I recently went through a "dry season" in life in which I was forced to deal with a lot at once. This primarily consisted of packing and moving to a new home as well as reviewing for & taking the ACT. I am glad that those two things are over. I can now relax for a while, knowing that there are people at home and abroad who fought for me and everyone else to have freedom: Personal, spiritual, and otherwise.
Moving and cleaning up my old home was more difficult than anticipated partially because I was fighting a weird allergy-like bug that over the counter medicine barely helped with. I also dearly missed hanging out with friends and doing most of the things I would normally be doing. At times I felt isolated, physically crummy, frustrated, and sad. During this time, I (re)read the following two cards below that I received. These along with faith, prayer, support, and the truth have helped give me the strength and motivation to get through it all. Thank you to everyone who is a part of that.
Happy Holidays! Can you believe we've been friends for 20 years? I'm so glad we have manged to keep up our friendship for so long - It means so much to me. ...Have a terrific Christmas and a very happy new year!
The Bible has many references to eagles. You are called to soar as an eagle. Sometimes, because it is rare, and majestic, the flight may be alone. If you follow His word, He will give you the strength, courage, dominion, and an eagle's eye view of His creation.
[After I spent time reflecting about Thanksgiving, I then shared the following words at a college group bible study on Tuesday, December 1st.]
I would like to share where I have been, why I am thankful for all of it, and where I am now.
My parents got divorced when I was in 1st grade. I could get along with everyone in grade school, but I only became friends with one person at the elementary schools that I attended. That made me feel alone at school since I am an only child. My dad didn't know how to love me, so I haven't seen or talked to him at age 17. I did not find a church youth group that I was truly happy with all the way through my first few years at ASU. Ever since age 17, I have had to pay my own way through college and have been working full time since I was 19. When I was 20, my mom moved to Washington state, leaving me with no real family within 1000 miles of me. After a few years at ASU at age 22, I bought a town home and a car which ultimately ended up getting me into five figures of debt, compounded by my inability to get roommates for the home. This July, I felt a calling to quit my job and relocate to the West Valley to pursue ministry opportunities that I was not completely certain of - The most difficult thing I had done in years. Since then, I have not been able to find another job.
It doesn't sound like there is much, if anything, to be thankful for in everything I just mentioned. That is because it is exactly what Satan wants us to believe. Those things that I mentioned did happen in my life, but that is not the whole story or the entire truth. When I was 19-20, I believed those negative half truths and I didn't seek God hardly at all because I didn't believe he was present in my situations. Amidst having plenty of worldly friends and possessions at the time, I ended up in a sad, painful place where I felt alone. Everyone has negative things in their lives that they typically don't talk about at their dinner table, especially at Thanksgiving.
At the end of my teenagehood, I didn't realize God was there in all of those situations until I made an intentional effort to have a personal relationship with Christ like never before and find a Christian community that supported that relationship above all else. I believe we are all called to do that in some way because 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in the Word tells us to "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Also, the first book of Peter illustrates the eternal rewards of handling suffering, the latter of which are blessings and salvation through your strengthened faith is favorable before God. This is coming from a disciple facing oppressive brutal persecution from the Romans at the time, which ultimately lead to the torturing and execution of him and other Christians. It is through Christ Jesus' footsteps, truth, and grace that I know God has and will use all things for His glory by being present in every situation if we seek and obey Him.
Now for the truth that has set me free: Through my parent's divorce, I have become very close with my mom. Despite a lack of friends at my schools, I had family friends from other school that I grew up with and their fathers became my own. Being an only child gave me the opportunity to become more independent and more easily connect with people one on one. Understanding my dad has drives me to be more empathetic, loving, and eventually a more fatherly person than I would be otherwise. My years of searching for Christian communities lead me to ASU's Campus Crusade for Christ and Living Streams - Two church bodies that have helped me find who I am in Christ. My previous full time work blessed me with skills, work experience, a career, and friendships that I will always have. Selling my home at age 23 allowed me to wipe out my debt and provide for my basic needs until I find another job. My time of currently being unemployed has given me the privilege of spending more time with God, my Christian family, and new ways of serving him such as Young Life - All things that have brought me more joy and purpose than ever before.
