Monday, November 24, 2008

Spending Time with the Good Book

I’ve fallen behind on my Bible reading. At one point I was ahead of my plan, but well…. I’m gonna look at the positive: I’m reading. I’ve gotten much farther and understood much more than any other previous try I’ve made to read through the Bible. I have a greater desire to understand the lessons God has placed throughout the book and so maybe I’ve taken breaks from reading here and there, but there’s no stopping.

And maybe it’s not a one-year reading plan anymore. It’s okay, I’m fine with that. I am currently into the Book of Isaiah [NIV], which is about halfway. I’m doing well. So I suppose it is now a 2-year reading plan. That actually might be better because I am slow!

Or God’s just telling me to take it slow, spend as much time on His word as I need, He will walk me through it.
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I’ve found a couple of things useful for gaining a better understanding of the Bible. One of them is listening to podcasts. The three main podcasts that have helped my understanding [and the ones I try to keep up with] are Renewing Your Mind [R.C. Sproul], Truth for Life [Alistair Begg] and Insight for Living [Chuck Swindoll]. These work for me but maybe a different podcast would work for you, that’s okay. Or one could continue under the guidance of the sermons of one’s pastor, but I find it helps to hear different perspectives on things.

Another thing that helps me understand better is a good Bible study group. In the past I have struggled with finding one that helps me really dig in. The emphasis had been on getting together and socializing. Building relationships with one another is important but for me, if one is going to call it “Bible study,” the Bible should be opened at some point. With the groups I’ve observed in the past, it was okay with them if time ran out and they didn’t get to the lesson at all. That was frustrating to me as I wanted to learn more about God’s Word.

I did finally find a study group with Crusty, a good friend, and Rowena, our discipler. We had a good balance between studying and socializing. We had the desire to know God more. I think we were together for a few months before Rowena and her family moved away, about 9 0r 10 years ago I think.

During those 9 or 10 years of being without a study group, I believe God was preparing my heart and mind…for NOW. God brought me back closer to Him and in a church again where He placed me in contact with getting to know a group of young people. Eventually I felt comfortable enough and ready to join in their BS. They have that good balance of studying and socializing with that desire to know God more. An added incentive with joining this particular group is that they are under the care of a friend of mine who has a graduate degree in Divinity. I know that I will learn something when I go to their study group.

The podcasts and the study group do not coincide with where I am in reading the Bible and that is okay. I’ve remembered certain lessons or insights from podcasts and recognized them when I got to that passage. The study group is structured to alternate between going through the Bible book by book and topical studies. I am ahead of where they are in the Bible and so it is a good review for remembering what I’ve already read, or for going back and thinking “Ah! So that’s the lesson there!” or for having a question I had answered.
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The podcasts and study group are what helps me understand the Bible. I am also reading a daily devotional [although I am imperfect with the ‘daily’ part] by the Blackabys called “Experiencing God Day-By-Day.” The devotional is also helping me on my journey.

I’d like to hear about your Bible reading journey, the things that have helped you along the way in understanding or encouragement, or anything else you would like to share! Please leave a comment, or email me if you have the address, and as a reminder comments may be left anonymously.

Mahalo for reading!

Links:
Truth for Life
Insight for Living
Renewing Your Mind

[or find them all on]:
OnePlace.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Update It

Great Live Music
Last night, I went to a concert given at KUC featuring Micah Teruya. I was tired, but I decided that spending a night with great music would be good for me. I was right.

I plan to write more about Micah and his music in another entry, but being that I do not post entries on Sunday, and I’ve been setting up this update entry, I thought I would get some time-sensitive info out to my readers.

See the posted flier for more info on where Micah will be playing this week. Try to catch one of the shows if possible or check out the websites listed to hear the songs! Also, his CD is available online through his website.



Dominating a Fantasy
Alright folks! We are in the 12th week of Fantasy Football! I am working on a 9-win streak! That is crazy!

I won last week’s match up by TWO points. It was so close. If my opponent’s last player had made the touchdown, I would have lost. Goodbye win streak. Start over. But he didn’t and I won. :D
And so I have remained in the top position of the league for a few weeks. That feels great, but then the pressure is on. I can see the finish line. 5 weeks to go until playoffs. Can I do it? Can I win the league? I think I can.

What would it mean? Absolutely nothing. lol


What Kinda Fan Are You?!!
So I’ve been completely not paying attention to my teams. I have no idea who the QB is for the Warriors. I have watched one Wahine VB game on TV this season and I think it’s time for regionals already? I have no idea.

I’ve followed with what’s going on with the Cowboys and the Colts [NFL], but not as closely as I did last year. Last year, I stayed home on Sundays and watched games with Dad. This year, I’m in church, trying to [at the least] be a good role model for younger people and having no idea what I’m doing there either. But I’m there.

Well, I fail as a fan. Hopefully that means I am succeeding elsewhere.
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I think that’s enough update for today. Wow, 4 entries in 1 week; I've spoiled you guys this week!

Go catch a Micah Teruya showing.

Mahalo for reading this entry!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Long As God Can Grow It!

Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair!
Shoulder length, longer
Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair!
Flow it, Show it;
Long as God can grow it, My Hair!

They'll be ga-ga at the go-go
when they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond, brilliantined, Biblical hair
My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it


That’s some of the lyrics to “Hair,” a musical about the 60s.

Anyways, my hair has been the longest it has ever been in my life! The length was at least to the middle of my back. It took about a year, with a few trims in between, to grow that long. I hope I did an okay job taking care of it. I was starting to feel like I could start doing that toga line from the song soon!

And now it’s gone.

Sort of. I was growing it out for a purpose and now Phase I of my little project has been completed!
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[I've used this pic before but you can kinda see how long my hair was getting. I know, I shoulda gotten a pic from the back.]

The long hair was getting ridiculous! I generally keep my hair about shoulder length. When I worked at F21, I cut my hair short and my co-workers remarked at how brave I was. Another time, Apple and I were sitting at the mall when a lady came up to us and offered us free haircuts. That was cool; she was a student but with prior experience at the salon down the hallway. She needed to practice those really short short cuts, so I went short short. It felt strange at first, but it looked good!

And I’ve watched a few makeover shows where they want the lady to cut her hair and the lady goes into fits and crying ‘cuz she doesn’t want it cut! Ridiculous, hair grows back.

This past season of LONG hair started to annoy me. The hair was getting stuck under the straps when I carried a shoulder bag; I wasn’t comfortable lying down on the pillow and when I would try to rollover, I couldn’t ‘cuz I was on my hair; I’ve never used so much shampoo, conditioner, styling products [what are those?]! I liked HAVING the long hair, but not really having to spend so much time on it!

I was gonna go to a professional salon to do this recent cutting. I figured I would treat myself a little for having taken care of the hair and not having had a good haircut in awhile. Apple had tried this salon place and was very happy with the experience. It’s a partner school where a student cuts the hair under the supervision of an instructor. Well, why not?

I wanted to have it cut on Monday but Ulupono isn't open that day. I went on Tuesday.

Jessica cut my hair. She took off 12 inches! I was surprised I still had length left. I thought it was gonna be super short again. She did a good job. She said that I did good ‘cuz sometimes people say they wanna go short and then back out or cry or something.

Overall, a good experience. Now for Phase II….

Mahalo for reading!


For more info, go to: Ulupono Academy
[and services are discounted since it’s being done by students= bargain]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do More [2]

Last Saturday, the KUC YD had its first of hopefully many L.E.D. [Live Express Desire] Worship Nights. A couple of the girls that I haven’t had time to spend with in quite awhile came, Anna, her sister Gerriann, and Ata.

I saw Anna at church the next day. She came right up to me, gave me a hug and a cookie! :D
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So getting back to loving people better.

Man, it’s difficult coming up with an alias for someone I don’t know well!

So there’s this sweet guy at church, Pause. He’s more socially awkward than I am, somehow I blend in more. When we were in…hs maybe, I would purposely avoid Pause. I have a difficult time talking to people and so it can be like torture for me to try to talk to someone who has a tougher time than me.

Now that I am definitely older but arguably wiser, and after years of prayer, I find myself having an easier time with Pause, and unconsciously even. It got a little hairy when Pause asked me to a company party earlier this year, but I’m handling those kinds of situations better these days.
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Then God ups the ante. With Pal.

Earlier this year in service, I look over and see this older guy looking at me. I give an acknowledging little smile as I do to people. After the service, I got trapped by congregating people, the pew and Pal. Another socially awkward person, this time much older, leaning towards me so that it feels like he’s looking…below my neck, inches from my face, with a breath that makes me more conscious of my own when I’m talking to other people.

Pal asked if he knew me. I have no recollection of Pal before that night at all. He says I must’ve been like a teenager or something. I am easily uncomfortable if someone’s watching me, more so if someone’s been watching me way before I knew it. Creepy when it’s someone who’s got to be more than a decade older than me.

Is it ever polite to walk away from a conversation? Several times I thought Pal was finished talking, but then he’d continue and I was still pinned in at the pew.

Then came communion Sunday. I see Pal looking like he was purposely finding a seat across the aisle from us. Going up to the table in two lines, Pal reaches the table with Alchemist. Either by nature or scheming, Pal takes a rather long time so that I end up at the table with him and we leave the table at the same time. Another time Pal gives me an odd look as he finds his seat; I dunno if that was ‘cuz I had Kaya with me or not.

At a church event, I was in my white dress for choir who was last. I was up late the night before so I hadn’t bothered with my hair. I’m scurrying around, barefoot, kneeling on the ground to take pics for the event. Pal stops me to say that I looked “elegant in [my] white gown.”

Uncomfortable.

I really hafta stop noticing these things.
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And I sense God saying, “Love my people.

You know what it is like to be the outsider. You understand the difficulties some have in making friends. I sent others to show you patience and kindness. Now I am sending you.

You love my people.”

I don’t know yet what I shall do about Pal. Sometimes I think, I’m a young woman, this should be the responsibility of a man. But that doesn’t excuse the absence of a kind word, dismissing with the “how was your week?” and caring about listening to the answer.

