Monday, December 26, 2011

I have concluded that I'm an idea person. But not the good kind, where ideas lead to plans and plans lead to action. No-- I get an idea in my head, idealize it to death, and then rid myself of it. It is a terrible habit, and it gets in the way of so many opportunities that are just begging me to grab hold of them.

It's like I'm a dreamer caged by reality. I will allow myself to consider something incredibly plausible until it either becomes too real, or until one shadow of a doubt creeps in--and then it's over. My ideas become plagued by what-if's and no-way's and never's, which creates a constant itch for change but no actual remedy to stop it.

The dreams aren't necessarily big ones, either. I start thinking about food journalism and the idea of a food blog, I make it perfect in my head, but then I never follow through. I considered transferring schools so that I could be pushed in journalism seriously, but the second it became real I stopped the pursuit. I've always wanted to study abroad, but never thought it was possible without the option of a music program--and then I found a perfect one in Australia. Once disbelief and excuses claimed that idea, though, all that was left was an unfinished application and the realization that I am not taking charge of...well, of anything.

I thirst for adventure, but I always opt out of the risk involved. I only venture to a certain degree, and always maintain a specific amount of caution. I cannot think of one thing that I have thought of doing, and could have done, but didn't bail out before the cost became too high.

Not anymore, though. Ideas do have the potential to become fantasized dreams with no ounce of reality, and I am the first to admit I am guilty of that. But, ideas also have the extreme possibility to open up those doors that would have otherwise remained cracked if the risk hadn't been taken to see what was behind it. Maybe I explore a few doors and there is a cement wall immediately following it. Maybe a few others have a path that starts out promising, but ends up leading nowhere. But maybe, just maybe, there are a few doors that make the way towards the very real, tangible idea that had only been but a thought in my head beforehand. Either way though, experience is gained and lessons are learned.

Starting small, with just enough challenge, just enough risk, will probably be my first door. That might mean being vegan starting on the January 1st. Why? Because it's an idea for something different, for something that is hard enough that I have to be intentional about it, but simple enough that it is accomplishable. I would like to finish my Australia application, too. An application is just an application, and there is no reason to not tackle that first step. I'd also love to access creativity more. That means writing more, whether it's for me or for a blog. That means making a meal. It means arranging fresh flowers in a vase or making a handmade birthday card. It means loving every minute of the little things; the moments in creation that are often taken for granted.

It means having an idea, running with it, believing in it, and pursuing truth throughout the chase.
I think I will consider this a New Year's Resolution...or two or three. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

one day soon, these fears will be put to rest
extinguished like a fire
put out like time-out
killed like a pesky fly.
I only pray it happens before he comes--
before I know he is coming
so that in You this heart may be blessed.

the mind knows it is irrational to question
stupid to doubt
not of You to buy the lie,
because Your love is always enough
always abounding
always true
no exceptions.

it is a process, though
and for that there is grace
but let the process be progressive rather than
clearing rather than
and securing rather than

A heart is fragile and unable to be controlled
but You are greater
than our hearts
more powerful
than emotions
bigger than
past bruises and scrapes.

In You alone, I find rest
In You alone there is peace
"When the battle rages
for all that I am
You hold my future
in the palm of Your hand."

I am choosing to surrender that which gives me life,
for it is only given when it is lost
and since You have already paid the cost
I am trusting your plan over

"Send me your light and your faithful care,
   let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
   to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
   to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
   O God, my God.
 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God" --Psalm 43:3-5

Sunday, September 18, 2011

 In wandering, there is blessing.

We all go through periods of wandering, and in regards to faith, it might be something we feel as though we know a little too well. It comes at different times, and we usually try to avoid it like the plague, but inevitably, wandering happens because life happens.

Life happened for me in these last six months. I had been seeking the Lord with all that I was for quite awhile, but when my plans still weren't panning out, when my circumstances still seemed like one question mark after the other, I became directionless and quite frankly, exhausted.

So often, my relationship with the Lord is based off feelings. It is one of the trickiest traps we can fall into. But I fell and I fell hard, and even though I was trying to seek Him throughout those dry months of summer, I wasn't feeling Him so I continued to wrestle with Him.

Two weeks ago, though, Jesus performed the most tangible act of grace that my young faith has yet to experience. It not only flipped the flickering switch of my heart back on, but also reminded me of how phenomenal and real our God is.

I prayed that Saturday morning after I found out I didn't have to work, telling Jesus that I didn't know where we were currently at. I told Him I needed to be refreshed in a new way, in a way that would wake me up and remind me of His goodness and His realness. He takes me on this hike that tons of Jessup students went on, and brings me head on into a situation where nothing but His power, His knowledge, and His peace could have brought me through.

My lifeguard training was suddenly being put to use, to care for a stranger that had gone down a steep waterfall, completely slicing both his forehead open as well as the right side of his stomach. He was in pain, he was bleeding profusely, and for two hours I was the primary responder that had to anticipate what was going to happen next. I was going for a day of sunshine and friends, but instead I was at the bottom of a canyon, potentially holding a man's life in my own two hands.

