Saturday, July 31, 2010

Are You Too Busy?

I’ve always wondered why people didn’t pray. I mean, why do they go days and days without praying only to pray over a big test or a presentation, or when someone they love is faced with an illness or accident?

In my private life, I pray a lot. I pray when big presentations or meetings come up, but I’m also praying when I drive because I’m nervous about other people’s safety [with my eyes open], I pray when I’m walking down the street alone, I pray thanks after a good time with friends, I pray thanks for being in control of a difficult situation. I pray in many different situations. I pray constantly.

My prayer life has gotten a boost in the last few years. I no longer hope that God might speak back in reply; now I expect Him to. I no longer wonder why I’m praying or if praying matters; now I sense the intimacy that I’m building with God, even if He doesn’t respond. I feel like I’m talking with my best friend, my caring counselor, my favorite teacher. I have had prayers answered! And prayers not so much answered.

And then I read Bill Hybels’ Too Busy Not to Pray. I recommend this book to anyone who has wondered about prayer. It can be read in one day yet contains deep insights to how we ought to approach prayer that shouldn’t be simply breezed through in a day. I borrowed it from the church library but I’m going to find a copy for my own library.

Hybels covers things like God’s willingness to hear us, God’s ability to answer our prayers, and what it means when God doesn’t answer and what we might do about it. He also took a section to talk about prayer and the “Authentic Christian” [in chapter 9: Slowing Down to Pray]:

“Authentic Christianity is not learning a set of doctrines and then stepping into cadence with people all marching the same way. It is not simply humanitarian service to the less fortunate. It is a walk—a supernatural walk with a living, dynamic, communicating God. Thus the heart and soul of the Christian life is learning to hear God’s voice and developing the courage to do what he tells us to do.

Authentic Christians are persons who stand apart from others, even other Christians, as though listening to a different drummer. Their character seems deeper, their ideas fresher, their spirit softer, their courage greater, their leadership stronger, their concerns wider, their compassion more genuine, their convictions more concrete. They are joyful in spite of difficult circumstances and show wisdom beyond their years.

Authentic Christians are full of surprises. You think you have them neatly boxed, but they turn out to be unpredictable. When you are around them, you feel slightly off balance because you don’t know what to expect next. Over time, though, you realize that their unexpected ideas and actions can be trusted.

That’s because authentic Christians have strong relationships with the Lord—relationships that are renewed every day. As the psalmist said of the godly person, ‘His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither’ (Ps 1:2-3).

Embarrassingly few Christians ever reach this level of authenticity; most Christians are just too busy. And the archenemy of spiritual authenticity is busyness, which is closely tied to something the Bible calls
worldliness—getting caught up with this society’s agenda, objectives and activities to the neglect of walking with God.

Any way you cut it, a key ingredient in authentic Christianity is time. Not leftover time, not throwaway time, but quality time.”


This is the passage that I bookmarked for myself. In the last few years, I’ve come to recognize the difference of my previous life walking on my own and my current life of walking with God. If anything, I don’t want to be a Christian who never reaches any level of authenticity. I see it in others around me and as I grow and claim all the blessings that God is bringing, I’d like to be able to bring others along, out of their complacency and into their own vibrant, Technicolor walk with God.

One of the things that the book is causing me to face is to pray for something and fully believing that God will do it, in His time. It isn't that God's an ATM; rather, I'm praying for a few friends to have a softened and opened heart towards God. When I think of one friend in particular, Friend's got a hurt and hardened heart at the moment. I think Friend lets observations of Christians and absolute reliance on logic to obscure and sometimes block Friend's view of God. I'm sure many people see Friend as a "lost cause." Well, I don't believe it. My God is all-powerful. My God has changed the hearts of hardened criminals and the rich and the every day man. My God can change Friend's heart. My Friend is not a lost cause and I will keep praying for Friend. It may not happen in a day, in 20 years, in my lifetime, but I will keep praying.

I have some questions about a few things Hybels said, but I’ve heard it also from other people, so I will save my reservations for a different entry.

All together though, I think Hybels did a good and credible job of covering the different issues people tend to have about prayer. Again, I recommend this read to anyone with questions/ reservations about prayer.


[Click on image for larger view]

Learning Something Better

Recently Mom has decided to learn the phonetic alphabet. I’m not sure where this came from. The only thing I can think of is that we like watching shows like Criminal Minds or CSI: NY where they have occasion to use the alphabet.

So we’ll be driving somewhere and Mom will call out “Echo Victor Zulu.” “November Mike Papa.” “Papa Foxtrot Alpha.” She's practicing with license plates.

I kinda like that she’s doing this. It’s something I do every so often- learning something new or better.

I have pages printed out or copied of the phonetic alphabet, the Greek alphabet, and the Russian alphabet. I keep these pages in a notebook of things to review. I also have a periodic table, list and facts about the U.S. Presidents, trig functions, etc.

I have a notebook atlas. I had this idea to possibly help me relate geography better: when I come across mention of a place, I put a little post-it note about the mention and flag the place. Mostly I have been taking scenes from movies and flagging it on the map. A friend recently took a trip to Morocco and other places; I flagged those on the map also. It’s still in the experimental phase.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to know a little more about the U.S. Presidents. It’s a subject area that frequents Jeopardy! answers in which I don’t do very well. For now, I’m trying to remember the order of their services. I have from Eisenhower to Obama at the moment.

Are you constantly learning? What would you like to know more about?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Photos On Display

Photographs play a significant role in my life. I like to surround myself with reminders of memories that make me smile. One way that I do this is with photograph displays.

Here’s how I do it:

1. Buy some picture mats. They can be in a certain size, variety of sizes, whichever color[s], single mat, double mat, etc. I tend to buy mostly black single mats to fit a 5x7 frame, for a 3½ x5 image. They are about $1.50 at stores like Pictures Plus or Benjamin Franklin Crafts.



The mat on the left is a double; the white mat is inset with a gold mat. The right mat is a single mat in a dark navy color.


