Journeys & Writings of Paul

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

As the year winds down and the new year approaches, people start making resolutions of change. That is all well and good, but I have come to realize that the motives behind the desired change are just as important, if not more so, than the actual results.

I came to this realization as I was continually finding things about myself that I wanted to change. I found myself questioning God (in a highly unorthodox and irreverent manner might I add) why and naming off all the reasons why it would be better if he could simply "fix" all the things I see wrong. I felt a response from deep within saying, "If you accepted yourself like I accept you, then you wouldn't feel the need to change." Huh. Way to be profound and humble me in a split second, God.

So this year I am resolving to continue walking out my faith, working out my salvation, and trying to carry out one of the greatest commandments to its fullest, summed up this way:
1) Love God
2) Love others
3) Love self

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What i love about peru

There are many things that I grew to appreciate about Peru after living there for three months. For now I'll share one:


After each meal, those at the table say thank you to those they have enjoyed the meal and company with. I think that's such a neat practice. I know for me in my home growing up everyone ate their meals and then were off to the next activity. Additionally, each person serves themselves here in the United States. In Peru, those who prepare the meal serve up each plate and place them in front of the individual. When you are finishing up, you are asked if you want seconds, and if so, those are served to you as well (but trust me, you're given enough the first time and never need to ask for more). No one is expected to make their own plate. Every meal is an offering to those eating, if you will. There is additional generosity behind the food, behind the massive quantities given (especially to guests); the sharing that takes place. Meals are enjoyed, company is enjoyed, and these important rituals, more often than not known to us as humdrum in the states, in Peru seldom take less than two hours.

Food is such an interesting gateway into culture. More than the actual sustenance, but the customs that go along with it all. 

Ceviche & chica morada. My host dad in Lima is a chef! His food was delicious.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It is more blessed to give than to receive

One of my favorite things to do is learn.
My favorite thing about knowledge is that it is so expansive so that even after you think you have learned something, you still can relearn it on a deeper level.
In Peru I learned many things. I learned about a different culture, climates, history, language, transportation system, foods. The greatest lesson I (re)learned is this one recorded in Acts 20:35 where Paul quotes Jesus saying:

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Another way to say this is I learned humility.
The thing about learning lessons in humility is that often times the most poignant lessons in are the direct result of being humiliated.
This was the case for me as my pride was exposed and then stripped away.
This variety of pride happens to be the ugliest, for it is not the upfront, boasting, in-your-face pride, but rather is the deeply buried, quiet, inward selfishness that often goes unnoticed. Pride that is not intentional and cutting, but that is subtle and natural, coming out in sly disguises and sometimes even with good intentions laced throughout it.

I am still internally processing the various lessons I encountered in all forms in the past three months. I may elaborate on them once I feel that I have the language to connect with these lessons that have been burned in my heart.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to survive in peru

Here are ten tips that I have collected from my lived experience about how to survive in Peru:

  1. Have toilet paper on your person at ALL times
  2. Rid yourself of personal space issues while using public transportation
  3. Refuse as much food as you can politely (because you are served so much!)
  4. Look around you in EVERY direction before crossing the street (even on one way streets)
  5. Use earplugs for sleeping
  6. Use earplugs for studying
  7. Talk with Peruvians whenever possible
  8. Do a celebratory dance when you see the sun (in Lima)
  9. Bring warm clothing, lots of it
  10. Comfortable walking shoes are a must
Those are all the tips that I can think of at the present moment. I´m enjoying my time in Peru very much so far. I am learning and experiencing much. Lima is a bustling, diverse, huge city that is experiencing much development and is full of beautiful people.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


There are two things that I am certain of: uncertainty in life and the faithfulness of God.

I could write volumes about how God has guided me, been at work in my life, how I've changed, what I've learned, how I've grown and developed as an individual, etc. Instead I'll share with you some of the pieces that have helped me along in my journey:

Lamentations 3:19-24

"I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,

    and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness. 
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him."

2 Timothoy 2:11-13

"Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
    we will also live with him;
if we endure,

    we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
    he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,

    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself."

Psalm 121:1-2

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth."

