Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lessons I've learned since moving to Pasadena

Lesson #1
Make no assumptions about how much you'll have in common with a person, based on the geographic location that they grew up in/live in.
Truth be known, of all the people I have befriended at Fuller some of the people I feel that I have the least in common with come from the Midwest like me. Some of the people that I have connected with the most grew up overseas, in Hawaii, Texas or in SoCal. I consider this to be an extension of the lesson my paternal grandmother taught me from day 1, which is Make no assumptions about person based on their family members. I know I wouldn't want anyone to think that I am just like my sister or my brother, so I will try to extend the same courtesy to you.

Lesson #2
The State of California cares more about the environment than Iowa.
The state of California puts a big emphasis on vehicle emissions reduction, water conservation, recycling and other environmental efforts.

Lesson #3
Lesson #3 is a personal/spiritual one that is somewhat unrelated to moving to SoCal, and that is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It seems like an obvious one, but how often do I really consider how I am making someone feel with my words and actions? Not nearly enough...

But, I still think Midwesterners have a better work ethic. We'll see if California can change my mind on that.
More lessons to come...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sixteen kids

Of late I have seen a lot of specials on TV (on TLC, Oprah etc.) about families with with an uncommon number of children. I watched the Duggar family go on vacation today. They have 16 kids and visited a family with 14 during their trip. I have been paying attention multiples in the news since the McCaughy septuplets. If you pay attention to these shows, you will notice a common theme. They all have a strong faith in Christ. I think this is because secular couples have no qualms about using birth control and even abortion. Also, Christianity provides a lot of structure to control the madness of having lots of kids.
A little known fact: When women are pregnant with multiples, doctors often recommend what's called "selective reduction." Because multiple pregnancies are high risk, the doctors have the ability to simply eliminate (i.e. kill) one or more of the fetuses. Any woman with any kind of morals would likely opt out of this procedure, barring any extreme health situations.
I really think God calls some people to have large families, not everyone, but some couples truly are. Sometimes it may be wise to choose birth control.
Before I knew Jesus, I had no desire to bear children. It requires a lot of self-sacrifice! But, the Holy Spirit has turned my heart around. I am willing to take whatever cards the Lord would choose to deal me. He has everything under control.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of its own

According to, Fuller seminary is just a short, 1800-mile jaunt from my house. That's only like 5 states away, right? I'll be pretty much living in LA. That's right, Ivan has decided that maybe Fuller is the best seminary for him and it seems like a good idea to move to one of the scariest places in the world. Thinking about moving to Pasadena isn't like thinking about moving to Dubuque. We have no way of seeing what the place looks like or going for job interviews or anything until we arrive. I am thinking we will have to take just a few things in our truck until we can afford to have the rest of our stuff shipped out, which may be NEVER if we are living in a place where the cost of living is, well a little different than IOWA! I will no longer be in a place that's 95% white, not that that bothers me, but it will definitely be culturally different. I have never even seen the Pacific ocean.

I am going to go for the love of my husband, scary as it might be. It is an adventure, and I will not be afraid, because Christ is with me always, and what can anything on this Earth do to hurt me? What does it profit me to worry about it? If this is truly where God is calling us to go, everything will work out. Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick would be ashamed...

The real St. Patrick was a Christian convert who made it his life's work to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to Ireland. A man devoted to God. I am certain that he would be ashamed that the U.S. has construed the day of celebration in his name into a sick day of "celebrating" "Irish culture" by getting drunk off our asses. Its okay to have a green beer on St. Patty's day, but I seriously heard a radio DJ commanding all of his listeners to have a 13-hour hangover on Sunday. That is sad. Drunkenness leads to all kinds of terrible things like fighting, rape, car accidents that lead to deaths, and generally being an idiot. Then, people think they are somehow entitled to take NO responsibility for their actions and that is somehow the fault of the alcohol. Not to be cheesy, but alcohol doesn't rape people. People rape people.
Do people seriously believe that St. Patrick's day is celebrated in Ireland the way it is celebrated here? St. Patrick's day has always been a religious day in Ireland and only became a national festival in 1995.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Why I am the worst of sinners

I am the worst of sinners. I am not worthy to come before God's throne and bow at his feet. Yet he has allowed me. Such beautiful amazing grace!