2. Print out photos to fit the mat. I print out photos that I would love to display. I try to be mindful about how the image will fit the 3½ x5 mat opening.

I'll use this photo of me and Apple for illustration. Doesn't she have a sparkling smile?

3. Using removable tape, attach the photo to the mat. I place tape along one edge of the back of the photo. I look from the front of the mat to position the image in the opening. Then I fix the photo to the mat using more tape.



4. Consider a layout. I consider: the display space, the number and sizes of photos, orientation of photos. Sometimes I will also consider the images themselves, like how many subjects are in the image, or if a theme comes up like places I’ve been, landscapes, or pets. Try a few arrangements on a table or on the floor until you find one you like.

5. Apply usable adhesive putty to the back of the mat. I like the adhesive putty because I don’t have to make a lot of holes in the walls and it can be cleaned off later. Besides, the photos and mats are not very heavy so putty on the corners and a little extra on the long side do the job nicely.

6. Mount the mats on the display space. For me, the spaces are my room walls. Optional: use a level when mounting the mats.

Here are a couple of examples of displays I recently put up:

[Click on image for larger view]

The display on the left was a sizable blank space between my book shelves and window, above my DVD shelves and earring case. It used to be rows of themes: places I've lived, friends, pets, and friends. This time it is two columns of friends and a column of my cats. The arrangement looks a little funny in this picture because I also use some white mats, so they're not showing up as well as the black ones.

The display photo on the right is a wall space I left open when I designed my book shelves. For a long time, this space only had the whiteboard and the phone. Recently, I decided to change-up the display a little by incorporating a framed and matted art print that I love, then surrounding the frame with personal pictures. Notice on the bottom right, next to the whiteboard, I've included a couple of smaller pictures, untouched. I simply used very small amounts of putty to tack them up. I think it makes this display a little more fun and loose. [I think I might look for a photo to place just above the phone, that space is looking a little bare.]


I like using the picture mats because they’re helpful as an organizing element, it’s easy to switch out photos, and they lend importance to each photo in a simple manner instead of having to buy a bunch of frames [which can become costly] or punch holes in the walls.

Try this method for yourself or use it to jumpstart your own display ideas!


[Adhesive Putty image source]

Once, Twice Crushed

I don’t think of myself as boy-crazy and I would rarely say that I have a crush on someone, but I have one on the actor Paul Walker.

It's not a crazy crush though. Even though Walker’s in the islands often, I don’t see us running into each other. I’m not doing any investigative work to find out where he stays or where he frequents. News of him being involved with someone doesn’t bother me. I don’t have a T-shirt with his face on it. I’m not one to rush out to see a movie he’s in; I don’t rush out to see any movie really.

The most I’ve done is to feature Paul Walker on a CD cover design for a mixed CD I made. Featuring him had no connection to the songs on the disc either. I put together songs I liked and then put pictures I liked on the cover. It is NOT filled with love songs. I have also made CD designs using WonderWoman, pictures of my friends, and miscellaneous personal pictures.

I just enjoy watching Paul Walker in movies. Seeing him smile makes me wanna smile. And there’s something else to why I like him, which I will explain later in this entry.

I used to think that I had only seen a few Paul Walker movies so I did a test. According to the list on IMDB.com, I’ve seen about half of the movies that he’s been in.

[The ones in italic are what I’ve seen]
Takers (2010) .... John Rahway
Fast & Furious (2009) .... Brian O'Conner
The Lazarus Project (2008) .... Ben Garvey
Stories USA (2007) ..../ Mikey (segment "Life Makes Sense If You're Famous")
The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007) .... Tim Kearney
Flags of Our Fathers (2006) .... Hank Hansen
Eight Below (2006) .... Jerry Shepard
Running Scared (2006) .... Joey Gazelle
Into the Blue (2005) .... Jared
Noel (2004) .... Mike Riley
Timeline (2003) .... Chris Johnston
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) .... Brian O'Conner
Life Makes Sense If You're Famous (2002) .... Mikey
Joy Ride (2001) .... Lewis Thomas
The Fast and the Furious (2001) .... Brian O'Conner
The Skulls (2000) .... Caleb Mandrake
Brokedown Palace (1999) (uncredited) .... Jason
She's All That (1999) .... Dean Sampson
Varsity Blues (1999) .... Lance Harbor
Pleasantville (1998) .... Skip Martin
Meet the Deedles (1998) .... Phil Deedle
Tammy and the T-Rex (1994) .... Michael
Programmed to Kill (1987) .... Jason
Monster in the Closet (1986) .... 'Professor' Bennett

By this, I’ve seen 12 out of 24 Paul Walker movies. I’m amazed by the numbers. The movies of 2006, I’ve only recently watched in the past few months.
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One more thing about this crush is that I think it is helped by the similarity in features of Paul Walker to my friend Handsome. They are both tall with athletic body types. They’re smiles are similar, both wonderful; seeing Paul Walker smile reminds me of Handsome. Handsome is a laidback kind of guy and Paul Walker seems to be the same [in his off-camara life, not always the characters he portrays].

Now, Handsome, I would definitely say that I had a crush on him! Uncharacteristic of me, I would giggle and blush upon the thought of him. I would hope to see him. It was weird for my friends to see me that way. It was weird for me to be that way! One of the rare crushes of my life and still, I wasn't one to waste away on idealizing him or saying things like, "he doesn't know I exist!" I asked him to lunch and we became friends.

I was going to have comparison pictures of Paul Walker and Handsome, but so far I haven't really shown my friends pictures of Handsome so for now I kinda like the fact that they wonder a little when I mention him. Besides, my picture of Handsome doesn’t do him justice; I wish I had a better picture.

Oh well.

[Paul Walker image source]

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Date with an Apple, a Night with a Pirate

Last night ended up being just Pirate and me. It was a good night! Dinner, a walk, and MUSIC!

I had tried looking up things to do on a Friday night. I stumbled upon a list of free or cheap things to do on O‘ahu. It was quite disappointing for the moment; most things suggested were at specific times of the year. I could only figure 4 of the 101 things that we could do last night.