You're told in training that adrenaline kicks in; you might get really shaky, you might panic, you might have an emotional breakdown during and after. These things never came into full fruition for me though. Jesus kept me calm throughout all of it; weirdly calm. I have never been in an emergency situation period, much less been the person controlling one. Yet I knew exactly what I needed to do, even though I had only been trained months earlier. I had the confidence to stick with my gut when others tried to call the shots, I had the empathy to be with that man with my words, keeping him stable, talking with him to distract him from the pain. I had all of those things though, because of the Holy Spirit's divine power in me. It is the craziest thing that has ever happened in my life, and I can't stress enough the timing of it in relation to my walk with the Lord and the way He used that day to glorify Him.

He showed me His realness that day. He proved to me, even though He doesn't have to and shouldn't need to, that He is here and He is living and He is intricately involved in my life. In all of our lives.

That's grace, you guys. That is phenomenal, divine grace. Jesus put me in a situation that He had been preparing me for since I got that job, knowing I'd be there that day, knowing I'd be in a time of wandering with Him, knowing that it would wake me back up and ultimately bring Him every ounce of the glory.

It blows my mind all over again to write it out, even though I have processed that day out loud already so many times.

I know this is a novel, but I encourage you; let wandering bring you to the feet of the living Jesus, and be ready for that moment in which He reveals the work He has been doing in midst of our humanness and unawareness.

PS, look at the poem I wrote on the entry for Sept. 3. This all happened the next day. Jesus is so real.

Friday, September 16, 2011

There is nothing like a beautiful, Friday afternoon to yourself. I came back today to an empty apartment, which normally I wouldn't like, but for a few hours tonight, it was so perfect, and so needed. I put on my sweats, whipped out ingredients for this delicious toasted barley salad with caramelized corn, zucchini, and tomato, and listened to the lovely music of Bon Iver. The window was cracked in the kitchen, sun pouring in, and the slight breeze was enough to make my soul overflow from happiness.

The salad was even more flavorful than I could have imagined. All the produce was seasonal, fresh, and organic, thanks to the amazing Living Social deal I scored. (I got $20 worth of Whole Foods groceries for only $10! Did anyone else get it? It was practically a steal.)

I used red corn and yellow corn, and summer squash along with the zucchini. The dressing makes the salad-- lemon juice emulsified by olive oil, with pepper, fresh basil, and garlic. Honestly to die for. I paired the salad with organic chicken breasts seasoned with lemon pepper, black pepper, lemon juice, and some dry basil. It was the perfect combination and made for a very fulfilling, satisfying meal.

In a perfect world, I would have an actual camera to take an actual picture that could actually display the detail and colors of the meal, but until money grows on trees, I will continue to use my phone. (Which kills me by the way, really kills me).

I'll be heading home after work tomorrow to get in some productivity alongside some relaxation, so rest-assured, I will be posting again very soon!

Happy weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Together, we are a struggle and a Victory
a battlefield and a Shelter
a question and an Answer.
You’re consistent and I’m consistent
and sometimes that makes our
relationship hard.

I love You but can’t always show it
don’t always show it
won’t always show it
yet somehow You are able to love me back

I don’t know why You do it.
Why do You keep doing it?
Sometimes I wish You wouldn’t
because the fact that You will always be here
just always, forever, be here,
can be hard to understand
especially when it’s true.

It makes zero sense
when I know the pages of my heart
are riddled with black spots and tears
and big gaping holes that at times seem impossible
to fill.

It’s just that its thirsty for something
but doesn’t know how to quench it;
so it grabs onto everything but You
and is surprised when it doesn’t fulfill.
It should know better by now,
but the missing piece remains
and its directionless
body is leaving a stain.

I don’t really get You sometimes
I hope it’s okay that I may never get it
but I want to trust enough to know that
You are real and You are good
and dryness is okay because dryness is life.

You aren’t in the business of substituting
trials for joy
dead fruit for new fruit
patience for deliverance;
no, Your goal is to work with me through it
wrestle alongside of me
push me to believe in You,
because You believe in me.

Loving You is hard and not feeling You harder
because all I really want is
to talk with You for hours
and hear You say my name
and be hugged when I cry
and gently pushed when I’m scared
but since Your love calls me to faith
I will try to understand that
by choosing to do life with You.
One day those things will be true
and never again
will Love
be something that is
or confusing
or questioned
but rather
and instinctive
and perfected.


I will wait for You there, Jesus.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hello my dear friends!

I realize I'm sneaking this post in last-minute, (and by that, I mean right before the month ends) but that seems to be my pattern anyway.

Hopefully that habit will be changing soon, though, because I have much more serious goals concerning my blogging life!

As most of you know, throughout this last year I have really begun pinning down where my passions lie, and what that means as I start pursuing a career for after college. Writing has always been a strong-suit for me, yet after doing Journalism pretty seriously in high-school, I thought I had closed the door on that part of my "writing journey." I started this blog about a year-and-a-half ago, mostly for fun, but since then I have seen and learned so many things about the world, myself, and my love for the written-word!

Alongside writing, there is another passion that has overtaken me. Growing up, my mom has always been an absolute master in the kitchen. To this day, she sits down every Thursday night and goes through a binder (thicker than most of my college textbooks, I might add) to fish through recipes she's collected over the years for meals to make throughout the week. She's always been a healthy cook, too, but especially so in these last four or five years. She receives a "farmer-box" (formally called CSA for Community Supported Agriculture) every week, uses only (mostly) Cooking Light recipes, and all-around knows how to create not only food, but meals.

