Sunday, August 28, 2005

One more thing I forgot. Last night my sister and I went to the Paul Wright concert out in Cave Creek. He's an AMAZING artist and I loved his voice even more in person. The craziest thing was that it was so low-key. Very small crowd.
Anyway, my sister knows one of the guys who works with the company who puts on a lot of the Christian concerts in the Valley and I had told her a million times what a big fan I am of Mr. Wright and she called her friend over while I was trying to negotiate with the souvenirs girl to let me use a check to buy my gear. She said "Oh, we need to check with Paul on that." I thought "Paul? Really" then, I said aloud "If we need to ask Paul, can I ask him?"
At that moment, my sister's friend walked up and behind him was none other than Mr. Paul Wright himself.

I was star struck.

I managed to fumble out "Hi, it's nice to meet you, Mr. Paul Wright" (I really said this to the 26-year-old as I shook his hand and had the goofiest smile on my face)

Then I told him what I told my sister on the way to the concert
"I told my sister that if I met you that I'd tell you how I listened to your song 'South Beach' while I was in Kona (HI) last Spring Break. It was amazing. I love your music....."blah blah blah.
Anyway, long story short, he signed my brand-new CD (It's great by the way, called Sunrise to Sunset") and was super sweet to the star-struck dork I was.

Then we all went to dinner at Boston's in Tempe afterward.

It would have been even cooler if he hadn't invited one of his 19-year-old girl friends to join us. But that's how it turned out and I was a little let down because I never got to talk to him about his music or his life, beliefs, etc. So my balloon was popped for the most part, but I still think he's really nice and has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard. If you're looking for a chill artist with a great voice and music that's about life and God, he's the one to try out.
He'll be back at the end of September playing at Red Mountain Community Church. I'll keep you posted, but my husband's birthday is around that time, so we'll see if I can go.

Great night last night (and I understand the boys had a fun time playing poker--they need to do that more) :)
luv y'all

Hey everyone!
Kudos to everyone who showed up Saturday morning and went on the run. Even if you didn't run the entire time, it was a major step and I'm so very proud of you! My big "saying" is that the hardest step is the first one out the door and you accomplished that. Stay motivated and keep it up. You'll get there (I remind myself of the same thing every day!)
Secondly, I forgot to mention my big news the other day!

I got my first real job!

Starting Sept. 12, you are looking at the new education reporter for the East Valley Tribune!
Whoohoo! Long time coming!

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and encouragement during this time. I definitely needed it and felt it. The hiring freeze was supposed to continue into October, but someone quit, leaving an "in" for me. :)
Take care and keep running!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Day 4 of nanny job:
MUCH better today. Played with the kids, fed them and even had a few hours of doing all of that without anyone else around. I prayed for increased energy and strength and believe God has given it to me. Still have a long week ahead of me though. Keep me in your prayers.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I almost forgot! I feel the need to brag about my wonderful husband!
After my second day at the nannying job, my sweet husband decided to surprise me for dinner. When I walked in, an Audrey Hepburn (my favorite actress) flick was on TV, Frank Sinatra was playing over the stereo (love Old Blue Eyes!) and he was busy in the kitchen cooking up baked spaghetti. He even bought me flowers.
So that's my little bit of bragging. For all you husbands out there, take a hint from my thoughtful hubby and do something special for your other half. It'll make her day when she's feeling especially worn out. It did for me :) (Love you baby!)

Random thoughts of the day....

We had the missions meeting today and I'm stoked about the Northern Ireland trip. I want to go soooo badly, but my main concern is this: who is going to let their new employee take three weeks off of work? It's an awfully long time and my heart desires to be there and experience everything and really find out if this is what God wants for us in the future. Strangely enough, I'm not worried about funding it, I know that God can provide that, so why am I so doubtful about the time off? ....Pray for me and the job situation and even more that I can go....

Starbucks Mocha Light Frapp's are the best, hands down. Put me to the test--try it. A Grande only has 140 calories and a couple of grams of fat (the only negative is all the sugar, but it's my nice treat every once in a while)

I'll go back to the nannying job tomorrow and will begin my first full week there. On top of that, the last week of the month is the busiest for the parents (they do loan signing) so I'll be working longer hours. Pray for me that God will give me the strength and energy to keep it up.