Well, dinner was just a little past cheap, Gordon Biersch. It was such good food though! We both ordered a burger because they came with the delicious GB garlic fries! I ventured one of their brews, the Maertzen? I think that’s how it’s spelled but don’t ask me to pronounce it! The description said it was the most popular choice. I liked it- full flavor, no strong aftertaste, not too dry. I’m not really a beer connoisseur, so that’s my pedestrian description. A band played good music by the entrance.

Dinner was so filling that I suggested walking. We walked around the Ward area, spending some time in Borders.

Then we sat in my driveway for about an hour more, sharing music and singing. : )

When I sing, in my head I sound pretty good. On advice from a friend, I sometimes record myself when I practice. When I listen back to the recording, I think I sound like a little girl. Pirate doesn’t seem to think I sound young.

Pirate, however, is a wonderful singer.
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Tuesday, Apple and I finally had our webcam date! At first, it didn’t look like I would be able to see her. Her video wasn’t working for about the first half hour. Then suddenly, it started working and I could see one of my favorite faces.

It was good to talk to her. Thank God for the person who invented video online chat! We might do this every week.
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Ahhh, just these two nights made the week. I ALWAYS feel better for having spent time with Pirate and Apple. Thank God for great friends!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Because of You: Like Dark Brown Eyes

Alex: It's just that when I see her pictures… it's like it's the first time. That must be the house in Mexico.

Mrs. Fuentes: Aguascalientes. And that is lsabel's great-grandmother. They have a special connection. You can see it in the eyes. That same wild spirit.


[Shouting in the background]
Isabel: I can handle my love life!
Mr. Fuentes: Since when?

Alex: I think that runs in the family.
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The above is dialogue from a scene in “Fools Rush In.”

When we lived in the apartment, we had a black and white portrait of Popo above the TV. She’s so beautiful, around 20 years old maybe. I wonder where it is now. I haven’t seen it since we moved.

She died when I was barely 2 years old. Her funeral is the earliest sure memory that I have. I wrote a story about it for my autobiography writing class.

I love sharing about Popo’s newspaper feature. As Brother has told me, she was in a picture for a story about a mahjong gambling raid. Popo was quite the mahjong player. ;)

Dad says that Popo came from a very rich family, maybe something like nobility. Her family didn’t approve of her marrying Papa who came from a working family. Obviously, she married him anyway.

I’ve heard my aunties mention speculations that they may not be entirely related to Dad. I’m not supposed to say anything to him about it. I’ll never know.

I think about Popo often. When I look at certain photos of me, I think she’s looking back at me. When I have restlessness inside, I sense her. When boldness emerges, I sense her.

I don’t mean that I believe she’s here with me or that she possesses me. I think that my spirit is unique only unto me, but is it a product of who I have come from? I simply wonder if one can inherit spirit like one inherits dark brown eyes.

I think maybe her ways were understated, her strength, her charm, her style. I think people underestimated her quality, yet she knew who she was and didn’t shrink away from it.


I just wonder about her. When I look at pictures of me, I don’t see my parents, and I don’t see my other grandparents. Sometimes, I don’t even see myself.

I only see Popo.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whose Desire Is It?

A couple entries ago, I talked about how I want to be a wife someday.

Someone told me that God wouldn’t put this desire to be married on my heart if He didn’t mean to fulfill it. Is that true or just a possibility? I guess I’m not sure that God gave me this desire or if I generated it on my own because I was once hopeful.

By default, I’m waiting for this desire to be fulfilled. I would be more proactive about this if I had any idea how. A part of me is actually dreaming that one day, God will put a man in my path who’s wearing a sign that says, “Jennifer’s Future Husband.”

First, that would be greatly helpful because I am that dense about guys having an interest in me so that is quite an unmistakable sign. To the point, that’s how I like it. Second, I don’t seem to do well with this dating thing, which is probably a symptom from the first point.

Anyways, I’m so off topic of why I really started writing these entries on waiting. I don’t really think about this as much as it sounds like here. Dating and marriage aren’t on my mind whenever I meet a guy. I think about it more when I’m alone in my wanderings.

So I’m very confused because I know what I want, don’t know how to go about it, all the while I’m becoming more sensitive to time passing [I’m getting old, basically], and more of my friends are coming into their serious relationships with engagements and celebrating anniversaries. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that I’m single. I generally enjoy being single, but this is becoming less so. Though, I don’t want to become so crazed by this desire as I’ve watched a friend become years ago; he’s married now and happy. I don’t want this desire to dictate what I do or lead to making terrible mistakes.

And the thing that I try not to talk about which probably means I should, the time I was once hopeful some time ago.

I try to tell myself that the experience was probably necessary in that I learned some stuff. I learned that marriage is definitely what I want, causing the impatience within me; I didn’t really care as much before. I learned that I’m probably as ready for marriage as I could be at this time, or that I’m definitely more ready for it now than I was before the hope. I learned more about who I am and who I want to be and what kind of life I want. I also have some vague notion of what kind of life I would like to help create for him.

The most recent heartache was quite killer though. Looking back, it was like entering my perfect storm. I stepped right onto a landmine, and I’m still not sure that it wasn’t on purpose. I went into things as usual, just get to know the guy better. I didn’t know what was happening right when it happened. When I finally recognized the possibility, he was gone. It’s all gone. I’m left with what-ifs, what-ifs that cause some added anxiety to this question of marriage and my future.

So I don’t know where that leaves me at the moment. I’ve had some time since that last one.

I suppose, it’s all in God’s hands, as it always has been and will be.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Everyday Necessities

What do you do every day?

I shower every day. You might think of it as a necessity. I’ve just gotten accustomed to being clean. After a hard day’s work at a construction site, I would reward myself with extra time in the shower. After walking around Portland all day, I would have the occasional bubble bath.

I had the chance to go to Kaho‘olawe once and I took it. There were no showers on Kaho‘olawe for our use; we bathed in the ocean. It was an amazing experience, being washed clean by God’s creation, well, with a little help from Ivory soap, what was allowed. I don’t mind getting dirty if I have an idea that I’ll be able to get clean at some time [there’s an idea for another entry]. Basically, I think I could do alright as a missionary in a third world country, but probably not if I was a POW.

