Saturday, September 25, 2010

Untitled [09.25.2010]



I’m not sure what is going on….

It seemed like something was working… but I’m getting the sense that people are… lying to me. Or they’re saying things to… appease me. Or they’re talking to each other but not to me.

WHY DOES IT SEEM LIKE LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH?!!

If life is about love, then why is it so difficult to love?

You know, having read the 5 Love Languages, it would help some, IF people were more honest. I could tell you my love language, but who cares? I’m tired of hearing your BS answers, ‘cuz I can’t love you best if you won’t be honest with me.

I want to love people so that they know it! They’re assured of it! Someone [me] somewhere [here] loves them!

And do you know how that is true? Because God loves us all, he loved me, and I cannot help but to love others, to spread HIS love to others.

And I’m tired of caring so much that I actually feel my heart aching when you don’t seem to care at all.

I want to go back to not caring.

I can’t do this. I don’t know how much longer I can do this.

I already don’t feel like talking to one friend for now. And it sucks. But I’m thinking of not talking to another friend. And then so-and-so doesn’t have time for me or for me to have time for them. It's all closing in on me. Go back to having no friends. It's easier. Don't bother them and they won't bother you. Hands off. And this is probably the work of the devil to separate me from others, just when I'm reaching towards my potential in Christ. Well, the devil may not be all-powerful but he's not an idiot either.

I don’t feel like talking at all. To anyone.

Just go back to the masquerade with everyone else, like everyone else.

Who was I to think I could help bring about change?

Who was I to think that my hope could help spark hope in anyone else?

No matter what I do... something….

If I stay….

If I go….

People aren’t going to wonder why I’m around.

They’re not going to wonder why I’m not around.

What’s the point of caring?

What’s the point of being myself around others?

I’ve seen genuine people. I know genuine people. How does it seem so easy for them? Why can’t I just… be?

Yet even in this struggle, I can’t give up hope. I can’t not have faith. Because God has been so faithful to me. I know how all this sounds when held up against my speeches of faith. I KNOW.

But I’m tired.

I’m losing hope.

But I’m not.

I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s just that….

If I say that I can’t lead people to more of better things because I seem to be emotionally unstable or tormented or whatever this is, then I’m discounting a whole population of others like me. I’ve known people who were… stuff… and they ministered to me. I would also be discounting God’s power and sovereignty. He made me this way for a purpose. I might never know what that purpose is; I’ll certainly be far from it the more I don’t try at all.

It’s just so damn hard.

And I think I’m….

God, I LOVE YOU! And this… this… condition… sucks so much.

I don’t know what this is.

I don’t know what to do.

I know I deserve more. I deserve better. But what would I do with it?

I don’t feel like talking. And the thing is, I know you won’t push it. You won’t even touch it.

That just makes me more sad.

If I disappear… if you genuinely cared… I’m sorry, I’m sorry for having wasted your time, I’m sorry and I know saying so will never be enough.

I don’t know how much more my heart can take.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Min Thoughts

Here are more thoughts, more paragraphs that are somewhat-maybe-not-really related to each other.

I suppose the idea of a broad young adult ministry has similarities to being a church within a church. So far, I think the main purpose of a local church is to provide fellowship and community. Among that community is a sharing of ideas, experiences, and knowledge for the betterment of the individual as well as the whole.

I think individual growth is vital to community growth, that they go hand-in-hand but is better spirited by the individual growth. One should not expect the community to grow the individual, yet one should not expect that one can grow without the community.

I believe that the Bible and the Holy Spirit are both vital to spiritual growth. I lean toward the idea that they need to be present in equal measures because they are to work together. They should never be in contradiction to each other nor should one be used in isolation from the other. [Not exactly sure how to describe the following or the exact words to use…] So if one feels strongly that the HS is urging one to do something, it should be able to stand up with scripture. If one reads scripture and is inspired, it should agree with the HS.

Anyways, I’m seeing an eventual or gradual implementation of a system of programmatic elements:

-a quarterly big group YA gathering, perhaps a night service or discussion group type thing
- weekly small group Bible studies
-monthly volunteer service project
-monthly or bi-monthly gathering [perhaps “casual” in the sense that its primary goal is for the building of relationships, rather than say, teaching the Bible]
-weekly Sunday large group class

The frequency of occurrence can be adjusted on some elements, but I would have the small groups meet weekly. I would even entertain the idea that the large group class be on a different day of the week. This would free up Sundays for regular volunteer service, say with the primary, youth, Sunday worship team, or other departments/ groups. That volunteer service on Sunday would be a way of infusing the church body with young leaders, perhaps the YA could use this for finding their Heart [as used in SHAPE], connecting with other parts of the church and seeing how it works, but the main idea is to foster unity with the rest of the church. Then if Sundays are used for serving, perhaps the large group class is the quarterly large group gathering, becoming a monthly YA service or something. And then also the monthly volunteering could become less frequent, depending on the direction of it.

I’m thinking there needs to be one leader team overseeing the coordination of the different elements, whatever they are, however they are organized.

I know I’m thinking of all this, such a big ambitious thing, so I’m not adamant on having every single element, but I wanna see how far it can go. The YA population is maybe around 20 right now; I’d like to see it grow to 50 in 5 years [keeping in account the incoming high school graduates]. Yet it’s not about the numbers, keep in mind. I think the numbers will be an indication of how well things come together. Also keep in mind that I’m more concerned about the movement of the Spirit as a whole, but I’ll probably come back to that later.

If I were to build this on my own, where would I start? … that’s a good question. Small groups are kinda sorta in place already. So far the groups are working rather autonomously. The thing is, I see some value in having the big group class on Sundays instead of having the small groups meeting separately on Sundays, as it is now. For one, where do the next incoming h.s. graduates go? Also, one group already has a BS AND a small group, so….

As I’m basically operating on my own currently, I think my next move is something to unify the groups, even if for a short time for now, one day or something. I have to keep moving towards something and bringing people along as much as I can.

On a humorous note, I just had the thought that I’d like to call the small groups SG-units, so SG-1, SG-2, etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Kitchen Sink Here

Since I live quite a distance from friends, I will often carry a backpack stuffed with clothes for different occasions, because I never know when plans might change. Plans don’t change that much that often, but it has happened and I have been glad to have a change of clothes. I hang out often with guys and besides that, the few gals I’m around are of very different sizes and dimensions from me; it’s not likely for someone to tell me, “Here, you can borrow my clothes” and have things work out. Plus, for certain occasions, like a hike or sprucing up for a party, I’d like to have some extra things that could be useful, as in a mini first-aid kit, hand sanitizer, or lotion, body spray, etc.

But I don’t like to carry a lot of things. My typical carry-around is a small purse, and even then I sometimes get tired of keeping track of it. I am mostly seen carrying a small [~6 in. x 8 in.] drawstring bag that I made [in the foreground of the above picture: I had made some for friends and then kept a few for myself].

So people sometimes wonder what I carry in such a relatively small bag. Here it is:

Wallet
Of course. I also don’t like carrying around a bunch of cards and stuff that I don’t regularly use, and so my wallet tends to be compact. I was using card carrier as a wallet but found something much slimmer: an ID case wallet [this isn’t the one I got, but a design I considered]. It is quite compact and tight, so I might go back and forth between this and the last wallet I had just because sometimes I don’t wanna hafta fuss with squeezing stuff back into the slim. Overall though, I really like the slim [which you can find here].

Also, the presence of money, ID(s) and other useful cards are implied to be carried within my wallet in my purse.

Lip stuff
I love my lips! They are my favorite physical feature of mine because I think they look like my grandmother’s. I really don’t like the feel of rough, dry lips so I protect against it. I almost always have a lip gloss, lip balm, and lipstick with me. If I don’t have ANY with me, I have no idea what to do. I small kine panic.

Mirror
Because sometimes I just wanna check my lipstick or pepper teeth or whatever quickly, without having to run to the restroom. I try to sneak a check if I can, so even my mirror is simple: one reflection side with a Wonder Woman backing [as opposed to a flip, often two different magnification mirror which adds to the thickness of the compact].

Hair clips and bands
I have a lot of hair. Thick hair. I have only recently gotten more comfortable with having my hair down most of the time. To prevent feeding my hair on the way to my mouth or looking like Cousin It, I almost always have clips and bands. If a situation arises and I don’t have any at all, I have no idea what to do.

Phone
Duh. I sometimes think about discontinuing the use of a cellphone, but I will never be able to fully. As a female who often travels alone, the cellphone is more for my parents’ peace of mind. I also like simple for phones: the current phone is my first to have a built-in camara [that I really don’t use] because it was cheaper than the one without. My next phone is going to have a keyboard; Apple, Pineapple, or Grace and I sometimes converse by text.

