Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top 5, and Working Out

To continue with last week's theme of avoiding internet usage, here are the Top 5* Websites where I like to waste my time find a ton of joy when I do enter the Web. 
*these sites are subject to change at any time, without any notice

5. Lee Wolfe Blum's blog!!! I fell in love with her writing after reading Table in the Darkness. I laughed, I cried, I read some parts out loud. Then I signed my name in the book under the letter she wrote to her eating disorder when she decided to choose recovery.  
When I was on the train out to Oregon last spring, I read Brave and cried through that book as well. I re-read it in October and, you guessed it, cried some more! 
Where do all these tears come from?  They are joy, pain, sadness, and feeling alive all rolled up into special little drops of water. "Catharsis" is what I was told it was called in high school English class. I just call it healing. 

4. The Oregon Duck's Twitter OR Instagram page.  I totally missed the boat on Twitter AND Instagram. I still don't really grasp the purpose of either website (and don't even get me started on LinkedIn). However, scrolling through the Duck's photos on Twitter or Instagram fills me with a joy I can't really describe. He quacks me up. :)

3. Gmail. This one is a shocker, I know. There are still people whom I like to contact via email. 
My favorite part about my Gmail inbox is getting {N}Power rewards from Natural Grocers. There is a special offer that comes every couple months to get $5 off of my purchase.  I pretty much feel like I have won the lottery when I see that email. The offer is only good on a specific day, typically on Fridays, and there are a couple other requirements to meet before it gets loaded to my account. This means my schedule revolves around it for about a week in advance. I also write it down in my planner so that I won't forget. If anyone dared to think I don't live an exciting, edgy lifestyle, they ain't seen what I do on Fridays! 

2. Glory of Zion - What Month Is It? I am working on an art project in which I draw and color small sections of tag board to represent the Hebrew months. I'm only about half-way through the project, so that means I have about 6 months left to go...

I just realized how lame this list is, because if I am going to be truthful, Google would have to hold the Number One honor. Because Gmail is a close relative of Google, I am going to consider it covered, and forego naming it as my number one online love. 

1. YouTube!!! Specifically - Little Viejo!!! If I ever go back to South America or go to Central America, or work in a job where my Spanish language skills are used, I'm going to have to give a lot of credit to my favorite  Salvadoreño. Even if I never leave the US or speak Spanish to anyone ever never ever again, I'll still give a lot of credit to him! Mi querido Ivan, you've brought laughter into some of my darkest days. Te quiero muchísimo, hermanito! 


Note to self: write about working out on your next post. You forgot to do it here. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Life Without Internet

When I moved into my apartment, I decided to forego WiFi. I am going on 11 months without personal access to the internet. 
Side note: I sit at a computer all day as part of my profession, so this isn't as big of a sacrifice as it may initially seem. 

It's kind of like working in a doughnut shop all day, eating doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then saying that I fast from doughnuts on my personal time. The fast only takes place from 5p-7:30a. Big sacrifice. 

Or maybe it is more like working in a clothing store and saying that I don't shop for clothes on my personal time?

Hmmm...not quite sure what the right analogy is in this situation. 

Maybe it is akin to working at a gym, then being lazy on purpose once I leave for the day?

Being a janitor and failing to clean my house?

Moving on. 

Top Ten Things I Enjoy Doing Without Internet in My Home:

10) Ignoring current events
 9) Reading books
 8) Getting a healthy amount of rest each night
 7) Drawing
 6) Cooking
 5) Juicing an insane amount of apples (okay, that is not a regularly-scheduled activity.)
 4) Going to the library (to look at books and CD's, NOT to use their internet)
 3) Wearing snarky socks
 2) Dancing in my kitchen (the floor is made for it)
 1) Playing my guitar! 


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Liezbeth



I know having favorites is generally frowned upon. However, there is this young girl who is about 13 by now, who completely stole my heart.

Her name is Liezbeth.

She was three when I met her during my stay in Bolivia. Most children are pretty passionate at age three, though their personalities channel that zest in different ways. Liz wore her passion on her sleeve. And all over the room.

Tia Fabiola used to set her up on top of a play house in the classroom so that she would be forced to sit still. She was perched up there like a bird in a cage, knowing she couldn’t escape. But even the caged bird sings.