Sunday, July 22, 2012


My life has been marked by the generosity of others.

I recognize that everything that I have been entrusted with thus far in my life I could have never have achieved without the love, support, and generous giving from an amazing base of supporters who have believed in my over the years.

I acknowledge this and yet still I put my hope not in government, not in family, not in friends, not in money, wealth, resources, but in the Lord. I say in my heart as the psalmist wrote, 
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, maker of heaven and earth." -Psalm 121:1-2
Thinking about all the opportunities I have been afforded and how I have been a recipient many gracious gifts over the years, my heart overflows with gratitude. I only hope that I am able to be a blessing to others in the same way that I have been so amply blessed.

This verse has been the one running through my brain like a broken record as this gratitude has been deeply resonating with me:
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth." -1 John 3:16-18
My friends joke about me having only one facial expression: a huge smile. Whether I'm happy, excited, sad, mad, injured, what you'll likely see is a smile. I smile when I frown, when I cry, even when I'm seriously injured (see photo below); I have come to realize that this can be a huge source of confusion. Though admittedly I sometimes use my smile to mask my sadness, fear, anxiety, or anger, I would say 96% of the time my facial expression is a true reflection of what my heart is feeling, even if the circumstance and my face don't match according to what it "should be". What my heart feels is joy from God, whose generosity I am most deeply grateful for above all else!

Photo credit: Anna? I smiled the entire night that I busted my head open, though I was in some serious pain and extremely sick.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The kingdom of heaven is like

I woke up with the parable of the pearl of great value in my mind one day last week. I got up and read the passage, which got me thinking. This blog post is a product of my pensive mood as I have been chewing on this. It's still raw, so be gentle with me.

The kingdom of heaven. Or as Jo-Ann Brant would be proud of me perhaps to have learned from her class, the reign of heaven/reign of God.

The kingdom of heaven is like…

There is such depth to Scripture. So the kingdom of heaven could mean: the literal place of heaven, the kingdom of God on earth, the presence of God, the value of a relationship with God, or perhaps elements of salvation, justification, sanctification, mercy, grace; or all these things wrapped up in one? Yes. And I don’t know. This is what Jesus says in a parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
-Matthew 13:44-46

The kingdom of heaven appears to you, comes upon you. When you find it and realize that there is nothing else like it, nothing else worthy of investing in, then you will sell all of your possessions literal and figurative so that you may obtain it.

The kingdom of heaven is sought out. There is nothing in this life worth living for. Not wealth, not fame, nothing. When you discover that heaven is the only thing of value in life, it is the treasure that you have always been looking for, you will be compelled to sell everything to have it.

Ironically, for the greatest and most valuable gift available, there are not enough resources that you could ever obtain to trade in for it. Thanks be to God for his son Jesus, the savior of the world, standing in the place as the pure payment so that I may receive the greatest gift without cost.

This makes me think of the following first few verses in Isaiah 55: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

And finally from Matthew 6:21, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

I have been thinking a lot lately about where my heart is and what motives lie within; my mind is swirling with thoughts, my own mingled with memorized snipits of Scripture.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You could win a pair of vibram fivefingers!

Alright friends, this is just a quick shout out for an awesome website I've stumbled across recently called They give away a pair of Vibram FiveFingers every month! Check out this website for great tips, reviews on barefoot running stuff, deals on running gear, etc. Coolest of all, you can sign up for a chance to win a pair of Vibram FiveFingers! Or sign up and win a pair then gift them to me. :) Here's the site:

Also, here are a few of my "trophies" or "prizes" as I like to see them as from some of my more recent runs.
A beautiful Catalpa tree flower (they smell amazing!)

A literal prize, a medal for placing first in my age category 20-29 in a 5K I ran May 26th

A beautiful sunset reflected in these clouds in the Eastern sky

 I don't have pictures for these next two, but some other little inspirational "trophies" that I recently found on my path, literally: 

  • The verse John 7:38 written over and over again in sidewalk chalk, presumably by VBS kids outside the church I ran by.
"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."
  •  On a trail that I was running on written in sidewalk chalk were a bunch of phrases and pictures that were encouraging such as, "don't give up!", "almost there!" and "the gates of inspiration" along with a picture of grandiose gates, etc. On a hot, humid, pollen-laden run, these words got me through my last mile when I was tired, hot, and felt like I was breathing through straws. :)
Get out there and move! I hope you're having a fabulous summer!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Maple scholars: 20 questions edition

I have just completed the second of eight weeks of the Maple Scholars Program I am participating in this summer for my school, Goshen College. Time for an update!