Do you shower every day? Do you read the newspaper every day? Do you say “I love you” to someone every day?

What do you do every day? Why do you do it? What do you gain from doing it?

Somehow, for some reasons, we build up certain disciplines. These disciplines have a tendency to become habits that we don’t often think about. Some are more necessary than others, like eating or bathing compared to watching our favorite show when it comes on. Some become traditions, like going to dinner to celebrate a birthday or singing “O Holy Night” every year at Christmas.


We used to live in an apartment. I had a big bedroom. I didn’t know, or maybe just didn’t care to put things away. My mom would get upset and yell at me to clean it up, but without much success. Eventually she would have enough and clean it herself, which didn’t teach me to clean my room.

We moved to a house; Mom always wanted a backyard. I got the second biggest bedroom. I chose it because the smaller room had the door to the attic in the closet ceiling- Brother didn’t mind that feature.

Over the years, as I’ve grown up, Mom has become “the messy” and I have become “the cleaner,” though I don’t tell her to clean up her room! I don’t know why, perhaps something built up inside me to seek order and stability, and I’m steadily becoming more organized. When we first moved here, my books were lined up on the floor because I had no shelves; several years ago, I built shelves for my books. This leaves room for other things to be on the floor though.

I have always been able to find what I’m looking for in my room, generally, yet recently I have been building up the discipline of putting things back where they were as soon as I’m done with them. I come home, I change into my “home clothes,” and hang up what I just took off [I don’t always fold things right away, that may be next in the step]. If I wore jewelry that day, I put the items back in the jewelry box instead of leaving them on the keyboard tray of the computer. I’ve gotten better at clearing my pockets of change and placing it on the desk to be put in the coin bank when I sit down, or it goes straight to the coin bank.

As a result, my room maintains a higher level of neatness than it previously did and I can get to my projects sooner than before because I don’t have much to clear off at my desk. When I am getting ready to go out, I can easily decide on what pair of earrings I want to wear because they’re all together, or if I know which pair, I can find them.

In my spiritual living, at the Holy Spirit promptings, I’ve been [and still am] building certain disciplines, like daily quiet time and devotions or attending Sunday service. The result has been a deeper faith and a maintained closeness with God. When I pray, I expect God to hear me, as I would expect my best friend to hear me. I expect an answer, and expect that I might not like the answer, like I would expect from my best friend who looks out for my best interest. I believe in miracles and changed lives, because I believe in my own changed life. It’s like having quicker and easier access to God.

I have lapses in the disciplines at times. I’m becoming more aware of the consequences of such lapses, like losing [or loosing] my grip on hope. To maintain the closeness in my relationship with God, I need to maintain the disciplines. If I don’t, I have to do more or “work harder” for access to God.


I’ve been thinking about what it means to “take up [my] cross daily.” I don’t have it quite figured out yet; I never think I will “figure out” such wondrous things, though I’m always up for trying.

I think perhaps the daily disciplines of praying and reading the Bible and quiet times have something to do with it, as they are a practice of giving up of my desires, a dying to self as some say, in favor of giving to God.

I think when we are willing and actively taking up our crosses daily, God is free to bless us, better than we ever expected.


Do you discipline yourself to watch your favorite show as soon as it comes on? Do you workout every day? Do you eat an orange every Friday?

What are the results of this discipline? Why did you build up the discipline?

What if the vibrancy of your spiritual living depended upon the disciplines of things like daily Bible reading? Would you do it? Would you at least try? What would you gain? What do you stand to lose?

If you were able to become disciplined in something like watching your favorite show, you are able to become disciplined in something like reading the Bible daily. This is something I’m learning.

I’m learning to make such spiritual disciplines every day necessities. It’s better than taking a shower.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Fine Start

Surprisingly, I got some sleep last night. Not a lot, but some broken sleep. I woke up at 4:30 so I could take Dad to work. I stopped by CB but it wasn’t open yet, I figured. Then I went to Liliha Bakery. I picked up some shortbread cookies and a pie for Dad.

Then I went to meet a couple of new [for me] prayer partners at 6:30. I think one of them forgot but it’s no big deal. So two of us talked and prayed. It was a good time.

Nuuanu is beautiful in the morning! So is Salt Lake- it’d been a long time so I had forgotten.

On the way home, I thought about stopping at CB, and then I remembered that I had library books to return so I did that. I was going to go to the nearby Starbucks, and then decided to buy groceries instead.

A promising start for the day.

I got home around 9:30. There was a group of ladies doing tai chi or something in the park across the street. All the years living here and I don’t think I’ve seen them in the park before.

Mom was in the backyard with her dog. The dog barked at me. I’m getting the groceries out of the car. Mom is yelling for the dog to be quiet and in between that she’s telling me that the cat spit up in the kitchen.

I’M NOT EVEN IN THE HOUSE YET.

More happened but I’ll go with this much. Today, I was short with Mom.
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This kind of stuff happens quite often.

I’m not all that motivated to clean, and to clean right away, when that tends to be the first thing out of her mouth. That is how she greets me. That is how she tries to wake me up in the morning.

I’ll clean more when she’s not home because then it’s on my responsibility and I can do it in peace and quiet. I’m even more inclined to clean other things that aren’t my responsibility when she’s not home. I used to clean the house also but it seems to come back worse than before; instead, my room is becoming increasingly neat and orderly.

I don’t even like Mom complimenting me when she notices I did something. It sounds sarcastic and backhanded.
____________________________
And then this affects Dad. He tries his best to intervene when he can. He’ll talk to me about other things, and then he’ll kindly tell me to clean up something. And I’ll do it. Right away. Works each time and Dad doesn’t even have to give compliments, which he doesn’t often anyway.

I’ve never talked to Dad about Mom and me but somehow he knows what irritates me, what upsets Mom, and how to alleviate things.

This bugs me because I know I should respect Mom more. I’m praying. I’ve tried talking to her and I’ve tried patience.

