Friday, January 30, 2009

Coffee Inspiration

Coffee shops inspire me.
They inspire me to write, to watch, to wish, to wait.

I don't think it has anything to do with caffeine, but rather the ability to escape campus not be known. I'm not sure I've ever visited a coffee shop (Starbucks doesn't count) for the sole purpose of buying coffee.

I prefer to linger.
To camp out.
To think, study, write, spread out.

I sit, with my feet propped up on the chair across from me, people-watching. An old man with an oxygen tank plays dominoes with a singing young man with a deep voice and a petite girl dressed in striped tights, boots, and hippie layers. Piercings adorn many of the patrons. The same colored pencil lady from Hippies & Rainbows sits at the other window. This is where I sat last March and it's good to be back.

This is the coffee shop where I spent 4 hours convincing a student that she was loveable.
This is where I sat with my pastor who affirmed me in the pursuit of my future dreams.

Today, my small window-side table is cluttered with a peanut butter cookie, my journal, two versions of the Bible, two books, notes for chapel, a pen, my cellphone, and my headphones. It's here that I can reflect and be still.

Here, rather than at home, I don't feel like I'm at work. It's my Sabbath day, after all, and I live at work.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


It was hard to get out of bed.
It was a record snooze button morning
So I got a tall nonfat white chocolate mocha
(For the 3rd day in a row)

Monday night basketball IM
Tuesday night Sophomore dessert social
Wednesday night RA staff meeting
Thursday night worship practice

The office was especially quiet as the clock struck 5pm
The work day done
Lights turned off
The outside doors were even locked at 10 till

In an hour of quiet
as I rested in my Mary Chair
I wondered for a moment
what it would be like to rest forever
and not run out the door for "just one more thing"

And now,
looking back,
on that brief moment,
I think of how unsatisfied I would be

And so I learn to rest
in the fullness of today
and the promise that tomorrow
will be full, too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Bucket List

My "someday" list:
  • Display my art in a coffee shop
  • Go to Seminary
  • Live in community (on campus doesn't count)
  • Live in a 3rd world country with my family for 1 year
  • Go fishing
  • Learn how to snowboard
  • Sing and play the piano during worship
  • Write a song
  • Record a song
  • Have my writing published in a magazine or book
  • Be a 'regular' at a coffee shop so the barista knows my name
  • Be up close and personal with Mother Teresa's ministry in India
  • Visit my Bolivian family
  • Work at a Christian Camp (again)
  • Play the guitar
To name a few.

Goodbye Nine

It's days like today when the effects of the economy hit close to home.
Nine employees got laid off this afternoon.
Our campus is grieving. Mouths hang open as the word spreads.

I keep thinking about families whose daddy is no longer providing for them. Lord, provide for them.
I keep thinking about the administration who had to have those hard conversations. Lord, give them rest tonight.

The Oregon employment rate is at 9%.
People my parent's age are flipping burgers.
Teenagers, twenty-somethings, college graduates, and near-retirees are competing for the same jobs and it's scary! Lord, thank you for this job.

One former employee graciously responded "I guess this is God kicking my butt to finally pursue what He's really calling me to."

With every "no" is a greater "yes".

Friday, January 23, 2009

No TV & No Plans

For the past 7 months, I've been borrowing a TV.
For the first 10 months I was here, I didn't have a TV, and now I am without one again.

Although the only show I was consistently watching was "The Office," I am realizing that I had the tv on a lot more that just for that show.

How can I tell?
Because it's quiet tonight.
I'm home alone with zero plans and all I hear are the clicking of my keys and the obnoxious steam heater.

The TV was a wonderful distraction and "filler" for when I was too tired to read, too silent to make a phone call, or too introverted to seek out company.

I have absolutely no intention of purchasing a TV of my own.

Maybe this means I'll be reading more.
Tonight, I started "The Heavenly Man" - a true story about a remarkable man's life as a Christian in China.

This is one of the first Friday nights I've been devoid of plans. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to it. I wish I could say I've been pleasantly surprised and loving it.

But, I'm not.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The chapel challenge

Students at NCU have mixed opinions about chapel.
I've heard varied opinions and most certainly have my own, which is why I'm feeling some pressure about what my chapel topic should be on February 6th.

