Tuesday, November 28, 2006

snow is here

The first snow of christmas (i think it's already snowed this year, so it's not technically the first snow of the year..), and it's beautiful.. and my smith family is listening to the song from breakfast at tiffany's.. oh dear! is there a sadder song than that?? and with the snow... oh my. ha nevermnd, they're watching the movie.. i can hear mickey rooney yelling at audrey hepburn.

today was.. yea one of those.. do you eer feel like you come across a day that hates you? today hated me.. maybe it's cause i had a bad dream. hmm.. in any case.. it's over now, thank you, and i tried very hard not to hate it back, but didn't always succeed. i hope tomorrow likes me. i'm going to take a hot shower. showers don't hate me. :P

After all, tomorra is, anothah day (in my very best scarlett voice)

by the way, mom, you are not my "lord family" you are my family family. lol. and you will like the beth moore video this week, she talks about her dogs....

Monday, November 27, 2006

kitchens and islam

Last night I walked through the door with arms full of groceries to find out that we have a kitchen! I was so excited, there may have been dancing… (after a few trips from the car bringing in all the groceries and nice clean clothes!)

So we have a kitchen, sink, cabinets, counters… mm… and I spent several hours putting stuff away (something I actually enjoy doing. It’s like therapy), and then put up some more Christmas lights ☺.

Sounds like a good evening, yes? But the best was getting to visit with a man and his wife from Niger (which I found out is pronounced nee-jhair) who were having a late Thanksgiving dinner with my Smith family. I came up for pie, and got to listen to Ahmadu talk about his culture and religion. He is Islamic, along with almost all of the rest of his country.

It amazes me to see how devoted they are, and how much respect they have for it. He only said the name Mohammad once, and he followed it with Peace be upon him. The other times he just referred to him as the Prophet. He never mentioned Allah, except to say that in his sect of the religion (Sunni), they do not believe in the prophets, but only in god. We sat and listened and questioned as he talked about their history and traditions.

At BSM a week ago we had a North Africa night (I got to wear a Punjabi), and one of the things Lainee told us was that as women in that culture it was viewed as suggestive to look at a man’s eyes. We tried to talk to the guys without making eye contact and it was so difficult.

One thing Ahmadu said was that in the temple, the women have to pray behind a veil, separated from the men, and that is to enable the men to focus solely on the prayers. Also, something I didn’t know, was that the women also cannot pray aloud, and that this is also to keep the men’s minds pure. I hadn’t ever thought about this in that way, but Randy mentioned that the bible also says that women are to keep silent (which I do think is meant to be kept in context). I hadn’t ever considered, though, that that might be the reason behind Paul writing that. I don’t know that it is, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless.

The Islam and Sikh religions seem so close to Christianity, but still they’re so far. They are more devoted, which is a terrible thing, and they believe so strongly. Still, for all their devotion, they are missing out on everything that means anything. They don’t know the I AM, who is all holy and powerful, but also who is Love and Joy and Peace. They don’t know the Beloved Creator of their souls. They don’t see His love in the sky, or His beauty in the stars and flower, or His patience in the waves.

Yet even though I can see all this, I am not on my face before Him 5 times a day. I don’t know all of His words by memory. Just because I don’t have to. I should want to, and sometimes I do, but sometimes (most times) I live like the spoiled child I am, taking everything for granted.

And on that cheerful note, I have to go. Closing time ☺!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Christmas is here! Christmas is here!

Christmastime! What a nice word.. hmm.. doesn't it just make you want to snuggle up on a couch with some hot chocolate and watch snow falling down... or listen to christmas music and decorate with bright colorful things... or enjoy wonderful christmassy traditions with family! I get to do that tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is our christmas tree decorating day. That is my favorite thing to do with my family. We have snacks we eat every year, and our special christmas punch ;)... and we each have a little box of ornaments we get each year. Some are old handmade ones, some are gifts from different people, most are from my mom who gives us one each year. We also hve a couple boxes of different ornaments we all put on, lots of memories.. Reminiscing to christmas music and the dusty white cookies that only Emma eats lol.

We even get a real tree again this year. We had to get a fake one wen we had a wood stove because we like to have it up for quite a while, and the fire would dry it out too quickly.