Other than these collision moments, Mom is wonderful. Dad’s no saint so when we get into it, which is rare, Mom makes me feel better. When I bleed, she takes care of it ‘cause she knows firsthand about my tendency to faint. When I try to be creative in a crafting or sewing project, she’ll help me figure it out.

God, please show me a better way!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Said, Woman, Take It Slow

A few days ago, the devotional talked about waiting on the Lord. I think about the many things I’m praying over and it’s tough because… I don’t know what others would say but I don’t think I’m a very patient person. When I know what I want or what I have to do… I need to MOVE!

*Deep breath.

Something that I know I want is to be a wife someday. I think I could become a good one. I want to make a home. I want to partner someone, to help see their dreams come through. I want to be someone good in another’s life and see him become more of who he was meant to become. I want him to be excited that I’m becoming who I was meant to become.

All of that though, and more that’s in my vision for my future, I don’t know how to pray for any of it and that makes it more difficult to wait. I’ve just trusted that God knows what I want without having me say it. I’ve said it before and the most I can do is to pray and work on becoming a godly woman, and one whom someone would want to marry.

I think I’m having trouble waiting on this because I have reservations, of course I do. I don’t easily share my feelings with others. You might say “who does?” I’ve seen others do it. I’ve tended to think they were reckless but a part of me also admires, to an extent, the risk they take in being so open.

Each new heart ache is worse than the one before it.

And it isn’t just the pains of romantic love that my heart considers. I wonder if it’s possible to have romantic love if one has trouble getting beyond past betrayals of friendship love.

I once thought I had a vision of romantic love that involved myself. At this moment, I am disappointed.

I am somewhat haunted that I may have forever ruined something that was once wonderful. Did I mistake it for some other thing? Did I just not recognize it, or recognized it too late? Did I not appreciate it as I should have? Do I expect disappointment?

The devotional brought to focus the bigger picture of David’s life. As a young boy, David was God’s chosen to be the next king, yet David had to wait on that promise, through years of torment by the current king who was full of jealousy. However, David received what God promised and he became a man after God’s heart. David’s willingness to wait eventually blessed many.

This entry brought to my mind the contrast of King Saul. King Saul couldn’t wait on Samuel, who he knew was coming. King Saul went ahead to offer the burnt offerings himself. When Samuel arrives, he rebukes Saul as having acted foolishly, adding, “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.” [I Samuel 13: 13]

King Saul couldn’t wait a few moments. David waited years. Sarah tried to get sons from her maidservant, then laughed at the promise of her own son. Hannah wept and prayed for years over a son.

Have I already been as hasty as King Saul? Am I willing to be less like King Saul and Sarah to become more like Hannah and David? As I’m getting older and [I’ll admit] the stereotypical window of getting married seems almost too small to fit through, how do I become more patient? And don’t mistake me for a female who’s been dreaming up her wedding since childhood. This has only been a serious desire of mine in the last few years, so I haven’t been waiting many years as David has.

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Anyways, I’m gonna try to be more patient yet there is more I could say on this. I’ll write a separate entry, or maybe I’ve already written it, I don’t remember right away.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From Depression to… Something On the Way Up

I don’t know any other way but to say that I’ve always had a sense that God exists.

I also don’t know any other way but to say that I’ve been battling depression for as long as I can remember.

Strange to say this, I was/ am much like how Kristen Stewart portrays Bella Swan in the Twilight movies. I don’t show much emotion. People don’t really surprise me. I feel awkward about gifts and attention, like I can appreciate a gift so much but it doesn’t come across to the gifter how much it means to me.

Even as a child I remember not having much affect in public yet I would cry myself to sleep in the backseat on the way home. Nothing was really wrong and I didn’t know why I would cry, or why I wouldn’t cry even in front of my family. It was always alone.

I accepted Christ when I was 13, but the crying didn’t stop. I had grown up “in the church” yet I didn’t know much about God. I took many opportunities to learn more about this faith I had.

In my third year of college, something happened that gave me something real to cry about. My life took a downward turn. I took a downward turn and the crying became more frantic, sometimes even dangerous.

So began about 9 years of serious yet somewhat functioning depression. I had moments of crying out to God to come and comfort me, and then moments of crying out to God to leave me and not look at me in this condition. My faith was about all I had to go on.

In all of that, God didn’t leave me. He gently drew me to him. It didn’t matter how ugly it got. He was faithful as only God can be, knowing it would take 9 years yet assured that I would come.

I am a different person today. I am still myself, yet stronger in Him.

I’ve been slowly opening up to people about being depressed yet depression is still a struggle for me. When I tell them, almost always they ask the question of how I came out of that specific long period of depression. I would say that God drew me near. How did he do that? What specifically happened? Well, the Holy Spirit had been constantly stirring in me; I just finally started to really listen and act on it. I started thinking that maybe the Holy Spirit knows a thing or two about what I should do.

God worked on me through fellow Christians who cared. He worked on me through podcasts of programs put on by Christians. He worked on me through music by Christian artists. He worked on me through urgings to do the right thing. He worked on me to desire more with Him. He worked on me through great friends who cared, whatever their beliefs.

Two and a half years ago, I gave my life to Christ, a second rebirth, if you will. This time, things have been different, better. I’m not wandering aimlessly anymore. I’m not complacent anymore. The first time, I recognized Christ as my Savior. This time, I recognize him as my Savior and Lord.

To explain how life is better is difficult. I may not know where I’m going or how I’m getting there, but I know with whom I’m going. I think that’s as best as I can explain at this time.

The depression is why I struggle to post here; it's why I think too much in general. I don't want to post something unnecessary, out of pure emotions, yet I want to be truthful about... how I am.

I have my moments. I struggle. I learn and I stumble and I get back up to walk with Him again and I learn and grow and learn to grow…. I’m learning more and more about what it means to be in relationship with Him. I’m learning obedience, trust, to honor people around me, to stand firm on my faith while being open to God’s possibilities.

“Not perfectly but faithfully.” I think that’s becoming my motto.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Your Favorite Book

Your favorite book.