Compact digital camara
I make good use of it! I am rarely ever found without it.

Keys
Because I like being able to enter my house when I return to it. Need I say more on this?

iPod
I love music! Most any music. Unlike a few of my friends, I am not comfortable “spontaneously bursting into song.” I am more comfortable as a sing-along or backup singer, hence the iPod carry. Plus, it’s good for bus rides, or hikes, or exercising at the gym, etc.
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So that’s what I almost always have in my purse. it doesn’t take much to carry this stuff, but I sometimes use a tote for when I bring along a book to read, or I often have a steno book and pens because I like to write, jot some notes down if I get an idea, that sort of thing.

Other things I might have in my purse: mints and/ or coughdrops, Bluetooth, water bottle, MelaGel, lotion, nail clipper, hat, a ring or two, or earrings.

And now you know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unmentioned Spiritual Gifts?

So I am having influence with people through a side-door! They don’t realize it. I think it’s funny! No recognition- okay. No outright rejection- I’ll take it. I’m still moving on, but at least it shows me that I can [sort of] lead.

Perhaps instigation is a spiritual gift…? Or stealth mode as a spiritual gift?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Alpha Lift

So, in being a risk-taker and involving others, I feel like a few were in some agreement with what I was trying to do, at first. When it came time to move, I feel like in general I was given a vote of no confidence before I even got to do anything real. I admit that some of that is with me. I am not the kind of person that… I mean, to an extent that is further than most people at the moment, I thought that people knew me. If the people who know me are giving off the sense of… waiting to see me fail, I… slowly… I am thrown. So I tried to go ahead with things and just keep trying, keep remaining faithful to the task to see what good could happen but it was…. It hurts.

Officially or not, min-wise, people have/ are saying that Group A needs me. I don’t know what I’m going to do ultimately. I suppose… I can’t imagine what they would need me for.

What I think are already my strengths, I get the sense that Group A doesn’t want that or care about that or something. [Again, this is just from my perspective] What good I think I might be capable of, it seems… I get the sense from Group A that I am to struggle and work that out myself.

Just as with anyone else, my faults are right at my side.

I am confident and I am not.

I believe God brought me an answer through Alpha. God’s been working in Alpha’s life and he’s been working in my life, and possibly bringing us together for I have no idea what yet.

Affirmation

When I presented what God has called me to, there was a question posed about how I know that’s what God is doing. It’s a good question, I recognize.

Ultimately, I don’t really care about answering it though, I want to go ahead and try. I want to move. I want to do. I want to start.

The conflict I was feeling [and the feeling is lingering] is that what God has called me to involves certain people and those certain persons, it seems to me, wants that question answered before being open to allowing me to do it. You know, if it didn’t include them, if it wasn’t for them, then I could do whatever I wanted. I could move forward with the ideas.

At the same time, I would like to be able to answer that question, even if just for myself. I sometimes think I have the answer, but then I become unsure of myself again. When I’ve tried to voice what the answer might be, others have found a way to shoot it down. [It’s not about you, Jenn! It’s not about them! Where’s your focus?] I feel like an apprentice minister who hasn’t been studying very long when the master is called away somewhere and I need to start practicing in his absence. And others are resenting it, fine.

You know what! The vision is really a… no, it might be clearer this way: my Core Group is the predecessor or the model of the vision. Is my purpose in there?

So I’ve struggled with this. Who am I to think I can guide others to something good, something better? I have no qualifications. [or do I?]

And then comes Alpha. I think where his heart, his spirit is now, is how I was, in certain respects, when I was excited. I allowed more and so God stepped up his work in me, and then this tremendous opportunity came along to do something and some signs were shown and I was excited for the chance. It was the most “on fire” I had ever been and excited because I knew there would be more ahead!

If Alpha said that God is calling him to lead Group C, I would believe him! I wouldn’t burden him with questions about his qualifications or for signs of affirmation because you know what? God doesn’t always tell us! God doesn’t always make sense to us! It’s just “Go here” and we either go or not. God told Abraham to go to the place God would show him, not the place that God has shown him. Abraham didn’t know where or how or why. God prepared Moses for something and then Moses was like, “are you serious?” [not literally, you know]. Jonah ran away from the task and God still turned that into a testimony, though at the moment, I would rather obey first than to disobey and end up some place I really don’t want to be.

Yes, God sent me an answer through Alpha. “Go. You trusted me a little before; continue to trust me more and more now.” Put aside the distractions of proof or signs. Put aside the distraction of the doubt of others. Put aside the distraction of the doubt in yourself. Trust God. Go.

And...everyone needs to start somewhere.

… I’m still not exactly sure what the next step is….

This has been a production of the Alpha Lift. Thank you.

An Incomplete Introduction to “Alpha Lift” and Other Posts

I think I’ve got the words to articulate the difference between what is in the vision that I have compared to what the young adults of Group A… want possibly. Much of this is for lack of better words.

The goal vision is something like… having a team of young adults be caretakers of a broad young adult ministry. The team would be led or guided by a “mature/maturing” Christian, whether an adult or young adult. The b-min is for the caretaking of the spiritual plant or growth of young adults in general.

Within that broad ministry are sort of [flbw] sub-ministries. The sub-ministries would have more specific purposes, as in this small group for these particular individuals or that small group for those particular individuals, or a s-min that is for reaching out to other young adults, or a s-min that is by young adults serving the homeless of any age.

In the vision, young adults would have a place where they could come and explore the Christian faith, whether one is a believer or non-believer, curious or struggling or searching for peace or looking to better understand, whatever it is. One would see young adults coming to faith, seeking to serve others, being grounded in the foundations of the faith while able to build up with their stances of the things that are [flbw] debatable, worshiping the Lord…. Well, young adults being equipped to display the fruits of the spirit. And wherever the b-min is headquartered, young adults would know that they could always go there to find support. It’s sort of… a resource for getting a refill in order to outpour the overflow of the Holy Spirit unto others.

Well, a special obstacle of the church to which I am assigned is that it is fractured in so many ways. There are, in general, about three separate groups of young adults. It’s okay to have the separate groups, like if thinking of them as their own small groups, but I was/am seeking a b-min that could possibly have a uniting essence of the different groups, something that could bring them together….

So it seems like Group A is seeking out how to do an s-min [in the preceding description] together, while I’ve been talking about a b-min, something that is greater than Group A, something that is greater than ourselves. They’re looking at details, not necessarily a bad thing to do, while I have this big picture idea. I suppose it seemed that Group A had a good background for… moving towards this vision and it seems that I was wrong possibly. I mean, if it’s between God and me, I’m thinking I’m the one to make a mistake. Or was there a mistake at all?

Well, I don’t know. I really don’t. About any of it. I suppose this is just a step towards something. It could possibly change as I get more information or more pieces to reaching the vision.



I’m open to what can be and that I should try to get there. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was something I could accomplish on my own, but the vision includes others. Either way is scary to me. Stepping out by myself towards something unknown or asking others to join me, following my lead into the unknown.

I am personally at a place where I am torn between things and figuring out how to use my nature [which seems to be in constant flux, adding to the challenge] towards achieving the vision. Possible spiritual gifts for me are that of apostleship and shepherding. For me at least, I’m having a difficult time managing those together. Maybe they are diametrically opposed, I don’t know. Although I seem to be a very cautious person, I am also a risk-taker. Ministry involves risks. At the same time that I want to move forward, the nurturing relationships part of me doesn’t want to leave people behind, or perhaps not in this case since I believe where I’m headed is a good risk for anyone involved.

Also, I see the value in traditions and see the good behind certain traditions of the church. And then I am also open to exploring other ways of doing things. So I suppose, it’s related to… there are things that I am unwilling to budge on and then there are things that I have a stance on that I can state but don’t really care to argue about because in the end I don’t believe they will matter so much.

For the vision, I believe that loving God and loving others would be foundational. I have ideas on how to go about it, but they’re ideas I want to try. The goal product might look like something else all together but I don’t want to just not try the initial ideas. For others, I would like that they be more open to trying.

I’m sorry, no, I might have lost where I was going with this. Well, at least this is here and I can edit my thoughts as needed.

Finally, moving on to Alpha…

Monday, September 20, 2010

Refresh

The past Sunday was quite refreshing.

