Monthly Archives: February 2010

All this because three women met at Marshall’s…

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Okay, so let’s start from the beginning.  No, let’s not – you all know that would take too long from a wordy person like me.  I believe most of us were aware that last June, after graduation from HSE, I started what I dubbed the ‘husband hunt’.  However, the bark was much worse than its bite – really I was just getting to a place after two years of being single that I felt the Lord was getting me to a place where I’d be ready to date again.  However, there was nobody on the Horizon.  No one.  Although I had people searching in different states, my grandma somewhat jokingly offering to hang flyers around Michigan, and a few free trials and subscriptions to Christian dating websites.  Nothing.  Combine all that with the fact that I am unwilling to compromise.  I do not desire to get married to someone where our relationship would not exemplify Christ and the Church.  I am quite happy in my Casa Camden Commune with four other amazing women!  So, it’s been more of a running joke than anything.  Amusing nonetheless.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  Mom and I were meeting in Oceanside for some dinner and shopping.  We were having a pretty eventful day walking around little shops and such and enjoyed a fabulous dinner and conversation at Soup Plantation.  Afterwards, we started walking around the little strip center some more and mom was feeling lucky so we decided to stop in Marshall’s to see if we couldn’t find my grandma some shoes.  We even decided to take a picture right there in the middle of Marshall’s.

As we wrapped around to the other side, a woman approached us commenting how fabulous it was to walk near other tall women.  This opened up conversation about being tall and having instant camaraderie and how fabulous it was, etc.  Then the lady made a comment on how her daughter feels like a shrimp in the family because she is only 5’9’’ and she herself is 6’ and her son is 6’7’’ – which, of course immediately sparked my interest.  My mom and I looked at each other and laughed as I inquired if her son was single.  To which she responded, ‘yes!’ and I quickly followed with ‘Is he a Christian?’ to which she responded excitedly, ‘YES!  He loves the Lord!’.  This led to another 20 minute conversation where her husband, Rudy, joined us and we talked about her son, Josiah, and lots of other random information (you can check out their website at healingstreamscc.org) Josiah is currently living on Catalina Island working as a chef at Intervarsity Ministries at a camp called Campus by the Sea – a place my mom had frequented with her Alanon group and absolutely loved!  By the end of the conversation, Lynn and I exchanged names and said we would find each other on Facebook.  I was unabashed in admitting I was on this so-called ‘husband hunt’ and she made the comment that she was ‘shopping for her daughter-in-law, but maybe she was shopping for a daughter-in-law!’  My mom gave Lynn a hug and told her it was nice to meet her daughter’s future mother-in-law and we left absolutely giddy and laughing hysterically!

That night, I went home and wrote Lynn an email and we had become facebook friends.  The next day, I had an email waiting from Josiah!  I shared my entire testimony with each of them and after a few more emails, Josiah asked if it was too early to ask for my number.  That evening, he called and we talked for FOUR HOURS!  I even took notes on the entire conversation so I could relay everything to the roommates when they got home.  Each day, the conversations continued.  We’d talk for 2-3 hours a night, with the roommates in and out and all about.  We’d put him on speaker phone and have conversations and he was a trooper.  I think he even really enjoyed it.  After all of this, we decided it was necessary to meet him in person ASAP!  There was so much lining up, so many conversations that were incredible, so many prayers and situations that were very similar, and come on – the moms had already even met each other (oh, and by the way, started exchanging emails themselves!)

So, I consulted with my roommates to schedule a wingman to accompany on my journey over to Catalina Island.  Jen agreed!  So Friday after work (that makes this sound like it was such an easy wait – which it was not!), we loaded up RegEnDev and headed up to Long Beach to catch the boat.  My mom met us in Long Beach so we could enjoy some dinner before jumping on the boat.  And Jen and I had a great time chatting and having photo shoots on the Catalina Express on the way over there.