As a little girl, the fact that my mom made dinner for the entire family after teaching all day long was simply part of my life. Every day we would ask her, "Mom, what's for dinner?" because we always knew it would be something homemade! It wasn't until I hit college (stereotypical, I know) that I really discovered the appreciation I had for my mom's cooking, and thus how it triggered the immense love for food I have within me as well. (It was going to kick-in at some point, the genes for phenomenal cooks run too strong on both my mom and dad's sides).

Finally, then, this last year I began putting two-and-two together: I love to write, and I love food...what can I do with that? Bingo! The answer came and the dream began: I wanted to write about food. I wanted to go anywhere and everywhere, tasting my way around the world, around a city, around a kitchen, and write about what I learned. (Because let me tell you, there is a LOT you can learn from food). This summer I toured Sacramento Magazine, had an amazing interview with the editorial editor, and learned what it was like to really be in that profession. I left the conversation feeling more sure and more excited than I ever had about anything else I had pursued.

Earlier this week, I received a phone call from that same editor, telling me she had remembered how I mentioned I wanted to be a food-writer, and that had talked with their food critic about me. The food critic said she would love to chat with me, and all over again I felt that surge of joy--I had wanted to see the magazine's office to make a relationship, gain some information, and simply become educated before I let my ideals run wild. Getting that phone call was one more affirmation, almost, that yes, this is something I am meant to pursue.

Now I am waiting for a reply for when I can meet with her, and there I will again to make a connection with someone, (someone who happens to be doing the exact job I am interested in) and be able to learn even MORE about what writing, and food, and people mean to her and how she applies that into a career.

That being said, I am going to be starting a food blog alongside this blog, in which I will probably infuse some aspects of this blog into the food one. I am still researching it, wanting to get a good solid start before I jump in, but be ready, because it is coming and it will be something I take seriously!

Lastly I just want to thank all of you. I don't really know who reads this, and whether it is all the time or just a pop-in every once in awhile, but I feel your support regardless. I have processed on this blog, shared, learned, and more, and you have been with me every step of the way!

Here's to, yet again, another chapter. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

 These last few weeks of summer have been filled with laughter, encouraging conversations, adventures, and reminders. I am so thankful for the close friends Jesus has given me; they are all different, but each add something so sweet and special to my life. I would be nowhere without them.

Here's to the (tear) last week (and a half) of (my) summer!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nathan and Caitlin already celebrate their one month anniversary tomorrow! It was such a beautiful wedding. So beautiful that they are being featured in a bridal magazine. Only those two, only those two. If you haven't had the chance to see the photos, follow this link and enter "cnw" as the password! There are a million pictures. And yes, I did look at every single one.

I have been loving summer as of late. Swim lessons are so much fun for me, and even though my job can be scary and intimidating at times, (that would be lifeguarding-wise, of course) it has grown me in so many ways. Between getting to know adorable little kids and seeing their progress as swimmers, bonding with staff members, improving my lifeguarding skills, and turning 10 shades darker, (no exaggeration) I have really grown to love all of it! Plus, I've discovered how much I like working with kids! I never knew!

The Lord has also been so faithful. He is always faithful, but when I become vulnerable to the world I stop seeing just how faithful. Slowly but surely, He has truly been helping me achieve a genuine joy and confidence that is of Him and His spirit; not of this world, and not of my flesh. I am learning not to live season to season, but rather take my relationship with the Lord and thus my relationships with others one literal minute at the time. I went to Metro community groups last night for the first time since winter...and what a blessing. Convicted, challenged, encouraged, uplifted. It was a beautiful reminder to sit among believers and realize that we are all humans with worries and struggles, but as a body of Christ, we can persevere and pursue righteousness and hope and truth together. The Lord didn't intend for us to go through life alone, and I am so grateful to be doing life with Him and those who love Him. [Corporate] fellowship is something, quite shockingly, I have let slip completely, and last night was the perfect wake-up call to be involved once again!

I hope your summers are going so well, even if there have been those moments where direction is not present and life seems like it is one question mark after the other. I encourage you to surround yourself with believers who will wrestle and grow through life with you, because it becomes such a beautiful mess once experienced.

Happy Monday!

OH! Huge ps! I am going to Sacramento Magazine tomorrow to receive a tour and interview time with the editorial editor. I get to ask questions, wrack her brain, see what this whole magazine world is really like, and hopefully open the door to a potential place of volunteer work or internship. Exactly what I have wanted to discover more since Christmas break when I decided journalism might be the route I once again want to travel down. :) God is so good!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crossroads. They happen so often. Some are minor, others major, but no matter what, they involve a decision that at the time seems to carry the weight of the world with it. When we were little, our biggest decisions were as simple as whether we were going to get a hot lunch or bring a cold lunch, or whether we wanted to play on the bars at recess or tackle a game of four-square. As we get older, though, it seems that these crossroads happen much more frequently, and the path we have to cross only gets larger. Decisions have more consequences, both good and bad, and those decisions no longer only effect the immediate context; they effect the bigger picture that is, essentially, our life. 

The summer months always seem to bring these decisions, too. Thoughts about the future attack our minds, disorganizing the nicely, previously compartmentalized thoughts that we stored away during the school year when we 'didn't have time to think about them.' Now, though, our purpose goes beyond our schoolwork, beyond our classes, and I think that in some of us, like myself, we temporarily lose a piece of the identity that has been shaping us for so long. We are students, and we have been for 15 years, but when summer hits, it's like our thoughts are cut loose to explore all those areas we ban from the months of August to May. For three months we are not students, and our lives do not revolve around deadlines and events and classes. We get a small dose of the real world before we go back to a comfortable routine that is so engrained within us, it's almost like culture-shock when we don't have it.

