Sunday, August 10, 2008

Research complete. The REAL reason for my writing tonight is somewhat of a rant. Let me preface this by saying that none of my statements are meant to hurt or offend anyone; they merely observations and questions made in my own little world.


While Elizabeth was slaving over dinner, Jake and I entered into the world of The New Facebook. The new wall, the new tabs, and dislocation of it all left us, or rather me, feeling like a new computer user. It will get better, I know, with time. What won't change though is the fact that I have 445 friends. Did you hear that? FOUR HUNDRED FOURTY-FIVE. Now, I realize that many many people have more friends that I do, but as I look through the list of "friends" I'm shocked by what I actually find:

Of my 445 friends:
25 of them are actually my current friends (meaning I have regular conversations with them)
80 of them are people I loved in college, but just don't have enough time to keep up with them regularly
90 of them are people I haven't talked to in 2 or more years
45 of them are people that I have spent 1 or less weeks with in my life
30 of them are people I went to high school with
7 of them are people I've never even held a conversation with!!!!
55 of them are from my church
41 of them are my coworkers
62 of them are random....meaning they didn't really fit into any of the other categories

I would be completely silent about the fact that all of these people have friended me (or visa versa) if avenues of communication were actually be opened in the process....but they're not. I talk to those 25 friends regularly. I e-mail with my coworkers. I see the church people at church. I rarely facebook with these people.

As for the people that I've spent very little time with, never held a conversation with, or not talked to in years...if facebook isn't helping us communicate, nothing will.

In reality, it's really only the 80 people in college that I loved, but don't have time to keep up with regularly that make facebook worth it...
I'm currently in Denver in the last 24 hours of my trip. Jake, Elizabeth, and I are watching Olympics, and I'm doing a bit of research for my next blog entry. Jake is being impatient and nagging about when I'm going to get it finished so that he can read it. I think he's nervous that I might say something that will make his mother think he is giving the family a name opposite that of which I normally give them.....

Be patient's coming...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

finding myself after years of wandering

author's note post-blog: I have never blogged in a way that reveals such detailed depth into my soul. this is a long, personal, reflective piece. something I would normally only write in a journal. as I have invited you into this post, I invite you to continue in prayer with me over the matters of which I have written....

I've spent months gearing up; weeks saying " at this time in three weeks, I'll be in...(the appropriate CA location)" This trip to California has been a long-awaited dream; even the work portion an escape from the reality of the busy-ness that left me in pieces this past year. The vacation clock is now winding down, and in between fun explorations, I find myself whispering, "Next week at this time, I will be pushing through financial reports, making conference plans, writing PE lessons, etc., etc., etc." It sounds sad, and while it may be a bit sad that I have to leave the vacation stage of life, I'm welcoming the return. But I return looking at my life from a different perspective.

Up until a few years ago, I had always had this plan...I had a passion...I had a goal...and I was going to make a difference, dang it! God had other plans and in the midst of those, I found myself feeling like one of those stereotypical twenty-somethings with no direction and no spoken purpose. Ashamed to speak to people about my so called job...or myriad of jobs, I pulled back from places where I would have to explain myself. Much like Habbakuk reflecting on God carrying Israel, I find God all over those few years of my life, and I can see how I've grown in tremendous ways. One thing that continues to nag at me is where my passion really lies. In the process of losing and refinding myself, I somehow started to believe that my passions had to be found completely in my giftings; and that if I wasn't doing something I was passionate about, then I must not actually really have that at-the-core-have-to-do-something-to-fix-the-ache-passion. Without passion, I feel, not useless, but purposeless...and without purpose life becomes this mundane, although very hectic, thing that I do. Like I'm existing, not living.

I DON'T WANT TO JUST EXIST! As I boarded that plane two weeks ago, I asked God to show me specifically where that desire is within guide me toward what tugs at my heart. Not what I'm good at....not what I CAN be good at, but what Papa has placed within me.

Instead of soul-searching; instead of turning to myself in desperation for the answers, I found my answers in the streets of Oakland where God reminded me of the injustice that once broke my heart and spurred me to think beyond my own bubble. I found more answers sitting in the White House in Fresno as Randy described moving into a life away from his degree and praying that the Lord would use it someday. Many years later, God not only used it, but aligned it perfectly with the path Randy was on. God knew...God knows...I just need to keeping asking and waiting patiently. (Side Note: Although Randy and I have really only known each other about a year, this is not the first time God has spoken to me through's fun to see these things play out.)