I want it to be applicable -
It would be easier if everyone was passionate about social justice, sex traffiking, poverty awareness, etc.. It would be easier if they actually wanted to be in chapel. It would easier if they didn't text and whisper during the message.
Heck, it would be easier if they all loved Jesus!

When asked about what I should preach about, one of my RAs responded "I want you to think about what the guys on my hall would pay attention to. Speak to them."

Unfortunately for me, many of these guys fit the description above. A tough crowd for sure.

So, I accept the challenge.
I have my work cut out for me.
I need ideas!

Number 44

Mr. Obama is no longer the president-elect, but THE president.

I watched part of the historical inauguration this morning and still have the news on as the Obamas party it up at 10 fancy balls. (Not to mention the press's buzz about the First Lady's wardrobe.)

I wonder if their cheeks will hurt in the morning from smiling so much.
And if their arms will be tired from waving.
And their ears deafened by shrills and applause.

People are recognizing President Obama as the most powerful man in the world. I was really moved by the live coverage that spread all the way to Kenya, where a group of Africans were huddled around a tv in the dark.

Throughout the presidential campaign, I signed several "One" petitions to encourage the candidates to include a platform about foreign aid and address issues of global poverty.

I was touched by the president's remarks:
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

God -
May you guide our country's leader with wisdom and discernment.
Give him favor around the world.
Let justice and mercy reign.
May President Obama know You as his leader.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sweet Lu*

I picked up something in Mexico - not from the food or the water (gloria a Dios!).
My voice is quite froggy and apparently quite comical, according to the few I've ventured out to see today. I'm coughing up some nasty stuff and I've been in bed most of the day.

I think I got sick from little Lu*, a 6-year old girl who clung to my side during my 2 visits to the orphanage. Now that I think about it, one of her tiny nostrils did seem to be clogged with dried "mocos." :)
I think I was in mid-conversation with someone when she grabbed my hand the first time. She pulled me outside and then lifted her arms to the sky so I'd pick her up. She was tiny for her age, yet quite heavy for me to carry.

She kept asking me if I was leaving and wanted to know when I'd be back. It was easier to leave the first day because I knew I'd see her again in a couple days.

Upon my second arrival to the Orphanage, I asked a couple of girls "Saben donde esta Lu*?"
They responded: "Ella esta jugando con Barbies en su cuarto."
Of course. She's playing Barbies in her room.

Sure enough, she was sitting on top of her bed with a container full of Barbies. She had been crying and seemed a little hesitant to open up. Not long after, she clung to my side again. I bounced her on my knee, she flipped upsidedown, I carried her all over the grounds, she got her face-painted, etc.

She sang a sweet song to me with lyrics that kept repeating "te quiero" over and over again, which is Spanish for "I love you." I'd sneak her a grin and she'd wrap her arms around my neck and give me a big kiss on my cheek.

I pulled her close and kissed her back.
She held my face in her little hands and rubbed her nose against mine. She giggled and snuggled closer.

Before I left, I asked her if she knew Jesus.
With confidence, she replied "Yes! Jesus is in my heart!"

I miss you, sweet Lu*.

Girl Talk

When I was in Mexico, I stayed up late one night with the girls on my team and we had a great girl-talk session. I got to be a big sister for girls aged 18 - 21 and it was so fulfilling.

"Girl Talk" is something I haven't had much of lately, and I long for it. I'm feeling a little sentimental tonight, especially after talking to a good friend on the phone and reading up on some blogs.

Not the 7th grade type of girl talk where we play Truth or Dare, raid the candy section of Fred Meyer, watch Sixteen Candles & Beaches, stay up as late as possible, prank whoever falls asleep first, play "Telephone" and talk about boys...

I'm talking about girl talk with my closest college friends.
Something that could last for a few days.
A retreat.

We could still eat junk food and stay up late.
Chick Flicks would still be a must.
And... we'd probably still talk about boys.

But we'd also go deeper.
We'd talk theology.
We'd talk church.
We'd talk evangelism.
We'd talk social justice & poverty.
We'd talk simplicity.
We'd talk love.

I really enjoy living in Eugene. I just wish there wasn't a 2 hour gap between my girlfriends.
But then again, 1 is in St. Louis, 1 is in Louisiana and 1 is in Australia.

...and it makes me sad.