So what is this program you're involved with anyway?
Maple Scholars is an interdisciplinary research program. There are fourteen scholars this year working on projects ranging from algal biomass production to fair allocation to piano pedagogy methods. Students apply to work under a faculty member on their particular project, and once accepted work in conjunction with them for eight weeks during the summer.
 What is your project?
I am doing social research with Bob Yoder, the campus pastor. The research question I am working with is " how to strengthen Goshen College as a faith mentoring environment". My research is part of a larger work Bob had originally started under the college's Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL); it is a mixed methods project, but I am primarily working with qualitative data.
So what do you do for forty hours a week?
For the first week I did some pre-research; I looked at two other national longitudinal studies that are related to our topic, I have read over transcripts and listened to interviews from the two previous years of research, and have generally became acquainted with the subject matter. This included looking at the quantitative data compiled from two years of survey results sent out to the entire student body as well as faculty, staff, and administrators. I have edited some transcriptions as was needed, emailed the list of possible interviewees, set up interviews, etc.
Week two has involved me conducting interviews. After I interview the fifteen to twenty students, I will then transcribe the interviews word for word. Once those are all transcribed I will be working with NVIVO software to organized the data I have collected and look for the themes that emerge.
 Friday mornings we gather for a symposium to share the progress on our projects with one another.
Are you enjoying yourself?
Yes! I love this stuff! The project is the perfect meld between my two passions in life and my two majors. God and people. Sociology and Bible & Religion. I love both the nerdy sociological coding aspect and am also deeply interested in finding ways to equip the campus to be the type of environment that is holistically meeting the needs of the community that it is comprised of.
Do you have a life outside of this program?
I'm also running, hanging out with friends, cooking/baking great food, and generally really enjoying myself and the summer so far. You can write me! Or email me, or call/text me, or send a message via facebook or carrier pigeon. I would love to hear from you about your summer updates!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lessons learned

As I think back on this past year, my mind is reeling with all of the things that I have learned about leadership, friendship, relating to others, God, and the like. Below is one that is not new, but carries a deeper profoundness than before perhaps. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and wiser; in all reality it is probably more connected to the grace of God in my life, and his answering my desperate cries for the desire to be a more caring and understanding individual.

Listen to the stories of others - This is something that we did in my RA team this year. DaVonne made space for each of us to share our faith journeys with one another during our weekly meetings. I will speak for myself saying that it really helped me to see where my colleagues were coming from, the experiences that shaped them and brought them up until this moment. This gave me a deeper insight into the way they live, their gifts, struggles, etc. I really appreciated the vulnerability we shared as a group and I felt as though it helped us to get to know one another a lot better.
For me, this realization all boils down to this: everyone has a story; don't judge someone before you take the time to either listen to them or walk a mile in their shoes.

Yoder RAs for the 2011-12 school year, I love and appreciate each of you so much! I would like to say thanks you for great year of memories to Audrey, Austin, Julz, Justin, Luis, and Martin! And a huge shout out to our fearless leader, DaVonne. We couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stream of consciousness

It’s that time between dusk and dark; too dark to be dusk, too light to be dark. I like to run, ride my bike or go on a walk to clear my head. This is a beautiful night for it, except for the bugs, but if you want the good, you must take the good with the not so good also. If I were an inventor, I would create a bug catcher that in some way simulated hair, because as the wind whipped my hair while I peddled on, the bugs were held fast as prisoners in its clutches. I’m timing my breathing as I maneuver through clouds of gnats. I hate gnats. Are they gnats? Close enough. Small, and terrible when inhaled. When I clear my head I often just let thoughts fly, think about whatever comes to mind, from important things, to irrelevant things, to things on my heart and mind, philosophical questions, scientific quandaries, whatever.