For awhile, people have been talking to me about serving this group of guys. They got Alpha to lead, and then got Alpha to encourage me to help him lead. This group is seeking more. They would like to build up more knowledge. They’re intelligent, I wasn’t suggesting that they’re not. It’s more that they recognize an area that they want to know more about that people think I might know something about.

So, I was with this group on Sunday. Refreshing. They have the heart.

This is all from my perspective, what I am able to estimate from the outside. I am not saying that I know these things to be a fact because I can’t truly know what another person is thinking or feeling.

As I sat at the benches with Alpha and the guys, I could tell that God is real to them. They talked about their struggles. They talked about real situations, not vague allusions to something. They didn’t have pat Christian responses. Though they emphasized going to the Word, there was something in how they were saying it that I sensed that they meant it. They talked about moments that sounded like they were brought to recognize that God is all they have and all that matters.

I can relate to that. Even though my struggles are very different from theirs, theirs being more visible while mine is so very internal and more invisible, our struggles seem to have a commonality. Our struggles have brought us to those “God alone” moments, moments when the only place we have to turn is to God, moments when God showed up for us whether or not it turned out well.

We all struggle with something or other.

The guys mentioned about the difference in their lives, from who they used to be to who they are now. They talked about who they want to be. And they’re actively seeking it out.

Not only are they seeking God but they are also “seeing” God. They talked about where they were supposed to be that day, ended up staying at home, one woke up to the sound of the church bell, called up each other, and came to church. They thanked God for it, saying that church was where they needed to be.

I relate to that! It was refreshing.

They discussed some scripture passages, like Luke 23, leading up to verse 43. They talked about what they thought it was saying and what it meant to them. I think they were very sharp with their insights. They know more than they think. I barely said a word.

It was refreshing, because I got to be more of the kind of leader I think I am best in being. Too bad that others missed it.
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I don’t want to sound like I’m judging anyone. As much as possible I try to keep all aspects in play. I’m trying to ferret out [discern] a way that I can serve the other group still, because God made them my heart, or I wouldn’t be so frustrated and showing it. Even if I serve the Refresh group, which is a piece of the vision, of God’s call on me, I have a need to serve the… [I’m not going to call them what I want to call them, it’s not…, just…, I don’t have… ] the….

I just wanted someone to hear me out while I worked out some of the difference in the ---------. It’s not completely, clear cut [and I prefaced my thoughts with this], but one seems to have something more in the ------- while the other seems to have something more in the -------. Not that either is bad or is better than the other and what that something is, ---------. For me, the ------- finally caught up to the --------, to where I am closer to loving God with all of my being.

--------- does good. Friend pointed out that ---------- used to do things with --------- and that --------- would probably say that those moments were real. I think Friend was missing my meaning and why I prefaced my thoughts. [Sometimes, it’s such a chore to have to be so careful with how someone says something, and it bugs when someone says something that sounds like they’re assuming that I’m not already being as careful with how I say things as much as is in my control or that it sounds like they’re assuming I mean to be a prick because I said something using certain words. It’s good if someone asks a clarifying question, but that’s not what Friend did. Well, that’s another problem I have with writing here because… anyways, let this merely be a note to possibly write another post on this topic]. Although that brings something up as well.

I’m sure God was there in those moments when any is doing something good, but whether or not anyone…. Okay, the thing is, anyone can do good regardless of their spiritual background. Atheists do good all the time. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not talking about good deeds, that’s not the point.

But back to the --------- in particular, something dropped between that time ------- were doing things with ---------- to now where ------- are… like… so… [and this is one of the problems with being so careful and people being so sensitive and me… whatever].

Ugh, nevermind.

So if God truly wants me to do this thing, would one think that I should be able to communicate that to others? I see how that could seem like a fault and that more likely I haven’t been called to do this thing, but screw that. I have the same doubts. It’s just… I’m unsatisfied with what seems to be… inevitable, or, like, I’m not satisfied with settling for less kind of situations. I get that God is all I need and that in that sense, I will be okay no matter what happens, even in settling. Also, I don’t believe that this is the best of what God wanted for us. Be clear: I am not saying God made a mistake, although most times I feel that way when it comes to the task he wants me to accomplish. And you know, maybe I am very idealistic, but so what? I’m also in reality, so what’s so bad about reaching for more?

Did I reach any sort of crumb of a conclusion here? No, I still don’t know what to do. This is an exercise, not a dissertation. Sorry for all the blanks.

It was a refreshing time on Sunday.

OH! Okay, I have more about Alpha that I don’t want to forget! But this is already at ridiculous lengths that I’ll write another entry. Hey, I said there are a lot of things going on in my head, did I not?

Getting Up There

I guess I would say that I’m an Idea Person. It seems like lately I have a lot of ideas in mind. I’m about 30/70 on follow through on my own. I am not a Planner. I can plan, I don’t like to plan, especially for myself. I don’t like to plan by myself.

I have an idea for what I want to do for my birthday that is coming up. It’s a story to why I am “planning” to have a birthday dinner a month after my birthday.

Why plan is in “” is that I don’t like planning things for myself, and so many years, my birthday has passed quietly. No, more like lifelessly- it just didn’t happen. I like getting old and don’t really care if people know my age and so I should be excited to celebrate my birthday.

Yet I’m not excited because more so I don’t like planning things for myself.

And many times it doesn’t seem like other people care to celebrate my birthday, except for my family and we go to dinner. This year, I have very few people I am absolutely sure would care to do something. It’s less this than it is that I’m just… neurotic.

Many times, I just don’t want to celebrate. Once, I even told my family that I didn’t want to go to dinner. I regret that only because my birthday dinner is more about celebrating how my family have provided and cared for me. Last year sucked in so many ways.

Anyways, so I’ve started thinking about the pieces for this year but I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I don’t like planning things for myself. It’s also that if I plan it, I’m more likely to back out whereas if someone else plans something (though it’s never been for me since the 6th grade), I’m more likely to show up. If someone else plans something, I can better prepare to be strong that day. If I plan something and I happen to feel sucky that day, I’ll cancel. But I’m not going to ask someone to plan something for me.

Here, I am trying to convince myself that I ought to just plan it because I know what I want. It’s 50/50 that I’ll be successful in convincing myself. If I am successful, after that it is still 30/70 with follow through.
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And this is why I will always adore Lea, because it was the best birthday I’d had in my teen years. Despite what I think about people saying Lea’s my “carbon copy,” we are very much alike. We’re very much alike in our sense of romance, even within a friendship, yet we don’t like drawing attention to what we do for others. It’s a little sad that life has taken us along different and separate paths, but I am so happy for her. I just miss her.

Anyways, the story: my birthday fell during ----- week. I decided that it was my senior year and so I was going to participate in a class battle. I chose volleyball.

I got to school early for the match. As I approached the gym, there she was: Lea with a birthday balloon tied to a Taz doll! “Happy birthday!”

That alone would have been enough, but then someone wrote “Happy birthday Jenn!” on the board in the bandroom. It was up all during MB practice that day. And, the MB sang for me. I have a suspicion that Lea had something to do with it, and I’m sure I’m right.

It was the best birthday.

Lea and I had only met a few months before yet we fast became best friends.
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I feel strange about someone making a fuss over me.

But I value it so much, because I know they didn’t have to do it. They wanted to do it.

Ahh, That Explains It

Oh, that earlier post “How Faithful,” some parts are so jumbled up and unclear. I’m just saying this because there are parts where it sounds clear that I’m going somewhere with it and drawing out the connections but then things end up in a smeary mess, I am aware of this. At least some of it sounds like my good old self.

I often skip steps. I try not to, but I don’t always have control over this. It’s as if, in a game like “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” I will take something like Richard Dean Anderson and connect him to what my mascara smells like and leave out the first, third, and fourth links to where one is going HUH? while I’m following what I’m saying and it makes sense to me. This is why I am not funny.

My brother used to get marked down in school because he would see the task and write down the answer without the intermediary steps. Take a long division math problem of 6614947 / 623; Bro would probably write down 10617.9 without showing how many times does 623 go into 6614, next is how many times 623 go into 3849, and so on. Not literally, but you get the point. Only Bro skips steps because he’s close to genius whereas I skip steps because I’m close to ridiculousness.

It bugs that whether someone stays or goes, it doesn’t matter, or that the person will never know that it did matter because someone else didn’t care enough to say or do something, like.... I guess, that we’ll just leave people to their own devices because we…. A bridge! A bridge!

Ugh! I’M SO FRUSTRATING!

*silly face*

A reason I don’t like that I write here is because one can’t tell with what affect I am saying these things. I am a number of all things rolled into one moment that.... You know, sometimes I feel like such a freak of a circus.