Today was the last day marking the end of the first full week of half-marathon training. We had to run 3 miles and I actually did very well. My biggest problem is keeping myself back because the pacing is supposed to be about two minutes slower than you plan to race. That's not quite what I'm doing, but we'll see. I've aimed for 9-minute mile pace for the last three years and have failed the last two mostly because I went out too fast and bonked at about the half-way point. If I can run between 8:30-9-minute mile pace, I should meet and/or break 2 hours, which is my biggest goal. I really want to do well this year and stick to a training schedule. Hopefully if it all works out, it'll give me the courage to train for a full marathon one of these days. (And Hannah and I will have to enter a triathlon together--I guess I should ask for a bicycle for Christmas!)

This weekend has been good for me because it's been a good mix of relaxing and errand-running. I'm hoping I'll be refreshed and ready to go tomorrow.

I might even hike Camelback Mountain before work....

Friday, August 19, 2005

Day three of the new nanny job:

I got up a little late this morning and checked my e-mail before heading off to the central Phoenix home where I was to watch a set of 1-year-old twins and their 2 1/2-year-old brother. I haven't been there completely alone, save for a few hours here, and there and I have to confess it's strange to have half the parental unit present at all times. Not that I do anything differently, it just feels as if someone is constantly peering over your shoulder or listening in on a private conversation you're having. On top of that, you're never able to really form that bond with the kids because mom's always around somewhere. Regardless, the job is hard, the hours are long and I'm exhausted when I get home, usually accompanied by a dull headache.

Glad I'm not a parent yet.

Yes, it'll be great when we do have kids but sheesh! It's a lot of flippin' work with three toddlers running around. The brother is always kicking or grabbing or hitting his little sisters if they make the slightest move toward his toys or do something he doesn't like, or walks too close to him...fill in the blank from here. Anything. So you always have to watch him if his sisters are nearby. Both girls have bowel movement problems---i.e. their excrement comes out hard as a rock and they scream like you wouldn't believe while they try to push it out. And there's NOTHING you can do except comfort them and try to get them to drink some liquids. Fun times.
When they're happy, it's great. Their smiles and giggles are uplifting even when you're drained and it's so far beyond your comprehension of wonderful when they hug you or smile and walk to you with outstretched arms.

I was talking to my husband yesterday about all the work it is to take care of the twins, mostly that you're doing everything for them all the time. They're babies. But the biggest thing God brought to mind, while I was feeding the little ones green baby food (what manufacturers sell as "peas"), that it would feel horrible to be described as a "baby" in your Christian walk after years of following. Think about it. Your leaders are sitting in front of you, waiting for you to open your mouth while you gaze disconnectedly behind them and pretend to enjoy the food being shoved in your mouth one bite at a time.
I remember when I was a teen back in my high school youth group. I was pretty typical in that I wanted to be a good person and do everything right, I wanted to go to church every Sunday (mostly to see my friends) and I wanted to go to the youth conventions and camps to see my friends who lived further away (oh yeah, and meet boys). My youth pastors at the church tried so hard to get us involved in the group, so that we wouldn't just walk away when it came time to decide between school friends and functions and church events. Being that I wanted to be a good person and have a good crowd of friends, I bit. I went to the functions and had the basic beliefs that Christ died on the cross for me to forgive me of my sins so I wouldn't rot eternally in hell (okay, a little too descriptive, but it was how I felt). I knew that in my Christian circle that I shouldn't do drugs, have sex or cuss people out.
But that was about as deep as it went for me.
Until I read the Bible.

One Sunday during "big church" at my very small church, we had even lower attendence than usual so my pastor decided to round us up and sit in the church seats and chat about the feeding of the five thousand. I had heard the stories millions of times before, since I was little and the Sunday school teacher would have us color Jesus and the little boy and the loaf of bread and few fish he had.
But this day was different. I found out that the story appeared in more than one book of the Bible. And I had no clue.
Suddenly at 17-years-old I realized that I knew nothing about this book that I claimed to base my life after. If someone had asked me any trivia question related to the Bible, odds are good that unless the question were along the lines of "What did God create Eve out of?" I would have failed. (slightly overstated, but very close to the truth)
So I began reading the Bible and realizing that many of the stories that it held were actually very interesting. And entertaining. And enlightening.
When I began preparing for the International Youth Convention to be held in Florida the summer of my senior year of high school, I decided to stick to my devotions, really listen to the speakers and, for once, not focus on the social aspect.
It worked.
I began to grow and the baby formula turned into pureed peas. Then bread, and so on.

