23 June, 2011

Yesterday, I got home from work to find our power was out. It had been quite stormy earlier and a huge tree in my neighborhood fell on the power lines. We ended up without power for about eight hours. We borrowed a lighter from one of our neighbors and lit a bunch of candles, along with our gas stove so we could cook dinner. It was fun at first - the golden glow of candles and the nostalgic smell of fire - but after awhile, we began to get frustrated. In case you didn't know, it's hot in Georgia in the middle of June. Real, real hot. And without our air conditioner and fans, our house began to get pretty hot too. I wanted to take a shower, but it was too dark in our bathroom. Electricity is one of those things you don't think about unless it's gone. But last night made me realize how much we truly do depend on it. And it made me feel pretty pathetic for having difficulty going without electricity for only a few hours! I couldn't help but think of our brothers and sisters around the world who can't afford or don't have access to electricity. It's easy to compare our lives to those who have more than us, but in reality, we have a lot! And a lot to be thankful for!

We are more than blessed! Praise God! And don't forget to pray for those who have not been blessed with the resources we have!

21 June, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice!

Do you remember the baby tomato plants I planted a few months ago? Well, they've been growing! They're about 2 feet tall and each plant has one big juicy tomato! I'm hoping the summer sun will soon turn them red so they will be ready to eat!

Last weekend, I went to a Summer Solstice Celebration! To celebrate the time of growth and harvest, we discussed things (other than tomatoes) that we wish to nurture into fruition during the coming months. The people of this community hope for many beautiful things to grow: love, trust, hope, peace, empowerment, and much more. I personally hope to nurture my faith in God, that I may truly trust in Him for everything. What growth do you hope to see in this season of summer?

20 June, 2011

Hey everyone! I just wanted to give you a little update on my dear brother Kevin, and ask for your prayers for him! He is spending the next two weeks serving at an orphanage in Chiang Rai, Thailand with his youth group! Please keep him, his team, the orphans, and the people of Thailand in your prayers! You can follow the youth group's travels here!

And a little bit of fun... the car blog Jalopnik did a feature on Kevin and his stories from a sport our lovely parents introduced us to called off-road parasailing. I'm also pretty excited about it because the site used a bunch of my photographs from our adventures! You can check it out here!

On behalf of Kevin, thanks for your prayers!

16 June, 2011

God is so good! I've been struggling lately to find my identity in Him - to realize I am His beloved and that is what makes me valuable. But He is making it as clear as possible that He loves me dearly!

At the beginning of this month, I had just returned from Oregon and was stressing out about my plans for next year (and my future in general) and didn't know what to do or where to go. I was torn between returning home to San Diego to be near my family, moving back to the gorgeous state of Oregon where the majority of my friends live, or staying in Georgia where I had discussed a job opportunity, but hadn't gotten a firm offer. I asked God to help me, show me, guide me, lead me. He has done much more than that - He has tossed opportunities right into my hands.

Two weekends ago, we went to Birmingham, Alabama to visit the Civil Rights Museum. When I got home, I had a letter waiting for me from the University of San Diego. I applied to USD back in February, but had never heard back from them, so I had kind of given up on the idea of attending graduate school there. Needless to say, I was shocked when I read the letter and it said I had been accepted into their Peace and Justice Studies Master's program!! (I re-read the letter about four times to make sure I had read it correctly!) As I started to really think about what my life would look like if I moved back to San Diego to attend school, I realized that I simply don't have the finances to do that. But acceptance in my first-choice program is an opportunity too good to pass up! But, I was hanging on to the idea of continuing my work here in Atlanta. Again, I was torn between my options.

In the next week, the Georgia Justice Project offered me a firm commitment to hire me for the next year. I contacted USD, explained my situation, and was awarded a one-year deferment to continue my work here! Working for a year will also help me to save up at least a little money for my graduate studies. So, suddenly I went from freaking out because I had no plans, to having the next two and a half years of my life planned out! The only thing left to worry about was finding a place to live for next year.

A few weeks earlier, I had met with a couple about possibly moving in with them. They live in Cabbagetown, an adorable part of town that is about a five minute walk from the Georgia Justice Project. When we met, we got along great, but they were still considering some other possibilities. Trying to keep my options open, I met with a group of people
on Monday of this week about possibly living in an intentional community together in the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta. Although I really enjoyed these people and had a great time getting to know them, it just didn't seem like a good fit for me. I left the meeting a bit discouraged and prayed to God that He would allow things to work out with the couple I had met with earlier. The very next day, I received an email from them asking if I'd like to move in with them! Thank You, God, for You are so good to me!
For in every way, you have been enriched in Him, in speech and knowledge of every kind - just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you - so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 1:5-7
God has enriched my life with His gifts and blessings. He has truly been teaching me that I am His beloved. I have been realizing that I have all these opportunities, not because of anything I have done, but simply because He loves me and has given them to me! He gave me my brain, my personality, my character so that He could bless me and so that I am "not lacking in any spiritual gift." I pray that he would bless you too, and that wherever you are in your life, you will begin to understand that you are God's beloved.

From Atlanta, with love

P.S. I'll try to get all my photos fixed soon!

03 June, 2011

I've been up to a lot lately! I went on a road trip with my roommates Maureen and Jyssica and our friend Katherine! We experienced a nice little dose of Southern hospitality -- we stopped to use the restroom at a little store and the sweet woman gave each of us a Georgia peach!
We ended up in the adorable bavarian town of Helen, located in North Georgia.

We had a short time when it was nice outside (it's recently been in the high 90s every day!!) so we made dinner over a campfire in our backyard!

We planted vegetables and flowers with some of our neighbors...
including Cynthia...

and Ms. Mary...
and Sean and Toby.

We went to a Braves vs. Phillies game...
and stayed afterwards for a free Ludacris concert!

We also had a picnic at Stone Mountain for Jyssica's birthday.

We celebrated Katherine's 25th birthday!

And I went on a weekend trip to Oregon to be in my friend Heidi's wedding!
It was such a blessing to get to hang out at Chapters

and to spend time with Heidi

and Lanae! (and a bunch of other wonderful friends!)
More pictures of the wedding are coming soon!