I think I’m trying to convince myself of -------- but ---------------------.

I’ve been using the word “build” a lot. And there’s bridge, door, window, hammer, chisel, ratchet.... I must be structured for architecture or related trades.
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I have very few persons to give any piece of the support system that I need. Doing without just one person, even for a short time, is devastating at the moment. Yet I need to put a little distance between a friend and I.

My support system has a huge vacancy and I’m finding it difficult at the moment to do without it. It’s been a long time since that vacancy was last filled, too long. Maybe this is a key factor to how poorly I’ve been. My system is too heavy towards one direction.

I’ve said it before but maybe I didn’t realize how deeply honest it is: I feel invisible. I know at least one person who knows how to see me and would see me, but we’re separated. I am sad.

I could really use someone who....

I hate that I sound like such a whiny wimp! I could survive on so little. It sounds like I would be so high maintenance, that I need so much, this and that and then more, while really, I need very little. But there’s none and so as long as that vacancy is there, I’m -------------.





Sunday, September 19, 2010

Return

It’s all coming back to me
It really happened, didn’t it?

You must have cared for me
We cared for each other

How we talked about anything
About the beauty and the pain

How you would look at me
Where I couldn’t hide
I didn’t know that I should

How I could make you laugh!
And how your laugh
Would give me life

It really happened
You were real

The face, the form
The movement
Sometimes your voice
Your embrace, if

I’m fortunate

We were real

How Faithful

Ahhhhh…! Okay, so many things going on, in my brain and in the world, so I’ll try to keep it orderly but… you know. Tumbleweed. Spaghetti brain.

Let’s go.

God is faithful.

I get down a lot. It’s so easy to get down because God has nurtured much more sensitivity in me than I used to have, or maybe, than I used to show or let overflow. I love. I hurt for others. I doubt myself more than I used to because I am so aware of my brokenness. It kinda sucks but it’s kinda cool too. It’s that much easier to throw me off, that’s all; yet at the same time, it’s growing me, pressuring me like as with coal to uncover the diamond, refining me. It moves me.

Is that part about the diamond right? The 100% words mess me up, and then there’s… STOP.

People have been saying it the past few years and I thought they were wrong, that they were merely wishing to see something in me that wasn’t there in hopes that it would spontaneously materialize out of their words; they have been telling me how compassionate I am, that I have a good heart. I think, maybe, they might be telling the truth. It might be nice if I could show myself some of that compassion, but I seem to see myself, to a certain respect, through the way that others treat me. So I suppose, at times, if I’m not shown compassion very often, I tend to think it’s because I haven’t been compassionate to others, sort of the “you get out what you put in” thing. It’s not always true though.

Whoa. Was that more than I wanted to share.

So is this.


I invested a lot of time into a certain group of people.

I usually only invest in a few individuals at a time, usually of different groups. By Crusty’s example truly, years ago, she invested in me, which brought me in proximity with Apple and The Don and a few others through the years; so I invested in that group and it was/is paying back greatly. The dynamic has changed, because there’s a complication between The Don and I, Crusty is building a family, and Apple is far away, but I know that I can call any of them in a time of need or to simply update each other.

I think that’s how good things are; a group is together for a time, growing each other, challenging each other, supporting each other, and then at the right time, either they split off to benefit other groups or bring others in, yet that initial group is still bonded together forever. New experiences, other people, a change in scenery… nothing can threaten that bond.

The direction of this post seems to be turning to something else… oh well.

The current group, you know… God really sets us up, doesn’t he? Here’s how it goes for me: my core group didn’t break down, it broke out. The Don and I split, in simplest terms, because we’re very different and not in a way that we could stay together without the others. Crusty got married and began that chapter in her life. Then what I would have previously thought would be in the top 10 of worst things that could happen to me, Apple tells me she’s moving away. She has been such a ROCK for me. Apple’s news came at a good time for me though, a time when I could handle such news, and I miss her but am so glad she did it. So I embarked on a new journey.

I went to God and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. This leaves me with no one, and you know I need someone to be local! You’re going to bring me new support right? But still, you’re expecting me to make the new friends right?” The meaning: God’s gonna take care of me but I’m gonna hafta work for it as well, to step out with faith in action.

I need local, present attention. The… paradox [?]… or my reciprocal nature [?] is that I give what I get. It doesn’t matter who starts it, but if I give and I get, I will give again, and if I get again, I will give even more, so on and so forth. It’s a progression until a comfortable medium is reached or something like that. But I don’t like building something up to have it taken away for no good reason. I admit, I am a spoiled rotten friend.

And work on it I did. From that point on, two big things were going on at the same time but looked like they were working together: making friends and obeying God. I had to become more open, more vulnerable, more true to who I am, more trusting, friendlier, welcoming- in other words, not who I used to be, in both the social realm and the spiritual realm. It was better but it sucked!

This is what it looked like: I sought out more knowledge of God, then felt led to answer the request of volunteering in a ministry. From there I met a potential friend, someone about whom I had been curious for some time. I heard of a gathering through which I knew I would be helped in the search for more of God and the friend eventually became my inlet to that gathering. That gathering became the doorway to this certain group of people. God caused or helped me cultivate such a love for each person in the group; I counted them as friends (though not necessarily that I was “in” the group). Even when the One-Who-Was-Away was to return, I got excited for it on their behalf! I invested so much of myself into these friends. I initiated and acted and followed-through and you know, it just wasn’t enough for me to stand by because I cared too much to do that.

With that love for the group, I sought out to do something for that group, or actually, for that group and then to beyond that group.

So when God told me to do something, I did something, because looking back, it made sense, it all came together. (Well, aside from my lack of faith, and possibly other’s lack of faith, in myself… I was/am still going along but at the same time saying, “God, seriously? Me?!”) It seemed God brought me and this group together for this reason.

But that has been rejected and I feel dejected. Not that I knew where the set up was heading [i.e. ministry], but it seems like all that love and care and time, what was invested in the group, is left unrecognized, collecting dust, useless. I’m left wondering, “What was all that for? Nothing? That was so hard for me!” It’s back to making no sense.

So, some parts of the vision are in place, I’m just not in it [the vision] anymore. I feel like I’m an outside observer to… my own party or something, though that’s not right because it’s still not about me, but you know, that I… ugh.

I didn’t want to be here. It’s not fun for me to question and define who my friends are and aren’t. I’ve learned by the examples of others, Crusty being a major influence, to invite people, bring anyone and everyone along. It’s not gonna kill me. [Like the 4th of July or a birthday gathering, I invited everyone I could to come and just the old faithful came] It’s my nature now to invite everyone I can; I think it’s good, that I don’t really want to let go of it.

Is this what God set me up for?!!

But as with many situations, I’m not closing the book just yet.

But seriously, God? I’m very close to square one again in terms of having to build up a new support? This sucks! Who is left?!

I believe God is so great, so sovereign, that he’s not threatened by my questions or my doubts or my pains or… nothing. God knows me, he knows my heart. So I can talk to God like this, because he’s real to me. It’s only the situations and experiences he allows or puts me through that suck but ultimately, I know it’s for good.


GOD IS FAITHFUL.

I’m alive. I’ve got shelter and food. I have an outer circle of people who do care about me and act on it [though that seems so inside out]. I have a couple of good friends from that batch, to whom I am bonded and so fear no threat if I… go to benefit others. It’s just sad because with the Core, we had so many years and memories together. It’s just sad because people want me to stay but I have no answer for them still. It’s just sad because, well, it’s always sad to let a good thing go. And it’s sad too because… there are so many things left unresolved, unanswered, in the open, unexplored- you know, nothing’s really changed- it’s not like I’m moving or starting a family or building a career yet.

We could do so much more together.

So I want it to end but I don’t want it to end. And if it depends on the other side… it… um, yeah.

I want it easy. It’s not about what I want. I’ve been saying “this sucks” a lot lately [to myself and a select few who know what I mean and what I don’t mean by it]. It’s in reference to the fact that if I continue to choose God, it’s not going to be easy, that I should keep in mind that it’s not about what I want. If I want more, I ought to be willing to do more, endure more, give more, etc. As friend reminds me, grace ought not to be taken cheaply.



This was… fun not so much. I could unpack more. Or… not. Another time perhaps.

I apologize if it seems like I keep dwelling in the past, that’s not it. I keep revisiting the not so distant past in order to figure out some good where to go. I think that’s what I like about listening to people’s histories because sometimes we don’t realize something or miss something key unless we say/ acknowledge it out loud or write it out, some kind of record of it, perhaps someone to help us discover it.