I can't say that I'm a spiritual giant or anything or even that I could pass a trivia game on Bible stories with ease, but I know for a fact now that the Bible is my truth, it is my food and I'm not a baby anymore.
And hopefully, I'm more than a teenager. But it's always going to be something I need to focus on, pay attention to and work at more. My Savior is waiting for me to respond to His Word, so that I can grow even more each day.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I can remember the time I denied your name,
Played it off like I was one of the gang
Tried to fit any way that I could,
Even though they knew where I stood.

I turned my back
And walked away.
Hesitation never spoke up
Nor did he say,
Wait a minute-
Try again.
What about your lover?
What about your friend?

Worth the wait
Or just biding your time?
Fit in the middle,
Never one of a kind.
Black identity
Living inside of me.
Pushing back the healing
The cross of my shame,
Trying to figure out the rules
In this selfish game.

Mistake-less, seeking perfection
To fit the mold desired of me
Too much to face when I saw You,
Seemed easier to turn against the truth.
Too many areas to keep in check
No time to make this area perfect.

When finally I fell on my knees,
Crying in dependency,
Still I tried to do it on my own
Be perfect like You had shown.
But my raggamuffin tendencies
Crept back inside of me
The black identity
Needed more than my own vanity.

I am selfish.
I hate to share.
I'm competitive beyond repair.
My motives aren't always pure
And one thing's definitely for sure,
I need Jesus to get anywhere close
To who He wants me to be.

Job news update.
Found out that V.S. wants to hire me. Orientation is on the 19th. I also found out that evening that there's an option to nanny for a family of three toddlers for a very good wage.
So here's how it breaks down; the good; the bad; the ugly.

If I take V.S.....
*Will make $7/hr and not guaranteed many hours ( 8-30 hrs max)
*Have to get people to sign up for credit cards and THAT will determine how many hours I get
*Will have to work nights and weekends mostly
*Will allow me to continue to freelance for the newspaper and help my mother with her sick dog
*Wicked discount on cute pj's (and such)
*Job at newspaper could come up sooner and it would be easy to quit and move on to said job.

If I take nannying....
*Can't freelance for newspaper (no time, would work about 45-50 hours per week)
*Would chase toddlers all day
*Long drive (?) (I'm stretching....)
*Awesome pay
*Lots of hours
*Free weekends and nights
*Temporary, but could continue longer if necessary
*More flexibility (could call in if necessary)

Now I'm waiting on said newspaper to get back to me and give me a firm answer on the two month waiting period. My contact told me that the paper was going on a hiring freeze for two months, but then the Managing Editor (the big boss ahead of her boss) told her that he would like to hire me ASAP (I met him during my stint at the paper and he loved the front page article I produced). So now my contact needs to talk to her boss to see if it's for sure that it will be two months and no sooner.
At this point, I'm leaning toward the nannying job because it seems like an incredible blessing for my husband and I financially.
For the most part, taking the job at V.S. doesn't seem to make much sense, especially since there are no guarantees. But do I feel that way because I'd make more money at the other job? Am I lacking faith or going with faith on this? If I take the nanny job, there's always a possibility that the job could come up during the two months and I can't break my commitment.

Lord, sometimes you speak in whispers and signs. Other times you seem to flash neon signs and give firm answers. Lord, please give me confirmation on my decisions and help me to choose the one that You have designed for me. I desire to depend on you and to do your will God. Thank you for the blessing of having two offers! Thank you for answering my prayers for some sort of job. Lord, you know my career is in your hands. Guide me and lead me to where you want me, wherever it is that I will do the best work for you in this time. Thank you Lord for your grace. I'm so undeserving of the things you continue to pour out in spite of my impatience. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by your hands. Mold me into the woman of God you desire for me to be and become.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Since I woke up this morning, I've been dressed in my running clothes, intending on doing my 40 minutes of cardio for the day as required by our training schedule. It's now 11 a.m. and I'm still in my running clothes and it's raining outside.

Ever have those moments when you're torn between praising God and utter disappointment with the situations He's created?

That would be me at the moment. Part of me is thrilled it's raining (it's Arizona afterall and the monsoon is here) and the other part of me is the kid that's hyper and stuck inside just wanting to play.
That's been getting to me lately.
Yesterday I was talking with H.W. at lunch and telling her I wanted to jump on a trampoline.

Doesn't that sound like fun?
(Anyone have one that I could intrude upon?)

As I'm getting older and not babysitting as much, I'm realizing that playtime is non-existant at the moment. I mean, yah I can go running, rollerblading or hiking, but actually playing things like "tag" and board games. They're just about gone until we have our own kids (which will not be for a while if we have it our way!)