I remember being SO excited one day when Liz jumped up in my lap, because she was not a cuddly type of girl. I was like, “finally, I think we are connecting a little bit.” Alas, she only wanted my gum. And she proceeded to grab it right out of my mouth while I was trying to ask her what she wanted.

She wanted my gum, not my attention.

I recently got back in touch with Tia Fabiola. She let me know that Liezbeth and her family no longer live in the prison – dad was released about a year ago, so Fabiola has lost touch with them. They live out in the Bolivian countryside somewhere.

There are hopes and dreams I have for Liz: I hope she knows what a gem she is, I hope she lets Jesus heal the parts of her heart that have been broken into pieces during her first 13 years on this earth. I hope I’ll see her in heaven, because I don’t think we’ll see each other again before that day. I dream that she’ll be strong and know that her identity is Christ, not in anything or anyone else.

When I was regaining strength after being in the hospital in Cochabamba, I read Psalm 139 almost every day. The pastor from the church I attended came to visit me once I was home, and he prayed for me. I felt so vulnerable and so safe at the same time. I was far from home, but close to my Father's heart. Life is so fragile.


My prayer today for Liz is Psalm 139:

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit or stand. When far away you know my every thought. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say before I even say it. You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.

This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. If I try to hide in the darkness, the night becomes light around me. For even darkness cannot hide from God; to you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me.And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!

Surely you will slay the wicked, Lord! Away, bloodthirsty men! Begone! They blaspheme your name and stand in arrogance against you—how silly can they be?  O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I be grieved with them? Yes, I hate them, for your enemies are my enemies too.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.


Friday, September 29, 2017

The day that my parents started on the Oregon Trail


They aren’t physically following the trail, but they are on a journey, headed on an adventure. The destination is a new life.
A life of gentle rain, instead of blowing snow.
A life of lush and fragrant plants, with trees as tall as mountains. (Or mountains as tall as trees?)
A life of strangers who become friends.
Closed doors, replaced by open doors.
Old jobs, replaced by new jobs, or no jobs at all.
The feeling of always being rushed, replaced by setting one’s own pace.
New beginnings, new hope, new leisure, new rest.
Blessing you with God’s best for your lives, today and always. Love you.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Because today might be the best day of my life

I sat outside during my lunch break today. It was one of those perfect, almost-fall days with sun that feels like heaven. The air was crisp and cool, so I wore a sweater.

Wearing sweaters in the coolness of the fall after a hot summer is a special treat.

The past couple weeks, I’ve felt like there is a gap between the Lord and me. 

Sometimes You're further than the moon
Sometimes You're closer than my skin
 - David Crowder Band

As I sat outside, the sun warming me, I felt close to Him again. It was so still outside; not in an eerie way, but in a peaceful way. It was like I could hear the grass growing, because there was no background noise.


When a day starts off with coffee this good, it just might be the best day of my life. 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Phone, again; how to be agile

The Jitterbug flip phone presented a few issues that hinder my communication. Because my communication could be graded at a C+ (on good days) or a D- (on bad days), I can't let my phone bring me down even farther. Or further. I can't let the phone bring me down.

I now have the Jitterbug Touch 3, which is a smartphone! And I can communicate pretty well on it. I am working on my communication skillz, and interpersonal skills overall. 

At work, we are going through Real World Agile Training. Most of it is common sense, like "only have one person talk at a time." Okay, cool. Got it. 
However, there are some concepts that have sidetracked my brain to the point where I can't remember everyday words like "police officer" or "home-owner's association." One of these concepts that sidetracks me is that when I explain to my team what I did yesterday and what I will be doing today, that is not a status update.   I'm still not really sure what it is, but I think it is a status update. But it is not. 
My brain cannot handle these type of word games. I am just not made for it. 

Also, I have decided that everyone who works at Agile must be Ducks fans (only covertly though), because they throw the O in most of their online group photos, but never mention the team. I think their hand gestures are supposed to represent the leadership triangle, BUT the triangle hand gesture is already taken by the Illuminati, possibly? That is territory better left to the professionals. 

Unrelated to either of the above topics, it is only Tuesday (no, Silly! It's Wednesday) yet feels like a late afternoon on a Friday, only without the excitement that Friday brings. My brain is shot.