The title of this post, um, well, it didn't end up being totally unrelated so, leave it.

The end.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Butter Me Up

Apple visited recently and brought some goodies with her! She knows how to keep my friendship- just kidding.

One of the goodies she brought for me was the Cucumber Melon Body Butter from Bath & Body Works. It came at a good time because I’m a few drops away from finishing up the last bottle of lotion I was working on.

Since I’ve exfoliated my legs on a recent trip to the beach, I decided to start using the body butter after I shower. It smells fresh and good! At first, the application feels a little greasy; it’s called body BUTTER for a reason. My legs are very dry, but after a minute of the body butter, my legs feel smooth and fully moisturized. It’s a little strange just because I’m not used to my legs feeling so soft. The moisturizing lasts longer than the previous lotion I was using.

I like the Cucumber Melon scent, but I’m not yet sure that it matches me. My everyday scent is slightly more floral and to me smells more like a fresh, clean shower. Maybe I just need more time to get use to the new scent.

Overall, I would recommend the body butter [in whatever scent you like that the company makes]. For softer, hydrated skin that lasts all day, try Body Butter by Bath & Body Works.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It’s Not about What They Want

I’m too stubborn to quit.

Even if others can’t see it, I’m doing something. It might not be what they want me to do or what they think I ought to do. They might not know or believe that something can be done or that things can be better, or that I can do something.

I can’t be held back. I won’t be held back. And if others miss out, they miss out. That’s not what I want and it would be a shame, but what can I do about it? I can’t conform to others. I can’t just go along with what they want.

Probably time to change direction.

I need to shine, not to put others in darkness, because light brings things out of darkness.

I need to shine, not because I matter at all; rather, because God matters all.

“And if I perish, I perish.” [Esther 4:16]

I don’t even know what I can do. Possibilities. Reaching for the possibilities, however imperfectly as long as it’s done faithfully.

I want more.

It’s Not About What I Want

I want to quit.

In the area of God’s current call on me, I am still frustrated. It hasn’t changed: work with young adults, guide the young adults, and build a ministry for young adults.

Whether I do quit or not, I will face negative consequences with humans. I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

Only I sense the Holy Spirit telling me that Christ endured worse, for our sake. Christ calls someone to follow Him, regardless of preparation, regardless of circumstance, regardless of reputation, regardless of family ties and friendships. God is the only one I need and the only one that ultimately matters.

Yet, I’m frustrated with God as well. I’m not expecting the full plan, but neither do I know what the next step is to be. Or I can’t seem to discern it, if he’s already telling me what it is.

On the one hand, I’m resigning myself to the idea that God often doesn’t make sense. He may have called me to do this thing and I may have to do it alone, which doesn’t make sense because what he wants me to do is for others. Doing it with others, that might just be my own desire. On the other hand, my vision of what he wants makes sense as to where he has led me and the possible why. Yet I can’t seem to go that way, so again it doesn’t make sense.

I’m tired of making the effort. I’m tired of trying to do the “mature thing.” I’m tired of being met by the same people to no overflow, no outcome, no purpose, full of vain effort.

Each time I’ve been a step away from quitting, God has brought others to tell me not to, to pray over me. This time is no exception.

Knowing what I know, how can I turn back now?
Is this too much for me?
If I break one more time, will it be the end?
How much more can he take away from me?
Why give me a moment’s joy, to build up my faith, and then take the joy away?

I feel left behind. I feel invisible. I feel like I’m upside down. I feel like I’m being held back. I feel too seriously. I feel unbalanced. I feel not understood. I feel uncared for, that it doesn’t matter to try to be understood anymore if the other does not care. I feel like I've already proven myself only to no recognition whatsoever, to no useful end. I feel like I’m in the dark.

I don’t want to feel any more.

It’s true and it’s not true.

I don’t want to disappoint and yet I don’t know how to succeed.







Now that I have that off my chest………….

Monday, September 13, 2010

People Investing

I think I’m better around people, if only when I’m around people, I’m not thinking about troubles. And that scares me. I may be better around people but I’m not good around people.


Several days last week, I spent with people.

Last Sunday, several of us hung out after church, drinking coffee and just sitting around, talking. It almost felt like old times. It also felt like looking in.

Tuesday, I watched a friend’s bowling match. Tree did well! Her last game, she bowled a 162. I watched her get in a few strikes and spares. Considering I’m a gutterball pro, I was certainly impressed. Afterwards, Tree thanked me for coming, once by voice and another by text.

Then I went to a meeting since I was in the area.

Thursday, I went on a hike with the guys. It was a good day for a hike. The first time I hiked Manoa Falls was about 8 years ago with Crusty and her friends. It seemed much different this time. I remember steeper inclines, more mud, and more space between the greenery. I wonder if maybe we didn’t go as far this time and so didn’t reach the vision of my memory. Or I was confusing it with a different hike with Crusty; we definitely went to Manoa Falls and past it because I have pictures of us.

The guys and I came across some green bamboo that reminds one of scenes from “House of Flying Daggers.” The guys tried climbing the bamboo, which I must confess; I would’ve liked to try, if I had a stronger upper body and guaranteed toe protection. A remnant of a tomboy still lives in me. It was entertaining to watch the guys try.

And my toenail is completely gross. I slid in my shoe again. For a moment, I could feel the blood clotting in my toe, or at least that’s what it felt like when it hurts bad. Another hike ending in barefootedness for me, yay! Maybe I should just hike in slippers from now on….

Friday was to be a busy, long day. Lunch with Squeakers didn’t happen ‘cause I forgot Mom would need the car and Squeakers needed to be somewhere by a certain time, not giving us much time together. We’ve been trying to get together for weeks now.

I made it to prayer time with Minister. These moments haven’t failed to bring up good discussion. I’m still wondering how to be a part of bringing about good change. Towards that, Minister seems to be up on a lot of information that I don’t have. One of the bigger questions is, when someone at some time in the past has dropped the ball, how can another now pick it up again? I suppose I’m also trying to figure out exactly what the ball is. A piece of it is mentoring, I believe, but perhaps it goes a step further than that.

Then it was off to be a witness to a new year of Joker’s life, a life with which I am grateful to have crossed paths. This year, it made me face how much I missed in the past year, and how much I wish I hadn’t; it was a difficult situation and I’m not going to take all the responsibility for it. I had hoped to see Polar and Tenor at dinner also, but that didn’t happen. The horses, however, did make an appearance.

The next day, a few of us went to the beach, me and the guys again. I don’t mind being the only female trying to keep up with the guys, it seems to depend on the guys though and this was a good gathering. Polar was there and we had a little time to talk. I couldn’t say the hard stuff and so I forgot to also say that I had missed him.

It was another beautiful day. Food from Keneke’s, always good. I just wanted a mini katsu for lunch but Polar, who paid for my food, said I couldn’t order a mini and got me a regular; I had the other half later that night for dinner.

At the beach, while the guys dug the traditional hole in the sand, Joker scooped up a huge crab. Pineapple let the water wash him up [on his board] on shore. Then he made like a sea turtle, trying to pull himself up further while still lying on his stomach. Pineapple got stung by a man-o-war. I’ve never been stung before. I did the girly thing: exfoliated. My legs feel super smooth at the moment! Another confession: I am jealous that the guys can bodysurf. I can’t even get going on a board!


So despite all the talk about how I want to climb with the guys and surf with the guys, I still love being a woman! I just wish I was better at chasing my athletic endeavors.

Update: I heard back from Honolulu Habitat for Humanity! Except, they had a cancellation a couple Saturdays ago and on short notice, so I turned it down. I was supposed to spend time with Squeakers that day. But, they said I would be put on the waiting list; they’re booked till November. Imagine that, a waiting list in order to volunteer time! Well, they only work on Saturdays. Still, I’m excited. While I wait for that, I’m looking into possibly volunteering with the food bank.

The end.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Domestic Abilities

I’ve been called “ambitious” many times in my life for reasons I don’t quite understand. I mean that I don’t know that I am ambitious any more than anyone else is.

Well, I’ve said a few times already that I want to be married someday- that’s an ambition. I don’t have a lot of details about what I would like for my wedding; I definitely want the marriage more.

In relation to having a marriage, I think I would enjoy being a domestic manager, i.e. a housewife. I look forward to being able to “make a house a home.” Towards that end, below is a list of skills I have [or am working on] that could be used to recommend me for such a position. I could do all this just for myself [and I do], as a single person living on my own, but these abilities are more attractive to me in the context of doing them for someone else.
_______________________

1. Washing Dishes: I do not enjoy doing dishes because my mind thinks that I’ll never get them clean enough, but I will do them because I don’t believe that the dishwashing machine will do a better job. Don’t worry, these recommendations will get better.