In the midst of this mental free-write, I like to pray. Tonight I am so thankful that God does not tire of my conversation, so often one-sided. My thoughts fly so quickly that there is no room for a word from another to come in edgewise. I am so thankful that God doesn’t have better things to do, isn’t too tired to listen, is genuinely interested, deeply loves me, and is attentive to the things that concern me, no matter how infinitesimal they may be. Wow. This blows my mind every time I ponder it.

Smells have the ability to instantly transport me back in time.

As I bike past a wooden fence along the Winona Trail, wet with the evening dew an releasing its earthy redolence, I am instantly an eight-year old girl again at Day Camp with my girl scout troop, shy and insecure. We're on the mulch trail through the woods on a way to our next activity. My best friend Kayla is there at my side.

Recently on a Wednesday evening as I was in the middle of an interval run with my faithful and motivational interval partner Kristin Martin, the heavy scent of the towels being washed and dried in the Rec Fit Center zapped me back to the Philippines. It’s 115 degrees Fahrenheit, Jess and I have hailed a tricycle heading to Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City, Bohol to pick up our laundry. We walk into the tiny nook of a laundromat and instantly get even sweatier. How is that even possible? It is at least twenty, maybe even thirty degrees hotter in here. The air is thick with detergent and fabric softener smell. I taste it with each sticky breath. How do these women sit here each day washing, drying, ironing, and folding clothes in this environment? It’s a living I suppose.

Trikes in Tagbilaran City, Bohol

Laundromat ladies who we visited pretty much weekly

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Didn't see that one coming?

I love to catch people off guard and completely take them by surprise.

My mantra for life is: It is not that serious.

A close Spanish equivalent that I throw around often is, ¡no es para tanto!

We take life way too seriously. We take ourselves way too seriously. Pero, ¡no es para tanto! Es la verdad.

That is one of the reasons why I love to do things that are completely unexpected; it keeps things interesting.

I also am of the strong opinion that people cannot be defined in the sense of being put into a specific category. In order that I maintain a clear sense of who I am, I feel the need to shatter people's expectations.* For example, of what to expect from an introvert faking extroversion, a Christian, a nice/good person, a Resident Assistant, a Bible and Religion major, a sister of three brothers, someone who can be boringly studious at times, an only daughter, etc. I also like to surprise people with the extensive variety of music that I listen to, the fact that yes, I do drink but no, I don't go to parties, and yes, I do swear on occasion. Individuals are so multidimensional! Myself included.

That is one reason why I love getting acquainted with many different people. Though I have a small inner circle of close friends, I have many, many acquaintances. I value each and every relationship I have, no matter what the level of it may be. We can learn so much from one another and our various experiences.

A note before we get to some spontaneity, I must mention the fact that I am a person who deeply appreciates order, regularity, etc, etc. Insert any among of the many nouns that a perfectionist/type A personality would value here. However, variety is the spice of life. And I would just like to add that I am a self proclaimed "recovering perfectionist".

Two of the most recent (and memorable) ways I have embraced being spontaneous:

1. Anna and I cartwheel around campus as a form of transportation. It makes people smile. Or confused. Or both.

2. Approaching people to ask them the first thing that happened to pop into my mind while observing them doing something I perceived to be strange (such as when I noticed someone filling a bowl with peanut butter from across the Rott).

*My goal is not to compromise my morals/values in being spontaneous.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The valley

I first heard the prayer titled The Valley of Vision five years ago. It  resonates with me very strongly. Shortly after hearing it, I bought the book where the prayer originates from, and highly recommend it. The title of the book is The Valley of vision: a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. You can find the book on Amazon, or you can borrow it from me if you would like to peruse its pages free of charge. I am not usually a proponent of written prayers because I feel that they can stifle to very spirit and intention behind prayer; I find prayer to be very personal and flowing from within, but in this particular case I make an exception.