God's living word should have been enough for me to know that He is always there. I ended up learning these biblical truths in some difficult ways, but I know that I would not be where and who I am today without that journey, and I am thankful for all of it. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." [Philippians 4:12-13]
Music: Mercy Me - Bring the Rain
[During a Saturday night service at Living Streams, I gave the following testimony in September regarding my experience at a Men's Retreat]
I have been going to Living Streams for 5 years and each year I have gone to its Men's Retreat. The only thing that has been missing from the Men's Retreat was The Blob. For those of you who do not know what that is, let me explain: It is a giant air cushion sitting on a lake on which one person sits on one end. Then another person gets on a platform 20 feet above the other end, and jumps on the Blob, resulting on the first person being launched into the air and splashes down into the water. I can tell you by experience that being in mid air is scary and exilirating all at once.
That moment reflects what my life was like for a while before the Men's Retreat. Months ago, I had realized that God had called me to relocate closer to the church community, pour into my friends & family there, and confirm my ministry callings. I was being called to make a leap of faith by leaving my comfortable surroundings living alone in Mesa as well as my financially comfortable job. It would be the first time that I would be unemployed in 10 years. At the end of July, I moved into a house with two guys from Living Water Fellowship and had been awaiting some kind of affirmation that I am now where the Lord wants me to be.
However, at the Men's Retreat, there were 3 things that I could count on: The power of fellowship, worship, and praying blessing into each other's lives. The bible says that when two or more men are gathered, God is with them. With over 200 men there, the Lord showed up in a big way. This was abundantly clear to anyone there on the last day who witnessed testimony after testimony of the things that the Lord was showing men and doing in their lives. There were so many testimonies that we could have listened to them for hours.
By the end of the Men's Retreat, the Lord showed me that I am right where I need to be. Like when being launched by the Blob, I had some fear in me in mid air - Uncertain if I was doing what I should be. After coming out of the water, I heard the encouragement that I needed thanks to the grace of God and this church.
Jul. 11th, 2009 @ 12:53 pm
Here is one Posted Item from my Facebook profile
for each month of 2008:
January:The start of a great day [at ASU]
(Link may require logging into Facebook)
February:The Moment of Truth
- If you thought Fox was showing the sleaziest thing on television, you are wrong.
- Back a candidate and gain the support of the regions to win the Presidential Election.The presidential candidates are outdated, but this is a pretty decent turn based strategy game made using Flash
Legend of Zelda Movie: Trailer Premiere - Coming April 1, 2009 (April Fools) courtesy of IGN.
Best of craigslist : Driving in Phoenix -
An amusing guide to driving in Phoenix which has some truth to it.
June:Outsourced Comedy from Papa CJ
- A brief clip from one of my favorite Stand-up Comedians from the show Last Comic Standing. See www.PAPACJ.com
July:Max Payne: Movie Trailer
- 7 years since the game's release and plans for a movie were reported, a trailer has finally materialized. Catch the movie on October 17 and see its web site at maxpaynethemovie.com
August:Dead Sea Scrolls go from parchment to the Internet - CNN.com
- More than 2,000 years after they were written, the Dead Sea Scrolls are going digital as part of an effort to better preserve the ancient texts and let more people see them than ever before.
I saw these in-person at the San Diego Natural History museum, but now anyone can see them online. Fascinating stuff!
September:Emotional Hippies - Crying Over Dead Trees
Summary of YouTube comments: "Hippies doing too many drugs", "Makes me want to cut down trees", "Is this a joke?", "Obama-supporters", "Rock has life?" debaters
I am all for preservation, but I'm not one to hug trees or cry over them.
Saw School Musical -
Like the Saw or High School Musical movie series? This is perhaps one of the best produced movie trailer mash up/parodies that I have seen. WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!
November:Rickrolled live @ Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2008
- The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27, 2008 was rickrolled by Rick Astley himself riding on the "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" float.
"I like Rickrolling!"
