linda who prayed for me to find work. I thank the WJU faculty for putting up with my neurotic phone calls of desperate attempt to find out where the money was. I did my best to handle it with grace while fighting the utter panic I was in. I want to thank my dad for tolerating the fact that my I haven't yet paid 70% of July's rent. And I have to thank my cousin Kim who must have stopped cashing the weekly checks I sent her about 4 months ago because now every Friday I get $40 life saving bucks put back into my account because the 3 month expiration date has passed. I have to give a shout out to Ford Motor Company for giving me an extension, because that was the bill I was most worried about not paying on time. I have to thank Satinder down at Wells Fargo by my house for letting me int the bank at 6:05 yesterday to deposit a little money to keep me from bounceville. God put you all in my path to help me out along the way when I was struggling. I have a BIG check in my hands and I started work yesterday. Thinks look hopeful. Thank you all. I wouldn't have made it without you.
Thank you!

I'm off to the bank now. Today is homework day, but tomorrow is bill paying day. Yeah!!!

Tuesday, July 25

Icky Sicky

Yesterday I slept all day long. Not in a good way though. I was extremely ill. Awake time was filled with moaning, bathroom runs, and profuse vomitting. Zac came over to take care of me. He was fabulous. I started to feel better right before he left. Feeling better means being able to get out of bed. I wondered if I would be up all night seeing that I slept all day. I finished watching a movie I had started a few days ago and then was able to go back to sleep. I slept all through the night too. And I know I need to eat something seeing that I didn't eat yesterday, but I'm not that interested in anything I have in my house.

Monday, July 17

Another Bulletpoint Review

  • Next weekend I am running the Wharf to Wharf 10K that I am completely unprepared for.
  • Highlight of the week was going to a free volunteer based tax clinic to have my taxes reviewed where they realize a $500 error in my last return and did my state taxes for me. It's a great organization... website:
  • Zac and I have reached this schetchy 6 month marker of our relationship where we break up and get back together and continuously contemplate whether we should be together. Current status: On, but contemplating.
  • I took my 16 year old neice backpacking up to Sykes in Big Basin. It was alot of fun and some good time to just chill. She is so smart and perceptive. And I was incredibly proud of her for being tough and dealing with nature even if it meant mosquito bites in unnatural places and constant avoidance of the overpopulating poison oak.
  • School is pushing me to figure out Core Convergence stuff which is great. I've made some great headway on areas of it that I hadn't been able to face yet like finalizing its purpose statement and its operation model and a growth plan from how to implement it's functions in the beginning phase when it will not have a building. I look forward to sharing my findings and discoveries soon.
  • I'm in the midst of what I call Double Work Week. There is a one week span when I am wrapping up doing the final research paper for one course and have to simultaneously prepare the first weeks work for the next course. Will I make it? I don't know. I think writing this 10 page research paper will be testing for me. I like the smaller busy work better. Plus I like to start things but have a phobia about finishing things. So right now I am much more apt to to the work for my next class rather than wrap up the work for my last class.
  • This morning was my last Sunday at church. I will be doing Wharf to Wharf the final Sunday. So we took everything down from the interactive mural and repainted the wall back to white. It felt like a very normal church building this morning. It's too bad I will miss the last Sunday because I'm really more prepared to finish well with the church than to finish well with the race I'll be at instead.
  • Job suckage... as in no job. It's very Job. So I lost 2 out of 3 of my clients that I had waiting on me while I went to pursue the other amazing opportunity that fell into my lap. Well, I didn't get the amazing opportunity either. So now I have just one small job that doesn't start for another month and will only be 2 days a week. It is totally not enough to pay the bills, but I'm in a bind. I'm working on alternative income plans. In the meanwhile, thank God my old boss called me up out of the blue needing some sporadic summer help. I'm just counting down until Friday when hopefully I will get my financial aid check. It's too bad the last month of unemployment has it basically already spent.
  • Can't wait for the Soliton Conference. It's just a few weeks away. It's going to be great. Think about coming and let me know if you decide you will. We are trying to rally 12 of us so we can get a discount on registration. It was great last year. Here is the link to my blog about last year's conference. And that link will lead you to links of flickr pictures of it all.

Thursday, July 13

How My Major Strength Relates to a Life Goal

So many people wander through life without a life goal. I define a life goal as your life’s purpose. Many people have temporary or even long-term goals or resolutions, but it is rare in today’s society that people live by purpose. I was living purposeless until 2004 when I began reading Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren. By day two of the program I had discovered my life purpose. It took accepting that my life was not a mistake and embracing the person God created me to be and the path He’s led me on. Then I was able to see that in just being me, I serve a purpose to breakdown stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding being Christian. All my God-given strengths aid me in this process as I counter societal assumptions about Christian faith. The most damaging myths are that Christians think they are perfect, that Christians are all judgmental, and that becoming Christian means changing who you are. These commonly believed myths deter people from understanding the good news of Christ. They contradict the message that He died for. My life’s purpose is to help differentiate between the message of religion and the message of Christ.