I feel that this prayer sums up one aspect of how I approach my own personal journey with God. I memorized it several years ago, and find myself reciting pieces of it in times of inner turmoil. I find that my attitude and outlook on life have the greatest affect on my experiences in life. I can truly say that the best times in my life have been the worst times; times of suffering in one form or another that I would never voluntarily return to, but am nonetheless grateful to have experienced. Now, without further ado:

The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,

    where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;    hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. 
Let me learn by paradox 
    that the way down is the way up, 
    that to be low is to be high, 
    that the broken heart is the healed heart, 
    that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, 
    that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, 
    that to have nothing is to possess all, 
    that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, 
    that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. 
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
    and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
Let me find Thy light in my darkness, 
                   thy life in my death, 
                   thy joy in my sorrow, 
                   thy grace in my sin, 
                   thy riches in my poverty,
                   thy glory in my valley.

*I also highly recommend the prayer titled "The Deeps". Seriously, come to me and ask to borrow this book sometime.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter reflections

I have three loves in life: Jesus, helping others, and my cat. (Okay, so the last one is a bit of a joke, but I seriously have more love in my heart for my cat than may be appropriate to be designated toward an animal.) Back to being serious…

The first love in my life is Jesus. Jesus is the single most important thing to me and he is central to my own identity. Today is Easter, the day when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the messiah.

I am remembering my Uncle Joe and my Pepa* on this day, who both passed away last year. I am still grieving their absence from my life, but am able to rejoice because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, those who believe will also be raised to life after death.

Flower heart from Pepa's funeral last April

I am so thankful today as we remember and celebrate Jesus' sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection. The authors of Romans and Ephesians say it well:

 7 “Blessed are those
   whose transgressions are forgiven,
   whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed are those
   whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
Romans 4:7,8
 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
-Ephesians 2:1-9
*Pepa is my paternal grandfather. When my eldest cousin Nicole started talking she couldn't say "grandpa", but instead pronounced it "Pepa". It stuck and thus was how he was referred to by his grandchildren.

Monday, March 26, 2012


The only thing better than getting mail at college is, well, nothing.

There is in fact nothing better than receiving a letter while away studying at college. And receiving a letter from a friend who is a living a great distance away has a heart-warming affect that is more easily felt than described.

Yay, mail! I received a letter from Marty who is currently at grad school in Belgium.
This single piece of mail made my entire week!

I look forward to having nieces and nephews, children, grandchildren, and having them be able to recognize my handwriting. I recognize the handwriting of my family and friends and can't image life without written communication. I have always loved writing letters since I first learned how to write and is something that I still practice weekly with great delight. Technology can never take that away from me!

Write someone you love a letter this week! If it's me, I'll surely write you back! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life isn't fair

My mother always told my brothers and me growing up, "Life isn't fair." 

This is a true statement. Another true statement is that you can indeed bust your head open! It's not a myth that mothers say to scare you! But that is another matter entirely…

Here is an example of the way that life isn't fair: Life catches you in your moments of weakness and ignoring all fighting etiquette, kicks you repeatedly in the stomach while you're down.

But in the midst of feeling this way, this is the Scripture that comes to my mind right away:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."
  Psalm 20:7

Check out what I found on Google. Appropriate, no?

 This song comes to mind also; I first heard while at Goshen College and have come to love because I identify with it so well:
How Can I Keep From Singing by Enya

And that song reminds me of this verse:
"Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
  Psalm 61:1-2

God has always been faithful to me, and has a pretty great track record for his faithfulness for that matter. I am confident in his faithfulness when I am able to find confidence in nothing else.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Here and now

Every once and a while (especially as of late) I catch myself looking around and saying inwardly, "What I am doing?"

Now I understand that this is in no way a foreign experience for someone my age. But seriously, what am I doing? I am attending college. My two majors are discipline that I love to learn about and involve what I see myself using for the rest of my life. However, I am not concerned with the future. The area that I seem to have the most difficulty trusting with is the here and now.

Let's get strait to the point: I have no clue how to live in the present. I am really quite terrible at it, I have found. I remember that six short years ago, it seemed that trusting God with my  future used to seem so difficult to me. I have come to realize that trusting all the uncertainty of the future to God is really easy in comparison with trying to live out the daily grind of honoring God and serving others.