My thoughts have been world-travelers since school ended. They've taken me to a crossroads where I must choose what I really, truly want to pursue in my education, and if that means I must make a decision I can't even fully process yet. They've led me to ponder why I chose to do what I'm doing this summer, when essentially I was not ready (that has been my not-so-small dose of the real world). They've had me redefining what family means as I grow older, and what it looks like to cultivate those transforming relationships. They’ve had me up, down, and around every nook and cranny of my mind, reminding me that they want attention, too.

The crossroads we encounter are usually blessings, but they so often appear as curses first. As time goes on though, it is the decisions we make at those crossroads that help shape us into who we are. Right now, I feel as though I have been in a huge transition, although I don’t really know what I am transitioning from nor transitioning to. I have been wracking my mind all summer trying to figure it out, to find some direction, but all that ends up doing is leading me to ten different crossroads of thought, when I am only supposed to be approaching them one at a time.

If there is one lesson I am being taught, it is that decisions and choices and change are all disciplines that require some trial and error. Whether the Lord has me cross a particular path before I feel I am ready (which actually means I am ready, but just scared) or He has me wait patiently while he prepares me to cross, I ultimately need to learn to give it up one thought, one action, and one road at a time.

(Wedding-Dinkey Creek photos/post to follow) :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

 I love this color palette. So summery, so simple, so classic. Too bad the weather is hindering me from emulating any of these outfits! Thunderstorms, lightning, tornado's been an eventful week for us normally-spoiled Californians.

These conditions have been one more item on the list of my more-unusual-start-to-summer. I didn't move home, I'm living in an apartment I can't really afford yet, and I'm simply at another crossroads of life that leaves a lot of time for reflections and memories and thoughts to sort through. Like I've mentioned, my summer home has an extreme lack of wi-fi or cable, and with roommates who are working long before and after me, the Lord has been giving me an abundance of quiet time. Both literally and figuratively.

Jesus has been showing me that He has intentionally placed me in this period of rest. It has been a pretty crazy year, and He is now giving me the time to do nothing but seek Him fully and purposefully. My heart belongs to no one but Him, and the biggest theme I am going to walk away from this summer will be the art of learning what it means to have eternal value. All year He has gradually reminded me that I need to remember the joy of my salvation. I want to be concerned only with the things He wants and desires of me. The battle of flesh and spirit is so strong sometimes, but I am reminded that it is the qualities of Jesus that have a lasting value.

Thus I am practicing that discipline this summer; finally surrendering things that my heart and mind have been holding onto, and letting go of the importance I have placed on so many worldly ideas. This summer is mine. I have a manageable schedule, wonderful friends, and time to actually just sit and rest.

Happy (rainy) weekend!!

(POST SCRIPT! If you haven't heard Coldplay's new single, "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," GO, NOW.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, how nice it would be to have a room like this, wouldn't you agree? To read there, all summer perfect. All it needs is a little table right next to it to hold some coffee and treats.

I am back in Rocklin, sitting at a coffee shop, feeling guilty because I didn't can't buy anything, yet I am using the wi-fi relentlessly. I did get my first paycheck today though, and I would be lying if I said I didn't legitimately smile when I saw that it had been deposited. It wasn't for a lot, but when you have nothing, everything is a lot, and I am happy.

Lifeguard training continues tomorrow, and the schedule tells me that Shadow Guarding begins Sunday....I hope I'm ready! It's both nerve-wracking and exciting. Sometimes I ask myself why I chose a job where people's lives are at stake and I am responsible...

It's going to be great though, and I really can't wait.

Today is the lovely Rachel's birthday, so we'll see what festivities that brings on tonight!

Here's to a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Being home in our new kitchen (although not fully finished) has had both my mom and me cooking and baking nonstop. I had been craving chocolate-chip pancakes since I had them at my family's house in Portland over choir tour, but since we were out of eggs yesterday, fate had me wait until today to make them.

Granted, there is always something that goes wrong, and this morning it was an extreme lack of buttermilk. If you ever run into this problem, fear not! An easy substitute is to mix one tablespoon white distilled vinegar with one cup milk (this counts as 1 cup of buttermilk). Of course it's never ideal to have to substitute key ingredients, but it gets the job done!

Recipe from none other than Cooking Light.

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk (*So if you don't have any, like me, this would be 1 TBS vinegar and up to the 1 and 1/2 cup line of milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, oil, egg, and egg white, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  • Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Serve with syrup and butter.
**I also added 1 TBS cocoa powder, a helping of chocolate chips, and then for the final product I sliced fresh strawberries with light powdered sugar on top. Another great option I tried was one half of a sliced banana on top, drizzled with maple syrup. It was to die for.
**Note, although they weren't as moist (ah I said moist!!!) as they would have been with the real buttermilk, I found that I didn't feel half as lethargic after eating them. You know, the Oh my goodness, I have three pancakes sitting in my stomach now feeling.