We arrived at 8pm and Josiah was waiting at the dock for us (of course, we have all of this vide taped as well, for future viewing pleasure).  We jumped on another little boat his roommate was driving in order to go over to their location.  Upon arriving at camp, we met some people, took a little tour, saw our little cabin, enjoyed some coffee, and then played some games!  Jen headed to bed and Josiah and I had some time to ourselves to continue to talk about how surreal all of this was and how crazy that I was out there.  I mean, really all I can say is that it is crazy.  We serve a BIG God!  Jen and I stayed up a little later chatting and I finally enjoyed a full night of sleep!!  We woke up to Josiah bringing us coffee (major brownie points) and then got ready for the day.  We ate breakfast together and then headed out on a hike.  We could not have asked for a more beautiful day!  We wondered through the hills, the three of us talked, and we got to see more of his life out there in Catalina.  We got back, got ready, and enjoyed lunch before jumping on the little boat back to Avalon where Jen caught the 2pm ferry back to the mainland!  This left the whole afternoon for Josiah and I to walk around town!  We even ran into people from HSE who were returning from their Wilderness Trip – so Josiah got to meet a few more people!  We had a fabulous time at the wine bar in town (where the waitress told us with her sweet accent, ‘to just look at us and our body language and so in love’ – we just laughed because, little did she know, we were technically only on our first date!!)  We walked around some more, asked each other questions, listened to stories, and headed to the pool hall so Josiah could take on some locals.  I mean, what else are you going to do on an island?!  It was fabulous just being with him.  Talking, laughing, and getting a lot of looks – a 6’3’’ girl and 6’7’’ (I’m going with your mom, Josiah) man – quite the sight to see!  We ate dinner at a little pizza place in town and then walked back over to the dock where we talked some more (talking is not something either one of us have difficulty doing!). 

 You all know I’m a photo freak so we were taking pictures left and right and he held it out to take one of us so a man came up and offered to take our picture for us.  He was here from Russia and had been part of a big diving group that had come in to explore the island.  He took our picture and then showed us a picture he had taken just moments earlier on his phone.  He had been watching us from the other side of the dock and snapped our picture without us knowing!  Kind of creepy, yes, but also kind of sweet!  And supposedly, he’ll be emailing us a copy as soon as he can.

I got on the 7:30 boat with hopes that Josiah will be able to make it out for my birthday in a few weeks and with butterflies still in my stomach!  My mom and Jim were there to pick me up where I got to relive the whole weekend and go through all the pictures. 

It’s just incredible to sit back as all of this unfolds.  So grateful for how sovereign the Lord we serve is.  So amazed at how intricately involved He desires to be in our lives.  And praising Him for all He is and forever will be!

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A Place of Remembrance

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Sometimes it’s difficult to write about things as they’re going on because I become so consumed with what is directly in front of me, it’s nearly impossible to see how it will end – or even get better.  Thankfully, I’ve been around enough in these 27 (almost 28!) years I’ve been able to see many situations improve – or, more importantly, seen Christ glorified through these situations!

By November 2009, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and burnt out with my job.  Being confronted with the reality of what some of these poor kids go through on a daily basis is always a hard pill for me to swallow.  At least in LA, I was working with middle schoolers who were cognitively at an age where they could decide whether how their parents were living was how they wanted to live their lives.   Working at an elementary school, though, these kids are subject to whatever it is their parents decide to do.  And it broke my heart – and began consuming my thoughts.  I realized I was starting to lose sight of what I believed in as I became more distracted by the devastation around me.  I felt I wasn’t doing my part to help any of this get better – the Special Education department was quickly becoming everything I despised about what had been happening in LAUSD.  Granted, it’s our first year creating this program and it’s easy to fall into what is known, familiar and comfortable; but I didn’t like it nonetheless.  So, I created a plan.  I considered what an ideal Special Education department would look like that would service the needs of ALL the students, not just mine already identified as Special Ed (anybody not in education has probably lost focus by now…and I’m sorry, I just have a terrible memory and this is more for me to remember all the the Lord has done and shown in my life so I can look back and continually praise Him!).  At some point in November, the directors, my boss, the CEO, and the SpEd support staff gathered together and we discussed this plan.  Everyone was on board but there was one major dilemma – where was the space needed to implement the plan?!  We decided to brainstorm and come back together.  Well, by December, things kept storming along.  We kept reacting and kept putting out fires as they came up and it was nearly impossible to be proactive (something I am NOT comfortable with!).  Over the break, I became aware of the fact that many things that were supposed to have been completed were not.  And, at that point I decided to disengage a little bit.  It is incredibly difficult to remain doing something with your whole heart that you do not believe in whole-heartedly.  It wears you out, consumes you, distracts you – all of my roommates can attest to this happening in my life.  And, for those friends who I neglected during these times; I apologize!

