Monday, October 5, 2015

A Random Trip to Springfield

For the training program I'm going through I have to give up my beloved Internet for about a month, starting tomorrow morning. So I guess tonight is my last chance to post anything here until November. Here goes....

Yesterday I hopped onto a spontaneous trip to Springfield, Missouri with some friends from the training center. It's about an hour and a half drive from where we live. In Springfield we got lunch, coffee, and Krispy Kreme donuts, visited some thrift and pawn shops, and took the long trek around the original Bass Pro Shop. I didn't think the latter would be that interesting but it actually was. The place was like a museum/ zoo/ shopping mall - though it was just one store.

Anyway, most of all it just felt amazing to be in an actual city! I've never realized how much of a city girl I am until not being in a major one for two months straight:)

Here are some pics from the day:

 I took a picture of the chair because it's from the same dining set I grew up with.
I took a picture of the Christian record cover because it was just so cheesy I wanted to remember it:)

 So the interior design style of Bass Pro Shop is definitely busy:) 
I was pretty impressed by them having Teddy Roosevelt's pistol!

The funniest picture of the day. It actually wasn't planned:)

Ok, goodbye Internet! I'll miss you!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Four Things from the Last Week

I'm at home trying to recover from a cold :( To ease my feeling of being unproductive, I'm going to write about a few things that have happened in the last week:

1 - Last weekend I got to visit a nearby Mennonite community with a friend. We stopped by a cute bakery to pick up some doughnuts:)

2 - After that, I went with some friends to a country church's 50th anniversary celebration. By "country" I mean off a dirt road, surrounded by nothing but farmland. I loved the community's whole way of doing things. They were so casual and warm. A highlight was when they invited anyone to spontaneously perform a song and these two guys got up to play some hymns together.

3 - At the training center I live at there's a room called "The Mission Barrel". It's basically where anybody can leave things they don't want and take anything they do want - for free! Yesterday when I was dropping something off I grabbed this cookbook.

When I got home I opened up the title page and noticed that the drawings were attributed to someone named "Andrew Warhol." Does that refer to the Andy Warhol?, I wondered.

I consulted Wikipedia (and a few other sites) and found that it does in fact refer to him. Apparently before he became famous from his pop art exhibitions he was a commercial illustrator. The book I picked up yesterday was an original copy from 1961!

4 - This weekend the center is hosting a fundraising event for which they've been using a Kodiak airplane and a helicopter. We all had a chance to sign up for a ride in the helicopter yesterday. Unfortunately, even though I was signed up to fly at 4:30, I got there at 4:25 only to find out that my seat had been given away:( But I'm not bitter or anything... ;)

Well, that's all folks!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Recommendation: Washed and Waiting

It's past midnight and I can't sleep. So, I guess I'll write something:) Considering the hour, I can't guarantee how much sense it will make!

Last night (which feels like tonight even though it's now the morning of a new day), I finished reading a book called Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill. Wesley refers to himself as a a homosexual Christian. However, due to his devotion to Biblical teachings on homosexuality, he chooses to remain celibate.

I originally wanted to read the book in order to better understand homosexuality and to understand how someone can handle the difficult tension of believing one's homosexuality will not go away and yet choosing to believe the Old and New Testament's teachings regarding it.

That's what I originally started reading it for. I had no idea that I would end up reading a book that seemed almost as if it was written for me. Now, I'm in no way inclined toward homosexuality. However, as Wesley Hill talked through his own unique and painful journey, he ended up telling the story of universal brokenness. As he wrote about his intense pain from loneliness, unfulfilled longings, struggles with sin, and feeling overwhelmed by shame... I could relate to almost every word. Honestly, this was one of the most comforting books I've read in a long time. It took me from feeling like I was reading a book about "those people" to giving me relief in knowing that I'm not alone.

I wish I could write all of my favorite quotes that I highlighted, but that would probably mean transcribing half of the book:) So I'm just going to write one:

"Over a period of several years, I went on a search to find books that would describe my experience as a gay Christian (I wanted to know I wasn't alone) and help me know how to keep living it. Lining the Current Issues shelf of my local Christian bookstore were numerous paperbacks suggesting ways churches could stand up for traditional marriage in the public square and soundly refute the arguments of liberal gay rights activists, but these books seemed removed from my situation."

When I read that, it broke my heart. I think it provides a picture of where the Church's priorities often lie in dealing with homosexuality. It becomes mostly about standing up in the public square and refuting arguments of liberal activists. In the midst of all that, it seems like the individual human beings that the whole debate is about seem to be forgotten. Or at least what seems to be forgotten are the painful, personal struggles they each face on a daily basis with being who they are. I often wonder what it would look like if the Church made it a priority to connect with them in our mutual brokenness... instead of devoting our energy to trying to make them follow laws they have no reason to keep unless they've encountered the One who reaches out to embrace them in the midst of their brokenness. Something tells me that in all of the Christian debates about and protests against them, they don't get a very good picture of that One who's reaching out.