Jane Eyre- by Charlotte Bronte
I have no solid reason why “Jane Eyre” is my favorite book. I mean that it’s not like I would say that it’s the best book ever written [I would honestly say that the best book ever written is the Bible]. I don’t think it would be on many a people’s Top 10 list.

It’s also difficult to speak plainly about it since I don’t have much time to read what I like to these days. My time is taken up with Religion, Hawaiian, and Architecture books. That is to say, it’s been a long long long time since I last read “Jane.”

But oh, “Jane Eyre.” I think overall it has to be her story of perseverance. She went through a lot of junk and of people trying to “hammer the nail that stands up,” so to speak. I think she’s often made aware that she’s different from everyone around her. Then when it seemed she would get something that would make her happy, it doesn’t last for very long before the scenery changes again.

Of all literary characters that I come across, I think I relate most to Jane. That may change over time, I don’t know. I think she was a strong woman for her time, and yes she’s just a character in someone’s story; should that take away from her admirable qualities?

Okay, truthfully, The Bible is my favorite book and “Jane Eyre” is the second. I think I talk about the Bible so much already, I wanted to give something else a chance to shine.
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A few more goodies:
Pride and Prejudice
Xanth series
Elfquest series
East of Eden
Chronicles of Narnia series
The Hobbit and LOTR series
Crystal Cave series
One Door Away From Heaven
Mere Christianity
The Bell Jar
The Eyes of the Dragon
Things Fall Apart
Glinda of Oz
The Three-inch Golden Lotus
The Song of the Lark

I read a lot of different things. I’ve written before how I’m such a nerd and I have almost every college textbook I’ve ever had to use. Every so often, I’ll do some pre-calc exercises from the book, read some philosophy stuff, try to study some history, etc. I have Hawaiian stuff, Christian stuff, Spanish stuff- just all kinds of books.

Yup.

Job Prospects

In my second Bible read-through, I just finished the Book of Job. This time, I really wanted to get more out of the reading, if I could. I picked out a book from the church library to possibly help me along.

Well, if I felt the book had been great help, I would tell you which it was. I don’t know if I just didn’t understand it still or …I don’t know. Maybe I just didn’t like the writing style. I don’t think the author was saying anything untrustworthy but I also don’t know that the book was of much use either.

One thing from the book that I thought was interesting and true: that when we’re going through times of suffering, it may mean that everything is right in our lives, as opposed to the idea that our suffering is always a result of our sins, that suffering = punishment.

It’s simple enough. If I could objectively think about suffering while I’m suffering, I would know this and might be comforted by it. I’m becoming more acutely aware of spiritual warfare.

Still, it’s difficult to go a day without a single sin, and then one gets to wondering if some period of suffering isn’t some punishment for the days of sin, even if one has been repentant. God may have the ability to forget our confessed sins, but we are not, and that gets to be a tricky thing.
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So I don’t know how one can tell if one’s present suffering is due to God’s correction or due to spiritual warfare. I suppose one needs to trust God in prayer and test the spirit of the suffering.

Well, I sense I’ve suffered much and might still be in for more suffering because of my ministry efforts. I was beginning to wonder if all the suffering was due to my sins. How could I not ask that question? Then I think, well, where would those people be if there were no ministry for them? Which alternative was better? And if it took God making me bold enough to do something, and that because my heart's turned towards God, Satan might just be bold enough to try to stop me or to turn me away.

I don't know. I find this all to be daunting and knowing much of my own faults, it’s difficult to believe that God would use me in such a grand way or use me at all for His work. Maybe you can relate to that feeling. The truth is that God is able to use us in whatever capacity, for whatever duty He wants us and that is something I am learning.

Yet, I and others wonder about the move of starting a ministry. I believe that the HS nudged me towards the time I spent working with the Youth Dept., but it wasn’t a call from God. To go from barely doing much as a volunteer to starting and running a ministry… who am I to do that?! Then I think about people who receive Christ and are on fire for Him right away that they dive into ministries. If God can use a new Christian to spread His word and start something, why should He be unable to use me?

I’m still shaking my head, saying, “What are you doing, God?” I also pray that when God does what He does, I won’t miss it!

Well, I still feel like I don’t really understand much about all of the dialog between Job and his friends. I already had an idea about the beginning and ending of it. I don’t know if I’ll seek out an extra source to get through Psalms. I would like to understand Proverbs better, so I think I might read Psalms just from the Bible itself and then get into Proverbs. We’ll see.

And let me know if you can recommend a source on Job- I’m gonna grasp a little more of it someday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

That’s My Desire

I was asked recently how I know that ministry or leading isn’t just my desire.

Because it’s not my desire. I’m going after it because it’s God’s desire for me.

I once campaigned to be the eighth grade treasurer of my class. It was the only time I ever tried to be a leader but I still didn’t care about the results. I don’t remember who I lost to. Other than that, I’ve led where there was no leadership.

When did I ever say, “someday I’m going to start a ministry. Someday I’m going to be a leader.” Before God said something, I would have been fine just drawing all this up as theory and not have it come to anything real. I would have been content to stay in the adult choir where I’m more hidden and less uncomfortable.

What power is there in being a leader? Only what God allows, what He gives. Right?

Being a leader sucks, in my opinion. I think people put leaders on a pedestal not to admire them, but to see more of the leader’s imperfections. They put leaders up so that they feel like they have a right to take them down.

Leaders get all the blame and all the criticism. When they fall, they fall in front of more eyes and ears than most others.

I think good leaders aren’t ones with all the answers and the perfect plan. I think leaders give an idea of what’s possible, things we wouldn’t have thought of or have been willing to try before. Leaders are inspiring. I don’t know if I have that.

So what is my desire? Or, what would be my desire if God was not a factor?

“To spend one night with you
In our old rendezvous
And reminisce with you
That's my desire”


I would return to being a shadow in the background. I could go around, doing what I want, generally undetected. People would like me again, and mainly because they don't know me. I’d have more freedom to be myself. I would have nothing rest on my shoulders but to have fun. I wouldn’t be sifting through who’s my friend and who isn’t. People would think that I’m intelligent. I like being a mystery.