2. Laundry: I love doing laundry! It’s the scent of freshly washed and dried laundry. The only cautions here are that I don’t care enough to pay attention to “hand wash only” instructions or “delicates” designations, but that would mostly have to do with my clothes rather than his. And his “delicates” would be things like a well-tailored suit, which would probably go to the dry cleaners. I like putting away laundry. Folding laundry… is okay, I’ll do it.

3. Cooking: I cannot wait to have my own kitchen to cook in. I like having the small bowls to get out and pre-measure ingredients, like they do in cooking shows. I do sometimes stray from recipe directions, and sometimes doing without recipes all together. I would like to learn how to better plan out meals ahead of time. I also like doing the grocery shopping.

4. Financial Tracking: for years, I’ve been working out a system to best help me keep track of finances. I would like to learn to pay bills in a good manner. When I worked more, I got a little enjoyment from putting a portion of my paycheck into paying a bill, but I only had a phone bill and credit card bill to take care of.

While I like some of the finer things, like a Betsey Johnson dress or a glass of delicious cognac, I don’t need them to feel good. I’d rather save up money towards more fulfilling things like spending a lunch with a good friend, tithing, donating to charity, catching a game in person with friends, buying for a friend something they really want. So when it comes time for a family, I think I could have a good balance between saving, giving, and spending some for ourselves.

5. Decorating: ohmigoodness. I cannot wait for this also. Over the last few years, I’ve made my own improvements to my room. I planned out and put up bookshelves. I’ve finally settled on a general room set up that I love. I built up my own closet system. I made shades for the windows [they’re not completely finished yet]. I set aside an area for the cat toys and bed, though realistically, the cats go wherever they want and leave their toys everywhere. I have ideas for more decorating projects.

When I lived in OR, I coordinated the bathroom. I was only going to be there for 5 ½ months, so I didn’t want to do too much. I figured that the bathroom would be a place of relaxation at bath time and so worthy of some coordination. I picked out the colors [yellow, green, white] and got bath stuff in that scheme. It still wasn’t much, but it was enough for the time.

6. Home repairs: I know how to do some stuff like fixing window screens, painting, changing out fixtures, building shelves, putting up siding, installing doors, etc. I’d like to learn how to do minor plumbing repairs, tiling, etc. I could learn electrical stuff, though I’m more cautiously hesitant in that than in most other areas. I enjoy doing stuff like repairs.

Somewhat related: car maintenance. I know a few basics like checking tire pressure and liquid levels. I know how to change a tire, although sometimes being able to remove the nuts on my own can be a problem, strength-wise. I’d like to learn more about working on cars. I think I would have enjoyed being a mechanic.

7. Working from home: I have many interests and endeavors that it’s difficult for me to imagine being a “career woman” in the greater corporate company sense. Even if I become a full time architect, what is attractive about that idea to me is that sometimes, one can negotiate working from home [I’d probably only do so if I have a family]. Don’t misunderstand: I am not against having to go in to the office every day. I just like the potential for flexibility.

Anyways, a lot of my endeavors are things that could be done at a store or from home; they could be flexible in execution. For instance, I would like to get deeper in jewelry-making; that could be turned into a business from home. I could be a home-decorating consultant. I’d like to try my hand in graphic design. I could be a tutor in several subjects. I could become a babysitter like my mom did for other families in the apartment building when I was younger.

Combining home repairs with ministry, I could start a ministry in which I get to know my neighbors and offer my home repair services, no charge for labor, probably have them pay for parts though, and if/when they seem receptive, I could share my faith with them. Okay, this isn’t so much a business or income-generating type of work, but it could be something for me to do.
_____________________________

I know that a marriage is more than a list of chores, but I don’t have to fit everything on a topic into one entry. And when it comes to actually being married, I recognize that hubby and I will have to talk about who’s in charge of doing what. I seem to have a more adaptable nature than others; it could be that I end up doing very few of the above things, I’m even open to the idea that he might want to be a stay-at-home dad. I think the only thing I will definitely want an active part in is the decorating, room-arranging department.

And being that I haven’t done much babysitting, I didn’t want to list child-rearing as an ability that I have to contribute to a marriage yet. I do want to have children. That’s a different entry.

Mahalo for reading.

[Photo 1: my sanctuary in OR]
[Photo 2: my bedroom in OR. See how bare essentials it was compared to the bathroom? :) ]

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Dad Was Born an Uncle

Literally. Dad is the second youngest of eight siblings, with several having started families young.

When I was younger, I had difficulty understanding how my dad was my cousins’ uncle; they did things together like playing volleyball or basketball, they looked about the same age [Dad looks young], they seemed more like friends. It wasn’t the same kind of thing I had with my uncles.

Still, Dad has kept the respect due to his station as the uncle. The few times I’ve met the cousins older than Dad, they’ve called him “Uncle ___.” It’s interesting.

My cousins love having Dad around beyond the obligatory graduations and weddings, etc., and Dad is always there for them. Cousin M invited Dad to watch his daughter’s basketball game and Dad and I went. A few years ago, Dad and Mom started taking trips to LV and they would coordinate the trip with my Aunty; if Cousin C hears that Dad’s going, he’ll go too. When I got my driver’s license, Cousin B helped Dad find a good used car for my use. B also helped my parents get the right car at the best deal when the old car broke down. C & B used to babysit me; M is closer to my age but I'm sure he would also do favors for my dad if asked.

I call these guys my BCU: Bodyguard Cousins Unit. They are big guys. They seem to have a sense of protecting me that they don't seem to have for our other female cousins. I think it has to do with their respect for my Dad and probably an admiration for how Dad [and Mom] has raised me. My parents didn't allow me to be too wild and rebellious; they raised me to be respectful and smart. They raised me with respect, discipline and affection. It's not a knock on my relatives and their parental skills; it's just that my parents had a rather different style that's quite attractive.


There is also Cousin T, also a BC; he seems to have an extra affection for Dad. It could just be T’s personality difference from the other cousins, but I think it’s more than that. T will do special little touches like call Dad to directly invite him to his daughter’s graduation. When M’s brother came home for a visit from OR, T’s the one that called Dad up to come over for the BBQ.

And just the other morning, I woke up to the sounds of Dad and Mom talking story to T in the house. I guess he was in the area and decided to stop by. It wasn’t the first time T’s stopped by. I can't remember the last time the others came over, and T also has a family of his own to care for and other obligations.

It was such a good sound of voices that morning that I thought I’d share this story.

Mahalo for reading.

[Photo: members of the BCU. T on the right.]

*I forgot to mention something: when Dad was in the hospital, T made sure to come by to see him. Now that I think of it, I think T's the one that invited Dad to M's daughter's basketball game.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What We Don't Talk About

A tough part about living with anxiety/depression is the toll it can take on loved ones and one’s relationships. It’s an ugly circumstance. It’s the main reason why I keep people at a distance. It’s a big part of why I’ve sabotaged possibilities and kept mostly single. It’s a huge factor in why I’ve held back in God’s call on me, why I don’t want to do any ministry alone.

So… this past weekend, I hit a rough spot. I took down most of the pictures. They reminded me of “happier” times. They reminded me that I don’t really have anyone I can… reach out to in my time of need. The pictures still up are of Apple and Crusty because I know they love me.

It’s not that people wouldn’t lift me up if they had known that’s what I would need. It’s more that… how can I ask so much of someone? It can be very ugly and scary to face; what I’ve written in this journal is barely half of it. I suppose I only write about it here because it’s a record of my having existed without really burdening others, maybe someday it will be something that helps one other person, I don’t know.

I don’t want to be the person that brings people down. I want to bring people up. This doesn’t bring people up. Part of the fight is that this condition has an effect on how much I think I can do for others; I’m fighting to be able to be a strong positive force for others. A friend says it’s possible that I could be mildly bipolar. This fight could last my lifetime, I’ve been suspecting so.

And sometimes I need more lifting up than Apple or Trace can do from thousands of miles away. My group is scattered and taking care of their families. I haven’t found a new group to rally around me in care. Sometimes all it would take is a hug or distraction moments or spending time with someone of whom I’m assured of their love for me… but how can I ask it? And how can I ask it when I haven’t done much for them?

It’s hard. It’s not something I really want others to know about. A few lines of Jem’s “You Will Make It” helps to describe what it can be like: Helping hands but you push them away/How could they understand/ don’t wanna share your pain. Several times already, I’ve heard people say things about someone else being emo, and I know they didn’t mean harm by what they were saying, yet I cringe a little when I hear such things [why I generally avoid gossip].