(Sorry for lack of quality in pictures, too. My phone's camera is all I have currently...RIP digital Sony from eighth grade..)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Okay, so I've been super lucky with getting another free and legal and awesome music download! This band's album was just released yesterday, and I found out about them from various people from Metro! One of the band members is the son of our pastor, and last night I found out via Twitter that they were performing on JKL, so I tuned in! Their music is fantastic and is immediately being added to my summer playlist! Here is the download from iTunes! (And don't hesitate to buy the album in its entirety, I might add).

In other news, today has been the epitome of a perfect summer day. Both yesterday and today I have woken up late, lazily made breakfast, and ventured out to the backyard to enjoy it. This morning I had my coffee and my journal, and I simply sat, reflected, and wrote. There are few things that make me happier than doing just that. The perfect weather was a huge contributing factor as well.

Tomorrow I will leave my beautiful home in Lodi and head back to my home in Rocklin, and I can't wait to be with the lovely girls in my apartment once more! We unfortunately (and fortunately, actually) don't have wi-fi though, so I will be doing all my future blogging from local coffee shops that provide such services. I guess that isn't the worse thing that could happen. ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two (legal) free downloads from the two albums that will be filling my ears this summer!
Enjoy, my friends!

*(edit! I was notified that the link for Bon Iver was wrong, but it is now corrected! Sorry about that!)

There is so much I want to do with this blog right now. I am in a crazy reflective mood and have an insatiable desire to write, but then I also feel like I am rambling uncontrollably so writing would be counterproductive and confusing, so then I also want to wait to even post an entry because I want it to be fancy and well-thought-out with beautiful pictures (of food) so needless to say here I am anyway, ready to fill you in on life. Perfect. (I did warn you, didn't I?) 
Summer has arrived, and how different it will be than the previous! I am living in an apartment up the street from school with 5 other lovely girls, I will be guarding the lives of swimming kiddies and adults and preteens alike for City of Roseville, and most importantly, there will be plenty of time for reading, cooking, and relaxing in this no school period of life. Remember that one time I took pre-calculus over summer? To say that I am happy I have zero academic obligations for the next 3 months is an understatement. A time of detox will be so nice and so necessary in order to prepare for my 19-unit semester in the fall (double-majors everywhere unite)!

Thus, during this period of half-relaxation, half-productivity (in the form of getting tan, saving lives, and making some green) there must be a list. You know the kind...

the list (for now):
  • do not get sunburned even once. my allotted amount of skin-crispiness and total-fryage happened during training in April... never. again.
  • read way more than I did last summer. off to a good start with The Wayward Bus by Steinbeck. 
  • attend yoga at least twice a week; be able to hold crow for a whole minute
  • spend a night outside and not care if the dew is soaking my pillow come morning
  • clean out the uncontrollable mass of matter that is my wardrobe
  • discover a new coffee shop and stay there all day (splitting time between reading and people-watching, obviously)
  • buy the new fleet foxes and bon iver albums...actually buy them...hard copy form, aka a CD
  • research food-critic jobs, magazine writing, health articles, etc like crazy
  • walk to save gas and for enjoyment as much as possible
  • blog, blog, blog
  • most important: discover Jesus more intimately and wholly than ever before. this summer is the absolute perfect time to lay before Him all I need to surrender and to practice quietness in His presence (note: this can only be done with a fresh cup of coffee, a journal, a pen, and plenty of sunshine). 
and just some items to be looking forward to:
  • brother and Caitlin's wedding in 35 days (and bridal parties and bridesmaid luncheons and rehearsal dinners and the works beforehand)
  • my first paycheck; it's a BD
  • cooking a full, delicious dinner in the apartment, complete with dessert
Be back tomorrow! Goodnight all :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

(this means a real entry will be following shortly, so stand-by)
I am no longer stressed, as I so sorely left you in the last two entries. Thought I would get that out there now. It is summer, life is lovely, and I can't wait to blog obnoxiously for the next three months.
Consider this your warning.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

This is probably the most blatantly candid I will ever be on this blog, but writing is the only way I can process.

I am on the verge of tears as I sit here, typing away as if I do not have a million other tasks to be completing. Stress has stayed consistent since last week, but it seems that the expectations only continue to rise, making stress consequently do the same. I've finally had a chance to write in my prayer journal, and while the presence of the Lord always seems to make those brimming tears overflow, He is also very quick to wipe them dry. At this point, the amount and level of 'stuff' I have going on until spring break is no longer able to be amounted into words. But, this shouldn't mean I allow it to take over me and stop trusting in the One who knows I am going to make it through just fine. And yes, more than fine.

The Lord, now that I think about it, has been teaching me a lot about trust, but I didn't realize until now that there are many different facets to trust. I've learned to surrender a certain areas to Him, and am now at complete peace with those, but He is currently drilling it into me what it means to trust in Him in times like this; where I simply have an overload of work to complete but not nearly enough time to complete it. I need to trust that this period of craziness in scheduling is merely that; a period. It is not going to last forever and I will not die as the result of it.

Not only do I thus need to be diligent in my time usage, I also need to be joyful and thankful throughout. Shocking, I know, that the Lord wants us to be joyful during times of hardship, but He does. My attitude has suffered so badly this last week, worse than it has in a very long time, and that was such a sour reminder of how my character was before Jesus saved me from it. Attitude determines almost everything, but it effects absolutely everything. There is no point in being stressed AND having a terrible attitude AND complaining all the time AND wasting time dwelling on these burdens. Being stressed takes up enough energy, there is no room to add in all the others! The rest of my energy needs to go straight to the Lord, being thankful and content in Him and sure of His strength.