I probably wouldn't have written that if it wasn't 1 in the morning:)


Image via

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cultural Immersion

Yesterday was hilarious. It was an Ozark cultural immersion kind of day:)

I set out in the morning in search of a coffee table. I didn't want to spend the money on a brand new one, so I did a quick Yelp search for local thrift stores. While I was driving around a nearby town looking for the place I had in mind, I stumbled upon a few I hadn't heard of. In each of my stops, I came across some fascinating items... and people:)

Thrift Store #1:

Croc Purses?!

Thrift Store #2:

I'm not actually quite sure what kind of store this was... It was just full of so many different random things. While I was perusing, the guy working there came up to me with a jar in one hand and a cracker in the other. He said, "Alright, right here we've got the hottest item in the store. We completely sold out of all of them yesterday, so they're going fast. It's 'Gringo Goose Poop'. It's called 'Gringo' because it's the mildest of them all. You need to give it a try." He then handed me a cracker with the 'Gringo Goose Poop' on it. As I tasted it, he went on to explain to me how his wife eats it on her eggs and how you can put it on anything... It was all so random. 

But you know what? It tasted so good! I bought a jar!

While I was waiting at the cash register, I heard him give his pitch to the next customers. One of them said that she's friends with the lady who makes the Goose Poop! I can say that I'm eating local:)

Thrift Store #3: 

I know this is a blurry picture, but hopefully the story behind it makes you see its beauty:) So this store is called "Bear Market"... in honor of the random stuffed bear in a glass case at the center of it. The whole ambiance of this place was cracking me up. The old men lounging on the couches around the bear. The fake tree trunk columns all over the room. The children's Sunday School songs playing over the speakers, getting occasionally interrupted by a recorded voice listing off random bear facts. As my friend Ashley from Georgia would say, "It was blessing my heart!"

As I was lifting up my phone to snap a picture of this scene, I was accosted by a huge panda. Like, a person dressed up in a bizarre, large-and-round-headed panda suit. The panda just stood there, looking at me. I looked down and saw it was holding a basket full of small popcorn bags. I wasn't sure if the panda wanted money for her popcorn, so I just stood there. The panda motioned for me to take one, so I did. I kind of stood there for a second, still wondering if the panda wanted something from me, but then she just walked away.

Though I was by myself I could not hold back my laughter. As I stood there chuckling from the awkwardness, I noticed a guy and a girl standing a little bit away, also in a fit of laughter. The guy came up to me with a huge smile and said, "Pretty creepy, huh?!" I laughed and agreed as the girl came up behind him with a sort of scared expression on her face. She looked in the direction the panda had walked and said, "Is it gone?! I don't do fake-dressed-up-panda-things!"

I then tried once again to snap a photo of the bear. I was still laughing, which is probably why it's so blurry. After that, I happily continued on around the store, snapping more pictures of hilarious oddities and searching for the panda in hopes of getting a photo. Perhaps the panda had been an angel because she was suddenly nowhere to be found;)

Some of my other finds:

The skull and antler table. That's not something we have in San Diego thrift stores:)

The stuffed deer on the wall above the shirt section. That's not something we have in San Diego either:)

Oh and no, I never found a coffee table.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Arrived in Missouri

Hey, so I had a wonderful road trip out to Missouri with my dad. We left last Thursday and arrived on Saturday, stopping in Arizona and Texas along the way. It was really so much fun, even in the midst of some hiccups here and there:)

Dad helped me move into my apartment (as well as some staff members that were assigned to be my hosts). He and I spent the next few days making runs into town to get food, some decorations for my place, and of course, coffee:)

It worked out that my dad would fly home yesterday, which, unfortunately, was his birthday. I felt really bad that he had to fly on that day. Even though our family had celebrated before we left on our road trip, I tried to make the day still feel like a birthday. When it turned midnight on the 11th I gave him a present to open. After we woke up in the morning we watched a few episodes of Good Mythical Morning together (it seems to have become a father-daughter ritual for us, ha). Then before we left for the airport we went down to the lake that's on the edge of the campus I'm living at.

We took selfies. I love how he's laughing in this one.

And then at the airport we found some cheesecake and I stuck a straw in it to serve as his candle.

I'm not going to lie, I was definitely crying when I left him... But mostly out of thankfulness that I have a dad who is also my best friend. I know that is a blessing that not many people get to have. I tend to dwell on what God has not given me, but in my dad I see how much God really has given me beyond what I deserve.