When I was oh say, 16, I made it my primary concern in life to hate Christ and all things Christian. A lot of my family didn't realize it or refused to acknowledge it was so, but I repeatedly told them and all my friends how I despised Christianity, even to the faces of those who called themselves Christians. Yet, God, in His mercy, scooped my undeserving self into his loving arms anyway.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I am a criminal.

I am a criminal who's been redeemed.
He has saved me.
He has set me free.
Thank you Jesus,
for rescuing me.

A Whole N'other Area Code

A different zip code. A different area code. A different church. A different apartment. A different set of college campuses. A different bank. A different river. A different set of friends. A different landscape. A different grocery store. A different coffeeshop. At least I'll still be able to use "a whole n'other."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

If I knew then what I know now. Part I

Learning to think for yourself.

I wish I had known the value of thinking for myself like 10 years ago. Growing up, I kinda just let myself believe whatever my teachers and my family told me to think. There were no political or scientific debates around the dinner table at my house. There were no consequences for thinking one way or another and nobody questioned any of it.
Then God wrecked my life.
I became a Christian in high school, but I didn't become a thinker until college. When I came to college, I realized I would have to defend my faith on an intellectual level. Suddenly, my entire way of thinking about others, about God, and about the world didn't work anymore, and I felt attacked by most of my professors and thier curriculum.
Also in my life at this time, I was spending a lot of time with Ivan. He is someone who grew up experiencing "thinking for yourself" in a very different way. His family would have big discussions over the dinner table about all sorts of things. And Ivan grew always questioning everything...always curious about everything (its one of the things that makes him so charming). Every time he is confronted with a viewpoint different than his, he examines it carefully from all sides before making a decision about it, rather than following one way blindly.
I am eternally grateful to Ivan for causing my to have to step outside of my box a lot more often than I would like to. Things are always interesting when he's around.
Still, I am just a beginner at thinking for myself, and that's sad. I am determined that my kids won't have that same struggle.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Irish people are neato

The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are at the top of my list for countries I want to visit as a tourist. I hung out with an Irish couple when I was in Turkey and they were a ton of fun. I want everyone that reads this to reply as to where they'd most like to visit and why.

I Get By with a Little Help...

So, I just realized that I start out most of my blogs with "so."

My faith in humanity was restored recently. Yesterday I received $40 and a note of encouragement in the mail from a friend who knew I was in need of help.
Today my backdoor neighbor (whom I have never met before today) helped push my car when he saw that I was stuck.
At the grocery store, more than one person stopped to help me pick up items that had fallen out of my arms. Thank you to the people of the Cedar Valley for going out of your way : )

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So, I have decided that, with the aging baby-boomer population, this country is ready for another baby-boom. And I think my husband and I should be the ones to start it. ;)

Saturday, February 24, 2007


My uncle's friend started this business to sell products that are manufactured in a way that uses less energy and/or are made from renewable resources. Pretty, shiny things that save the planet.

Cookies and Eczema

So, I am trying to decide which one I prefer: baking or cooking. I like cooking, because it makes my husband happy and I like to experiment with different spices or different combinations of vegetables. Baking on the other hand, well let's just say I learned the hard way that I pretty much gotta stick to the recipe to the letter. There's a lot of tricky chemistry involved in baking. But, the results are much more satisfying. I love sweet things. Period. I would live off of cookies and brownies alone if that were safe. Ivan on the other hand takes those things in moderation. He would much rather eat "real food." As I type this, he is in the kitchen making butterfly chops on the George Foreman.

So, I have eczema. Or at least the doctor told me its eczema. And we aren't talking your garden-variety eczema in a few patches here and there. We're talking itchy bumps from my ears down to my toes--even the palms of my hands are way itchy. Nearly every surface on my body itches--constantly. And its been like this for weeks. It feels better in the morning but I wake up in the middle of every night in excruciating itchiness. My only comfort is the fact that the drug the Dr. gave me (which is running out) makes me way drowsy and sleepy. If anyone knows what I can do to find relief, please, for the love of God, tell me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Once again, two COMPLETELY unrelated topics in one post

So, I want to take a minute to talk about the serious impact that alcohol has on one's decision-making skills. Even though I am someone who has one or two drinks once in a while, I think I just realized the impact that alcohol has had on my life today.
One of my cousins almost had his son taken away from him by the courts because of something that happened during a drunken rage. (Fortunately, he recently reported to me that he's been sober 3 months.) Another cousin of mine was killed by a drunk driver. And yet another cousin of mine drove his car through two backyards into mine, hitting a tree. The car exploded and the tree caught fire (and nearly caught my house on fire). One in seven college women have been raped (admittedly not all alcohol-related). Why do so many college students have no respect for what the bottle can do to make them lose all their inhibitions? No, really, why? I'd like to hear from you guys if you have an answer.

In other news, I am going to miss sleeping in on Saturdays...someday. As many of you may or may not know, my dream is to have as many children as the Good Lord would bless us with. We talk about 12, but I will take as many or as few as He will give us. If you know anything about kids, some of my 12 children will undoubtedly be early risers. I am going to miss those Saturday mornings when I get to snuggle with under the warm covers and drift back to sleep. But, it will surely be worth it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Faith and Politics

I want to take time to talk about something much more important and dear to my heart, and that is the plight of my brothers and sisters in Christ outside of the US. It is sad that we are so unaware of this and that those who do know are so unaffected by it (myself included), but Christians are persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and killed for their faith every day. This is not a problem limited to a few remote areas. China, Syria, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam, and Iran are just a few of the countries that consistently deny their citizens basic human rights due to the fact that those people attend "unapproved" churches and/or propagate the message of salvation that is Jesus Christ. My brothers and sisters are spyed on, raped, mutilated and worse, yet I stand aside and do nothing. Jesus told us visit people in prison. Well, while I might not necessarily be able to visit them, I can be with them in spirit every time I cry out for help on their behalf. And, if you read the stories, you see that they are able to withstand great trials, because Christ is their supernatural strength.

Check it out!
(I encourage you to subscribe to the monthly newsletter. Its very convicting.)
This is a followup to my opinion that I wrote about in my Barack Obama Post yesterday. In that post, I said that I don't think gay couples should get to raise children, because that is not the ideal situation. As a Christian, morally, I view homosexuality as sin.
The Bible says homosexual acts are sin. And if continually, unrepentantly committing homosexual acts are what defines a homosexual, then that person is living in sin. It is the same as a single parent having a sexual relationship with someone who is not their spouse. The children in that household see that, and they don't get a clear picture of what a committed relationship should look like. The one relationship that they see most as they grow is not a healthy one.

And I don't think its good for anyone to continue dwelling in sin. I don't think it would be a positive environment for children to grow up with a gay couple for parents, but that's not because I am a homophobe and am afraid that their children would turn out gay. If you are widowed...well that's not the ideal situation either, is it? It is a difficult thing when that happens, but you then have the responsibility to seek out a positive role model of the opposite sex to spend time with your children.
I believe in separation of church and state, but when one begins to affect the freedom, well-being, and development of others who cannot help themselves, then it becomes the problem of the state.
That's not to say that all heterosexual, married couples are a great situation for children either. In fact, many parents out there shouldn't be raising kids. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, and I doubt that I will ever see this country reflect anything that is even close to what God intended for us, because we are always choosing wrong. Heaven help us.

Praise Jesus!

Look at this! Its true, or at least I think it is. I will have to run out and buy some a.s.a.p. to find out for sure. That's right. Low-calorie, heart-healthy, good-tasting chocolate.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Political stuff...

As a college-educated American woman, I recognize the importance of choosing the right people to put in our public offices. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I recognize the necessity to pray and seek God before I cast my vote. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Barack Obama is all over the media right now. In the past few weeks his website has been extensively updated. I hope everyone will take the time to carefully and prayerfully read where all of our candidates -- presidential and otherwise -- stand on the issues. I found this video (click on the title above) of a speech Sen. Obama gave in a church (be prepared, it is forty minutes long) and I watched the whole thing. At the end of this video, my mind raised even more questions than before. I still have no idea how I feel about this man; I agree with a lot of what he had to say, but I wonder if he is just trying to find some ground where he is pleasing everybody. On the surface, he appears to be someone who is serious about his faith, but I can't really know for sure.

I do think gay marriage isn't really marriage at all, but I also recognize that I cannot change the moral climate of my country by forcing my morality on people. So, I don't necessarily think we can deny gay couples the rights that straight couples have. Only the Holy Spirit and a spiritual revival from the bottom up can cause people to turn to living by God's standards. It isn't something we can always impose on others politically when what they're doing isn't actually getting in the way of other peoples' freedoms. So, in a way, I agree with Sen. Obama about religious people in a pluralistic society.

Am I supposed to adopt someday?

A couple nights ago I had a really vivid dream. I and all my extended family were in some really remote, un-industrialized area. We were on a boat ride when my cousins and I decided to jump into the river for a swim. We swam over into this little alcove and there I found a baby floating in a baby-carrier. To make a long story short I made some make-shift diapers and kept him as my own. I was overjoyed beyond all reason. Looking back on this now, I am pretty sure I just dreamt that I was Moses' adoptive mommy. I think its a sign.

Click on the title above to view an adoption site.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Lesson on Careers

Last night God revealed something to me.
My new job hasn't been going so well, and I am kinda at odds with my boss. I have only worked one week in the past month because of a messy, complicated situation having to do with where I am going to work. I spent a long time praying for that company and my own situation yesterday. Our finances are a huge mess, since I was counting on that job, but that isn't what has made me so nervous and uneasy. I realized that what my boss cares most about in the world and in his business is money. He doesn't care about the things that truly matter most in this life. I care about families and, in regards to this job, about visual artistic expression. I realized that as long as my boss lacks Christ in his life, we will never ever see eye to eye. We never even be able to communicate freely. Last night I realized that rather than just seeking a job where I can use the stuff I learned in college, I should seek to work for a place that values what I value and cares about what God cares about. That is the only way I will be happy. Believe it or not, the best job I ever had was in the dining center on campus, because it was run by a Godly woman. They valued respect, service, and taking an interest in each other's lives. My eyes were opened to the idea that maybe I need to search for work in non-profit or something that is for the good of the community rather than for the good of the CEO's pocketbook.

On a final note, check out and pray for your brothers and sisters or be prayed for.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I married a man with a restless heart.

Do you ever have one of those days where your life seems to be so full of craziness that you're certain God is trying to refine your character? Yet, you cannot quite put your finger on what it is you are supposed to have learned from it all? We are in the midst of a predicament. Today is one of those days. The days when I can see my husband's restless heart more clearly than ever. Some might be afraid of this quality, but I think its kinda beautiful. A challenge arises and I have to try to find clarity in the mud.
My husband craves adventure and danger and all sorts of things I can't give him. All I can do is go along for the ride. But God can be his adventure. God challenges his heart and his mind in ways that I will never comprehend. Some days he questions his faith so much I think he just might give up on it. Yet, other days he is willing to risk his whole life and reputation for the cause of the Gospel. All I can do is stand by and watch in awe at the ridiculously adventurous man I married and support him 100% every step of the way, because I know that's my calling. I am not the adventure. I am not the challenge. I am the helper. I'm like Short Round from Indiana Jones. I get to learn from this man and look up to him and even learn more about myself by being with him. And I get to go along for the ride. I view my role as "the helper" in this relationship not as demoralizing, but rather as an honor. I am blessed to be able to do things for him so that, in turn, we give greater glory to God together.
On days like today, I wonder whether this road block in front of us is supposed to be part of the adventure. Or is it a hard lesson I am supposed to learn? Or am I just over-analysing it? Days like today are the days when my husband gets restless. I have to pray for God's peace to guard our hearts and our minds, so that we don't get ourselves into even bigger trouble. Lord knows we can't keep our lives together on our own. And I think God brought us together to pick the other up when one has fallen down. We can give each other wisdom and insight in tough situations. There is always someone there with a second perspective. God knew our personalities would compliment one another so he put us in a situation to cross paths, so that at just the right moment we would be joined in a very special union that I believe even some other married couples do not understand.