It is all too easy to let stress control us and then forget that we have an Orchestrator above us who is already piecing everything together. Okay, Lord, trusting in You round two has been in full swing for about a week now, thanks for letting me see what You were doing prior to total self-destruction. ;)

One day task at a time. Today, I must dig into this piano lesson. I will then grab my things, and head straight to life-guarding training where I will be until 8:30p.m. There I will be confident, alert, and excited to learn! (Which actually isn't too hard!) Then I will come back, work on ear training, and get to bed in time for a solid 9 hours of sleep. (Last night I went to bed at 8:30 and had no trouble sleeping the entire night...goodness)

My goal is to make it to Friday this week...Friday will meet me with a day off from training and a date with my mother.

That is something to be thankful for.


(the picture? just can't help but make me smile...that elephant is stoooooked)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So much to do, so little time.

This week has been, hands down, the craziest of the semester. Between prepping for our second ear-training midterm tomorrow, having piano lessons every afternoon after classes for over an hour, getting support letters organized for Portland, enduring crazy weather, anticipating the start of life-guarding training on Saturday, having dangerously low estrogen levels...(at this point, it's just the facts, sorry for information overload) I feel I might explode.

To top it off, I feel a dry cough beginning within me and I cannot get sick. Especially not now.

I understand now why this week is usually spring break week. Suddenly everything just hits at the same time, but expectation levels remain just as high, as if all the energy in the world was still fueling me. Piano and music might be taking over my life. I have never spent so much time in another facet of my schooling as I have there. I love it, but goodness.. it's a hard thing to be involved in when time is so scare.

Life-guarding training has me so excited, but knowing that it will be from Monday through Friday, 4:30-8:30, and Saturday/Sunday 8:30-5 for two weeks, I am just anxiously awaiting the realization that I will have infinitely LESS time that I do this week...and that is overwhelming.

If you think of me, pray for me!! These next three weeks aren't slowing down, only speeding up. Even when training ends, it's the last week before break, meaning major preparation for the Night Of Classics, (our biggest music production of the year, which I'm performing piano at) and then early the next morning (first day of break) I head to Portland, OR for a 5-day mission trip. Break will be short.

Then summer...?!

Time is about to FLY.

Lord be with us all!! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." 
Psalm 46:10-11

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I forgot to mention last post that my brother is ENGAGED!! Nathan is marrying Caitlin after dating for a trillion years, and she is already my sister, so needless to say the wedding is going to be absolutely beautiful. It will be in June (perfect month) and I'm a bridesmaid! First time! I am so excited and happy for them. Caitlin put me in charge of finding the wedding cake design. (Ideal job for me). Isn't this cake fun with its confetti sprinkles? Not quite elegant enough for a wedding, but it is so cute regardless.

This week has been busy in every aspect of the word, and this weekend will be equally so. Today has been wonderful, though, and in midst of this busyness I have made sure to take time out to breathe. I had a great workout this morning and since my craving for coffee would not cease, I treated myself to an Americano. The great thing about Starbucks is that they often mess up your order. This then means that you get a free drink. That happened to me today; good choice, Alyssa.

I am heading home tonight for just a day, because my amazing grandparents are coming over tomorrow for lunch. Both my grandma and my grandpa mean so much to me. Both of them have battled some pretty serious health scares this last year, (and they are in fantastic shape for their age, so it was surprising for the whole family) but they have come out stronger than ever. I love them, I love them, I love them. Even though I have one more huge midterm to conquer, a take-home test that I just remembered right now, (aah!) a theory project, and a Portland mission trip support letter to write...phew...nothing can steal my time more than an afternoon with my family. 

Jesus has been so good to me these last few days. I am finding so much contentment in His will and His timing, and every day I spend in the Word and journaling is a day that He continues to take care of my heart. "Be still and know that I am God," is a verse that is on repeat within me. I have the joy of my salvation and the peace that He is above all else. He is more than enough.

Happy weekend, everyone. Enjoy this sunshine, and don't forget to set your clocks back tonight! Boo for one less hour of sleep, but yay for longer days of light. :) Spring is here!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Timing is always a hard guessing game, and both unfortunately and fortunately, it is a guessing game that can only be won through waiting. 

We are controllers. No matter which way it's cut, we want to be in control of our tomorrows. Pretty ironic, considering that we aren't even in control of our todays. We have a God who is All-Knowing and All-Providing and All-Faithful, but all we want to do is take everything into our own hands and push the start button or the stop button. Sometimes I can't help but think that He is either constantly frustrated by our humanness or humored by it. Probably both.

I don't want to take my tomorrows into my own hands. I want Jesus to continue to guide them as He has been, because He is leading me in truth. But through waiting, He is also developing this virtue of patience that is so difficult to obtain, and then (oomph, the hard part) maintain

It seems like everyone around me is in this same boat of the unknown. Plans for the future scare us, and plans for the summer, and plans for next year. We don't know who we want to be yet, or if we are ready, or if we can do it. We doubt where we are right now, in this moment, based on the past. We forget what we are being taught because we are too busy worrying about the lesson. We are insecure because we are not perfect, and we do not always perform our best. We are hurt by loss, but terrified of new beginnings, and we get stuck in this rut of never-ending fears that eventually threaten to control all of who we are. 

Do we really want that paragraph to be the exact way we feel all the time? Is that really what we always want to be able to relate to?