Justice. Prayer. Patience. "Less general, more specific, Lord?" God responded by showing me this couple, who with open hands, left everything behind, and moved to California to care for the "orphan" only to have their reality stripped and rebuilt by God in a matter of days. I've been around people who foster and adopt and "adopt" neighborhood kids as their own for several years. It's not new to me, and it certainly is something I've been interested in for many years now. Somehow while playing Sorry with a six year old boy caught in the midst of the foster care system, I realized what really breaks the chords of my heart. Maybe it was the way he referred to his foster mom as "mom" and talked about her favorite color. Maybe it was the poem, framed and hanging in plan sight, that his 11 year old brother had written her for mother's day. Maybe it was his super cute little brother who would stumble backwards and fall to the ground in an attempt to play dead. These boys and the stories of my little friends back home break my heart and bring me great joy all in one.

"God, what will you do with this?"

Couple these things with a conversation and a new friendship that has been forcing me to think out of my normal thought pattern. Unexpected questions that have made me question myself in areas I was already questioning myself, but looking at them through the lenses of an outsider. "Why do I love the city?" Diversity? Amenities? Seeing God at work in something so broken? Witnessing visible justice? Yet, I find my greatest connection to God in nature. Why wouldn't I want to put myself in the place where I am most consistently and obviously in His presence? Because I love the city....I can do what God has called me to here...this is what He called me to...this IS what he called me to...this is what He called me to? What DID He call me to? And what did I call MYSELF to? (ouch)

The answer: He did call me to St. Louis, but I buried God's agenda underneath of my own. I came to heal when in reality, I needed healing. God knew.

The quest for passion: my heart breaks for the child that comes from extreme brokenness; from extreme poverty; from families that either don't care or don't have the means to take care of them. I burned out very quickly when I first moved to St. Louis because A) I was trying to do it all of my own accord and B) it wasn't taking the form that God wants it to take. The burnout disguised itself as lack of passion.

The reality: These children are everywhere...I can go anywhere..I can be rural...I can be urban...I can even be (wince ever so slightly) suburban?

God is giving me pictures...a passion reignited?

The quest for purpose: I'm not in a place at this moment where I can see God directly using this passion, but I hear Him reminding me that I am where He wants me to be for now. And in this place, I have purpose. In Him, I have purpose. It is not driven by passion, but by love and trust.

As if all of this wasn't enough, God met me one more time. Two days ago, my good friend and her husband left me alone in their condo while they visited a close relative recovering from surgery. After they left, I rummaged through my backpack, emerged with a stack of receipts, and set out to finish a major portion of a financial report for work. As I sorted the receipts into shorter stacks, my eye caught the guitar in the corner of the room. The thick dust it's voice just begging to be touched. I approached it as a child sneaking to the cookie jar. Within minutes, it was sitting with it in my lap, the computer blaring guitar for beginners next to us, and my fingers fumbling for Am7, Em7, and Bm7.

Yet another passion reignited? There is music within me that more than longs to come out.

I still have four days and one more stop on this westward journey. These reflections have come early, but really they feel four years in the making. Now, I pray and wait. Pray and wait.

Lord, what will you have with what you have shown?

Monday, August 04, 2008

can you guess what I did for 15 hours today?

This is Mickey's phone found on Mickey's desk in Mickey's house in Toontown. Incidentally, 5677 is also the last four digits of my parent's phone number, the number I grew up with....

Saturday, August 02, 2008

yes...i'm STILL in california...

The posts have been few since the boogie boarding as I've mostly just continued to boogie board and love the beach. Ma and Pa Rohde got a baby-sitter one evening and I "took" them to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been (it was my only request for my stop on the Central Coast), Montana de Oro.

The last time I was there, a friend and I sat with our feet dangling over the cliff and arms resting on the fence who has the precarious job of keeping the curious from falling into the ocean. The sun, low on the horizon, swirled its pinks and purples around the sky and danced them on the ocean like a thousand little fairies. The incoming tide sent waves crashing high against the rocky shoreline at the foot of the cliff. Beautiful and menacing all at once. The whales in the distance perfected the picture as we sat in awe of the creation before us.

The sunset wasn't quite the same. The whales were replaced by otters and lizards, but Montana de Oro once again shown in the beauty of the sunset. It held it's place in my heart as one of the most awe-some places I have ever been.

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