Regardless, I think there's just that passionate, child-like side of me that just wants to run around and be dorky and praise God for a healthy body and energy.

It's like the new Chris Tomlin song I've heard on K-Love lately "I want to dance like no one's around," etc. That song is my anthem.

And it's raining. :)
Guess I'll go read....

Thursday, August 04, 2005

More news on the job front. I found out that the newspaper I've been working with won't be hiring for at least 60 days. They're in a hiring freeze now, just like the other paper in town. So basically it looks like I'll have to stick with a part-time job somewhere and freelancing on the side so they don't forget about me.

But there's always a reason.

I'm still praying like crazy for my parent's German Shepard dog, Maverick. He seems like he's feeling better by the day, though my mom is certain (by what doctors and Internet sites have said) that the Valley Fever is really going to kick in hardcore today because he should be off of the steroids he was on earlier this week. They said his appetite should diminish as well as his energy, etc. He's actually seemed the spunkiest today and he's also had an excellent appetite. I firmly believe that God loves all creatures on this earth and if I can pray for healing in a brother or sister in Christ and see it happen, this dog can be healed too.

If you read this between today (Thurs. Aug. 4) and tomorrow late morning (Fri, Aug 5) say a prayer for Obadiah. He had to fly into Oakland, Calif. today and he'll be renting a truck and driving a bunch of granite slabs back to Arizona for the company he's been doing work for. He'll be driving through the night (10-12 hours) by himself, so it's a little nerve-racking for me at least. Pray for his energy and that he would listen to the little voice when it tells him to pull over and rest or whatever. Pray for safety for him.

In other news, training for the half marathon is going well. I'm basically kicking my running back into gear and trying to run at least every other day. With the weather getting nicer, it's much easier to get out and run, even in the later morning hours. We'll be starting our official training for the 13.1 mile race on August 15, the day after we return from a wedding I'm in. We have a great schedule and I'm trying to get a head start on it so I won't die the first week. It's so easy to just be lazy and let go--but I tell you what, my body's already feeling so much better and more energized just by getting back into a normal running schedule. This year was the first year I didn't keep a normal running schedule in 10 years, basically since I started racing when I was 12. I guess graduating from college, working several jobs and planning a wedding can do that to you though, huh?

But it's all about not giving up.
And I'm not.
Hope you are taking care of your body and giving it the proper exercise and nutrients it needs--we've only got one earthly body and one life to live. Keep it healthy!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Okay, that was sort of a depressing way to start a post!.....

(I'm trying.)

Still no job. You know, this whole depending on God thing, especially for the finances, is really hard. I mean, it really sucks!

That thought was a bit blatant, but I guess it's how I'm feeling. It's just this big waiting game for everything. After several weeks of waiting on a local paper to offer me a job, they've said I need to wait longer while they get the necessary funds to hire me. So they said "next week, we'll have something by next week."

Another week rolls by and no job.

This week, I applied for several other part-time jobs, but deep down my hope is that the newspaper job will come through before I have to accept (cuz I don't want to back out of the job immediately after I get it, assuming I get one.)

So I applied at Victoria's Secret. And I got a call. I interviewed yesterday.

And now I'm waiting.

:Sigh: How frustrating!
On the other hand, at the moment I'm helping my family take care of their sick dog that has Valley Fever, which is much more severe in animals. He's doing a little better, but it's nice to have the time to offer a hand. I never felt like the time was ever there in college to spend hours over here taking care of their animals. But now I do.

We signed up for the half marathon the other day. "We" being myself AND Obadiah, pretty shocking as he more or less has refused in the past to even consider running the 13.2 mile race. Now we have a training schedule and several others from church have signed up. It's pretty exciting and I'm stoked to start training, especially with the weather improving. Yesterday it was overcast nearly the whole day and "only" reached 104 degrees. I ran in the morning and in the evening. Oh to perpetually have that kind of motivation!

I'll be in my best friend's wedding in two weeks wearing a bubble gum-pink dress. Each of her 8 bridesmaids are wearing different colors to represent the variety of crayons. I'm the pink crayon. (Long story).

So we'll be venturing down to Tucson, a city I truly do miss, and we'll be able to grab lunch at my favorite sandwich shop and cruise around a city I know almost as well as my own hometown.

Better get going, please keep Obadiah and I your prayers regarding the job situation.