I want to be able to confide in Trust and Peace. I want to relate to Patience and Understanding. Please, let us let go of all that we are holding onto, because it is surely out of our grasp anyway. I don't want to live in fear of what is down the road, I want to live in faith of what is down the road. And that begins with trusting in the right now. Sure, it's easier said than done.

But it shouldn't have to be, and I don't think Jesus wants it to be. Our relationship with Him should be an adventure. An adventure where each new day, we have the privilege of looking to Him to lead our steps. I think that's pretty remarkable. Can we please take advantage of it?

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Phillipians 1:6

Friday, March 4, 2011

 I love these! Cupcakes are my newest guilty pleasure, and they're quite the trend right now. (please excuse the creepy doll)
I haven't blogged nearly enough this last month, and now it's already March! Does this blow anyone else's mind as much as it does mine?

This week has been one of productivity, something that I have long been evading. Productivity yields so many rewards; I often forget that I do enjoy being on top of my schoolwork, my piano songs, and most importantly, my time with Jesus. It gives me time to rest, blog, and just enjoy life without a constant stress-cloud looming above my head!

A terrible flu is absolutely invading our campus, and I have done well at escaping it thus far...thank you daily woman vitamins, immune-boosting keifir, and gym-trips that had been all too infrequent!

Last weekend my beautiful Aunts Darlene and Jeanine and Uncles George and Mike came to the Sacramento area. They treated me and some friends to P.F. Changs for dinner, and my goodness, I have never eaten so much in my life. No exaggeration. I had a four-month pregnant food fetus. It was wonderful to see them and catch up; my extended family means so much to me.

I am going to cut this short, I am leaving for a night of goodies and giggles (cheeeesssy) with my favorite alto, choir girls! We are the best.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sometimes being a music major is the absolute hardest part of my day.

I had a couple moments like that this last week.

But then I go to places like my piano lesson, or have experiences like last night; where a choir, a family, can come together for recording week and put forth our absolute best efforts and our best attitudes and create an experience that is unbelievably beautiful.

All the reminders begin to kick in at that point;

We are a family; we work so hard together, we encourage each other, we love each other, and each of us have something so different to offer than the person standing next to us. Yet, we all share the same passion: creating music that changes lives and changes hearts. It is unlike anything I have ever been apart of. I realize that the reason I can get so easily affected by the challenges that come with being a music major is because it is something that is very intimately connected with who I am. When I fail to contribute wholly, or do poorly on assignments when I know I could have done so much better, and my professors call me on it, and my pride becomes hurt, and my attitude's because I am being challenged (positively) in every way possible: as a student, as a musician, as a leader...everything.

There is no question that I have doubted being a music major this last semester. But it is so humbling when I remember that music is how God brought me to Jessup. It is humbling when even though I shed a few tears in my piano lesson, my teacher continues to push me encouragingly, wanting me to press on and be the best I can be, because she knows the potential is there. It is humbling when your choir director glances up during practice and smiles, and tells you he is happy you are here, and that your presence is valued and needed. It is humbling when I sit down at that piano bench and let my soul play the keys for me; when even if I hit a wrong note, or two or three, it doesn't matter because it is being driven by passion and it is one more opportunity to learn.

I have a family in the music department, and we are all so dependent upon on one another. We couldn't be who we are without our professors, without our peers, and likewise our professors couldn't be who they are without us and each other. We feed off each other, we drive each other. What we put into this is what we get out of it. We understand failures, successes, long nights, late practices. We understand how we can get ministered to through music just as much as we are ministering to others.

Oh man, there is just nothing like it, and I pray that the Lord will always remind me that talent doesn't define passion, but passion does define your talent. My passion is there, all of my fellow music majors' passion is there, and how we choose to utilize our passion for the greater purpose of who we are as individual musicians and cooperate musicians will change everything.

Monday, January 31, 2011

I love my roommate/best friend/sister Shell and the wonderful times we've been having together

I am overjoyed by the abundant sunshine today.

Recording week starts tonight; this means a lot of singing, a lot of standing, and a lot of growing.

A couple of my classes have been rough recently...

so I'm just praying that my diligence stays up and my morale stays strong

Times spent at the piano bench this last week have been both rewarding, relaxing, and productive

And I miss my mom something terrible

just a sidenote, a lot of the pictures I use now are simply from tumblr; meaning that one) I don't claim ownership, and two) they may or may not have any relevance to what I just wrote about :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday mornings (afternoons?) like today make me happy.

slept in
worked out
didn't shower (probably should now)
ate the staple meal of wheat toast, almond butter, sliced banana, and a mug of coffee (or three)
nail-painting fiesta with the girls in the wing
still enjoying being with all of them
etc etc etc

Oo, and Fridays like yesterday make me happy too. (after classes, that is)

took an purposeful nap, which accidentally lasted 3 hours
woke up and went to my lovely friend Rachel's apartment
there we enjoyed a homemade vegan meal prepared by her, which included:

artichoke leaves & hummus
a kamut pasta dish with potatoes, black beans, squash, and tomatoes (a tex-mex feel; mm, zesty)
a fruit and hemp-oat cobbler with espresso roast coffee

our good friend Oliver showed up halfway through the meal
we all chatted and laughed and ate
then I continued to hang out with Oliver, and enjoyed a night with his apartment-mates
and at midnight we made homemade waffles with jam
(college is really all about the fourth-meal)

I just love people and food and school.