I remember a cartoon we watched with the disney characters, and part of it was the chipmunks causing mischief. They were living in the christmas tree, and it was so beautiful in there, I always wished I were small enough to fit in the branches... hehe.. like the borrowers.

Well, I have to go. We're going to watch a christmas movie, and drink something warmish, and eat gingerbread cookies!

Hello Christmas, I've been waiting for you....

Monday, November 20, 2006

Santa stories

I have two santa stories for you all tonight. (And I just saw the Messiah, and no not THE Messiah.. you know, the halelujah halejuah lalala one... and my Smith family is putting up christmas decorations... and I went in the christmasy section at the store.. and, well, what would you do? I just had to put on christmas music! I had no choice in the matter. I tried, really I did, to keep this week consecrated to Thanksgiving, and really I have done a good job so far, considering.... I have come to the conclusion that I am way too thankful for Christmas not to celebrate it this week. so now!) (I have also come to realize that I may love parentheses as much as the author of the Princess Bride...)

Santa story number 1: ahem* I was at the Place with a bunch of people (just so you can picture this *mom*, there were at least 20 of us...) There was an old man sitting at a table there who really looked just like Santa Claus. He had the fluffy white beard, spectacles, everything! After we were done (I left at this point due to reallyreally cold weather), one of my friends decided he wanted of picture of aforementioned Santa, and so devised a plan. (this is the part where you begin to feel intense suspense.) She had another guy standing by the door to pose for her as she took a picture of him. Or so she wanted Santa to believe. So when Santa came out the door, she was ready for him. Well folks, Santa is a smart kid.. He saw through her plot, but being a jolly old fella, he kindly asked her if she would like a picture with Santa Claus. (more suspense) He goes to his car (a clever decoy, who would suspect a santa in a car?) and pulls out his red santa claus suit. yes.. it is true... but there is even more.. After the unsuspecting girl takes the picture, she looks at her camera to see that it is broken! All there is to see on the screen are red and green lines...

True story.

Santa story number 2: I was reading the news online the other night and came across a story on the mysterious Secret Santa. Apparently this little old man has been giving away money since 1979. It started off with $20 for a sad looking waitress, and turned into hundred dollar bills for people who looked like they needed it. This Secret Santa has given away over a million dollars! Isn't that incredible? I love it. How beautiful..

When I got to work this morning I found our that the new receptionist, Stephanie, had been killed in a car accident. It's unbelievable.. Death never seems so real as when it comes to someone you didn't expect it to hit. Pray that the people I work with there will be thinking about this, and searching for the Savior. Pray that I will be a light that they can see, so when they have questions they know they can ask me. Pray for wisdom, and that I will be serving the Lord in the place He has put me.

Good night all.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

day off

My day off, and what am I doing?? After all the wishing for time to go hiking, to be outside, to be ding something?? I am inside watching a movie and being absolutely lazy. that, is sickening, and so I'm going to go run for little while at least. A least my morning wasn't quite so lame. I hung out at the coffee house for a little while and got to talk to one of the regular saturday-morning-ers. he's an amazing old man who loves the Lord, and I got to hear some stories and encouraging words. what better way to spend a morning than that? :). I actually go there when I can, on saturday mornings cause I know there'll be great conversations to listen to lol.

Can you imagine tears on the face of Joy? Or heartache in the heart of Love? It struck me while talking about something or other that's going on in the world.. How unbelievable. How indescribable, the love of God, the things He knows and sees at every moment! that's my revelation of the week.

well I'm off before the sun sets! Happy thanksgiving week!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sierra Leone

Did you know you can get blisters on the bottoms of your feet?? You can...

I just got back from the AMAZING Sierra Leone show. It was so much fun, definately recommend em. They're a refugee band (from Sierra Leone lol). They played reggae and tribel music, and we were dancin like crazy the whole time. it was quite a show. Praise our Lord that they made it out of there!

So this weekend is the first I've had in a looong time in which I have almost no plans (woohoo!!) and so after I sleep (a lot) I think I'll do whatever my heart so desires. All day long. Oh glorious. My heart will most likely desire chai from Macy's and a good trail with my Beloved. Besides that, ah the possibilities! Mahvelous. I am quite excited about this, guys.

My Beloved, my Beautiful One, has blessed me. Did you know, if you condense the world's population to 100 people, only 1 of them would have a college education? only 1... I am blessed to live here. may I be more thankful!