I love you Dad:)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Last Two Weeks

A month or so ago a friend of mine moved back to her hometown. Before leaving, she told me that the week leading up to her move had been incredibly insane with so many things to do and so many people to meet with. When she said that, I tried to imagine what my last week before moving to Missouri would be like. For some reason, I didn't foresee it getting too crazy.

Perhaps this is because I was trying to remember what the week before I moved to Kentucky in 2009 was like. It seems like my whole move to Louisville was so casual. I don't remember ever laying awake at night, worrying if it was the right decision. I was just so excited to go. I don't remember spending hours planning out what I was going to take with me and organizing everything into boxes and bags that I'd carefully strategized to fit into the trunk of my car. All I remember is throwing a bunch of stuff into the back seat and trunk of my car, without putting a ton of thought into any of it. I don't remember rushing around to meet up with a ton of friends and family, with each meeting ending with a really painful and slightly awkward goodbye. The only goodbye I remember is waving to my mom as I pulled out of my driveway.

Well this pre-move week has been the complete opposite. I've kind of felt like my head has been stuck in a messy cloud of to-do lists, anxieties, and feelings of guilt about every goodbye. However, there really has been so much good happening in the midst of all the chaos. In between the mall runs to get last minute supplies, wedding gifts, and birthday presents, the bank run to get a new debit card to replace my hacked one, the borrowing of my parents' cars because I accidentally slashed one of my car's tires and then found out the car had no back breaks, the sending of countless emails to finalize various things before I move, and packing up my car -- I got to spend time with a lot of awesome friends and family. 

One of my favorite times in the last week was when I got to go out to dessert with seven friends, five of which live in San Diego and two of which came into town from Louisville for a visit:

I loved that even though they didn't all previously know each other, they all seemed to connect so well. Being with them all together made me realize how amazing it is that God's brought so many Christ-filled young women into my life. I often don't realize what a rare, precious gift that is. :)

So, I just remembered that I said I would post pictures here from my trip to Oregon. I haven't been able to load any on my computer yet, but here are some of my favorites that I posted on Instagram:

Selfie with the big sis and horseback riding with her on the coast of Washington (about a 2-hour drive from where she lives in Oregon).

Our fun accommodations at The Sou'Wester.

Meeting up with San Diego friends in Portland. They live about an hour outside of Portland and drove in just to see me!:)

Okay, I need to sleep:) Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Five Proofs That My Brain Is Completely Fried

Over the last week I haven't had too many pressing responsibilities on my plate... But I wish I had so I could use them as an excuse for my brain's recent malfunctioning. Some cases in point:

1 - Last Sunday I drove to the church I do childcare at and I couldn't remember what streets to turn on to get there. I've been going there every week since January.

2 - On Monday I wanted to go to a book club that started at 7 pm. For some reason, my brain computed that I would have to leave the house at 7:10 to get there on time. While driving there, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 7:18. That's when it finally hit me. To make things even better, I also realized then that my gas gauge was on "E". :)

3 - On Friday I composed a bulletin insert for my church that summarized all of the latest news on the missionaries we support. The inserts are half letter sized sheets of paper, printed on both sides. For the last four years, I've had a system of formatting the document a certain way, printing it out, and then driving to church to make copies. After printing this month's update, I drove to church and copied them all, only to realize I had never formatted the document to be printed on both sides. I also had an obvious typo. I threw the whole stack away.

4 - On Saturday I finally finished the aforementioned missionary updates (after reviewing them a bazillion times) and had them ready to go in the bulletins this Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon, I realized that I had written in the portion about myself (I'm one of the church's missionaries), that I would not be at church on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month. Well, the 2nd Sunday had already passed and the truth is I would not be there the 3rd and 4th Sundays. *face palm*

5 - Today I had to go online to check in for the flight I'm taking to Oregon tomorrow. All day, I had been reminding myself that I needed to check in at 4:15 pm because that's the earliest the airline would allow. I'm flying with Southwest so I wanted to check in as early as possible so I would be in the first boarding group. So I sat down at the computer a little before the check-in time, just so I would be ready to go. I don't know what I got to doing there, but suddenly I looked at the clock and it was almost 4:30:( I proceeded to freak out, search frantically for my confirmation number, etc... and didn't end up with the boarding assignment I'd hoped for.

Bonus: While getting ready to write this post, I went downstairs in my house to look for my laptop's power cord. I didn't see it, so I went upstairs, grabbed my computer, then walked back downstairs.

I still hadn't gotten the power cord.


Oh well. I think I've just had too much on my mind lately. Hopefully a week of vacationing in Oregon will help out with that. I won't be taking my computer with me, but when I get back I'll be sure to post some photos from my trip here. I'll also try to post some photos on Instagram (link is in the right sidebar) while I'm there.


P.S. This has nothing to do with anything I just wrote, but I think it's too amazing to not share: