June 26, 2008

unloading

What a week... Never a dull moment!

Cali Grandpa's doing pretty well. :) The surgery went well and he's out of ICU. Still waiting to hear a definite report on if the cancer spread or not, as well as his kidneys. Thanks for your prayers! Aging does not sound like fun.

This morning, at the recycling center, I drove a forklift. It was fun. The guy there laughed at me for being nervous (though i reminded him that HE should be nervous since I'd never done this before and their facility was at risk). But it turns out, after you get used to how to handle it, it's much easier than a car- more precise.





Also today, I produced two thirty-second commercials... 95% on my own. My friend Shelly volunteered me to produce with a lot more confidence than I have, so i guess I'm jumping into trial by fire. So far so good... not perfect and still needing work, but I'm on my way. And it's fun. :)

Claudia sent me phone videos of storms. It made my day. I miss her.

Keeping up with everything has just been overwhelming. I have a lot of extra projects at work... trying to move up and out in more ways than one! I'm officially done with media ministry (i.e. recording the sermon at church), and as much as I kind of miss JJ Radio, Friday nights are less stressful. Last night my two actors for the patriotic play at church bailed. Part of me is frustrated, part of me is disappointed, yet another part of me feels like I failed, and then there's the part of me that is incredibly relieved that I don't have to rush to get everything ready and running smoothly. Instead of a stressful last-minute rehearsal, I will be volunteering with the Dream Center Saturday morning.

But the disappointed part of me is going to post the script.... if anything, you can imagine it. The performance might be even better in your mind than in reality. ;)

Letters Home- by me

Two actors- young men of approximately the same age- on a pretty bare stage (a few props). One is a modern-day soldier, the other is Jesus. The letters are read by an off-stage narrator, the same age as the actors. Actors silently mime during the voiceover.



Lights up

(Soldier is in boot camp, Jesus tempted in the desert)

Dear Dad-

So this is the beginning of my service… I can’t say that it’s easy, but I keep remembering why I’m here. When it’s over, I’ll be stronger and ready for any mission. Though most of the time here I’ve felt pretty weak, tired, and even a little hungry. When the challenges come, it’s tough- but I remember everything you taught me. That helps me stay strong, and helps me get through. Soon I’ll be out of here, and I’m excited about what’s ahead! Pray for me, Dad.

(Soldier lays brick, Jesus heals the sick, both interact with a child)

Dear Dad-

Things are going pretty great here. My first mission is less combat and more humanitarian work- making life better for the people who live here. The other day, I hung around with some local kids. That was the best! They were so happy and made me laugh… one little girl sat on my lap and put her head on my shoulder. Dad, that just melted my heart. I pray the work I’m doing here means these kids will be blessed and safe as they grow up…

(Soldier waits for attack and dodges bullets, Jesus argues with a Pharisee and dodges stoning. )

Hey Dad-

Things have taken a rough turn since my last letter. The humanitarian missions are now mixed with small battles. But don’t worry, it’s nothing I can’t handle- thanks to all my training. Some of the local leaders just don’t like our work here, and they won’t be convinced we’re here for them, too. The enemy is a hassle for sure. But I keep praying and reminding myself “Greater is He that’s in me than he that’s in the world”. I’ll keep standing strong, Dad. I won’t let you down.

(Soldier and Jesus- on their separate sides of the stage- mime being beaten)


Dad-

Wow. Where do I being to describe the past week? This is the worst battle I’ve ever faced. The enemy closed in on every side and began launching an intense attack. I used all my training- and yes, lots of prayer- to try to hold them back and protect the other guys in my group. But in the end, well, I ended up here- in enemy camp. They’re brutal, Dad… they’ve beat me, mocked me, spit in my face… then actually expected answers during interrogation. When I thought my body couldn’t take any more, they beat me again. Dad, I feel so weak… so broken.
(Both sit in pain, fatigue, and fear)

Later today I’m going to be executed. Killed. I won’t lie- Dad, I’m scared. But even so, I wouldn’t turn back. I’m glad you encouraged me to do this. I know I’m a piece in a much bigger plan. And I will gladly give my life for the people we love. Because it means they’ll have hope, better lives- for me to die means they’ll be free.
(Soldier kind of curls up and puts head down, Jesus is on the cross... with final words, lights go down)

I hope I made you proud, Dad. I know you’ll take care of mom and remind her how much I love her. And don’t worry- I’ll see you soon.

I love you.

Always, your son



Lights up, revealing American flag on soldiers side, empty cross on Jesus' side.









Maybe we'll do it next year. We'll see. With everything else going on... who knows?

June 23, 2008

because Claudia inspires me

Thanks for the feedback about my food presentation!! Coming soon- next week's dramatic performance.... Lord willing. Please pray that my cast comes together and this works out. We have six days and haven't rehearsed once!!! I'm livin' on the theatrical edge.

My work day is short today.. only 56 more minutes. Cali Grandpa is having surgery today. The best case scenario is that the cancer is still confined to his bladder, and they'll remove the entire bladder. God is a healer though, no matter how He chooses to heal. So yeah... lots of prayer.

But for now, a distraction... a survey stolen from my darling sister. I love her.

1.When was the last time you used a band aid?
Last week for a cat scratch, inconveniently located on my finger where it kept getting hit by stuff. Besides, neosporin makes it heal faster.

2. Do you think brittney spears is bi?
I refuse to waste valuable time and brain cells pondering this one.

3. Have you ever stalked somebody?
Nope, that's creepy

4. Has anybody ever stalked you?
Ex-boyfriend. It was not fun and part of the reason we broke up. I don't want to be stalked again.

5. Who was the last person you tripped over?
My own two feet. It's sad how often that happens.

6. Do you like bottled water?
Sigh, yes. But it's an unnecessary expense, and even though i refill the bottles a lot, i'd do so much better for my wallet and the earth if I just refilled a cup with a lid and took that with me. That's my current project- breaking that habit. I need work in that area... it's just so convenient and handy!

7. Can you tuck your foot behind your head?
HA!! Maybe someday after extensive yoga classes?

8. Did you just try?
Here at my desk at work? Oh, that'd be a sight.

9. Who is the stupidest person you know?
I don't know any stupid people. And even if I did, I would rather focus on what they are good at. Be nice.

10. Is your best friend hot?
Yes. We all are. It's been in the triple digits all week!!!

11. Will anyone repost this?
Maybe. Directly proportional to boredom level.

12. How many times have you laughed today?
Not a lot. I have a lot on my mind.

13. What is the best present you have ever gotten?
Life. Followed by love, then grace and mercy. My dashboard turtle ranks high. ;)
OH- funny story. Saturday was Daylene's birthday party... she sat down to open her gifts, and started to blurt out- "Ok, whoever gives me the best present will-", but was hushed by adults before we found out the end of that sentence!

14. Do you think your gangsta?
Nah, that's not how i roll, homie.

15. What is your dream car?
Not sure what it's called, but it can fly and operates magically without fuel. Nor does it have payments and it runs smoothly without maintenance.

16.What is your favorite color other than pink blue yellow purple orange green and the other normal colors people usually say?
moon silver, storm cloud blue violet, rainbow, sunset, and ocean colors. Happy?

17. Does you best friend look like you?
No one looks like me. Except Claudia.

18. Whats your favorite animal?
Turtle. Marine mammals. Sharks. Starfish. Giraffe. Cow. Monkeys. i just like animals. Horses. Dogs. ok this is getting ridiculous. I should've been a zookeeper.

19. What is your favorite song?
I don't have one. I like music too much to pick one favorite.

20. Are you texting someone right now?
Sophia at the hospital, and Leah

21. Do you play a sport?
Not well. I'm currently playing tennis once a week though.

22. What color are your nails?
au natural and trying to grow.

23. What are you thinking about?
What AREN'T I thinking about. Ha. Oh yeah, work. Well, sort of. i'm halfway attentive to that.

24. Do you know anyone that is allergic to pineapple?
No, but that that'd be tragic.

25. Are you mad at anyone? if so... why?
Not anymore. Forgiveness is a good thing. I hate staying mad at anyone.

26. What color is your room?
The room I'm staying in is covered with Betty Boop paraphanalia...... i say no more.

27. Do you like to go fishing?
YES!!! I miss it a lot. I used to go with my Papaw all the time.....

28. Do like to fill out surveys on myspace?
Eh.

29. Do you have facial hair?
Embarassingly, yes. I hate to admit it. But at least it's blonde. And i have discovered Sally Hansen's Naturally Bare. It's quite awesome and i recommend it to anyone.

30. Do lyou like to wear sunglasses?
Yes. I like my retinas. And i found my current pair for $2 at Big Lots. Score!

31. How many texts do you send in a day?
Depends on the day. I usually send maybe 40 a week? I can't make personal calls at work, and i'm so burnt out on being on the phone when i'm done with work, so I text more often than talking.

32. Do you flirt with pretty much everyone?
Nah. I'm just genuinely friendly.

33. How many pairs of converse tennis shoes do you own?
One. But they cause blisters. :( And I can only wear tennis shoes on the weekend so it's kind of a bust. :(

34. Do you sing daily?
Oh yes. :) I like singing. It makes me happy.

35. Do you support gay marrige?
This is a complicated question, and interesting since it has recently been made legal in California. Basically, there are now two things called marriage. One is a sacrament- you know, holy by God. The other is a legal arrangement allowing certain benefits and such. The first, the sacrament, is between a man and a woman. God set it up that way, and man can't touch that to change it. The second, the legal.... well, name one good reason not to (that has nothing to do with the Lord). So in the big picture, no, it is not a good thing for a variety of reasons. But in tunnel vision, the separation of church and state- well, what do you do?

36. Have you ever had your life planned out by someone else?
I'm pretty certain my parents mapped my life out. And i'm pretty sure i busted their mold into tiny, itty bitty pieces.

37. Are you a rockstar?
Of course. ;)

38. Do you use an alarm clock?
Three on my cellphone, and one with four legs, a tail, an irritating meow/whine, and sharp claws.

39. How do you like this survey so far?
It passes time between calls.

40. Do you ever wish you were the opposite gender?
Nah. When i was little i woke up crying from a dream where i was a boy. I just kept saying "i want to stay a girl". hehe. But the ability to pee standing up seems handy.

41. Do you ever go krogering?
YES! Even here in So Cal where there are no Krogers... some stores have Kroger brand and i buy it!!

42. Whats your favorite color of a balloon?
I've never assigned a favorite to balloons....

43. How much money do you make in a week?
Not enough.

44. How many pillows do you sleep with?
3. Two traditional, and the Rainbow Brite pillow Claudia made.

45. Are you listening to music right now?
No. I was listening to the Fish, but had to turn it off to listen to the produced version of a spot I wrote before it aired.

46. What kind of phone do you have?
An enV, the first kind. I love it and don't even care to upgrade, even though my upgrade is available.

47. Have you ever ridden a tricycle?
Yeah, we had one when i was little.

48. If you could be anyone in the world..... who would you be?
A better version of me.

49. Do you still play with your old toys?
My old school NES!!! I still play Tetris and Mario in those rare free moments! :)
50. How do you feel about orange cows living in willy wonkas chocolate factory with red chickens that support blood drives at local schools that were recently vandalized by a gang from "m-town" which is a crappy little town that nobody evers goes to like hollywood which is overrated and home to no orange cows?
Well, you got that right. Hollywood is overated and I have yet to see a single orange cow. Other than that.... what?!

Ten minutes 'til I'm out. Time to post and close up shop. I'll update later... maybe even mobile blog at the hospital. We'll see how it goes. Ninakupenda, rafikis.

June 20, 2008

learning videos...

So i'm learning how to make videos... and post things on youtube.... stuff every twelve-year-old can do with their eyes closed, right? Some days i'm computer savvy, and others- well, you get the point. I made this video for work. Some of the pictures might make your stomach turn. Enjoy. ;)
videoThanks to Weird Al for making this more interesting.

June 15, 2008

the green entry

Today's blog is written from Sophia's room, as I eat popcorn and watch the Laker game. Everyone else is out, so i'm enjoying the quiet and trying to get productive. Meanwhile, everytime the commercial for Wendy's Frosty shakes comes on, i really think the ice cream truck is out the window... they use the same song as our neighborhood guy. That amuses me.

I read this book yesterday about "green" things you can do that are not only not expensive, but might save/earn you money in the long run. Of course, i felt frustrated by most of them, because they ARE really expensive and not possible for everyone- if you're not a homeowner, if you can't afford a hew hybrid car, that kind of thing. But i didn't come away completely empty-handed. When i DO have my own place, i know what decisions to make (like the flourescent energy saving light bulbs, and smart power strips that reduce phantom energy load). And it encouraged me in my war against plastic bags.

I alwasy knew plastic bags were not great, but recently my eyes were opened to exactly how horrible they are. They are everywhere, only to get thrown away, and eventually end up in the ocean- harmful to the water and to wildlife. There is not one good thing about plastic bags.... ok, maybe convenience, but that's it. So i invested into the reusable cloth bags at Walmart, Target, and Trader Joes. They only cost a dollar, and you can use them over and over again. I spent a five dollar gift card at Amazon.com and got a reusuable lunch tote- it's a cute, little, insulated purple bag, and after lunch just folds up in my purse. I love it. I just haven't figured out about trash bags.... where else can you put your trash? Or Jolie's used litter? (and no, until i move out, i can't use the all-natural litter... long story, but bottom line is that the people i live with don't like the smell).

The biggest contributor to my carbon footprint (i know, i know... cheesy phrase, but it's true) is my commute. Combine that with the fact that it now costs me over $60 a week in gas, and we have a major problem. The literal truth is that unless there is some kind of miracle, by the end of the month i won't be able to afford the drive to my workplace. I've cut back as much as I possible can, but it's not enough. So on Friday, at the encouragement of a co-worker, I took the train.

It wasn't all-together unpleasant. I could be happy taking the train often, except for a few minor details:

1. Cost- the cost of a five-day pass, plus parking at the train station is $60- exactly the same as gas (which we've already established is above my means)

2. It takes long to take public transportation. The full two-trains-and-a-bus trip from my house to my job takes more than an hour and a half. I would have to leave my house at 6:30a and return by 7:50p. That's a long day.... and even then, i was five minutes late on Friday....

3. There's no room for error or flexibility. We all know my life is crazy. I'm partly responsible for a recycling program at work that benefits charity. This often involves transporting bags of bottles and cans at a moments notice. Sure enough, this was the case on Friday (we came up w/ a quick fix, but not a solution we could repeat). But that's small change compared to what happened next...... I am not able to leave work at the end of the day until a number of our advertisers recieve their schedule for the next day. And on Friday's, this means the schedule for the weekend and Monday. Sometimes, they come late. Other times, they come VERY late- and very late they were on Friday. So late that i missed the last bus to the train station.... leaving me stranded 25 miles from home without a car. Sophia wins "roommate of the year" for driving all that way to pick me up at a moment's notice.

All this to say..... well, i'm trying. I want to be more environmentally responsible. I want to be wise with my finances. It's good stewardship, right? But geez, can't a girl get a break?

I think i've said enough for today. It's the fourth quarter and the Lakers are up by fourteen (but can they hold on to that??). I need to upload some pictures from my camera, balance my checkbook, and change my laundry in twenty minutes. And now you're updated.

June 09, 2008

i heart sleep

This weekend's major accomplishment? Sleep, and lots of it. I slept in on Saturday morning, a little bit on Sunday, and took naps both days. And by naps, i mean multi-hour affairs of bliss.

This was my first weekend without JJ Radio... and though I was a bit sad, it was kind of nice to go out on Friday instead of work in the studio then rush home for whatever is left of family dinner. My friend, Dave, and I checked out the new shopping center nearby called The Americana. It was kind of nifty.... an upscale mall with fun atmosphere- a grassy area with a big ol' fountain in the middle, and old-time-looking architecture. And good places to eat, like Pinkberry (which is what we had :-D). You might remember this was the place I interviewed with back in April.... and I still think it's a hotbed of excess (I mean, do you REALLY need a trolley for an area that's smaller than half a city block??). But it was fun to hang out with Dave and check out some of the stores... including a three-story Barnes and Noble! :)

I also got a haircut Saturday... not really that eventful- it pretty much looks like it did in March, but that's what I was going for. Soph and I checked out a local restaurant (seems to be the weekend to do that, eh, Becca?), and LOVED IT. It's called Canyon City Barbecue, and it's tucked away in a residential area close to where we live. It features down-home southern barbecue- in food and atmosphere! I had chicken, mashed potatoes, and cornbread, and went home oh-so-happy. Plus it's kind of fun to find a a new place no one knows about. But if you're a Southern Californian, i'm telling you about it. Ask me for directions- it's worth your time!

Other notable highlights include watching High School Musical (i didn't really want to, but we're doing Daylene's birthday party and that's her desired theme), watching the Laker game (they lost. But could've won. eh), and disappointing my father by quitting jj radio (yet didn't bat an eye when i mentioned i quit because i was overwhelmed and stressed. Yes, Dad, i'm doing fine. Thanks for asking).

Wow. I"m the parenthetical queen.

June 04, 2008

i get it

I just read a devotional about faith and the "power of positive thinking". The article pointed out something i already believed- that positive thinking has limited power. Reality is not altered by the electric sparks and chemicals in the squishy organ trapped in our skulls. But then, there is faith.

Faith is not a thought process bound by physical bodies, it's something greater than ourselves operated by our souls and God. While that sets it above mere thoughts, that alone does not cause things to happen.

Faith is a tool, a means, a necessary piece of the plan. Ultimately, it is the hand of God that allows or causes things to happen. Many times He involves us in the process- almost like a parent guiding a child through a school project or learning how to ride a bike or play baseball. And that's where faith comes in. Sometimes God tells us to do something that doesn't make sense to our limited experience or rational. But we've got to trust Him, we MUST believe what we can't see. That allows us to take the next step, for for God to carry out His plan and the great work He has in mind.

More and more I'm observing that God has an amazing imagination. Lack of faith limits the possibilities. I'm struggling with faith right now in the area of career and finances. What I see is that i'm sitting in the exact same chair i've been in for more than two years- as if I've set up camp at a stepping stone job. I can't afford rent and live at the mercy of adopted relatives. My reasoning says this is bad and needs to be changed. So I've done everything I can think of to change it. The result? I'm still sitting in the same exact chair... yeah, you know the rest.

So if I apply this idea of faith- not a power of it's own, but a necessary catalyst for God's work in my life- what does that mean practically? I think it means I take one day at a time, applying my best effort to the opportunities that the Lord provides, and immersing myself in His Word, praise and worship, His presence in order to clearly hear and understand His next round of instructions. Let's test this theory, shall we? I'll keep you posted.

***********************************

Meanwhile, I'm running on little sleep and a lot of sugar-free vanilla iced coffee from McDonald's. I worked until 11:30 last night, then up again to be here at my usual time this morning. Tonight's church involves playing guitar for the kids (something I haven't done in a long time) and tie-dying with the 4th-8th graders to demonstrate the concept of hope (you know, hoping your t-shirt comes out beautifully, and not like a rainbow threw up... and next week is faith, since they won't get their finished shirts until then). Basically, that whole explanation to say that i'm exhausted, have a lot to do today, and if this entry has typos, grammatical errors, or makes little sense, that could be why.

Kwaheri. Ninakupenda.

June 01, 2008

Top ten signs that i am overwhelmed with being busy:

10. I stop. There's this feeling I get when I look at a long to-do list or think about what needs to be done.... It starts as the first step in strategizing time management and ends with a deer-in-the-headlights frozen fear because I don't know where to begin. After all, by devoting time to one activity means there are four or five others I SHOULD be doing at the time. And sometimes I just freeze. That might explain the two-hour nap I just woke up from.

9. Questions about future activites are answered with "umm...... i. don't. know." This includes suggestions from friends that we meet for lunch, requests from co-workers about assisting with a tasks, or inquiries from family about when I will be home for dinner.

8. Priorities are askew and time management is out the window. This behavior can be observed by the fact that I saw two movies this weekend (and it would've been three if last night had worked out with our schedule and the movie theater's). For the record, "Indiana Jones" was cute- which is not exactly a compliment since I don't think that's what they were going for. "Prince Caspian", on the other hand, kicked butt and made me tear up for a second. I really need to re-read those books now that I'm older.

7. I have panic attacks. This used to be a common occurance when I was in college, but have since faded into rare happenings. This week, however, they've begun to make a comeback. I don't plan on them sticking around, however, no matter what action I need to take to usher them back into oblivion.

6. I make lists. Lists on my dry erase board at work, lists on the special notepad for to-do lists that I got for Christmas from a coworker, lists on the back of envelopes, lists on the back of my hand, and, apparently, lists in my blog.

5. Stretching myself too thin is another hazard. This week I will be hanging out with a friend on Monday, working late into the night at the station on Tuesday, teaching kids about hope by tie-dying shirts on Wednesday, going to the Dream Center on Thursday, and recording JJ radio Friday... I have a hair appointment on Saturday and am operating the video camera on Sunday. If you asked me what I'm doing at a specific moment in time for the next seven days, I could tell you (ex: Wednesday, 5:59p- driving to church, on the phone with Jamie or Sophia wrapping up last minute details. Seriously, feel free to test me on this- it is both pathetic and awe-inspiring at the same time...)

4. Time in the Word dwindles. This is counter-productive, as God is my fuel (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me). Yet, I figure God is the most forgiving and His part of my schedule is the most flexible. I think I might be wrong.

3. Emotional eating increases. I'm trying to be strict about calories right now, so it's interesting.

2. I quit caring about certain details, and I get an attitude about it. For instance, the people at work my not have a clean refrigerator, and if they continue to misplace the keys to the women's restroom, they may be on their own. This is not a good way to maintain good relations with my boss (who will probably make sure that the restroom remains acessible).

1. I blog.