Two days after returning to work after a three week break, I was right back to where I had been.  And I was finally at a point where I was unwilling to do that any longer.  The things that weren’t getting done were jeopardizing my integrity at the school – and most importantly, were negatively impacting the students’ at the school.  I compiled a list of occurrences that quickly showed me I was not making this all up; this was truly becoming a moral conviction.  Wednesday, I stayed home to seek the Lord and decide what to do.  During a run the week before, as I rationalized every reason I could not quit in the middle of the school year (disappointing the kids, my bosses, being jobless with no income, being unsure of what to do next), I clearly heard the Lord say ‘Are you willing to forsake all of this for Me?’  Whew – a little convicted.  Was I willing to sacrifice my security, my reputation, my identity as a teacher and hard worker to stand up for righteousness?  I started thinking about how I was a Christian and how people on my campus and my boss knew that – what would they think would I quit?  And, more pressing on my mind; what would they think of Christ if I quit?!  God turned it around for me that day, though.  What would they think of Christ if I DIDN’T quit?  And, regardless of that, was I even willing to lay aside all of my people-pleasing ways to do what was so uncomfortable, unsafe, and unknown?

The following Thursday began a chain of events that all seems a blur now – basically, while turning in my letter of resignation, I was told that they weren’t going to accept it.  They said that I had been a dynamic influence on that campus and they weren’t willing to let me just walk away – what would I need to happen to make me willing to stay?  Not exactly what I thought would happen – in fact, I had already thought about becoming a flight attendant, had turned in my application for substitute teaching, and had signed up for massage school again.  However, going into that meeting was such an interesting situation – I felt so prayed up and prepared and was able to go in confidently stating my position in a professional way.  It felt surreal because typically I am not that well-spoken in moments when I’m so nervous – all the credit goes to Christ! 

A group of us met together the following week to readdress our original plan and discuss how we would make this happen so that students could start benefitting; after all, that is why we go into teaching, right?!  We got approved to hire two additional staff and have meetings in the work for one more.  We were provided more space, more resources, and more time to make some pretty incredible things happen there!  Over the past month, I have not felt more motivated, encouraged, and inspired to do the work that I do. 

It is so interesting to me that as we seek Christ, our perspective so drastically changes.  The circumstances might not; in fact, they might even get seemingly worse.  It infuriates me when churches and pastors try to ‘sell’ Jesus as this thing that we do when we want things to get better.  Let me just tell you, my life FELL APART when I accepted Christ as my Savior almost 8 ½ years ago.  We are GUARANTEED trials and tribulations and persecution…the verses relating to these issues say WHEN they happen, not IF.  It’s not a question about if opposition will arise or the going will get tough – but when.  And, then it is all about how we respond to it.  Am I going to remain self-focused and get lost in a sea of doubt and discouragement – or am I going to press into knowing Christ more and continue to praise Him, to bless His name, to seek Him, to surrender to Him not in spite of what is going on – but BECAUSE of what is going on.

He also promises He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  And He is FAITHFUL.  I have seen Him bless this step of obedience in incredible ways.  It was not an easy thing to do, but we’re never told it’s always going to be easy.  I can list some of the ways that He has blessed our little community, but I think I’ll wait until next weekend to do that.  Keep you on your toes…and pursuing Him so you can get to know His heart for you more clearly!