It's Thanksgiving next week (already!!!), and I've been reminded of how much I have to celebrate! I have a wonderful family, I've never had to wonder whether I'm loved. I have amazing friends, they are all such wonderful portraits of God.. I live in the mountains, I can go to school, I can see and smell and hear. I'm healthy. There are stars in the sky and there is food in my stomach (from thanksgiving dinner at new song...) I go to such a great church and i praise my Beloved freely. Most of all I know Him. I don't have to live a meaningless, lonely life! I never will..

Well, I am going to bed now, and I am not setting an alarm! hehe... love it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yay for a new camera!! (I dropped my other one, and it would've cst more to fix it than get this one...)

Evelyn, the little girl Bethany watches.. also my old roommate's daughter...

Strider, at the shack one afternoon...

Me and Lauren at Fuzion, in our fancy suite at the Embassy... so nice! We had two rooms.. and a kitchen.. and the 'complimentary' breakfast, was made to order! ahem.. we saw the mafia there too.... cough cough...

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Some pics of the park when it was done... Well, just got back from the conference, and now I'm sitting in the laundry place by Macy's, drinking a delicous soy chai/talking to the lady who owns the place.

The whole point of the conference for us was that we got to make a park for the city of El Mirage. It was the hardest work i think I've ever done in my life. I got a few good blisters :)... There is a christian landscaper who planned/organized almost everything. It wasn't a children's park, which I had expected, it was a nice landscaped area with a pathway. When we arrived in the morning it was a dirt lot. (It's a pretty good sized one too.) About 200 college students filed off the buses and off to work we went. I spent almost the entire morning shoveling gravel into wheelbarrows. We got a pretty good system going. It was hard work, but I loved it! My last post was kinda my frustration with my own laziness this last week, so this was perfect.

And this is Lainee takin a pic of the whole group...

We had about half an hour for lunch which Ralbertos catered for us (and I could eat it, thanks to Lainee who had them bring bean burritos :)), then we went back to work til 5 or 5:30. I shoveled more, scavenged for dirt clods, and learned all about drip lines. I even became one of the drip line nazis hehe... and I got a knife... oh yes. Lol, explanation: since we didn't have much (any) training in this, the drip lines were a little screwed up, they were too long and wouldn't have been watering the plants, so I went around fixing them.

And these are some of my fellow drip line nazis...

This is what I did most of the day. It was funny to watch wheelbarrows coming out of a cloud of dust!

It's so neat to watch people as they work. You know everyone's tired and ready to go (I was ready to go after about an hour lol), but there was no complaining, and people were very encouraging and optimistic.

We all had a good time that night, swimming and listening to amazing musicians play guitars by the fire, and of course some shakes at In n Out. It was a good trip, despite some things....

So today, I could barely move. Oh so sore. What a good workout! :)

Most of our group before we left on Sunday morning...

It's back to work tomorrow. It's always wierd to go back to a normal schedule after having been away. But first, i gotta tackle some dishes! Dirt beware! And may the Spirit of the Lord bless you and be with you.

Friday, November 10, 2006

time again

I am so unproductive this week!

bleh... (that's how I feel). I started out good this morning, got up early, went for a hike, etc. And then I don't know what happened. I had every intention of cleaning, doing laundry, attacking the overwhelming mound of dishes with soap in hand... and did I do any of that? no.. and I haven't even been sitting around! It's like 3 hours just disappeared into thin air. that, is frustrating. And now, I have to go to work. and then fuzion (I did actually finish packing, so one thing got done..)

Oh well... I'll do it on Monday night...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Catch a Fire

I saw Catch a Fire tonight, and cried during a movie for the second time this week! The sorrows of the world can b so overwhelming. my friend says it's a social worker's disease.. to want to go everywhere and fix everything. The thing is, I can't do it. I can't fix anything. How could I possibly "fix" a child who was forced to watch their loved being beaten? How could I "fix" a young girl who has been sold, by her family, into the sex slavery? Fix is such an awful word when it comes to things like that. No, you cannot undo what has been done, and you cannot restore a broken heart to what it was before. You cannot replace innocence. You cannot wipe out a memory. I cannot, I cannot! No one can. God can, but He doesn't. He heals. He gives. But evil is not reversible. It makes me so angry, so confused as to how people can be so evil! So inhuman! Such wicked, evil people... And then to know that I allow evilness in my heart. not the same kind, but what is wrong is wrong. I want to scream at those people, I would see them dead, but why not me too? i need to feel the same anger at the sin in my life. The same repulsion.