God, in the midst of this uncertainty, I do trust you.

I often feel like a hamster in a wheel, stuck in a routine, running but not ever getting anywhere. I don't know what has all of the sudden made me weary of my current routine. I think that it is because it is not here that my ultimate satisfaction lies. I feel as though I am living without a direction, without purpose. I feel lonely. It is really hard to admit these things to myself; I don't know what to do with them. I am full of passion, talents, gifts, and willingness to boot! But as far as what to direct these towards, I am at a loss.

These are some of the things churning within me as of late. They are hard to process in my mind, to write in my journal, let alone blog about. And yet, I trust that honesty before my friends, family, and loved ones will help to carry me through.

I am thankful to you, my loving, patient, merciful God who guides and directs me through times that are filled with self-doubt and caprice.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I, being an introvert, have the tendency to ponder. I enjoy getting lost in thought and being introspective. As of late, I have desperately been searching for something to blog about in an effort to keep this thing rolling. I often think that I don't have anything extraordinary to share, and I don't really. Just normal things.

I think that it is reasonable to say that I am "normal", fairly ordinary. I do hesitate to use that word though, because I have trouble classifying people; they don't categorize well (this is a tangent that I will perhaps explore at a later date and time). Plus I think normal has connotations that don't exactly fit me, such as status quo and conforming. I'm too feisty for those words.

I marvel at the ability of others to express their thoughts so eloquently, to perform music, to write, to act, do athletics, etc. Don't get me wrong, I am not getting down on myself. I know that it is okay to appreciate things in others and that everyone can't be great at everything. I strive to be great in my own way, but more and more I feel that I am simply average. That's okay with me.

Allow me to try to express what I mean:

I have been told many times before that I am special, that I am destined for greatness, and perhaps I am. Or perhaps I am just here to live a normal life. To love God, to love others and to serve. For me, these things are sufficient. I love to learn. I hate it when I can't get something, like math. Math and Leanna don't mix. I really like to work hard. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me, but if I'm not giving all of me in what I'm doing, I would rather not even bother. I'm not exceptionally smart, but I put in whatever it takes to understand something to achieve at a high level. I'm not that great at relationships, but I genuinely love people. I am a paradox in so many ways. One of which is that I love people but am an introvert and being around people drains me. I'm rather simple, but also extremely complicated.

Those are some of the inner workings of one of my thought processes. They never come out quite how I'd like them too, but they're in pretty raw form. I am working on being candid and honest. This is a step toward that effort.

I came across this verse in Matthew several months ago think back on it often; it tends to pop into my head a lot. For whatever reason it resonates very strongly with me. It's the tail-end of a verse talking about Jesus and John the Baptist (which also appears in Luke 7:34-35):

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."
- Matthew 11:18-19

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy new year: 2012

Christmas is over, winter break is over, and now it's back into the routine of a new year. That means that an update is well overdue.

Break was wonderful. I was able to work at my previous place of employment, Goin' Postal, on Shawnee Road. That was such a blessing. It was nice to have structure to my day, see the old regular customers, and of course earn a bit of cash. I went dress shopping with the bridesmaids in Haley's bridal party and we selected our dresses. I was also privileged to accompany Haley when she tried on wedding dresses. She is going to make such a beautiful bride! I will confess that I did tear up when she put on "the one".

Christmas with my family was exceptionally nice this year. I was very grateful to be able to spend it with loved ones. Below is a picture on Christmas morning with my brothers.

Me, The Little One, Boyyy, Big Brothee
Other than work and family, I filled my time with running, for which the weather was perfect, visiting with friends, baking with The Little One, helping a friend move, cooking, reading, sitting with my cat, playing the Sims 3, etc. I had the perfect balance of productivity, doing things I enjoy, and vegging out.

Someone's artistic shot of our main Christmas tree this year.

Today marks the first day of embarking on a new endeavor: being intentional about the Sabbath. I completed all my homework by Saturday night so that I was able to focus on having time to rejuvenate myself as well as reflect on God on the Sabbath. I hope to be able to uphold this trend as I get into the thick of my courses this semester.