I would return to being my own leader; though it was rough, I didn’t have to answer to any other human or prove what I know or don’t know. I could continue my own trials and experience things however I wanted to. I would take theology and philosophy courses because I want to, for my own learning. I would keep my thoughts to myself or share them with like-minded friends.

I’ve only taken one adult Sunday class before any thoughts on ministry [beyond singing in the choir] started. I’d go back to that. I’ve never considered myself to be a young adult. If the church didn’t have Post High when I graduated high school, I probably would have just gone into an adult Sunday class.

I would return to possible pursuits of happiness with other people.

I would have more freedom to spend time with Skywise. I would go star-gazing, cruising, singing, laughing, and exploring.

I would have Pegasus visit again.

It wouldn’t matter what people said. It wouldn’t matter what I do or don’t do.

I’d rather have it easy.

That’s my desire.

Where Polar Bears Roam

It has been a good few days, rough at times, but good. One of the very good things has been that I got to spend a few hours on three days almost-in-a-row with a dear friend I don’t see much of anymore.

Backing up a little so you get more of the effect, before I officially met Polar, I had heard of him and his good nature. I don’t know when we were “introduced,” but right away he was accepting of me. We’ve been friends.

Then things changed. Polar is good with hugs but all of a sudden, he was hesitant around me. Don’t say it- I wasn’t imagining things.

And then without Polar knowing anything from me, I walked away from his group.
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This past Sunday, Polar came to help at church. Friends were getting baptized (yay). I was with the guys, watching from the second story. Polar came on the other side of me and stayed there for the whole baptism. It could be that it was a good spot for viewing; it’s just that he didn’t seem to mind being next to me for once in a long while.

Later, he had a little back-and-forth with Squeaks when I said something about food. This is Polar: he asked me what I wanted and he brings me back a plate of food. He’s always kindly taken care of me and I do my best not to take advantage of his goodness.

I got to hang out with Polar a little more a few days later at a friend’s party.

And then the other night, there was a meeting. I was surprised to see Polar there. Some serious talk happened where I am still separate from others. I know they’re not the only ones who want me around, but Squeaks and Fist so far have publicly stood up for me in some way. Oh, Marshmallow also, though I should probably give him a cooler codename. It’s not that they think I’m so great, just that they’re my friends no matter what and I believe them.

So that night Polar, in the way that only Polar could, stood up for our friendship as well. And I believe him also. Still, I don’t think Polar speaks for the group, he hasn’t been around much in the last year, and I haven’t talked to him so he doesn’t know what I’ve been going through.
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Switching gears a little, I’m not really used to others standing up for me. I suppose there hasn’t been much cause for someone to do so. I’ve stood up for myself, I’ve stood up for others, but I’ve mostly stood alone. Even if others would echo my sentiments privately to my own face, when it came down to it, I was the only voice to speak out publicly. I’m not a huge activist or anything; I’m just staying that I’ve stood by my convictions and generally don’t waffle.

Well, Polar, Squeaks, Fist, and Marshmallow, they’ll probably never know what they mean to me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I: The Best of the Best

Tell us about your best friend.

I have a few.

Crusty, I met from church. She started coming to the same church around 1994 or so. She’s the closest person I know to being “the whole package”- she’s indescribably intelligent, beautiful within and without, and talented- and that by practically anybody’s standards. We’ve been through the good and the bad together. Even while our friendship went through an awkward period [for reasons neither of us really know why it was so], we remained together and as close as we could and we came through it together. I admire her greatly and hope to learn from her examples.

Apple, I met from church. I started to really get to know her about 1999 or so through Crusty. We’ve also been through the good and the bad together. We’ve both grown and changed over the years yet an inseparable and unconditional love has formed and we’re bonded together no matter location or time, or who we’ve happened to become. I credit her unbelievable patience, forgiveness and grace with me. She’s smart and beautiful yet I think her greatest possession is an incredibly compassionate soul.

Chulo, I met from first college life. From my perspective, we quickly grew in fondness for each other though took our time developing anything. We never became more than officially friends because for complicated reasons that had nothing to do with Chulo, I returned home to live. We haven’t seen each other since I left, but we’ve kept in touch over the years- it still amazes me. While I’ve spent more years with others at first college, while others spoke of keeping in touch with me, Chulo’s the one that always replied: emails, letters, phone calls, and now FB also. If I had gone back to continue my studies as planned, I’m fairly certain I would have been in danger of first love, and that says a lot. He’s been strong, protective, mature in ways that count, good-tempered, easy to talk to, etc.

They all have amazing smiles that light up my heart! :)

I have many more good friends [among them: Trace, Handsome, Jellee] yet these are my three greatest. It’s difficult to follow these guys, but I’m open to people making the list!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I: Explaining a Scar

Explain how you got one of your scars.

Several years back, I was cleaning and doing major moving things around in my room. A glass candle holder fell on the carpet floor, so I picked it up and put it back on a shelf. Then I knelt down a few minutes later right on top of a glass shard from the candle holder!

When I had picked up the holder, I had given it a quick inspection. I missed the fact that a corner piece was missing. Everything else looked fine.

Anyway, it was late at night. Mom patched me up for the night but it was quite a deep gash. I'm surprised that I didn't faint; maybe I was in shock or maybe I did faint and just think that I fell asleep early. We went to the doctor the next day to have it checked out. He said I should’ve gone to the ER for stitches.

As it is, I am no longer eligible to become a wildly enviable and successful leg model.

Friday, July 2, 2010

And Sometimes He Answers

One of the things I’ve been asking God is why am I so afraid? Just in general, afraid. I’ve been asking this the past couple of years.

Fear is not something I was used to before. I used to be more decisive and good with follow-through. When I was interested in someone, I made use of every opportunity I was given to get to know them better. “Ambitious” and “independent” and “brave” were words people used to describe me.