December:iPwn - iPhone Ad Parody
- Being a mobster-sniping paladin behind enchanted enemy lines isn't an easy job. That's why this girl gamer needs a wireless gaming device as diverse and adaptable as she is.
This Christmas, get the perfect gift for the gamer girl (that you wish was) in your life.
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown but we have forgotten God.
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us and we vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." - President Abraham Lincoln, March 30 1863, PROCLAMATION APPOINTING A NATIONAL FAST DAY (for prayer, humiliation, and fasting)
I wasn't sure what my company's holiday party was going to be like, but I knew that it was going to be fun. I didn't know that there was going to be an opportunity to minister to the homeless that Sunday, but I knew I wanted to show them love. At the party, people from all levels of the company were there to have a good time. On the street, all kinds of people would come up to us to give us their thoughts and receive our acceptance of them.
We are all not so different, seeking very similar things regardless of our backgrounds. Fun and love can be part of fellowship. I look forward to what opportunities the new year brings - Fellowship or otherwise at work, on the streets, and beyond.
Music: JJ Heller - Wake Up the World
|» Where I've Been|
For over the past year, I was in a place of happiness just off the coast of bliss. Memories in such places have welded into my memory without burning them into oblivion by fire. I have been living out and expressing all of the thoughts & feelings that I would normally write here on a regular basis. I am so grateful for the ability to speak my mind and heart more than ever before.|
"Since God has unconditional love for all his creatures and the way you treat people helps me see myself more like the way God does, that is the greatest gift of all."
I am taken to a place of joy and peace when I am connecting with God. In just over the past year, I have grown closer to so many people: My mom, church family, friends, and Jenn. They have all been beacons of light, encouragement, and joy in my life. They all have done their best to support me. Each of them have helped me see who I am in God's eyes.
"I have wanted to be more confident in myself, be able to take care of myself better, and have a better relationship with God in which I talk to or learn from Him daily. My inability to gain these three things and the resulting impact of that on my life, you, and our relationship is what brought me sadness and pain. I realized that I cannot date anyone until I become that person that I want to be."
I could not allow Jenn or I to stay in a place of sadness and pain residing in uncertainty any longer when I was the one who triggered such thoughts and feelings. At the end of August, I realized there were three things that I wanted for my life and tried to maintain regularly in my life, but was unable to do so. My inability to gain these things did not just impact me but also Jenn, our relationship, and those I was close to.
I am now at a place of hope among a state of diligence for change. For a few months, I dropped off of everyone's radar to focus on becoming the person I was not and was also getting support from just a few people outside of those that have been previously supporting me.
Currently, I am in a place of creation, re-establishment, and strengthening in all areas of my life including my relationships. As I put forth such efforts, I wonder who will want to be on the receiving end of that.
|» And when the sky is falling, don’t look outside the window|
This Winter Session has gone by way too fast. Maybe that is just because it has been too much fun. With semester start-up, I wish I could say the same about work, which has been interesting to say the least having dealt with over 50 problem tickets, even more calls, and 105 emails from this week alone.|
The same can be said about traffic because one street block of Rural Road, a major automobile artery for people to get to ASU, has been closed off in both directions. If you are going Northbound, Its final detour can take you to the middle of campus if you do not make another turn Northbound shortly after the diversion. The middle of campus is next to the book store where I was buying my books for Spring classes recently. As I was walking back to work, a Lexus SUV that took the previously mentioned detour all the way to a gated dead end stopped, started honking, and the driver rolled down a window and exasperatedly shouted “How the heck am I supposed to get on to Rural Road?” Since I was already quite a ways away, I didn’t stop, but I could tell that a bunch of people closer to her just stopped and stared at her. Obviously, she wasn’t from this part of town.
Some new students this Spring at my university paid considerable money today for the opportunity to talk to other staff such as myself - $35 each. I can understand offsetting some of the costs for putting on some welcome week types of festivities, but that seems like a lot. I was there representing not just my Help Desk but also the organization that its under to help students be more aware of the one-to-one computing program. I may have had to come into work one and a half hours early to do this volunteer effort but that means I get to leave earlier tonight and with a seemingly long day like today, that is all that matters.