Oh God! Thank you for freedom! Thank you for cleaning me! Thank you for your heart.

I have the gift of mercy. I suppose that's why I am studying Social Work. I can't see movies about things like that without wishing I could help in any way. If I could buy all of the children in the brothels, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But what would I do then? I cannot save them from their memories.

We can pray. Pray for the people enslaved around the world, in America there are thousands. In Thailand and Hong Kong there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands. In Africa, it is more than a nightmare. it is a reality, that the children walk miles every night to sleep in shelters so that they won't be kidnapped. It is a reality that tonight children are praying their legs won't be cut off in the morning because they made a mistake in their chores. It is real. It is happening right now. And I, I am in a safe, comfortable house with food and dignity. With dreams and security. And it is a wonder I am not flat on my face every morning with Thankfulness. It is not wrong to be safe. It is not wrong to enjoy what the Lord has blessed you with. It is wrong to ignore the suffering of others. It is wrong, not to love them as ourselves, not to give what we have. It is wrong not to thank God for what we do have. I fail in this every moment. In fact I want more. Incredible. Sickening?

Thank the One who sees us, the One who hears the cries of his children. The One who gives Himself to us. And what is He? He is Love, he is Joy, he is patient, kindness, goodness. I could use some peace right now. maybe He is calling me to go to the suffering, but I will not go alone. I would have nothing to give.

No, the kind of fasting I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn. 7I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 8“If you do these things, your salvation will come like the dawn. Yes, your healing will come quickly. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 9Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! 10Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day. 11The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. 12Your children will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as the people who rebuild their walls and cities.
Isaiah 58:6-12

Sorry it's not a happy post. It's not a completely happy world though, and I had to at least somewhat process this before I can sleep! Thanks for letting me work some of the way through. And what a blessing to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving! For freedom!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mr. Time, sir, please wait for me!

Time has been altogether elusive lately. I am finding it hard to catch a minute, just to catch up you know, grab some coffee.. Actually, this year hasn't been so bad. I mean, yes Time is running away faster than ever, but I have had a good autumn-time. I actually made it to Oak Creek, Lockett Meadow, Young's Farm, and a new discovery, the courthouse in Prescott where I spent a lovely sunday reading a book and people watching while drinking a latte that was not too shabby. Yes, it was a good Fall. Let's make TIme give us everything he's got eh? Dancing under the stars, twirling my sister, watching the sunrise because I can, smelling the crunchy colorful leaves!

I think one of the secrets to remembering life as more than just a blur of activities and "things to do" is to make yourself sit down and stop at least once a day.

I enjoyed a beautiful sunset on Friday night when I should've been cleaning dishes lol.. (Well, I wasn't actually supposed to be doing dishes yet, but I usually start them at that time) It made my day so much more day-ish and less whatjusthappenedandisitalreadytimetosleep-ish. the One who sees me has spent time trying to make things here on earth so that we can enjoy some of his beauty.

I was thinking, watching that sunset, what beautiful thoughts our Lord must have. And then I thought, well we are his thoughts too, and how much more time did he spend on us?

I want to see the beauty of His mind, I can't understand how so much can be in One. How much Joy, happiness, grace and justice, pain and longing yet being everything there is.. and none of it contradicting, but all of it so intense! I think my emotions are intense sometimes, but they are nothing by comparison.

So tomorrow, I am leaving in the morning to drive back up to the mountains... my other home. My family is my real home, but the mountains can be one of my homes too. if that makes sense (and, well, even if it doesn't. it is my blog after all.) And I am going to enjoy it. I am going to get some coffee (with caffeine lol.. my dad made decaf without telling us this morning. thus my headache.) and I am going to drive in silence or some good praise music, probably both, and i am going to have the windows down, and I am going to have a sunday. Then hopefully, i am going to share some stuff about Jesus and other cultures he made with some kids. good night all. May the Lord (the Lord! the Holy One!) bless you, and KEEP you, and may he cause His Face to SHINE upon you! all the days of your life.