No matter how close someone stands to me.

God is still working on me, still teaching me lessons, still challenging me.
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Oh, and I started this entry with Anna because I am so blessed to be able to spend time with the KUC kids. I dunno the last time I was hugged so much! Sometimes I just wanna hug someone.

And I got a cookie too! Score!

Who are the Pals in your life?

Mahalo for reading!



*By God’s people, I mean ALL people, not just Christians. Every single person is someone whom God loves.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Do More

Seriously could not think of a title for this. And I’m not gonna bother much with writing this well.

So…I was thinking about how God commands Christians in the Bible to love people as He loves us.

This entire year for me has been about drawing closer to God, hopefully becoming more Christ-like and reaching a place where it’s easier to hear God’s voice. Well, not just for this year but setting up a new pattern to build upon for the rest of my life. Not that I wasn’t doing that before but this year, with all its highs and lows, has been at least spiritually building.

I’m trying to work out how to love people better.
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Some people are easy to love. It is so EASY for me to love Apple. Friends for at least a decade, really close friends the last few years; good times, bad times, and just times; birthday presents and non-occasion gifts. And she’s such a people-person which means that I don’t have to be one!

It gets a little tougher when it’s someone who’s hurt me in the past and yet I don’t cut ties as easily as some believe I do. I mentioned a former friend Hatchet for whom I would still care if H would let me. It would be like riding a bike for me to love H.

Tougher still: during my CA-practicum, there was this co-worker who would just…jar me. I mean, a nice guy but Smally [nn] would say some pretty insensitive things. I rode a bike then; Smally insisted on giving me a ride after work. That night I learned what it was like to fear for my life. Seriously the scariest driver I have ever been in the car with and that is saying a lot! He then kidnapped me to dinner during which I bit my tongue more than ate because the insensitive conversation began and I was thinking I wanted to get home as soon as possible. After that night it was sort of…I could work with Smally, but need to block out 75% of what comes out of his mouth.

And I think now, was that enough to love him as Jesus?
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Then God calls me to love my enemies. Web [nn] whom I caught using a stick to play with the back hem of my friend’s skirt. Plastic [nn] who would be a fake nice with a nasty undertone to me in public but would use a lot of swear words about me behind my back and try to convince my friends I was sleeping around.

Brick with whom I had a studio project: I handled all the structural since I was the only one in the group who had taken structures. When the prof. would critique the structure, Brick was quick to put all the responsibility on me when he didn’t care to learn anything about structure. Brick spent a lot of time on the phone with his gf or on his comp playing games, then tell people I wasn’t doing any work when he knew I worked at home. Why bother coming in to studio if Brick literally refused to work with me?

Really, God? I was supposed to LOVE those people? What was I supposed to do that I didn’t?

And I hear God saying, “More. You do more.”
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I thank God that I do not have a heavily vengeful spirit. Other than putting Web in his place for the skirt thing, I remained polite and didn’t answer back to false accusations. Especially in the case of Plastic, friends urged me to do something about it. They couldn’t understand how I could ignore the things Plastic did and still be nice to Plastic.

And sometimes, I couldn’t understand it either. There have been times when I’ve wanted to fire back at opponents, and a few times when I did, but mostly I have not because God has held me. He wants me to not return hate. He wants me to love.

It doesn’t end in the past, in thinking over moments when I could’ve done more or better in showing others God’s love. I’ll move into a current situation in another entry.

Mahalo for reading!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kids Say…What?

On my way to service on Sunday I ran into Aunty Pat. The first thing she said was, “See that girl in the pink dress? She’s your charge now.” And Aunty Pat went to the restroom, leaving me with a pouty Kaya.

Kaya said no one wanted to play with her, even though her friend Shae was right next to her. Kaya’s mood changed when she saw that my sweater wasn’t buttoned all the way. she got busy finishing the job. Then Shae said I didn’t need a sweater when it’s warm, so Kaya unbuttoned my sweater and tried to pull it off.

On the way inside Aunty Pat told me that Kaya said she didn’t wanna go in to service because she wasn’t gonna behave. How’s that for self-awareness? And she’s only 3!

I sat with them inside [Aunty Pat, Kaya, Shae, Race, and Shae’s parents].

KUC’s brought back Childrens’ Corner to service. Kaya likes to sit on the stage steps, or I should say, likes to travel along the steps. She started off from behind the pastor. As the pastor stretched out his arms to illustrate the enemy fleeing the God-backed Christian, Kaya fled [crawled] away from the group. Then she came back.
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Back in September, on a previous Kaya Sunday, I let Kaya have another go at photography. She took some pretty good shots.

Also on Sunday, Kendal was having technical difficulties with his camara. Joel said Kendal needed lessons on how to take care of it. I shrugged and said that I give mine to a 3yr old.

Btw, I still don’t tell my mom when I’m gonna misbehave.

Mahalo for reading and enjoy the photos!



Photography by Kaya
This one's by me. Kaya's drawing the world.