One of the most detrimental myths floating among our non-believing population is that Christians think that they are perfect. Another spin on this is that Christians are supposed to be perfect. Neither of these statements is true. It is because we are so aware of out imperfections that we cling to the grace and salvation Christ offers. I can be quoted as frequently saying, “If I was perfect, then I wouldn’t need Christ. I would be able to save myself.” This myth is fueled oddly by non-Christians and Christians alike. Sadly, both parties suffer by the continuation of this myth. Christians reinforce it when they hide their sin and live duplicitous lifestyles. Instead of being humble in their mistakes, some go to great lengths to keep their sins secret. They disservice themselves because they don’t get the prayer and support they need to fight their battle with sin. It is also a disservice to their fellow Christians because it sets an unrealistic and false example to strive towards perfection. It leads non-believers to falsely believe they are not good enough to be Christian and that they have to fix themselves before coming to Christ. Other non-believers see the duplicity and come to the generalization that Christians are hypocrites. They are turned off by the religious people and miss the message of love our faith is to stand for. They also apply more pressure to Christians by hyper-examining their every flaw to pinpoint the hypocritical status. It makes being a Christian difficult and undesirable. My restorative solution for curing this myth is to be an example on non-duplicitous Christian living. My communication strength allows me to be comfortable being honest about my most shameful mistakes. There in the darkest areas of my life that are so tempting to hide is where God’s love and grace radiates the most. It suits my includer strength to be relatable as a fallible Christian.

An equally as damaging myth circulating our society is that Christians are judgmental. One afternoon I sit in the hammock in the backyard keeping my roommate company while she tends to our organic garden. She explains to me that she isn’t scared of my church. She is scared of what all those people think about her as she walks in the building. She wonders if they are judging her for not being a Christian or not going to church. It is so sad that somewhere along her life she has come to this conclusion and now lives in fear of Christians judging her. I attempt to explain to her, “You know that Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. Well, we are called to be Christ-like. When Jesus Christ was on earth, He was not going around judging and condemning people. He was all about love and showing mercy, compassion, and grace. He was the epitome of love to the point of sacrificing his own life for the love of the people. Christians are called to have that same passion to love people.” I believe that this myth has its roots in Christians who are publicly trying to affect the world instead of affecting the people in the world. There are many Christians and religious organizations that use political and social means to seek changes based on their Christian principles. These efforts often come across as Christians damning society rather than caring for the individuals within that society by evangelizing in love to affect their hearts. We can’t expect a non-Christian world to live by Christian principles. They must first choose to follow Christ as a leader before they will desire to follow Christ’s rules. My restorative strength leads me to reverse this mindset by focusing on showing Christ’s love to non-believers. I break their expectation of being a judgmental Christian who is taking count of their wrong doings. Through my communication strength, I focus on never speaking a judging word towards others. I strive to be loving and accepting of non-believers. They seem to appreciate having someone they can come to with their questions about faith without being judged or lectured. I leave it up to the Spirit to convict their hearts to change.

Another myth regarding this faith is that becoming a Christian means changing who you are. Non-believers can be threatened by the transformation of becoming a Christ-follower because they think it involves losing their identity when really it is about embracing it and redefining it within the story of Christ’s redemption. While on the phone with my best friend, she says, “Well, isn’t it really about changing who you are?” I respond, “No, it’s not.” She gives the example, “If a man steals, then he is a thief. Isn’t he called to change who he is?” The label of a thief is something society may label him, but it is not his identity. His identity is that his name is “Robert” and he is a caring father who likes bike riding and feels compassion towards cripples. His identity is that which Christ has created him to be. There is no doubt that we are called to change some of our behaviors and priorities, but we are not called to change who we are. Being Christian is just being a version of you that loves God. God purposely created each person the way they are for a reason. “Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago.” (Eph 1:11) I think that the message people don’t hear from Christians is that it’s okay to be themselves. Their mistakes are no different than our mistakes. Also nobody should have their identity based on their sins, but rather in the person that Christ sees them to be. Repairing the effects of this myth starts with seeing people through the eyes of the Father. The Creator is honored when we respect the individuality of others and credit God with the uniqueness of their creation. My includer strength leads me to abandon society’s labels that isolate individuals and adopt Christ’s labels for them. I testify to this option by staying loyal to who Christ has made me to be and letting my individuality be witness to God’s plan for my life.

All of these myths distract from the real meaning and purpose of our faith message. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) God is love. Jesus Christ is love exemplified for us to see. We are called to be Christ-like meaning that we should also be an example of love. Christians who give only conditional love to those fitting their prerequisites miss the point. We are called to love all as Christ loves all - unconditionally and sacrificially. God shaped me for this type of love. I see my life as a specialized key designed for one lock which is my life purpose. Every experience, strength, and weakness is part of my identity in Christ that carves out the key to perfectly fit the lock I was created for.

key invert