A good sign though is that in this recent… bout, I took steps to reach out to a friend I adore. I figured this friend always makes me feel valued, always makes me smile and I wouldn’t have to talk about anything real. And besides, I haven’t seen much of Friend this entire year. *Sigh. Friend didn’t pick up, I left a message, but by the time Friend called back, I was… gone.

*Sigh. This past year has been so rough.



Don’t misunderstand. In a strange, twisted way, continuing to survive these dark moments has been a testament to myself that God is real and that he loves me. This is the reason why I’ll say that I’ve always sensed that God exists, because I’ve lived with this thing as long and as young as I can remember. If I had not sensed his presence from the beginning, I don’t know that I would still be here. If God is a hoax, a figment of the imagination, if there isn’t an entity bigger than all of us and of complete goodness, then I really don’t have a reason for why I am still here. Through this, God has formed in me a huge love for others. It’s helped me understand how he is all I need but that he also didn’t form me to live in a vacuum.

I am not saying that those who “didn’t make it” could have been saved by a faith in God, that if only they had believed…. This is part of my story. I’ve had two good friends of faith who didn’t make it and I can’t speak intelligently about why that happened. I miss my friends.

If I don't make it, it will not have been my faith or my God that failed me.



So I don’t know what I’m going to do about the next time I need someone.

Hmmm…the end.


Living Together, No: My Reasons

I have friends who’ve lived/ are-living with their significant others before marriage. Not in a judging way, I truly don't understand how they can live with their boyfriends before marriage, and I know they want to get married.

Friend V and I were catching up one day. We got to the topic of her moving to another state with and living with her current boyfriend/now-fiancée. I couldn’t understand how she would live with another guy when her last live-in relationship had turned out so badly. I said that I couldn’t live with a significant other until after marriage. She said that I’d be surprised.

Hmmm… still thinking… um… NO.


Years after the break up, Wrestler and I got together for lunch. He started to reminisce with something like, “Remember that house we lived in by the university? It was a good house, wasn’t it?” It was a good house, very spacious, nice layout, great location for him at the time.

To clarify, I asked if he meant “we” as in… him and his roommates…? He said, “You were there all the time. It was like you lived there too.” I changed the subject after that.

I am still uncomfortable with Wrestler’s statement. The situation was that we were stretched between Mililani, Kaka‘ako, Hawaii Kai and Manoa; the house by the U was the most convenient meeting point. I really wasn’t there that often. It just seemed like it.

I love the idea of living with a significant other, but that significant other is going to be my husband.
____________________________
Friend W moved in with a married friend couple and her boyfriend. She had lived in town, worked with all three of them in Wahiawa, and they lived in Mililani. I can see how it would be more ideal for W to move in with friends. Another consideration was time with the bf: he was so busy with work and also his love of dog showing that he had little time for W. She said that even living in the same house as him (she had her own room), she didn’t get to see him often at all.

>>>If a guy has no time for us, and we also work together with still no time for us, it’s not time to live together. It’s more of a time for a probable parting of ways.
____________________________
Friend X moved in with her boyfriend. After over a year together, as I hear it, he suddenly wanted a break up. I don’t think he kept the apartment, but the situation was that X had to pack up and move out in a hurry. Oh, and find a new place to live.

>>>I’d like to avoid the possibility of such situations. I really don’t care about financial savings by living together; it’s not worth the possibility of a bad break up and frantically finding a new place to live. I will have my home and he will have his unless we get married.
____________________________
More on the financial savings bit:

Friend Y is living with her boyfriend; her roommate got married and it created a situation where Y had to find a new place to live. Y was relatively new to the area, so no trusted friend and no family to temporarily stay with, to help her out until she found something she could afford.

>>> In such a situation, maybe I would stay with a boyfriend, MAYBE, but I would be actively looking for a different situation with roommates, or move back home if I absolutely couldn't afford something. I would rather save money by living with my family, or live with roommates even though I have stories and stories of bad roommates, and save money that way than to live with a boyfriend.

I would rather move back home and possibly lose the boyfriend instead of living with him because of a financial situation. That probably sounds ridiculous or unromantic to people but living together is really not something I want to compromise just for romance. If we're meant to be, we will happen some other way.
____________________________
What else is there? The temptation of physical intimacy.

>>>I wouldn’t be able to handle a separation after physical intimacy, so I’d rather avoid the opportunity of such as much as possible. Having merely kissed Dimples made the break up rough on me. Living together would bring up, in a strong and constant way, the possibility of more than kissing. I really don’t understand how people can do stuff with boyfriend after boyfriend after boyfriend, and so on. And I wouldn’t trust myself to live with a boyfriend and not do stuff, to completely resist the temptation. I’d rather do with less temptation as possible.

Friend Z is living with her boyfriend but says it’s okay regarding the physical intimacy temptation because they’re living with his parents. I say, what about moments being home alone together? I’d rather not have to deal with the possibility of such scenarios and not living together would greatly reduce the chances of moments alone together from happening.
____________________________
Testing out what it would be like to live together married before getting married, finding out who I’m marrying:

>>>Not at all a convincing point for me. Getting married to me better be more about how loving and caring I am and other good qualities than the fact that I’m a night owl while he’s a morning person. If something like squeezing a toothpaste tube from the top instead of the bottom is going to be a deal-breaker for him, I don’t think he should be living with anyone.

Married couples have worked through more cutting deal-breakers and stayed together. My parents didn’t live together before marriage and they are still together.

I’m not saying that pet peeves and such should be a complete surprise when finally married; ideally, serious things should be discussed before getting married. However, if the fact that he uses his shirt as a tissue is going to screw with how much I love him, then I shouldn’t be living with anyone either and I’m definitely not ready to get married [and I probably didn’t really love him to begin with].

[This also goes for sleeping together before marriage: if I’m too concerned with a guy being bad in bed or us being bad in bed with each other, then I’m not ready to be married and have no business sleeping with someone before marriage. It works the other way too: if the guy really needs to marry someone because she’s good in bed or they’re good in bed with each other, he’s not ready to get married and he has no business dating me at all.]

Oh, also, it would be too easy for both of us to live together, get comfortable and become like a married couple, and then more so put off the idea or the need to get married. I want to be married someday.
____________________________
So, many reasons I don’t think I will be living with a boyfriend. I doubt I would even live with a fiancée, because there’s always the chance that the wedding doesn’t happen. Should I violate the reasons I gave and live with a boyfriend before marriage, feel free to completely shove this entry in my face.

Go ahead, try to give a reason that will change my mind.

The end.

Friday, September 3, 2010

On Lessons from the Lord’s Prayer

In regards to the Lord’s Prayer [Matthew 5: 9-13], I’ve heard it said that it is not to be a formula or a word-for-word, mindless recitation. Instead, people have suggested the pattern for prayer, using the word ACTS as a memory tool. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

I suppose for me, ACTS could be useful but seems too formulaic. I’d rather not feel like I need to catch every step, in a specific order, or it won’t be a “good prayer.” I don’t want to pause my prayer time in order to think “T…Thanksgiving…what can I be thankful for today…?” I think I’d be too tempted to fall back on just checking off the points and forget about the meaning behind what I’m doing.

Prayer for me is more personal than that. It’s spending time nurturing a relationship with someone I love. It’s talking with my best friend.

I understand what people are saying about praying the Lord’s Prayer. They’re right, the Lord’s Prayer wasn’t meant to be something that we recite and think we’re done with praying for the day. We shouldn’t think that this is the perfect prayer and so we’ve repeated it and therefore covered everything.

I wonder though, if it can be used as a tool. I suppose I might be an exception to using it because of how I am about prayer. In general, I am often aware if I have been just going through the motions and so I check myself on such things because I want to be moving beyond the motions to the heart of what I do. Especially lately, especially when it comes to my spiritual condition, I think about my motives for doing things.

I've always been big on prayer but there is always something to learn or refine. Recently [about the past year or so], I’ve memorized the Lord’s Prayer [LP] and used it to help me go deeper in my prayer life. I would say that the LP has taught me a lot about prayer and how to pray. Instead of memorizing ACTS, I use the LP which includes a prompt for each part of ACTS. For a while, I would say only the LP to open my day. As I continued saying it, I started to reflect on what the words meant. Soon, I began to learn from it.