I’m not exactly sure what changed. Was it that I became more aware of how sinful I am in nature? I’ve generally been very sensitive to my own sins, so I’m not sure that’s it. Is it that I’m gaining a better understanding of God’s immensity of power, presence and purity? Maybe? I’m not even sure I can name of what it is I’m afraid.

I’ve been dealing with some pressures lately. In my current Bible read-through, I’m in the middle of Job. I was working on a ministry project and felt the need to pray. It wasn’t that I felt I needed to pray [again] over the ministry project I was working on, just that I needed to pray. I meant to ask God simply if there was a reason these things, things that are not ministry-related, are happening just as I’m reading Job and really trying to understand the book’s purpose.

I opened the prayer as I often do by the Lord’s Prayer. Then things just started pouring out. I asked God if he would explain all this to me someday, this period of stuff I’m going through. I’m not expecting an answer today or tomorrow, just some day. And not that God needs to answer me just as God didn’t need to answer Job but after some time God did answer. I shared how I hope that one day He’ll be able to tell me that I did something right, that however many mistakes I made along the way that He could say that at least I was faithful in obeying Him.

It was one of those times that’s just brief but packed with stuff. So I took a breath and I thought God was saying, or was about to say something and I said quietly, “You [God] are in control, you are in control.”

I’ve been trying to do my daily devotional time first thing in the morning [well, after my waking up routine, that is]. Today, I read the devotional right after that time of prayer.

The devotional book I’m using is one of those 365 day-by-day ones; I think it’s quite a good one. One of the criticisms about 365 ones is that the entry of the day doesn’t always pertain to what one’s going through that particular day. I personally tend to believe that it doesn’t matter so much as that spending time with God is a daily discipline. Even if the passage isn’t particularly relevant [someday it might be], the more important thing is that I’m building the discipline of spending time with God.

And then there are the times when God really speaks through the day’s passage. Today was one of those times.
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July 2
Integrity Upheld
As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And set me before Your face forever.

Psalm 41:12


Joseph was a righteous man who had cultivated a reputation for godliness in his community. Then word spread across the community that Mary, the woman to whom he was engaged, was expecting a child. There would be many who would assume the worst of this apparently scandalous situation. Joseph probably experienced gossip from some, ostracism from others. Yet he was a man of integrity, aware that God knew the truth of his relationship with Mary.

At times, God will be the only witness to your righteous behavior. Sometimes God is the only one who will understand your motives. Sometimes you will do all you know God has asked you to do, only to face ridicule from others. At such times all you can do is maintain your integrity, trusting that God always keeps His eyes on you. God looks favorably upon those who walk with integrity, doing what they know is right, regardless of how others perceive their actions.

The most important thing is not that people know the truth. The most important thing is that you are a person of integrity before God. When no one seems to understand why you have done something or when others question whether you have done all you should have done, your confidence should not be in the hope of vindication in the eyes of others. It should be in the knowledge that God keeps you in His sight. If you have this confidence, it will be enough to sustain you.

[Blackaby and Blackaby. Experiencing God Day-By-Day Devotional. P. 184]
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So I didn’t think I was going to pray about the ministry stuff but I mostly did.

I don’t usually worry about what other people think. I don’t usually worry about what they might think.

From the beginning of this ministry, I feel like I’ve been trying to get others to understand what I was doing and why, mostly because they expected an explanation from me. One friend had a good sense of what I was trying to do and didn’t ask for explanation, except for times of trying to mediate between me and others. I’m very grateful for her.

I guess I expected at least one other specific person to understand, to at least have my back, but it turns out that person didn’t understand and didn’t have my back. That was painful for me; it is painful for me. I felt like that person was telling me I was completely wrong, like I was going to ruin…something, or that I needed to have the perfect plan for this.

And then others got involved in not understanding and expecting an explanation and full disclosure. I think it was also that the one that didn’t understand, they took that one’s word and interpretation on almost everything I was doing. Didn’t bother to talk to me.

I was frustrated because I wanted others to understand. I still want them to understand. So the thing I’ve been working on the past few weeks has been hindered by the distraction of feeling like “I need them to understand, I need to explain this and this and this and also that. I need to use the exact right words.” I’m feeling a lot of pressure right now.

What was I thinking? I’ve explained some things recently and they didn’t seem to understand that either. I tried doing what people advised, what they wanted me to do, even though some of it has felt wrong to me.

I think I was willing to try to be a people-pleaser [something I’m not known for] because I care so much for these specific people I was trying to please. And this is still scary and still HURTS SO MUCH, but I know what I have to do.

[sigh]

I think, regarding this ministry thing, I’ve been afraid that no one will believe I can do it... and maybe I was starting to believe them more than what God was saying.

I didn’t think I would write so much but here it is.

I am truly sorry that I didn't do things perfectly, yet I'll never be sorry for doing things faithfully.

Thank you for reading.

Good Morning

I was still awake this morning when Dad woke up. We went to Kay’s Bento (for him and Mom) and Tanioka’s (for me). I had to wait about 20 minutes before Tanioka’s opened, but the food is so worth it!

An old Japanese man and a Filipino guy were already there. After a while, the Japanese man started talking to me small kine. He said that he and the other guy were there just to buy bait. I couldn’t hear what he said he used for bait. Another Filipino guy drove up in a blue truck. The Japanese man said good thing he came early and beat the blue truck guy there ‘cuz the blue truck guy going buy all the bait. That guy catch ‘lotta fish.

At another stop off, a guy was coming out, followed by a young man about 11 years old. The young man held the door open for Dad and me. I said, “Thank you” and he said, “You’re welcome.” Oh, he had such a sweet little voice!

Just thought I’d share that. : )

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Strong Silent Speaks

I had a very good afternoon the other day. My cat spoke on camara!

To understand, this is my possibly autistic cat dealing with middle-cat syndrome. She rarely says anything at all. Whenever she does, I get so happy!

It’s also funny to me because I don’t think it sounds like a “meow.” It’s more like a “rawp.”

Whenever she would “rawp” and I would pull out the camara, she’s so fascinated that she would stick her nose right in the lens while keeping silent.

Here's the video, I hope this works.