This weekend, I was hoping to throw a poker party, but I didn’t have the time to organize it or organize my place enough to do so. As considerable consolations, I’ve been invited to a party for a former roommate tomorrow night and hopefully will get to break in my Bocce Ball set with some friends later this weekend. Holidays on Mondays are always somewhat anti-climactic unless I plan something because I already get Mondays off, so I just get to defer my Holiday time for use when I request time off, which I haven’t done lately.
I should definitely take some time off during Spring Break though. I was thinking of going to Southern California for at least a few days for part of it. Its always a great place to have fun and I would hopefully get to see Jessica who lives in the LA area too. Spending part of last year’s Spring Break in SoCal was lots of fun. Who’s interested in coming with me this time?
I heard that it rained today but I must have been too busy at work to look beyond the glass of the building I have stayed in for 10 hours.
So when the sky was falling, I didn’t look outside the window.
Step back and hear that woman from her car calling.
"Give up, you can’t take the fast road" I'd say.
It's just your doubt that binds her.
|» Maintaining Anticipation|
While I was alone at work on Thursday night, I called my mom and she told me that this year she has noticed a change in me for the better - Being more aware, empathetic, caring, boundary setting, and mature.|
A lot has happened in the past two months, but that has also been the case for the past year as well. I have been far busier living life than I have writing about it. I have gotten closer to many people (friends, family, God), made a couple of new friends in various places, really feel more like part of a church family (not just among twentysomethings), done quite a bit of traveling (even with Brandy, Shawn, Jeanne, and Joe), received a promotion at work, got accepted to my university’s Business professional program, was thrown a surprise birthday party (thank you SO much Jenn), boosted my overall GPA a bit this Fall semester (almost one tenth of a point), and had an absolutely wonderful Christmas & holiday season.
I look forward to the New Year because I can look back on all those positive things and anticipate that everything can only get better from here. In order for the anticipation to not turn into disappointment, I must be willing to do and give more than ever this year. So it is my New Years Resolution to have so much joy and appreciation for everything in my life that who I am lets people know that God can provide those things to anyone who seeks His eternal love.
While I am alone tonight, I am content in momentarily being that way because it is enough to be happy with who I am and to know that I have lots of people in my life who support that.
[Survey: Copy and paste the first sentence of the first post of every month of 2006.]
January: There I had no idea what to expect from this trip to Rocky Point.
February: Thirster Juices are nutritious and delicious.
March: Admitted students - Average ASU/transfer GPA: 3.44
April: I thought that the only thing I missed out on in my first trip to Rocky Point was seeing the beach during the day.
May: I have dedicated the past two weeks to getting my summer off on the right foot.
June: Its funny how you can look forward for two years to getting to a certain point in your career, but when it is actually coming, it is not as grand as you expected it to be.
July: I never get to do everything I want to before I go on a vacation: I didn't get more than a few hours of sleep, I didn't get to say personal goodbyes to everyone that I wanted to, and I didn't get to watch the TV shows recorded Sunday night.
August: At the start of the semester, everyone and their mom needs technical support - Including mine.
September: The week of my mom’s birthday, she got a call from my uncle and an email from my aunt.
October: As I walked home towards my car last night, I look back at the grades I've maintained and the amount of things I am getting done at work.
November: With feeling high most of the time, getting the urge to eat nearly twice as often as usual, feeling dehydrated, have a hard time getting a complete night's sleep, eyes somewhat red, my throat has felt a little irritated, I'm sure that I've lost a few pounds, and today I just started coughing some, I felt like some sort of drug addict.
December: While I was alone at work on Thursday night, I called my mom and she told me that this year she has noticed a change in me for the better - Being more aware, empathetic, caring, boundary setting, and mature.
Open my journal's 2006 archive/calendar to see the entries that they come from. As always, I have italicized any quotations (of conversation or otherwise) that I made within my entries. I went ahead and included sentences from "friends only" posts in the event that a "friends only" post was the only one I made for a given month.