Thank you Lord for so many wonderful blessings.

fun fact of the week:
I ran out of gas for the first time, right as I coming back to Jessup. My dad will probably scoff at me. But not until my mom to stalks me and reads this, and then tells him, and then tells me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I have been craving this for too long! When I decided to take a break from Facebook, subconsciously there was the thought that it would hopefully open up more time to blog...wrong. It actually means that I'm at my computer even less. There is plenty to share, though!

Being back at school is, no surprise here, wonderful. Yesterday I ended up dropping one of my English electives for a different English elective, and it happens to be online, so I now have a very doable, breathable, and yes, enjoyable schedule. Anything would have been better than the craziness of last semester. It's encouraging; I'm still a double-major, still at 18 units, but there is now lunch in my daily diet and at least one break a day. Who would've thought?

I'm also really starting to pursue this tangible dream of writing as a career. Yesterday afternoon, my adviser and perma-professor Sherry (I have had her every semester since being at Jessup) talked for over 2 hours in her office while sipping Whole Foods tea. That is what I love about this school. We chatted about anything and everything, and the wheels in my brain started turning at a very high speed. There is SO much out there that I can work to achieve through writing. As a start, I think I am going to be unofficially apart of the school's newspaper, where I will implement the Food/Art/Music section. I already have a plethora of ideas to share, and that in itself excites me, because in high school when I was actively involved in Journalism, my heart wasn't fully in it, and I didn't invest in what I was reporting on. Now, though, with my booming passions for [organic, healthy, pure] food, nutrition, the community, art, and writing...there is an endless amount of topics to write and share.

Already, check out this awesome, local movement.
Look at this addition of another, already well-loved coffee shop in Sacramento.
And check out this insanely healthy product to add into your diet.

Green Literature is a class that has only fueled all of this within me. We eat treats that Sherry brings from Whole Foods (such as organic dark chocolate) while discussing beautiful literature and watching enlightening videos. I cannot wait to continue to learn and really start investing in everything that is bubbling within me!

Happy Thursday, loves.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

 this semester:
learn to apply schoolwork to life and the big picture; retain the information, and take advantage of it

be super diligent in piano practice. that 12-page contemporary piece is not going to learn itself...

make sure to experience everything to its fullest

and of course, keep on delving into that lovely relationship that demands all attention and focus: the Lord

And, in the words of the wise Billy Madison,

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. Well, here goes nothing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Break is so long. I'm ready to get back to friends and adventures. Two days home from Seattle and already I am a bored wreck. I am embracing my messy hair though. Vacation=no need to shower everyday=glorious.

Looking forward to this weekend though! I'm finally going to make it up to Rocklin for Metro, thank you Jesus. And hopefully I can squeeze in a reunion with the gym too...if so, that will deserve a Hallelujah, thank you Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

California, oh California, I am so sad to be acquainted with you again after spending 4 unbelievable days in Seattle. Let's be frank; you just can't compete with that clean, crisp air, the hustle and bustle of the city, and the ability to view all things beautiful in a mere 360° head turn—water, mountain, city, and country. Yes, Seattle is all that and more. I like you still, (since I have to, since I live here) but don't be alarmed or hurt if I leave you in the future. Love, me.

The flight was a piece of cake too, so I guess I can almost qualify myself as a world-class traveler, and I suppose this means I will be able to get back on a plane going somewhere more than 2 hours away. Good news all around, folks.

Okay but truthfully! Seattle was an absolute experience. (I sense a theme for 2011...) I fell in love. Seattle is the cleaner, nicer, classier, better version of San Francisco. I still love SF, but Seattle is just so much more beautiful. The air quality alone could win me over. It is so...breathable. New Year's Eve was the perfect time to go, too. The environment was unreal. There was enough people to feel this incredible surge of anxious, excited energy, but not so many that it was overwhelming and became undesirable (which is how I often feel in places like downtown Sac on a busy night or driving in SF). That day we walked everywhere, seeing Pike's Place Market, sipping some coffee from the Original Starbucks, (unfortunately it tastes the same) visiting the infamous 'gum wall,' and then heading to the Space Needle at night for the fireworks show! That was incredible. Beforehand we had time to kill, so inside at the Seattle Center there were tons and tons of people staying out of the cold, dancing to the live band's music, and simply enjoying the wait for the countdown! I love dancing and live bands that play hokey rock music and MJ.

The next couple days were spent in Seattle as well, where we went to the Experience Music Project Museum, which had a feature on Jimi Hendrix (much to the boys' amusement and uncontrollable joy). We went to this great swing-dancing place the second night, which was insanely fun and only cost $5, and then the next day Matt's parents took us around to sight-see! It was the absolute perfect trip, with great friends, so many laughs, and many new memories. All of my favorite things.

And now (in conjunction with some conversations I've been having about my future this last month) I am getting excited about looking into writing as a career option—possibly writing for a magazine, such as Seattle Magazine or wherever. They offer internships and I am definitely thinking about applying. To be in a city, writing, observing, interviewing, learning, eating...(food writer, anyone?) sounds right up my alley and is really quite realistic! Better start blogging more to practice ;)

Happy New Year everyone!!! Hope your breaks are treating you well.

ps I apologize for all the slightly blurry and not-too-fancy photos! They all hail from my phone's camera.