I read a great article on the importance of remembering (hence the reason, I’m so grateful I blog or else I would have lost memories of so much…)  The article brought up that if we don’t remember what God has done in our lives, “memories of who God is and what he has done over the years will slowly fade or distort as they simply accommodate to sinful, human expectations of who God is and how he acts.”  I encourage you to remember….

WHAT IS HE DOING IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?!?

Manic Monday Musings

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Ever had one of those mornings?!  Well, today I experienced just that!  It all started out very chaotic for a Monday morning…maybe just magnified in comparison to my extremely restful weekend (following a decision made on Friday not to drive in my car anywhere and to spend some much needed time praying, reading, and relaxing…so sweet it was!).

5:17am I wake up abruptly to the sound of our door opening and closing…seemingly incessantly.  Somehow, this gets incorporated into my dreams where I end up on a rampage – mad at my roommates for the dramatic opening and closing of doors and in the midst of my going off, I realize that someone has eaten my banana (which, in real life, I wrote on with a sharpie last night letting people know it was mine).  Through this dream I realize I am not quite as calm and collected as I have been believing lately.

6:21 Startled, I wake up again.  I am moving.  And feeling a little seasick.  The building is making some noises.  I realize that there is an earthquake and have the following succession of thoughts: “I wonder if I should go into my closet…no, that’s too far away”  “I remember mom telling me to hide NEXT to a big piece of furniture; I wonder if I’d get hurt if I just rolled out of bed onto the floor for safe keeping” “I think I’ll just stay here…if anything happens, I’ve talked to everyone lately and they know I love them.”  Seven seconds later, the motion stops and I quickly text all my roommates with, “Earthquake?’ wondering if anybody else just experienced what I did.  Nope.  They thought I was crazy, but my craziness was quickly dismissed after finding the details out online…not a very big one off the coast of San Ysidro or something.  Kind of concerning the building was creaking so much with a 4.4 38 miles away…

7:11 Somehow I have slept through 26 minutes of alarms, all of which I’m pretty sure were incorporated into my dreams.  I begrudgingly get up and walk the dogs.  Mind you, I have never done this in the morning before.  So, we walk.  And wait.  And they relieve themselves.  And I pick it up.  And somehow by the time I get back upstairs 8 minutes have passed.  I have not even gotten dressed yet and I’m supposed to be at work in t minus 11 minutes!

7:19 I frantically look through my closet for something to wear.  I seriously never have problems with this.  Ever.  At least not when going to work.  But, somehow, I end up in a sweat by the time I take off and put on four different sets of clothes before reluctantly keeping on the last outfit (not reluctant to keep on an outfit in general, I know that’s a necessity.  But, I’m not sold on my outfit I’m wearing today.  Something seems off.  At least I could spice it up with the incredible earrings my sister got me for Christmas!)

7:38 I finally make my way out the door and decide that since I’m parked in the alley and conveniently have to pass our neighboring 7-11, I might as well treat myself to some coffee.  Afterall, it has been a tough morning.  And I’m already late.  So, I get a little french vanilla blend and make my way across the traintracks to RegEnDev who has been happily sedentary all weekend.  Upon reaching the tracks, I get stopped by not one, not two…but three trains!  And they weren’t all passing at the same time.  One would pass and as it seemed that it would be about time for the little caution guard things to go up, another would toot its horn in approach.  There goes another 6 minutes.

7:54 I finally arrive to work.  24 minutes late.  Not bad considering the morning I’ve had!  However, I did get to enjoy the banana I labeled last night and I also got ahold of Lindsay on the way to work for a brief catch-up session (she also had a crazy Monday morning)…so if this is any inkling as to what I should expect this week…or this month for that matter….BRING IT ON!

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
       my body also will rest secure…”  Psalm 16:9