Sometimes I will open my quiet time by praying the LP. Then I will pause, take a breath, and enter into my personal prayer to God. As I pray personally, I am reminded that I had just said the words of the LP and to follow its example. So the LP becomes an intro to my personal prayer time; it helps me gain a right spirit for my time with God.
____________________________

[Verse 9b] “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
[10] your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


I think and prepare myself for who I am talking to. On one side, I’m entering a space with someone Holy and I want to respect and give honor to him. On the other side, I’m about to talk to someone who knows me completely, who loves me, who wants to hear my thoughts.

[11] Give us today our daily bread.
[12] Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.


I reflect on all that God has provided, all he has done and all he asks of me in likeness. I am reminded of how much he loves me, that no matter what I do, he’ll welcome me back and that I can confess anything because of his love. I think it’s very pertinent that the word “our” is used instead of “my.”

This part also helps me to remember to give thanks, as I think about how much I have been forgiven and all the blessings that God has laid on me.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.


I’m prepared to ask for more and reminded again that I can ask because of who God is. I am closer to asking for things that might be in his will, rather than things that are just in my desires. I am reminded that he is in control and I am not.
____________________________

In this way, leading with the LP helps me move into my personal prayer. I’m not saying it magically turns my prayers into these perfect, amazing, to be studied prayers, but my spirit is prepared to meet God. I’m convicted to face and confess my sins. My heart becomes soft and I remember good people who have lifted my spirit and those whose spirits could stand to be lifted.

At times, I don’t know the words for my own prayers. These are times I might say the LP and then just be quiet for some time before the amen; these are times when I just don’t know what words to say. In the quiet moments, I am trusting that the Holy Spirit is interceding for me, I am believing that God understands my silence, and I am still feeling like saying the words of the LP is my acknowledgement to God that I want to spend this time with him.

I’m not suggesting that this method is for everyone. I think it could be helpful. What I’m trying to get across most is that when I say the Lord’s Prayer, for me it is more like I am praying with the Lord than just merely imitating Him.

Any thoughts? Is it still not good to lean on the Lord’s Prayer? Have I got this all wrong?

Well, no matter your opinion of my method here, if you have the chance, I recommend listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast entitled “Being Salt and Light.” It is a recording of a talk by Tony Evans to encourage men to make an impact in the world. There is a section where Evans speaks through the Lord’s Prayer to uplift the audience. It was quite powerful for me. It helped me to understand more of the example of the LP and helped me form the essence of why I could use it to help me pray deeper.

Other good FotF broadcasts on prayer are “Tribute to a Praying Mom” and “A Life Transformed through Prayer.” The former is a speech by Ty Nichols about the legacy of his mother’s commitment to prayer [his mother is Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch]. It was given at a Moms in Touch anniversary celebration, to encourage the mothers to carry on because God answers prayer. The latter is the testimony of Bill Rieser. He talks about how his wife’s prayers impacted his life and their marriage. Both were very moving and I’m sure they could be an encouragement to you as well.

All in all, I think probably the best advice I can give is to start praying and pray constantly! Watch how God will grow your prayer times with him!

[For an example of how the Lord’s Prayer transfers or prepares my personal prayer time, see Untitled [08.02.2010]]

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And More [09/01/2010]

This is a continuation/ elaboration of things mentioned in the previous post.


The academic work: I’ve registered for IDP, I put in the regular work hours and documented this, and I’ve done half the reflective journal for which I have notes that will help me finish it. What I need to do is finish the other half of the journal which will be easy, gather a few signatures, and finish up a research paper. I should be able to finish up the academics, with hard work, but it isn’t overwhelming. And also I’ll be making plans for finishing up/ moving positively towards graduation. Advisor’s going to help me figure out exactly where I am in the program and what I need to finish.


The ministry ideas that I’m excited about are the ones that include building a community. Generally, the ideas involve building relationships, becoming aware of people’s needs, and meeting needs. I have some practical ways to do this, some pieces of a plan is going to take time to develop.

I think, quite possibly, I could be stronger in relational ministry than I thought I was. For me, as I go forward with ministry things, I’m going to see if I can tap into this strength (towards these ministry ideas)- I don’t believe I was doing this before. This idea of trying to meet relational needs comes from the SHAPE profile, as guided by a pastor friend and the book by Erik Rees. Meeting needs comes under the chapter about Heart. For relational needs, the chapter says:

The focus here is on helping people develop authentic, Christ-centered relationships with others. Those who take an interest in meeting these needs find fulfillment in connecting people- helping them find and build satisfying relationship. Those who are drawn to meet such needs tend to use gifts of encouragement, wisdom, hospitality, mercy, discernment, and pastoring.

I’ve been hesitant in this area because relationships are messy. Overall, I like having no drama; I especially have little aptitude and interest in resolving drama that involves me. I like observing relationships more so rather than being a participant. One of my flippant phrases is “I don’t like people.” This reflects my “no drama” nature. I actually love people; I would just rather not make more mess, and I tend to feel the weight (blame myself) for messes that occur. However, I think I’m growing in this area of meeting relational needs well and I’d like to find out if I have or not.

I am also interested in exploring and meeting spiritual needs. I need to learn how to tap into this more as well. My hesitation in this has been that I am very sensitive to personal guilt, whether real or merely perceived guilt. I am so aware that I can be ugly so it’s never quite believable to me that God could use me towards building others up spiritually, like how others have invested and imparted things to my spiritual development in the past. Though, I think I might be growing in this area as well and I can’t think of anything that could be more… enjoyable! I’m surely enjoying the spiritual growth that I’m experiencing and others could have their own enjoyment in such growth. I don’t know what I could contribute to growth in others, but I think it’d be sad if I don’t try.


Working: I’d like to work FT and have a more steady schedule, but then it would be difficult to keep it up and return to FT academics. I have skills for office work, which tends to be FT positions; it would be good to have some health benefits. I would also feel like I’m contributing to a better life, for myself, for my family and friends, for the community within which I’d be working.

On the other hand, I think I would enjoy PT work again, like if I was a sales associate or hostess again; I enjoy serving people. This type of work could also provide more (personal) ministry opportunities.

I suppose I’ll just put myself out there and see what kind of work opportunities come my way.


The volunteer work idea comes from previous experience. For a practicum, I was in the North Bay area and had to include volunteer hours. I chose to work with East Bay Habitat for Humanity. My memories there are some of my fondest, not because of what I was doing but more for the people I met, for the feel of working alongside others. The East Bay HH was very well-organized. Also, I enjoy physical work like construction.

Well, I’ve sent in the form twice for volunteering with the local-home HH, with no response yet. Maybe they’re not so organized or I don’t know what, so today (Sept. 1st) I sent in the form again. I really enjoyed my past experience, the work is worthwhile, so I’m gonna keep on trying.

In case HH doesn’t work out yet, I think I’ll look around for other work I could do with my skills, prior experience, interests, etc. If I can’t get a community-ministry thing going, at least I would be pursuing personal-ministry opportunities in the meantime.


So I’m excited about many things! I’d like to see others be excited about their own things.

An update on my Joy Experi-ence/ -ment: I am pleased to report that it is ongoing! Well, last week, for about an hour or so, I got sad. BUT, it didn’t overtake me. I’ll go with that. :)

Hope things are well with you!

Mahalo for reading.

Bittersweet Braking

Several years ago, I sensed that I should take a break from school with the intent of continuing school after the break. I was… frustrated to hear my then-advisor say that I would have a difficult time returning to school if I took a break. This has continued to frustrate me over the next several semesters; I think the resentment of needing a breather has stayed with me all this time.

It’s also been difficult because I kept the knowledge of my depressions from the school. It’s never easy to know if it’s okay to disclose such information, to know that I need help but not looking for pity, you know?

Well, I had an advising today. The current advisor is much more on top of things- I wish she had been the advisor back when! I am going to end up owing a lot of gratitude to this advisor when I graduate and I won’t mind paying it.

I have continued to be a little behind on a few credits. Today, Advisor said that I can take a break, that I could’ve taken one back when.

So it is with bittersweet sentiment that I take a leave of absence this semester in order to catch up. Advisor advised that I take the break now, even though I’d like to push through and feel that I could push through now. I finally get my breather- a few years late, but it’s something. And I will be able to return to “full active duty” within a year, though I’m planning on returning in next Spring.

Ahhhhh…..

During this break, I have academic work to do. I also have a lot of ministry ideas that I’d like to get a start on trying, some good that I’m excited about and others… eh; hopefully I can get others excited too because they’re mostly ideas that involve a community of people. I also have to consider between a FT or PT job this semester. Oh, and I sent in another volunteer form for a local Habitat for Humanity.

I think I might elaborate on these things in another entry.

Thank you for reading! The end.